The Center of Our Knowing
For believers in Yeshua, once we come to faith in Him, the center of our knowing what we know, is the Bible. The Bible is our fully trustworthy revelation. The words infallibility and inerrancy are used as synonyms for fully trustworthy. When the Bible is rightly interpreted, it gives us true truth about God, creation, sin, salvation, morality, ethics, sexual relationships and so much more. The Bible provides us with a comprehensive world view. If we accept the Bible as inerrant, then we accept what the Bible says about every subject on which it speaks. We cannot explain away Biblical teaching as passe. Nor can we claim new revelation from the Spirit for new and authoritative doctrine. The Spirit can reveal the meaning of the text, but only the Bible gives us the teaching that we are required to believe. That revelation has to be proven in the context of the Bible’s own presentation.
Believing the Bible in this way produces enormous security. The best teacher I ever heard on this subject was the late Dr. Kenneth Kantzer. Here is the basic thrust of what I learned and still believe.
- The basis of the doctrine of full Biblical trustworthiness is the teaching of Yeshua himself. Whenever Yeshua quoted Scripture, it settled the argument. For Yeshua, “Scripture says”, “Moses says” and “God says” are all equivalent. He explicitly tells us that “the Scriptures cannot be broken” (John 10:35). In Matthew 5:17-19, Yeshua assures us of the lasting full authority of the Torah.
- II Timothy 3:16 is a most important verse and summarizes the teaching of Yeshua and the apostles, “All Scripture is given by the inspiration of God (God breathed) and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof and for instruction.”
The Bible does have to be interpreted. The claim of inerrancy is that every text speaks the truth according to what the text is claiming to teach. The text is usually interpreted according to what the author is intending to say. This is the human author and God working together since both are involved. The very words of the text are inspired since only words can make the point of the text – this was classically called verbal inspiration. That the whole Bible is inspired is called plenary inspiration.
This does not mean that all the texts of the Bible are equally inspiring. Numbers’ genealogies anyone? Inspiration does not mean that the Bible is always speaking with scientific accuracy, (though if the Biblical author is claiming to teach something scientific, it is accurate).
What we hold to as trustworthy is the teaching assertion of the author.
Finally, educated Bible believers affirm progressive revelation. God did accommodate the weakness of the generation that was given the Torah. Yeshua taught that divorce and no doubt other stipulations, were accommodations to that age. However, when we study an ethical principle from the Torah, in its applications in the prophets and then in the New Covenant Scriptures, then we do get the full understanding of the ideal in the heart of God. God gave commands to ancient Israel that would not be given in the New Covenant age. Yes, we understand God and His revelation much better now that we have the New Covenant Scriptures and its teaching on forgiveness, the love of enemies and so much more. However, the inspiration of the whole Bible is the bedrock doctrine for deciding what we must believe and do.