In the realm of biblical interpretation, I believe human authorial intent is the hanging chad of hermeneutics. Grounding the full meaning of any text of Scripture in the mind of the human author may seem like a sufficient method of interpretation but upon further investigation, it is found lacking.
The first and most basic question answered by the Confession is the question, For what are the Scriptures sufficient? The Confession makes clear that the Scriptures are not sufficient for every conceivable purpose in human life. They are sufficient for “all things necessary for his own glory, man’s salvation, faith and life.” The sufficiency of Scripture is vertical in nature. It has to do with our relationship to God. It tells the Christian how to glorify God, what he needs to do to be saved, what He must believe as a matter of Christian doctrine, and how he must live in order to please God. There is nothing that we need about those matters that are not in Scripture. Still, the Scriptures are not a math, biology, or Spanish textbook.
Why does Scripture have authority with the Christian? The Confession answers that is not because of the testimony of any man or church, but because it is the Word of God. Last time we saw that this means that the Scripture is self-authenticating. It does not need the authentication of a supposedly infallible church, because it is itself the infallible Word of God. Rome’s claim to authenticate the Scripture to the Christian (and thus claim final authority over the Christian) is wrong because it usurps the authority of the Word of God over the Christian.
Introduction Every Christmas season a few questions come to the minds of some astute readers when the advent...
You remember that we are working through Matthew 5:17-20 under the theme we determined at the beginning of this blog series. That theme concerns Jesus’ relationship to the Old Testament Scriptures. Those Scriptures are described in the way typical of the New Testament as the law and the prophets. Jesus’ relation to them is described both negatively and positively. It is not to abolish but to fulfill them. Jesus comes to bring the Scriptures to their intended goal or predestined destination. This relationship of Jesus to the Old Testament is the underlying theme of the entirety of verses 17-20.
This, then, is why Jesus feels the need to issue this warning. A new time—the time of the kingdom—has come. What will this mean for the law and the prophets? Does it mean that their time is over and that their authority has been overthrown? To this Jesus gives an emphatic answer. It does not! He does not overthrow their authority. Rather, the authority of the Old Testament Scriptures remains and must remain inviolate forever. It is not their abolition, but their fulfillment which Jesus brings.
Confessional Reformed Baptists have in the last 40 years been fighting a two-front doctrinal war over the law of God. Ground zero in this war has been Matthew 5:17-20.
Next week, Dr. Richard Barcellos and I will be flying to Namibia, Africa to teach two modular courses to indigenous...
A detailed examination of all the passages in the Gospels where Christ discusses the issue of the Sabbath will show that he never predicted its abolition, nor did he ever profane it.
Tom Wells’ book on the Sabbath: Chapter Three (IV) Mark 2:23-28 narrates another incident between Jesus and his...