I remember well my first Bible. It was given to me by a good friend when I was in Form Two. It was the Good News Bible in simple English. I was not a Christian, had never been to church nor had I heard much about Jesus. I was, however, asking questions about life’s purpose and meaning, and did read quite a fair bit of the Bible. But it would be a few years later after accepting Jesus as my Saviour that the Word of God completely changed my life. Now I am well acquainted with the authority and power of Scripture. Billions of people over the centuries would likewise be able to testify to the same experience of being transformed by the Word of God.
According to the March 2007 edition of Time, the Bible “is the most influential book of all-time… The Bible has done more to shape literature, history, entertainment, and culture than any book ever written. Its influence on world history is unparalleled, and shows no signs of abating. Even pop culture is deeply influenced by the Bible.” With estimated total sales of over five billion copies, the Bible is widely considered to be the best-selling book of all time. As of the 2000s, it sells approximately 100 million copies annually.
It would certainly be peculiar for an ancient book like the Bible to be so relevant and influential through time and history except that the Bible is no ordinary book. It has as its source divine inspiration and its content the very revelation of God. By revelation, we mean God’s communication to humankind of the truth that we need to know in order to relate properly to him.
And by inspiration, we mean the supernatural influence of the Holy Spirit upon the Scripture writers which rendered their writings the very Word of God.
As the pre-eminent professor of New Testament, Gordon Fee writes, “Historically, the church has understood the nature of Scripture much the same way as it has understood the person of Christ — the Bible is at the same time both human and divine … Because the Bible is God’s word, it has eternal relevance; it speaks to all humankind, in every age and in every culture. Because it is God’s Word, we must listen — and obey. But because God chose to speak his Word through human words in history, every book in the Bible also has historical particularity; each document is conditioned by the language, time, culture in which it was originally written.”
At Audacity Malaysia, we hold to the full inerrancy of the Bible. By full inerrancy, we mean that the Bible, “when correctly interpreted in light of the level to which culture and means of communication had developed at the time it was written, and in view of the purpose for which in it was given, is fully truthful in all that it affirms.”
This means that the Bible’s assertions are fully true when judged in accordance to the culture of its time and for the purpose for which they were written. It is further important to note that no biblical text should be taken as erroneous because of the difficulties we might encounter in understanding or explaining it.
God has given special revelation of himself and inspired his servants to record it through the enabling of his Holy Spirit. The Bible is a dependable source of God’s revelation and is fully truthful in all its teaching. It is fully accurate, authoritative and applicable to the life of every Christian and must be adhered to as the standard of our Christian faith.
Scripture is indeed the defining document of the Christian faith. It specifies what we as the followers of Jesus are to believe and how we are to conduct our lives. It is to be used for building us up into maturity so that we may be “complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:17) according to God’s purpose for us.