One issue Christians need to make up their mind on is how do they regard the Bible. Here’s a strong view expressed in an excerpt from “The Everlasting God” by Broughton Knox, one time principal of Moore Theological College.
God had each of us in mind when he breathed out the words of Scripture. Our mind boggles at the idea that God had each of us in mind when he inspired the written, and therefore unchangeable, words. But God is infinite in knowledge and power. It presents no problem to him. As Paul says, “What was written before time was written for our instruction”, and “All Scripture has been breathed out by God [i.e. spoken by God] that God’s man [i.e. person] might be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (i.e. the Bible is sufficient to guide us in all our relationships).
In this connection, Jesus’ words to the Sadducees are most interesting. He asked them, “Have you never read what was spoken to you by God?”
Notice it is the Scripture that Jesus said was spoken by God. Something we have in our hand, something permanent, and which we can read. But note especially that these words are spoken by God to the present-day reader. In Scripture, God speaks to us.
He communicates with us. Of course, it is through the Holy Spirit who indwells us that we hear those words, just as it was through the Holy Spirit that the words were addressed to us in the first place, so many centuries ago.
It is important to maintain the view of Scripture which Jesus held and which the apostles held, and which the whole Christian church held till recently.
If the words of Scripture are God’s words to us which he is addressing to us in order to communicate himself to us (and this is the clear view of Jesus and the apostles), it follows that what God is saying, what he is communicating to us, is infallible and inerrant. This is axiomatic for the God of Truth. If anything we regard as Scripture is wrong in what it is saying to us about God and ourselves and his will for our relations with him and with one another, that is, about “every good work”, or if the Scripture is deceiving us about its own character, then ipso facto it is not Scripture, not breathed out by God. It has got into the canon by mistake.
The testimony of our Lord and the apostles is to the Scripture, that is, to what we have in our hand, not to the thoughts of the writers or to their background, but to the propositions they have written and which we may read. It is this word that God is speaking to us. The way to understand what we read is by the historico-grammatical method, not the historico-critical.
The study of sources, dates, authorship is interesting and may be useful for apologetics, but unless it makes clearer the meaning of the written words, unless, that is, it makes clearer what God is saying to us, it is ultimately irrelevant knowledge.
But, for the most part, the meaning of Scripture is on the surface, especially if the reader knows the text of the whole of Scripture and in particular, the Old Testament, as well as the writer, did, for Scripture illuminates Scripture, having ultimately only one author, God.
It is important to maintain the view of Scripture which Jesus held and which the apostles held, and which the whole Christian church held till recently. Otherwise, it is not possible to continue to be a Christian, that is, to have fellowship with God through knowing him, to submit to the lordship of Christ and so be saved, to live the life of faith, and to have a sure and steadfast hope, for it is only through God communicating with us that we can know him personally. Communication is essential for personal relationship.
The Everlasting God
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