This section has dated archived material
Please see the current About section on our new site.
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 church.
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.1
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.2
We accept the Bible as the Word of God written. God has spoken in many
and various ways through the prophets and apostles.3
God has spoken above all in the living Word who became flesh and revealed
the truth of God faithfully and without deception.4
We also acknowledge the Scripture as the fully reliable and trustworthy
Word of God written in human language.5
We believe that God continues to speak through the living and written
Word.6 Because Jesus
Christ is the Word become flesh, Scripture as a whole has its center and
fulfillment in him.7
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.8
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.9
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
and understandings which we bring to the interpretation of the Scripture
are to be tested in the faith community.
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, Exodus 20:1; Jeremiah 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;
Colossians 1:25-27; 1 Thessalonians 2:13);
- the living Word of God who became flesh in Jesus Christ (John 1:1,
- a word or words from God that have been put into writing (for example,
Jeremiah 36:4; John 15:25; Hebrews 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.
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 Timothy 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 true.
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.
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 emphases:
- 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.
This confessional statement assumes and affirms these emphases.
Previous article: 3. Holy Spirit | Next article:
5. Creation and Divine Providence
- Jeremiah 30:2; Jeremiah 36; 2 Timothy 3:16.
- 2 Peter 1:21.
- Exodus 20:1; Jeremiah 1:9-10; Galatians 1:11-12; Hebrews 1:1-4.
- John 1:14, 18; Revelation 19:13.
- Proverbs 30:5; John 10:35.
- Isaiah 55:10-11; John 20:31.
- Matthew 5:17; Luke 24:27; Acts 4:11.
- Mark 7:13; Acts 5:29-32; Colossians 2:6-23.
- Psalms 1:2; 1 Timothy 4:13; 2 Timothy 3:15-17.
- Acts 15:13-20; Hebrews 4:2-8, 12.