The Word of God
We believe that Scripture, both the Old and New Testament, is God's revelation and His complete expressed will to humanity. Scripture is inspired in thought and word, infallible in the original writings; is the supreme and final authority in faith and in life; and is the foundation of all truth (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20-21; John 10:35; 17:17).
The Old and New Testament are unified in revealing God's plan of salvation and the working out of that plan in human history. The entire Bible reveals the acts of God's merciful intervention to save mankind for eternal life in His family. In writing the various books of the Bible, the authors' own personality, style and vocabulary were reflected in what they wrote. When writing, they did so as they were moved by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:21). Thus God influenced and directed the minds of His servants, yet allowed them free expression as they wrote the books known as the Word of God.
The Holy Scriptures are the only foundation of knowledge and truth that Jesus and the apostles used as a basic text for teaching God's way to salvation. First and foremost, Jesus Christ set the example of following the Scriptures as the ultimate authoritative text in a Christian's life. In successfully combating temptation from Satan, Christ stated, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God" (Matthew 4:4, emphasis added throughout; Luke 4:4; Deuteronomy 8:3). Christ quoted other scriptures during His battle against the ultimate enemy, the devil (Matthew 4:7, 10).
Christ then began His earthly ministry by reading the Scriptures and declaring, "Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing" (Luke 4:16-21). In John 10:35, Christ proclaimed that "the Scripture cannot be broken." He referenced Scripture as an active, authoritative source in His life (John 7:38, 42). Nothing distracted Christ from His focus on the Scriptures—neither betrayal, nor being crucified (John 13:18; 17:12; 19:28; Matthew 27:46; Psalm 22:1; Luke 23:46; Psalm 31:5).
The apostles followed the example of Christ. The core of Christian faith, doctrine and behavior continued to be defined through the Scriptures. The resurrected Jesus Christ resumed His personal instruction to His disciples as He "opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures" (Luke 24:32, 44-45). It was through the Scriptures that disciples were made of all nations, as in the example of the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:26-35).
Paul, the apostle to the nations, appealed to the authority of the Scriptures by asking questions, such as "What does the Scripture say?" (Romans 4:3; 11:2; Galatians 4:30). At other times, Paul confirmed his position by declaring, "For the Scripture says . . . ," or similar statements (Romans 10:11; Galatians 3:8, 22; 1 Timothy 5:18). Clearly the Old Testament and New Testament were written both for Jewish and gentile Christians.
There is a continuity between the Old and New Testaments (Matthew 4:4; 2 Timothy 3:15-16). The New builds on and amplifies the Old Testament (Matthew 5-7). History shows that the only Scriptures that existed during the ministry of Christ and the early decades of the apostles were the Old Testament Scriptures.
Reading, hearing and doing God's Word are key characteristics of God's people (Luke 8:21; 11:28). The Word of God builds faith in a person's life (Romans 10:17; Colossians 3:16). God expects His people to diligently study His Word regularly for understanding, for personal edification and for guarding themselves in an ungodly society (Acts 17:11; Ephesians 6:17; 1 John 2:14; Psalm 119:9). Internalizing God's Word enables one to defend his faith (1 Peter 3:15). The Holy Scriptures are able to make us "wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus" (2 Timothy 3:15).
The Bible is alive with timeless application in our daily life (Hebrews 4:12). Paul, while imprisoned, reminded Timothy that, though man can be restrained, the Word of God cannot (2 Timothy 2:8-9).
The Church of God maintains the biblical mandate to rely upon God's Word in its quest for the truth. As stated in 2 Timothy 3:16, God's inspired Word establishes doctrine, refutes error, administers correction and gives instruction. The truth of the Bible not only teaches and guides His people, but it also sanctifies or sets apart His Church (John 17:17). The Bible serves as an essential tool in God's relationship with His Church, "that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of the water by the word" (Ephesians 5:26).
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