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The Bible: God’s Word for Our Day
As most of you know, I’ve been working my way through the various doctrines of the Bible that have been the backbone of God’s remnant church, that is, the church that has continued to go back to the basics of God’s word as its foundation.
And, while we’ve looked at least ten so far, and there are several more to explore, in fact, I was going to talk about the Gospel message of Jesus Christ today, and why we are told to not only believe it for our salvation, but also of our need share this with the world. And as I was putting this together, I realized that these doctrines, as well as all my teachings, come directly from the pages of the Bible.
But here’s the kicker, if whatever I say that comes from the Bible cannot be trusted, then I am doing a disservice to everyone. So, how do I know, or for that matter, how will we know that what I am saying from the Bible is true?
It is to this question that would like to take our time today to explore, because this is the basics for what Christianity is all about. In fact, this is the first Sola taught my Martin Luther in the beginning of the Protestant reformation. He called it, Sola Scriptura, Scripture alone, that is, the Bible alone is our highest authority.
So, with this in mind, I’d like to look with you at the reliability of the Bible, and why we can trust it for our lives, that is, why we can trust the Bible to have a word for each of us no matter what we’re facing in life, and then the blessings that come in trusting it.
But before I begin, several years ago I came across a list of things that children said they learned from the Bible.
• Noah’s wife was called Joan of Arc
• Lot’s wife was a pillar of salt by day, and a ball of fire by night
• When Mary heard she would be the mother of Jesus when went out and sang the Magna Carta.
• A Republican is a sinner mentioned in the Bible (Democrats don’t get to respond)
• The first commandment was when Eve told Adam to eat the apple
We could say that there are some adults who may say much the same, and that is because of how little the Bible is read. In fact, some have even gone so far to say that the worst dust storm in history would happen if all those who owned a Bible dusted them off at the same time. And while this is somewhat humorous, it’s also incriminating.
You see, what I believe has happened is that in the church’s attempt to be relevant and not wanting to offend, it has left behind solid biblical teachings, teachings that has stood the test of time, and teachings that has been attributed the great moves of God throughout history.
Today, people are looking for something that works; something that can help them survive through these unprecedented times. And what has happened is that instead of turning to the Bible, they have turn to all these different philosophies promoted by the world, and unfortunately have even been propagated by the church, promising solutions to the complexities we face.
Now, most of these philosophies are more about the current fads of the day, much like diets, and therefore they lack staying power thus proving themselves to be unreliable. In a word, they simply don’t work.
How else can we explain the ever-growing number of divorces, suicides, abuse, addictions, and depression, that is happening within our society and within the church?
What the church needs to do is to get back to the Bible, God’s word of instruction that will make a real difference and provide living water to refresh, revitalize, rejuvenate, and restore life.
The only problem is that many people within the church no longer believe in the Bible as God’s inerrant, that is, without error, and unchanging word for life.
You have people calling themselves Christians, but they deny the Bible as being wholly inspired by God, and instead they say it is filled with fictional stories and errors. And so, a discrepancy exists between what they say they believe and what they actually do believe.
Let me break down what I mean. The term Christian means someone who believes and follows Jesus Christ. But if a person cannot accept the teachings of Jesus Christ found within the Bible, then how can they say they believe in Jesus, no less follow Him? Further, what we need to understand is that Jesus never countered anything the Bible said, but rather lived His life in accordance with it.
And so, why do I say that I can believe the Bible completely and without reserve, enough so that I can stand up here and use it as proof text to whatever I am speaking to? Well, that’s what we’re going to be looking at.
Further, I have dealt in much greater detail on why the Bible is true and can be believed for our lives in a teaching I have put on my spiritual transformation website under Bible Cliffnotes found at “spiritualtransformationseries.com”
However, before we go further, I’d like to make this one point, because it is at the heart of why we believe the Bible to be a true and reliable source to live our lives by, and that is it is God’s word.
“For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.” (1 Thessalonians 2:13 NKJV)
But for our time today, let me just quickly go over the main points as to why the Bible is God’s word to humanity and without it our lives would be without meaning and purpose, especially seeing how the Bible is God’s roadmap to salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ.
