Part 1 is here.
This Sunday I’ll be preaching Romans 4:1-8. As I was studying this text yesterday I came upon some great content from John Stott, in his book The Message of Romans, regarding a short phrase in the text. I won’t be able to go into detail on this phrase on Sunday, hence this blog.
At the beginning of verse 3, as Paul is proving his point about salvation coming by faith (as opposed to works), he says “For what does Scripture say?”
He is making an argument here, and he does so by calling the attention of his readers to the voice of Scripture.
The implications of this are huge. He says “What does Scripture say?”
He could have said:
“What did Scripture say?”
“What is written down in Scripture?”
“What do the Scriptures teach?”
“What does God say as taught in the Scriptures?”
But instead he phrased it: “What does Scripture say?”
Here are four reasons why this is important. These reasons motivate us to preach expositionally at LifePoint week to week.
1) God inspired Scripture to speak to us through it.
“First, the singular form (‘the Scripture’), like our ‘the Bible’, indicates that Paul recognizes the existence of this entity, not just a library of books but a unified body of inspired writings.”
So, the Bible is unified. The Bible is complete. The Bible exists as a whole and integrated witness to us of the truth of God.
2) The words of Scripture are God’s words.
Notice that Paul didn’t say, “What does God say through Scripture?” The way this is phrased shows us that Paul considered the words of Scripture to be God’s words, totally and legitimately. Think about it: he says “What does Scripture say?” Can a book really talk? He is using personification here; ascribing personal attributes to the collection of writings we call “the Bible” or “the Scriptures.” He is clearly showing that the words of Scripture are literally God’s words. When the Scriptures speak, God speaks.
3) The words of Scripture are alive, the means through which we hear God’s word today.
Paul didn’t phrase this question in the past tense. He didn’t say “What was written” or “what did the Scriptures state.” He said, “What does it say?” Stott concludes: “In asking what it ‘says’, the apostle indicates that through the written text the living voice of God may be heard.”
4) The words of Scripture are the supreme and final authority on the matter.
Remember the context here. Paul is talking about an issue of indomitable importance to his readers (including us). This passage concerns the issue of salvation. Where does Paul turn for the authoritative word on how we are saved? The Scripture. The issue is put to rest when the words of God speak to it. This is why he says “What does Scripture say?”
Since God inspired Scripture to speak through it to us,
Since the words of Scripture are God’s words,
Since the words of Scripture are alive, the means through which we hear God speak today,
Since Scripture is the supreme and final authority on all matters that pertain to life and truth,
We must preach Scripture.
 The Message of Romans, pg. 112.