Here is an excellent outline on Covenant Theology by Ligon Duncan, which he gives in a podcast interview done through The Gospel Coalition: Ligon Duncan – Covenant Theology
We all grapple at various times in life to know what’s best and what’s true. And, then, often when we’ve found a particular truth, in say science or philosophy, we still find ourselves only in the shallow-end of fully grasping its value and potential.
Have you ever wondered if there is an author to this truth we search for? Someone who’ll help us find what we’re looking for and who can help us properly utilize what we find?
There is a man who makes an astonishing and all-encompassing declaration to be “the truth.” Such a claim implies that all truth starts with him no matter where it may now reside. It also implies that this truth is only really able to be truly held together by him. And, that only he knows the true way things work. This man is Jesus! If not, then where does truth come from?
When we separate truth from Jesus, both are distorted. Our view of Jesus is diminished and the full application of the truth squandered or misused. All truth is from Him and of Him and handled best by Him. An essential part of His truth is captured in God’s word, the Bible. Like a love letter, it serves as a means to knowing Him, and like a plumbline, it’s the guide for all other teaching.
Do you know the truth?!! Because, He knows you and loves you! Have you read His love letter lately?
How about these portions:
“Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to receive God’s punishment for our sins” (1 John 4:10).
“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor 5:21).
Said another way:
“For our sake God made Jesus to be Everything Wrong who knew Nothing Wrong, so that in Jesus we might become what God calls Right.”
The Bible, by contrast, is not a burdensome book of religion; it’s the living Word of God. True Christianity is a dynamic ongoing relationship with the living Jesus Christ. As a result, we cannot treat the Bible as a book of mindless rules and build formulas out of scripture. Man, however, feels safe when the words that he reads are categorized, put into boxes, and formulas are built for instruction on how to live right.
If that is how we want to interpret scripture, then we strip the Bible of life.
Interpreting the Bible should be done in our relationship with its Author, Jesus Christ, who helps us interpret what is printed on its pages. It is by the power of the Holy Spirit that the living word of God can transform our corrupt minds and make us think and behave more like Christ.
When we don’t allow the Holy Spirit to be our Counselor, then we are in danger of misusing scripture. When we misuse scripture, we can easily damage people’s lives.
Each individual situation should be treated with individual care and prayer. Don’t rattle off scripture, because you might have grabbed the wrong one for that moment. We must not throw scripture around as we deem fit, because we might cause more harm than good and push people further away from God.
Besides putting verses in boxes, we must also be careful that we don’t place our own agenda onto our interpretation of the scriptures, because we can “see” what we want to see and miss what God is actually saying. That might require us to unlearn what we have been taught in our various churches and cultures and ask God to teach us afresh.
Let’s get into our Bibles and get connected to its power. Its words are charged with life!
When we get into our Bibles, it’s not that the Spirit of God makes the words come to life, because the word of God is already alive and active, and has been since He first spoke them. Rather, the Spirit uses God’s living and active word to make us alive and active for Him.
Do you want to be alive and active for God? Get connected!
If you are interested in more on this subject then I have a post that you can read titled The Words of the Bible are Alive.
God has used and still uses multiple modes of communication to speak to man. The Bible testifies of many ways that people have heard God speak to them and also of how we can hear God speak to us today.
For example, people can get revelation from God through members of the body of Christ through a word they are given or a testimony that resonates with them. They may even have dreams or visions from God.
God also speaks through His creation all around us and has even caused a donkey to literally speak to a man.
That said, God is Spirit and ideally He wants to ultimately be reaching man’s spirit when communicating with him.
The purpose of this post is to prove that receiving God’s word while reading the Bible is equivalent to receiving a word directly from God. Both are a way to receive revelation from God. Both are God’s word. The only difference is the route to get to us.
Below are examples of each, that is, God using writing and a direct word to give man revelation.
The Gospel of John says, “these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:21).
Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Mat 16:13-18).
Looking at these two examples, we can see that the written word of God is of equal authority to a direct word from God.
So, when we read the Bible, let us recognize that it is God’s word.
God spoke the words of the Bible into being at various times in the distant past, yet they remain eternally alive. Time has not worn out their authority and power. What God said throughout the Bible stands as though He is still saying it.
Now, it is true that Jesus personally speaks to those of us who know Him, yet He does not operate apart from God’s word, the Bible. Saying that having Jesus in one’s life means that one doesn’t need the word of God simply presents a disarmed notion of Jesus.
Here are some previous posts on God’s word, the Bible:
Alarmed at how much attention my post, Homosexuality! got in comparison to another post of far more importance, I thought to re-advertise the latter under this title, “I Hate You” – The Living Power of the Written Word.
So, this is for those who haven’t read my last post, The Bible is God’s Word which I wrote in response to The Bible being rejected as God’s Living Word by many in Christian circles. For more, click here.
