Description of the Holy Bible – Part 16
“The word of the Lord endures forever.” Peter’s quotation of Is 40:6-8 indicates that, like the earth itself, human life, human glory and human achievements (such as culture, science and philosophy) are temporary and pass away (cf. Ps 90:5-10; Jas 4:13-17). But God’s Word abides forever.
All endeavours and the prevailing spirit of the world must constantly be judged by the Bible, rather than the Bible judged by them.
The moral absolutes of God’s Word will stand long after today’s relativism has collapsed in self-destruction.
Those who bend the Word of God to conform to the intellectual and moral trends of their generation betray “the word of God, which lives and abides forever” (v. 23) and will be judged by it on the last day (cf. John 12:48).
Scripture is not like an academic tome that constantly has to be rewritten to keep up with modern research. The Scripture contains eternal truth—not something that varies with each passing generation.
Reasons For Study Of The Bible
All Scripture, including the historical narratives e.g. in Acts, has didactic (i.e. teaching) and theological significance.
This is confirmed by two facts. (a) The Biblical declaration that “all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Tim 3:16). (b) Paul’s statement that the OT historical narratives have a teaching and instructional purpose (1 Cor 10:11).
He maintains that these stories are examples with practical and theological relevance for the believer (Rom 15:4); what is true for historical narrative in the OT is also true for Acts.
Study for Subject Matter
Most people who read the Bible do so without a clearly defined goal.
It is better to study the Bible with a more defined purpose in mind, for its subject matter and its intended meaning.
One way to study the Bible is with specific questions in mind—for example, questions about doctrine, history, or moral and spiritual guidance.
• Theological Doctrines and Teachings
The Bible is above all a book that talks about God and His relationship to the world. Who is God and His relationship to the world? What is God like? What is His relationship to His creation? Who is His intended purpose for creation?
For Christians, the Bible is the ultimate source for knowledge of theology (the person and nature of God), anthropology (the makeup of human beings), soteriology (the doctrine of salvation), Christology (the doctrine of the person of Christ), ecclesiology (the doctrine of the church), and eschatology (the doctrine of the last things).
As the only infallible source of doctrine, Christians scrutinise the Bible.
However, great harm has been done by using the Bible as a source of “proof-texts” to support theological doctrines.
The Bible should be studied not to support our belief system but to determine it. True respect for the Bible involves subjecting what we believe to its teaching.
For example, we should not study NT passage dealing with Christian baptism to support our particular understanding of baptism, but rather, to see if our understanding is in harmony with the teaching of these passages. To the degree that our understanding is correct, the biblical texts will support it.
We must judge our interpretation in light of the authors’ intended meaning.
• Biblical History
One of the most popular reasons people study the Bible is to learn about the historical events it records.
The most important area involves the life and teaching of Jesus. Christians want to learn as much as they can about Jesus. The primary source for this is the four canonical Gospels.
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