What is the Bible? — Men’s T2 Book Study

What is the Bible?This is the first post for our Men’s T2 group as we read through Christian Beliefs:Twenty Basics Every Christian Should Know.   If you haven’t read the chapter try to do so.  After you read this blog post feel free to join in the discussion to promote our learning.  The first chapter asks the question “What is the Bible?” and provides helpful instruction about the topic of Bibliology – the study of the Bible.

[All quotations unless otherwise indicated are from: Grudem, Wayne A. Christian Beliefs: Twenty Basics Every Christian Should Know. Edited by Elliot Grudem. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2005.]

Why start theology by studying the Bible?

It is reasonable to start our study by learning about the Bible because it is in the Bible that we learn most everything of what we know about God.  That God exists and that there is a difference between right and wrong are truths known through creation (Psalm 19:1) and conscience (aka “general revelation”; Romans 1:32; Romans 2:14-15).  However to know God personally requires “special revelation” only found in the Bible.  Actually, everything we know about theology (aka the study of God) comes from the Bible.  Therefore, before we begin to ask other theological questions such as “What is the Trinity?” or “Who is Christ?” we should be well grounded in our understanding of God’s Word.  Grudem works through the study of the Bible by using four general categories: authority, clarity, necessity, and sufficiency.

The Bible is Authoritative

“All the words in the Bible are God’s words. Therefore, to disbelieve or disobey them is to disbelieve or disobey God himself.”  This does not mean the various authors of the Bible were stripped of their personality, skills, or backgrounds when they wrote.  Rather, it means that what they wrote was the very words of God.  This was accomplished by God breathing out his word through the authors by means of the Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 3:16).  Because the Bible is God’s authoritative Word we are best served by making much of the Bible.  This is why we read the Bible, pray the Bible, sing the Bible, and preach the Bible at Grace Baptist Church.  The Bible is the Authority.  Is it yours?

The Bible is Clear

A fancy word often used to describe the clarity of Scripture is “perspicuity.”  Ironic that a word intended to convey clarity is often unclear to many readers!  Grudem helpfully explained the needful ministry of the Spirit of God for the Christian to grasp a proper understanding of the Scriptures.  The Bible is a book like none other.  It is not less than a book, but it is certainly more – it is the Words of God.  Because the Bible is clear a Christian can read and understand the Bible for himself.  Understanding God’s Word does not require someone else’s explanation.  Certainly, God uses others to help us understand better and we gratefully enjoy the insightful teaching ministry of others.  Nevertheless, every Christian who reads God’s Word can understand (or grow in his understanding) the Bible.  Will you grow in your understanding and read God’s Word today?

The Bible is Necessary

I hope you were motivated to read the Bible as you learned how necessary it is for your Christian life. Do you know that your sins can be forgiven by God?  Do you know that God is preparing a place for all of his children?  You only know those realities and many others by reading the Scriptures.  Just as food is necessary for your physical life, so, for the Christian, the Bible is necessary for your spiritual life.  Basically, if you have a casual relationship with God’s Word your Christianity is casual.  Is your Christianity casual?  Be encouraged.  The Bible is available for you to read.  You can find nutriment for your spiritual life today.  Will you read it today?

The Bible is Sufficient

Despite what we might often think, because the Bible is sufficient we lack nothing for our Christian life.  God has given us all that we need to have godly lives (2 Peter 1:3).  This doesn’t mean the Bible speaks to every circumstance possible with explicit instruction.  It does mean God has given us all that we need to navigate every circumstance.  We have all we need for every good work (2 Timothy 3:17).  Believing the Bible is sufficient makes Christians strong.  Believing the Bible is not sufficient makes lazy, irresponsible Christians.  Which are you?  Do you ransack the Scriptures for truth to make your paths straight?  Or, do you punt when life throws a curve ball and flounder around wondering what “people” say you should do?  That the Bible is sufficient also protects us from making differences over secondary matters of chief importance.  We should not proudly stand upon what the Bible does not clearly teach.  It is true that we “should, therefore, exhibit humble hesitancy in placing more emphasis on many of these [doubtful] issues than the Bible does.”

Now, it’s your turn!

What did you learn?  What questions do you have?  What insight can you share that will promote our growth in God’s Word as Christians?  Leave a comment…

0 replies
  1. shaunbwalker
    shaunbwalker says:

    Even though I know it, I found help being reminded that the Bible is necessary for my spiritual health. “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word (Romans 10:17). Instead of seeking to be in God’s Word to check off a “I read my Bible today” box, I should approach the Bible as a man who will die of starvation if I don’t read. Reading then is a delight. A starving man doesn’t begrudgingly eat. He feasts! So must I.

    Reply
  2. Adam Skwirsk
    Adam Skwirsk says:

    Grudem writes, “The Holy Spirit makes readers realize the bible is unlike any other book they have ever read.”

    For me this holds a lot of significance because when I first started to read the bible and dig deep into it there became evident truths about my life, about how I felt, and about how I thought.

    Then Grudem writes about the other kinds of arguments, one being “the majestic beauty and wisdom of the content.” This is exactly what struck me when the Holy Spirit opened my eyes to the scripture. The “wisdom of the content” became an undeniable truth that increased my faith tremendously. I began to see the parallels between my life and what the scriptures revealed about life. Struggles, temptations, joy, peace, mourning, really anything and everything that I was dealing with or would ever have to deal with was written in scripture. These truths drew me closer to the Lord and began to change my heart.

    At the end of this chapter Grudem writes about exhibiting humble hesitancy, which is something I struggle with at times. Yes the scripture doesn’t completely rebuke a certain movie or place, but the scripture certainly brings caution in guarding our hearts and minds against evil and wickedness. Sometimes I need to have this humble hesitancy when dealing with people and allow the Lord to work out convictions through them. I need to place more emphasis on the power of God instead on the power of man (me).

    Reply
    • shaunbwalker
      shaunbwalker says:

      Perhaps one way of expressing “humble hesitancy” is asking questions of others about doubtful matters instead of requiring adherence to one’s own application as if it is “doctrine”?

      Reply
      • Adam Skwirsk
        Adam Skwirsk says:

        I agree completely. Jesus never demanded, instead he inquired by questioning people. I have encountered situations where questioning fellow christians led to strife. So I would say that’s it’s important for the opposite party to be willing to receive questions.

        Reply
  3. Ryan Dussault
    Ryan Dussault says:

    I found this statement to be a good reminder at the end of the chapter:

    “with regard to living the Christian life, the sufficiency of Scripture reminds us that nothing is sin that is not forbidden by Scripture either explicitly or by implication. Therefore, we are not to add prohibitions where we don’t believe Scripture is precise enough.”

    Excerpt From: Wayne A. Grudem. “Christian Beliefs.” Zondervan, 2005. iBooks.
    This material may be protected by copyright.

    When we don’t have clearly defined guidelines we tend to make them ourselves when that is not what God asks us to do.

    Reply
    • shaunbwalker
      shaunbwalker says:

      Right. The danger is equating the man-made prohibition (even if it is a “good” thing) to the level of Scripture. Eventually we begin to serve the “traditions” of men instead of the Word of God.

      Reply

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