Can We Come to the Bible Alone?

In response to an Huffington Post article titled, “We Never Come to the Bible Alone“, by Jamie Arpin-Ricci, I stated this challenge below,

“I must disagree and challenge you on this.

While we do not come to the Bible alone, this does not mean that we must reject that one truth is verifiable and knowable. Jesus verified and proved the truth through agreeing testable reports from as few as two or three (John 8:12ff, 17ff, 31ff). This rejection of truth is simply preferring one’s personal experience over the experiences of others, who may testify to us (John 5:30ff). Is that not prejudice? Is this not personal arrogance and pride, the foundation of rejecting knowable truth? Do we not rely on the reports of others including friends, family, and other trusted reports? We may be bias to hear only one account of one side, but our casual dishonesty does not disprove knowable truth. Our opinions do not show an unreliable means of knowledge, but that people have presumptions. Some will find their way out by honesty and others will find reasons to stay there.

The standard of evidence and legal maxim that Jesus used is the basis for taking and using the “Bible alone”. The witnesses of the Bible like all witnesses can be proved upon 2 or 3 consistencies and disproved by 2 or 3 contradictions. Since these eyewitnesses are in the Bible alone, we can examine the apostolic writings gathered under the oversight of Christ’s Apostles in the 1st c. (1 John 1:1-4, 2 Pet. 1:16-21, 3:15-16, 2 Tim. 3:16-16/1 Tim. 5:18, Luke 1:1-3). We can know the words and the witnesses of the Bible. We can examine them for ourselves. Though we may contradict each other, the truth stands.

The life of Jesus is just as knowable as a proven history built upon eyewitness or the testimonies of an event at the center of a legal investigation. How do we know anything in the court of law without witnesses by spoken words, writing, trace evidence, etc.? By this legal maxim, the Bible alone proves and interprets itself showing itself to be the proven source of sources for the life, words, ministry, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The way that Jesus interpreted the Bible should be the standard for its own interpretation. He is the one, who proved His points in scripture (Luke 4:1-13, 16-21, 24:44, etc.) and even He made His case by even the tense of a word (Matt. 22:29-33). By the “Bible alone”, we find the Truth clearly revealed by the Holy Spirit, who can interpret His own words by His words as the Spirit interprets scripture already written (Heb. 3:7ff, cf. 1 Cor. 2). When Christ spoke, the Spirit spoke (“the Spirit says to the Churches” – Rev. 2-3). Therefore, the Spirit of Christ does not interpret the Bible via a mystical “Spirit”, but rather Christ’s Spirit interprets the words of Christ and those of His Apostles and prophets (John 15:20, 17:8, Eph. 3:3-5). These words dwell in Christians just as much as the Spirit indwells (Col. 3:16, 1 John 2:14). Thereby, we may interpret the Spirit’s words by His words on our hearts and minds. Thus, the mind set on the Spirit rather the flesh must be the mind of the person in whom the Spirit dwells, because these positions are not contrary to one another (Rom. 8:5-6, 9-11). Believers can do as Jesus said, “observe all things that I have commanded you” (Matt. 28:20), and as His Spirit said we can speak the same thing without division and be united together in the same mind and the the same judgment (1 Cor. 1:10). We must do this together. Truly, some things are hard to understand and some will twist those things to their destruction, but I will not give up the Bible alone when it the sole proven truth and source of sources about Christ. Thereby, I trust Christ’s Spirit that God’s breath comes through every scripture, which are profitable for teaching, admonition, correction, and instruction in righteousness that one may be complete and fully equipped for every good work (2 Tim. 3:16-17, cf. 1 Tim. 5:18).

This is my case. May God bless you in the study of His Word.”

Jamie Arpin-Ricci

About Scott J. Shifferd

Minister, church of Christ in Jacksonville, FL. Husband and father of four. Email: ScottJon82[at]yahoo.com
This entry was posted in Christian, Church of Christ and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

36 Responses to Can We Come to the Bible Alone?

  1. Phil says:

    Where do you find in scripture that he does it the way you just suggested? I agree that that He gives us wisdom through the scriptures, but also by direct connection. We don’t need to be literate to be able to receive God’s wisdom. If so then God is a respecter of Humans, and we know He is not. If you claim that “providence” is mystical in nature then we do agree that he works directly in our consciousness.

    God said that he would write His laws on our heart’s and mind’s (in Hebrews)

    1 John 4:13 says….
    “Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.”
    It does not say….
    “Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Scriptures,” as you claim.

    How would you respond to this?

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  2. Phil says:

    How does God grant you wisdom, strength, understanding, etc.? Maybe (to you) He doesn’t…and your left to your own intellectual ability to process words.

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  3. Phil says:

    The Spirit is “Christ, the Father, and the Word.” I thought that was obvious!
    When you ask God for strength, wisdom, understanding, etc., and he grants those things to you, are you not in fact experiencing the work of the Spirit apart from the text? Of course you are. I don’t need the biblical text to gain access to these virtuous aspects of God’s indwelling.

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    • Although there are no references to experiencing the Spirit in the words of Christ or His Apostles and prophets, I hear you saying that you have found that there is an experience of the Spirit beyond the Spirit’s indwelling, sanctification, and His words within one’s heart.

      How do you get from Christ’s life and words to this experience of the Spirit?

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      • Phil says:

        It’s as if I’m talking to an atheist. A Christian should know this. If you have never experienced the presence of God then what is your religion about? I should be asking you about why you haven’t experienced the presence of God? This is truly amazing.

        “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10)

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        • This is as though I’m talking to a pagan. You are proposing mysticism into your own personal heresies. “When the clown broke the communion bread, I felt the presence of the Spirit”, or “I pray to Mary and I felt the presence of God.” These are delusions of Satan to lead people astray. Your foundation must first be Jesus Christ, but you treat Him like an afterthought to your spiritual walk. To think that you claim a revelation from a spirit beyond that of Christ and what His Spirit gave to His Apostles is outrageous and absurd.

          Listen. When we draw close to God, then He draws close to us (Jas. 4:8). He is not far from anyone of us, but this does give you the right to start making things up about experiencing the presence of God leading you for revelation beyond the Gospel. This is kind of preeminent ego is exactly what the Apostles faced in the 1st c. Some guy comes along claiming that the Spirit gives him special revelation, an angel talked to him, or that has some special wisdom of men (Gal. 1:8-9, 1 Cor. 1-3).

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