It is impossible to be righteous before God with an unrighteous mindset toward His Word.
Jesus expounds upon this truth in general terms in Matthew 5:17-20 and then with particulars in Matthew 5:21-48. Note how Jesus personalizes the characteristics of a righteous mindset with He said, “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:17-20).
The first characteristic of the righteous mindset toward the Scriptures which Jesus describes here is His accurate recognition of their content.
Jesus was born in the fullness of time; thus He lived and died as a Jew living under the Law God gave to Moses at Mount Sinai (Galatians 4:4). He recognized that God’s stated will for Him and every other Jew living under God’s old covenant (cf. Hebrews 8:13) was contained in the Law and the Prophets. Note carefully that God’s will was not some holy hunch, nor some mystical leading of the Holy Spirit, nor the doctrines and commandments of uninspired men.
The Law of Moses which had been given over 1,400 years earlier and the inspired prophets who tirelessly and emphatically called Abraham’s descendants to repent of their sinful ways and return to the old paths (cf. Jeremiah 6:16) of obedience were the only communication which Jesus recognized as God-breathed Scripture.
We who live on the new covenant side of Calvary need to be just as clear-sighted about what is and is not the divine revelation we need to trust and obey today. Just as was true in Jesus’ day, God’s will is not communicated to us via some holy hunch, some mystical leading of the Holy Spirit, or the doctrines and commandments of uninspired men like a pope, a council, a catechism, or a creed book. The contents of the new covenant are found in the 27 Bible books which begin with Matthew and end with Revelation.
To have a righteous mindset toward the Scriptures today, you must know exactly where you can seek and find the text of God’s current and final covenant. It is no longer found in the Law and Prophets of the Old Testament but in the writings of the apostles and prophets of the New.