For an introduction to the series, read this.
Now that we have completed a survey of the Apostles’ Creed, I have decided a change of pace would be nice, so for the next several months I will be writing on my church’s statement of faith. This statement is reliant on and adapted from the New Hampshire Confession of 1833, which has been modified into recent forms of the Baptist Faith and Message (1925, 1963, 1998, and 2000). Since it is a statement of faith and not a Creed, it is not written to be memorized. Therefore, our focus won’t be on memorization but simply exposition of what the statement of faith teaches.
Statement of Faith Article for This Week
I. THE SCRIPTURES
The Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired and is God’s revelation of Himself to man. It is a perfect treasure of divine instruction. It has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter. Therefore, all Scripture is totally true and trustworthy. It reveals the principles by which God judges us; and therefore is, and will remain to the end of the world, the true center of Christian union, and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and religious opinions should be tried. All Scripture is a testimony to Christ, who is Himself the focus of divine revelation.
Thoughts for Discussion with Children
Who wrote the Bible? Of course, God did. But isn’t right also to say that men wrote it as well? Didn’t John write some of it, and Moses, and David, and Paul, and many others? So in what sense can we say that God wrote it, and in what sense can we say that men wrote it?
There are a few occasions when it looks like God simply told men what to write down. But most of the Bible doesn’t seem to have been written that way. Paul wrote letters to churches based on the situations they were facing at the time, and his letters sound like his unique writing style. David wrote prayers to God in the Psalms, so it doesn’t seem like he was just writing down like a secretary whatever God told him.
Peter tells us in 2 Peter 1:21 that “men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” Think of it this way: Paul wrote his letters based on what he wanted to write. They were his own thoughts, put into his own words. But who is in control of what Paul wanted to write? Yes, God was! God worked in Paul in a special way (we call this “inspiration”) to make sure that what Paul wrote was exactly what God wanted to say to his church, not just in Paul’s day, but for all time. And the same is true with the rest of the Bible. All the words of the Bible are truly the words of men, but they are also God’s own words given to us in a special way, unlike any other book in the world.
This is why the Bible is totally true in everything it says. You can trust it always to be true, when it is properly understood. Any other book in the world might have mistakes and wrong ideas in it, but not the Bible. That’s why the Bible is the standard by which we judge all other things. If something you hear from someone else doesn’t line up with the Bible, then it is false, because the Bible is God’s Word and is always true.
And God gave us the Bible for a specific purpose: so that we could know him through his Son Jesus and be saved. That’s what the statement means when it says it has “salvation for its end.” That means that God didn’t give us the Bible just to give us some neat information. He gave it to us because, unless he speaks to us, we could never know him.
That’s why reading your Bible and listening to your pastors and teachers teach you about what it says are so important. This is where we hear God’s voice. If you want to know God, you must seek to know him through what he has said about himself, and that means listening to the Scriptures.
Readings for the week: 2 Peter 1:19-21; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; Matthew 5:17-20; Psalms 19; 119 (excerpts).