THE WORD: OUR AUTHORITY
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17
“For the word of God is living, and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and is able to discern the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12
ESSENTIALS VS NON ESSENTIALS
“In Essentials Unity, In Non-Essentials Liberty, In All Things Love.”
Dogma, Doctrine, Adiaphora
Everything that we believe in our Christian walk falls under one of these categories. Dogmas are things that we hold tightly to. They are not really negotiable to fall in line with orthodox Christianity. Doctrines are issues that we believe strongly, but don’t cut ourselves off from other Christians or churches who don’t agree exactly. Adiaphora (Opinions) are simply that… opinions. Way too often we see churches and Christians battle each other with an irrational disdain for those who disagree on tertiary issues. We must learn to draw the line on the appropriate topics:
I. Supremacy of God
II. Deity and Work of Jesus Christ
III. Deity and Work of the Holy Spirit
IV. The Authority of Scripture
WHY DO YOU CHOOSE TO BELIEVE THE BIBLE?
One of the most, if not the most important question that you may be faced in our culture is “Why do you choose to believe the Bible?” You basically get to that question within three steps:
What do you believe about __________
Why do you believe that about __________
Why do you believe what the Bible says about ___________
Unfortunately many people and many churches have un-thoughtful answers when asked this question. Usually you can strip them down to two answers; Tradition & Experience. (That’s how I was raised & I tried it and it worked for me). Neither of these answers are going to cut it for our culture. We need to respond with more substance than subjectivity.
7 POINTS ON WHAT WE BELIEVE ABOUT THE BIBLE AT REDEEMER CHURCH
Redeemer Church holds to a “high view” of Scripture . That is, we hold it to be God’s inspired, infallible word that is sufficient for all matters of faith and Christian living. A person who takes his or her Christian faith seriously will want to give serious attention to the Bible in its entirety. It becomes a matter of life commitment to understand properly what God has said to us as a church and to us as individuals
Because we at Redeemer hold the Bible highly, we seek to be faithful to preach the Word on a weekly basis, as consistent with a biblical pattern of church. In addition to hearing the Bible preached weekly, we seek to spend time daily feasting upon the Word of God. Our high view of Scripture must translate into a deep dedication to know God’s Word and to live it out. Orthodoxy must always push us to Orthopraxy. Right thinking pushes us towards right living.
1. The Bible is Inspired by God
We believe the Bible is inspired by God. The 10 commandments are the first demonstration of Holy Writings and set the pattern for all the rest of Scripture (Exodus 20:1ff; 31:18; 34:27) . First, the moment the commandments were written, they were authoritative; in the same way, the rest of Scripture was authoritative the moment it was written (and not authoritative just because the Church later decided it to be: it is not the Church that forms the Word, but the Word that forms the Church). Second, God commissioned Moses to write and considered Moses’ words to have the same authority as his own. The first stone tablets were “written by the finger of God” (Exodus 31:18) . After this the people begged for Moses, rather than God, to communicate with them because they were too full of fear . So after the golden calf incident, God told Moses to cut two new stones like the first and that he would write on them as before (34:1); however, this time he tells Moses to write what he says (34:27). The implication is that there is no difference in the authority of what God commanded Moses to write, and what God had formerly written himself. In the same way, God “commissioned” the authors of the rest of Scripture and considers their words to have the same authority as if he had written with his own finger.
We also know that the Bible is the Word of God from the testimony of Scripture itself . Jesus considered the Old Testament, his Bible, to be God’s Word (Matthew 4:4; Matthew 22:41–44) . If we believe that Jesus is the Son of God, then we must believe his witness concerning Scripture . The writers of the New Testament also considered the Old Testament and their own writings to be authoritative (1 Corinthians 2:12–13; Romans 3:1–2; 2 Peter 1:20–21; 3:15–16) . Considering the testimony of Scripture to support that the Bible is the Word of God may seem circular . We must also have the inward witness of the Holy Spirit to know that the Bible is God’s Word (John 16:12–15; Ephesians 6:17 with Hebrews 4:12) . The inward witness of the Holy Spirit is just as necessary to recognize the Bible as the Word of God, as it is to recognize that Jesus is the Son of God. This is not a matter of imparting new information, but of enlightening darkened minds.
