The study of God (Theology) through the Bible is our primary source of information, because our faith rests squarely on what we read in the Bible. It is the historical and spiritual account of God's people throughout the ages. It is where we learn the prophecies of God to his people so that we can know that God has the future firmly in His hands, including our daily lives.
In the Bible, we read the promises of God and then see these promises worked out in our lives in Him. The more we learn about His promises and prophecies, and see them faithfully come true right before our eyes, we grow to love and worship God more and more by wanting to live righteously for Him. Our theology is shaped by the knowledge that the words in our Bible came straight from God and that, through His Spirit, we know that these are the only words we need for living a holy life pleasing to God.
Gilbert W. Stafford says in his book "Theology for Disciples" (1996) that there are four major views of Biblical inspiration. The first view states that the words of the Bible in fact come from God, "so that the writers as instruments of God, though using words, sentences, and concepts that were native to them, were actually giving forth the divine words of God in the original act of speaking and writing" (pg. 47). Those who don't hold to this view believe that the Bible is full of contradictions, such as 2 Kings 24:8 and 2 Chronicles 36:9. The second view states that, even though the writers of the scripture used their own words and styles of writing, the message of the Bible was inspired by God.
I disagree with those who say that the Bible cannot be from God because of all the alleged discrepancies that exist within its words (for example: one gospel saying two blind men came to Jesus, and another saying that only one blind man came forth to be healed). This is seeing the trees instead of the forest. When one looks at the entire message that God is speaking to us in His Word, we find a unity and a wholeness that could have come from only Him. It is the individual words of the Bible that hold up the full message of the Bible. All the words and the message of the Bible have come straight from God's own mouth and heart to humanity.
The third view states that the Bible was written by those who were in a "growing faith relationship with God" (pg. 48). As they grew in their faith through revelation from God, they were inspired to write down what the Holy Spirit imparted to them, much as Christian writers of essays do. The more we know of God, the more we have to tell others about Him.
Gilbert W. Stafford also tells us that there are four dimensions of authority in the Bible. The first dimension states that when people are being taught from the Word of God they are actually hearing personally, or corporately, from God Himself. In inspiring the Word of God, the Holy Spirit has made it possible for all who believe to understand what they are reading for themselves, or what they are hearing at church.
The second dimension states that the Word of God, over time, becomes the only word we as believers use to define our faith. The Bible is the only book we need to learn and know everything God wants us to learn and know about Him, through Jesus, and His Spirit.
The third dimension states that the words being considered as Scripture must show that Jesus is the only way to salvation. If Jesus is not the focal point then, theologically, the words have no unity or authority from God.
The fourth dimension simply states that, since because the Scriptures are the Word of God, then we have the authority to use them for teaching, correction, training, and rebuking. We, as believers, may efficiently use them to do all that Jesus has called us to do in the Great Commission.
The Holy Bible is the only "guide book" that we as Christians need to know our God fully. No other resource was given to us by God to seek and understand Him apart from being able to see Him face-to-face in Heaven. On that day, we will know the God of the Bible in a way that words can not express. The importance of the Bible cannot be belittled or set aside. It is important because God has set His hand upon it and declared it His. His love letter is ours for all time.
Stafford, Gerald W. (1989, 1996). Theology for disciples: systematic considerations about the life of Christian faith. Anderson, Indiana: Warner Press.
Bobby Bruno was saved 15 years ago in a way that left him no doubt that Jesus wanted him to reach others with His great and abounding love. He started writing at the age of 12 and hasn't stopped since. He achieved Associates Degree in Biblical Studies from Ohio Christian University in early 2014.
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