Scripture And Nature For Ethics And Discipleship -- By: Joe Rigney

Journal: Eikon
Volume: EIKON 01:1 (Spring 2019)
Article: Scripture And Nature For Ethics And Discipleship
Author: Joe Rigney


Scripture And Nature For Ethics And Discipleship

Joe Rigney

Joe Rigney is Assistant Professor of Theology and Literature at Bethlehem College and Seminary.

Eikon is a journal of biblical anthropology. This means, among other things, that Eikon is fundamentally written by and for Bible people, to those who are committed to the Reformational principle of sola Scriptura. In his excellent introduction to this doctrine, Matthew Barrett argues that sola Scriptura means that Scripture alone, because it is God’s inspired Word, is our inerrant, sufficient, and final authority.1 Scripture is inspired by God. It is, in Paul’s words, God-breathed (2 Tim. 3:16). What Scripture says, God says. And because Scripture is God-breathed, it is inerrant. It is true and trustworthy in all that it affirms. It is without error or fault in all its teachings.

What’s more, because Scripture is God-breathed, it is sufficient. The Westminster Confession of Faith expresses the sufficiency of Scripture in this way: “The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man’s salvation, faith, and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture.” The last line about “good and necessary consequence” enables us to reason from Scripture to doctrines like the Trinity, or the hypostatic union of Christ’s two natures, which are not expressly set down in Scripture, but are taught by Scripture. Finally, sola Scriptura means that Scripture alone is our final authority. It is not our only authority. Scripture nowhere claims to be the Christian’s only authority. But, as the inspired Word of God, it is the ultimate authority on all matters upon which it speaks. Here’s the way that the Bethlehem Elder Affirmation of Faith says it:

We believe that God’s intentions, revealed in the Bible, are the supreme and final authority in testing all claims about what is true and what is right. In matters not addressed by the Bible, what is true and right is assessed by criteria consistent with the teachings of Scripture.2

Scripture doesn’t speak directly to every area of reality. It doesn’t speak exhaustively about many of the things that it does address. But in these areas, it still functions as a final authority by establishing the parameters within which we must do our thinking about what is true and right.

During the Reformation, sola Scriptura ...

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