The Doctrine of Scripture in the Bible
I have not the understanding of a man.
I have not learned wisdom,
nor have I knowledge of the Holy One.
Who has ascended to heaven and come down?
Who has gathered the wind in his fists?
Who has wrapped up the waters in a garment?
Who has established all the ends of the earth?
What is his name, and what is his son's name?
Surely you know!
Every word of God proves true;
he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.
Do not add to his words,
lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar.—Proverbs 30:2-6
Though wisdom writers customarily begin by asserting their knowledge to entice readers, Agur begins the opposite way— by confessing ignorance. He says he is “stupid,” has “not learned wisdom,” and, most significantly, lacks “knowledge of the Holy One” (vv. 2–3). He reinforces his claims by accentuating the huge gap between God and human beings.
As if echoing Job 38, Agur affirms that no man has ascended to God and returned to earth or created the wind, waters, and “ends of the earth” (Prov. 30:4). God alone is the Creator who has knowledge of the heavenly realm and is therefore qualified to speak definitively. And this is exactly what he has done in his Word! Over against worthless human speculation about the divine, God has spoken truth. In fact, his every word “proves true” (v. 5), which is what theologians mean when they teach the plenary (or full) inspiration of Scripture. The Bible is reliable in the whole as well as in its parts, and thus it is pure folly to attempt to add to its
words. To do so is to open oneself up to God’s rebuke and expose oneself as a liar (vv. 5–6).
Theology for Life
It is nonsense for humans to think they can improve on God’s Word. Instead, we should trust it and the One who gave it, for “he is a shield to those who take refuge in him” (v. 5).
For more on Scripture see:
- Ps. 1:1–6
- Ps. 19:1–14
- Ps. 119:1–176
- Luke 16:19–31
This article is adapted from the ESV Systematic Theology Study Bible.
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