January 10, 2019 | by: 0 Comments|
Brothers & Sisters,
As this new year rolls on, perhaps you are persevering in a new goal. Many make a resolution to read through the whole Bible in a year, or at least to read more of the Bible than they read last year. If that’s you, keep going! As you keep going, keep in mind that what you are reading is real and relevant to you. Here is how Stephen Nichols put it:
The Bible belongs to every age. It is not simply the true Word for the first century. It is not simply the authoritative Word for the first century. It is not simply the necessary Word for the first century. It is not simply the sufficient Word for the first century.
It is the true, necessary, clear, and sufficient Word for all centuries, including the twenty-first. Theologians sometimes speak of these as the attributes of Scripture. As the attributes of God help us to learn about God, the attributes of Scripture help us to learn about Scripture. The first and foremost attribute of Scripture is its authority. Scripture is authoritative…If Scripture is the Word of God, it’s authoritative.
As we further develop the doctrine of the authority of Scripture, we see that we are talking about inerrancy and infallibility. These doctrines stem from the doctrine of inspiration. It’s a very simple formula. Scripture is the Word of God. That’s the doctrine of inspiration. It refers to the verbal, plenary inspiration. It is not simply the true Word for the first century. Verbal means the very words of Scripture are inspired. Plenary means all of Scripture is inspired, not just matters of faith, but also matters of history, matters of Genesis 1-3. All of Scripture in each and every part is inspired. It is the Word of God—verbal, plenary inspiration—then, and therefore, it is true. This is the doctrine of the inerrancy and infallibility of Scripture.
This is where we begin with the doctrine of Scripture. We begin with the authority of Scripture. Because of Scripture’s authority, we speak of Scripture as necessary. As creatures, we do not need to hear from our fellow creatures. But we need to hear from our Creator. Scripture also has the attribute of clarity. It is clear. In its fundamental message, it is understandable. You don’t need a decoder ring or secret tablets to figure the Bible out. Anyone with a modicum of intelligence can read the Bible and understand its basic message.
But there’s one last attribute of Scripture that theologians speak of. It’s the attribute of sufficiency. This is where the rubber meets the road. It’s one thing to affirm inerrancy. It’s another thing to believe that the Bible is sufficient for all of life and godliness. And it’s another thing to still to practice it. [Stephen J. Nichols, A Time for Confidence: Trusting God in a Post-Christian Society (Sanford, FL: Reformation Trust, 2016), 60-61.]
Embrace your Bible reading and your Bible hearing. It is God’s Word, and it is God’s Word to you. Praise God that he has spoken so carefully, clearly, and compellingly in his Word.
Warmly in Christ,
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