maandag 30 september 2013

The authority of Scripture 4

Is the Bible a time- and culture-bound document?
In the work of the writing of his inspired Word God used men who were men of their time, just as all men they were limited in knowledge and so on, in themselves they were fallible men. Does that mean that the Bible is a limited, time-bound and fallible record about God? That is argued quite often, but such an opinion contradicts the witness of Scripture itself. The Scripture does not present itself as a time- and culture-bound, fallible document, but as the record of God's revealed will for all times and places.
It is true: in themselves the biblical writers were fallible sinful men, but moved by the Holy Spirit they wrote the infallible Word of God. The biblical writers were men of their time. They lived and wrote within a certain culture. That does not mean however that what they wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit was bound to their time and culture. God governs the whole world. He works all things according to his eternal pleasure. It pleased him to reveal his will within a certain cultural and histori­cal context. The cultural and historical contexts are not factors that stand out­side the counsel of God.
The Bible was written within a certain cultural and historical context, but its message is not bound to that context. From its very beginning, it was intended to be a revelation of God and his will for the world. When we read the Bible, we are confronted with commands and cus­toms. Are all commands meant for us? Are we to follow all customs described in the Bible?
In the first place we must distinguish between the Old Testament and the New Testament dispensation. In the New Testament it is explicitly indicated that many commands were only meant for the Old Testament dispensation. In the next place we must not forget that not all things that are described in the Bible are prescribed for all coming generations. But when a custom is in the Bible itself explicitly prescribed and it does not belong to the mosaic dispensation, we do not have the right to say that we are free to obey or disobey.