Scripture

Why Fast Company & Sam Harris need to do their homework

Why Fast Company & Sam Harris need to do their homework

Referring to the claims of the above chart, Fast Company said, “So to anyone who thinks the Bible’s the last word on anything, remember this: It isn’t even the last word on itself.”

Professional skeptic, Sam Harris, commissioned this infographic chart titled “Contradictions in the Bible” through his foundation Project Reason.  It is an impressive form of presentation, but filled with misinformed content.

This is not new.  This chart just wraps-up old claims, which have already been answered, in an awesome piece of design and presentation.

 

Ignorance or Intentional Misrepresentation

  • The claim that the Bible is full of contradictions is ignorant, at best, of Christian theologies of scripture.  But it seems more like an intentional misrepresentation, which is prejudiced propaganda, of what Christians actually believe about the Bible. The claim by Project Reason is intellectually disingenuous, which is something that fundamentalists do.  Harris knows all this because he wrote a book about it. Ironic, eh?

Christians do not believe that the Bible dropped out of heaven or was dictated to men who scribbled down furiously to catch every word from God. Christians believe that the Bible is both fully inspired by God and fully written by humans. Christians believe that scripture is inerrant in its original manuscripts, not the copies and translation.

Christian doctrines of scripture allows for the human elements of style to be present in the writing process and accounting for the inevitable human error that occurs in textual transmission.

Some of the supposed contradictions are because of obvious copying errors. But many of the others are because Project Reason doesn’t seem to know the basics of how to read an ancient text.

 

Creating Contradictions

  • The claim that the Bible is full of contradictions ignores the variety of genres of literature in the Bible.  Fundamentalists interpret religious texts in only one way—the literal way—and so does Project Reason. You can make up lots of supposed contradictions by interpreting this way. Not interpreting a text with the awareness of the genre lacks the basic principles of reading and interpretation.

The Bible is filled with historic narratives, poetry, songs, apocalyptic literature, promises, stories, commands, wisdom literature, and letters. Interpretation should be influenced by the genre, not some fundamentalist everything-must-be-literal approach that we see in the chart.

Varied Genres
The Bible is varied in its genres and this fact should not be ignored, but frequently is. The Bible is intentionally precise sometimes and vague at other times.  It uses overstatements and understatements as well as making clear propositions and sometimes communicating poetically.

Assuming a modern standard of precision and applying it to an ancient text that purposefully communicates using propositions, vagueness, historical narrative, wisdom literature, poetry, or hyperbole is to build on faulty assumptions and perceive contradictions where none exist.

Intellectual honesty
Since accounts in the Bible are rarely intended to be exhaustive and precise descriptions, it would be intellectually honest to see if differing accounts complement, rather than contradict one another.

But Project Reason would rather ignore this and create contradictions by violating the context of the passages under consideration.

 

So, what do Christians believe?

Here is a series on past theologies of scripture. But let me offer a summary statement on scripture with which I think most evangelicals would agree:

When all the historical facts, literary genres, and issues of textual transmission are investigated and considered, and when properly interpreted, the Bible never contradicts itself and does not misrepresent the facts.

A more robust explanation of evangelical Christian belief about the trustworthiness of the Bible is found in The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy. Here is the short statement summarizing the 5 main points.  But be sure to also read the 19 Article of Affirmation and Denial.

 

Summary of the 5 main points of the Chicago Statement of Biblical Inerrancy

  1. God, who is Himself Truth and speaks truth only, has inspired Holy Scripture in order thereby to reveal Himself to lost mankind through Jesus Christ as Creator and Lord, Redeemer and Judge. Holy Scripture is God’s witness to Himself.
  2. Holy Scripture, being God’s own Word, written by men prepared and superintended by His Spirit, is of infallible divine authority in all matters upon which it touches: it is to be believed, as God’s instruction, in all that it affirms: obeyed, as God’s command, in all that it requires; embraced, as God’s pledge, in all that it promises.
  3. The Holy Spirit, Scripture’s divine Author, both authenticates it to us by His inward witness and opens our minds to understand its meaning.
  4. Being wholly and verbally God-given, Scripture is without error or fault in all its teaching, no less in what it states about God’s acts in creation, about the events of world history, and about its own literary origins under God, than in its witness to God’s saving grace in individual lives.
  5. The authority of Scripture is inescapably impaired if this total divine inerrancy is in any way limited or disregarded, or made relative to a view of truth contrary to the Bible’s own; and such lapses bring serious loss to both the individual and the Church.

