I will be addressing the Declaration of Faith for the Church of God over the next few weeks. This is the first in the series of fourteen blogs. I do not wish to be overly academic in these discussions, as I feel that sometimes the well-spoken and deep writings of some do not necessarily touch the day-to-day of our existence. However, I do not encourage irresponsible theology as well. I enjoy and respect the academic, but in this forum choose to simply expound on Scripture and invite dialogue, academic or otherwise.
Item One of the Declaration of Faith of the Church of God says:
“We believe in the verbal inspiration of the Bible.”
I believe it is only fitting for this to be the very first declaration, for without verbal inspiration, the very book upon which we base our beliefs would lack authority and the declaration would lack credibility. But because of the infallibility of the Word, based in its verbal inspiration, we can rest assured that our doctrine, bound up in Scripture, is also faithful in the community of faith. The primary Scripture which discusses this declaration is found in the writings of Paul to Timothy: “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16–17 (NKJV) This word, inspiration, is from the Greek theoneustos (transliterated), which literally means, “God-breathed.” With the proliferation of dozens of translations and numerous paraphrases of the Bible, one may ask if the Bible as we know it today is truly inspired. Respected scholars speak of the Bible being infallible in the original autographs, meaning the original writings of the authors of the Bible. Does that mean that we cannot have a truly inspired Bible today? I think that may be narrow in thought. I believe that the same God who inspired the original writers gives us readers today special insight to read, interpret, and understand the word of God.
2 Peter 1:19–21 (NKJV)
19 And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; 20 knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, 21 for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.
However, it is important to read the Word of God in a Spiritual way, asking the Holy Spirit to enlighten your mind as you read and interpret. Seek wise counsel, and avoid foolish misinterpretations of the Bible. While I personally feel most comfortable with the NKJV, KJV, and NASB, there are many very good translations that can be enlightening to the Christian mind. Examine versions closely and be sure that the Bible you read is as faithful to the original texts as possible. Let God inspire you as He inspired the writers 2000 years ago and beyond!