The Word of God is the Word of God
Learning to Quit Fooling With the Bible and Rest in Its Truth
As we come to the next set of questions and answers our Larger Catechism is interested in expanding on what we learned in the Shorter Catechism about the Bible. The Divines continue to explain how it is we know God, who He is, what He has done, is doing, and will do, as well as why it is we are to trust the book that tells us these things. Q/A #3 tells us what the word of God is, Q/A #4 testifies to the many ways in which the Bible not only is right and good, but exemplifies these things by its very nature, and Q/A #5 shows us why the Bible should matter to us.
Q. 3. What is the Word of God?
A. The Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament are the word of God, the only rule of faith and obedience.
Q. 4. How Does it Appear that the Scriptures are the Word of God?
A. The Scriptures manifest themselves to be the word of God, by their majesty and purity; by the consent of all the parts, and the scope of the whole, which is to give all glory to God; by their light and power to convince and convert sinners, to comfort and build up believers unto salvation: but the Spirit of God bearing witness by and with the scriptures in the heart of man, is alone able fully to persuade it that they are the very word of God.
Q. 5. What do the Scriptures principally teach?
A. The scriptures principally teach, what man is to believe concerning God, and what duty God requires of Man.
The Scriptures are not under our authority, but the other way around. That does not mean we blindly just say “If it’s in the Bible I believe it” without seeking to rightly understand how the Bible uniquely among all the volumes found in the world is exclusive in its power and awesomeness. It is worth taking the time to honor its witness by recognizing the way in which all the Bible agrees with itself, how a book written by dozens over multiple millennia does sweetly comply. There is no way men cobbling together various older authors with some kind of secret plan could ever pull off in a thousand lifetimes what the Holy Spirit has done by His guidance.
Imagine the task if, as some allege, Ezra took all these oral tales that had been floating around Israel has he tried to construct a “history” for a people who never had one before. The mere concept is bonkers, yet that is what passes for respectable “scholarship” today. As usual the brain trust that runs modern American and European academia is left bankrupt by the simplicity of reality. Why do they try and make the Bible into a man-made book? It’s not really that complicated, it is so they can disobey it. No different than the Serpent in the Garden or the Devil in the Wilderness temptation. Twisting words to get their own way. If the Scriptures are the very word of the living God than those who deny the perfection of the Bible cannot engage in their wickedness without openly reviling the Lord of Glory. By constructing a false picture they tell themselves they are the holy ones, when in reality they are just suppressing the truth in unrighteousness like their spiritual father, Beelzebub.
Of course it is just as easy for us, conservative confessional protestants, to do the same. When confronted by a passage that convicts us personally or challenges a worship pattern, style of ministry, recent theological novelty, or name your issue are we willing to show our faith and trust in the authority of the Bible we hold dear or will we like squirrely progressives find a “loophole”? The answer we give tells us everything we need to know about how we hold the Scriptures in our heart, not just our head. Who do we trust to confirm our obedience to the Bible?
As the Westminster Confession of Faith says, “The authority of the Holy Scripture, for which it ought to be believed, and obeyed, dependeth not upon the testimony of any man, or church; but wholly upon God (who is truth itself) the author thereof: and therefore it is to be received, because it is the Word of God.”.
Too many today are afraid to assert the authority of the Bible resting instead on complicated schemes and memes. They try and defend it against man’s attacks by using the wrong weapons and treating the critiques of the world as valid on their face, when the opposite is the truth. The liberal neuters the agency of Christ in His word by accepting uncritically takes which fall apart at the meanest poking. Libraries are full of long-since discredited theories of the Bible’s construction, just do a google search on JEDP. The evangelical mainline has likewise began to fall into similar traps by attempting to place evangelism above the veracity of the Bible. They do this by either ignoring the hard parts of the Bible or openly teaching some Scripture to be unimportant or just plain irrelevant. The catechism is insistent.
It is the word of God. It is authoritative on what it speaks and it speaks on everything.
Charles Spurgeon’s famous saying is worth quoting: “The Word of God is like a lion. You don’t have to defend a lion. All you have to do is let the lion loose, and the lion will defend itself.” We trust in the Bible because it is the Bible, the very word of the living God. We read it and interpret it plainly, as it presents itself.
In closing, on a more positive note what is it for the Believer that we can take from what we read above? Simply the fact is we can trust our Bibles to be what our Heavenly Father has sought for us to know not only about Himself and the other persons of the Trinity, but how we are to glorify and enjoy Him forever. As we said when we went over the 9th Commandment we are not to lie because our God is not a liar. His testimony to us in the Scriptures is perfect, without error in the smallest syllable. To deny what the Lord plainly represents in His Bible is to deny Him in all things. If we believe in the Resurrection of the Son from the dead and an empty tomb is it really that much to confess that an ax floated or the Earth stood still? In fact it is easier to believe the latter than the former. Yet, if you deny the latter you have effectively denied the former. It either is all His word, or none of it is.
As David says, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”
That is the basic message of what we see in the catechism today.
For more see the below:
Blessings in Christ,
Rev. Benjamin Glaser
Pastor, Bethany ARP Church
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