Over the next few weeks I have decided to post brief statements of faith on particular issues. These will not be large essays on particular doctrine, but simple, succinct, and direct statements about what I believe – what I mean when I call my self a Christian, with my particular expression of the Reformed Faith. I start today with a brief note on Scripture, and I invite you to respond with your comments.
I believe that Holy Scripture, which is the Word of God, contained in the books of the Old and New Testament are inspired by God, infallible, inerrant, and the authoritative rule of life and faith. It is by the power of the Holy Spirit that we are given the ability to know the truth of God’s Word, which in all things points us to the message of our salvation in Jesus Christ, the Word of God made flesh.
Inspired: In using this term, I rely on the Greek work, which means to “breath into.” God himself is the inspiration of Scripture. The writings contained in the Bible are not a collection of proverbial sayings and faith stories, but God’s message given to humanity. God spoke to, and through, the prophets and apostles, and preserved these writings so that today we may have His revealed Word to lead us in the way of righteousness and peace with God.
Infallibility: this refers to the impossibility of Scripture being in error, it is unable to fail in its purpose. Since God has inspired Scripture, and God cannot fail to achieve that which He has set out to do without ceasing to be God, we can safely stay that God’s word cannot fail.
Inerrancy: Whereas infallibility means that Scripture cannot err, inerrancy means that it does not err. As R.C. Sproul puts it, “Infallibility describes ability or potential. It describes something that cannot happen. Inerrancy describes actuality.” (Sproul, R.C. What is Reformed Theology, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1997) p 50.)
Authority: Since God is the author of Scripture, and the author of life, it stands to reason that God’s Word would also have authority over all of life and faith. The Authority of Scripture does not depend upon the church’s recognition of that authority, nor upon my obedience to that authority. Even if no one today read or followed Scripture, it would still be an authority over us. As such, those who consider themselves Christians are to be a people under the authority of God’s Word. To deny such authority is to deny the Lordship of God and to incite rebellion.