KNOW WHAT YOU BELIEVE
How one views the Word of God has a huge impact on every theology that proceeds from it. If one does not believe it is God-breathed and contains errors, there’s no end to the false views of every subject contained in it. On the other hand, believing God inspires it takes you a long way in the right direction of your theological beliefs.
Inspiration of the Scriptures carries with it an interesting balance that has to be composed. Did God speak audibly as men wrote? Did God speak to the author every word that was composed? Or did God instill thoughts that were “personalized” with the personality of each author? With these views one must also account for several inconsistencies that are contained within the Scriptures. Thus one must reconcile the extent of inspiration of the Scriptures.
In the nutshell, mainstream Christianity believes the Bible to be the inspired Word of God. Some say it is without error; others believe it is inspired yet contains small inconsistancies that do not affect any of the important doctrines.
1. What is your view of the inspiration of the Scriptures?
2. Does your view extend to every word or the general thoughts?
3. Explain how each of these passages fit with your view of the inspiration of the Scriptures: Jn 17:17; Heb. 1:1-2; 2 Tim. 3:15-17.
4. If God inspires the Scriptures, should they not be authoritative for the Christian? If one views it is authoritative, why do you think some people pick and choose those that they want to follow? What principles should guide us in this matter?
Insight: An important principle is: that which Jesus and the Apostles carried forward from the O.T. into the N.T. is authoritative for the Christian along with all the N.T. that is written for all believers. Not all written in the N.T. is for every believer; some of it was specific to certain groups, like the Apostles, etc.
5. Examine these passages to see how the early church began to view the early writings of the Apostles and others: 2 Pet. 3:14-16; Col. 4:16; 1 Thess. 4:15; 1 Tim. 5:18; 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20-21; 1 Cor. 2:12-13
6. How do you believe God moved in the men who wrote the Bible? What is your view of how He revealed Scripture to them?
Insight: It varies from passage to passage. Some passages reveal similar passages, such as stories in the Gospels that are told differently. Others passages reveal direct quotes of God and what others said. Some passages were researched before they were written, such as Lk. 1:1-4. Some wrote what others said about what they witnessed.
Insight: God sometimes revealed things supernaturally and directly; sometimes He allowed the writers to compose His message using their freedom of expression. But He breathed out the total product to give us His message in the Bible.
7. What are some consequences of not believing in the inerrancy of the Bible? (Denial of creation, the fall of man, God’s view on certain sins and marriage, and finally, that the Bible is not authoritative for Christians to follow.)
8. Do you know what criteria was used to decide which books were included in the Bible and those which were not?
Insight: Each book must be written under the inspiration of God; truly accurate within and does not contradict other books that were included in any major way; and was accepted by the churches to be authoritative.
9. Can anyone tell me what date the debate of what books were to be included in the canon of the Bible was finally concluded? (397 A.D. at the Council of Carthage.)
Word of God…speak to me. Deliver the heart of God to me, His will for me, and how I should live. Pierce my heart when I wander…heal it when it hurts…and quicken it when I slumber. Reveal to me the Father’s holiness, the Son’s plan of redemption, and the Spirit’s ever-presence to guide, convict and reveal. Set the standard high that I may be challenged; yet show me the compassionate grace of God when I fall. Show me how the past brings us to where we are, with lessons learned so we don’t repeat their folly. Reveal to me the future that I may ever set my hands to the plow and not look back. So many authors…so many years…so many stories…but one theme, one author, one God. Thank you, Word of God, for revealing my Creator-Redeemer to me.