THE BIBLE THE VERY WORD OF GOD
We believe the Bible to be--not merely to contain, but actually
to be--the very Word of God. In the words of B. B. Warfield,
we "look upon the Bible as an oracular book--as the Word of
God in such a sense that whatever it says God says--not a
book, then, in which one may by searching find some word
of God, but a book which may be frankly appealed to at any
point with the assurance that whatever it may be found to
say, that is the Word of God."
This is no more than the Bible teaches about itself.
It claims divine inspiration: "All scripture is given by
inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof,
for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the
man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all
good works" (2 Tim. 3:16-17).
The Lord Jesus Christ Himself constantly appealed to
Scripture. He stamped its history, its miracles, and its canon
(i.e., the books that properly should be included in it) with His
personal authority. Therefore, for example, we cannot reject
the historical reality of Adam and Eve without repudiating
the authority of Christ (Matt. 19:4, 5). We cannot deny the
Scriptures without denying Christ.
OUR SOLE AND SUFFICIENT AUTHORITY
These Scriptures are our authority in all matters of faith and
practice. Jesus said, "The scripture cannot be broken" (John
10:35). Again, "One jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from
the law, till all be fulfilled" (Matt. 5:18). Thus in settling any
point of doctrine the question we have to ask is, "What saith
Holding the authority of Scripture as a revealed truth, we
necessarily believe the sufficiency of Scripture. We need no
other authority for faith and practice. This is not to say that
the Bible deals exhaustively with all subjects. Clearly it does
not, but we accept nothing as true that stands in opposition
or contradiction to the Bible. We do not need or accept any
additional authority, whether it be the claimed traditions or
teaching authority of the Church of Rome, or the visions and
voices of the self-styled Charismatic movement.
HOW SHOULD WE TREAT THE WORD OF GOD?
This is more than a theoretical position. It is a life-governing
conviction. Hence we read the Bible, we study it, we preach
it, we seek to obey it, and we spread its message. We are
not impressed by a doctrine or a practice merely because it
is currently popular. Nor for that matter are we more likely
to accept it just because it is "old-fashioned." If it accords
with Scripture, that is what commends it to us, whatever the
current state of opinion in church or state may be.
What an unspeakable blessing it is to have the Word
of God in our own language! Queen Victoria is reputed to
have called the Bible the secret of England's greatness.
It remains the secret and foundation of any church that
aspires to do a work for God. We unhesitatingly embrace it
as our chart and compass.