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Because of the phenomenon of Scripture (the fact that Scripture is revealed Truth), Scripture must be the starting point for man, the starting point in every area of life. The starting point is not dogma, reason, or experience, but the Word of God. Because of its essential character, if man is to know Truth, he must begin with Scripture; and to begin with Scripture is to begin with God. And in Scripture man finds Truth, the Truth of God, Truth from Him who is Truth. With this perspective in mind consider three thoughts:

One, all of man’s reasoning and pronouncements must be predicated upon revealed Truth or they will ultimately be proven to be invalid and, therefore, impractical. Apart from Truth man does not know God, does not know himself, does not know his predicament, does not know his world, and does not know his hope. The proper understanding of existence demands that man must begin with revealed Truth; and then man moves from the Scriptures to life, not from life to the Scriptures.

Man begins with Scripture not only in order that he may know Truth but also that he may have the proper perspective by which to evaluate all other reality. An acceptance of the phenomenon of Scripture necessitates the acceptance of the parameters established by Scripture, such as: God, creation, sin, and redemption. Truth embraces these concepts; in fact, these realities must be accepted before man’s perception of existence can be valid (see: Significance of Truth).

In an age which bows to the god of science, the Bible is the lone prophet calling the false worshipers to repentance. The scientist is not to interpret nature, with the theologian left to interpret Scripture. These two fields and all other fields must be integrated, and there cannot be two points of authority. One establishes the parameters for the other, and Scripture does the establishing. Biblical Truth provides the guidelines for evaluating the data science discovers. The believer’s faith is in the Truth of Scripture, not in a Scripture explained, conditioned, and interpreted in light of the latest scientific theory. Scientific data must be interpreted so that it conforms to Scripture, not Scripture to science. In every intellectual and moral endeavor the starting point is God and His revealed Truth.

Two, because Scripture is Truth whatever it teaches must be accepted. The Bible is not the word of man but the Word of God. God has spoken and what He has spoken must be believed. Where the Scriptures speak, man does not have the privilege of discussion, debate, or argument; he must submit. From the Scriptures we are instructed in doctrine, morals, and practices. Proper information concerning God, man, sin, and salvation is found in the Canon. Instructions concerning proper behavior are found; man is told what is right and wrong. Guidelines for the family, church, finances, relationships, and many other areas are given. To all of this teaching the proper response is one of acceptance. The teaching is accepted because it is Truth. The Truth is the starting point.

Three, because of the Truth that characterizes the Scriptures the Scriptures themselves sre the only source by which to determine finally what is normative for belief. Theological formulation must be evaluated by some standard which has absolute integrity, and the initial and final standard for the falsity or truthfulness of statements which claim to be true to Scripture is Scripture. Interpretations of Scripture, therefore, must constantly be scrutinized by the Scriptures. Scripture is judged by no other writings, whereas all other writings are to be judged by Holy Writ.

In a sense Truth is to be equated with the words God gave. He spoke and men wrote. There was a verbal Revelation that resulted in a verbal text. So in one sense Truth is synonymous with the revealed words. But in another sense the Truth is not tied to the specific words. In a broader sense Truth is that which God intends us to learn from Scripture; Truth transcends the literal words. Verses may be, and are, translated differently in various versions; but the Truth can be learned from any of the translations.

For instance, Paul used the phrase, mā gnoito, several times. A literal translation yields: “May it not be” or “May it never be” (NASV). Other less literal possibilities are: “God forbid” (KJV); “Of course not” (Phillips); “By no means” (RSV, NIV, Goodspeed); “Not at all” (Williams); “Certainly not” (NKJV, NEB); “Perish the thought” (Lenski); “Absolutely not” (CSB); and “Let it not be” (Godet).

One may be more true to the original than others, but the slight variations do not matter. The Truth taught is not dependent upon the choice of a specific word but is dependent upon comprehension of what is said. In reference to the phrase Paul is saying that the point just made in the previous text is unthinkable; it is a means of “expressing denial and abhorrence” (Hodge, Romans, 192).

Truth is related to the specific words but also to how the specific words are related to and understood in light of the immediate context and in light of the larger context, the entire Canon. Knowledge of God is dependent upon a verbal Revelation and upon a comprehension of the total Revelation. Truth is attained when there is an understanding of what the specific words teach.

The starting point is God and His Word.

In the beginning God . . .
Gen. 1:1

(See: Foundations, Approach, Methodology, and Significance of Truth)

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