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God’s Word

All Scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
2 Timothy 3:16

The Bible is the story of God and his world. It is the story of how God interacts with the humanity that he made. It is the story of how God redeems his fallen creation and how he will one day restore that creation back to the original ‘very good’.  We believe the Bible’s claim to be God’s self-revelation, that is, a revelation of his character, his heart and his plans, written through human authors who were inspired in what they wrote directly by God the Holy Spirit. Since the Bible contains the words of God it therefore speaks into how we live as individuals and corporately as the church of Jesus Christ.

We believe that bible is authoritative in that it carries the authority of having been spoken by God. But we also recognise that to say that without qualification raises some difficult issues, especially when we hear and use phrases such as, ‘The Bible contains timeless truths’. For example, there are many examples of Old Testament laws that we clearly don’t adhere to now. Does that mean that we are ignoring the authority of scripture? To answer this, we need to understand how the Bible speaks with authority.

The storyline of the Bible progressively shows how God interacts with humanity through several different scenes: creation, where everything is perfect, where God rules and reigns, and where he gives dominion of the earth to people created in his image; fall, where the people God created to express his rule and reign instead pursue their own agenda and their own glory, and a chapter of brokenness and pain begins; Israel, where God sets apart a covenant people who will give hints, pointers and foreshadows of the King who will come to earth to restore all things to their original intended full flourishing; Jesus, the king who came to restore the Kingdom; the church, the new covenant people of God given the mission of extending the kingdom of God until Jesus returns to make all things new.

When we understand the story of the Bible, we see that the Old Covenant hasn’t been abolished by the new covenant in Jesus. Rather, the old covenant has been fulfilled in Jesus. This helps us to understand why we wouldn’t adhere rigorously to some of the more obscure commands in the Old Testament. It helps us to have a consistent approach to those laws, not picking and choosing which we believe to be relevant for us today. Consequently, the New Testament provides the new covenant charter for the people of God in Christ. It gives the parameters for God’s people in their mission to extend the Kingdom until Christ returns.

The teaching of the whole bible is therefore central to what we do at Hope. In all expressions of church life, we defer to the authority of God as expressed in scripture. In our communities, we gather around the word, pastoral counsel is given from the word, discipling relationships are founded on the word, in our Sunday gatherings, the word is taught and proclaimed publicly. We believe that God has gifted us with his word to be able to partner with him in the mission of extending his kingdom within the parameters that he has set. It provides the basis for teaching, correction, rebuke and training in righteousness, so that the people of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. The Word provides the boundary lines, and we live and operate within the boundaries that he has set.