The Holy Scriptures

107 the holy scripture

Holy Scripture is the inspired Word of God, the faithful testimony of the Gospel, and the true and accurate portrayal of God's revelation to man. Insofar, the Holy Scriptures are infallible and fundamental to the Church in all questions of teaching and life. How do we know who Jesus is and what Jesus taught? How do we know if a gospel is real or false? Which authoritative basis is there for teaching and life? The Bible is the input and infallible source of what we should know and do, according to God's will. (2, Timothy 3,15-17, 2, Peter 1,20-21, John 17,17)

Testimony to Jesus

You may have seen newspaper reports of the "Jesus Seminar," a group of scholars claiming that Jesus did not say most of the things he said after the Bible. Or you may have heard of other scholars claiming that the Bible is a collection of contradictions and myths.

Many educated people reject the Bible. Others, equally educated, consider them to be a credible chronicle of what God has done and said. If we can not trust what the Bible says about Jesus, then we have almost nothing left to know about Him.

The "Jesus Seminar" began with a preconceived idea of ​​what Jesus would have taught. They only accepted statements that fit in with this image and discarded all that did not fit. By doing so you practically created a Jesus in their image. This is scientifically highly questionable and even many liberal scholars disagree with the "Jesus Seminar".

Do we have good reason to believe that the biblical accounts of Jesus are credible? Yes - they were written in the space of a few decades after Jesus' death, when eyewitnesses were still alive. Jewish disciples often memorized the words of their teachers; so it is very probable that Jesus' disciples also handed down the teachings of their Master with sufficient accuracy. We have no evidence that they have invented words to resolve issues in the early church, such as the circumcision issue. This suggests that their accounts faithfully reflect what Jesus taught.

Also in the transmission of the text sources we can assume a high reliability. We have manuscripts from the fourth century and smaller parts from the second. (The earliest surviving Virgil manuscript was written 350 years after the death of the poet, with Plato 1300 years later.) A comparison of the manuscripts shows that the Bible was carefully written off and we have a highly reliable text.

Jesus: the chief witness of Scripture

In many questions, Jesus was ready to quarrel with the Pharisees, but in one, apparently, not in recognition of the revelatory nature of Scripture. He often took different views on interpretations and traditions, but apparently agreed with the Jewish priests that Scripture was the authoritative basis for faith and action.

Jesus expected every word in Scripture to come true (Mt 5,17-18; Mk 14,49). He quoted from Scripture to substantiate his own statements (Mt 22,29, 26,24, 26,31, Joh 10,34); He blamed people for not reading the Scriptures accurately enough (Mt 22,29, Lk 24,25, Joh 5,39). He spoke of Old Testament persons and events without the slightest hint that they could not have existed.

Behind the Scriptures stood the authority of God. Satan's temptations were countered by Jesus: "It is written" (Mt 4,4-10). The mere fact that something was written made it indisputably authoritative for Jesus. The words of David were inspired by the Holy Spirit (Mk 12,36); a prophecy had been given "by" Daniel (Mt 24,15) because God was their true origin.

In Matthew 19,4-5, Jesus says the Creator speaks in 1. Moses 2,24: "That's why a man will leave his father and mother and cling to his wife, and the two will be one flesh." However, the story of creation does not attribute this word to God. Jesus could attribute it to God, simply because it was written. Underlying assumption: The actual author of the writing is God.

From all the gospels it is clear that Jesus considered Scripture to be reliable and trustworthy. To the people who wanted to stone him, he countered: "Scripture can not be broken" (Jn 10, 35). Jesus considered them valid; he even defended the validity of the Old Covenant's commandments while the Old Covenant was still in force (Mt 8,4, 23,23).

The testimony of the apostles

Like their teacher, the apostles also considered Scripture authoritative. They often quoted her, often in support of a point of view. The words of Scripture are treated as the words of God. The scripture is even personalized as the god who literally spoke to Abraham and Pharaoh (Rom 9,17, Gal 3,8). What David and Isaiah and Jeremiah wrote is actually spoken of God and therefore certain (Apg 1,16, 4,25, 13,35, 28,25, Hebr 1,6-10, 10,15). The law of Moses, it is said, reflects the mind of God (1Kor 9,9). The actual author of the writing is God (1Kor 6,16, Rom 9,25).

Paul calls Scripture "what God has spoken" (Rom 3,2). According to Peter, the prophets did not speak "out of human will," but by the Holy Spirit, people spoke in the name of God "(2Pt 1,21). The prophets have not come up with it themselves - God has given it to them, he is the real author of the words. Often they write, "And the word of the Lord came ..." or, "Thus saith the Lord ..."

Paul wrote to Timothy: "All Scripture is God-given and useful for teaching, transcription, correction, instruction in righteousness ..." (2T in 3,16, Elberfeld Bible). However, we should not read into our modern ideas of what "god-breathed" means. We must remember that Paul meant the Septuagint translation, the Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures (that was the script Timothy knew from childhood - verse 15). Paul used this translation as the word of God without wanting to say that it was a perfect text.

Despite the translational discrepancies, he is God-breathed and "good for education in righteousness" and can cause "the man of God to be perfect, sent to all good works" (verse 16-17).


