All appeals to Scripture are appeals to interpretations of Scripture. The only real question is: whose interpretation? People with differing interpretations of Scripture cannot set a Bible on a table and ask it to resolve their differences. In order for the Scripture to function as an authority, it must be read and interpreted by someone. According to "solo" Scriptura, that someone is each individual, so ultimately, there are as many final authorities as there are human interpreters.
It is scripture alone, not conservative Evangelical tradition or any other human authority, that must function as the normative authority for the definition of what we should believe. The authority of the scripture means that all the words in scripture are God's words in such a way that to disbelieve or disobey any word of scripture is to disbelieve or disobey God.
One of the great compliments paid the Savior was that he taught as one having authority. The missionary who knows scripture and can quote it speaks with the voice of authority...May I suggest that in our family night gatherings we make it a project to memorize one scripture a week pertinent to this work. At the conclusion of a year our children will have on their lips a fund of scripture which will remain with them throughout their lives.
Gordon B. Hinckley
Some people are ignorant of the world but educated in Scripture, and are therefore prone to missing the relevance of Scripture - these sometimes, later, amidst life's challenges and doubts, turn from the faith; other people are ignorant of Scripture but educated in the world, and are therefore prone to missing the truth of Scripture - they are often those who ridicule the faith. The apologist stands somewhere in the center. He articulates where some are prone to understanding the truth in beauty, others the beauty in truth - that of a spiritual Creator in relation to his scientific creation.
[T]he scripture worshippers put the writings ahead of God. Instead of interpreting God's actions in nature, for example, they interpret nature in the light of the Scripture. Nature says the rock is billions of years old, but the book says different, so even though men wrote the book, and God made the rock and God gave us minds that have found ways to tell how old it is, we still choose to believe the Scripture.
Sheri S. Tepper
The recasting of the Origin Myth as a story about the perils of disobedience precipitated a kind of decoupling of scripture from religious experience: when religious authorities began to insist on the literal truth of scripture, they were effectively promoting a kind of secular rationalism that states that one does not need to have a religious experience of any kind to live a moral life: all one has to do is declare one's faith in scripture, in the doctrine of Jesus' divinity and such, and accept the authority of the Holy Catholic Church as God's representative on Earth.
They were succeeded by generations who inherited the Scripture and chose the materials of this world, saying, "We will be forgiven." And should similar materials come their way, they would again seize them. Did they not make a covenant to uphold the Scripture, and to not say about Allah except the truth? Did they not study its contents? But the Home of the Hereafter is better for the cautious; will you not understand?
If your starting point for understanding humanity is a racialist viewpoint, with superiority and inferiority projected onto people because of the color of their skin, then it's so easy to take the next step of justifying that point theologically and reading it into the Christian scripture. And that makes it harder to understand what scripture is actually saying!
I know just as well what to teach this people and just what to say to them and what to do in order to bring them into the celestial kingdom...I have never yet preached a sermon and sent it out to the children of men, that they may not call Scripture. Let me have the privilege of correcting a sermon, and it is as good Scripture as they deserve. The people have the oracles of God continually.
For Scripture is the school of the Holy Spirit, in which, as nothing is omitted that is both necessary and useful to know, so nothing is taught but what is expedient to know. Therefore we must guard against depriving believers of anything disclosed about predestination in Scripture, lest we seem either wickedly to defraud them of the blessing of their God or to accuse and scoff at the Holy Spirit for having published what it is in any way profitable to suppress.
We are to believe and follow Christ in all things, including his words about Scripture. And this means that Scripture is to be for us what it was to him: the unique, authoritative, and inerrant Word of God, and not merely a human testimony to Christ, however carefully guided and preserved by God. If the Bible is less than this to us, we are not fully Christ's disciples....
James Montgomery Boice
It seems to me that it was well said by Madama Serenissima, and insisted on by your reverence, that the Holy Scripture cannot err, and that the decrees therein contained are absolutely true and inviolable. But I should have in your place added that, though Scripture cannot err, its expounders and interpreters are liable to err in many ways; and one error in particular would be most grave and most frequent, if we always stopped short at the literal signification of the words.
Scripture will ultimately suffice for a saving knowledge of God only when its certainty is founded upon the inward persuasion of the Holy Spirit. Indeed, these human testimonies which exist to confirm it will not be vain if, as secondary aids to our feebleness, they follow that chief and highest testimony. But those who wish to prove to unbelievers that Scripture is the Word of God are acting foolishly, for only by faith can this be known.
