Article By: Sarah Koontz, Founder of Living by Design Ministries
Today I will share of the most challenging (and rewarding) assignments I’ve received since enrolling in seminary: my own personal statement on the doctrine of the Bible.
This assignment forced me to study and understand complex theological terms, justify my beliefs about Scripture with Scripture, and communicate my beliefs in concise language.
I choose to share this assignment with you because I want you to know what I believe about the Bible.
Why is this important, you ask?
If my short time in Christian ministry has taught me anything, it’s this: beware of the “teacher” who is unwilling to tell you exactly what they believe about the inspiration, authority, and inerrancy of their Divine Textbook.
Understanding the nature and character of the Bible is an essential prerequisite for all forms of Christian education.
It is my deeply-held conviction that all teachers of the Word must thoroughly understand the foundational concepts of revelation, inspiration, inerrancy, sufficiency, authority, and canonicity of the Bible.
And if they aren’t willing to take the time to tell you what they believe about the Bible, it is important for you to question whether or not they should be teaching you about the Bible.
My role at Living by Design Ministries is to help our readers understand and apply the truth of Scripture to their lives. If I were to deny its truth or to compromise its truth, I would have very little to offer you beyond my own human opinion of the things of God.
The inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture provide security for the Christian educator, creating safe boundaries for us to live and teach within.
Because the Bible is God’s Word, it is true, enduring, and useful for practical instruction. To deny its truth, or to compromise its truth, leaves the Christian educator with very little power or hope to instill in the lives of their students.
Because Scripture is God-breathed, Christian educators get to teach the very Word of God to their students.
Because Scripture is sufficient for salvation and offers everything we need for life and godliness, Christian education is a worthwhile and fruitful vocation.
Because Scripture is authoritative and complete, Christian educators can boldly proclaim its truth to all who will listen.
These essential qualities of Scripture provide the necessary structure for all Christian education, and are the framework upon which all our teaching efforts should be built upon.
I am absolutely convinced that the Bible is absolutely true; this belief motivates me to honor, respect, and cherish the Word of God.
Although I am certain I will continue to develop and refine my own personal doctrine of the Bible as the years go by, I am happy I was challenged to clarify my position at this juncture.
I consider it a privilege to share the reasons and justification for my beliefs about the Bible with you today.
Brief Statement on the Doctrine of Bibliology
I believe the Bible is the inspired and inerrant Word of God (2 Tim 3:16). It contains God’s plan for us (Isa 43:7) and reveals God’s love for us (John 3:16). The Bible is to be our final authority (Acts 5:29) on all matters concerning truth, morality, and Christian living (2 Pet 1:3). Because the Bible is God-breathed (2 Tim 3:16), the original writings are inspired (2 Pet 1:20-21), everything it affirms is true (John 17:17), and it is sufficient for salvation (1 Cor 15:1-4). Scripture teaches us that God has revealed Himself through His word (2 Tim 3:16), His works in the world (Rom 1:20), and Jesus Christ, the Word who “became flesh and made his dwelling” in the world (John 1:14). I believe that it should be the goal of every Christian to study (2 Tim 2:15) and seek to understand the Bible (Acts 17:11), walking in obedience (2 Cor 10:5) and faithfully applying “the instruction of the Lord” (Psalm 19:7) to our lives.
Detailed Exposition on Bibliology
I believe that God is knowable because He has chosen to reveal Himself through divine revelation. God has taken the initiative to make Himself known in a general way through creation and a more specific, personal way through Scripture. God’s revelation is complementary and never contradictory or conflicting. I believe that all knowledge of God comes by revelation and God’s self-disclosure is seen through His actions in human history, the divinely created order of this world, and the person and work of Jesus Christ. The Bible offers accounts of God revealing Himself to humankind in a variety of ways, including (but not limited to) physical appearances or manifestations, direct propositional revelation or speech, specific actions or works, visions and dreams, the incarnation of Jesus Christ, and through human prophets. Because of God’s divine revelation, it is possible through faith for Christians to possess informational, relational, saving knowledge of God.
