This fall our connections class is working through the Martyn Lloyd-Jones book “Great Doctrines of the Bible.” Before Lloyd-Jones gets to specific doctrines, he spends time discussing the nature of revelation and the the authority of the Bible.
It is important to set the table with these two topics before we delve into how the doctrines are determined because we must get straight what we believe about the Bible before we delve into what the Bible is about.
Many people use the Bible as a source of Christian teaching but do not believe it is God’s infallible word and because of that, they get their doctrine wrong. This is because our fallen nature is always looking for a way to slip the leash and run when we encounter difficult teaching. As we interact with the Bible we are going to find things that don’t make sense to us. We are going to find things we don’t understand. We are going to find things we don’t like. In other words, many things we encounter in the scriptures will not pass muster with our human desires or human reason. If I’ve not decided ahead of time that the Bible is God’s Word and must be obeyed and believed in its entirety, it is much easier to attribute those parts I don’t like to a source other than God, effectively removing myself from under their authority.
We must have a robust theology of what the Bible is before we can use it profitably. Our preconceived belief about what the Bible is helps us come to grips with what it says. If the Bible is the very words of God breathed out, then I must listen and submit to it in all things.
“…when we come up against particular doctrines and truths, we must accept them if they are in the Bible, irrespective of the fact that we can or cannot understand them.”[i]
Without this predetermined posture of submission, I will always turn the Bible into a smorgasbord taking a bit from here and a bit from there and leaving the things I don’t like laying on the table. I must be willing to submit to God’s word in its entirety if I am to effectively mine the doctrines it contains.
[i] Great Doctrines of the Bible, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, p.37