Summary: Getting a grip on the Word as relevant for us today.
1. THE WORD OF GOD: We believe that the Bible is the Word of God, fully and verbally inspired by the Holy Spirit. We believe that the Bible in its original manuscripts is free from all falsehood or mistake and so is entirely true and trustworthy in all its assertions on all matters of natural and theological fact and that it has supreme authority in all matters of faith and conduct.
The above is the No.1 article in our Baptist General Conference’s Affirmation of Faith document. This we can take to the bank - that the Bible is the authoritative Word of God, as the Bible says: “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It straightens us out and teaches us to do what is right. It is God’s way of preparing us in every way, fully equipped for every good thing God wants us to do.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NLT)
This text tells us that the Bible is document to be taken seriously, for it comes from God. It gives a true and accurate picture of God’s intentions for us and for the world. Since God inspires it, and He is perfect, we know the contents are therefore reliable and free from error. Though we know that humans write the Bible, the truth that it contains is authoritative and represents God’s Word to us. How can we be sure that the Bible is right on the money when it comes to truth? First, let’s take a look at the external evidence. Maps are valuable in guiding us to our destination. We want to arrive at truth. Hank Hanegraff’s clever use of the acronym MAPS help us here.
1. Manuscripts: Though we do not have the original documents of the Bible, how good are the copies then? The manuscript evidence is incredible. According to Hanegraff, of all ancient manuscripts including Homer, Plato or Aristotle, the Bible has the most manuscript evidence and experts would not question their credibility.The experts have verified that the copies have very little alteration over the years, and what’s altered is due to human transimission such as leaving out strokes and scholars have determined through extensive work and removed most copying mistakes and thus, reinforced the copies we have now is as good as the original. To me, this is a good thing, that the originals are gone so we don’t treat it as a scared cow, worshiping the documents rather than the One who is revealed in the documents.
2. Archaeology: Many discoveries in the field of archaeology have confirmed the accuracy of the Bible text. Sir William Ramsay, a trained specialist in this field, became a Christian after trying to proof that Luke-Acts portion of Scripture cannot be backed up. His study and research convinced him of the reliability of the documents.
3. Prophecies: Many prophecies have been fulfilled. Through centuries of different writers, the message of the Bible is remarkably unified, ultimately pointing to Jesus Christ. How could Jesus have engineered all the prophecies of His coming, details of his life and death, and resurrection if he is just a man, a con-artist, unless He is the One who is send by the Father, who is One with Him and is God!