Scripture must be the foundation of knowledge for the Christian. There is no other doctrine in the Christian faith that is as crucial to the right understanding of all of the other doctrines of the faith. Without an accurate, indeed biblical, understanding of Holy Scripture, the Christian is left without any certainty as to whether or not what he or she believes is true. Therefore, the following paragraphs will communicate my personal beliefs regarding Scripture. Following the heading of each major area related to the doctrine of Scripture, statements of affirmation and denial will be given, as well as an explanation of the position taken.
Canonicity of Scripture
I affirm, the Holy Scriptures have been preserved by God throughout the ages.
I affirm, the Scriptures contain the Old Testament of the Hebrew Bible, 39 books (modern divisions).
I affirm, the Scriptures contain the 27 New Testament books according to modern divisions.
I deny, the acceptance of any apocryphal writing, or devotional writing as canonical.
The Bible was written by numerous human authors over the course of hundreds of years. As the New Testament church came into existence, important decisions had to be made regarding which of the many books written should be considered canonical. The church did not decide which books were to be in the canon, rather the books which were apostolic in origin and historically relied upon by the church were understood to be authoritative. Though debate occurred, and still does, God has made His word known by revealing it as superior to both the apocryphal and devotional writings.
Inspiration of Scripture
I affirm, Scripture is completely and totally of Divine origin, in its whole and its parts, even to the individual words written on the page.
I affirm, the human authors were active in the task of writing Scripture, using their own personalities and writing styles, but moved to write precisely what the Holy Spirit intended.
I deny, inspiration applies only to the general thoughts or ideas of the writers.
I deny, human sinfulness of the authors allowed for any alteration of the intended words of the Holy Spirit.
I deny, inspiration is only applicable to matters related to faith.
I deny, mechanical dictation as the means of inspiration, though this is the method in select areas of Scripture.
A correct understanding of the process of inspiration is vital to an understanding of the other aspects of the doctrine of Scripture. Inspiration must be understood as a special work of the Holy Spirit in the lives and minds of the human writers, lest the Bible become one book among many good books. Though the exact process of inspiration is unknown, it can be known that each and every word on the page appears in exactly the way God intended it to. This should not require a mindless, mechanical dictation on the part of the human writers because their personalities and writing styles are evident in the text. It should, however, preclude any possible error in the pages of the original manuscripts of Scripture.