Academic journal article Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society

Do We Act as If We Really Believe That "The Bible Alone, and the Bible in Its Entirety, Is the Word of God Written?

Academic journal article Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society

Do We Act as If We Really Believe That "The Bible Alone, and the Bible in Its Entirety, Is the Word of God Written?

Article excerpt

(FOREIGN TEXT OMITTED . . . )

I. INTRODUCTION

Do we act as if we really believe that "the Bible alone, and the Bible in its entirety, is the Word of God written"? I am quoting, of course, from our ETS doctrinal statement that each of us affirms by personal signature every year. That statement is based on and rightly derived from passages of Scripture such as 2 Tim 3:16, "All Scripture is . . . (`God-breathed')," and, as such, it all shares the characteristic of being the very words of God.

But do we ponder the implications of this stupendous affirmation? We are saying that throughout the entire history of the world, and throughout at) written documents of all civilizations, the eternal, omnipotent Creator of the universe, the God who will one day judge every human being who has ever lived-this God who is over all has given the human race just one collection of his written words: This book. The Bible.

The Bible alone is the Word of God written. There are no other written words of God anywhere else in the entire world. And the Bible in its entirety is the Word of God written. Every single bit of this book in the original documents has a fundamentally different character from every other bit of writing in the entire world.

Now do we act as if we really believe this, that "the Bible alone, and the Bible in its entirety, is the Word of God written"? In many ways, we do. We write commentaries by the hundreds, massive commentaries. I picked up Greg Beale's commentary on Revelation) the other day in the bookstore and wondered if they were going to sell it by the pound. We produce Bible translations, many very good translations. We require Greek and Hebrew in our seminaries because we take the Word of God seriously. We require courses in exegesis and in exegetical preaching. We require faculty members at our colleges and seminaries to hold to Biblical inerrancy.

The result of all of the detailed attention that we pay to the Word of God is seen in the book displays here at this conference. This is another indication of the value we place on the Word of God, for there are more Christian books available in English in the United States today than in any other culture in any other country at any other time in the history of the world. Ps 90:17 is a prayer, "Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish thou the work of our hands upon us, yea, the work of our hands establish thou it." God has heard that prayer again and again with regard to the members of this society and their work. He has truly established the work of our hands. He has given abundant favor and blessing to our academic work, and we should be profoundly grateful.

We wouldn't do these things, we wouldn't pay so much attention to this Book, unless we really believed that "the Bible alone, and the Bible in its entirety, is the Word of God written."

But in other ways I wonder if we could do better. Yes, it is good to look back at the past 50 years and be thankful. But it is also good to look forward to the next 50 years, and to the next 100 years-to forget "what lies behind" and, as the Apostle Paul says, to "press on toward the goal" (Phil 3:13-14).

In looking ahead tonight, I don't have ten commandments, or ninety-five theses, or thirty-nine articles, or even five points that remind us of a certain flower. But I have six suggestions. Consider them with me if you will. II 1. Suggestion #1: Consider the possibility that God may want evangelical scholars to write more books and articles that tell the Church what the whole Bible teaches us about some current problem. When Paul met with the elders of Ephesus in the city of Miletus in Acts 20, he said to them, "I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all of you, for I did not shrink From declaring to you jnaav - ( . . . ), the whole counsel of God" (Acts 20:27). The implication is if he had shrunk back from declaring to them any part of the whole counsel of God, perhaps because something was unpopular or diFficult, then he could not have said, "I am innocent of the blood of all of you. …

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