CA1 – The Bible as “Scripture”
© Jeff Stacey | Last updated: 7 May 2020
CA1(a) The Bible’s own claims
The Bible makes some very great claims about itself, especially that all of its writers were inspired by God 2Timothy 3:16, 2Peter 1:20-21. These two quotations from Paul and Peter in the NT originally referred only to the OT, because they were writing before the whole NT existed. They were saying that all of the OT had been inspired by God, so they called it “Scripture”. That is, the OT was for them the only reliable source of true information about God and His relationship to the world and its people. The OT itself acknowledged this in many places, for example Psalm 33:4a, 119:137-138,142,151-152. Over 90% of Leviticus is God’s directly quoted speech! [see OTB7(c)]
What about the New Testament as “Scripture”? Referring to Himself, Jesus Christ declared that His own words were a further unlimited source of true information about God John 3:34. Three statements by others also specifically focussed on the NT as being God-inspired Scripture Galatians 1:11-12, 1Timothy 5:18 (the latter quotation referring to Jesus’ words in Luke 10:7), 2 Peter 3:15,16.
Jesus Christ also endorsed the reliability of the OT, on the basis that its prophetic predictions about Himself had come true Luke 24:44. He sometimes also applied the authority of the OT to His present circumstances by saying: “It is written . . .” Matthew 4:4,7,10, Mark 9:12-13, Luke 18:31, 22:37, John 15:25.
That the OT was the only source of true information about God was stated emphatically by Peter Acts 1:16 and several times by Paul Romans 1:1-2, 15:4, 1 Corinthians 2:13, 15:3-4.
So the entire Bible came to be endorsed as Scripture.
CA1(b) The Bible and the sacred writings of other religions
There have been many similar claims for other books and teachers, some being the basis of major world religions alongside Christianity. Yet what they claim about their gods are often very different to the Bible and sometimes completely opposite to each other. There are also basic contrasts in how these religious beliefs are to be expressed.
So the vital question for each person is to decide which of these “scriptures” is correct. The consequences of such choices can be deeply significant, as the basis of a person’s thinking and way of living, as well as their eternal destiny. The cumulative results of these choices have also been the basis of whole cultures and nations.
CA1(c) Accepting the Bible as Scripture
Trying to live in God’s world without knowing how to do it must inevitably result in going astray.
Millions of people worldwide have chosen to accept the Bible as Scripture. Individually they have responded to God in their thinking, as learnt from diligently studying the Bible. This has resulted in them applying the Bible’s teachings in their daily living, resulting in a deep assurance that the Bible is a true account of God and His interactions with the world John 7:16-17.
Given the claims made in the Bible, study of it is vital and should be a priority for all people 2Timothy 3:14-15,16-17. The challenge is to understand what the Bible says about God and all things, including ultimate outcomes for all people. Then respond to Him in the ways as set out in the Bible.