The Bible is One of A Kind
There is nothing else like it, and there never will be. It’s different than every other religious book out there that is promoted by various religions. What we could say is that the Bible is completely unique, because it addresses hundreds of controversial subjects, even hot topics of our day like marriage, homosexuality, greed, ecology, race, and labor relations to name a few.
Let me lay out what I mean when I say that there is nothing else like it, or that it is one of a kind.
It was written over a 1,500-year time span. It contains 66 books, 39 in the Old Testament and 27 in the New Testament. It was written in three different languages (Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek), and by a wide diversity of writers including kings and shepherds, soldiers and politicians, fishermen, priests, prophets, an IRS agent, and physician.
It was written on three continents (Asia, Africa, and Europe) and in places like a desert, dungeon, prison, palaces, in various cities, and a remote island.
It was also written in different literary styles including historical, legal, wisdom, poetry, parables, proverbs, allegories, prophetical, and apocalyptic, and in times of joy as well as in times of deep despair.
And yet, over all these years, written by all these different authors and languages, along with all these various locations and conditions, there remains complete and total harmony in all these various topics.
The Bible is God’s unfolding story of His salvation and redemption of the human race. It speaks of humanity’s lost condition, but also reveals God’s plan of salvation through a substitutionary sacrifice ending with Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross, so that whoever believes in Him will be saved.
You could say that starting in Genesis there is Paradise Lost, but at the end of the book of Revelation, we have Paradise Regained.
There is also no other book or literature written, even in the same generation, that contains such harmony of thought or purpose. This is why it’s one of a kind, and why there are more proofs I could quote, let me just say that even throughout the ages while people have tried to ban it, burn it, vilify it, and make it something that’s illegal to own, it is still the bestselling book of all time.
Jesus probably said it best.
“Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.” (Mark 13:31 NKJV)
Therefore, it is through its uniqueness that we can say that the Bible is divinely inspired.
The Bible is Trustworthy
One area that this is seen is in the area of prophecy.
“For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” (2 Peter 2:21 NIV)
If it was written by man there would be no way the Bible could accurately predict what would happen hundreds, if not thousands of years later. These are not vague word pictures, but literal fulfillment.
Further, there is no biblical prophecy about events up and to our present day that hasn’t been fulfilled as outlined in the Bible. Now, maybe you didn’t know that there were over 300 prophecies that were fulfilled at the time of Jesus and the first church.
Jesus literally fulfilled 60 of these prophecies of the coming Messiah, all that speak to His first coming.
Peter Stoner, in his book, “Science Speaks,” looked at the mathematical probability of one person fulfilling eight specific prophecies concerning the coming of the Messiah. Stoner gave the mathematical probability of these being fulfilled by one man at 1 in 10 to the 17th power. To illustrate Stoner likened it to silver dollars two feet deep throughout the state of Texas with just one of these silver dollars marked. The probability of one person fulfilling these eight prophecies was the same as a blindfolded man finding that one silver dollar on the first try.
And so, fulfilled prophecy reveals that the Bible is God’s word; that it was and is divinely inspired. No other book or writing can say that or even come close.
Further, the various Bible translations are reliable to the point where we can say that the Bible is without error, even though we may not have the original manuscript. In other words, the writers got it right on the first take. It didn’t need nor did it receive any kind of editing.
But it’s this very statement of belief that many find difficult because we don’t possess these original documents to compare our recent translations too. Rather we have copies of copies.
And so, the question becomes, “Are the copies we use in our current translations reliable?”
Let me put our minds at ease, because both the Old and New Testament were copied with such accuracy that what we are reading in our Bibles today are translated from both the Hebrew and Greek Translations and are considered in the upper 90 percentile as being identical to the earliest texts found. And any variations are mainly in spelling and punctuation, which have never affected the meaning.
The Bible is Reliable
The problem I do find in today’s culture is that people are taking those parts of the Bible that they don’t agree with or don’t like and tossing them out. They rationalize that it doesn’t apply to today’s society. But what that does is makes those parts of the Bible they like just as inapplicable. What they are literally doing is cherry picking, which makes the whole no longer trustworthy.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon, a renowned Baptist preacher from the 1800’s said, “I would recommend you either believe God up to the hilt, or else not to believe at all. Believe this book of God, every letter of it, or else reject it. There is no logical standing place between the two. Be satisfied with nothing less.”
