I  read somewhere that postmodernism was subtly creeping into many churches. One idea of postmodernist thought is that there is no absolute truth and that understanding is down to individual interpretation. Following from this, if there is no absolute truth then neither is there absolute authority and so the Bible is ignored as God's Word given for guidance and example or it is read as a matter of personal meaning and interpretation. It has become harder to encourage or challenge believers and non-believers alike. One is charged with 'throwing Bible verses around' or 'quoting chapter and verse' or not seeing the wider picture.

I would firstly say that the Bible gives us a direct connection with God’s authority and without it we cannot really know what God is like or expects of us. Martin Luther said, “All men have the general knowledge, namely, that God is... But what God thinks of us, what he wants to give and to do to deliver us from sin and death and to save us - which is the particular and true knowledge of God - this men do not know.” The Bible reveals God’s intention for us and , in a sense, as the elements of the mind of a writer can be expressed in a diary so God reveals his purposes through Scripture.

Paul told Timothy (2 Timothy 3:16) that all scripture, because it is inspired by God, is useful. But useful for what? Well in spite of the protestations of some about 'quoting chapter and verse' to highlight error Paul tells us that, as doctrine (teaching), that is, instruction. It equips 'the man of God' not just for teaching but reproving or refuting error (1) and only then correcting lifestyle and conduct. In fact a few verses later Paul exhorts Timothy to 'preach the Word' in every circumstance. Why? Because a time will come when 'they' will not endure 'sound doctrine'. Who are the 'they'? Paul tells us in 3:13 that they are deceivers/impostors who have been lead astray and will lead others astray. His advice is to 'continue in the things learned... knowing from whom you have learned them'. From there he points to Scripture.

Now it is clear from Peter's letters (2 Peter 1:20f) that Scripture is God-given and though through human agency is God's Word. Why does Peter say this? Well, like Paul, the warning is to keep to the Word because of... false prophets and teachers, introducing slyly, destructive unbiblical teachings.

More to come...

1. Swanson, J. (1997). Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains  : Greek (New Testament) (electronic ed.) (GGK1791). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
Balz, H. R., & Schneider, G. (1990-c1993). Exegetical dictionary of the New Testament. Translation of: Exegetisches Wr̲terbuch zum Neuen Testament. (1:427). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans.