The Holy Bible was written by divinely inspired authors and is the record of God’s revelation of Himself to humankind. It has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth without any mixture of error for its matter. It will remain the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and religious opinions should be tried. The criterion by which the Bible is to be interpreted is Jesus Christ.1
Confessions of faith are guides to interpreting Scripture, having no authority over the individual’s conscience.2 Baptists profess a living faith. This faith is rooted and grounded in Jesus Christ; therefore, the sole authority for faith and practice among Baptists is Jesus Christ, whose will is revealed in Scripture.3
The BGCT believes the Bible to be the divinely inspired written Word of God. It is true and trustworthy, all of it. It is the only written document that can have authority over the church or the conscience of believers. It is the book to which we go when we help someone understand how he or she can be saved. It is the product of authors who were carried along by the Holy Spirit to understand the mystery of what they had seen and handled. It is without error for it comes from the heart of God. “There should be both a sense of humility and confidence before God and people when we hold the precious Book in our hands.”4
In 1980 and in 1999, messengers to the BGCT Annual Meeting affirmed the Baptist Faith and Message as adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention in 1963.5
We interpret the Old Testament in light of the New Testament and the whole Bible in light of the life and teachings of Jesus Christ as revealed in Scripture.5
Note: In 2000, the SBC adopted a new Baptist Faith and Message statement. Like the 1963 statement adopted by the BGCT, the 2000 statement does not use “inerrancy” when referring to Scripture. The 2000 Baptist Faith and Message states: “all Scripture is totally true and trustworthy.” This phrase has been used by BGCT leaders for years in reference to the Bible.
In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.
– Hebrews 1:1-2 (NIV)
Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.
– Matthew 5:17 (NIV)
Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
– 2 Peter 1:20-21 (NIV)
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
– 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV)