Last night we started our first full-swing week of our study of our Statement of Faith (the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 — click here for a link). The first section of our statement of faith is on The Scriptures. If you weren’t able to come last night, read on and be caught up for next week:
THE AUTHOR OF SCRIPTURE
BFM: The Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired and is God’s revelation of Himself to man.
1. God’s part: expired.
a. 2 Timothy 3:16 says, “All Scripture is ‘God-breathed’” or “exhaled,” giving the picture of physical speech. The point is that God himself has spoken through the written words of the Bible.
b. God has spoken truly and also understandably. John Calvin the Reformer says, “For who even of slight intelligence does not understand that, as nurses commonly do with infants, God is wont [accustomed] to ‘lisp’ in speaking to us.” By this he means, not that God’s word is babbling and gobble-de-gook, but that he communicates with us on our level; God doesn’t use “big words”, so to speak, he talks to us like we are preschoolers.
2. Men’s part: inspired.
a. God used a variety of ways to communicate his word through human authors.
b. Dictation: God told the Apostle John on the island of Patmos and the OT Prophets, for example, “Write or say, ‘Thus says the Lord’.”
c. Historical Research: Luke says he wrote Luke and Acts after doing a great deal of research (Luke 1:1-4).
d. “Carried Along by the Spirit”(2 Pet 1:21): in a mysterious way, God used different men, with different personalities and writing styles to communicate perfectly and exactly what he wanted to communicate.
THE ANATOMY OF SCRIPTURE
BFM: It is a perfect treasure of divine instruction.
1. The Bible is perfect on many levels. Most importantly, it is complete, sufficient and clear.
a. The Bible is complete. The “canon” of the Bible (from the Greek for “list” or “rule”) is the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments, which contain all that we need for life and godliness.
b. The Bible is sufficient to know all that we need for the most important part of existence: who God is and what he requires of us.
c. The Bible is also clear, meaning that though some things are “hard to understand” (2 Pet 3:16), they are not impossible to understand. But it is important to remember that those who do not have God’s Spirit are “not able to understand them [the things of God] because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Cor 2:14).
2. The Bible is a treasure more precious than anything this life might offer. David tells us God’s Word is more valuable than gold and sweeter than honey (Ps 19:10). The prophet Jeremiah echoes the Psalmist, “Your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart” (Jer. 15:16).
3. Likewise, the Bible is a book of instruction (Rom 15:4), or teaching from God on who he is, who we are, how we might know him and be reconciled to him through Jesus.
BFM: Therefore, all Scripture is totally true and trustworthy. It has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter.
1. Because God is true, his Word is true (John 17:17). We can trust his promises and all that he tells us in the Bible. The Bible illuminates our otherwise dimly lit walk through the shadowland of this life (Ps 119:105).
2. The Bible’s “end” or “goal” or “climax” is the salvation of rebels, who will then forever extol the wonder of a gracious God (Eph 1:5-6). Everything we need to know about salvation God gave to us in Scripture, which “is able to make us wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim 3:15).
3. The Bible is “inerrant”, meaning that it does not contain mistakes or errors in anything that it teaches. God’s Word is pure, because God who wrote it is pure (Lev 11:44).
THE AUTHORITY OF SCRIPTURE
BFM: 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.
1. The Bible’s authority is divine, based on the fact that it is God’s word, who is the rule of the world (Ps 103:19). God has revealed his standards or principles to us in the Bible, and he will judge us by these standards (Ps 50:6).
2.The Bible’s authority is eternal, because God’s word is eternal (Ps 119:89). Jesus himself said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away” (Luke 21:33).
3. The Bible’s authority is unifying; its truth binds believers in Christ together under the banner of their great King. Any church or group or organization under the name of Jesus must have the Scripture at its center to experience deep fellowship and unity.
4. The Bible’s authority is universal, meaning that it stands over every person who has ever lived in any place at any time. This authority extends from the universal authority of God, “who works all things according to the counsel of his will” (Eph 1:11).
THE “ALL” OF SCRIPTURE
BFM: All Scripture is a testimony to Christ, who is Himself the focus of divine revelation.
The best stories have a hero; that is because the best stories shadow the Grand Story of the Bible. The Hero of the Bible is Jesus. From Genesis 1 to Revelation 22, God reveals himself through Jesus Christ, the Anointed One, Messiah, Savior, and King.
FOR REFLECTION AND WORSHIP:
Thursday: Psalm 19:1-6
Friday: Psalm 19:7-14
Saturday: Luke 24:44-49
Sunday: 2 Timothy 3:15-17
Monday: 2 Peter 1:16-21
Tuesday: Psalm 119:129-136
Wednesday: Psalm 119:137-144