Holy Scripture (“What we Believe” that I did for my church)

The Holy Scriptures

We believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God (Inspiration). That it is sufficient; containing in its 66 books all of the words that God wanted the Church to receive, consisting of the totality of Special Revelation that He desired to be preserved, and all instruction required for us to receive salvation and to trust and obey God (Sufficiency). We believe that scripture is inerrant in all things that the writers meant when they wrote the Scriptures (Inerrancy). And we believe that it is our absolute authority in all areas; in our morality and ethics, in our worship, in matters pertaining to nature, knowledge, and philosophy (Authoritative).

Inspiration: In 2 Timothy 3:16 we read; “16All Scripture is inspired[1] by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness.”(NASB) Timothy tells us that all scripture is inspired. The word he uses for Scripture is γραφη, (Graphē) and 48 out of 50 times it is used in the New Testament it refers to the Old Testament Scriptures. In the remaining two cases it refers to both the Old Testament and the New Testament together. In 1 Timothy 5:18 Paul writes to Timothy; “18 For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle the ox while he is threshing,” and “The laborer is worthy of his wages.” Here Paul quotes Deuteronomy 25:4 (in all capitals), and then he quotes Luke 10:7. In 2 Peter 3:15-16 Peter writes; “15and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, 16as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.” Here Peter refers to the Pauline letters and then groups them in with the rest of Scripture. From all of these verses we can draw that the Apostles considered both the NT and the OT writings to be Scripture; and all Scripture is inspired by God according to 2 Timothy 3:16. Another line of reasoning as to the Inspiration of Scripture is this: The NT is prophetic writings, and all prophesy is inspired; Therefore the NT is inspired. In 2 Peter 1:20-21 we read; “20But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, 21for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.” In Rev 22:18 we read that the book of Revelation is prophecy and Eph. 3:5 tells us that the Apostles, who either wrote or where closely tied with the writing of the entire NT, were prophets led by the Holy Spirit. Both the NT and the OT are called in various places “the word of God” (John 10:35, Heb. 4:12, Matt. 15:6, 2 Cor. 4:2, Rev 1:2). Finally; throughout Scripture we see the authors of Scripture quoting the words of Scripture as what God has said, and vice versa (Gen. 12:3 & Gal 3:8, Ex. 9:16 & Rom. 9:17, Gen. 2:24 & Matt. 19:4-5, Ps. 2:1 & Acts 4:24–25, Ps. 2:7 & Heb. 1:5, etc.).[2]

Sufficiency: In 2 Timothy 3:15 we read; “15and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”(NASB) In this verse Paul writes to Timothy that Scripture is able to lead to salvation, which is found in faith in Christ Jesus, and in 1 Peter 1:23 we read that it is through the living word of God that we are born again. We believe that the testimony of Scripture is that it contains all instruction we need to receive salvation, and that it is the sole source of this revelation (cf.[3] Rom. 1-3 speaking of God’s revelation in nature being sufficient to condemn but not to save). We believe that the 66 books of the Bible that we have today make up all of what God desired for the Church to have. Scripture attests to both the NT and the OT being God’s word’s (cf. 2 Tim. 3:16, referring to the Old Testament, and then 1 Tim. 5:18 and 2 Peter 3:16 referring to the New Testament as equally authoritative Scripture), and that they are completed. God’s revelation that forms what we hold today has been progressive, starting with the writing of Genesis in the 13th or 14th century B.C. and continuing until the writing of Revelation (approximately 94-96 A.D.). Throughout Scripture God commanded that nothing was to be added or taken away from its words (Deut. 4:2; Deut. 12:32; Prov. 30:5-6). This revelation came through God’s appointed messengers throughout history, ending in the death of John at the close of the 1st century A.D. The Bible concludes in Revelation with a powerful warning against tampering with its contents:  ‘I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book.” (Rev. 22:18-19) This statement is primarily in reference to the book of Revelation itself, but has a secondary significance in its conclusion of Scripture. It is no coincidence that Revelation falls at the end of the books of Scripture; just as Genesis can only fit as the opening book of the Bible, Revelation has to be placed last in Scripture.[4] 1 Timothy 3:16b-17 teaches us that Scripture is “profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” Scripture contains all that we need so as to be equipped for every good work that God has planned for our lives. We believe that Scripture provides all instruction we need for us to be sanctified, and all instruction for how we should live our lives and worship God (Cf. Exodus 20, James 3, John 4:24, Romans 6, Romans 12, etc.).

