Back to the Source: Part 1 – Scripture on Scripture

Rather then take up a current or hot button issue it may be profitable to go back to the source.  As mentioned in the charter for this blog let us consider somethings about the source of objective truth that goes beyond our own subjective evaluations of our experiences.  I’ve always wanted to write something that would help people get more out of God’s word and I hope to get some feed back on the articles I post about scripture.

1.1. The Purpose of Scripture

Many have gone before and thought deeply about the Word of God which they love.  Studies in hermeneutics and systematic theologies are certainly great tools that can expand our perspective.  I would encourage any Christian to study these.

Where do we go from here?  Let us look for a road less traveled, some things that we may need to reconsider.  But first let us lay some ground work and consider some basics.  What does scripture say at a high level about the purpose of scripture?

  • It is truth, the only conclusive source of epistemology.

Psalms 119:160  The sum of Your word is truth, And every one of Your righteous ordinances is everlasting.

  • Scripture speaks about or testifies to the Son of God. Listening to the Word of God found in scripture produces faith.

John 5:39  “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me;…”

Rom 10:17   “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.”

John 20:31  “31 but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.”

  • God is in charge of scripture’s content and it establishes a conclusive morality from which one may be taught and one may be admonished.

2 Tim 3:16-17   16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

  • Diligent consideration of the Word results in both the ability to clearly understand truth and the ability to live a life such that it is perceivably apparent that one is approved of God.

2 Tim 2:15 (kjv)   15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

  • Scripture confronts our motives inciting deliberation within our inner being causing dissatisfaction with the status quo of our habits and intentions.

Heb 4:12   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.

These are some of the nuts and bolts of what scripture is for.  The next question is; what form does the word of God take?  Scripture employs historical, poetic, didactic, parabolic, allegorical, apocalyptic, and epic styles of writing.  But can the form that scripture takes be described in a general term?  At this point let us formally introduce the presupposition of inerrancy.  When the scripture addresses meteorology it is correct but it is not a meteorological text book.  When scripture addresses history and anthropology it is correct but it is not a text book of history or anthropology.  When scripture addresses biology it is correct but it is not a biology text book.  Scripture is not a topical reference or a topical instructional text.  Here is where I might get in trouble; while scripture addresses theological points and it is correct it is still not a work of systematic theology or a theological text book.   There are many works of theology with differing points of view and wouldn’t it be nice if scripture was a systematic approach to theology so that there wouldn’t be differing points of view.  Well then, why isn’t it?  Lets table this point for a while but keep it in the back of the mind, well not really in the back, keep it in mind, … at the edge of the mind, … often coming to mind, hmm, well let us go forward.

1.2. The Word on the Word

The next question is; how does scripture itself propose that we should achieve a correct comprehension of scripture?

  • Well, we don’t figure it out on our own. I spend time discussing scripture with my fellow brothers in Christ which became the impetus for this work. We also need to seek out sources of authority; pastors, theologians, teachers and the like to validate our understanding.

2 Peter 1:20   But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interprhetation

  • Without salvation our thinking was futile and our hearts were hard. After salvation there is now a choice and capability to think rightly and to have a soft heart which is a prerequisite for understanding anything including the word of God.

Eph 4:17-18   17 So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, 18 being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart;

  • If there is no appetite to understand then there will not be much understanding at all.

Acts 17:11   Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.

  • Can we really expect to understand anything without wisdom? Well this verse isn’t specifically addressing understanding scripture I think we would all agree that wisdom is a tool to understanding scripture and it is one we need to ask God for.

James 1:5  But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

  • Now this may be counter intuitive and one may even wonder what being foolish has to do with understanding scripture. But God’s ways and thoughts are not ours. To come to understand anything a healthy amount of skepticism of our own ways and thoughts is in order.

1 Co 3:18   Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you thinks that he is wise in this age, he must become foolish, so that he may become wise.

1 Co 1:26-27  26 For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; 27 but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise,

Now back to the question which was tabled earlier.  Why is scripture not a theological text book?  It seems like there would be much fewer questions if it were.  We wouldn’t have debates about free will, single predestination or double predestination.  We wouldn’t have to wonder about the perseverance of the saints.  We wouldn’t be distracted by Trajectory Hermeneutics and progressive interpretations of scripture.  The fact is if God just wanted us to comprehend truth then scripture would be a theological text book.  He wants us to more then comprehend he wants us to understand.  He wants it to grip our heart, that the significance and implication will enjoin our heart to His.  When we read scripture we are not just trying to get the facts right.  Scripture puts things in perspective and confronts us.  If our heart is soft it will be an agent of change and a source of empowerment.

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About Devin Adint
I have always had many interests; technology, science, philosophy, theology, politics, history, etc... Currently, life for the past twelve years has placed me in the area of technology fulfilling roles in System Administration and Architecture. But I have always been involved in the local church and enjoy researching and discussing issues of theology, philosophy, history and politics...

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