The Scriptures and Preaching
By: Gary D. Lee

The Scriptures and Preaching

A preacher’s view of the Scriptures is extremely important in the preaching process for it is from this foundation that he goes forward to build the structure that becomes the message preached. If his view of the Bible is that it is just a book of moral teachings put together by the best of men then, unless his desire is to tickle the ear of the listener, I believe that the message he preaches will fall woefully short of whatever he intended for its results. However, if he believes that the Bible is the inspired, infallible word of God then, he will craft a message under the guidance of the Holy Spirit who will allow the message to accomplish God’s intended results.

Let me explain. When talking about inspiration it is important to refer to the verse that is key for its explanation, 2 Timothy 3:16-17: “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”Word of Life

The Greek word theopneustos, although traditionally translated as inspired, is more accurately translated as “God-breathed.” This means that we literally have God’s words in the pages of the Bible. The implication of this is quite apparent as Paul tells us in the verses that follow:
I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, 4 and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. 5 But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry (2 Tim 4:1-5).

We must not come away from this with an understanding that when the writers of the Old or New Testament sat down to write, God somehow took over. It is more than that, in their work, God used the writer's personality and literary styles to achieve His ultimate purpose (2 Pet. 1:20-21).

The word “infallible” means incapable of erring. When used to refer to the Scriptures, it infers that the Scriptures are trustworthy, unfailing, reliable and sure. Therefore it is authoritative. “Authority” is marked by an understanding of the words, strength, power, supremacy and influence. If something has authority, then it has the power to determine action, specifically our actions, e. g., the law in general has authority over our lives. The more we find the law trustworthy or enforceable the more infallible it becomes.

Given who wrote the Scriptures, it is easy to understand that God’s words would be more authoritative than anyone else. Further, the more trustworthy we find His Word, the more infallible it becomes. Thus, God’s words are authoritative and infallible because He is trustworthy, reliable and sure. Further, the more we find his Word trustworthy and reliable, the more he reveals it and himself to us.

Let me end with this quote from John Stott in his book Evangelical Truth: A Personal Plea for Unity, Integrity & Faithfulness:
“Because of the kind of book the Bible is, we must approach it in two distinct but complementary ways. Because it is the Word of God, we must read it as we would read no other book—on our knees, in a humble, reverent, prayerful and submissive frame of mind. But because the Bible is also the word of humans, we must read it as we would read every other book, thoughtfully and in a ‘critical’ frame of mind….In the ‘critical’ approach we scrutinize Scripture, while in the ‘reverent’ approach we invite Scripture to scrutinize us.”

As I said earlier, in this way we can be sure that the message we preach accomplishes God’s desired results.