Theology Q & A: The Bible as Inspired Rule

Thoughts on Westminster Confession of Faith, article I.2-3, which you can find here.

Where do we find God’s written revelation?

The words God gave us from Him are in the Old and New Testament of the Christian Bible.  For now, the confession just asserts this.  Later it will get into the “Who says?” question.

The Bible is inspired by God.  That means it says what God meant it to say.  Every word is from Him.  Jesus spoke of every jot and tittle standing firm (Matthew 5:19).  While God let the personalities of human authors speak, He did not let erroneous assumptions or customs slip into the text.  We want to think that when the Bible says something we don’t like.  Moses didn’t know about the age of the earth, or he wouldn’t have written about six-day creation.  He didn’t know about political freedom and equality or he wouldn’t have written about a form of slavery being okay.  Paul didn’t know about gender equality or he wouldn’t have written about wives submitting to husbands.  Paul didn’t know about loving and committed homosexual relationships or he wouldn’t have written of same sex behavior as a perversion.  All these assume God let mistakes slip into the Scriptures.  He did not.

The Old Testament claims inspiration for itself at many points: “Thus saith the Lord.”  “And God spoke all these words.”  The New Testament puts itself on the same level as the Old in 2 Peter 3:16 and 1 Timothy 5:18.  “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God…”  (2 Timothy 3:16).

By what standard are we to judge truth?  These 66 books – what we call the canon (measuring rod) of Scripture.  The Apocrypha is not a part of this authoritative standard, as has been claimed by some.  Some of it is edifying, some is good history, and some of it is rather silly.  But there is no apostolic or prophetic claim or assumption to be God’s Word in it.

So the Bible is our rule of faith and life.  We find there what we must believe about God and how we must live before God.  This follows if the Bible is God’s inspired communication to us.  It isn’t advice or helpful stories; our Creator has spoken to His people with a redeeming and saving purpose.

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