God’s Written Word Equals His Spoken Word
Whether written or spoken, whether ancient or today’s, whether rhema or logos, all of God’s words carry the same level of divinity. One doesn’t contradict the other and one isn’t more God’s or more alive than the other. Essentially, all of God’s words, in context, are equally alive, divine and authoritative.
When it comes to the Bible’s authority, it is clear that “All Scripture is God-breathed” (2Ti 3:16). While this text certainly covers the Old Testament, we also see in 2Peter 3:16 that Paul’s writing is considered by Peter as Scripture too. So, clearly, God intentionally gave a portion of His communication to us as a written revelation both before and after Jesus came.
Consider for a moment how our own written words are equivalent to our spoken words. What we write with our pen or type with our keyboard is what we would have said had we been present with those we are communicating with. Or, even if present with them, it is a way of leaving them with something secure.
So, when we write something, we effectively put our words on paper to speak for us. And, writing it doesn’t make it lose its validity or strength. In fact, writing it makes it more secure for those receiving it, especially seeing that people are prone to forgetfulness or are easily swayed.
God’s Written Word is His Living Word
In this vein, the Scriptures are like posts that a blogger wrote that we might only read days, months or years after they were written. And yet, despite our delay in reading them, we experience the blogger communicating to us as though he or she had just written them.
Think about it. When does a man’s blog post die? One day after posted? One week? A year later? No, as long as it is still relevant and true it remains as dynamic as when he first wrote it. How much more isn’t God’s word, the Bible, forever true and relevant, and living and active?
So, when I read the Bible I am not only hearing what God has said, but also what He is still saying. And, although written, the Bible is a living message that exists alongside God’s other forms of communication to us. And, better still, He is personally present to help us understand it and receive it.
Being written, The Word is a safeguard for our faith against subjective or external interferences. With all our differences of opinion on various issues even with the Bible (and often over the Bible), God knows how much worse off we would have been without the Bible.
In Acts 17:11, we have an example of how this worked: “Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.” Examining the Scriptures was a way of testing things people said against what was considered the secure written revelation from God.
Just a thought: Perhaps Eve would have done better had Adam written down what God had said :).
God is Attached to His Every Word
If someone could remove one word from what God has ever said, then God wouldn’t be God anymore! God does not live apart from His words. He is eternally attached to every one of them. And, we would do well to live “from every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.”
Have you ever wondered what Jesus wrote in the sand?
Some readers might immediately be thinking. “Oh boy! Another one of those nutters! No one really knows what Jesus wrote in the sand!”
See for Yourself
Firstly, read John Chapters 7 & 8. Then read Jeremiah 17:5-13.
For more on this go to What did Jesus Write in the Sand (on my blog Restore My Word)
Biblical inerrancy is the belief that Scripture, in their original form and properly interpreted, is without error and therefore completely true in everything they teach. Inerrancy is the foundation for the Bible’s authority. Without this belief, our confidence in the Scriptures cannot be secure.
Jesus and the Inerrancy of Scripture
In Matt 4:1-11, Jesus affirms the inerrancy of Scripture where He says, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God (Deut 8:3).'” The word “every” clearly shows that the God-breathed Scriptures are included. That He meant the Scriptures is also strengthened by His immediate use of them, demonstrating that He lived by them.
The Bible and the Inerrancy of Scripture
In 2 Tim 3:16-17 it states that “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete and thoroughly equipped for every good work”.
That Scripture is God-breathed is what essentially makes them inerrant (without error). Inerrancy is vital to the authority of the Bible, and without it we may as well throw out our Bibles. As John Wesley put it, “If there be one mistake in the Bible, there may as well be 1,000.”
In 2 Pet 1:20-21 it states, “… that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”
Also, the authors of the New Testament identified the Bible with the living voice of God. In various places, the Scriptures are spoken of as if they were God Himself speaking, for example in Matt 19:4, 5 and Heb 3:7. Elsewhere, God is spoken of as if He were in the Scriptures, such as in Gal 3:8.
The Church and the Inerrancy of Scripture
Many church fathers affirmed inerrancy. For example, Clement said, “the sacred Scriptures are the true utterances of the Holy Spirit.”
Calvin said, “We owe the writings of the apostles and prophets that same reverence which we owe to God, because it has proceeded from Him alone…”
Warning against Rejecting or Limiting the Idea of Inerrancy
“The generation of those who first give up biblical inerrancy may have a warm evangelical background and real personal relationships with Jesus Christ, so that they can ‘survive theologically’ on the basis of their limited inerrancy view. But what happens when the next generation tries to build on that foundation?…any denomination or parachurch group that forsakes inerrancy will end up shipwrecked.” – Francis A. Schaeffer, The Great Evangelical Disaster.
Rob Morley (based in part on notes by Gus Martin)