Doctrine of the Scriptures

Ryrie Study Bible


A. Terminology

1. Bible.  Derived from biblinon, "roll’’ or "book’’ (Luke 4:17).

2. Scripture. Used in NT of the sacred books of OT, which were regarded as inspired (2 Tim. 3:16; Rom. 3:2). Also used in NT of other parts of NT (2 Peter 3:16).

3. Word of God. Used of both OT and NT in written form (Matt. 15:6; John 10:35; Heb. 4:12).

B. Attitudes Toward the Bible

1. Rationalism.

          a. Extreme form denies the possibility of any supernatural revelation.

          b. Moderate form admits possibility of divine revelation, but human mind is final judge of revelation.

2. Romanism. Bible is the product of the church; therefore, the Bible is not the sole or final authority.

3. Mysticism. Experience is authoritative along with the Bible.

4. Neoorthodoxy. The Bible is a fallible witness to the revelation of God in the Word, Christ.

5. Cults. The Bible and the writings of the particular cult’s leader are equally authoritative.

6. Orthodoxy. The Bible alone is the ground of authority.

C. The Wonders of the Bible

1. Its formation. 1,500 years.

2. Its unity. About forty different authors, yet one book.

3. Its preservation.

4. Its subject matter.

5. Its influence.


A. Definition. A disclosure; especially God’s communicating His message to man.

B. Means of Revelation.

1. Through nature (Rom. 1:18-21; Ps. 19).

2. Through providential dealings (Rom. 8:28).

3. Through preservation of the universe (Col. 1:17).

4. Through miracles (John 2:11).

5. Through direct communication (Acts 22:17-21).

6. Through Christ (John 1:14).

7. Through the Bible (1 John 5:39).


A. Definition. Inspiration is God’s superintending of human authors so that, using their own individual personalities, they composed and recorded without error in the words of the original autographs His revelation to man.

B. Theories of Inspiration.

1. Natural—no supernatural element involved. Bible was written by men of great genius.

2. Mystical or illumination. Writers of Scripture were Spirit-filled just as Christians today can be.

3. Dictation or mechanical. Writers of Scripture were passive instruments in God’s hand, like typewriters on which He wrote. Admittedly, parts of the Bible were dictated (e.g., Ten Commandments).

4. Partial. Only the unknowable parts of the Bible were inspired (e.g., creation, spiritual concepts).

5. Conceptual. Concepts but not words were inspired.

6. Degree. Writers were more inspired than ordinary men.

7. Neo-orthodox. Human writers could only produce a record with errors.

8. Verbal, plenary. This is the true doctrine and means that the very words (verbal) and all of them (plenary) were inspired in the sense of the definition above.

9. Fallible inspiration. An increasingly popular theory that the Bible is inspired but is not without error.

C. Distinctives of Verbal, Plenary Inspiration.

1. The true doctrine concerns the original manuscripts.

2. It extends to the actual words.

3. It views God as superintending, not dictating.

4. It includes inerrancy.

D. Proof of Verbal, Plenary Inspiration.

1. 2 Timothy 3:16. Theopneustos, God-breathed. Affirms that God is author of Scripture and that Scripture is the product of His creative breath.

2. 2 Peter 1:21. The "how’’ of inspiration—men "borne along’’ by the Spirit.

3. Specific commands to write the word of the Lord (Ex. 17:14; Jer. 30:2).

4. The use of quotation (Matt. 15:4; Acts 28:25).

5. Jesus’ use of Scripture (Matt. 5:17; John 10:35).

6. NT asserts that other parts of the NT are Scripture (1 Tim. 5:17; 2 Peter 3:16).

7. Writers were conscious of writing God’s word (1 Cor. 2:13; 1 Peter 1:11-12).

E. Proofs of Inerrancy.

1. The trustworthiness of God’s character (John 17:3; Rom. 3:4).

2. The teaching of Christ (Matt. 5:17; John 10:35).

3. Arguments based on a word or form of a word (Gal. 3:16, "seed’’; Matt. 22:31-32, "am’’).


(See also How We Got Our Bible)

A. Fundamental Considerations.

1. The Bible is self-authenticating and church councils have only recognized the authority inherent in the books themselves.

2. God guided the councils so that the canon was recognized.

B. The Canon of the OT.

1. Some assert that all books of the OT canon were collected and recognized by Ezra (fifth cent. B.C.).

2. The NT refers to the OT as Scripture (Matt. 23:35, the equivalent of saying, "From Genesis to Malachi’’; cf. Matt. 21:42; 22:29).

3. The Synod of Jamnia (A.D. 90). A teaching house of rabbis who recognized the books of the OT, though some questioned Esther, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Songs.

C. The Principles of the Canonicity of NT Books.

1. Apostolicity. Was the book written or backed by an apostle?

2. Content. Was it of sufficient spiritual character?

3. Universality. Was it widely accepted?

4. Inspiration. Did it give internal evidence of inspiration?

D. The Formation of the NT Canon.

1. The period of the apostles. They claimed authority for their writings (1 Thess. 5:27; Col. 4:16).

2. The post-apostolic period. All recognized except Hebrews, 2 Peter, 2 and 3 John.

3. The Council of Carthage, 397, listed the twenty-seven canonical NT books.


A. In Relation to the Unsaved.

1. The need for (1 Cor. 2:14; 2 Cor. 4:4).

2. The Spirit’s convicting ministry (John 16:7-11).

B. In Relation to the Christian.

1. The need for (1 Cor. 2:10-12; 3:2).

2. The Spirit’s teaching ministry (John 16:13-15).


A. Principles of Interpretation.

1. Interpret grammatically and historically.

2. Interpret according to the immediate and wider contexts.

3. Interpret in harmony with the whole Bible by comparing Scripture with Scripture.

B. General Divisions of the Bible.

1. OT.

a. Historical books—Genesis to Esther.

b. Poetical books—Job to Song of Solomon.

c. Prophetic books—Isaiah to Malachi.

2. NT.

a. Gospels—Matthew to John.

b. History—Acts.

c. Epistles—Romans to Jude.

d. Prophecy—Revelation.

C. Biblical Covenants.

1. Noahic covenant (Gen. 8:20-22).

2. Abrahamic covenant (Gen. 12:1-3).

3. Mosaic covenant (Ex. 19:3—40:38).

4. Palestinian covenant (Deut. 30).

5. Davidic covenant (2 Sam. 7:5-17).

6. New covenant (Jer. 31:31-34; Matt. 26:28).

Taken from: Ryrie Study Bible NASB 1986, 1995 by the Moody Bible Institute of Chicago