An Evangelical Calvinist Doctrine of Scripture

I as an Evangelical Calvinist hold that Scripture should be understood instrumentally or as ‘spectacles’ as Calvin held. In other words EC for me believes that Scripture is something that God uses through its human words and bible-cover-pagecontexts, as His ordained Spirit shaped place where he encounters us afresh and anew every time we open, read, and study it.

Scripture in the classic position is understood from a philosophical vantage point, or to get technical, in the realm of epistemology. Which is to say that it is the place that tells us how we know what we know, but the emphasis of this approach places the onus on us; i.e. how “we” know, and what “we” make of it.

In contrast to this, I see Scripture in the realm of soteriology, or “salvation”, and in particular (along with John Webster) in the realm of sanctification. In this order of things, then, we don’t come before scripture (as if we give it its reality by our exegesis etc.); instead God in Christ comes before Scripture, just as He did/does before creation itself (Scripture). This placement keeps things in proper perspective, and it ensures that Scripture is not something that we can manipulate, but it keeps its reality in charge of things, so to speak (i.e. He can contradict our thoughts etc. through His written Word).

So Scripture is not the ultimate place where God has revealed Himself (which is the classic emphasis); Scripture finds its reality when it bears witness to, and finds its substantial meaning in Jesus Christ; just as the rest of creation. The difference with Scripture (from the rest of creation), is that the Holy Spirit inspired it and illuminates it in a special way, which again finds its orientation in Jesus Christ and in His high priestly humanity for us.

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2 Responses to An Evangelical Calvinist Doctrine of Scripture

  1. Steve says:

    What does this post mean practically? I’m currently studying I Cor 13, how would the two positions approach this chapter and what do you think the different outcomes might be?

    Hope things are going well with the training.


  2. Bobby Grow says:

    One (EC) would have a hermeneutic that thinks of love Trinitarianly immediately and theologically. The other would think of love as a quality given its reliance on philosophical categories for deducing (into propositions) the reality of Scripture.

    The training has gotten much better, I just started working out in the field (i.e. not in the classroom anymore), which is a lot more fun for sure!


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