The Necessity of Scripture

It is only proper in any discussion of the nature of Scripture that one begins with the need for that thing which Scripture actually is: special revelation. Hence, this discussion begins with the need for Scripture. Ps. 138:2 says that God has exalted his name and his word above all things. God has a very high view of his word! Why do we need the Scripture? When I say that Scripture is necessary, it only stands to reason that one should ask, “necessary for what?” And that is precisely the point. If Scripture is necessary, for what purpose is it necessary?

It is Genesis 3:24 that makes a supernatural and special revelation necessary: He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life. Man has been cursed by God. God has cut man off. The idea that man has wandered away and it is merely up to him whether or not he will wander back is rooted in pelagian heresy. Man sinned and God cursed him and cut him off. This made special revelation absolutely necessary if man was to be brought back in right relationship with God. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. (2 Cor. 4:4) Their eyes are blinded by the god of this world. What man can, by a pure act of his will, decide no longer to be blind? Not one! If the eyes are to be opened to see the truth, there is only one way for that possibility to obtain: the work of divine grace! In the curse, divine truth and knowledge of God has been concealed by God: And he said to them, “To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables, 12 so that “ ‘they may indeed see but not perceive, and may indeed hear but not understand, lest they should turn and be forgiven.’ ” (Mk 4:11-12) God has concealed the truth about himself from sinful men by cursing them and permitting the god of this world to be his agent in blinding their eyes. Jesus himself tells us in as plain a language as could be expressed: All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. (Matt. 11:27)

Logically speaking, something is necessary if without it, a state of affairs cannot obtain. And in the case of God, a reliable and true knowledge of God cannot obtain apart from a knowledge of Scripture . And a knowledge of the sacred Scripture is impossible if there be no sacred Scripture in the first place. It is necessary for a human being to be a male if he is to be a bachelor. A is the necessary condition for B. If A then B. If there is no A, there can be no B. Scripture is the necessary condition for right relationship with God. If we are to be in a right relationship with God, we need Scripture. If there is no Scripture, there can be no right relationship with God. A right relationship with God cannot exist apart from a true and reliable knowledge of God and of oneself. God is my creator. I am God’s creation. God is infinitely holy. I am a wretched sinner. Scripture, you see, is God speaking. My thesis is simple: absent a word from God, there is no relationship with God. How do we know this? We know this because we know that absent faith there can be no relationship with God. And we know that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. If faith, then we have heard. If A then B, and if B then C. Therefore, if A, then C.  If faith, then hearing, and if hearing, then the Word of God. Therefore, if faith, the Word of God. John Frame writes, “If God were to send a real reformation today, what would be its target? What would be its chief doctrinal concern? My Answer: the necessity of Scripture as God’s personal word.” [Frame, The Doctrine of the Word of God.]

Scripture is necessary for genuine knowledge of God. Jesus Christ is the true revelation of the true God and apart from that revelation, true knowledge of God is impossible. John tells us that Jesus made God known! Without the written record of Jesus’ explanation of the Father, His revelation of the Father, we could not truly know God. The next time you hear someone minimize Christian doctrine, inform them that by so doing, they minimize God’s word. And here is what God says about that: But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word. (Isa. 66:2b)

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