Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Bavinck on the sufficiency of Scripture

“This attribute [of the perfection or sufficiency] of Holy Scripture also must be correctly understood. It does not mean that all that has been said or written by the prophets, by Christ, and the apostles is included in Scripture. Many prophetic and apostolic writings have been lost…. [list of citations] …. [Jesus and the apostles said many more things] … Nor does this attribute imply that Scripture contains all the practices, ceremonies, rules, and regulations that the church needs for its organization but only that it completely contains “the articles of faith” (articuli fidei), “the matters necessary to salvation. Neither does this attribute of Scripture mean that these articles of faith are literally and in so many words contained in it. Rather, it only [claims that], either explicitly or implicitly, they are so included that they can be derived from it solely by comparative study and reflection, without the help of another source.” (p488)

“this perfection of Holy Scripture must not be interpreted to mean that Scripture was always the same in degree of its perfection (quod gradum) with respect to its length.” (p488) In each period God’s word was sufficient for the time (p488)

Scripture “the total and sufficient rule of faith and morals” (p488) No other principle of knowledge

“the sufficiency of Holy Scripture results from the nature of the NT dipensation. Christ became flesh and completed all his work. He is the last and supreme revelation of God, who declared to us the Father (John 1:18; 17:4, 6). By him God has spoken in the last days (Heb. 1:1-2). He is the supreme and only prophet.” (p490)

“the idea that some writings were lost and the issue of whether they were inspired or not are not at all the point. The question is only whether the present Bible contains everything we need to know for our salvation and not whether it contains everything the prophets and apostles ever wrote and Christ himself said or did. Even if still other prophetic and apostolic writings were found, they could no longer serve as Holy Scripture…. For our salvation Scripture is sufficient; we do not need any more documents, even if they came from Jesus himself. That is the teaching of the Reformation. Quantitatively revelation was much richer and more comprehensive than Scripture has preserved for us; but qualitatively and in terms of substance, Holy Scripture is perfectly adequate for our salvation.” (p491)

“Scripture is sufficient and … the nature of the NT dispensation logically brings with it and demands this sufficiency of Holy Scripture. Christ has fully – personally and orally, or by his Spirit – revealed everything to the apostles. Upon this word we believe in Christ and have fellowship with God (John 17:20; 1 John 1:3). The Holy Spirit no longer reveals any new doctrines but takes everything from Christ (John 16:14). In Christ God’s revelation has been completed. In the same way the message of salvation is completely contained in Scripture. It constitutes a single whole; it itself conveys the impression of an organism that has reached its full growth. It ends where it begins. It is a circle that returns into itself. It begins with the creation of heaven and earth and ends with the recreation of heaven and earth.” (p491)

“The canon of the OT and NT was not closed until all new initiatives of redemptive history were present. In this dispensation the Holy Spirit has no other task than to apply the work of Christ and similarly to explain the word of Christ. To neither does he add anything new.” (p491) – Christ does not need to be supplemented or succeeded (p492)

 “The Roman Catholic doctrine of tradition is the denial of the complete incarnation of God in Christ, of the all-sufficiency of his sacrifice, of the completeness of his Word.” (p492)

“however clear the Bible may be in its doctrine of salvation, and however certainly it is and remains the living voice of God, for a correct understanding it still often requires a wide range of historical, archaeological, and geographical skills and information.” (p493)

“Tradition in its proper sense is the interpretation and application of the eternal truth in the vernacular and life of the present generation. Scripture without such a tradition is impossible.” (p493)

RD vol 1

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