Sam Harris and Fast Company should have researched how we got the Bible, the basic teachings of the Christian doctrines of scripture, and any of the helpful books answering the supposed contradictions in the Bible.

It would have made the cool chart much more accurate and precise.

 

 

Know Your Heretics: Marcion

Know Your Heretics: Marcion

The Most Formidable of Heretics

Marcion is one of the most significant heretics in Christian history. His teachings captivated many for centuries after him. Henry Chadwick called Marcion “the most radical and to the church the most formidable of heretics.”

Marcion’s Two Gods and Gutted Bible

Marcion taught that there were two Gods: Yahweh, the cruel God of the Old Testament, and Abba, the kind father of the New Testament. Because of this belief, he eliminated the Old Testament as Scriptures and kept only 10 letters of Paul and two-thirds of Luke’s gospel for his version of the New Testament. He also deleted all references to Jesus’ Jewishness. Marcion’s “New Testament”—the first to be compiled—forced the church to decide on a core of what was considered Scripture: the four Gospels and the letters of Paul.

Making the Bible “More Spiritual”

Marcion’s heretical teachings destroyed the humanity of Christ and assaulted the Christian Scriptures. Because Marcion interpreted Christianity through the lens of a Gnostic philosophy that saw all created things as evil, he wanted to dismiss anything from the Bible that was concerned with the earthly realm. This caused him to cut from the Bible most of the Old and New Testament birth narratives. In his book Antitheses he made a list of what he saw as contradictions between the Old and New Testaments. He saw the God of the Old Testament as the creator of a miserable world, as the author of evil, and as nothing like the Father of Jesus. Because of his disdain for the material world, Marcion argued that any divine redeemer could not be born of a woman. For this reason, he rejected the story of Jesus’ birth.

Tertullian and Irenaeus Lead the Charge Against Marcion

Marcion’s heresy prompted the church to push back and officially recognize the Old Testament as Scripture. Furthermore, his rejection of the humanity of Jesus energized the church to develop a complete defense of it. Tertullian did exactly this in his work Against Marcion in 207-208. Tertullian saw Marcion’s denial of Christ’s humanity as detrimental to Christianity: “The sufferings of Christ will be found not to warrant faith in him. For he suffered nothing [if he] did not truly suffer; and a phantom could not truly suffer. God’s entire work therefore is subverted. Christ’s death, wherein lies the whole weight and fruit of the Christian name, is denied.” Irenaeus also challenged Marcion, saying,

    He mutilated the Gospel according to Luke, removing all the narratives of the Lord’s birth, and also removing much of the teaching of the discourses of the Lord wherein he is most manifestly described as acknowledging the maker of this universe to be his father. Thus [Marcion] persuaded his disciples that he himself was more trustworthy than the apostles, who handed down the Gospel; though he gave to them not a Gospel but a fragment of a Gospel.

Irenaeus writes, Marcion “says that salvation will be of our souls only, of those souls which have learned his teaching; the body, because… it is taken from the earth, cannot partake in salvation.” While Marcion was excommunicated from the church in Rome in 144, because he was a wealthy man, he was able to establish quite a following through the next several centuries.

Marcion’s Views Alive Today

Marcion is relevant today because some contemporary wacky teachings about Jesus and the Bible are merely a restating of his ancient heresies. In his book The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins writes,

    The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.

This view is quite similar to that of Marcion and still wreaks havoc in the church today. Tertullian was right that if Christ was not truly human then he could not truly suffer, and if he did not truly suffer, then he cannot be the one who has identified with us as fallen human beings, winning our salvation by his atoning death and life-giving resurrection.

Charles Spurgeon: Scripture Is a Lion to be Unleashed

Charles Spurgeon: Scripture Is a Lion to be Unleashed

“Defend the Bible? Would you defend a lion? Loose him; and let him go!” When he spoke of Scripture, Charles Haddon Spurgeon consistently returned to two closely related themes. First, the Bible is the inspired and authoritative Word of God. Second, this inspired Word bears testimony to the Word of God incarnate, Jesus Christ.

