Tool 1: Bible Doctrine

Lesson ▪ 1997
Tags: Bible; Revelation; Inspiration; Canon; Illumination; Interpretation
Excerpted from Bridging the Gap: Developing Tools for Better Bible Understanding

“The Bible is a book of divine revelation.”
By this is meant that God is responsible for the content of the Bible; he is its author. The message that is contained within the Bible originated in God. The spiritual truths it contains could never have been discovered by man; they can only be known because God has disclosed them to us.

“The divine inspiration of the entire Bible guarantees its full authority.” There are two parts to this statement. First, there is an affirmation of the fact that the whole Bible is in a very real sense the breath of God. In other words, God has undertaken to put his revelation of truth into a permanent written form. Second, the statement correlates inspiration with authority. By this is meant that inspiration is God’s certification of the Bible’s accuracy and relevance.

“The canon of Scripture was affirmed by men as they recognized each book’s inspiration.” Each of the 66 books were authoritative at the time of their writing because God inspired them. However, it was necessary in the course of history for the people of God to acknowledge God’s inspired Word to be just that. A consensus concerning the Old Testament canon may have been reached in the lifetime of Ezra. The entire New Testament canon appears to have received full recognition around 400 A.D.

“God fulfills his role in the communication process by means of illumination.” God’s part in the communication of his message is made complete when he illuminates the minds of men to understand his truth. By this is meant that the Holy Spirit endows men with understanding of revealed truth. Unbelievers are illuminated concerning salvation, and believers concerning deepening degrees of all revealed truth.

“Man fulfills his role in the communication process by means of interpretation.” Man is responsible to make every necessary effort so as to discover the concepts the biblical writers had in mind when they wrote the Bible. In many instances, it is necessary to bridge several gaps in order to understand the author’s original intent.

At least two practical applications must be drawn from the above study of the nature of the Bible. First, because the Bible is God’s inspired, inerrant revelation, it is to be read, studied, and obeyed; its timeless truths are to be applied. Second, because man possesses a role in the communication process, it is necessary for him to learn all such information as will enable him to understand the message intended by God and the human authors of the Bible.

God’s Word is a revelation to be reckoned with; it is to be studied for the purpose of following Christ more closely. Christians should seek an intimate relationship with the Bible because it is their vital communication link to God. Psalm 119, all of which describes the believer’s relation to God’s Word, imposes the following duties on the believer:
  • Choosing the Word of God
  • Seeking the Word of God
  • Cleaving to the Word of God
  • Committing to the Word of God
  • Keeping the Word of God
  • Walking in the Word of God
  • Living the Word of God
  • Loving the Word of God
  • Delighting in the Word of God
  • Trusting in the Word of God
  • Longing for the Word of God
  • Taking comfort in the Word of God
  • Knowing the Word of God
  • Meditating on the Word of God
  • Remembering the Word of God
  • Respecting the Word of God
  • Storing the Word of God
  • Declaring the Word of God
  • Being thankful for the Word of God
  • Singing the Word of God
  • Fellowshiping in the Word of God