The Doctrine of Scripture

Last week we looked at the question “What is theology?”. This week we are going to look at the Doctrine of Scripture. When we think of the Bible, what should we think about it? What is the proper way to understand its authority? What does it mean when somebody says the “Bible is divinely inspired?” These are all important questions and it’s equally important how we answer them.

The Bible is the foundation for all proper and true theology about God. The Bible is what gives us true knowledge about God. So, if the Bible is in error, then our doctrine and beliefs about God are in error. When a person says that the Bible is divinely inspired, it is said to mean that the Bible, although written by men, the men who wrote it were “Carried along in the Spirit.”. God directly and actively inspired the words the the men would write down. This inspiration was compatible with each of the authors different personalities and cultural upbringing, and at the same time, was exactly what God intended to communicate to His people through all time.

It has been stated like this: The Spirit of God sovereignly directed the human authors of Scripture so that their writings can be considered divinely inspired. A simple way to think of this is “What the Bible says, God says.” For that was Jesus’ view of scripture itself.

Scripture as a Foundation for Theology

When dealing with the issue of how do God’s people recognize God’s inspired words, Dr. Michael J. Kruger may have said it best when he stated:

“The people of God, through the indwelling of the spirit of God, recognized the voice of God, speaking in the word of God.”

What Kruger is getting at here is that man himself is not the authority that determines what texts are God’s word. Rather is it God Himself working in the Christian causing the Christian to recognize God’s voice though darkness that exists by all the other so called “inspired holy texts”. The Christian’s knowledge that the Bible is the word of God is foundationally revelational in nature. Man did not come to this conclusion by his own efforts. God told men that the Bible is His word. Councils who voted on which books of the Bible were inspired by God, were not voting on the books with authority in the sense that they decided themselves, rather, the votes were votes that recognized the inherent voice of God as found in the text. The votes were not authoritative votes, they were votes of recognition.

Now that we have laid a firm foundation for what Scripture is and how its recognized, let’s examine some functions of scripture itself:

  • Teaching
  • Commanding
  • Rebuking
  • Convincing
  • Warning
  • Exhorting
  • Promising
  • Encouraging
  • Illuminating
  • Instructing
  • Illustrating
  • Expressing

Through all these different aspects, we are blessed. The Bible teaches us who God is, the Bible then provides us with God’s commands upon our lives and also provides rebukes against sin and self-righteousness. The Bible all encourages us in our despair and expresses to us God’s unwavering love for His children. The Bible also warns of wrath and judgment to come to those who reject its admonitions. The Bible is the ultimate and only source of comfort for the Christian in this world.

We must have Jesus’ view of the Bible

            If we call ourselves Christians, followers of Christ, we must have Christ’s view of the Bible. What was His view? There are several passages of the Bible that demonstrate what Jesus thought of the “Bible” (The Old Testament in His day). The list below is not by any means exhaustive, rather it is to illustrate the points made by Christ:

  1. Scripture is God’s word: Matt 4:10, Luke 4:1-12, Matt 19:4-5
  2. Scripture is historically accurate:
    1. Creation Mark 10:6-8
    2. Abraham John 8:56-58
    3. Sodom and Gomorrah Matt 10:15; 11:23-24
    4. Moses: John 6:31
  3. Scriptures is authoritative: Matt 13:14, Luke 16:17, John 10:35
  4. Scripture is verbally inspired: Matt 5:18, Luke 20:41-44
  5. Scripture is the source of spiritual truth: John 5:39-47, John 17:17
  6. Scripture consists of both the Old and the New Testament:
    1. OT: Mat 5:17, Luke 11:51
    2. NT: Matt 28:18-20, John 14:26

Conclusion: Jesus Christ believed and held the position that “What the Scripture Says, God says”.

 

As Christians who follow Jesus Christ and claim Him as our savior and way of salvation, we are required to hold to the same standard as Christ when it comes to our view of the Bible. Even Peter recognized Jesus words were “life”. Jesus words tell us that the Bible is God’s word. The Bible is God speaking to humanity.

Jesus’ usage of the Bible: Reasoning from the Scriptures

Throughout the Bible we find Jesus arguing with logic making inference for theological application from the text of the Bible. In several places Christ demonstrated that the Bible is sufficient for the Christian to come to theological conclusions and truths:

  1. Matt 6:25-34
  2. Matt 12:1-8
  3. Matt 19:3-9
  4. Matt 22:15-22
  5. Luke 20:41-44
  6. John 3:12

Jesus believed that what Scripture implies, Scripture teaches. This logically means then that when the Bible makes an implication, it is itself a Biblical teaching. Possibly the greatest example of this is when Jesus said “You shall love your neighbor as yourself”. This is a reiteration of a Levitical passage, which when considered, carries a lot of implications. If I love myself, I don’t steal from myself. If I love myself, I do not lie to myself. These applications are to be made to our neighbors. How we love ourselves, is how we are to love our neighbors. We feed and provide for ourselves every day. Christ is telling us we should treat our neighbors likewise.

I leave you with this last thought: What is the Bible? How do you view the Bible? Do you have the same view of the Bible as Jesus? If not why not? Comment at the bottom of this blog and let us know your thoughts.

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