The bible

Why is the Bible important? Check out the GOD CONNECTS video below.


Holy, God-breathed, and Useful

The apostle Paul wrote to a young pastor named Timothy about the role of the Bible. Paul warned that there will be times when evil people do godless things, but he encouraged Timothy to stand strong, using the Bible for guidance. Paul had an extremely high view of the Bible, saying that it was holy, God-breathed, and useful for correcting and training. We too, at St. Luke’s, have a high view of the Bible, following it as the truth, even when it makes us uncomfortable. But how does the Bible guide our life? How can these various ancient writings be authoritative for us today?

Reading the Bible

One approach is to read the Bible and pull out life lessons, or moral commands. For example, you could read the stories about King David and pull out 10 principles on leadership. In this way, the Bible is seen as a book of rules for life and success. Another approach is to read the Bible and pull out answers to theological questions. For example, you can find various Bible verses to help you answer, “Is Jesus really God?” In this way, the Bible becomes a set of truths to be proven and believed.

Both approaches can be useful at times (the second approach was used above to teach about Baptism and the Lord’s Supper), however they tend to downplay the bigger picture of the Bible. Most of the Bible is actually historical narrative, not a list of advice or doctrinal statements. So, Lutherans use a helpful tool for approaching the Bible called “Law & Gospel.” It helps keep in mind the larger story about God, sin, Jesus, and salvation, and helps us understand how this story impacts and guides our life.

Law & Gospel

What do we mean by Law & Gospel? Any part of the Bible that places a burden on us to “live right” is Law. Any part of the Bible that teaches about how God has forgiven us when we did not “live right” is Gospel. Paul talked about Law and Gospel in Romans 6-8. He said that God’s law is good, but it doesn’t actually equip us to “live right” – it only shows us our sin. Then Paul concluded, “For what the law was powerless to do, God did by sending his own Son to be a sin offering, so that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us.” (Romans 8:3-4) In other words, the laws and commands in the Bible are very good and useful, but we’ll never live up to them, so our ultimate hope is in what Jesus has done for us. That’s why every week at St. Luke we want people to learn from the Bible, and be pointed to the cross!

Our confirmation students also learn about why we trust the Bible. The lesson below has great information for both youth and adults alike if you'd like to dive deeper.


For a more in-depth look at how the Bible can be authoritative, see N.T. Wright's article below.

How Can the Bible Be Authoritative?

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