Monday, November 26, 2012

The Scriptures

The Scriptures are important because it is the basis of all a Christian believes and thus all his actions. It is the Word of God, and teaches us all we need to know for Salvation.  The Scriptures are commonly referred to as The Bible, The Holy Bible, or The Word of God.  Christians believe the Scriptures are contained in the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments.

The Bible... a collection of books: One of the questions that people tend to ask about the Bible is about how it was compiled. Here is an article that explains how the Bible was received and compiled. inerrant: Tim Challies has an excellent short series of posts that explains the basics of the doctrine of inerrancy. He repeats Wayne Grudem’s definition from his Systematic Theology.The inerrancy of Scripture means that Scripture in the original manuscripts does not affirm anything that is contrary to fact.” He lists four things that inerrancy does not mean,

First, inerrancy does not preclude the use of ordinary language...
Second, inerrancy does not preclude the use of loose and free quotations...
Third, the Bible can be inerrant even if it contains unusual grammatical constructions...
Fourth, Scripture is inerrant only in its original autographs...

In his last post he covers some common objections to the doctrine of inerrancy.
We Do Not Have The Original Manuscripts
Inerrancy is a Poor Term
Proving Inerrancy is a Circular Argument
The Bible is Full of Errors and Contradictions

Along those lines, Glenn T. Stanton has an excellent post about why Christians do not take the Bible literally. Rather we believe that everything in the Bible is true. The Bible contains many genres of literature, from biography and history, to poetry and pastoral. Through out the Bible there are metaphors that should not be taken literally but as poetic description. There are also some actual facts which should be taken literally, though they seem imposible.

...ought to be studied: Should Christians read and study the Scripture? Tim Challies gives three reasons why we ought to, then he talks about how to study Scripture.

...deserves to be remembered: In Psalm 119 the Psalmist says that young men may keep their ways pure by hiding God's Word in their heart. Memorizing Scripture is good not only to know the Word better, but to be able to fight temptation. 

...ought to be read in a good translation:

...ought to be cited well: Many times Scripture is used to prove something by citing just a verse that seems to say what the author wants it to say. In some cases such as proverbs this is just fine, as in “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” But most of the time we need to be careful that we use the verse with the meaning it has in context. For example there are many promises in the Bible, but they are all given to specific people or groups of people. We cannot just assume that a promise is given to us without looking at the context and seeing if it applies to us in context. More on using the Bible well in these two posts.

If you would like to listen to a couple of messages about Scripture, here are two:
Is the Bible just Another Book?

[This is the first in a series of posts that will compile the best articles on the web about what a Christian believes.  If you know of other articles that ought to be in this list feel free to link to them in your comment.]