SCRIPTURE

1.    The [a] divine inspiration of the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, their [b] sufficiency and [c] supreme authority in matters of faith and practice, and [d] the right and duty of private judgment in their interpretation.

a. Divine Inspiration

The word inspiration comes from the two Latin words; in [into] spirare [breathe]. 2 Timothy 3:16 tells us that "all scripture is given by inspiration of God". The Greek word here for inspiration is theopneustos which, again, comes from two words; God and breathe. The Old Testament scriptures, then, are God-breathed.

2 Peter 1:21 explains that "prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." The Spirit of God used men of God to pen the word of God.

Examples of this are found throughout the New Testament. In Acts 1:16 Peter said about a certain situation; "men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spoke"  and Paul in Acts 28:25; “well spoke the Holy Ghost by Isaiah the prophet unto our fathers”.

Regarding the New Testament Peter explains "…Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him has written unto you…which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures…" [2 Peter 3:15-16]. Peter states, here, that Paul's letters to the churches are scripture.

Click here to listen to a short message on this part of our doctrine. 

b. Sufficiency

Psalm 19 tells us that the word of God is "perfect [whole], sure [reliable], right [fair], pure [clear], clean, enduring [timeless], true [trustworthy] and righteous [just]." It goes on to explain that following scripture is sufficient to restore, make wise, give joy, open eyes, warn and reward.

The word of God is sufficient to lead us to Christ [salvation]; "from a child you have known the holy scriptures, which are able to make you wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus." [2 Timothy 3:15].

The word of God is sufficient to grow us in Christ [sanctification]; "...profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works." [2 Timothy 3:16-17].

Romans 15:4 tells us that the Old Testament books "were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope." The word of God teaches and comforts us regarding our future hope.

Finally, Hebrews 4:12 tells us that "The word of God is quick, and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder…and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." The word of God exposes our sin to us and helps us see who we really are and the grace that we need from God.

Click here to listen to a short message on this part of our doctrine. 

c. Supreme Authority

In Deuteronomy 12:29-32 God commands the people of Israel "when you dwell in their land enquire not after their gods, saying, “How did these nations serve their gods? even so will I do”. Rather than following the practices of the nations they were to, instead, read and obey the word of God; "what thing soever I command you, observe to do it: you shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it."

Since God is the Creator, He has complete authority over His Creation. Since scripture is His revelation to us, it follows that scripture is authoritative. 

In Zechariah 7:12 the prophet explains that the scriptures are "the words which the Lord of hosts has sent in His Spirit by the former prophets" and Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 14:37 that "the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord."  Zechariah and Paul, here, tell us that scripture is the authority in faith and practice; as we obey the scriptures, we obey the commands of God.

As Deuteronomy explains, we are not to add to or take away from the word of God, it alone is our authority. Our authority does not rest on culture. It does not rest on men's opinions, or ideas or preferences. It does not rest on this generations values. It does not rest on our emotions or how we feel at any given time. It does not rest on government. It does not rest on church or denomination. Our authority does not rest on the apostles, or pastors, or elders, or deacons. It does not rest on personalities. It does not rest on creed or confession or church councils. Our authority does not rest on this statement of faith. Our authority does not rest on tradition or church history.

Our sole, supreme authority is the word of God.

Click here to listen to a short message on this part of our doctrine. 

d. Private Judgment

Luke, as he writes the book of Acts, commends the believers in the city of Berea describing them as noble because they "received the word with all readiness of mind and searched the scriptures daily whether those things were so" [Acts 17:11].

Paul, when writing to the Galatians explains that "though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you…let him be accursed" [Galatians 1:8-9]. Paul was urging the Galatian believers to measure any teaching against the authority of scripture, regardless of the credentials of the person teaching. Further, when writing to Roman believers Paul encourages each believer to "be fully persuadedin his own mind" in regards to matters of liberty [Romans 14:5].

While we commend good teachers, preachers, books and material, we understand that, since the scriptures alone are God breathed, sufficient and supremely authoritative; each believer must submit, ultimately, to them. It is, therefore, both the right and the duty of each believer to search the scriptures for themselves in regards to matters of doctrine and practice.

Click here to listen to a short message on this part of our doctrine. 

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Bethesda Free Church • Tatham Street • Sunderland • SR1 2QB

0191 567 9152 │ 0771 835 8272

bethesdafreechurch@gmail.com

© 2019 Bethesda Free Church

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