The Bible is not what men define it to be; it is what God declares it to be. Men can believe that or deny that, but they cannot alter that. The premise that the Bible is the inspired, authoritative, infallible, sufficient, and effective Word of God should be the foundation for the study of Scripture. All truth has its source in God and, consequently, His truth is universal and timeless. Although times change, truth is changeless.
The Bible is unique; there is nothing like it. Sixty-six separate books written by multiple authors over a span of 1,500 years, the Bible is ultimately one book with one Author, God Himself. The Scriptures, therefore, are not what ancient men thought about God or divine matters; they are the very words of God expressing and revealing His mind. By a supernatural operation referred to as inspiration, God breathed out His words (2 Tim. 3:16) to holy men who were carried along in the writing process by the Holy Spirit (2 Pet. 1:21). The Bible is God’s Word because it claims to be God’s Word, and faith believes it. That may seem to be circular reasoning, and perhaps it is, but it is reason that rests on God who is incapable of lying (Titus 1:2).
When we view the Scriptures through faith, we do so with a set of beliefs that we take for granted to be true. These presuppositions are essential and inevitable. It is absolutely impossible to come to the Bible with an open mind.1 Liberal scholars often claim they approach Scripture with an open mind in order to evaluate the Word of God and judge its accuracy. In reality they come with the presupposition that human reason is superior to divine revelation. That is not an open mind; it is a closed heart that evidences a mindset predisposed against God and truth. Man cannot stand as the judge of Scripture; Scripture stands as the judge of man. As believers, we must come with an open and receptive heart to receive and believe what God says. The mindset of a believer every time he opens the Bible must be the conviction that whatever the Bible says is true. The believer may not completely comprehend all that he reads, but he does not doubt its truth. We cannot trust our reason to determine what is true or false, right or wrong. By faith we believe in the inspiration of the Bible, and therefore we affirm its authority, infallibility, sufficiency, and effectiveness from cover to cover. Each of these corollaries to inspiration are topics for thorough treatises, but for now simple definition will suffice.2