Theology of Holy Scripture from a Millennial Perspective

Theology of Holy Scripture is the study of Holy Scripture.  In particular, this paper is studying the Christian Holy Scripture referred to as the Bible or the Living Word of God.  Individuals and groups in various congregations have developed their own methods in providing the authenticity and proof that the Bible is the actual Word of God.  One major movement that developed was the Historical-Critical method.  This method is a scientific lineal method that requires evidence of original sources to prove the authentic nature of the gospels.  The historical part of the historical critical method is the development of proof of the historical accuracy of the Bible.  The critical part of the Historical Critical method is finding the proof, purpose, and origins of the writings.

While this method provides logical foundation for the historical accuracy of a man named Jesus it does not provide factual evidence for the validity of the Holy Trinity.  To be a Christian one must have an understanding and faith about Jesus and God.  The faith that God, Holy Spirit, and Jesus are part of the divine trinity.  Failure to have a submission or belief in the actions of the Bible leaves the Historical Critical method void of the spirit and life of the story that the Bible gives us as a way and method to our salvation and eternal life with Jesus.

Timothy Ward provides an aspect to Bible authenticity that is based on the evangelical structure of validating the authenticity of the Bible. These attributes are necessity, sufficiency, clarity and authority by which scholars can define and defend their thoughts and insights into scripture.[1] This authentication and insight brings in the faith and belief elements that the historical critical method. The method in which Ward presents the relevance of the act of God speaking provided some insight into the importance of the personal nature of God and our personal relationship we must as Christians have with him.  Personal salvation is a commitment and covenant with the Lord.  Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.[2]  The aspect of the personal nature of the Word of God and its ability to be s living word that despite who reads it or when one reads it, it will always be a relevant to those who are believers.  This manner of looking at the Bible provides a human aspect and personal development which historical critical method neglects to incinerate.  This view of studying the word of God provides a custom personal aspect to the Word while the historical critical method provides generic and cold references that can be applied to the mass population.

Sola Scriptura is an important foundation stone Timothy Ward uses to summarize the attributes of scripture.  Sola Scriptura is the belief that the Bible is the supreme authority of Christian thought and living due to it being it the written word of God and the content of it message.[3]  The attributes as described by Ward are broad theological terms that are broad in nature that allows scholars to develop insights and thoughts that can be built in a standard format that allows for academic discussion and debate. [4]

In Ward’s discussion on the authority vs. the holiness of scripture, it is important to understand that authority of scripture is based on the authority of man and God’s interaction with the writing of the Bible.[5] This is leads to a greater debate over the inerrancy and infallibility of the Word of God.  These debates focus on whether the fallibility of man can actually write the infallible word of God.  Those that see the Word of God as infallibility see the Holy Spirit as divinely inspiring those that wrote the scriptures and while errors might exist in the Bible, they do little in taking away the divine nature of the word.[6] Inerrancy sees the Bible as the perfect divine Word of God that is historically accurate and without fallibility. To be a Christian, one has to see this as the Word of God and thus inerrant because of its divine nature. While the bible might not provide all the answers to all questions, it provides us the means by which we can be saved.  It also does not contradict its self.  Therefore showing the infallible nature of the Word of God.

The basic canon of the Bible was formed in the Council of Carthage in Synod 397.[7] The development of the cannon was not created in an overnight decision but over several decades through prayer and divine intervention.  While not all faiths follow the same cannon, a majority of the 66 book of the bible are acknowledged and seen as the Word of God. The books have stood the test of time through multiple generations and lineages of families, which provides a deeper belief in the divine inerrancy of the document as the actual word of God. Ward focuses not on the argument of whether this is the actual word of God but clarifies it instead to be a discussion on the fallibility of man being able to write the word of God as the Almighty intended.[8]

This leads us the divine nature of the Bible and the sacredness of its Word to individuals when they read, believe, and are willing to die for its teachings. The sacred realm Fr. Martin discuss in the recording is the mystery and insight into the readings of the bible to assist us in interpreting and understanding the Word of God for our personal reflection.  It is the mystical element that the Historical Critical method does not have.  It makes the Bible personal to us every time we read it.  While the stories are the same each time it is the enlightenment we experience in finding answers to our concerns and provides us guidance in how to serve the Lord better.  In this, sacred realm, the individual does not care about who wrote what nor do they care about what text was referenced to obtain the information.  The individual is concerned with how this reading applies to them. As theologians, preachers, ministers, and sharers of the Holy Word, we must seek prophetic wisdom from the Lord to share with others.  The Word is a living applicable application to everyone by dwelling in the sacred realm we can develop a closer relationship to the Lord and bring followers to Christ.

Fr. Martin’s writing in Fr. Scott Carl’s book is an opposing view to which the Catholic Church has resolved the gap that the Historical Critical method provided the Catholic Church in Verbum Domini. [9] Fr. Martin discusses in Fr. Carl’s about the Fire of Sinai being the light of knowledge that provides readers with divine knowledge and understanding to the Word of God.[10] Fr. Martin provides a biblical reference and understanding to the element that occurs when one accepts, believes, and sees truth in which God provides them while reading the word. Describing and identifying it as the Fire of Sinai allows the message to be both personal to the receiver but also enlightening to the group of individuals who hear the word.  This expands on Wards thoughts by being both individual but for multiple people as well.  Fr. Martin focuses on the divine action that occurs when reading the word but does not allow for growth and depth of seeking further knowledge that the historical critical method provides.  Ward discusses Calvin’s point of view that being made in the image and likeness of God that we have this knowledge and understanding of the Lord, but due to our fallibility, we do not see clearly, the Bible like glasses allows us to focus and see the Lord. [11]

The theology of the Holy Scripture is a cycle that continues to repeat itself depending on the nature of the individuals study and period in life.  As s child, I saw the word like Fr. Martin, a straight insight and understanding of the Lord, as I grew older and reached my twenties I found myself like most Millennials going through a spiritual crisis leaning on the historical critical method to tell me what I needed to be a good person. As I found my way back to the church, I have begun to see the word like Ward being a personal covenant with the Lord and being of the inerrant mindset of the word of God.  When our faith is tested by Satan we often will go, back to repeat the cycle to ensure we reaffirm the foundation, which we build our beliefs, and understands of the Lord.  Our soul is the Holy of Holies. It is our responsibility as Christians to repair and fix the temple of faith in which our soul resides. We do this to be ready and willing vessel when the Lord calls us for his purpose.[12]

 

 

Bibliography

[1] Ward, Timothy. Words of Life: Scripture as the Living and Active Word of God. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2009, pp.96.

[2] John 14:6 (KJV)

[3] Ward, Timothy. Words of Life: Scripture as the Living and Active Word of God. Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2009, pp. 102.

[4] Ibid., pp, 96-97.

[5] Ibid., pp.128.

[6] Ibid., pp.130-140.

[7] “Third Council of Carthage (A.D. 397).” The Third Council of Carthage on the Canon of Scripture. Accessed April 08, 2016. http://www.bible-researcher.com/carthage.html.

[8] Ward, Timothy. Words of Life: Scripture as the Living and Active Word of God. Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2009, pp. 133.

[9] Carl, Scott. Verbum Domini and the Complementarity of Exegesis and Theology. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2015.

[10] Ibid., pp. 13.

[11] Ward, Timothy. Words of Life: Scripture as the Living and Active Word of God. Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2009, pp. 98.

[12] 1 Cori 6:19-20, 2 Tim 2:21 (KJV).

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