Here are three ideas to think about as you proceed in your reading of the text of Scripture. They are simple statements that are open to a wide range of conversation. I invite you to make comments about these little vignettes as well as about the text your are reading.
- Scripture is authoritative
- Scripture without any additives (i.e., chapter and verse marketings, charts and graphs, short bios, commentary, etc., as the Story of God, is the primary source for learning how to live our lives during this Present Evil Age
- Our beliefs and practice should come from this Story and not another story.
A Working Definition
Dr. George Ladd defines Scripture as the word of God written in the words of men. This definition means that Scripture is written in the words of men and is at the same time the word of God, which by the way was not written in English, The Bible should primarily be seen in the acts of God which he performed on behalf of his children, rather than a group of small aphorisms to be quoted to prove a point. Scripture is the story of God’s faithfulness to the salvation history of his chosen people, Israel in the Old Testament and the church in the New Testament. Thus, when we become familiar with how God has acted in faithfulness, we will have a firm foundation in God and his faithfulness to act in our own scenes of the story.
“We might with thinking about the Bible as a book that demonstrates how God has acted in relationship with his people. According to Dr. George Ladd, the late Professor of New Testament Exegesis and Theology at Fuller Seminary, Scripture is the word of God written in the words of men.” 1 God has delivered these acts and words in a variety of literary forms, among them narrative. According to Fee and Stuart, narrative or story comprises about forty percent of the Old Testament. 2 Narrative is the primary genre of the Gospels, 3 and an underlying substructure of the writings of Paul according to Richard Hays 4
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- Winn Griffin, God’s EPIC Adventure. (Woodinville, WA: Harmon Press. 2007-2014) 19. 5See also: George E. Ladd, New Testament and Criticism (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1966), 12. The biblical mode of revelation is the revealing acts of God in history, accompanied by the interpreting prophetic word that explains the divine source and character of the divine acts. Acts and words; God acts and God speaks; and the words explain the deeds. The deeds cannot be understood unless they are accompanied by the divine word. The word would be powerless unless accompanied by the mighty acts of God. Scripture is words-works revelation. For him acts and words are an inseparable unity. God both acts and interprets the meaning of his acts. Scripture is the works and words of God. This is a key concept for understanding Scripture. For us to understand the faithfulness of God, we need to become familiar with how God has acted in faithfulness to his children and what he says those acts mean. Christ’s death is the act of God. Christ died for us while we were sinners is his word of explanation for us. 27. ↩
- Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart, How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth. Third Edition (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 2003), 89 ↩
- Ibid., 127. ↩
- Richard B. Hays, Echoes of Scripture in the Letters of Paul (New Haven, CT: Yale UP, 1989), xxiv-xxv. ↩