Study Guide: The Divinely Inspired Story of God

Sunday February 7, 2021 | Greg Boyd

Focus Scripture:

Brief Summary:

In the first part of the sermon, Greg explains the decision of leadership regarding its plans for re-opening. The second part delves into the topic of what the inspiration of Scripture means and what it does not mean. It concludes with a panel discussion about trusting the authority of Scripture in a post-modern setting.

Extended Summary:

This sermon opens with Greg sharing about WHC’s plans for resisting the trend to re-open for Sunday services. The decision of the church is rooted in putting cross-like love at the center of our calling as a church. If we are serious about this, then it means that the strong will do whatever they can to diminish the risk to the most vulnerable.

After this, Greg looks at what the focus Scripture says about Jesus’ view of Scripture and what this means to us. On July 26, 2020, in a message called “The Expert,” Greg shared his reasons for making Jesus the ultimate authority in his life, sharing that Jesus has the credentials that make him credible as Lord. Jesus, who we’ve come to trust as our authority on all spiritual matters, clearly believes that nothing in the law and prophets could ever pass away, which indicates that Jesus firmly believed that everything in the Old Testament was divinely inspired for the purposes of being fulfilled in him.

A part of submitting to Jesus as the ultimate authority is submitting to the teaching of Scripture. In submission to Jesus’ teaching, we are to view the Bible as a divinely inspired story. It’s the inspired story of the Creator’s interactions with humans as he patiently worked throughout history to free them from their bondage to evil. It’s the divinely inspired story that points to, leads up to, and then culminates in Jesus’ self-sacrificial death and that was confirmed by Jesus victorious resurrection.

This is followed with a few comments regarding what the inspiration of Scripture does not mean. Divinely inspired does not mean that we have to accept all the things that Christians have taught about inspiration. For instance, some have taught that inspiration means that it is perfect and therefore it does not have any errors. If there’s anything we learn about God from Jesus’ life, teachings, death and resurrection, it’s that God doesn’t conform to any of our ideas of what perfection looks like.

In Christ, we find a God who turns all of our expectations upside down. He always uses the foolish things of this world to confound the wise and the weak things of this world to confound the strong. Therefore, why would anyone assume when God inspires the story God wants to tell—the story that is centered on this upside-down Messiah—that this story would conform to our expectations about what an inspired book should look like?  If the God who breathed the fullest revelation of himself on the cross is the same God who breathed all Scripture, shouldn’t we expect Scripture to reflect the same cruciform nature?

This leads to the question: What does inspiration mean? It means we must look to Scripture as an authority in our life, not as the ultimate authority, which is Christ, but as the authority that Christ himself has endorsed to be a means of instructing, transforming and interacting with his people. This is confirmed by the Apostle Paul in 2 Timothy 3:14-17.

The Bible is to be an authority to teach us, reprove and correct us, training us in right-relatedness and preparing us for every good work. The question each of us must ask is: is it playing an authoritative role in my life? In today’s world, our experience or intuition often supplants the authority of Scripture. Personal experience has become the determining factor about what truth is and since everyone’s experience is different, we end up with different versions of truth.

When this is the case, our experience determines the parts of the Bible that we believe to be true. Those that don’t align with our experience are set aside because the Bible is used to only confirm what we already believe. This approach to the Scripture is common in a post-modern world. The sermon concludes with a panel discussion that focuses on a conversation about the intersection of the Bible with the post-modern movement.

Reflection Questions: