simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the Lord are true; they are righteous altogether. They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb. - Psalm 19:7-10
Almost everything we know about God we have learned from the Bible. Therefore, what we as Baptists believe about it determines our doctrinal positions on every other issue. So, let's begin by taking a look at how The Baptist Faith and Message summarizes our beliefs about the Scriptures. It reads...
"The Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired and is God's revelation of Himself to man. It is a perfect
treasure of divine instruction. It has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of
error, for its matter. Therefore, all Scripture is totally true and trustworthy. It reveals the principles by which
God judges us, and therefore is, and will remain to the end of the world, the true center of Christian union, and
the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and religious opinions should be tried. All Scripture
is a testimony to Christ, who is Himself the focus of divine revelation."
Based upon this statement, I would briefly point out and emphasize six central truths.
First, the Bible is DIVINELY INSPIRED. The word "inspiration" in the original language means "God breathed". This is to say, the Bible contains the very words or "breath" of God. Through the Person of the Holy Spirit, God used men as instruments to physically write down the words, while ensuring that each was written exactly as He desired. God alone was and is fully responsible for the content of the Bible. He is its Author, and He reveals Himself to us through its text.
Second, the Bible is TOTALLY TRUE. Stated another way, it is inerrant - without any error. There are no contradictions, misstatements, falsehoods, half-truths, or mistakes of any kind. Every word is absolutely true. Any perceived errors or misunderstandings of the Scriptures that we may recognize are the result of our own limited knowledge and improper interpretation. When understood correctly, there is no discrepancy or conflict.
Third, the Bible is SOLELY AUTHORITATIVE. This means that it is the only source of divine instruction - there are no other books, testaments, documents, decrees, creeds, or any other writings or religious opinions that are accepted as God’s Word. It stands alone as the supreme authority by which all other ideas, thoughts, principles, traditions, and the like are measured. Nothing supersedes or even equals the authority of the Bible.
Fourth, the Bible is COMPLETELY SUFFICIENT. There is nothing left out of it that needs to be added, nor is there anything included in it that does not belong. The Bible's content is perfectly complete just as it is, and is sufficient in its revelation so that mankind may to know and live for God just as He desires.
Fifth, the Bible is RELEVANT AND TIMELESS. The principles and teachings contained in the Bible are eternal, and therefore have application to people of all generations. The Word of God is "living" - meaning that it is always current and fresh. It endures forever, never fading or becoming obsolete. It is as relevant today as it was when it was written, and will remain relevant for all eternity. The Bible is not what God said, it is what He is saying...
Sixth, the Bible is ALL ABOUT JESUS. The writings of the Old Testament prophecy the coming of Christ, the Gospels tell of His life & ministry on earth, the New Testament describes the growth of the Church after the death & resurrection of Christ, and they also point to His triumphant return at the end of this age. The entire Bible is a testimony of Jesus Christ and in Him alone we discover its ultimate meaning and purpose.
It is my prayer that this short overview has helped you to clarify and more fully understand what Baptists believe regarding the Bible. In next week's message, we will explore our doctrinal position on God. Do we believe in one God or three gods? What are some of His characteristics? We'll answer these questions and more next Sunday morning. Have a blessed week.