What is the Bible? What do we mean when we say, “the Bible is the Word of God”? Christians often use big words: inspiration, inerrancy, infallibility. What do those mean?
What is the Bible?
The Old and New Testaments are verbally inspired by God. They are His revelation to us, the infallible, authoritative guide to faith and life.
In other words, the Bible says exactly what God wanted it to say. It tells us how to know God, has no errors, and teaches us how to live.
When the Biblical authors wrote the Bible, they wrote precisely what God intended to say. The Bible did not fall out of heaven; God used human partners to write His words.
Even though the authors lived at different times and in diverse places, the Holy Spirit caused each author to write what He wanted them to. Our translations are trustworthy in as much as they reflect the original text.
By “revelation of God,” we are describing the purpose of the Bible. The Bible was not written as a textbook, a manual, or a reference book. It was written to reveal God, namely in the person of Jesus, to all people.
While the Bible describes historical events, it is not a history textbook. While it mentions scientific processes, it is not a science textbook. The Bible has instructions yet can not be read as a manual. It is made up of 66 books written in various literary styles.
Would you read a science textbook or poetry the same way? No. Likewise, each book of the Bible must be read in line with its genre. When we read scripture correctly, it reveals God to us.
The Bible itself claims infallibility (that it is unable to be wrong). (2 Samuel 7:28; Psalm 119:160; John 17:17; Colossians 1:5). So we believe everything the Bible says in its original writings is true and cannot be in error. Our claim that the Bible is true and without error is directed at the Bible’s purpose; to reveal God. We must know the difference between what the Bible prescribes and describes. The Bible can describe an event without telling us to do something.
We must know the difference between what the Bible prescribes and describes.
The Bible is true and without error in what it affirms, asserts, and instructs. To make their points, authors will accurately record the false statements of others. Job’s friends are an excellent example of this. Biblical authors also show how events that contradict their instruction play out. They may even reference other teachings or works of their time. The Bible is always true, whether it prescribes us to do something or describes something that is not commanded.
Since the Bible is God’s literal Word and infallible, we also believe it is authoritative. The Bible itself declares it is the authority by which we should live. (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Therefore, we only believe what scripture has made clear and test any message against it. All sermons, prophecies, or teachings are to be examined in light of what the Bible teaches. The Bible alone is God’s Word, and nothing else can hold more weight than what the Bible says. Not only is the Bible authoritative about what we believe, but we also take seriously the ways it instructs we should or should not live.
2 Timothy 3:16-17
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.
This is what we mean when we say, “the Bible is God’s Word.” The Bible says exactly what God wanted it to say. It tells us how to know God, has no errors, and teaches us how to live.
THIS ARTICLE IS PART OF THE COURSE:
Discipleship 101 is a series designed to explain the basics of our Faith and discuss often-used words and ideas that can be confusing. Topics like; Who is God, What is the Trinity, What is the Bible, and What are the 16 Fundamentals?
What is evil? Why do bad things happen to good people? Where did evil come from? Did God create it? If God is good and made everything perfect, why do we experience suffering?
Is Jesus God? The whole world is divided over that question. Was Jesus a good man, a prophet, or God? How we answer that question changes everything.
COURSE: DISCIPLESHIP 101In Matthew 28, Jesus commanded His followers to go and make disciples. From those 11 apostles grew a movement, a church with nearly 2 billion adherents worldwide. But Jesus didn't command the apostles to go and make converts, go and build a big...