The Bible is God’s inspired revelation of Himself. This special revelation of God to the world is distinct from what we can learn about God through creation (general revelation). General revelation gives us enough information to know about God’s power, wisdom, righteousness, goodness, and justice, as well as human responsibility, but it tells us nothing about God’s saving grace; for this, special revelation is required. This special revelation is found in the Bible, and it is here that we learn truly about God’s mercy, grace, triune nature, and plan to redeem a fallen race for His glory.
The Bible is inspired by God the Holy Spirit (2 Tim 3:16) and is infallible (true and reliable) and inerrant (without errors). Inspiration is best understood as a process whereby God speaks through a human being, who retains his personality, and inspires the very words which are written. It is completely from God and at the same time completely a human composition (this is a rejection of the overly-simplistic notion of ‘dictation theory,’ which argues that the authors of Scriptures were merely vessels that dictated the words that the Holy Spirit gave completely apart from the factors of humanity personality, social setting, genre, and other human influences). These words are God’s very words and carry His authority; since this is the case, they are true (infallible) and are free from errors (inerrant) in their original autographical form.
The Bible is a Christian’s final and authoritative measurement of the faith. It is a closed book, and no other books may be added to it (contrary to Mormonism), and no words may be taken away from it (Rev 22:18-19). As God’s word to humanity, the Bible is the arbiter of theology and reality, and thus it ought to be carefully studied and highly valued. This careful study is aided through the tools of original languages, grammar/syntax, historical context, systematic theology, historical theology and hermenuetics. These elements should be coupled with a complete dependence on God, who sends the Holy Spirit to help His people understand the Scriptures via illumination. Illumination is the act of God the Holy Spirit helping a person to understand Scripture, its relevance and application.
In my next post, I’ll speak of how the Bible affects me personally and why I, as a Christian, delight in reading it.