1. The Scriptures

God and Revelation

Our eternal, transcendent, all-glorious God, who forever exists as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, is by his very nature a communicative being.[1] He both creates[2] and governs[3] through his words and has graciously revealed himself[4] to humanity[5] in order to commune with us.[6] He has revealed himself through creation and providence in ways plain to all people, leaving no one without a testimony of himself.[7] He also revealed himself through specific words, that we might come to a fuller knowledge of his character and will,[8] learning what is necessary for salvation and life.[9]Through the medium of human language,[10] which is suitable and adequate for communication with those who bear his image, God has preserved in Holy Scripture the only authoritative and complete revelation for all humanity.[11]

The Origin of Scripture

All of Scripture is breathed out by God,[12] being accurately delivered through various human authors by the inspiration and sovereign agency of the Holy Spirit.[13] We therefore receive the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments as the perfect, infallible, and authoritative Word of God. With the fullness of revelation given in Christ and his completed redemptive work, no new normative revelation will or need be given until Christ returns.[14] In its original manuscripts, the whole of Scripture (and all its parts) is inerrant—without error in all it affirms.[15] Because there is one divine author behind all of Scripture, we are able to arrive confidently at a harmonious, doctrinally unified understanding of the whole. Furthermore, God in his loving providence has determined to preserve his Word as pure and trustworthy throughout history,[16] just as he guided the early church in discerning and identifying the canon of Scripture he inspired.

The Attributes of Scripture

Believers live by every word that comes from the mouth of God.[17] The Word of God is therefore necessary and wholly sufficient for knowing the Father’s love in Christ, experiencing his glorious plan of redemption, and being instructed in the way of fruitful and godly living.[18] The Word of God is clear, and everything we need in order to know, love, and fellowship with God can be plainly understood through ordinary means, without appeal to any human authority.[19]Although not all Scripture is equally plain, when its intended meaning is misunderstood, the fault lies not in the clarity of God’s communication but in the recipient.[20] Scripture alone is our supreme and final authority and the rule of faith and life. The Scriptures must not be added to or taken away from, and all creeds, confessions, teachings, and prophecies are to be tested by the final authority of God’s Word.[21]

The Reception of Scripture

We come to know that the Bible is God’s Word through Scripture’s own self-attesting authority[22] and by the work of the Holy Spirit bearing witness through the Word in our hearts.[23] As the Scriptures are preached and read,[24] the Spirit delights to illuminate our minds so that we understand, cherish, and obey his Word.[25] God’s intended meaning is revealed through the intentions of the inspired human authors, rendering the truth of God’s Word a fixed, historical reality. Therefore, the Bible is to be prayerfully interpreted according to its context and original intent, with due regard to the progressive nature of revelation and the collective interpretation of believers through the ages.[26] Ultimately, Scripture interprets Scripture, and the meaning of each text must be understood in light of the whole. As we devote ourselves to God’s Word,[27] we commune with God himself and are fortified in faith, sanctified from sin, strengthened in weakness, and sustained in suffering by his unchanging revelation in Scripture.[28]

[1] Gen 1:3; John 1:1; 17:5; Heb 3:7.

[2] Gen 1; Ps 33:9; 147:18; 148:5; Col 1:15-17; Heb 11:3.

[3] Ps 29; Lam 3:37-38; Isa 46:8-11; Col 1:15-17; Heb 1:3.

[4] Deut 29:29; 1 Sam 3:21.

[5] Gen 1:26; Gen 2:15-17.

[6] Acts 17:24-27.

[7] Gen 3:8-9; Ps 19:1-6; Hos 2:20; John 10:14-15; Acts 14:17; Rom 1:19-21.

[8] Ps 19:7-11.

[9] 2 Tim 3:15-17; 2 Pet 1:3-4.

[10] Exod 32:16; Heb 1:1-2.

[11] Rev 22:18-19.

[12] 2 Tim 3:16; 1 Thess 2:13.

[13] 2 Pet 1:19-21.

[14] Heb 1:1-2; Rev 22:18-19.

[15] Ps 119:160; Prov 30:5-6; John 10:35.

[16] Ps 12:6-7; Mark 13:31.

[17] Matt 4:4.

[18] Rom 10:13-17; 2 Tim 3:15-17.

[19] Deut 30:11-14; Ps 19:7; 119:130; Acts 17:1.

[20] Luke 24:25; John 8:43.

[21] Rev 22:18-19.

[22] 2 Pet 1:17-19; Luke 16:29-31; Heb 4:12-13.

[23] 1 Cor 2:14; 2 Cor 3:14-16; Ps 119:18, 27, 34, 73.

[24] 1 Tim 4:13; 2 Tim 4:1-2.

[25] Ps 19:7-11; James 1:22-25.

[26] 2 Tim 2:15.

[27] Deut 6:6-7; Ps 1:1-2; 119:1; Josh 1:8.

[28] Isa 50:4; 55:10-11; Jer 23:29; John 17:17; Acts 20:32; Rom 15:4; 1 Thess 2:13; Heb 4:12.