What is the Bible?

This is a foundational question for anyone considering Christianity. I recently received my copy of the synoptic gospel edition of the Editio Critica Maior. it’s an amazing work that shows all the different manuscript readings that are available to us.

040221273 novum testamentum graecum editio critica maior ecm

What’s amazing about it, to me, is seeing the confidence we can have in the Bible (the synoptic gospels in this case) and that the Jesus of the New Testament is THE Jesus. I believe in the verbal (the words) plenary (all the words) inspiration (from God into men onto paper) of the Bible. That also means, for me, that it is inerrant. (see B. B. Warfield). I agree with Wayne Grudem

Scripture in the original manuscripts does not affirm anything that is contrary to fact.

I usually simply say: “the Bible does not affirm anything untrue,” but it’s more of a stylistic difference for me, I mean the same thing when I say that.

Without a trust in God’s word, you ultimately trust yourself (dangerous), and you make God in an image you can understand (idolatry). Without the Bible, we’re lost. This doesn’t mean our flawed interpretations don’t ever need revisiting, but it means God’s word is true and trustworthy, always. I like the way J. I. Packer describes inerrancy:

Any degree of skepticism about the portrait of Christ, the promises of God, the principles of godliness, and the power of the Holy Spirit, as biblically presented, has the effect of enslaving us to our own alternative ideas about these things, and thus we miss something of the freedom, joy, and vitality that the real Christ bestows. God is very patient and merciful, and I do not suggest that those who fall short here thereby forfeit all knowledge of Christ, though I recognize that when one sits loose to Scripture this may indeed happen. But I do maintain most emphatically that one cannot doubt the Bible without far-reaching loss, both in fullness of truth and of fullness of life. If therefore we have at heart spiritual renewal for society, for churches and for our own lives, we shall make much of the entire trustworthiness–that is, the inerrancy–of Holy Scripture as the inspired and liberating Word of God. (Truth and Power, 55)

what do you think? How important is it to be able to trust the words we read in the Bible?

About John Harris

I don’t know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.

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