WHAT THE BIBLE MEANS TO ME
The Bible means to me all that the architect’s plan means to the builder; all that the blueprint means to the engineer; and all that the Chart and compass mean to the ship’s captain. The final authority of these guides for their own followers is analogous to the final authority of the Bible for me.
In all things pertaining to faith and practice, the Bible is my final Court of appeal, and there is no phase of life which does not come under its jurisdiction, and which is not satisfied by its judgments. I never have a problem to face for which I cannot find a practical and practicable answer in the Bible. I never have encountered a national or international perplexity, but I have found in the Bible a solution which is trustworthy to all true faith, and logical to all pure reason.
On the other hand, I do not worship the book: bibliolatry is as false as astrology. I worship only one God, and that is He who is revealed in the Lord Jesus Christ. What is the authority of the plan to the builder? Not the plan, but he who made the plan, the architect who is master of his task. What is the authority of the blueprint to the engineer? Not the print, but the master-draughtsman who made it. What is the authority of the chart to the captain? Not the chart, but the reliability of the navigator and diver whose skill of discovery is revealed thereon. So it is not the Bible as a book which is my authority for making such claims as I have for it, it is He whose authority as Master Architect of the purpose for His own creation is revealed therein; it is He whose wisdom as engineer or director of His own society and economy is therein disclosed; and it is He whose knowledge of the “fleet” of men and the
Â“sea” of life upon which they sail, is made manifest in the Bible.
In short, I respect the authority of the Bible because I have surrendered to the claims of Christ. The Christ of God and the Bible are inseparable, and to a very great degree they are identical. The Bible is described as the Word of God, and Christ Himself bears the very same identity (John 1.1). The original Greek of the term translated “Word” in he New Testament is “Logos” which means – the perfect representation of that which it is related to. We read “the Word was with God” – that is to say – Christ is the perfect representation, utterance and expression of God, and God is Christ’s authority in everything. To return to ordinary English phraseology, what is a word? A word is: “a thought expressed” and a thought is a product of a purpose of the mind. The obvious deduction, from even the logical point of view only, is that Christ is the perfect expression of the mind of God: and that is His authority.
Now the Bible, the Word of God, speaks for itself. It is Christo-centric. The Old Testament is a record of the anticipation of the Christ. Its historic part is concerned with the race from which He was to come; its didactic section is concerned with the ethic governing that race in the fulfilment of its mission; and its prophetic portion is concerned with the amticipation of the Messiah and of the character of His work.
Take every reference and allusion to Christ out of the Old Testament and you will have very little left. On the other hand, if you deny that Christ ever did come, the Old Testament is an inexplicable mystery. The act is that Christ did come, and in His coming He fulfilled all the Old Testament Law, and moreover, vouched for the accuracy of its record. This is significant, because the whole of the Old Testament was acceptable to and honoured by the Christ who was the Son of God; and I beg to submit that if He, who was the revelation of the mind of God, could accept the Old Testament record, I, as His follower, have no ground or right to reject it.
What of the New Testament? Had there been no Christ, there would have been no New Testament. Its historic part is concerned with the life of Him; its didactic section is concerned with the doctrine enunciated by the church founded upon the principles He laid down; and its prophetic portion is concerned with the final triumph of His work.
Thus, I say, Christ is the object of the Old Testament and the subject of the New: He is, as Augustine says, latent in the Old, and patent in the New: and since all scripture is related to Him and founded in Him it stands or falls together.
This, then, is my ground for absolute belief in the Bible: Christ is the living Word of God; the Bible is the production of His anticipation and revelation; Christ is its authority. Therefore, since Christ has become my Saviour, His word has become my authority.
Kenneth W. H. Howard