The following post is written by our Executive Vice President of Field Ministries and is the first post in a series on East-West’s Statement of Faith.
This is the first of 16 things we profess to believe as an organization. Of all the things to believe as a Christ-centered organization, you may be wondering why believing the Bible is of most importance. And to that question, we would say that without a firm belief in the Word of God, our faith and mission have nothing firm to stand on.
Today, it’s our privilege to share more about why we believe in the Bible as we breakdown each element of this statement of faith.
We are “believers,” which means we believe the unseen and expect the not-yet based on solid evidence. To have faith is not a crazy, mindless, hope-against-hope, leap in the dark against the evidence or without evidence. Faith is a belief that something is true and based on evidence.
Here are a few examples of evidence that support what we believe about the Bible:
- What God says about His Book.
- The internal unity of the Book and Books. Despite being written over the course of 1,400 years, by more than 40 authors, on 3 different continents, and in 3 different languages, there is unity in what the Bible says from Genesis to Revelation.
- The lives changed by the Bible over the millennia.
- The endurance of the Bible despite endless attempts to eliminate it.
- The historical and archeological support of the Bible.
The word “bible” initially meant book or scroll and it came to be used for The Holy Book. There are 66 books of the biblical Canon—39 in the Old Testament and 27 in the New Testament.
“Canon” is a word that originally meant “rule” or “standard.” When we apply this definition to the Bible, it means that all the 66 books included measured up to the standard of being divinely inspired.
For a book of the New Testament to be recognized as part of the Canon it must …
- Have been written by an apostle or a close associate of an apostle
- Have been in wide usage in the New Testament Church
- Be without internal contradictions
- Be without contradictions with the other recognized books
- Contain no doctrinal errors
The Books of the Canon that we recognize today as the Bible were recognized together for the first time at the Council of Carthage in AD 397.
Infallible and Inerrant
To be infallible means to be reliable and trustworthy. In other words, the Bible does not fail us. It is without defect and we can trust that the teachings of the Bible will not lead us astray.
“Jesus answered, ‘It is written: “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”’” –Matthew 4:4
To be inerrant means to be without error. In reference to our belief in the inerrancy of Bible, we mean that the “original documents”—the actual first book that a Bible author wrote—are without error.
“Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.” –John 17:17
In the kindness of God, the Bible was not only delivered without error, it has been marvelously and miraculously transmitted down through the millennia in wonderful integrity over the course of 3,400 years.
Authoritative Word of God
When we say the Bible is authoritative, we are professing that it has authority in our lives because it is the very Word of God and reflects the will of God for His people. As believers in the work of Christ and the authority of Scripture, we are required to submit to what the Text says.
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” -2 Timothy 3:16-17
Because the Bible is the very Word of God, we learn that God is an accurate, compelling, incessant, and incurable Communicator.
He has spoken to man in creation, visible manifestation of God, prophets, the written Word, the sacrificial system, the Old Testament types, the still small voice of the Spirit, and—most importantly—His Incarnate Word … Jesus Christ.
“God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.” -Hebrews 1:1-3
We believe the Bible to be fully inspired, infallible, inerrant and authoritative.