Quotes by Andy Naselli
God didn’t dictate the whole Bible the way an executive mechanically dictates letters to his secretary. The human authors’ personalities are like musical instruments. If I play the same tune on a number of wind instruments, each will sound different even if I play the exact melody in the same key and even though it’s all coming from the same breath – mine. If I play “Amazing Grace” on a tuba, baritone, trombone, French horn, trumpet, oboe, clarinet, and flute, it is all “Andy- breathed” or “Andy-produced,” but it goes through the “personality” of the instrument. In one sense that’s how God produced the Bible through human authors.
Because the Bible stands over us, it requires reverence, submission, and obedience. Because it is completely truthful, it requires trust. Because its nature contrasts sharply with our finiteness and sinfulness, it requires humble reading that is always open to correction. And because it reveals God and His ways, it requires careful, prayerful reading that situates passages within its grand story of God’s creation, our fall, Christ’s redemption, and the universe’s consummation.
[The Bible] does not merely conform to a higher standard of truth; the Bible itself is the standard of truthfulness.
If you can’t fully trust the Bible when it discusses science and history (secondary matters that can be verified), how can you trust it when it talks about God and salvation (supremely important matters that we can’t verify in the same way)? If you can’t trust the Bible, then you can’t trust God. If you don’t trust God, then you’ve exalted yourself as the ultimate authority instead of God.
“Evangelicals derive their doctrine of the Bible from the Bible. Isn’t that circular reasoning?” Well, yes, but that doesn’t necessarily invalidate the reasoning. Our doctrine of the Bible is no more circular than scientific theories. Everyone uses circular reasoning to defend the ultimate authority for beliefs. While the ultimate standard of truth for evangelicals is God and His Word, for most others it is something else – usually themselves. The heated debates about whether the Bible is God-breathed and without error hinge on one issue: whether you accept what the Bible claims about itself. Many useful arguments show that the Bible’s claims about itself are reasonable (e.g., its historical reliability and fulfilled prophecies), but ultimately God’s Spirit must convince us that its claims are true because sin has distorted how we perceive reality. We can’t prove that the Bible is God’s Word by appealing to any authority besides the Bible itself because such an authority must be superior to God – and there isn’t one.
“The Word (i.e., Jesus) is what matters, not the Word (i.e., the Bible).” As pious as that sounds, it takes a different view of the Word than the Word Himself. Jesus repeatedly quotes the Bible as completely trustworthy and as His final authority.
Scripture – How the Bible is Like No Other by Andy Naselli, taken from Don’t Call it a Comeback, edited by Kevin DeYoung, copyright 2011, Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton Illinois 60187, www.crosswaybooks.org, p. 68.