As your bibliology goes, so goes your Christianity.
As a church’s bibliology goes, so goes that church.
What is Bibliology?
Bibliology is the doctrine of Scripture. Your view of Scripture dictates your life and dictates the life of the church. There are five characteristics of the Scriptures that affect our Christian life. You and I must see Scripture as (1) the Inspired Word; (2) the Inerrant Word; (3) the Authoritative Word; (4) the Converting Word; (5) the Sufficient Word; so that we might glorify King Jesus in our lives and in the life of His Church.
1. The Inspired Word
Paul claims that the Scriptures were God-breathed (2 Tim 3:16), that is to say that He is the author behind the authors of the different books of the bible. Thus God used specific men in certain circumstances with different literary forms to speak to His people throughout all of time. When Paul says that all Scripture is inspired (2 Tim 3:16) he is primarily referring to the Old Testament (3:14-15) and secondly the synoptic gospels (1 Tim.5:18 cf. Lk 10:7; 1 Cor 11:25 cf. Lk 22:20). Peter affirms the inspiration of the Old Testament authors by the Holy Spirit (1 Pet 1:10-12). Peter also claimed that those who saw the glorified Lord also have the prophetic word, which would include John, James, Jude, and Paul ( 2 Pet 1:19-21; 3:15-17). This does not mean that the authors of Scripture were in some strange trance but they sought to write as the Spirit lead them, as the Spirit of Christ indicated. Therefore the Spirit of Yahweh, used the specific situations that those men found themselves in, he used their own literary skills, he used their own language skills.
Understanding that the Scriptures are the inspired Word of God is the linchpin in your bibliology. If the Word of God is inspired by God, if it is God-breathed then it is perfect like God.
2. The Inerrant Word
If Scripture is the inspired Word of God, then it is the inerrant Word. The Scriptures in their original manuscripts do not affirm anything that is contrary to fact. In other words, the Bible is always true. This does not mean that the Bible tells us every fact about a subject but what the Bible tells us is true. The doctrine of inerrancy guarantees the truthfulness of Scripture.
The Bible is inerrant which means that it is unable to lead us astray in any matter in regard to faith or practice. The authority of the Bible means that when the Bible speaks God speaks and to disobey Scripture is to disobey God. Therefore the relationship between authority and infallibility is such that the authority of scripture implies infallibility. Since God is perfect and has authority as the sovereign of the universe so His degree is perfect and inerrant. Since His word is inerrant it is incapable of teaching falsehood. One has to be careful though. The Word is infallible. We humans are not infallible. The Word in and of itself cannot lead us astray in any matter in regard to the Christian faith but sinful humans have often twisted verses to fit their agenda. Sometimes people will say, “I’ve prayed about it and the Lord has given me peace about it,” while they simultaneously are contradicting the Word of God. That person needs a new prayer life as well as an understanding of the Inerrant Word of God.
This leads to the next point, the Word of God then has authority in the life of the believer and in the life of the church.
3. The Authoritative Word
If Scripture is the inspired and inerrant Word of God, if Scripture is both powerful and clear for application in our lives and in the life of the church then the Word of God has full authority in our lives and in the life of the church. For after all the Word of God’s authority is grounded in God Himself. God has spoken and as God, the Supreme One, His Word has His authority. When the Word speaks, God speaks. When you read the Word you know it comes from God and so it has authority.
The authority of the Word is demonstrated in Creation. In the beginning was the Word (John 1:1). By His Word He created the world out of nothing in six-literal days (Gen 1). He upholds the universe by His Word (Heb 1:3). The authority of the Word is demonstrated in Biblical History (Eph 1:11-14). We could trace the working out of God’s degree, will, and Word throughout Biblical History as He saves by His Word. The authority of the Word is demonstrated in Biblical Prophecy. We could spend blog after blog demonstrating the authority of the Word of God as He prophecies in one generation and fulfills His Word in a later generation.
Thus we do not have any authority in and of ourselves. We must point to the authority of the Word and declare that we seek to prayerfully understand and apply it to our life. We must have a personal care well handling the Scripture so that we rightly handle the Word of truth and accurately apply it to our lives. The church must prayerfully seek to understand the Word and how to apply it because the Word of God has authority in the life of the church. The Authoritative Word will have preeminence in your life, in your parenting, in your ministry to others, and in your evangelism.
No amount of theological training gives you or I authority. The only authority is the Word of God. Whether its in elders meetings or just meeting with some friends are we constantly asking ourselves and others, “What does the Bible say about it?” “Show me from the text of Scripture!” “Book, Chapter, Verse?”
4. The Converting Word
Salvation does not occur apart from the Word of God. Where does faith come from? “So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the message about Christ” (Rom 10:17). Where does regeneration come from? Believers “have been born again —not of perishable seed but of imperishable —through the living and enduring word of God” (1 Pet 1:23). The hearing of the Gospel is the base of our reconciliation to God through Christ (Col 1:21-23). The Word of God converts the souls of men. Furthermore, the Word of God sanctifies (John 17:17; Ps 119).
The Word is foundational in our evangelism. Building bridges is great but if you don’t ever cross the bridge with the Word of God the bridge is pointless. No miracle, no mercy ministry, nothing you do will convert the lost. In the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, Abraham states, “If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead” (Lk 16:31). The Word is the only thing that converts the sinner. As James states, “By His own choice, He gave us a new birth by the message of truth so that we would be the firstfruits of His creatures” (Jam 1:18).
The Converting Word has many implications and one area is in parenting. A parent’s goal is not to convert their children. As a parent you cannot save your children. As a parent you cannot change their hearts. Only the Word of God can give them a new heart. A parents goal is to be faithful to the Word of God, faithful to bring up their children in “the training and instruction of the Lord” (Eph 6:4).
5. The Sufficient Word
The Word of God contains all that He intended to tell His people (aka there is no gift of prophecy in the present) and the Word contends everything we need for life and for godliness (2 Pet 1:3). The Word is sufficient to save (2 Tim 3:15; Jam 1:16). It is sufficient for every good work (2 Tim 3:17). It is profitable for teaching and is therefore our only source in teaching. It is profitable for reproof and correction, therefore the ultimate source that we draw people back to in biblical counseling. It is profitable for training in righteousness and the equipping of every good work, therefore it is the best source for discipleship. The Word of God is sufficient and applicable in every area of your life and my life. Are we consistently looking to know, understand, and apply Scripture in our lives? Are we Bereans (Acts 17)? Are we workmen who have no need to be ashamed (2 Tim 2:15)?
Does your church constantly go back to the Scriptures? Is your church preaching the Sufficient Word? Is it the foundation of every ministry? Or is your church preaching about the latest summer movie and looking for revelations in modern movies as if the Word of God had become void of its power? Only the Word of God “is living and effective and sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating as far as the separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It is able to judge the ideas and thoughts of the heart” (Heb 4:12). Scripture is the Christian’s only tool for life and godliness but it is the Inspired, Inerrant, Authoritative, Converting, and Sufficient Word of God.
What role the Word of God play in your life? Not what do you and I confess to believe about the Bible, but what do we truly and practically believe about the Word of God? Can we honestly identify with the Psalmist in Psalms 1, 19, and 119?