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.