Doctrine Illuminated: The Bible (7min read)
In these Doctrine Illuminated articles, the core beliefs of Addison Street Community Church are fleshed out in more detail. Begin by examining the section of the Doctrinal Confession, found at the top, and then discover an explanation of each of its lines below.
Section 1. The Bible.
"We believe that the Holy Bible of the Old and New Testaments was breathed out by God and written by human authors as the Holy Spirit carried them along. It is therefore without error, sufficient for the faith and practice of the Church, and the final standard by which all human conduct, confessions, and opinions should be judged."
What do you believe in? And why do you believe in it? These are surely two of the most important questions you can ask. We live in a generation in which truth has been made relative, and in today’s world, everyone seems to be his or her own ultimate authority over what is true and what should be followed as a source of knowledge and moral decisions. In this section of our confession, we explore why the Bible can be trusted as the absolute and infallible (containing no mistakes) truth to be believed, followed, and obeyed.
"We believe that the Holy Bible of the Old and New Testaments."
The Bible is not a series of disconnected stories. From Genesis (its first book) to Revelation (its last), the Scriptures form a single story that reveals the one and only God who created the whole world and humanity. All of humanity quickly showed their need for a savior when Adam and Eve rebelled against their Creator in the 3rd chapter of the whole story. This is important because it shows how both the Old Testament and the New Testament are the Word of God, part of the same narrative. This narrative starts with creation, then presents the fall of humankind, followed by the redemption accomplished by Jesus Christ, and finally ending with the hope of his return when everything will be renewed (see Revelation 21-22).
"[The Holy Bible] was breathed out by God and written by human authors as the Holy Spirit carried them along."
2 Timothy 3:16 declares that “all Scripture is breathed out by God,” and 2 Peter 1:21 says that “no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” These two verses together show us that behind every human author of the Biblical books there was One true Author that was inspiring (breathing out) what was written down. Does it mean these human authors were secretary-like writers that just wrote down what was dictated? Absolutely not! The Holy Spirit used these people’s skills and different styles to put down in words the content He had in mind. Therefore, today we have the perfect Word of God that reveals all we need to know about the Lord and the need we have to be reconciled with Him through the Son, Jesus Christ.
"It is therefore without error."
Being breathed out by the Holy Spirit, the Bible cannot contain error because God is perfect and thus cannot make mistakes. In the Scriptures there is no contradiction, there is no inconsistency. Psalm 19:7 declares that “the law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul”; and in Luke 1:27 we find that “the Word of God will never fail.”. Every prophecy in the Bible was fulfilled in its own due time, becoming a blessed assurance that the promises it makes concerning the future are as good as done. Every ethical norm in Scripture is trustworthy and profitable for our good. Every story is recounted accurately. God’s word is indeed without error!
"[The Bible is] sufficient for the faith and practice of the Church, and the final standard by which all human conduct, confessions, and opinions should be judged."
The Bible is therefore the basis of the Christian faith. It reveals and teaches us all that is needed to believe about the fundamental questions of life: Who is God? Who are we? What is the end of humankind? How are we saved? How should we live? Our confessions are birthed from Scripture, and our doctrine has the intention to make each of these beliefs clearer and easier to apply to our lives. Every time opinions and ideas become a matter of debate, the Bible should be brought up as the final judge that will declare the right and righteous sentence, for it is the Lord’s very word.
We believe in the Bible because it is the Word of God, breathed out by the Holy Spirit. It is perfect in every aspect, and it can be trusted as the ultimate authority over all that we need to know about God, about ourselves, about the world, about salvation, and how to live a godly life.