Sunday, January 6, 2013
By J.Van Haaren
This is a unique question, because various answers are given to it by different persons. The Bible does not have the same meaning for everyone. What is the reason for this? Is the Bible at fault, or are we? Is the Bible a book of Divine origin, or human origin? Does the Bible inform us as to how man regards God, or does it explain how God regards man? May we exercise authority over the Bible, or does the Bible rule us? Is the Bible a limited book supplying us with respectable opinions of former ages, but not applicable to modern man with his unique problems? Or is the Bible the Word of God, requiring unconditional surrender and pursuance of its guidelines?
Today these are the questions which demand an answer and determine our attitude to the Bible. We live in a time of assault upon the Bible. One biblical standard and rule after another is subverted. An unbiblical, foreign theology slays its thousands. Events occur today which have never had their counterpart in church history. It seems that the results of modern philosophy and natural sciences with the problem-solving approach of modern man simply compel one to a different interpretation and approach to the Bible than was the case in former times. Modern theology interprets the Bible in a way that coincides with the results of science. However, the Bible is stripped and its authority undermined by this. It appears that man places more confidence in science than in the Word of God.
But is there no conflict between science and the Bible? How would that be possible? Even Galileo observed that the words of God’s mouth (His Word) and the works of His hands (His Creation) could not contradict each other. We cannot speak of an actual conflict; there can only be a conflict between the bible and the interpretation of the results of science. This interpretation leads to a position in which science and its hypotheses are over-valued and the Bible under-valued. At the same time the Bible is mis-used, because we may not entangle the Bible in various scientific problems. The Bible ascends far above that, and has a message and a significance which do not depend on this relationship to science so that we can use the Bible in problem solving.
We must search for the answer to the question-of what the Bible means to us- in the Bible itself. What testimony does the Bible give of itself? It is evident that the Bible reserves its right to be distinct from any other book. The Book acknowledges its inspiration by the Holy Spirit. This inspiration is a fact which we may not ignore. Neorationalistic theology does not take this into account; it regards the Bible as any other product of literature. In its estimation, the Bible is not the Word of God. However, throughout the Bible we find testimonies of Divine inspiration. We often read, “And the Word of the Lord came…” and “Thus saith the Lord.” The Bible is God’s Word precisely because of this inspiration. He who is convinced of this listens reverently to the Word of God. Then the Bible isn’t merely a book of human origin, nor only a worthy substitute for God’s Word from which one could extract God’s meaning. Then the Bible is not a limited book but one containing the will of God, applicable to all people of all times. Then the Bible is an authoritative book to which one must unconditionally bow. Therefore we may not conform the Bible to all questions of the present time, but we must conform ourselves with all questions of our time to the Word of God.
We must consider that the bible is not a scientific book, nor is it a book which merely relates the history of the Jewish people. It is a book which contains God’s decree of salvation for lost sinners. Perhaps we might have desired that the Bible would have given us more detail; we would have liked more information concerning certain persons and occurrences. But the Bible is not written to satisfy our curiosity. Nevertheless, those who have become inquisitive about the fullness that is in Christ Jesus can find everything necessary to salvation in it. John writes in chapter 20, verses 30 and 31; “And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing ye might have life through His name.”
Therefore what is most necessary? It is that we earnestly seek to know the God of the Bible in the person of Christ Jesus so that we may become true Christians. This is rooted in a true faith in Him, resulting in a living through Him. A life according to God’s Word and based on God’s Word will not be deficient in bringing forth fruit for ourselves and our environment. We thereby enjoy the only comfort, and our neighbor is edified and won for Christ; above all, God’s Name is glorified.
“Adapted from, The Mount Zion Reporter”
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