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Thread: How do we determine whether the Bible is the Word of God?

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    tWebber tabibito's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NorrinRadd View Post
    No, it's not undeniable. It is probably not the case that, in 1 Cor. 7:12, Paul is saying, "Now this part is just my opinion." Rather, he is probably clarifying that he is expanding on and applying what the Lord taught as recorded in the Gospels (vv. 10-11).
    Ah - I had forgotten that one. Make it two places - and the argument presented for that interpretation of 1 Cor 7:12 ignores the contrast with 1 Cor 7:10: "I say (not I, but the Lord..."

    Also 1 Corinthians 7:25, I have NO decree from the Lord, I give the OPINION as one who by the Lord's mercy is trustworthy.
    και εκζητησατε με και ευρησετε με οτι ζητησετε με εν ολη καρδία υμων

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    tWebber
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    Quote Originally Posted by Physiocrat View Post
    Not sure if this is the best sub-forum but hey ho.

    I'm from a Protestant background and recently came across a Roman Catholic argument that we could determine that the scriptures were highly reliable using the standard tools of history and logic but it couldn't tell us that they were the inspired Word of God. The article claimed that they only way we can be sure that it is the Word of God because the Church (capital C for a reason) was founded by Christ so has the authority to declare it to be so. However this still doesn't answer the fundamental epistemological question of how does one move from solid truthful documents to the inspired Word of God.

    My tentative suggestion is that prophets of God are accompanied with signs and wonders to declare they're God's agent however we would likley only have the testimony of the prophet to distinguish between what were his words alone and those inspired by God.

    Any thoughts on the matter would be much appreciated.
    One way the fulfilment of prophecy.
    BU

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    tWebber Rushing Jaws's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Physiocrat View Post
    Not sure if this is the best sub-forum but hey ho.

    I'm from a Protestant background and recently came across a Roman Catholic argument that we could determine that the scriptures were highly reliable using the standard tools of history and logic but it couldn't tell us that they were the inspired Word of God. The article claimed that they only way we can be sure that it is the Word of God because the Church (capital C for a reason) was founded by Christ so has the authority to declare it to be so. However this still doesn't answer the fundamental epistemological question of how does one move from solid truthful documents to the inspired Word of God.

    My tentative suggestion is that prophets of God are accompanied with signs and wonders to declare they're God's agent however we would likley only have the testimony of the prophet to distinguish between what were his words alone and those inspired by God.

    Any thoughts on the matter would be much appreciated.
    The Westminster Confession speaks very well on this:

    V. We may be moved and induced by the testimony of the Church to an high and reverent esteem of the Holy Scripture. And the heavenliness of the matter, the efficacy of the doctrine, the majesty of the style, the consent of all the parts, the scope of the whole (which is, to give all glory to God), the full discovery it makes of the only way of man's salvation, the many other incomparable excellencies, and the entire perfection thereof, are arguments whereby it does abundantly evidence itself to be the Word of God: yet notwithstanding, our full persuasion and assurance of the infallible truth and divine authority thereof, is from the inward work of the Holy Spirit bearing witness by and with the Word in our hearts.” [WC of F., 1.V.]

    http://www.reformed.org/documents/wc...ofs/index.html

    The argument you criticise deals with some aspects of the question, but it won’t give the kind of conviction you are after.
    I don’t think the kind of proof you are asking for can be given by intellectual argumentation. It seems to me that the authority of the Bible is known, not by proofs of a logical, mathematical, or scientific type, but in a way far more like the knowledge of someone that one gains through friendship. There, I think, is an analogy with how we know God:

    1. God knows us by loving us.
    2. God gives us grace to know Him.
    3. We respond by loving God in return.

    I think we come to knowledge of the Bible in the same way:

    1. The Spirit of God works in us
    2. His grace commends the Bible to us as Sacred Scripture.
    3. We respond by recognising it as Sacred Scripture.

    God is known by being loved with the love that He pours into His People’s hearts - and the Bible is known in the same manner.

    The Church does not, and cannot, make Scripture authoritative, any more than the Church can “make Saints”. God, through His grace, makes Saints; the Church, assisted by God, has to discern whether an alleged Saint truly is so; canonisation is the Churchwide, official, recognition on behalf of the whole Church that an alleged Saint is indeed a Saint; it is the recognition by the Church of what God has made of a particular life.

    The Church discerns the authority of Scripture in the same way. Neither the authority, nor the canonicity, nor the sacredness, of the Bible are of the Church’s creation. The Church discerns that certain books speak to her with Divine authority - she is not the creator or source of that authority. She hands on to others certain books - the Scriptures - as having a certain character, not because she has conferred that character on those books, but, because, prompted & assisted by the Holy Spirit, she has discerned, throughout the Church, that those particular books have that particular character. To put it another way, she has “tasted and seen”, & “come and seen” of what character those books are, and the handing-on to others of those books is also the handing-on, the *traditio*, to those others, of her experience of those books. And the Bible is a principal expression of this Tradition, and a principal created instrument by which Christ, the Teacher, Shepherd and Head of the Church, perpetuates and makes effective this Tradition, within His Church, through the action of His Holy Spirit.

    That is basically what tradition is for the Church: the handing-on, within the Church, of what she has received from the Apostles, and they from Christ; not of the teaching of the Apostles alone, but, more fundamentally, of their experience of Him. And this experience is perpetuated in the Church by the Spirit of Christ, so that even though the passage of time takes the Church further and further away from the historical time of Christ, the experience the Church has of Him never becomes stale, and He never becomes, for the Church, just another Jew dead centuries ago. So the Faith of the Church is renewed throughout the nations and the centuries, and yet remains “the Faith that comes to us from the Apostles”.

    This unfading freshness and constant renewing work within the Church on Earth, which she always needs because her members always need it, is for me one of the strongest evidences of the Christian-ness & Divine origin, the Christianity, of the Bible.

    I think we know Scripture by knowing Christ, and that knowledge of Him cannot be reduced to words, simply because words are not adequate to convey what it is to know Him. Such knowledge is incommunicable, except by God - which is perhaps one of the reasons Christ founded His Church to be His Body.

    The Church cannot be rightly seen except in the Light of Christ, and neither can the Bible. The Bible is like the Saints: just as all they have, do, are & signify comes to them from Christ, and has to, because they have, are, do, & signify nothing without Him; so also the Bible has, is, does, and signifies nothing without Christ.

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