Authority and Inspiration

The authority and inspiration of Scripture was especially important to Spurgeon throughout his life. As Lewis Drummond concludes, “Spurgeon realized the ultimate question in all theology has to be the question of authority. Where does one find the source of reliable truth concerning the Christian faith?” (Spurgeon: Prince of Preachers). The answer to this question for Spurgeon was clearly and unequivocally Scripture. Reflecting on Psalm 119, Spurgeon comments: “What is truth? The holy Scriptures are the only answer to that question. Note, that they are not only true, but the truth itself. We may not say of them that they contain the truth, but that they are the truth: ‘thy law is the truth.’ There is nothing false about the law or preceptory part of Scripture. Those who are obedient thereto shall find that they are walking in a way consistent with fact, while those who act contrary thereto are walking in a vain show.” (Treasury of David: Spurgeon’s Classic Work on the Psalms)

Full and Complete Authority

In fact, for Spurgeon, recognition of the full and complete authority of the Bible was essential to theological dialogue. Without this, there is no room for further discussion: “We can be tolerant of divergent opinions, so long as we perceive an honest intent to follow the Statute-book. But if it comes to this, that the Book itself is of small authority to you, then we have no need of further parley: we are in different camps, and the sooner we recognize this, the better for all parties concerned. If we are to have a church of God at all in the land, Scripture must be regarded as holy, and to be had in reverence.” (A Book for Parents and Teachers on the Christian Training of Children)

A Sword in the Hand of the Holy Spirit

For Spurgeon, the authority of the Bible was based on its inspiration. Therefore, this inspired and authoritative book is the Holy Spirit’s tool for accomplishing his work in the believer: “When work is done nowadays, it is, as a rule, badly done. Work done by contract is usually scamped in some part or another; but when a man does a work for himself he is likely to do it thoroughly, and produce an article which he can depend upon. The Holy Ghost has made this Book himself: every portion of it bears his initial and impress; and thus he has a sword worthy of his own hand, a true Jerusalem blade of heavenly fabric. He delights to use a weapon so divinely made, and he does use it right gloriously.” (The Sword of the Spirit)

Unleash the Lion

At the end of the day, Spurgeon was adamant about the authority of the Bible because without it, there is no sure foundation for the church and the gospel. Ultimately, the message of the Bible is Jesus Christ:

Jesus Christ is the Alpha and Omega of the Bible. He is the constant theme of its sacred pages; from first to last they testify of him… The Scriptures are the swaddling bands of the holy child Jesus; unroll them and you find your Saviour. The quintessence of the word of God is Christ (Morning and Evening).

Throughout his ministry, Spurgeon willingly entered controversy only because of his uncompromising commitment to the authority of the Scripture. However, Spurgeon’s aim in such controversy was not a meticulous defense of the Bible’s inspiration and authority. Instead, his aim was simply to “unleash the lion.” For a more in-depth treatment of what the theological giants in the Christian tradition have taught about Scripture, check out Christian Theologies of Scripture. You can also read the introduction online.

Jonathan Edwards: Scripture Points to the Glory of God in Jesus Christ

Jonathan Edwards: Scripture Points to the Glory of God in Jesus Christ

“It seems to me that God would have our whole dependence be upon the Scriptures, because the greater our dependence is on the Word of God, the more direct and immediate is our dependence on God himself. The more absolute and entire our dependence on the Word of God is, the greater respect shall we have to that Word, the more shall we esteem and honor and prize it; and this respect to the Word of God will lead us to have the greater respect to God himself.” (Jonathan Edwards, The Miscellanies)

Although many scholars consider Jonathan Edwards the finest philosophical mind that America has ever produced, Edwards’ primary allegiance was to the God revealed through the Bible, and not philosophy. When one examines the writings of Edwards, every page reflects a mind that was saturated in Scripture. In particular, Edwards viewed of Scripture as accomplishing four tasks:

1. To Correct Errors

First, Scripture is given to correct errors. This correction is especially evident in the ministry of preaching: “One great use of the word of God is correction of errors, with regard to which use ministers are commanded to study it” (Sermons and Discourses).

2. To Interpret Experience and Emotions

However, the Scripture does not simply correct error, but secondly, it teaches how to interpret our experience and even our emotions: “All that can be argued from the purity and perfection of the Word of God, with respect to experiences, is this, that those experiences which are agreeable to the Word of God, are right, and can’t be otherwise; and not that those affections must be right, which arise on occasion of the Word of God, coming to the mind” (Religious Affections).