But what I can say is that the Bible is a reliable guide for life. It is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, “So help me God.”
Speaking of God’s word, the Psalmist in Psalm 119:160 said, “Your word is truth.” And the King David in his prayer of thanksgiving said, “You are God, and Your words are truth.” (2 Samuel 7:28)
But Jesus put the capper on this in his prayer for us to the Father saying, “Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.” (John 17:17 NIV)
There is something we need to know as far as truth is concerned. Truth doesn’t change. If it was true yesterday, then by the very definition of the word, it must then be true both today and tomorrow.
Truth is not relative; instead, it is objective. For truth to be true it must stand completely independent of personal opinions or preferences. In other words, it’s true whether we like it or not. Therefore, truth cannot be influenced by culture or society; rather truth should influence them.
Truth also doesn’t change from one person to another, or from one culture to another. If it’s true, then it’s true for everyone and every culture.
With truth being constant, objective, and universal, it cannot be found within culture, in other words, it must be outside our ability to influence it and beyond our ability to change or modify it. The only source for truth then that is outside human influence is not only God, but also His Word, which has proven itself true for every culture and people group for thousands of years.
For thousands of years the Bible has proven itself as a reliable source for truth, and therefore it is a reliable source for us to live our lives by.
But not only is it a reliable and trustworthy source, but there is a blessing that accompanies our reading of it.
The Bible is A Blessing
God’s blessings are attached to our reading of His word.
Speaking of a person’s need to read the prophecies found in Revelation, Jesus said, “Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.” (Revelation 1:3 NIV)
How are we blessed through reading the words of this prophecy, well it lets us know that the time of the end is getting closer. It also helps us prepare and get ready for that day when God takes us home.
But there are many more blessings that come from God’s word.
It preserves and insulates us from the influences of this world.
In Psalm 119:9 it says, “How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to Your word.” And in verse 11 the Psalmist purposely hid God’s word in his heart so that he would not sin against God.
It also helps to guide us through this life.
In Psalm 119:24 it says, “Your statutes are my delight; they are my counsellors.” And in Proverbs 3:5-6 it says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”
God’s word also brings with it an inner freedom
In Psalm 119:32 the Psalmist says, “I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free.”
We are also told that God’s word brings us wisdom and understanding
In Psalm 111:10 it says that it is the fear, or our reverence for the Lord that brings about the beginning of wisdom, and then adds that understanding is achieved when we follow God’s commandments.
In Psalm 119:97-100 it says, “Oh, how I love Your law! I meditate on it all day long. Your commands make me wiser than my enemies, for they are ever with me. I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on Your statutes. I have more understanding than the elders, for I obey Your precepts.”
As I end let me do so with two Scriptures, and through these hopefully you will see not only the value of reading and knowing God’s word, but the necessity as well.
I’d like to begin with what the writer of Hebrews provides as an analogy revealing just how useful and powerful God’s word is when it comes to keeping us on the straight and narrow path leading to eternal life.
“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12 NKJV)
God’s word is living and powerful. Like a scalpel in the hands of a surgeon, God’s word cuts through the philosophies and thoughts of man that are filled with contradictions and lies. It gets to the heart and the spirit of God’s thoughts, will, and ways.
The Bible pierces our hearts and touches our souls to change the direction and course of our lives. And that’s because it’s God’s word, and only God know what lies within the heart of every person.
The Second Scripture is found in Paul’s second letter to Timothy.
“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)
Saying it is God-breathed means God the Holy Spirit authored it. God’s Word equips everyone with everything they need to live an effective life for God. Literally, the Bible is transformational and transformative. It’s God’s answer and direction for life in a world filled with sin.
Further, being profitable means that it is useful, beneficial, and advantageous for our lives in teaching what is true, reproving what isn’t, along with correcting and instructing us on how to get and stay right with God.
I think that through what we’ve looked at, we can safely say without hesitation that the Bible is God’s Word for our lives. It is reliable, trustworthy, and there is no other book like it or even comes close. Also, if we want to live successful and fulfilled lives then we need to get into the Bible, and allow the Bible to get into us on a daily basis.
Remember the Bible is the lamp that lights the way on this journey of faith we’ve undertaken.
Wednesday Evening Bible Study