“For ever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven (Ps.119:89).”
One safe guide for any student of the Bible is to hold its inerrancy as self-evident. The aim of this article is to advocate for a new approach to the study of the word of God. Consider the word as the constitution not written with hands but as testimony of God.
Core Value of this article is inerrancy of the Scripture: it is validated from three positions of God: He is a Spirit, He is the Word made flesh, and He is a Helper (1 John.5:7).
The familiar quote in the epistle of St Paul to Timothy is clear. “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,/ so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Tim.3:16-17)”. If one scriptural passage is viewed from the outset as correct but possible to be in error in some other parts what do we end up with? Will it not be giving ground to doubt undue advantage before the student has had chance to prove its soundness? What God breathed cannot be built up on doubt, or be considered as manual of instruction when we consider righteousness as an attribute applied to God only. It is not without reason St Paul states, “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Rom.10:17)”. Between God and man righteousness can be passed from greater to the lesser whose want cannot be based from any position than of total surrender. The medium of instruction is faith. God first exercised it (Heb.11:3) and man’s response to know his Will therefore must necessarily begin on faith.
The Bible is God-document the testimony of God that can stand on its own. How in the past many teachers all with good intentions have approached doctrinal questions, and ended up in creating controversies one must ask, ‘why?’ Why so many sects, if the Body of Christ be one? At the time of the author growing up was a God-is-dead movement that shall serve just as well as a case in point. Was this radical theology any different from prosperity theology? No, it was cut from the same cloth of man’s understanding where his necessity was to explain his worldview rationally. (Such controversies have bedevilled Christianity from the Apostolic Age to this day. The Jewish question is not what we face now. World ecumenism of our times would Photoshop Jesus rather.) Problem lay with man’s rational approach than with the testimony of God. ‘Instruction in righteousness’ is the aim of Scripture so whatever approach man adopts towards it has to stay along the path cleared by the Spirit for him. Man is the subject and ‘righteousness’ his purpose so his instruction therefore can profit from simple rules that the Spirit has laid out.
The Spirit adheres to three principles, which form the basis of all Biblical exegesis. In order to understand your place in the Salvation plan of God a safe rule of thumb is this: Follow the rule of Three. This article sets down three such principles.
Sovereignty of God rests on the Father-Son relationship into which man, his world and things hold certain significance. God is a Spirit with which Power and Wisdom of the relationship is reconciled in the Godhead. As a Spirit the word shall carry naturally spiritual significance wherever necessary. Such is the role of symbols and their value draws vitality from ‘word settled in heaven’. For example God clothing Adam with coats of skins draws force from the ‘Lamb slain before worlds began.’ The Lamb is an emblem,- and as with other emblems Light and Body, it shall never change no matter what. Symbols may vary: compare the case of loaves of barley tumbling into the host of Midian with ‘the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands’ smashing the image in the Book of Daniel.
(to be continued)