THE DOCTRINES OF THE SCRIPTURES
by Bruce F. Levi, ICARE Ministries
Having a correct attitude toward and understanding of the Scriptures, the Bible, is of utmost importance. For the Bible is the bestselling book of all time, and, as such, continues to have a profound effect on the world’s philosophies, governments, people, and institutions. Therefore, even if one does not believe the Bible’s teachings, but wants to have a thorough understanding of world history, one must have some understanding of the Bible.
In addition, the Scriptures make clear statements about the origin of the earth and even the universe. The Bible makes definitive statements that the ultimate reality is God, the Creator, and Sovereign Ruler of the universe. It teaches about the nature of humankind, the purpose of life, the meaning of history, future events, the very nature and source of Truth, and its own inspiration and preservation. Such clear-cut, often controversial, teachings demand our attention, examination, and response.
The Bible presents to us a worldview, which is a system or collection of suppositions, beliefs, convictions, and ideas with which people try to understand and make sense out of the world and their lives. One author offers the following as a working definition of the Christian worldview. “The Christian worldview sees and understands God the Creator and His creation- man and the world- primarily through the eyes of God’s special revelation, the Holy Scriptures, and secondarily through God’s natural revelation in creation as interpreted by human reason and reconciled by and with Scripture, for the purpose of believing and behaving in accord with God’s will and, thereby, glorifying God with one’s own mind and life, both now and in eternity.”
Indeed, one cannot separate the Bible from Christianity, or Christianity from the Bible. However, more relevant to our topic, The Doctrine of the Scriptures, is that the various denominations, ministries, and teachers of Christianity claim the Bible as their source and/or guide for doctrines and practices. And not only Christianity, for Judaism has its basis in the Old Testament. Even Islam has a relationship to the Bible. Thus, over two billion people look to the Bible, in varying degrees, as a book of importance. Moreover, even organizations that offer significant modifications to, and claim to be replacements for, the historic Christianity of Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, and Protestantism, use the Bible, at least in part, as a source of their doctrines.
The Bible itself claims almost 3,000 times to be the very words of God. Jesus Christ, the founder of Christianity, affirmed during his lifetime the then-existing Scriptures as the words of God. The early followers of Jesus, the Apostles, considered he Old Testament and their own writings, later preserved in the New Testament, as Scripture.
Even from a negative aspect, “The root from which all heresy springs is a faulty view of the inspiration and the inerrancy of the Word of God.” How can one discern whether the claims of any person or group are biblical without a good understanding of the Scriptures?
Based on the above, and what is written below, learning about the Scriptures is the natural and logical starting place regarding the various Doctrines of the Christian Faith. The following “Doctrine of the Scriptures” is an overview of ICARE’s position on the Scriptures. This position is one can that be correctly described as orthodox, historical, protestant, evangelical, reformed, conservative, fundamental, and biblical in its scope.
A Unique Book
The Bible is a unique book in all the history of the world. Its 66 books were written during a period of over 1,500 years, by over 40 authors, who came from a great variety of backgrounds: king, peasant, philosopher, fisherman, poet, statesman, a doctor, scholar, general, public official, etc. The writers wrote in the wilderness, a palace, a prison, a dungeon, a prison isle, etc. They wrote in times of war and in times of peace. They wrote out of the heights of joy and the depths of sorrow and despair. They wrote in Africa, Asia, and Europe. They wrote in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. Despite the diversity just described, and that the Bible contains controversial topics, the authors wrote in harmony and continuity from beginning to end. It is no wonder that “The Bible has been read by more people and published in more languages than any other book.” In fact, the first book printed was the Bible, on Gutenberg’s famous printing press. The Bible has been translated and retranslated and paraphrased more than any other book in existence.
The Scriptures are also unique in what they teach. For example, rather than minimize the evils that humankind commits, or flatter humankind, as the vast majority of worldviews do, the Scriptures describe the nature of humankind as “condemnable as debased in character and sinful in conduct.” The books of the world do not go anywhere near this far with blanket statements of the culpability of humankind. Romans 3:10-12 says: “…There is none righteous, no, not one: there is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” Related to humankind’s culpability, is the Bible’s doctrine of the eternal punishment of sin. If the Bible “…were a mere human composition, it certainly would not have taught the eternal and conscious torment of all who die out of Christ.”
The Bible offers a unique and singular remedy for this sin problem of humankind. It is a solution that is both initiated and completed by God. It describes how God Himself came to earth as a man, died a horrible death in the place of sinful people, and grants salvation to those sinful people out of His love (John 3:16). Such a concept goes against the “grain of human nature… man’s pride… man would never invent a standard of righteousness which he could never hope to attain” and then have his God, the creator, be humbled by death in an act of salvation. The uniqueness of the Scriptures demands our attention and response.
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DOCTRINES of the FAITH
Bruce F. Levi was raised in Mormonism in Idaho’s Treasure Valley, was a Mormon Missionary in Germany and graduated from Brigham Young University.
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and reaching those people with The Gospel.
Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost. – Titus 3:5