Please describe your understanding of the nature and purpose of the Holy Scriptures.

Scripture is and claims to be divine rather than human in origin. Manuscript and archeological evidence proves its reliability. More than 2,000 specific prophesies have been fulfilled, proving its divine authorship. The Bible was written over a span of 1500 years by forty different human authors employing many different forms of literature in three different languages on hundreds of subjects and yet there is one consistent, non-contradictory theme that runs through it all: God’s redemption of mankind.

Scripture clearly claims to be God’s word (Heb.1:1-2, 2 Pet.1:20-21). All Scripture is God-breathed (2Tim.3:16). The Old Testament is referred to as “the oracles of God” (Rom.3:2). Scripture plainly states that the teaching of the apostles is to be received “not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God” (1Thes.2:13).

The Bible is not a mere book. Scripture is God’s word. Therefore, the nature of Scripture reflects the nature of God. For instance, Scripture is eternal. “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever” (Isa.40:8). That “forever” does not simply mean as long as men publish Scripture but means for all eternity even after the end of the age at the passing away of heaven and earth. Jesus says, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words shall not pass away” (Mat.24:35). Scripture is not only eternal but also perfect. “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple” (Ps.19:7). Scripture is pure. “Every word of God is pure” (Prov.30:5). God is holy and, therefore, Scripture is holy. The gospel of God was “promised beforehand through His prophets in the holy Scriptures” (Rom.1:2). Scripture is sacred, being “the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2Tim. 3:15). Scripture is living and active and able to judge the secrets of men’s hearts. “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Heb.4:12). Scripture is not only true but, all the more, is truth. Jesus, who said, “I am …the truth” (John 14:6), also said to the Father, “Thy word is truth” (John 17:17). Scripture is eternal, perfect, pure, holy, sacred, living, active, able to judge hearts, and is the truth. What a person thinks about God’s word ultimately reflects exactly what a person thinks about God. A high view of Scripture demonstrates a high view of God just as a low view of Scripture exposes a low view of God. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1).

God’s purpose for the Holy Scriptures is to make Himself and His will known to men, to actively carry out His redemptive work in the hearts of men, and to judge men’s souls. While God reveals Himself in His creation (Rom.1:20) and grants everyone an innate sense of His existence and character (Rom.1:19), the special revelation He gives us in Scripture is necessary for salvation (2Tim. 3:15). Without special revelation, we are lost. There is nothing within man himself or that man can understand from nature that gives him what he must know to be saved. Even unfallen man had to receive the special revelation of God’s word in the garden. He could not arrive at or discern it on his own, even in his pristine state. In sacred Scripture “is the power of God for salvation” (Rom.1:16). This is why the church from the very beginning has spent its time, money, and, in many cases, human lives in bringing God’s word to unreached people. Scripture says:

“Whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved. How then shall they call upon Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Rom.10:13-14)

God’s living word reproduces new life in believers (Luke 8:11,15). Scripture “converts the soul” (Ps.19:7) and “performs its work in you who believe” (1 Thes. 2:13). It will never fail. Jesus says that “it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one stroke of a letter of the Law to fail” (Luke 16:17). God’s word accomplishes what God desires. God Himself says, “So shall My word be which goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it” (Isa.55:11). God’s word not only converts the soul but also sanctifies the believer (John 17:17). Scripture teaches, reproves, corrects, trains and equips (2Tim.3:16-17). Scripture judges the thoughts and intentions of the heart (Heb.4:12) and, according to Christ, will be “what will judge him at the last day” (John 12:48).

Companion Message – “The Word of God” – Psalm 19:7-11, preached by Phillip M. Way at the ordination service for Greg Van Court.