over a year ago, i posted an article i wrote for an online magazine on the revelation of god titled
“god, revelation, and dr. phil” (found here)

i just finished a follow up article and will post it here, in its unedited (and capitalized) form, over the next several days. as always, comments are welcome.
___________________________________________________________

As Evangelical Christians, inheritors of the Protestant Reformation,
which reclaimed the truth of “Sola Scriptura” (scripture alone),
the Bible is our sole source of authority. No Pope, creed, council,
or other decrees of man supersede the authority of what God has
revealed to us through His word. For Evangelicals, the authority
of Scripture is not only important, it is essential.
Many denominations and groups have seen fit to summarize
their stance on the authority of Scripture to leave no room for
misunderstanding.

The Westminster Confession of Faith states:

The authority of the holy Scripture, for which it ought to be
believed and obeyed, dependeth not upon the testimony of any man or Church, but wholly upon God (who is truth itself), the Author thereof; and therefore it is to be received, because it is the Word of God.[i]

The 2000 Baptist
Faith and Message writes :

The Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired and is God’s
revelation of Himself to man. It is a perfect treasure of divine instruction. It has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth,
without any mixture of error, for its matter. Therefore, all Scripture is
totally true and trustworthy. It reveals the principles by which God judges us, and therefore is, and will remain to the
end of the world, the true center of Christian union, and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and religious opinions should be tried. All Scripture is a testimony to Christ, who is Himself the focus of divine revelation.[ii]

The Cambridge Declaration of the Alliance of Confessing
Evangelicals instructs:

We reaffirm the inerrant Scripture to be the sole source of written
divine revelation,which alone can bind the conscience. The Bible alone
teaches all that is necessary for our salvation from sin and is the standard by which all Christian behavior must be measured.We deny that any creed, council or individual may bind a Christian’s conscience, that the Holy Spirit speaks independently of or contrary to what is set forth in the Bible, or that personal spiritual experience can ever be a vehicle of
revelation.[iii]

The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy, a
watershed document in the History of the modern
Evangelical Church affirmed the following:

1. God, who is Himself Truth and speaks truth only, has inspired
Holy Scripture in order thereby to reveal Himself to lost mankind through Jesus Christ as Creator and Lord, Redeemer and Judge. Holy Scripture is God’s witness to Himself.

2. Holy Scripture, being God’s own Word, written by men prepared and
superintended by His Spirit, is of infallible divine authority in all matters
upon which it touches: it is to be believed, as God’s instruction, in all that it affirms, obeyed, as God’s command, in all that it requires; embraced, as God’s pledge, in all that it promises.

3. The Holy Spirit, Scripture’s divine Author, both authenticates it to
us by His inward witness and opens our minds to understand its meaning.
4. Being wholly and verbally God-given, Scripture is
without error or fault in all its teaching, no less in what it states about
God’s acts in creation, about the events of world history, and about its own literary origins under God, than in its witness to God’s saving grace in individual lives.

5. The authority of Scripture is inescapably impaired if
this total divine inerrancy is in any way limited or disregarded, or made
relative to a view of truth contrary to the Bible’s own; and such lapses
bring serious loss to both the individual and the Church.[iv]

These statements and others show the importance that having an
accurate record of God’s revelation to man. God has not left His
people to wander aimlessly through life wondering what it is they
are to do and how they are to do it. We are not like the prophets of
Baal
who cut themselves in a desperate attempt to communicate
with their God. We know what pleases Him, and
we know what displeases Him. Our God has spoken
clearly to us through His Word, the Bible. We can know God because
He has revealed Himself. We can feel confident in what we know because
neither He nor His word ever changes. We are not governed by emotions
or opinions that are always coming and going and developing. We are not
left under the dictates of men who age, die, and make mistakes.

As John Armstrong puts it;

The authority of the Scripture, then, is not located in human
brilliance or witness. It is not found in the person of Moses,
Paul, or Peter. The authority is found in the sovereign God
Himself. The God who “breathed out” the words through
human writers stands behind every statement, every doctrine,
every promise and every command written in the Scripture.
[v]

Scripture itself speaks to the importance of God’s Word. in its
existence, uses and application. For example:

…and 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. All
Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching,
for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so
that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every
good work (2 Timothy 3:15-17)

God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets
in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has
spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things,
through whom also He made the world.
(Hebrews 1:1-2)

Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. (John 17:17)

For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any
two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul
and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the
thoughts and intentions of the heart (Hebrews 4:12)

The law of the LORD is perfect, restoring the soul;
The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.
The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart;
The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.
The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever;
The judgments of the LORD are true; they are righteous altogether.(Psalm 19:7-9)

Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for
they received
the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily
to see whether
these things were so. (Acts 17:11)

How can we be obedient to God when we don’t know what
is asked of us?

How can we worship a God we do not know?

How can we be saved without the Gospel being explained?

All of these answers are found in the Bible. Indeed, most of us
would agree Scripture is essential to the Christian life.

But how can we be sure that the book that we carry to Church
with us and read during our devotional times is what God intended
for us to have? How did God’s word go from old parchments written
in foreign languages to nice and neatly bound books in our own language?
Why are there so many different versions?

What follows is a brief and very general outline of how the Bible that
you own came to be.

(continued soon…)

[i] Westminster Confession of Faith (1646) Chapter 1 article IV
[ii] Baptist Faith and Message (2000) Article I
[iii] The Cambridge Declaration (1996) Thesis One
[iv] Chicago Staement on Biblical Inerrancy (1978) Summary
Statement
[v] John H. Armstrong. Chapter 4 Sola Scriptura!: The Protestant
Position on the Bible. Don Kistler, General Editor, Soli Deo Gloria
Publications, 1994.

Advertisements