And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:14, NASB).
As January turns into February, we are halfway between the Solo Christo issue, already in your hands, and the Sola Scriptura issue, which is being translated as I type and will be posted here in http://www.baonline.org by the first of March. If your BA comes by mail, you may have yours hot off the press as early as three weeks from now.
For a publication called Bible Advocate — not to mention a church that holds Bible Based at the core of its vision for a vibrant 21st century church — we’re of course excited about an issue devoted to Sola Scriptura. From front to back, the March-April BA is a long celebration of the Word of God, how precious it is! As lovers of the Word, I think you’re going to enjoy it.
But in this “BA Between” my thoughts are drawn to the natural progression from Solo Christo to Sola Scriptura — from Christ, the Word incarnate, to Scripture, the Word written. There is a close relationship, to say the least. The two correlate and intermingle in the closest way possible.
As my Associate Editor, Sherri Langton, and I worked on the submissions for the upcoming BA, we ran into this intimate association. We were stumped more than once when a writer referred to “the Word.” Was it a reference to the written Word or the living Word behind and beyond it? Even though the distinction and priority between the two is clear, uncertainty is natural when we come to a single reference of “the Word,” since we know that God’s spoken to us by both. So we asked, “Which Word?”
In the Gospel of John we see this close connection especially. In the first verse we discover that the Word was with God from the beginning. This Word actually is God. It is this beloved Word — Son of God — who is revealed through history and recorded in Scripture. The good news of our faith begins with the foundational doctrine that this Word became flesh for the world’s sake.
It makes perfect sense that the fullness and glory of grace and truth that reside in our heavenly Father would be made known to us in and through His only begotten Son and through the Scripture that testifies to them both (vv. 14-18, 45; Exodus 34:6). As Jesus himself testified, Scripture points to Him. If we’re to be His disciples truly, we’re to continue in His Word, the Word He spoke and that was left for us (5:39-47; 8:31). Do you see the continuous circle from, and to, the Word? It’s not always clear which Word we mean, because one follows so close from the Other.
But Christ is preeminent in all things, and this includes the Bible. He is both before and beyond what testifies to Him. His existence and acts precede and follow the God-breathed Word of Him. When we submit to Christ, Scripture is opened to us, and as it’s rightly read we discover and know Christ as He truly is, rather than as we would like Him to be. Of course, we submit to Him in the first place because we are convicted by the Word that we must.
Round and round with the Word! And . . . which Word?
The church cannot do without Scripture, for it’s none other than the Word of the Word, Truth of the Truth, Light of the Light that would have us know Him as Christ, Savior, and Lord of all. So as you read Sola Scriptura in the coming weeks, keep Solo Christo close by. The two go hand in hand, just as you would expect of a church that holds near its heart that our identity is shaped by being a Christ-centered and Bible-based people.
Grace and Truth in the Word!
For a more in depth treatment of the Word that reveals, inscribes, and incarnates, see “From Flame to Flesh” here: https://baonline.org/from-flame-to-flesh/.