We believe that the Bible is the verbally inspired word of God, and is the final authority in all spiritual matters (2 Tim. 3:16-17).
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works (2 Tim. 3:16, 17).
This statement affirms two biblical facts. One, that the Bible, all of it, is verbally, in its very words, inspired of God. The passage provided states this very clearly. “All scripture,” we cannot pick and choose what parts of the Bible we are going to believe or accept as being from God and which parts we deny to be from God. We must accept that all of it, “all Scripture,” is from God. The term, “given by inspiration of God” comes from a single Greek word meaning “breathed out by God.” So, according to 2 Timothy 3:16, 17, every word of the Bible was “breathed out by God.”
1 Corinthians 2:13 teaches the same thing when it says:
Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
Paul says that the things he, and the other apostles, was teaching came not from his own wisdom, or any “man’s wisdom,” but from the Holy Spirit of God. The very words themselves were words given by the Holy Spirit.
The term we use to define the biblical doctrine of inspiration is “verbal plenary inspiration.” “Verbal” means that the very words of the Bible themselves are given by God.
Some believe that the “ideas” contained in the Bible is what is inspired by God but they think that God left the wording of those ideas up to the men who wrote them down. Paul says that the very words themselves were given by God. If the wording of inspired ideas were left up to the men who wrote them then those men might have made mistakes in their attempt to translate the ideas into their own words. The only way we could have an infallible word from God is if he gave the words themselves. Paul says that is exactly what he did.
There are those who believe that some parts of the Bible are given by God but others are not. However, Paul says that “all Scripture” is given by God. If only portions of the Bible are inspired by God then which parts are they? Who decides which parts are inspired and which parts are not? It basically becomes an individual prerogative to either accept or reject any given part of the Bible as being inspired, i.e. from God, based on their own prejudices. The only way we can truly be obedient to God is to accept all of the Bible as inspired. It is not up to any man to decide which parts are inspired and which parts are not. We must appreciate all of it, plenarily, as being inspired by God. Plenary means, absolute and complete. So, we understand that the very words of the Bible, absolutely and completely, are the inspired word of God.
Some believe that the Bible is “inspired” as a great work of literature but they do not associate any supernatural significance to that word. They view the Bible the same way others may view the great works of Shakespeare. That is, “inspired” in its literary value. The word “inspired” carries no idea of supernatural origin in such thinking. However, when the Bible uses that word, “inspired,” it means “breathed out by God.” That is, the words originated with God, not man.
The Bawcomville Church of Christ holds to this view of biblical inspiration because it is what the Bible teaches. Holding to, and standing on, the truth of verbal plenary inspiration means that this congregation appeals to the Bible, and nothing else, for its authority in spiritual matters. Which brings us to the second point of the statement.
The Bible is the final authority in all spiritual matters.
There are several passages that assert this truth. Notice:
Col. 3:17, And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.
“In the name of” means “by the authority of.” Paul wrote that we must have the authority of Christ for whatever we do. Jesus has all authority in heaven and in earth! (Matt. 28:18, 19). The authority of Christ is in his word (Col. 3:16; 1 Tim. 6:3-5).
John 17:17, Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
The only way to be sanctified to God is through obedience to the word of Christ (1 Cor. 6:11; 1 Pet 1:23; James 1:18).
The only way we can worship and work as the church of Christ in a manner approved of God is to do it by the authority of God’s word, the Bible. Everything we do as the church must be based on biblical authority. If we cannot establish biblical authority for any given activity then we must give up that activity. This point of the Bawcomville Church of Christ Doctrinal Statement resolves that we will do just that. We will either be able to establish biblical authority for what we do or we will give up whatever activity cannot be established from biblical authority.
1 Thess. 5:9, Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
1 John 4:1, Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
2 Cor. 5:7, For we walk by faith, not by sight
Rom. 10:17, So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
How is it that we “prove all things”? How is it that we “try the spirits”? How is it that we “walk by faith”? Faith comes by hearing the “the word of God.” The one and only way that we can claim to be the New Testament church is to abide in the word of Christ (John 15:1-4), who purchased the church with his own blood (Acts 2:38).
What a great place to start the doctrinal statement for this congregation! It basically says that everything to follow will be completely and totally based on the Word of God. All of the issues to be addressed, where they are doctrinal in nature, we be established by appealing to the Bible and only to the Bible. Amen!