The Doctrine of Scripture: Defining Our Terms

The Doctrine of Scripture: Defining Our Terms

Special Revelation- The things that God makes known about Himself apart from nature and conscience (general revelation; cf. Rom. 1:19–21). These things, having to do with Christ and the plan of salvation, are found only in the Bible.

The doctrine of Scripture is foundational to the Christain faith. But there is more to say about Scripture than simply, “The Bible says it. I believe it. That settles it.” If you don’t grasp what the Bible is and how it came to be, you’ll never fully grasp its meaning. Since the meaning of the Bible is vitally important to our faith and life, we will here briefly define a few key terms that relate to the doctrine of Scripture as the study of God’s Word written.


The power the Bible possesses, having been issued from God, for which it “ought to be believed and obeyed” (Westminster Confession 1:4). Because of its divine author, the Bible is “the source and norm for such elements as belief, conduct, and the experience of God” (Westminster Dictionary of Theological Terms).


The original texts of the biblical books as they issued from the hands of the human authors.


The authoritative list of inspired biblical books. Within a short time after Jesus’ death, the New Testament canon was affirmed by evaluating the Apostolicity, reception, and teachings of books, but ultimately, the canon is self-authenticating, as the voice of Christ is heard in it (John 10:27; WCF 1:5).


The position that the Bible affirms no falsehood of any sort; that is, “it is without fault or error in all that it teaches,” in matters of history and science as well as faith (Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy).

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