A Quote Worth Saving

The writer [of NT epistles] does not announce a succession of revelations, or arrest the inquiries which he encounters in men’s hearts by the unanswerable formula, “Thus saith the Lord.” He arouses, he animates, he goes along with the working of men’s minds, by showing them the working of his own. He utters his own convictions, he pours forth his own experience, he appeals to others to “judge what he says,” and commends his words “to their conscience in the sight of God.” He confutes by argument rather than by authority, deduces his conclusions by processes of reasoning and establishes his points by interpretations and applications of the former Scriptures…. Why all this labor in proving what might have been decided by a simple announcement from one entrusted with the Word of God? Would not this apostolic declaration that such a statement was error, and that another was truth, have sufficed for the settlement of that particular question? Doubtless! But it would not have sufficed to train men’s minds to that thoughtfulness whereby truth becomes their own, or to educate them to the living use of the Scriptures as the constituted guide of inquiry.

—T. D. Bernard in The Progress of Doctrine in the New Testament

Author: Mark Ward

PhD in NT; theological writer for Faithlife; former high school Bible textbook author for BJU Press; husband; father; ultimate frisbee player; member of the body of Christ.

1 thought on “A Quote Worth Saving”

  1. It’s uncouth, I know, but I have to add to this quote post!

    The comments that follow are almost direct quotations from my faithful pastor, who pointed out that we could really take our cue from this quote. He said that there has been an era here in Christian fundamentalism where basically men have elevated themselves to the height of inapproachability. “The reason it’s this way is because I’m the man of God and if you don’t like it there are three doors with EXIT written over them!” Some people want that kind of leadership. They say, “Pastor, I’m just a black-and-white person. Just tell me what to do.” But a rule book would never cover everything, and in the end it wouldn’t transform you; it would turn you into a casuist.

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