Friday, July 26, 2019

The Word of God for the Church

1. “Scripture as a Witness to Divine Revelation”
In the doctrine of Holy Scripture, we recognize the Bible as our normative witness to divine revelation. This statement indicates a distinction between the Bible and revelation. However, there is a unity between the two as well. As the normative witness to God’s revelation, we not only hear of God’s lordship in the Bible, but that lordship becomes real for us through the Bible. This is because our Lord, even as the primary subject of the text, remains sovereign in relation to both the text and us. God can and does reveal himself to us through the written human words of the Bible when he so desires. In doing so he restrains our desire to dominate the text. He keeps us from falsely determining for ourselves the relation between the witness of the text and his revelation of himself through the text.

2. “Scripture as the Word of God”
Scripture is a written human witness to God’s revelation. When God chooses, these written words become the living Word of God. There is only one Word of God and that is the Word who became flesh to reconcile us with the Father and is present now by the power of the Holy Spirit. When we call the Bible the Word of God, we mean the miraculous presence of Jesus Christ with us through these very human words which testify of him by the power of the Spirit. For our part, we must be ready daily to read, understand, and explain the biblical witness. Primarily, however, we must pray to God the Father that, by the work of the Spirit, the human words of the Bible might be for us here and now the Word of God.

The Scripture which is the normative human witness to divine revelation consists of those books which the Church recognizes as canonical. The Church did not choose which books would be given this authority. God, as Lord of both his Word and the Church, chose the books which would serve him as his normative witness and instructed the Church to accept them as such by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Scripture witnesses to God’s revelation as a whole. Both testaments shed light on the witness to Christ contained in each book. Conversely, the witness to Christ in each book of both testaments contributes to our proper understanding of all the others.

The Bible bears unique witness to Jesus Christ because it alone witnesses to the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The resurrection itself was God’s own witness to Christ’s divinity by the power of the Holy Spirit. Also, the Bible alone is the witness of the prophets and apostles chosen by God to receive his self-revelation. And they alone were commanded by God to share with authority what they heard him say.

Copyright © 2019 by Steven Farsaci.

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