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Rev. Key is pastor of the Protestant Reformed Church of Randolph, Wisconsin.

In our last article, I asked you to put on your thinking caps to consider the place of the Bible in your defense of the faith and in resolving your own doubts and struggles. You were able to see, even briefly, how Scripture bears testimony within itself as to its authority. Scripture itself bears witness that it is from God Himself. When you face attacks against your intelligence for believing the inspiration . and authority of the Bible, you may be confident that you have a strong intellectual and reasonable foundation for your faith.

But there is another matter involved. There is a spiritual dimension as well in this matter. You must not expect that the testimony within the Bible itself will convince the unbeliever of its inspiration and authority. The unbeliever, especially one with a high regard for his own intellect, has set man’s mind as the authority over all things. When you point him to the self-testimony of Scripture, you must not consider yourself a failure when you do not convince him. Nor must you let his unbelief cause you to sway from your position. For there is a spiritual dimension to our belief that the Bible is the authoritative Word of God. Only the God-given bond of faith and a personal relationship with the living Christ enables one to hear His voice, also as He speaks through the Scriptures. Herein also lies the necessity that our witness to unbelievers be bathed with our prayers that the Spirit open their blind eyes, if He is willing to save them.

You who are in Christ Jesus do not need to prove to an unbeliever the truth of the Scriptures. For you the testimony of the Bible itself is enough. The Spirit testifies with your spirit, that these things are true. To you the matter of the Bible’s authority is as sure as the fact that you came from your mother’s womb. If a professor or classmate should question the fact of your origin, you would immediately understand that he is either playing a game with you, or that he belongs in a mental institution. Just as sure is the matter of the Bible’s origin and authority to you who are in Christ Jesus.

The Practical Application of Biblical Authority

“Now,” you ask, “what does all this deep thought have to do with my own life from a practical point of view?” Everything! The Bible alone provides a unified answer for all of life. When you put away your rationalism, your worship of your own mind, you will recover the beautiful understanding that is seen in rational Christian thought as guided by the Scriptures. Through the Bible you will see that which embraces all rational thought and raises it to a higher level, the level of true knowledge.

The Death-blow of Relativism

Let me put it negatively, first of all. If we do not have the Scriptures as the inspired Word of God, absolutely authoritative and determinative for doctrine and life, we have absolutely no standard of right and wrong. None, except the ever-changing opinions of sociologists and psychologists. That is evident in today’s culture and society. It is evident that for the most part there are no absolutes in today’s society. Rights and wrongs are all relative. For a young man to shack up with a woman outside the bond of marriage is not necessarily wrong anymore. The rightness or wrongness depends entirely upon the circumstances and maturity of the individuals involved. The Bible’s condemnation of such an arrangement as fornication is rejected. That is just one example out of a multitude. Almost our whole society is built upon the thinking of relativism. That is why it has become more of a crime in our country to endanger animals than to murder unborn babies.

The Life-giving Breath of Scripture’s Authority

Only a strong view of Scripture will enable you to withstand the pressure of such wavering and foolish thinking. Without a strong commitment to God’s absolutes set forth in the Bible, the early church could never have remained faithful in the face of such severe persecution. Without a strong commitment to the authority of God’s absolutes set forth in the Bible, Martin Luther would never have stood in the face of persecution, to restore the church long lost in pagan thought. Without a strong commitment to God’s absolutes set forth in the Bible, you will be consumed by doubt and by the doctrines of devils. When the ungodly haul you before the judges of the antichristian world power, and demand you to reject the Scriptures or die, you will stand only in the power of faith, with a strong commitment to the absolute authority of the Bible.

But still more must be said.

Your Calling Toward Scripture

The Bible is not some magic medicine to heal all diseases and to ward off all superstitions. It is not some air purifier that works by lying on a table in your house, sucking away from you and into itself all temptations that surround you and clearing the air of all doctrines of devils. The Bible must be read and understood and believed by you.

If you do not understand and submit yourself to the truths and standard of the Scriptures, you will not resolve your doubts and you cannot possibly grow in knowledge and holiness. That is why it is so sad that we live in an age when so many are hostile to the Bible and its authoritative teaching. Unresolved doubt develops into error and sin. And one need not look far beyond his or her own life to see the truth of that. Our whole society is permeated with the consequences of the rejection of and hostility toward the Scriptures as the Word of God. And, sad to say, those consequences are often our own experience because of our own neglect or even rejection of the Word of God.

We are called always to search the Scriptures, even as did the Bereans after hearing the preaching of the apostle Paul (Acts 17:11). God’s words of judgment upon Ephraim (Hosea 8:12) are frightful words: “I have written to him the great things of my law, but they were counted as a strange thing.”

Yes, it is a sign of great sin in our midst, when we know all about what is going on in the National Basketball Association or we know all the statistics of the major league baseball players, but know not the substance of Jesus’ teachings in the gospel accounts, nor the truth taught in Paul’s letter to the Romans. It is an indication of our bondage to sin, when we know all about what is going on in Washington D.C., yet are ignorant of the Psalms, or the prophecies of Zechariah and Malachi. “Hear the word of the LORD, ye children of Israel: for the Lore hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land . . . . My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children” (Hosea 4:1, 6).

It may be we have fallen into such sinfulness without meaning to do so. But inadvertent sin is still sin. Let us repent of our sins, and heed the call of Isaiah (55:6, 7): “Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.”

Let us hear and obey the authoritative Scriptures.