Intro: This series of blogposts is my self-motivation to stick to my 2016 resolution of finishing a systematic theology this year. The plan is to read, and blog about, one chapter every fortnight.
Chapter Two: The Inspired Nature of Holy Scripture
Scripture is the word of God. That has always seemed to me like the bedrock of the Christian faith, even during my conversion/baptism years. Later, I learnt that being an ‘evangelical’ included believing in the authority of Scripture, and was quite stunned that there were Protestants who weren’t evangelical.
My previous naivete aside, the focus of the chapter is exactly that: Scripture is the word of God. There are plenty of helpful parts, like Reymond quoting Warfield* in response to the common objection that, since the word passes through fallible human beings, it is bound to lose some of its shine:
As light that passes through the coloured glass of a cathedral window, we are told, is light from heaven, but is stained by the tints of the glass through which it passes; so any word of God which is passed through the mind and soul of a man must come out discoloured by the personality through which it is given, and just to that degree ceases to be the pure word of God.
But what if this personality has itself been formed by God into precisely the personality it is, for the express purpose of communicating to the word given through it just the colouring which it gives? What if the colours of the stained-glass window have been designed by the architect for the express purpose of giving to the light that floods the cathedral precisely the tone and quality it receives from them?
What if the Word of God that comes to His people is framed by God into the word of God it is, precisely by means of the qualities of the men formed by Him for the purpose, through which it is given?
He also uses Habakkuk 2:2–3 to understand the nature of biblical prophecy, and has a commonsense response to Walter C. Kaiser Jr. (who argues that we should read Scripture without employing a later passage to interpret or apply it.)
That said, I find myself most appreciative of the text when there are little paragraphs, subtly woven in, explaining how this truth affects us:
Just as God’s breath (his word) created all the host of heaven (Ps 33:6), just as his breath gave physical life to Adam and to all mankind (Gen 2:7; Job 33:4), just as his breath gave spiritual life to Israel, the “valley of dry bones” (Ezek. 37:14), so also his powerful, creative breath, in its word form, is living and active (Heb 4:12), imperishable and abiding (1 Pet 1:23), and through it God’s Spirit imparts new life to the soul.
Why does it matter that the Word is breathed out by God, per 2 Tim 3:16? Because it’s how God gives us new life. Hallelujah! (: