Bibliology

Below is an expanded explanation of my statement of faith as it pertains to the Bible. This was written in 2011

Statement of Faith

The Bible[1], when read as intended[2] and under the guidance of the Holy Spirit[3], is the infallible[4] and inspired Word of God[5].  It is preeminent, authoritative[6], and without error concerning all matters of faith and godly living[7].  It is an immutable yet living document that God uses to speak to His children to this very day[8].


Explanation

[1] “The Bible” refers only to the 66 books that have withheld the scrutiny of numerous church councils and synods (Council of Hippo, Council of Carthage, Council of Trent, Synod of Jerusalem). No other document of antiquity is the absolute and undeniable Word of God. For clarity sake I have listed the cannon below:

  • Genesis
  • Exodus
  • Leviticus
  • Numbers
  • Deuteronomy
  • Joshua
  • Judges
  • Ruth
  • 1 Samuel
  • 2 Samuel
  • 1 Kings
  • 2 Kings
  • 1 Chronicles
  • 2 Chronicles
  • Ezra
  • Nehemiah
  • Ester
  • Job
  • Psalms
  • Proverbs
  • Ecclesiastes
  • Song of Solomon (Song of Songs)
  • Isaiah
  • Jeremiah
  • Lamentations
  • Ezekiel
  • Daniel
  • Hosea
  • Joel
  • Amos
  • Obadiah
  • Jonah
  • Micah
  • Nahum
  • Habakkuk
  • Zephaniah
  • Haggai
  • Zechariah
  • Malachi
  • Matthew
  • Mark
  • Luke
  • John
  • Acts
  • Romans
  • 1 Corinthians
  • 2 Corinthians
  • Galatians
  • Ephesians
  • Philippians
  • Colossians
  • 1 Thessalonians
  • 2 Thessalonians
  • 1 Timothy
  • 2 Timothy
  • Titus
  • Philemon
  • Hebrews
  • James
  • 1 Peter
  • 2 Peter
  • 1 John
  • 2 John
  • 3 John
  • Jude
  • Revelation

[2] “Read as intended” means that the Bible, while inspired by God, is made up of many different literary styles or genres. Therefore, it is to be read in accordance to the appropriate literary style in which it was originally recorded (in the autographs). For example, we should not read the Psalms primarily as historical, scientific, or “wooden,” instead we must realize that these are poetic and thus are to be read as poetry. There are also times when the narratives of the Bible are written for historical record and times when the narrative is written to convey a message from a person to another. We must not let incidental details (which at times are recorded with precise accuracy and imprecise at other times) put into question the validity of the message intended by the writers of Scripture and ultimately God himself for this is the manner in which atheists and others who are blinded by human wisdom think.

[3] “Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit” is to be taken to mean that the writers of Scripture were “carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:19-20). Therefore, the author of Scripture is the Holy Spirit. And who can fully understand that which is spiritual in nature unless they possess a spiritual nature (in this case the indwelling Holy Spirit)? (1 Corinthians 2:12-15).

[4] “Infallible” here means that if all the previous qualifications are met, then the Bible is incapable of leading to any end other than the truth.

[5] “Inspired Word of God” expresses the belief in verbal plenary inspiration (2 Timothy 3:16-17). The authors of Scripture were moved to write down the very words of God while maintaining their humanity.  They were not put into a trance-like state of being but were completely conscious and lucid at the time of the Scriptures’ authorship. Because the Bible is inspired by God, we can trust it to serve the purpose He spoke it to serve (Isaiah 55:11), primarily to teach us the plan of salvation (Romans 1:16).

[6] “Preeminent, Authoritative” is used to express the position or rank that the Bible holds.  It is the standard.  God has never and will never speak anything that contradicts the Bible. All revelation given to man must fall within the permissible parameters of correct interpretation of Scripture or it is not in fact revelation from God but from some other source (Matthew 5:18, Matthew 24:35).

[7] “Without error concerning all matters of faith and godly living” should be taken to mean limited inerrancy. If the qualifications mentioned earlier are met and one is reading the Scriptures the way they were intended to be read, there is not a single error in anything concerning the nature of God nor the state of man. There is also nothing false in narrative, facts, or details that pertain to the workings of God (Numbers 23:19). The Bible reports all things accurately, but is only precise when the writer felt precision was necessary.

  • Accuracy without precision may be hard to grasp at first, but it is practiced quite commonly in everyday conversation. If you ask someone what color the grass is, they will tell you green. However they may not give you the exact hue and tint. Likewise if you ask someone how many people were at an event, you may get “4000” when in reality there was exactly 4052. In both scenarios the answer that was given is accurate to the question that was asked; however, it was not precise. Likewise the authors of Scripture are not always precise but may speak in accurate generalizations. I would add that this type of accuracy is probably more common than precision.

[8] The Bible is “immutable” meaning that it is never changing and is always consistent with God’s character. Yet it is still a “living document that God uses to speak to His children to this very day” (Hebrews 4:12).  This means that God reveals to readers the wisdom He wishes them to possess. This wisdom is ultimately life changing and causes the will of God to be carried out through His believers on earth.