We need to repent of the haughty way in which we sometimes stand in judgment upon Scripture and must learn to sit humbly under its judgments instead. If we come to Scripture with our minds made up, expecting to hear from it only an echo of our own thoughts and never the thunderclap of God's, then indeed he will not speak to us and we shall only be confirmed in our own prejudices. We must allow the Word of God to confront us, to disturb our security, to undermine our complacency and to overthrow our patterns of thought and behavior.
In questions of this sort there are two things to be observed. First, that the truth of the Scriptures be inviolably maintained. Secondly, since Scripture doth admit of diverse interpretations, that no one cling to any particular exposition with such pertinacity that, if what he supposed to be the teaching of Scripture should afterward turn out to be clearly false, he should nevertheless still presume to put it forward, lest thereby the sacred Scriptures should be exposed to the derision of unbelievers and the way of salvation should be closed to them.
Neither Peter in his work to include Gentiles in the church nor the abolitionists in their campaign against slavery argued that their experience should take precedence over Scripture. But they both made the case that their experience should cause Christians to reconsider long-held interpretations of Scripture. Today, we are still responsible for testing our beliefs in light of their outcomes-a duty in line with Jesus's teaching about trees and their fruit.
I urge not that we assume that love will provide a reliable foundation for knowledge but that we nonetheless keep the requirements of love of neighbor foremost in our interpretations of Scripture. We should consider, for example, love to be a necessary criterion (a minimum) when defending an interpretation of Scripture even if it cannot be a sufficient criterion that will guarantee ethical interpretation.
Dale B. Martin
There are good theological reasons to reject making authorial intention the goal of the interpretation of Scripture. First, we must recognize that what has traditionally been considered authoritative for the church is Scripture, not the intentions, real or imagined, of the original authors. Yes, Christian interpreters throughout history have talked about what Paul or some other biblical writer may have meant to say, but that has traditionally not been taken to limit the meaning of the text to that intention. Thus, even if the psalmist intended to speak of David or some other king of ancient Israel, the church has always considered it legitimate to interpret the psalm as referring also-or even only or supremely-to Christ. Even if the human authors did not intend to affirm the Trinity in the first century, the church may legitimately interpret Scripture in Trinitarian terms. The church has traditionally not located the site of inspiration to be in the mind of the human author but in the text of Scripture itself. The shift to concentrating on the intentions of the human author is something that only happened in the modern era, with the rise of historical criticism.
Dale B. Martin
A devotional book, which takes a Scripture text, and so opens it for us in the morning - that all day long it helps us to live, becoming a true lamp to our feet, and a staff to lean upon when the way is rough - is the very best devotional help we can possibly have. What we need in a devotional book which will bless our lives - is the application of the great teachings of Scripture - to common, daily, practical life.
I daresay that the gradual 'decomposition' of scripture, its dissolution in more and more specialized and negative criticism, is a result of its alienation from the eucharist - and practically from the Church herself - as an experience of a spiritual reality. And in its own turn, this same alienation deprived the sacrament of its evangelical content, converting it into a self-contained and self-sufficient 'means of sanctification.' The scriptures and the Church are reduced here to the category of two formal authorities, two "sources of the faith"-as they are called in the scholastic treatises, for which the only question is which authority is the higher: which "interprets" which. As a matter of fact, by its own logic, this approach demands a further contraction, a further "reduction." For if we proclaim holy scripture to be the supreme authority for teaching the faith in the Church, then what is the 'criterion' of scripture? Sooner or later it becomes 'biblical science' - i.e., in the final analysis, naked reason. But if, on the other hand, we proclaim the Church to be the definitive, highest and inspired interpreter of scripture, then through whom, where and how is this interpretation brought about? And however we answer this question, this 'organ' or 'authority' in fact proves to be standing over the scriptures, as an outside authority.
All normative judgments about worship must be avoided. Attempts to use biblicism as a guideline, as we shall see, tend to be abandoned in the course of time or lead to biblicism of only certain portions of scripture. After all, there is more biblical authority for snake handling (Mark 16:18) than there is for confirmation! Historically, attempts to deduce norms for worship from scripture fail because the Bible was not written for such a purpose.
