The Bible is a spiritual, supernatural, and living book.
It is the inerrant, infallible, sufficient Word of God. But the Bible didn’t float down from Heaven in a mystical scroll. God used men as the instruments to pen the words of God. Moved by the Holy Spirit, men wrote the very words of God. Our Lord didn’t give the writers an idea and let them interpret it the best they could. God didn’t give them themes, and then they filled in the pages with their own thoughts.
God used men, but also used men in history, in certain situations, with their unique frames, to give us the words He wanted us to know, in the way He wanted us to know it. Amos was a farmer-prophet who God sent to the “Big City” to preach to the rich aristocrats. We know this from the text of Amos, when he gives us a little biography of himself. When we read Amos 4:1, where her said, “Hear this word, ye kine of Bashan,” we can get a flavor for what was going on. This rough around the edges farmer, goes to the rich women in Jerusalem and calls them a bunch of fat cows. Coarse? Absolutely. I can’t imagine Daniel or the Apostle John saying such things. And that’s the point. Amos is the instrument God used to deliver His word. Amos’ life, upbringing, education, and language was exactly tuned to give the certain sound God ordained for this prophesy. Sometimes, the word needed a violin. Sometimes it needed a claw-hammer banjo. God tuned and used men as the instruments, which tuned and flavored the text, just as God wanted.
Historical context is important too. We use caution, of course, because we all know history belongs to the victors, so man’s history is flavored by whose writing it. A history of 1776 may read differently from a British author than an American. History revealed in Scripture is there for a reason. Take Hebrews 4:3-8, for example. The main point of this passage is to show there remains a rest for the people of God, so we need to believe in the gospel, and not be like Israel, who because of unbelief, died in the wilderness. God promised Israel rest in the promised land, and some did not enter because of unbelief. God rested on the 7th day, but that rest, even though foundational for the Sabbath day, was God’s rest, not man’s. Then he tells us David wrote in Psalm 95, inspired of God (Hebrews 3:7), the word “today.” Why is that important? The rest that remains can’t be the 7th day of creation, because God rested on the 7th day from HIS work. It can’t be the rest promised to Israel entering into the Promised Land because David wrote, “today” talking about our rest, long after Joshua died. Since David lived after Joshua and wrote, “today”, the author of Hebrews proves there remains a rest for the people of God today.