Often it is heard that the Bible is a made up of stories and others say that the Bible lacks scientific knowledge. The Bible has a purpose, and that purpose is to teach salvation, and not science. The Bible is aimed as a spiritual inspiration. We are asked the following question. How is the Bible authoritative for Christian theology? If the Bible is authoritative, we may also assume it is inerrant and the word of God.
Inspiration, inerrancy, infallibility and word of God will be argued by different authors, each giving there views and determining whether or not the Bible is authoritative. Body The church from the beginning has recognised the Bible as an inspirational document for the Christian communities. The word of God can be considered to be alive and full of life, where words change in meaning over the years; the scripture can be adapted to today’s world as it was adapted a hundred years ago. Migliore argues the following inadequate approaches related to the authoritative of the Bible. Migliore, 2004, p. 47) The scripture can inadequately have a supernatural origin, used a s a historical source, viewed as religious classic or a book for private devotion. The Bibles direct relation with God, making it the word of God gives it a supernatural character. God directly inspired all the books, chapters and verses by the means where the Holy Spirit guided the human writers. These Biblicist views involves that the scripture is inspiredness and infallible. The infallibility of the Bible means it is without error due to the simple fact that its author was God.
If the Bible is treated strictly as an authority, all that is said in the Bible should be obeyed. Goldingay argues that there are discrepancies the scripture. (Goldingay, 1994, p. 262) These discrepancies demonstrate that the Bible cannot be used as authoritative document with in a community. Migliore states that in this way Biblicism turns the life giving authority of the Scripture into a deadening authoritarianism. (Migliore, 2004, p. 49). I agree with Migliore when he states that the Bible is not only literature for a Christian community, it is much more. The believing community approaches the Bible not only as literature, but also as Scripture, as normative witness to the acts of the living God for our salvation. ” (Migliore, 2004, p. 49) The term that the Scripture is infallibility implies that all the books of the Bible are true in every sense historically, scientifically and spiritually, there is no error, mistake or untruth in the entire Bible. (Moore, 2011) We will know argue that the term inerrant and infallibility when used with the Bible, refers to the infallibility that gasps the spiritual inspiration within the Christian faith and salvation.
The scriptures have many errors and discrepancies when focused and used as a scientific and historical resource. When these errors and discrepancies are focused on the spiritual Christian faith, the value of the scriptures is priceless. Christians believes that the Holy Spirit guided the writing of the Gospels and are regarded inerrant and infallibility related to their Christian faith and salvation. Migliore accepts that the inspiration and writing of the Scriptures was guided by the Holy Spirit to maintain a relationship with God and guide Christians to the salvation, inturn accepting that the Holy Spirit is infallible. By the power of the Holy Spirit, Scripture serves the purpose of relating us to God and transforming our life. ” (Migliore, 2004, p. 44) Goldingay focuses more on the inerrancy of the Scripture, confirming various discrepancies within the Gospels, concluding and accepting the spiritual truth and not a historical truth. The scripture is theologically true but not historically true. , furthermore astronomical information is not true. (Goldingay, 1994, p. 263) The discrepancies between Gospels could be considered deliberate to help inspire the Spirital faith. “The errors in the scriptures are not seen as deliberate or a way to deceive us. (Goldingay, 1994, p. 262) “for instance, suggested that the Fathers indeed believed that the scriptures were inspired and inerrant, but the error that they said was not in the scriptures was the significant type of error that endangered faith or morals, not error over mere matters of fact. ” (Goldingay, 1994, p. 261) The Bible as a historical resource could be partially used when the history of Israel is portrayed, which is then combined with the salvation of mankind. “The Bible is a unique witness to the sovereign grace of God at work in the history of Israel and above all in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. Migliore, 2004, p. 50) The Bible, the Scripture is commonly referred to the “word of God”, this term is described by Schneiders as the method used for God in portraying his message of salvation to mankind. She discusses the term as metaphor, a linguistic expression, a revelation from God, “God’s accepted self-gift to human beings” (Schneiders, 1991, p. 34). Word of God as a sacrament, it is proclaimed the word of the Lord, refered to the word of God during its reading, and elevated during liturgical celebrations for veneration. (Schneiders, 1991, p. 40).
Schneider puts emphasis that the word of God is great importance to the Christian community. “Around the expression “word of God” clusters a collection of interrelated theological terms such as revelation, inspiration, authority, infallibility, inerrancy, and normativity that are understood in radically different ways by believers in various traditions. ” (Schneiders, 1991, p. 27) Goldingay agrees with Schneiders reflexion regarding the word of God. “the significance of inspiration as lying in its making the biblical writers’ words also the words of God “and therefore perfectly infallible. Infallibility can be said to mean inerrancy. ” (Goldingay, 1994, p. 267) Schneiders continues to confirm that the word of God is indeed revelation, “that is, what God has to say to humanity” (Schneiders, 1991, p. 44), it is also based on divine inspiration, making it the “divine influence on the writer” (Schneiders, 1991, p. 46). Schneiders argues and focuses the infallibility and inerrancy using example of God and Jesus, the fact that Jesus was mortal but at the same time limited in knowledge, (Schneiders, 1991, p. 54) where as Goldingay focuses infallibility and inerrancy more closely on the discrepancies in the Bible.
Interesting is the view taken by Jensen, where the Scripture is analysed by authority and origin. Jensen argues that the Bible in whole is not inspired by God and is not the word of God, but argues that it does contain words from God. (Jensen, 2002, p. 160) Jensen accepts the Gospel as authority thanks to Jesus Christ and his kingdom. “The key consequence of accepting the Gospel is, therefore, that Jesus Christ becomes our Lord, exercising the authority of his kingdom in our lives. From the gospel, we can see both what the nature of his authority must be and also the means by which he exerts it. (Jensen, 2002, p. 153) Do Christians accept the authority of Scripture or do they accept that of God? This question is proposed and argued by Jensen. (Jensen, 2002, p. 162), he continues to analyse the Scripture against tradition and the church, which came first, which first had the authority? Jensen argues that the Bible is the church’s book, and most likely produced by the church, which determined its inspired contents and used it to announce the Gospel. (Jensen, 2002, p. 167). The origins of the Bible, and who put all the books together always seems to be debatable between various religions and churches.
Conclusion We have discussed the authoritative of the bible introducing terms such as infallible which we argued it never deceive nor mislead. Inspiration that we argued was the Holy Spirit that guided the writers of the Gospels. The word of God, referring to the communication between God with mankind. Inerrancy of the Scripture in relation to scientific, historical and spiritual resource. The Bible is said to be the most sold book of all times, The Bible is dominated as the word of God with authority of Scripture, inspired and inerrancy, and infallible.
The word of God is considered therefore error free making the contents of the Bible authoritative. Science , astronomy and history are not considered important to the Christian which focuses on the value of salvation, therefore making the Bible authoritative in the sense of faith. Within the Christian community and faith, it has been clearly argued that its writers where inspired by God and the Holy Spirit, and its authoritative is well accepted as a spiritual resource towards the Christian salvation.