The Authority of Scripture: Theme #2 of the Westminster Shorter Catechism

The Authority of Scripture: Theme #2 of the Westminster Shorter Catechism

Written by Andrew J. Miller |
Wednesday, November 15, 2023

In this life, many guides are full of errors and mistakes and will lead you astray. God’s Word will never fail us. It is completely trustworthy and reliable, it is inerrant and inspired by God himself.

Every day millions of people follow directions given to them by GPS. We are guided to our desired destinations by electronic maps. We input searches into these maps to know where to go for food and lodging and many other things. Without maps to guide us, or someone to give us directions, we would be lost.

However, Google maps cannot take you to God. This is why we need the Bible, God’s Word, the Scriptures. It is “the only rule to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy” God (Westminster Shorter Catechism Q&A 2). We do have an authoritative and accurate guide to direct us how we should live. “The Scriptures principally teach, what man is to believe concerning God, and what duty God requires of man” (Q&A 3).

God not only made us, but he gave us a magnificent purpose in life: to glorify God and enjoy him forever. Where the world portrays Christianity as dull, the Bible presents true religion as joyful, delighting in the Lord! “Rejoice in the LORD, O you righteous! For praise from the upright is beautiful” (Ps. 33:1). The Artist who created the beauty of our world invites us to seek his face and gaze on his beauty (Ps. 27). How can we do this? The Bible directs us! It is our authoritative, necessary, and clear guide, showing us what to do and how to live.

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Ps. 119:105). If you can imagine hiking in the dark, a lamp for your feet allows you to see what is directly ahead of you, so you do not trip on a root or step on a snake. A light for your path allows you to see what is down the road. The Bible guides us in both the long and short term.

Speaking of a path, the Scriptures are called our “canon,” our rule of faith and practice. We “walk by this rule” (Gal. 6:16). In the Greek athletic games (think of the Olympics), each runner had a lane marked out for them by a line—a canon (Greek: κανών). God marks out a path for us in his Word—he shows us how to know, glorify, enjoy, obey, serve, and praise Him.

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