The original Word of God is perfect and God can make sure that people put it in the right words, that they keep it right and (to complete the communication) that they understand it correctly. God did not do this completely and completely. Our copies have grammatical errors and transcription errors, and (which is far more important) there are errors in receiving the message. "Noises" somehow prevent us from hearing the word he entered perfectly. Nevertheless, God uses Scripture to speak to us today.

Despite the "disturbing noises", despite the human errors that shift between us and God, Scripture fulfills its purpose: to tell us about salvation and about correct behavior. God achieves what he wanted with the scriptures: he brings his word to us with sufficient clarity that we can attain salvation and that we can experience what he wants us to do.

The script fulfills this purpose, even in translated form. However, we failed, we expected more from her than it is God's purpose. It is not a textbook of astronomy and science. The numbers of the font are not always mathematically exact by today's standards. We must go after the great purpose of the Scriptures and not cling to trifles.

For example, in Acts 21,11, Agabus is told to say that the Jews would bind Paul and give him over to the Gentiles. Some may assume that Agabus specified who would bind Paul and what they would do with him. But as it turned out, Paul was saved by the Gentiles and bound by the Gentiles (v. 30-33).

Is this a contradiction? Technically yes. The prophecy was true in principle, but not in the details. Of course, when he wrote this down, Luke could easily have faked the prophecy to fit the result, but he did not seek to cover up the differences. He did not expect readers to expect precision in such details. This should warn us against expecting accuracy in every detail of Scripture.

We have to look at the main point of the message. Similarly, Paul made a mistake when he 1. Corinthians 1,14 wrote - a mistake he corrected in verse 16. The inspired typefaces contain both the mistake and the correction.

Some people compare Scripture with Jesus. One is the Word of God in human language; the other is the Incarnate Word of God. Jesus was perfect in the sense that he was sinless, but that does not mean that he never made mistakes. As a child, even as an adult, he might have made grammatical mistakes and carpenter mistakes, but such mistakes were not sins. They did not stop Jesus from fulfilling his purpose of being a sinless sacrifice for our sins. Likewise, grammatical errors and other trivialities are not detrimental to the meaning of the Bible: to lead us to the salvation of Christ.

Evidence for the Bible

Nobody can prove that the entire content of the Bible is true. You may be able to prove that a certain prophecy has arrived, but you can not prove that the entire Bible has the same validity. It is more a question of faith. We see the historical evidence that Jesus and the apostles considered the Old Testament to be the Word of God. The biblical Jesus is the only one we have; other ideas are based on assumptions, not new evidence. We accept the teaching of Jesus that the Holy Spirit will lead the disciples to new truth. We accept Paul's claim to write with divine authority. We accept that the Bible reveals to us who God is and how we can have fellowship with him.

We accept the testimony of church history that through the centuries Christians have found the Bible useful for faith and life. This book tells us who God is, what He has done for us, and how we should respond. Tradition also tells us which books belong to the biblical canon. We rely on God's directing the canonization process so that the result was his will.

Our own experience speaks for the truth of Scripture. This book does not mince words and shows us our sinfulness; but it also offers us grace and a purified conscience. It does not give us moral power through rules and orders, but in an unexpected way - through grace and through the ignominious death of our Lord.

The Bible bears witness to the love, joy, and peace we can have through faith - feelings that, just as the Bible says, transcend our ability to verbalize them. This book gives us meaning and purpose in life, telling us about divine creation and salvation. These aspects of biblical authority can not be proven to skeptics, but they do help to validate Scripture, which tells us of things we experience.

The Bible does not beautify its heroes; This also helps us to accept them as reliable. It tells of the human weaknesses of Abraham, Moses, David, the people of Israel, the disciples. The Bible is a word that testifies to a more authoritative Word, the Incarnate Word, and the good news of the grace of God.

The Bible is not simplistic; she does not make it easy. On the one hand, the New Testament continues the old covenant and on the other hand breaks with it. It would be easier to do without one or the other altogether, but it is more demanding to have both. Similarly, Jesus is portrayed as a man and a god at the same time, a combination that does not want to fit well into either Hebrew, Greek or modern thought. This complexity was not created by ignorance of philosophical problems, but in defiance of them.

The Bible is a challenging book, it can hardly have been written by uneducated desert dwellers who wanted to make a fake or give hallucinations sense. Jesus' resurrection adds weight to the book that announces such a phenomenal event. It gives added weight to the disciples' testimony of who Jesus was - and the unexpected logic of victory over death through the death of the Son of God.

The Bible repeatedly questions our thinking about God, about ourselves, about life, about right and wrong. It demands respect because it gives us truths that we can not get elsewhere. Besides all theoretical considerations, the Bible "justifies" itself above all in its application to our lives.

The testimony of Scripture, Tradition, Personal Experience, and Reason in general supports the authority of the Bible. The fact that she speaks across cultural boundaries, that she addresses situations that did not exist at the time of writing - that, too, testifies to her abiding authority. The best biblical proof for the believer, however, is that the Holy Spirit, with their help, can bring about a change of heart and fundamentally change life.

Michael Morrison

pdfThe Holy Scriptures