“We Prayerfully Value Scripture” is the first of seven IPHC core values. The Greek phrase in the title–κατὰ τὰς γραφὰς, translated “according to the Scriptures”–appears twice in 1 Corinthians 15:3, 4. Both instances refer to the passion of Christ, the first focusing on His death and the second on His resurrection:
For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:3, 4; NKJV)
The IPHC holds that the Bible is inspired, authoritative, and inerrant (2 Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 4:12). While we have the inspired written Word of God, the sixty-six books of the Bible, we maintain that inspired book points to the Living Word of God, the Word made flesh, Jesus the Messiah of Israel (John 1:1-5, 14-18; 1 John 1:1-4).
Over the years I have come to hold these convictions about the Bible. The Bible describes . . .
- God’s purposes in creation to make a place and people who will live for His glory and in whom God can delight in love and holy creativity.
- The failure of God’s human creatures to live within the blessings of His glory, bringing the curse of sin upon all humanity and creation.
- God’s loving plan to redeem fallen humanity through His only begotten eternal Son, Jesus.
- God calling for a people who will believe in His life-giving Word. God began this in Abraham and his descendants and continues it through all people who come to Him in faith in His Son Jesus.
- God’s ultimate plan to redeem His fallen creation with a new heavens and earth. The resurrection of Jesus is the first-fruits of what this will look like and mean for all who respond in faith to His word.
- God’s promises to Israel and fulfilled in Jesus Christ. “According to the Scriptures” means that God has acted in recorded history to show that He is righteous, that is, God keeps His promises (Romans 1:16, 17).
To illustrate Paul’s point made in 1 Corinthians 15 concerning “according to the Scriptures,” note the following use of the Old Testament from Palm Sunday to the Resurrection in the Gospels. St. Matthew has ten Old Testament passages fulfilled in the Passion of Jesus. St. Mark has eleven such passages, St. Luke has nine such passages, and St. John has six.
To the canonical gospel records, one can add the Book of Acts and the letters of Paul, John, Jude, James, and Hebrews. There are excellent Biblical resources that examine the use of the Old Testament in the New Testament. One excellent one is the Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament edited by G.K. Beale and D.A. Carson (Baker Academic, 2007). In addition, my podcast contains a study of the Old Testament usage in the book of Hebrews.
On this Monday of Holy Week, as we reflect on the first IPHC core value, the promises of God related to the fact and meaning of the death of Jesus and His resurrection are the foundation for our confidence in the reality of our salvation. God can be trusted because He is righteous and acts according to His revealed Word. God is not capricious. Rather the Creator of all that is in the universe keeps His Word because He has not given up on redeeming humanity and bringing for that people and world that lives to His glory!