Q&A: Primary Audience of Scripture

Primary Audience of Scripture

Was Scripture written primarily to God's covenant people?

High Definition Video Standard Definition Video
Loading...

(Right click this link to download video.)

Answer

There are lots of people who will try to distinguish between Christians and non-Christians, or the world in general and the special people of God who have been saved by the blood of Jesus, by speaking of those that are inside the box of God's people, or God's special people who are saved as the "covenant community," and then will say that the revelation of God that's given to us in Scripture is for that community and not for the rest of the world. But there's something we have to always keep in mind when we think this way. In a very general sense, every human being is in covenant with God, and therefore, in covenant community with God. After all, the covenants with Adam and Noah were made with all people. So, there's this broad sense, this general sense, in which every single human being, whether they're in the church or not in the church, whether they're in Israel or not in Israel in the days of the Old Testament, they were in covenant with God by virtue of those primeval covenants. So, do these people have responsibility to receive the Scriptures and to obey them? Will God hold them accountable? Well, to whatever degree they have understanding of the Bible, I think the answer is yes. Now, God does hold his special covenant people in the Old Testament Israel and in the New Testament Israel and the church together in Christ they are specially responsible to obey the written word of God. But the fact is, is that the whole of the earth, insofar as they understand and know the teachings of the Bible, they are to obey God as well because they are in covenant with God by virtue of Adam and Noah. That's why it's fair to say, as the Westminster Confession does, that all people in all places in all times are responsible to obey the moral law of God summed up in the Ten Commandments. It's because these things are revealed, according to Romans chapter 1 and Psalm 19, these basic principles of God's law are revealed to all people whether they have the Bible itself or not. It's given to them by general revelation. So, we always have to remember that when we talk about the special covenant people of God, whether we're talking about Israel in the Old Testament, or we're talking about Jews and Gentiles together in the church today in Christ, we're talking about people who have a special accountability to the teachings of Scripture. But the whole world is also responsible to obey what they know that the Scriptures teach, to whatever degree God has revealed it to them by general revelation.

Answer by Dr. Richard L. Pratt, Jr.

Dr. Richard L. Pratt, Jr. is Co-Founder and President of Third Millennium Ministries who served as Professor of Old Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary and has authored numerous books.