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A Basic Principle of Interpretation – The Absolute Inspiration of the Scriptures

A Basic Principle of Interpretation – The Absolute Inspiration of the Scriptures

We must come to understand and start with the principle concerning the Bible. In Baptist Confessions the first statement of faith is always the Bible because without a proper view of Scripture, Biblical Interpretation is impossible. This is also where dialogue usually gets side track because people have different views of the authority and inspiration of Scripture.

So you may be asking: “What is the Christian doctrine on the Scriptures?” In a sentence the Christian doctrine of the Bible is:

…the verbal, plenary, inspiration of the infallible, inerrant Bible which is the written Word of God

VERBAL: Every single letter and word of Scripture as put down in the original autographs was inspired of God (Matt. 5:18; 22:32)

PLENARY: All of the bible, in all of its parts, is equally inspired. No part is more inspired than the other parts. The 66 books comprising the Old and New Testaments are all equally inspired (Matt. 5:17-18; 2 Tim. 3:16)

INSPIRATION: God sovereignly prepared the authors of Scripture from birth in all things. He stirred them up to write. He guided them so they wrote down everything he wanted them to write. They wrote down the very words of God. God’s sovereign control of the authors did not remove the characteristics and personalities of the authors, but such things were ordered by God to be a better vehicle of expression

INFALLABLE: in principle, the Bible is infallible, i.e., incapable of error or mistake. Why? God cannot lie (Titus 1:2), and the Bible is His Word; therefore the bible cannot be a lie (John 17:17)

INERRANT: the Bible is without error in all it affirms as true, including matters of science, geography, miracles, history, etc.

BIBLE: The books in the Protestant Bible. There are no other “lost” books. The Apocrypha is not inspired.

WORD OF GOD: The word of God expressed in human words by human authors under the direct control of the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:20-21).

To misunderstand, deny, or fail to apply any part of this principle to our interpretation of Scriptures will lead us to erroneous interpretations. This is where we must start any evangelism, any Bible study, or any dialogue about God. Why? Because we must deal with first principles (presuppositions) that others have. Otherwise we have no common ground for any communication about God.

In our preaching, teaching, evangelism, and conversations with the lost, we are not seeking common group with them, but are tearing down stronghold, and any thought that rises up against the authority of God. (2 Corinthians 10:5 Colossians 2:8). We are commanded not to find common ground in the thoughts of the lost but to start from Scripture to show that their thinking is fatal.

In our discipling, training and teaching other Christians this doctrine is essential for right and true theological reflection and spiritual growth. It seems more and more people today want to start with secular theories in psychology, science, business, philosophy, athletics, etc. and then interpret scripture in light of these man centered theories. But these fields cannot arrive at true truth, only what is pragmatic. They must have the Christian doctrine of the Bible to arrive at any truth in these fields. Humanism creeps into the church in this way and our disciples are affected in that they lack the conviction and power to proclaim a certain gospel. If you are interested in these issues in disciplemaking, I would suggest reading about “presupposition apologetics.”

When one comes to a biblical understanding of the Bible, then one must then deal with the “Unity of the Bible,” which can be difficult to understand.

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