The Westminster Confession of Faith was written in the 17th century to provide the Church of England with guidance regarding doctrine and practice within the local church and within the families of the local church. It remains a seminal document that present day evangelicalism ignores to its own detriment. Within the first paragraph of that document we can find four biblical reasons for the necessity of the Bible.
1. The Bible is necessary to find salvation. The Apostle Paul explains in his letter to the church in Rome that creation is not enough.
19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
Creation is enough to give each human being knowledge that there is a Creator who is powerful, eternal and, in no uncertain terms, other than we are. Knowing this, creation makes us accountable to the One who created us. We should seek Him to find Him, but we do not.
The good news is that God seeks us instead. This is the first reason the Bible exists and is necessary — so that we might understand how God brings us into a relationship with Himself. To enter into a relationship with the living God, we need the gospel, the message of how Christ has secured our salvation through His life, death and resurrection.
1 Corinthians 1:21
21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe.
2 Timothy 3:15
15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
Once we enter into a relationship with God through Christ (as proclaimed in the entire Bible), we want to know how to grow in that relationship.
2. The Bible is necessary to know God.
3 And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.
In almost every letter the Apostle Paul writes, he mentions growing in our knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. The more we grow in our understanding of the gospel, the deeper we grow in our relationship with God and the more certain we grow concerning the truth of the gospel.
3 it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4 that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught.
And getting to know God through the Bible is how we get to know the will of God.
3. The Bible is necessary to know God’s will.
36 For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.
The writer of the book of Hebrews makes it clear that we can know the will of God and follow it. For far too many Christians, the will of God is something they turn inward for, looking for some mystical internal feeling, which is following by feeling, rather than understanding. God wants us to know His will, not blindly feel for it.
We don’t serve a God who hides His will from us, like searching for the will of God is a lifelong Easter egg hunt. God has told us simply what His will for us is —
1 Thessalonians 4:3
3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification.
He wants you to grow up to be more like His Son. That’s called sanctification, which is the process of cooperating with the Holy Spirit as we strive for holiness, which is becoming more like Christ. And God has given us lifelong guides both externally and internally, the Holy Spirit within to shine the light of His external word into our hearts and minds.
105 Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light to my path.
Now, what you do for a living, who you marry, where you live, etc. — you’re free to decide. As long as your choices don’t go against God’s revealed moral will (found in the Bible), you’re free to choose. In all these and many other choices, if you’re happy, He’s happy. Now, isn’t that better news than looking inward and questioning and wondering and worrying if you “heard” (felt) right?
4. Finally, the Bible is necessary for spreading truth.
38 and you do not have his word abiding in you, for you do not believe the one whom he has sent. 39 You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.
Jesus Christ said He is the Truth and He is the Way to know the Truth and in knowing the Truth you will know life the way God intended it to be known — in a conscious relationship with Him through the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit within you.
This is the work of the cross of Christ, to restore everything that was lost. Everything, which includes not only our relationship with God, but the curse upon our bodies (death) and this world (decay). One day Christ will restore both. We will have resurrected bodies like His and this world will be restored. Eden will be resurrected. The Tree of Life will be available forever once again.
Well, that’s what the Bible says anyway.
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