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of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective, 1995
Article 4. Scripture
We believe that all
Scripture is inspired by God through the Holy Spirit for instruction in
salvation and training in righteousness. We accept the Scriptures as
the Word of God and as the fully reliable and trustworthy standard for
Christian faith and life. We seek to understand and interpret Scripture
in harmony with Jesus Christ as we are led by the Holy Spirit in the
We believe that God was at work through the centuries in the process by
which the books of the Old and New Testaments were inspired and
written.  Through the Holy Spirit, God
moved human witnesses to write what is needed for salvation, for
guidance in faith and life, and for devotion to God. 
We accept the Bible as
the Word of God written. God has spoken in many and various ways
through the prophets and apostles.  God
has spoken above all in the living Word who became flesh and revealed
the truth of God faithfully and without deception.  We also acknowledge the Scripture as the
fully reliable and trustworthy Word of God written in human language.  We believe that God continues to speak
through the living and written Word.
Because Jesus Christ is the Word become flesh, Scripture as a whole has
its center and fulfillment in him. 
We acknowledge the
Scripture as the authoritative source and standard for preaching and
teaching about faith and life, for distinguishing truth from error, for
discerning between good and evil, and for guiding prayer and worship.
Other claims on our understanding of Christian faith and life, such as
tradition, culture, experience, reason, and political powers, need to
be tested and corrected by the light of Holy Scripture. 
The Bible is the
essential book of the church. Through the Bible, the Holy Spirit
nurtures the obedience of faith to Jesus Christ and guides the church
in shaping its teaching, witnessing, and worship. We commit ourselves
to persist and delight in reading, studying, and meditating on the
Scriptures.  We participate in the
church's task of interpreting the Bible and of discerning what God is
saying in our time by examining all things in the light of Scripture.  Insights and understandings which we
bring to the interpretation of the Scripture are to be tested in the
(1) Jer. 30:2; Jer. 36; 2 Tim. 3:16.
(2) 2 Pet. 1:21.
(3) Exod. 20:1; Jer. 1:9-10; Gal. 1:11-12; Heb. 1:1-4.
(4) John 1:14, 18; Rev. 19:13.
(5) Prov. 30:5; John 10:35.
(6) Isa. 55:10-11; John 20:31.
(7) Matt. 5:17; Luke 24:27; Acts 4:11.
(8) Mark 7:13; Acts 5:29-32; Col. 2:6-23.
(9) Ps. 1:2; 1 Tim. 4:13; 2 Tim. 3:15-17.
(10) Acts 15:13-20; Heb. 4:2-8, 12.
1. According to Scripture, the term "the Word of the Lord" or "the Word
of God" or "the Word" refers to:
- a message that God has
communicated through persons in the Old and New Testaments, especially
through Moses, the prophets, and the apostles (for example, Exod. 20:1;
Jer. 1:9-10; Acts 13:44-47);
- Jesus' proclamation of
the kingdom of God (for example, Luke 4:43-5:1);
- the preached gospel of
Jesus Christ (for example, Acts 8:25; 18:5; Col. 1:25-27; 1 Thess.
- the living Word of God
who became flesh in Jesus Christ (John 1:1, 14);
- a word or words from
God that have been put into writing (for example, Jer. 36:4; John
15:25; Heb. 4:1-12).
Referring to the Bible as
the Word of God therefore means, first of all, emphasizing the richness
and scope of "the Word" in the Bible. Limiting the term "the Word of
God" to its written form blinds us to the total witness of Scripture.
Second, in referring to the Bible as the Word of God written, we are
acknowledging its authority for the church. All other claims to
represent an authoritative word on matters of faith and life must be
measured and corrected by Scripture through the guidance of the Holy
Spirit in the community of faith.
2. The authority of
Scripture has its ultimate source in God, who has inspired ("breathed")
it for specific purposes in the life of the church and its members (2
Tim. 3:16-17). The church confesses and recognizes the authority of
Holy Scripture; it does not take upon itself the right to give the
Scripture its authority. Precisely how God has inspired the Scriptures
through the Holy Spirit is not explained in the Bible. We therefore
content ourselves with the assurance that Scripture is fully reliable
and trustworthy because the One who has inspired it is faithful and
3. We recognize the 39
books of the Old Testament and the 27 books of New Testament as
belonging to inspired Scripture. What we call the Old Testament was
accepted by Israel as the standard for faith and life in three stages
over several centuries: the law, the prophets, and the writings. The
Old Testament, the Gospels, the Pauline letters, and gradually the rest
of the New Testament were broadly recognized by the church as Holy
Scripture by the fourth century.
4. Since the beginning of
the Anabaptist reformation in sixteenth-century Europe, Mennonites have
sought to be a biblical people in ways that both borrowed from the
Protestant reformation and differed from it. Mennonites have shared the
traditional Protestant emphasis on the authority of Scripture for
doctrine. In addition, Mennonites have underscored the following
- the authority of
Scripture for ethics, for the relation of the church to society, and
for church polity.
- the interpretation of
Scripture in harmony with Jesus Christ, in the sense that his life,
teachings, death, and resurrection are essential to understanding the
Bible as a whole.
- the congregation of
believers as the place where individual understandings and
interpretations of Scripture are to be tested.
statement assumes and affirms these emphases.
the delegates of Mennonite Church General Assembly, and of the General
Conference Mennonite Church Tricentennial Session, July 28, 1995,
Wichita, Kansas. Copyright © 1995 by Herald Press Scottdale PA
15683. Used by permission. Order print copies of Confession of
Faith in a Mennonite Perspective, and Summary Statement,
Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective, From Herald Press, Scottdale,
Pa. Worship resources
based on this confession, and translations
are also available.
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