3. To Redeem Us

Third, the scriptures are God’s tool for redemption: “The written word of God is this main instrument Christ has made use of to carry on his Work of Redemption in all ages since it was given” (A History of the Work of Redemption).

4. To Testify of God’s Glory

Fourth, above all else, Edwards saw the Bible as a testimony to the glory of God in Jesus Christ. “Truly to see the truth of the Word of God, is to see the truth of the gospel; which is the glorious doctrine the Word of God contains, concerning God, and Jesus Christ, and the way of salvation by him, and the world of glory that he is entered into, and purchased for all them who believe; and not a revelation that such and such particular persons are true Christians, and shall go to heaven. Therefore those affections which arise from no other persuasion of the truth of the Word of God than this, arise from delusion, and not true conviction; and consequently are themselves delusive and vain” (Religious Affections).

God’s Glory in Jesus Christ

For Edwards, the center of Scripture was the revelation of God through Jesus Christ. The aim of Scripture is to point us to the glory of God in Jesus Christ and increase our longing to enter into his glory. From beginning to end, the Word of God is sufficient for all things related to life and faith. For Jonathan Edwards, the ultimate aim of such things was to see God’s glory in the face of Jesus Christ. To be continued. For a more in-depth treatment of what the theological giants in the Christian tradition have taught about Scripture, check out Christian Theologies of Scripture. You can also read the introduction online.

John Calvin Says Scripture Is God’s Self-Disclosure

John Calvin Says Scripture Is God’s Self-Disclosure

Interpretation Matters

John Calvin was not only concerned about the authority of Scripture, but also with true interpretation of Scripture and its proper use in the church. To be sure, one must begin with the authority and inspiration of Scripture: “Hence the Scriptures obtain full authority among believers only when men regard them as having sprung from heaven, as if there the living words of God were heard” (Institutes). However, according to Calvin, asserting the authority and inspiration of Scripture is not enough unless interpreters of Scripture, according to their ability, supply weapons to fight against false teachings.

Doctrine and Biblical Languages

Calvin dedicated his life to the restoration of the teaching of Scripture to the church and to the training of future interpreters of Scripture, so that all Christians might be brought to the true knowledge of God and Christ. Therefore, in his pastoral training he insisted that pastors be well grounded in both doctrine and biblical languages. In parallel with the training of pastors, he saw the two key responsibilities of pastors as teaching doctrine through the catechisms and preaching through books of the bible.

Accessibility to the Uneducated

In all of this, Calvin’s aim was to help make the Scriptures accessible to all people. He combined his conviction regarding the divine authority of Scripture with the claim that God’s teaching in Scripture is accommodated to the capacity of the most unlearned of people. He wrote, “All I have had in mind with this is to facilitate the reading of holy Scripture for those who are humble and uneducated” (Preface to Chrysostom’s Homiletics).

The Illumination of the Spirit

However, one cannot accept the Scripture’s author nor interpret it correctly without the illumination of the Holy Spirit: “For as God alone can properly bear witness to his own words, so these words will not obtain full credit in the hearts of men, until they are sealed by the inward testimony of the Spirit. The same Spirit, therefore, who spoke by the mouth of the prophets, must penetrate our hearts, in order to convince us that they faithfully delivered the message with which they were divinely entrusted” (Institutes). Calvin argues that humans can have knowledge of God only because God first condescends and accommodates to human capacity to reveal to humans the truth about God. God takes on human nature and reveals through human words. According to Calvin, the self-disclosure of God is founded in the self-manifestation of God in the person of Jesus Christ and Scripture.

Scriptures Testify to Christ

According to Calvin, once Scripture sets forth the self-disclosure of the Creator, in the works God does in the universe, it passes on to the knowledge of God the Redeemer revealed in the Mediator, Jesus Christ. Christ is visible in both the symbols and shadows in the Law and the clear manifestation of the gospel. While one must avoid the dangers of over-spiritualizing the Old Testament and overemphasizing the differences between Israel and the church, when rightly understood, all the Scriptures testify to the one God and his Mediator, Christ Jesus.

To be continued. For a more in-depth treatment of what the theological giants in the Christian tradition have taught about Scripture, check out Christian Theologies of Scripture. You can also read the introduction online.

