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Theology > Jesus > Introductory Considerations > Purpose of Scripture


The purpose of Scripture is to reveal who God is and what He is doing in and through His creation and salvation of man. Scripture is the Revelation of God’s sovereign acts in history, acts that sustain man in his existence, redeem him from the curse of sin, and ultimately conclude all things according to His purpose. God is revealed through the historical record of what He has said and done, coupled with His interpretation of His deeds and words. The Bible is God’s Word regarding Himself.

The Scriptures teach Christ; they bring the unbeliever to Christ and then communicate the sufficiency of Christ to the individual. Jesus affirmed: “You search the Scriptures . . . and it is they that bear witness about Me” (Jo. 5:39). In the Old Testament we read of the anticipation of the Christ, while in the New Testament we are informed of His accomplishments.

Additionally Scripture is designed to draw the reader into the flow of what God is doing in and through the person and work of Christ. Scripture is living and communicates life, creating spiritual life in the one who is spiritually dead. The purpose is to confront man with God and in the confrontation to establish an ongoing relationship between God and man through the adequacy of Christ (see: Double Confrontation). The relationship is living and developing, initially in time but continuing in eternity; and the catalyst for the relationship is the Word of God.

In one sense the Word is about Truth, propositional Truth; but in another sense the Revelation is about the life that flows from the Truth. The Scriptures are not an end in themselves but are a living reality that contain life and create life (see: Spiritual Life). But these two concepts are not in opposition to each other, rather it is through their integration that grace is manifest: the propositional is the basis for the experiential (see: Information or Transformation). Understood in this manner the Scriptures are a dynamic reality and not a static and semi-closed ancient document that must simply be believed intellectually.

Factual statements, or propositional statements, are not to be affirmed as the sole object of faith; in fact, faith is not faith in something but faith in Someone. Indeed, the believer must believe and will believe the historical record of the person and work of Christ, but the historical record does not save—it is Christ that saves. The statements about Him are factual but are not ends in themselves; they serve an end. And the end is to establish faith in the reader, faith in the Person of the Scriptures.

What God reveals is not only information about himself and human destiny; he reveals himself, and this revelation has occurred in a series of historical events (Ladd, A Theology of the NT, 27).

Revelation has occurred in the unique events of redemptive history. These events were accompanied by the divinely given word of interpretation. The word, both spoken and written, is itself a part of the total event. The Bible is both the record of this redemptive history and the end product of the interpretive word. It is the necessary and normative explanation of the revelatory character of God’s revealing acts, for it is itself included in God’s revelation through the act-word complex that constitutes revelation (Ladd, A Theology of the NT, 31-32).

While the above perspective on Scripture is deemed the correct one by this website, this perspective does not equate the Scriptures with the musings of other individuals who have had encounters with God; that is, the Scriptures are not the recollection and report of others who have experienced God, with their accounts serving as motivation for me to have my experience. The catalyst for my experience is not the experience of others.

This website embraces the concept of Revelation—propositional Revelation—the view that the Scriptures are from God and constitute His speaking to men, and not that they are the creation of men searching for God who then recorded for others their understanding of their experience of God. A high view of Scripture is affirmed (see: Revelation). It is this very high view of Scripture that translates into a perspective that affirms the living nature of the Text.

A slightly different perspective is seen in the following quote:

What is directly revealed to us, we feel, is not truths or doctrines about God, but God himself. Our doctrines about God are always secondary to our direct finding of God in the realities of our experience . . . God does not communicate with us: He does something far better—He communes with us. Not the communication of propositions but the communion of spirits is the last word about divine revelation (J. Baillie, The Place of Jesus Christ in Modern Christianity, 113-114).

And the proper response to Scripture is belief in the Word, both written and living:

Do not be surprised as the sight of simple people who believe without argument. God makes them love him and hate themselves. He inclines their hearts to believe. We shall never believe with a vigorous and unquestioning faith unless God touches our hearts; and we shall believe as soon as he does so (Pascal, Pensées).

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