2. The Bible is Inerrant/ Infallible
We believe that the Bible is without error in the truth it means to communicate. “Because God is fundamentally a God of truth and because God has inspired the words of Scripture, we know then that the Bible is essentially true. What the Bible has to say is accurate. The Bible does not err in anything that it affirms.” Josh Pool
3. The Bible is Necessary
“Scripture can serve as the necessary lens for putting into focus for us knowledge of God which is already there, but which without God’s word to us in Scripture is seriously blurred by our sinful perspective.” Ward
2 Timothy 3:14-15; Hebrews 5:12-14
4. The Bible is Sufficient for all matters of faith and practice
We believe that the Bible is sufficient for all matters of faith and practice, or Christian living(2 Timothy 3:16–17; 2 Peter 1:3). Experience is severely limited as a basis for determining truth because it is changeable, ambiguous (it does not interpret itself), and is subject to self-deception. Thus, we should seek to interpret our experience in the light of God’s Word, rather than interpreting God’s Word in light of our experience.
5. The Bible is Clear
This concept was birthed out of Martin Luther’s reformation. Instead of the church being the final interpreter, and the pastor being the only one who can understand the words… it is through the Holy Spirit’s leading that can reveal truths in scripture. Available for everyone.
“The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.” Psalm 119.30
God is not the author of confusion.
6. The Bible is Authoritative
The authority of Scripture is really to say ‘the authority of God as he speaks in Scripture.’ The authority of Scripture completely depends on the authority of God, and it comes about only because of what God has chosen to do in the way he has authored the Bible.
7. The Bible is Reliable
A. 1 Cor. 15 says Christ rose and appeared to 500 people!
B. We have a few more original manuscripts than anyone else. Julius Caesar’s Gallic Wars? We got 10 manuscripts. How bout Aristotle’s Poetics? We have got 5. How about Herodotus? We have got less than 10. How bout a big one… Homers Iliad? We have 643. What about the New Testament? 6000. Well, we have got manuscripts or portions of manuscripts that can take us back as early as AD 120 to 150.
And just in case you were thinking that the earliest manuscripts that we have of the NT was written pretty long after the life of Christ, think about this: With Julius Caesar it is about 900 years with Gallic Wars. Aristotle’s Poetics we have got it about 1300 or 1400 years. That is the earliest thing we can put our hands on. With Homer about 2100 years the earliest thing we can put our hands on. Some suggest eye-witnesses lived to see the writing of the manuscripts. That’s a BIG deal.
The Bible has stood the test of time. It is reliable.
Back to the original question: WHY DO YOU CHOOSE TO BELIEVE THE BIBLE?
“It is a reliable collection of historical documents written down by eye witnesses during the lifetime of other eye witnesses. They report to us supernatural events that took place in fulfillment of specific prophecies and claim to be divine rather than human in origin.” Dr. Voddie Baucham
“So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have. I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body, because I know that I will soon put it aside, as our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. And I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things. For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. He received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”[b] We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain. We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. 2 Peter 1:12-2
“How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!”
Bet Sefer (House of Book)
Bet Talmud (House of Learning)
Bet Midrash (House of Study)
If we a are going to be a church about the book, and a people about the book… then we MUST prioritize our study, reading and memorization of the Word. This isn’t something we should do… it’s something we must do. Until we are a body begin to hunger for God’s word more than food, and air, and sports, internet, etc, our growth with be stunted and our desire to share HIS good news will be stale.
Questions for THOUGHT & DISCUSSION
1. What would be the implication for Christianity and for your own life if the Bible were simply an ordinary book and not inspired by God?
2. If someone were to say to you that the Bible can’t be trusted, because it is full of errors and outdated information, how would you respond?
3. What opportunities do you have to hear the Word of God? What can you do to be more intentional about applying the Bible to your life after you hear it preached or taught?
4. Do you have a personal “reading plan” for the Bible?