PBS: What do Baptists believe about the Bible? (Part 1)

January 24, 2008

bible2.jpgNotes from last night’s study:

What do Baptists believe about the Bible?

“The Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired and is God’s revelation of Himself to man. It is a perfect treasure of divine instruction.”

1. The Bible is God’s Revelation of Himself to Mankind

a. General Revelation – God’s making known His nature and purpose through nature and history. God reveals Himself to us all persons through the moral faculty we call conscience. Our undeniable knowledge of good and evil, of right and wrong. C.S. Lewis calls this the Law of Nature. (Romans 1:25) Psalm 19:1-2 – “The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands. 2 Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night reveals knowledge.”

b. Special Revelation – God’s making known His nature and purpose through the written Word and His Son Jesus Christ. Romans 1:18-20 – “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.”

“It has God for its author,”

2. The Bible was written by God – What do we mean by that?

a. Inspiration – The breathing of God’s Spirit on human speech and writing to produce the text of the Bible. (2 Timothy 3:16-17 – “All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”)

b. There are several different theories of inspiration

i. The Dynamic Theory – God gave human authors basic ideas that they developed in their own ways.
ii. The Verbal Plenary Theory – Every word of the Bible is fully inspired. God used their personalities, writing styles, and personal experiences to accomplish His perfect purpose. The Holy Spirit worked through them, inspiring them so thoroughly that they were moved to write exactly what God intended – right down to the very words. We hold to this one.
iii. The Dictation Theory – The authors were passive instruments who recorded divine dictation.

3. Why did God choose His written Word to reveal Himself? Wayne Grudem gives three reasons (Grudem, Systematic Theology, 50).

a. More accurate preservation – Depending on memory and the repeating or oral tradition is less reliable
b. Opportunity for repeated inspection – permits careful study and discussion, which leads to better understanding and more complete obedience
c. Accessible to many more people

Questions to wrestle with:

1. What about the “man on a deserted island” or “the African in the bush?”
2. Does this make God unfair, unjust, or unloving?

Next week we will look at part 2 of The Scriptures:

1. What is the Bible about?

2. Is the entirety of the Bible true?

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