But the New Testament idea of faith is not simple; indeed, it possesses a breadth of meaning that has led to varying understandings, even within a single Christian communion.
Concepts of faith
Most modern interpreters of the New Testament would agree to a description of faith as the personal knowledge of God revealing himself in Christ. Yet it is doubtful whether the post- Reformation theology of any Christian church has presented faith simply in these terms. Well before modern theologians considered the meaning of faith, Christian thinkers, beginning with St.
Paul and the Evangelists, sought to explain faith. The Apostle Paul taught that faith meant belief in Christ and the preaching of Christ, which is the word of God, as well as obedience to Christ. Faith also was the key to salvation , and as such it offered confidence in the reconciliation with God. For St. John , faith was inspired by miracles and was knowledge of Jesus as the Messiah.
The Apologists and other early writers commented on faith, but the most influential discussion of faith was that of St. Augustine , for whom faith was the acceptance of revelation and the freely given gift of God. This idea was developed and given official sanction at the second Council of Orange , which declared that the beginning and even the desire of faith was the result of the gift of grace.
In the 13th century St. Thomas Aquinas defined faith as an intellectual assent to divine truth by the command of the will inspired by grace and the authority of God. Two subjects are key to understanding Catholic faith: the preambles of faith and the motivation of faith. The preambles of faith include those rational steps through which the believer reaches the conclusion that belief in God is reasonable.
Creeds: Summary of the faith
The freedom of faith is respected by affirming that such a conclusion is as far as the preambles can take one. Thus, the preambles leave one free to accept faith or to reject it. Preaching should be based on the Bible, but is not the same as the Bible. Also, the Bible is qualitatively different from every other book ever written. It alone is the Word of God. Even the books of the Apocrypha contain only human wisdom. The Bible is the Written Word of God. God was pleased to commit His Word to writing. It was inscripturated, or written down in human script. The finger of God directly wrote the 10 Commandments Ex.
God used the human authors of Scripture as His fingers to write the Bible. God did this so that we would have His Word in black and white, in a permanent form to read and study and consult. We need not depend on a series of priests who passed it on down the ages by word of mouth to be contaminated by fallible human memory.
We have it in writing.
Philosophy and Christian Theology (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
It stands written. God did not breath something into the Bible; God breathed the Bible out of His own mouth. Jesus referred to this in Matt. God sent forth the Holy Spirit, the very breath of God John 3. He moved certain prophets and apostles so that they then put down in writing the exact words God wanted them to write. Technically, it is the Bible, not the writers, which is inspired.
Also, it is inspired because of its source, not its effect. It is divinely inspired regardless of whatever effect it has on us. All of the Bible is Inspired by God.
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Rather, the text says that all of the Scripture is inspired. This means that all parts are equally inspired. Ruth is as inspired as Romans, Joel as much as John. Therefore, it all carries divine authority and we should read all of it. All parts of it are profitable to our spiritual well-being. The Very Words of the Bible are Inspired. God breathed out specific words, not just vague ideas or feelings which the human authors were left to interpret and write down. The Bible is verbally inspired. In Gal. God inspired the words of Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. This does not refer to any translation into English or any other language.
Still, the authority of the original language carries over to accurate translations. God Controlled the Writers of the B i ble.
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They did not simply sit down and decide to write the Bible. God chose who would do the writing, then He worked miraculously in them so that He controlled what they wrote. It was not left to the fallibility of humans. Some parts of the Bible were directly dictated by an audible voice e. In most cases, God moved in a deep and mysterious way on their hearts and minds in other ways, such as by dreams and visions. They certainly knew that the words they wrote were not merely their own I Cor.
God gave them the very words, not an-inner illumination of wisdom. Also, this special inspiration has ceased. What we need now is illumination to understand what has been inspired. The light is on; we need to have our eyes opened. Because of sin, the natural Man is incapable of understanding the true meaning of the Bible 1 Cor.
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God Proves that the Bible is the Word of God. Scripture carries with it certain marks of divine authorship. Among them are its high spirituality and morality, its enormous popularity in history, its durability against persecution, its record of fulfilled prophecy, etc. But these alone are insufficient to prove divine inspiration. The Spirit is the witness because the Spirit is the truth I John Even unbelievers are impacted by this power cf.
Like the men with Paul on the Damascus road, they hear the sound but do not know the voice. The Word of God carries with it the very power of God. It is compared to a hammer that breaks rocks, light that overcomes darkness, fire that cannot be extinguished, etc. Just as God created all things by the power of His Word, so He changes lives today by that same power. God spoke to the prophets and through the prophets. He still speaks today through His Word. Let us listen and be transformed by this powerful book, the Holy Bible.
The Bible is true. Some other books may be true, in that their contents are correct; but only the Bible is truth itself. It is the only reliable guide to ultimate truth. Being holy, it is free of all impurity of error. The Bible is inerrant; it contains no errors. Truth and error are incompatible, like light and darkness. It is also infallible; it cannot fail to speak the truth.