The Bible is important in the life of Baptists! We cherish God’s Word. It is a constant that guides our lives from childhood to old age. As the apostle Paul was facing his most trying hour, under arrest in Rome, convicted of a crime he had not committed, and waiting to be executed, he remained faithful to Christ. In his second letter to Timothy, he gave urgent advice to his young colleague and friend with the message to carry on, keep the faith, and be a steadfast soldier for Christ even if it meant personal suffering and persecution. From this we can tell that Paul believed that the Scriptures are the sole antidote to a timid faith and corruption within the church. He knew that “all scripture is inspired by God” (2 Timothy 3:16) and that God’s Word is “able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15). These powerful words are just as timely today as they were when written in the first century. Other Bible verses which point out Biblical authority include: “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away” (Matthew 24:35), and “For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God” (1 Peter 1:23). Let us endeavor to live in obedience to God’s Word, as did our forebears!
Pastor’s note: Caroline’s wonderful reflections on the four Baptist Freedoms (Soul Freedom, Bible Freedom, Church Freedom and Religious Freedom) are drawn from Sunday School material based on Walter Shurden’s book, The Baptist Identity: Four Fragile Freedoms. Shurden talks about how each freedom is not only a privilege we have, but also a responsibility to exercise on our behalf and to protect in others. For example, we believe the Bible is our final authority in faith and life, and yet also realize that our human understanding of it is never complete or finished; therefore we insist on the freedom to interpret scripture as the Lord leads us, and grant that freedom to others as well.