Inerrancy: Hand in hand with Scripture’s Inspiration and authority comes belief in its inerrancy. Many scholars point out that it is not an explicit teaching of Scripture (but neither is the Trinity), instead it is an implicit concept that undergirds all Scripture and can be logically deduced from its teachings.[5] Looking at Inspiration we see that Scripture is God-breathed, it is His very words given to man. Scripture teaches us that God is truthful, in Him are no lies (Hebrews 6:18, Titus 1:2, John 14:6, Romans 3:4). If Scripture is the very words of God, every word He wanted in the writing of man (inspired by the Holy Spirit), then consistent with His character; Scripture cannot err. Scripture testifies of itself as truth. 2 Samuel 7:28 reads “28 Now, O Lord God, You are God, and Your words are truth, and You have promised this good thing to Your servant” (NASB) (cf. John 17:17, Psalm 119:60, cf. with John 16:12-13). It is interesting to note that in John 17:17 Jesus does not describe Scripture as “true” but calls it “truth” itself. He does not use the Greek adjectives for something being true, avlhqino,j (alēthinos) or avlhqh,j (alēthēs), instead He uses the noun avlh,qeia (alētheia). God’s word is truth itself, it is the final standard for what is and is not truth.[6] Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount, tells His audience that “until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished,” and in John 10:35b “(and the Scripture cannot be broken)”. Later, in Matthew 24:35, Jesus says “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away”. Scripture will not fade, it is eternal and its truth will stand. Finally, Jesus trusted the Old Testament Scriptures to give an inerrant testimony to who He was, frequently quoting from various books of the OT (Luke 24:27; Luke 24:44; John 5:39).

Authority:  The Doctrine of Biblical Authority naturally flows out of the teachings of Inspiration, sufficiency, and Inerrancy. God is the ultimate authority in the universe, and because Scripture is His word breathed out, it carries His authority. Because it is truth, inerrant in everything it asserts, it is authoritative on every issue it broaches; be it history, philosophy, morality, ethics, etc. Jesus clearly regards Scripture as the authoritative standard, especially in regards to religious practice. On at least two occasion He address rabbinic tradition with a response from Scripture, asserting that it is the final authority and takes precedence over the teachings of man (Mk 7:6–13, Mk 12:18-27). The authors of both Testaments quote the Old Testament as authoritative on issues of history, using the stories recorded in its narratives as factual accounts to back up their arguments. In 2 Peter, speaking of the end times, Peter writes:

4For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment; 5and did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a preacher of righteousness, with seven others, when He brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; 6and if He condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to destruction by reducing them to ashes, having made them an example to those who would live ungodly lives thereafter; 7and if He rescued righteous Lot, oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men” (2:4-7).

He uses the factual events of God’s judgment to support his argument: “9then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment” (2 Peter 2:9). And in the face of a philosophy that reflects Greek evolutionary philosophies, and parallels modern uniformitarian thought, Peter writes:  “3Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, 4and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.” 5For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water, 6through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water.” (2 Peter 3:3-6). He uses Scripture as the authority even over these philosophies, showing that it teaches God’s intervention in creation, and in judgment. The resounding testimony of Scripture is to its absolute authority in every area of our lives.

[1] Theopneustos (θεοπνευστοσ): literally God-Breathed

[2] Geisler, N. L., & Nix, W. E. (1996). A general introduction to the Bible (Rev. and expanded.) (51). Chicago: Moody Press.

[3] Cross Reference

[4] Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology : an Introduction to Biblical Doctrine (Leicester; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press ; Zondervan, 1994), 64–65.

[5] Norman L Geisler, Systematic Theology : in One Volume (Minneapolis, Minn.: Bethany House, 2011), 369.

[6]Grudem, Systematic Theology, 83.


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