Core Tenets of the Christian Faith: The Doctrine of Scripture
The Core Tenets of the Christian Faith:
The Doctrine of Scripture
What we believe concerning the Triune God, the sinful condition of man, Creation, the person and work of Jesus Christ, the Gospel, and the divinely inspired Scriptures are essential components of the Christian Faith. Though at times believers can err regarding the core doctrines of the faith, an outright rejection of them puts one outside of Biblical orthodoxy and in danger of the righteous judgment of God. We are not only to believe these doctrines out of a healthy fear, but because they are glorious truths that are a blessing to the believer. Therefore, over the next few weeks, we will examine these tenets of the faith, so that we as a church may grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. The more knowledge we as believers have of God, the more we will love Him.
When examining the core tenets of the Christian faith we begin with the Doctrine of Scripture. Scripture is a special revelation of God. If Scripture errs in any way, then what we believe concerning God, man, and salvation could be questioned. Therefore, the Holy Scriptures are the foundation for our faith. For our study, the doctrine of Scripture includes the authorship of Scripture, the inerrancy and infallibility of Scripture, the authority of Scripture, and the sufficiency of Scripture.
Authorship: Scripture teaches dual authorship, God and man. 2 Peter 1:21 says, no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God. The authors of scripture wrote with their full mental faculties (they were not possessed), but everything written was exactly what the Holy Spirit inspired. That is why 2 Timothy 3:16 can say that all of scripture is God breathed. Men pinned the very words of God.
Inerrancy and Infallibility: Since scripture is God’s word, in its original documents it is without any error, since God is without error; but not only is the Bible inerrant, it is also infallible, meaning it is incapable of error. Since God is perfect in His being, it is impossible for Him to err in any way, therefore it is impossible for His word to err. 2 Samuel 22:31 and Psalm 18:30 refer to God as blameless, Matthew 5:48 calls Him perfect, and Psalm 19:7 says His words are perfect and sure; The law of the Lord is perfect reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.
Authoritative: Since the Holy Scriptures are God’s perfect word, they are the final authority of faith and practice. As the sole source of Divine Revelation, nothing, including tradition, is above or equal to scripture. This does not mean that we cannot learn from tradition or other books written by men, but they always must be tested with the word of God. In Acts 17:11 the Bereans are commended for not immediately accepting the words of the Apostle Paul before testing them with scripture.
Sufficiency: Because the Scriptures are the infallible, authoritative word of God, they are sufficient, meaning they are all that we need for faith and obedience. Let’s revisit 2 Timothy 3:16. After saying that all scripture is inspired by God, Paul goes on to list the implications of this. What God has revealed is profitable for teaching, reproof, correction and training in righteousness. Paul says because these are God’s words, they are useful and good for every aspect of the believer’s life, but not only are they useful, they make the man or woman of God complete (emphasis mine) for every good work. In order to be saved and live lives that are pleasing to the Lord, the scriptures are enough. Furthermore, the sufficiency of Scripture means that Scripture is sufficient to interpret scripture. No philosophies or worldviews should ever be used to interpret what God’s word says. Scripture is not exhaustive of all knowledge (it does not teach us how to fix a car), but it is sufficient and all things that pertain to godliness.
In conclusion, God has revealed Himself primarily through the Holy Scriptures, therefore they are the foundation of our faith, containing everything we need for faith and obedience. Next, in our series we will learn what God has revealed about Himself in the Scriptures.