What We Teach about the Bible

This article explains what we teach about the inspiration, canonization, preservation and translation of the Bible.

We teach that the sixty-six canonical books of the Bible, as originally given, are inerrant in all that they affirm and are the final authority for the church in all matters of faith and practice.

Throughout history, God inspired His prophets to write His message for humanity. In some cases, God dictated what was written; in other cases, He guided the authors and editors so the result was exactly what God wanted. Paul said, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (2Tim 3:16-17 ESV).

Over the centuries, God’s people carefully tested and accepted only sixty-six books as genuinely inspired Scripture; they also rejected many other books because they were not written by God’s prophets or they contained errors (i.e., the Apocrypha and the Pseudepigrapha).

God gave 39 books to the Jewish people, which includes:

Genesis

1 Kings

Ecclesiastes

Obadiah

Exodus

2 Kings

Song of Solomon

Jonah

Leviticus

1 Chronicles

Isaiah

Micah

Numbers

2 Chronicles

Jeremiah

Nahum

Deuteronomy

Ezra

Lamentations

Habakkuk

Joshua

Nehemiah

Ezekiel

Zephaniah

Judges

Esther

Daniel

Haggai

Ruth

Job

Hosea

Zechariah

1 Samuel

Psalms

Joel

Malachi

2 Samuel

Proverbs

Amos

 

He gave an additional 27 books to the Christian church: 

Matthew

Ephesians

Hebrews

Mark

Philippians

James

Luke

Colossians

1 Peter

John

1 Thessalonians

2 Peter

Acts of the Apostles

2 Thessalonians

1 John

Romans

1 Timothy

2 John

1 Corinthians

2 Timothy

3 John

2 Corinthians

Titus

Jude

Galatians

Philemon

Revelation

The Holy Bible is God’s Word, and since God is all knowing and can’t lie, the Bible is inerrant in everything that it teaches. In John 10:35, Jesus said that “Scripture cannot be broken” (ESV). In other words, no one can ever prove that the Bible is wrong. People may not like what the Bible teaches, they may reject what it says, or they may misinterpret Scripture, but they can’t prove that the Bible isn’t true.

However, only the original parchment or papyrus scrolls that God’s prophets used to write the Bible were free from error, not the copies or the translations that were made from them. The original books of the Bible decayed and turned to dust long ago, but God made sure that a succession of devout scribes faithfully copied and re-copied these books over the centuries.

Modern scholars have thousands of ancient Hebrew and Greek manuscripts that they can study; although these manuscripts do have variations and copying errors, they are rare and usually easy to correct. Most involve minor variations in spelling or word order, which do not affect the meaning of a passage. In some cases, scholars have two possible readings that are equally possible, but this is not a serious problem because we know that one of them must be the original reading, and no doctrine of the Bible is ever based on a single passage of Scripture.

So, we can be confident that our modern Bible is God’s message for humanity; it is God’s textbook for how we should live and what we should believe. In Matt 4:4, Jesus affirmed the central role of the Bible for God’s people when He said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (ESV). Human reason, personal experience, science and philosophy may provide useful information about many different issues, but the Bible alone is the final authority for the church in all matters of faith and practice.

 

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Didactic Ministries

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