James F. White
We have appointed only angels to be wardens of the Fire, and caused their number to be a stumbling block for those who disbelieve; so that those given the Scripture may attain certainty; and those who believe may increase in faith; and those given the Scripture and the believers may not doubt; and those in whose hearts is sickness and the unbelievers may say, "What did Allah intend by this parable?" Thus Allah leads astray whom He wills, and guides whom He wills. None knows the soldiers of your Lord except He. This is nothing but a reminder for the mortals.
a man is not in any difficulty in making a reply according to his faith... to those who try to defame our Holy Scripture... when they produce from any of their books a theory contrary to Scripture... either we shall have some ability to demonstrate that it is absolutely false, or at least we ourselves will hold it so without any shadow of a doubt... let us choose [the doctrine] which appears as certainly the meaning intended by the author... For it is one thing to fail to recognize the primary meaning of the writer, and another to depart from the norms of religious belief.
Augustine of Hippo
... those who sit in the darkness of passions and whose minds are blinded by ignorance, or, rather, those who have not acquired the 'mind of Christ' (I Cor. 2:16), think that he who has the mind of Christ is foolish, and that he who has it not is sensible. Of these the prophet David rightly states, 'The ignorant and foolish perish together' (Ps. 49:11). Therefore such men twist the whole of Scripture according to their own desires (cf. II Pet. 3:3, 16) and corrupt themselves in their own passions. But it is not divine Scripture that suffers from this, but those who disfigure it!
Symeon the New Theologian
Today all good things are made lawful for you. And the food of those given the Scripture is lawful for you, and your food is lawful for them. So are chaste believing women, and chaste women from the people who were given the Scripture before you, provided you give them their dowries, and take them in marriage, not in adultery, nor as mistresses. But whoever rejects faith, his work will be in vain, and in the Hereafter he will be among the losers.
My husband is Dutch, and his family, when you sat down to eat food at the table, you never left the table until you ate living bread and drank living water. They never left the table until they'd read Scripture together. So morning, lunch, suppertime, Scripture was always read at the table, and then there was prayer to close.
There's a lovely Hasidic story of a rabbi who always told his people that if they studied the Torah, it would put Scripture on their hearts. One of them asked, "Why on our hearts, and not in them?" The rabbi answered, "Only God can put Scripture inside. But reading sacred text can put it on your heart, and then when your hearts break, the holy words will fall inside.
The Bible is not a book like any other. It makes a claim that God spoke and speaks through its message. It argues that as his creatures, we are accountable to him for what he has revealed. The trustworthiness of Scripture points to its authority as well. Scripture is far more than a history book, as good and trustworthy as that history is. It is a book that calls us to examine our lives and relationship to God. Beyond the fascinating history, it contains vital and life-transforming truths about God and us.
Fasts and vigils, the study of Scripture, renouncing possessions and everything worldly are not in themselves perfection, as we have said; theyare its tools. For perfection is not to be found in them; it is acquired through them. It is useless, therefore, to boast of our fasting, vigils, poverty, and reading of Scripture when we have not achieved the love of God and our fellow men. Whoever has achieved love has God within himself and his intellect is always with God.
I do not believe a person can take two issues from Scripture, those being abortion and gay marriage, and adhere to them as sins, then neglect much of the rest and call himself a fundamentalist or even a conservative. The person who believes the sum of his morality involves gay marriage and abortion alone, and neglects health care and world trade and the environment and loving his neighbor and feeding the poor is, by definition, a theological liberal, because he takes what he wants from Scripture and ignores the rest.
Thus it is written that the messiah would suffer and rise again on the third day, " Jesus instructs his disciples (Luke 24:44-46). Except that nowhere is any such thing written: not in the Law of Moses, not in the prophets, not in the Psalms. In the entire history of Jewish thought there is not a single line of scripture that says the messiah is to suffer, die, and rise again on the third day, which may explain why Jesus does not bother to cite any scripture to back up his incredible claim.
The guiding factor for the development of Christian doctrine is the Bible itself! The text of Scripture provides the grounds and, most important, the limits for this development over time. Rather than bringing in outside influences (such as tradition), we recognize that no one has ever plumbed the depths of God's revelation contained in Scripture; no one has ever come close to exhausting what is to be found in its pages. Therefore, real development of Christian doctrine is simply our ever-increasing understanding of the Word. It is a delving deeper and deeper into the truths of the Word.
