Doctrine of Scripture | Post 3 of 3
We (at Westminster Chapel) honour the whole of the Bible as unchanging truth and seek to obey it and apply it to all of life. But what does Biblical Truth actually mean? Andy Mehigan investigates in this series of blog posts… we’d encourage you to read his first post here, and the second, here, before tackling this one.
The Bible is Man’s Book
Having established the awe-inspiring truth that the creator of the entire universe descended so far as to speak the vernacular language of his creation. We then have to answer the final question; so what? There are many people in the world who would affirm the previous argument and raise their arms in agreement to the Bible being God’s own infallible and inerrant word. But, crazy as it is, those very same people (including the writer of these blogs) struggle daily to pick the thing up and spend any time reading it. All around the world Bibles have tragically become neglected decorations or pieces of religious iconography. They stand upon bookshelves like mountains in a photo frame, often admired but never explored. This was never meant to be the fate of God’s literary masterpiece. The Bible was written by God, for man. Consider these verses as an exhortation, as examples of how beautifully and truthfully the Bible blows its own trumpet. Not for its own sake, but for the sake of its reader!
2 Timothy 3:16-17: “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work”
Psalm 12:6: “The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.”
Psalm 19:7-8: “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.”
Hebrews 4:12: “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
Then there are the words of the Westminster Larger Catechism:
Question Four: How doth it appear that the Scriptures are the word of God?
Answer: The Scriptures manifest themselves to be the word of God, by their majesty and purity; by the consent of all the parts, and the scope of the whole, which is to give all glory to God; by their light and power to convince and convert sinners, to comfort and build up believers unto salvation. But the Spirit of God, bearing witness by and with the Scriptures in the heart of man, is alone able fully to persuade it that they are the very word of God.
John Piper says this, “Reading the Bible is one of the most important things we can ever do. It’s more valuable than anything we own, sweeter than anything we have ever eaten. It is literally more important than breathing.”
Just like a barbecued fillet steak is not designed to be looked at, but rather devoured eagerly. The Bible in its entirety is not simply meant to be affirmed and nodded at, but immediately pored over with every ounce of our attention. God designed a physical landscape for man to live in and a literary one for just the same purpose. He wants us to walk the precipices and gaze across the valleys. He wants us to investigate the nooks, searching for signs of life. He desires for us to dive headlong into the icy lakes and learn to hold our breath long enough to plumb it for all its wonders. Just as Alice’s wonderland cries out for her to ‘eat me’ and ‘drink me’, God’s cries out ‘read me’ and ‘listen to me’.
There are many words and miracles that Jesus performed solely for his astonished followers that were never recorded in writing. And quite likely he will do such things for you as well. But how will we ever recognise and distinguish his voice from the crowd? As he says in John 10:27, “my sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me”. Just as sheep learn the sound of their shepherd’s whistle by hearing it daily, Christians must also dedicate themselves to learning the sound of their Lord’s voice just as frequently. And just as sheep, after a bit of practice and experience, know what to do when they hear the whistle, so should Christians grow in their ability to respond obediently to their Master’s call. All of this can only come through regularly meditating upon, praying about and applying Scripture in all areas and seasons of life.
It is for these two reasons that Westminster Chapel boldly stands upon the conviction to ‘honour the whole of the Bible as unchanging truth & seeks to obey it and apply it to all of life.’