Summary: Is the Bible the authoritative "Word of God" or a mere "respected voice" in the Christian community?

Dakota Community Church

September 21, 2008

Scripture Alone 1

The Holy Bible; you know that as a Christian you are supposed to read it. You see the reading plan in the bulletin every week. You notice the sermon points all being backed by scripture. You even notice that many of the songs we sing in worship are biblically based.

Have you ever wondered why that is?

What do we believe about this ancient text?

From our articles of faith:

We believe in the verbal and plenary inspiration of the Holy Scriptures, known as the Bible, composed of sixty-six books and divided into two departments, Old and New Testaments. We believe the Bible is the Word of God, the full and complete revelation of the plan and history of redemption.

Is the Bible actually the authoritative “Word of God”, or is it merely a respected voice in the Christian community?

If it is the final authority; how did it come into being?

Who decided what was “in” or “out” as far as content goes?

Are there other gospels or other holy writings that should receive equal billing with the Bible in importance and authority for believers?

Is there absolute truth?

If the Bible is the authoritative Word of God then why are there so many denominations?

Where does interpretation come in?

How do we decide if something is literal or figurative in nature?

Jude 1:3

Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.

Titus 1:9

He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.

Titus 3:9

But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless.

1 Timothy 1:3-4

As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. These promote controversies rather than God’s work—which is by faith.

2 Timothy 2:23-24

Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.

What we see here is that some issues are worth taking a stand on and insisting upon, things that pertain to what is known as sound doctrine, and some things are silly and argumentative and not worth wasting time on.

When we get together on Good Friday with the other Christian denominations in the area we are acknowledging that we recognize each other as fellow Christians, brothers and sisters in Christ. We all agree that the Bible is the Word of God; that Jesus is the Son of God, that our salvation is by faith in His sacrifice alone, and we share communion as proof of that.

We do not invite the local Buddhists, Muslims, Hindu’s, Jehovah’s witnesses, or Bahia’s because those groups do not agree to those foundational elements of the Christian faith.

Within the Church there would be wide variations of opinion taken from within scripture.

 The place of women in ministry.

 Baptism

 Spiritual gifts

 Healing, prosperity, worship, pacifism, rapture, and on and on.

What about taking everything literally?

Mark 9:43

If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out.

How do we decide if that is literal or philosophical? Well the disciples all had eyes and hands the next day and we know that anyone who is not the sinless Son of God is not going to get through a day without stumbling because of hands or eyes.

How do we know the scripture is the “authoritative Word of God” and not just a suggested guide?

1. Scripture itself.

First of all the scriptures themselves tell us so.

Now the big thinker’s amoung us will claim that that is circular logic. I can say I heard a message from God but that doesn’t mean I did because I cannot testify about my own message.

Why is the Bible different in this regaurd?

The Bible is not a single book written by a single author. When we reference the Bible we are referencing a library of 66 inspired books which were written:

• over a 1500 year span (from 1400 B.C to A.D. 100)

• over 40 generations

• over 40 authors from many walks of life (i.e. - kings, peasants, philosophers, fishermen, poets, statesmen, scholars)

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