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Baptist Beliefs: Baptists and the Bible

We believe that when the Bible speaks, God speaks. Baptists have always been people of “The Book.” The very foundation of how we conduct our ministry and mission is set forth to us in the Bible. It is a book unlike any other book because it is “God’s revelation of Himself to man.”

Baptists have historically held that this book has “God for its author.” II Tim. 3:16 describes the Scriptures as “God breathed…” We understand this to mean that the men who penned the written words that we read in the Bible were “divinely inspired.” That is, the Holy Spirit moved in the authors (for example, II Peter 1:21 and Acts 4:25, 26) to accomplish the revelation that God intended, in the Bible, uniquely, once for all time. The result is a Bible that records actual historical events, presents timeless propositions of divine truth, declares the saving plan of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord and speaks personally to its readers, in every nation, throughout all history. This book then becomes the source that declares and “instructs” what we believe, the biblical doctrines of our faith.

We believe that the Bible is “totally true.” The BF&M 2000 and prior Baptist Confessions hold that the Bible has “truth without any mixture of error, for its matter.” While the term inerrancy is not used, I would affirm that it is consistent with that statement, and I join other Southern Baptists who affirm the inerrancy of the Bible. The Bible has God, Who is perfectly truthful, as its author. (Titus 1:2) Jesus said, “…Your word is truth.” (John 17:17) It will never make a false statement. This makes its message and teaching “trustworthy.” The Bible presents us with the compelling divine story of God, His creation, redemption of fallen sinful people and most of all Jesus, Savior and Lord. We have complete confidence that the Bible is worthy of our faith and the faith of those to whom we proclaim it.

We believe that Jesus Christ is the Living Word. He is also God’s final and full revelation. (Heb. 1:1-4) The BF&M 2000 states that, “All Scripture is a testimony to Christ, Who is Himself the focus of divine revelation.” The Scripture presents and gives testimony to Jesus.

We believe that the Bible is fully sufficient and contains all we need to come to know God, His message of salvation and to live for Him. We do not believe there are other books divinely inspired by God, as is the Bible. (Gal. 1:6-10) The final book of the Bible, Revelation in 22:18-19 and Deut. 4:2, for example, strongly warn against this. We should not search for new books, old books or new “prophetic words” to add to the Bible or perhaps change it. While the Bible is an ancient book, it is a timeless book, a “treasure,” completely relevant today. When we read the lives of the people in it, we see lives like ours today, people who need and find redemption, and we find the answers to life’s greatest questions.

II Tim. 3:16-17 concludes that the Scripture “… is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” Charles Spurgeon, the most famous of Baptist preachers, said, “The deeper you dig into Scripture, the more you find it is a great abyss of truth,” and “The Scriptures teem with marvels; the Bible is a wonder land; it not only relates miracles, but is itself a world of wonders.” The Bible is the Word of God.

Mark McClellan

Author: Mark McClellan

Mark McClellan is the Ethnic Evangelism Specialist for the BGCO and the Robert Haskins School of Christian Ministry Dean.

View more articles by Mark McClellan.

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  • Kenneth S Creel

    I don’t know about which version of the scriptures Dean McClellan is referring and whether he must claim inerrancy in the original scriptures which are no longer available but I am one Baptist that sees the scriptures are full of errors, questionable facts and variances of events. According to Erin Roach, Baptist Messenger May 5, 2011 “we have about 5300 copies or portions of copies of the Greek New Testament and 800 copies of the Hebrew Old Testament, or portions.” “In the 1760’s, which is probably the heaviest era of modifications and changes, there are somewhere around 24,000 changes that are made to the actual King James Version that was published in 1611.” Even though YAHOVAH God is the author of the scriptures and HE is perfectly truthful and HE will never make a false statement, HE, in his perfection, has chosen correctly to divinely inspire the men who documented the scriptures instead of documenting them HIMSELF as with the Ten Commandments. I don’t believe that HE broke his way of dealing with humanity by miraculously perfecting these writers of the scriptures, for I haven’t heard of any man being perfect as the scriptures will verify. It is miraculous that even though I say the scriptures, as we received them, are full of errors, I can say like you that I believe the Bible is fully sufficient and contains all we need to come to know GOD through YAHOSHUA the messiah. I can read modern translations with confidence that it conveys the complete truth of the intent of the original WORD OF GOD. A person who believes your statements about the inerrancy of the scriptures will be completely destroyed by the heretic and skeptics. Respectfully your brother in YAHOSHUA Jesus, Ken.

  • Harley Bromley

    Could it be possible that the errors you refer to are by uninspired men that choose the wrong word or spelling to translate the Scriptures?
    You comment about modern translations being readable with confidence. I would add yes, but I would compare them with the King James and other translations too.
    Too much of the time when we find the Scripture in contrast to what we believe, we find it hard to change our belief. Wouldn’t that be a time when we are tempted to assume that the error is in the Scripture and not in our belief?
    Most of us understand the “Commands” in the Scripture, but have trouble with the “God approved Examples and Necessary Inferences.”
    I believe that the Holy Spirit guided the faithful writers in their remembrance and writing the truth.
    The translators like you and I can tap into that by studying and rightly dividing the Scriptures.
    If we feel that the Sword of the Spirit is faulty, we are less likely to use it.

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