Postscript

You can Trust the Bible by John R.W. Stott 1991

I have been concerned in this little book both with the Bible’s “yesterday,” its historical origins, and its “today,” its contemporary relevance. I have tried to develop a simple, Trinitarian doctrine of Scripture as a message which comes from God (he spoke it and speaks it), focuses on Christ (he witnesses to it as witnessing to him) and was articulated by the Holy Spirit through the human authors so that his words and theirs coincided. The practical usefulness of the Bible today, both for the church and for the individual Christian, depends on our acceptance of its divine origin and purpose. Paul combined these things when he described

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Scripture as being on the one hand “God-breathed” and on the other “useful” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). It is profitable for us (“for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,”) precisely because it was breathed out of the mouth of God. So our view and our use of the Bible go together. It matters what we think about it.

I, for one, am deeply disturbed by the cavalier attitude to the Bible adopted by many, and I long to see it reinstated in the hearts and homes of Christian people and enthroned in the pulpits of the world. Only then can the church again hear and heed God’s Word. Only then will God’s people learn to integrate their faith and their lives, as they seek to apply the teaching of Scripture to their moral standards, economic lifestyle, marriage and family, work and citizenship. Only then can Christians hope to be the world’s salt and light, as Jesus said they were to be, and influence their countries’ culture, institutions and laws, values and ideals.

The practical profitability of Scripture for church and Christian, home and nation, should not, however, be our main reason for desiring its reinstatement, but rather the glory of God. If the Bible may rightly be called the Word of God, though spoken through the words of men, then clearly to neglect it is to neglect him, while to listen to it is to listen to him. The overriding reason we should “let the word of Christ dwell in [us] richly” (Colossians 3:16) is not that we shall thereby be enriched, but that he will thereby be honored and glorified. He wants us to have a Christian mind as well

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as to live a Christian life. But to have a Christian mind we must have his mind, “the mind of Christ” (compare 1 Corinthians 2:16 and Philippians 2:5). And our minds can be conformed to his mind only as they become soaked in his Word. This can only happen when we trust the Bible as our foundation for belief and obedience.

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