Aquinas Says Scripture Foreshadows Christ

Aquinas Says Scripture Foreshadows Christ

Aquinas and the Literal Sense of Scripture

Although often overlooked by Protestants because of his place as the theologian of the Roman Catholic Church, Thomas Aquinas has much to teach us about Scripture. He followed the “four-fold sense” understanding of Scripture, as developed by Origen, but his emphasis was on the literal sense of Scripture. Through his account of the literal sense, Aquinas continually uses Scripture to indicate the abundance of what we are allowed to and called to believe. Scripture is not just something that is “handed over” by tradition, but Scripture itself “hands over” divine revelation to us. Scripture is not just a static repository of propositional truth, but Scripture does something: it reveals truth and it testifies to Christ. In fact, for Aquinas, one cannot discuss Scripture without speaking of Christ, for Scripture is necessarily derived from the revelation of the Incarnate Word. To read Scripture is therefore to witness the revelation of the Word.

Foreshadowing Christ

However, it is not simply from Aquinas’ literal readings of Scripture that we can learn. Lest we dismiss all of his “non-literal” readings as medieval superstitions, observe how Aquinas explains the spiritual sense of how the Old Testament Law is to be read in light of Christ: “The reasons for the ceremonial precepts of the Old Law can be taken in two ways. First, in respect of the Divine worship which was to be observed for that particular time: and these reasons are literal… Secondly, their reasons can be gathered from the point of view of their being ordained to foreshadow Christ: and thus their reasons are figurative and mystical” (Summa Theologica). According to Aquinas, the key point is that Christ is the key to reading Scripture properly.

The Instruction of the Holy Spirit

Scripture is living and active for Aquinas—it “passes on” that knowledge of God that is true wisdom, and in doing so “hands over” the reader of Scripture to the instruction of the Holy Spirit. To follow Aquinas as a reader of Scripture is to confess that we are not the masters of truth, and that we must give ourselves over to the revelation of God in Jesus and God’s knowledge in Scripture.

To be continued. For a more in-depth treatment of what the theological giants in the Christian tradition have taught about Scripture, check out Christian Theologies of Scripture. You can also read the introduction online.

Martin Luther Says Scripture Is All About Christ

Martin Luther Says Scripture Is All About Christ

The Certainty of Scripture

Caught up in the heat of controversy, Martin Luther reached the revolutionary conclusion that when the conflicting pronouncements of popes and councils threaten to leave the believer uncertain, the Scriptures alone speak with certainty and bind the consciences of the faithful in obedience to the Word of God. This certainty is grounded in the Scripture’s testimony to the gospel of Jesus Christ. As Luther understood it, the Bible as a whole is about Christ. Its purpose is to impart the knowledge of the triune God that has been given in the reality of Christ.

A Wondrous Exchange

Luther had found the Word of God’s grace in the promises of Christ given in the gospel. The Word of God promises us Christ as a sheer unmerited gift. Therefore, faith in the Word of God’s promise unites believers with Christ and affects a “wondrous exchange,” in which what belongs to Christ is made the possession of every believer and what belongs to each of us as members of the fallen human race is imposed on Christ, made his, and judged in his death on the cross. On this central theme in Scripture, Luther wrote:

    “Christ would indicate the principal reason why the Scripture was given by God. Men are to study and search in it and to learn that he, Mary’s Son, is the one who is able to give eternal life to all who come to him and believe in him.
    Therefore, he who would correctly and profitably reads Scripture should see to it that he finds Christ in it; then he finds life eternal without fail. On the other hand, if I do not so study and understand Moses and the prophets as to find that Christ came from heaven for the sake of my salvation, became man, suffered, died, was buried, rose, and ascended into heaven so that through him I enjoy reconciliation with God, forgiveness of all my sins, grace, righteousness, and life eternal, then my reading in Scripture is of no help whatsoever to my salvation.
    I may, of course, become a learned man by reading and studying Scripture and preach what I have acquired; yet all this would do me no good whatever” (Luther’s Works, Weimar Edition).

Practical Wisdom

For Luther, Scripture was a source not only of theological truth, but also of practical wisdom for facing all the challenges of life. The reality of the Christian experience of testing leads full circle, pointing the believer back to the biblical text where one prays again for the illumination of the Spirit, and attempts to understand the text anew.

