No Scripture, No Christ

Below is an article by John Frame originally published in Synapse II (1.1, January, 1972). It was reprinted in The Presbyterian Guardian (Jan., 1979), 10-11.

When God first led his people out of bondage in Egypt, he gave them a book (Ex. 24:12). It was a book which he had written himself; the words of the book were his own words (Ex. 31:18, 32:16). Indeed, he permitted Moses to help with the writing (34:27); but the authority of those written words was a divine author­ity, not a mere human authority (Deut. 4:1-8, 5:29-33, 6:4-25, Psalm 19, 119, Matt. 5:17-20, John 5:45-47). Later, others wrote books at God’s behest, completing what we know as the Old Testament; books which Jesus endorsed both in word (above, first paragraph) and in deed (for Jesus submitted himself entirely to Scrip­ture, living in such a way “that the Scrip­ture may be fulfilled”). The New Testa­ment Church turned to those books as the definitive transcript of God’s law and promise. The books of the Old Testament were “God-breathed” (II Tim. 3:16, literal translation) – that is, words actually spo­ken by God. Also, these early Christians came to recognize further writings, the writings of apostles and others, as having the same sort of divine authority as the Old Testament (II Thess. 3:14, I Cor. 14: 37, II Pet. 3:16). It is to such divine writ­ings that the believer must turn to avoid confusion (II Tim. 3, II Pet. 1:12-2:22). It is those writings which pronounce the word of supreme authority and certain for­giveness. It is those writings which utter God’s absolute claim and his sure promise, his law and his gospel. It is those writings by which he speaks to us as Lord and Savior.

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