The doctrinal study of the Scriptures is termed “Bibliology,” from the Gk. biblos, “book,” which is the first word in the Greek New Testament. In this day, when the Scriptures are assailed as to their Divine inspiration and authority, it must be understood that the Bible is our only objective truth; everything else is subjective and subject to misunderstanding or change.
Quest. 7: What is the Bible?
Ans: The Bible is the special revelation of God to man in written form.
2 Tim. 3:16–17. 16All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. 17That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
See also: Ex. 17:14; 24:12; 31:18; Lk. 24:25–27, 45–47; Jn. 5:45–47; Heb. 1:1–3; 2 Pet. 1:20–21; 3:15–16.
The word “Bible” derives from the Gk. word for “book.” It occurs as the first word of the Greek New Testament: “The book [biblos] of the generation of Jesus Christ...” (Matt. 1:1). It is from this occurrence that we have our English word “Bible,” which now refers to all of the written Word of God. The Bible is both a book and a library of sixty–six books which comprise the canon of Scripture. The Scriptures form a unified, non–contradictory [coherent] whole as the very Word of the living God inscripturated [preserved in written form].
The Bible is also known as “Scripture,” or “The Scriptures.” The word means “writings” [Gk. graphai] and refers especially to the Word of God in written form—the Word of God inscripturated and preserved for us. The formula found seventy–one times in the New Testament, “It is written,” means that it stands written with full and undiminishing authority.
The Christian life is comprised of two aspects, objective and subjective. The objective is revealed in the truth of Scripture as the standard of belief and conduct; the subjective aspect is our personal experience, which ought to derive from and reflect the objective aspect. Apart from Scripture, we would be left entirely with the subjective aspect. All would necessarily become relativistic (no final, authoritative word, except the strength of individual experience), empirical (all judgment would be based on experience alone), existential (completely subjective and tending toward irrationalism or emotionalism) and pragmatic (whatever seemed to work best would be right). Thus, the most emotional or mystical would be the most spiritual, and the strongest or most persistent personalities would determine the direction of Christianity. The only safeguard for such deviations is the inscripturated Word of God rightly understood and correctly interpreted (Psa. 119:105; Isa. 8:20; Jn. 17:17; 2 Tim. 2:15).
The end of all Bible study is doctrinal truth. One simply does not know the Scriptures until he consistently arrives at their doctrinal teaching, and conversely, no one knows Christian Doctrine as he should, unless he understands it biblically. It is the doctrinal teaching of Scripture that is to govern our thinking, guide our lives and rule over our emotions.
Some might object to an “intellectual” Christianity, preferring a more simplistic or “devotional” approach, not realizing that the devotional—if legitimate at all—must derive from the doctrinal, and the doctrinal from the hermeneutical, and the hermeneutical from the exegetical [exact reading of the text]. Many seem to want a “heart” and not a “head” religion, which often becomes a misplaced zeal without adequate knowledge. Irrationality is not spirituality, nor is feeling the proper basis for faith or practice. We must understand that ignorance of Divine truth, religious irrationalism, and an aversion to doctrine, serious study and learning, are neither Christian virtues nor characteristics to be emulated.
As God made man with both a heart and a brain, and made him upright with his brain above his heart, we prefer a necessary balance as reflecting the Divine design. Emotions are to be responsive to Divine truth, never causative. Did not the Apostle Paul write to one of his most beloved churches, “And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all discernment, in order that ye may approve on examination things which differ…” (Phil. 1:9–10) And to another assembly: “I….cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him…” (Eph. 1:15–17). And did not the Apostle Peter close his last epistle with the words, “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ…” (2 Pet. 3:18)?
Why study the Bible? The following are the main correct reasons: to glorify God, to commune with Christ, to know the will of God, to be obedient to God, to grow toward spiritual maturity, to further our sanctification, to prepare for the ministry of the Word, to understand the purpose and retain the purity of the church, to edify others, to evangelize the unconverted, to intelligently defend the faith and to prepare for eternity. Are you a lover and student of the Bible?
By Dr. W.R. Downing