Nothing Less Than Christ

The purpose of the Scriptures as a whole is to witness to Christ, who is apprehended in faith. What counts in biblical interpretation, the substance of the matter for which the best expositors must always seek, is nothing less than Christ. “Whatever promotes Christ,” Luther insists, is the Word of God to be sought and found in Holy Scripture. For Luther, Christ is the essential content of Scripture, that to which the Scriptures as a whole direct our attention for the purpose of salvation. “Take Christ from the Scriptures,” he demands rhetorically, “and what else will you find in them?”

To be continued. For a more in-depth treatment of what the theological giants in the Christian tradition have taught about Scripture, check out Christian Theologies of Scripture. You can also read the introduction online.

The Purpose of Scripture Is to See Christ—Augustine

The Purpose of Scripture Is to See Christ—Augustine

God-Inspired Through Human Beings

For Augustine, the words of Scripture have a divine authority, integrally linked with the authority of the eternal Word of God. God has revealed himself to us in the words of Scripture which are the God-inspired words of mortal beings: “All those matters could have been done by angels, but the human condition would have been degraded if God would not seem to want to minister his own words to human beings through human beings” (On Christian Doctrine).

The Word in Flesh

The center of Augustine’s doctrine of Scripture is the incarnate Word. Augustine sets his theology of Scripture within the broader spectrum of the theology of salvation: “To enlighten us and enable us, the whole temporal dispensation was set up for our salvation.” Augustine had insisted that the ministry of Scripture is adjusted to the human condition: “Notice how although the Truth itself and the Word by which all things were made became flesh so that it could live among us, the apostle says: ‘And if we knew Christ according to the flesh, we do not know him in the same way now.’” Augustine’s doctrine of Scripture is determined by his decades-long contemplation of the eternal Word of God, incarnate in human history, assuming the lowliness of the human condition, at once our Way, our Truth and our Life.

Linked Together

The Word Incarnate and the words of Scripture are properly conditioned to our human time-bound existence and thus bind together the ministry of the Incarnate Word and the ministry of the words of Scripture. Thus the authority of Scripture is integrally linked with the ministry of Scripture, which in turn is linked with the ministry of the Word Incarnate. In his reflection on Psalm 99, Augustine writes: “Our whole purpose when we hear the Psalms, the Prophets, and the Law is to see Christ there, to understand Christ there.”

Interpreting Himself

In his study of Augustine as a biblical interpreter, Charles Kannengiesser notes: “In analyzing Augustine’s place in the long line of biblical interpreters, it must be noted that the Bible helped Augustine to interpret himself as much as he became an interpreter of the Bible” (Historical Handbook of Major Biblical Interpreters).

To be continued. For a more in-depth treatment of what the theological giants in the Christian tradition have taught about Scripture, check out Christian Theologies of Scripture. You can also read the introduction online.

What Is Scripture? Theological Giants Weigh In

What Is Scripture? Theological Giants Weigh In

What is Scripture? The good news is that we are not the first to try to answer this question. In fact, 2,000 years of Christian history provide us a tradition of helpful answers.

Trustworthy and Authoritative

The Bible is inspired by God and does not misrepresent the facts. It is entirely trustworthy and is the final authority in everything it teaches. The Bible records the drama of redemption in both the history of Israel and the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. As Christians we acknowledge both Jesus (John 1:1-4) and Scripture (2 Timothy 3:16-17) as the “Word of God.” Christians should not focus solely on Christ and treat Scripture just like any other “classic text.” Nor should we focus so much on the Bible as God’s divine inerrant word and treat Jesus as simply a character in a small part of the texts.

Scripture Reveals Jesus

Jesus is the message—God participating in human life, coming near to us, bringing his good news, expressing God’s love for us, dying as our substitute, rising as the victor over death, and building his church as a community of grace. Jesus is not just the main person in one of many events in the story of God’s people. Jesus is the final revelation of God’s drama of redemption. Humanity sees God in full light in Jesus. Jesus is God’s ultimate word about human life and the Bible is God’s word about God’s self-revelation through human life. This is what Christian theologians have been saying in various ways for 2,000 years (Christian Theologies of Scripture). In answering the question—“What is Scripture?”—Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, Calvin, Spurgeon, and Edwards have given us categories to use, concepts to ponder, and doctrines of Scripture that we should continue. As we survey some of the major theologians in Christian history in the next series of posts, notice how much they refer to Jesus when explaining their theology of Scripture. Their doctrines of Scripture are surprisingly Christ-centered.

Further Studies

For more study about Scripture—what is it and how we got it—check out these books:

To be continued.