James R. White
Scripture breathes wisdom like we breathe oxygen. It can't not. Through Scripture, God reveals himself. This wisdom cannot be captured, let alone contained, on a neon bumper sticker or rubber bracelet. Wisdom itself invites us to go deeper- right into a relationship with God himself. Through wisdom, we learn to love God and love what he loves. We find rich counsel on the life we were meant for- in our families, communities, and world. We discover our personal responsibilities to others. And we unearth how to put love into action." -Organic God
America was born a Christian nation. America was born to exemplify that devotion to the elements of righteousness, which are derived from Holy Scripture. Ladies and gentlemen, I have a very simple thing to ask of you. I ask of every man and woman in this audience that, from this night on, they will realize that part of the destiny of America lies in their daily perusal of this great Book of revelations. (The Bible) That if they would see America free and pure they will make their own spirits free and pure by the baptism of Holy Scripture.
There is talk of a new astrologer [Nicolaus Copernicus] who wants to prove that the earth moves and goes around instead of the sky, the sun, the moon, just as if somebody were moving in a carriage or ship might hold that he was sitting still and at rest while the earth and the trees walked and moved. But that is how things are nowadays: when a man wishes to be clever he must... invent something special, and the way he does it must needs be the best! The fool wants to turn the whole art of astronomy upside-down. However, as Holy Scripture tells us, so did Joshua bid the sun to stand still and not the earth. [Martin Luther stating his objection to heliocentrism due to his Scripture's geocentrism]
We had pastors testifying in favor of gun control. And they were quoting the Bible, too, for it. And there were no pastors on the other side testifying against gun control... I had to literally open up my Bible and read scripture to these pastors in a hearing in Olympia. A politician had to read scripture to pastors.
My love of consistency with my own doctrinal views is not great enough to allow me knowingly to alter a single text of Scripture. I have great respect for orthodoxy, but my reverence for inspiration is far greater. I would sooner a hundred times over appear to be inconsistent with myself than be inconsistent with the word of God. I never thought it to be any very great crime to seem to be inconsistent with myself; for who am I that I should everlastingly be consistent? But I do think it a great crime to be so inconsistent with the word of God that I should want to lop away a bough or even a twig from so much as a single tree of the forest of Scripture. God forbid that I should cut or shape, even in the least degree, any divine expression.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon
On the ethics of war the Quran and the New Testament are worlds apart. Whereas Jesus tells us to turn the other cheek, the Quran tells us, 'Whoso commits aggression against you, do you commit aggression against him' (2:194). The New Testament says nothing about how to wage war. The Quran, by contrast, is filled with just-war precepts. Here war is allowed in self-defense (2:190; 22:39), but hell is the punishment for killing other Muslims (4:93), and the execution of prisoners of war is explicitly condemned (47:4). Whether in the abstract is is better to rely on a scripture that regulates war or a scripture that hopes war away is an open question, but no Muslim-majority country has yet dropped an atomic bomb in war.
Stephen R. Prothero
On the other hand, inspiration - a criterion for canonization we might expect to play a great role - is not a factor. The Shepherd of Hermas and many writings either claimed inspiration or had it claimed for them, yet were neither universally nor ultimately accepted as canonical. In contrast, no NT writing claims inspiration for itself. The statement in 2 Tim. 3:16 that all Scripture is inspired by God (theopneustos) refers to Torah. Second Peter 3:16 refers to Paul's letters as though they were Scripture but does not say they were 'inspired.' In Revelation, 'inspiration' is certainly implied but not explicitly claimed. No doubt there was an increasingly widespread conviction that the NT writings were divinely inspired, but that notion did not appear to factor in as a criterion for canonization.
Luke Timothy Johnson
How one views Scripture will determine the rest of one's theology. There is no more basic issue: Every system of thought that takes seriously the claims of the Bible to be the inspired, authoritative Word of God will share a commitment to particular central truths, and that without compromise. Those systems that do not begin with this belief in Scripture will exhibit a wide range of beliefs that will shift over time in light of the ever-changing whims and views of culture. Almost every single collapse involving denominations and churches in regard to historic Christian beliefs can be traced back to a degradation in that group's view of the Bible as the inspired and inerrant revelation of God's truth. Once this foundation is lost, the house that was built upon it cannot long stand
James R. White