I believe that the Bible is the “divinely inspired Word which God has addressed to man.” The human authors of the Bible were moved by the Holy Spirit to write God’s words and not simply their own. The words of Scripture, therefore, are God’s words. Every word in the original manuscripts was inspired by God and is without error. Although the process of divine inspiration is a mystery, the result is a collection of God-breathed words that are able to “make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” I believe Scripture is true and trustworthy, full of practical instruction, divine revelation, and comfort for all believers.
I believe that the whole Bible, in the original manuscripts, is inerrant; it is true in everything it affirms. The reliability of Scripture is affirmed by apostolic testimony, by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and by the inner testimony of the Holy Spirit. I believe that the Bible is a spiritual book and people who are indwelt with the Spirit of God can discern and apply its truth to their lives. It is our responsibility, as Christians, to make every effort to “rightly divide the word of truth.” I believe that the usefulness of Scripture is profoundly impaired when Christians limit or discard the doctrines of inerrancy and/or inspiration. I believe that the Word of God will endure and be preserved until all of God’s purposes are accomplished.
I accept and acknowledge the canon of Scripture as a collection of authoritative books, inspired by God and written by many human authors over a period of time. I believe that the authority of Scripture is rooted in the character of God, who “superintended the human authors of the Bible” so that their words are actually His words. The divine authority of Scripture has been rightfully established through its accuracy in scientific, historical, and prophetic matters. Therefore, the Bible is a trustworthy and authoritative guide for all areas of human life. I believe that Scripture is sufficient because it is from God. It is profitable for salvation and matters relating to life and godliness. I believe that Christians are called to glorify God by faithfully studying and diligently obeying His Word, in light of the person and work of Jesus Christ.
If you would like to read my original paper in its entirety (along with 3 full pages of footnotes and references), I have uploaded it here for your reference.
If you have questions about my doctrine of the Bible, I encourage you to take the time to review the references and notes I’ve included in the original paper. If you do not find the answers to your most pressing questions in my paper, I invite you to send them to our team. We will do our best to thoughtfully, respectfully, and humbly respond to your queries.
What Do You Believe About the Bible?
In order for our personal Bible study to be fruitful, stimulating, and satisfying, we must determine what we believe about the Bible.
Is it true?
Is it complete?
Is it trustworthy?
In the words of Robert Traina, author of Methodical Bible Study, “You must approach Scripture with a belief in their inspiration and authority if you wish to receive anything from them.”
He goes on to say that an essential aspect of Bible study is our willingness to accept the truth once it is found.
A great way to discover what you believe about the Bible is to spend time reading what the Bible says about itself.
If you’ve never dedicated yourself to the study of God’s Word, I invite you to join us for the DWELL360 Bible study. I wrote this study to help my fellow Christians experience the power of God’s Word in their daily lives.
Dwell in God’s Word All Year Long!
Sarah Koontz invites you to join her for “DWELL: 360 Days in the Word,” a free online Bible study that takes you on a guided journey through the foundational truths of Scripture. This year-long study of Galatians and the twelve key-truths it contains is delivered by e-mail and is completely free to all who wish to participate.
DWELL360 offers a concise, doctrinal study of the book of Galatians while providing an opportunity for participants to meditate and focus on the key truths of Scripture. It is beautifully designed and thoughtfully composed to help you meditate on God’s Word throughout the day—everyday!
THE DWELL360 BIBLE STUDY WILL HELP YOU:
- Establish a consistent, manageable Bible study routine
- Discover who God is and who He made you to be
- Fill your heart and mind with the freeing truth of Scripture
- Diligently apply God’s Word to your daily life
- Recognize any teaching that distorts the Gospel
We know how intimidating it can be to commit to a year-long study, and we have done everything in our power to make this study simple, satisfying, and sanctifying.
You will receive a welcome letter (+ digital gift pack) after subscribing and the first devotional will arrive in your inbox within 24 hours. Don’t forget to invite friends! Bible study is always more fun with friends.