Category Archives: An Introduction to the gospels

Lesson 1 – The BIBLE – General Introduction

I.

 The Bible

GENERAL INTRODUCTION

 

“BEFORE THERE WAS A BIBLE”

The Bible is without exception the most wonderful book in existance!  It is Superior to all other literature.  The word “Bible” means “the book.”  It is truly “the book,” containing the choicest gems  of thought not found in any other book.  David, the sweet singer of Israel, declared in Psalms 119:129.

“Thy testimonies are wonderful: therefore doth my soul keep them.”

     Millions of people down through the ages have read, loved, and obeyed the teachings of this precious Book and have rejoiced in its promises.  In truths enrich the soul, and are to be desired above “much fine gold,” being “sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb” as the Psalmist says in Psalms 19:10.

However, from the time of Adam until Moses the appears to have been no written revelation from God.  There are three significant facts, together with other evidence, that may serve to establish this:

1.   There is NO RECORD of any inspired writings prior to the days of Moses.

Although there were righteous people prior to Moses, such as Noah, Abraham, and       Joseph with whom the Almighty had frequent verbal communication, we do not read that any one of them was ever inspired to write anything for God.

2.   There is NO REFERENCE to such writings.

Our Lord frequently referred to the Old Testament Scriptures in the familiar words “it is written.”  The most natural inference is that, had there been any sacred writings in the days previous to Moses, some reference would in like manner have been made to  them by men like Noah and Abraham or some of the later prophets, or even by our Lord.  But no reference whatever is made to any support inspired writings before Moses.

3.   There are NO REMAINS of them.

Surely if there had been such writtings they would have formed a part of the “Word of the Lord” which “endureth forever” just as our own Scriptures have been.  But, there are no remains, nor is there the least trace of any such writings.

All this is the more remarkable when we remember that uninspired writings of various kinds, having more or less vague references to God, were undoubtedly in existence at a very early age.  Thousands of these specimens have been discovered in Egypt and Babylonia, in the form of clay tablets with signs or letters impressed upon them; also ancient stones, with similar signs representing writing cut upon them.  Amoung these specimens is the code of Hammurabi who lived at least three centuries subsequent to the age of Abraham.  These laws bear some resemblanceto the Mosaic Laws but apparently are some of the remnants of these pure laws which, in the early days of the world’s history.  God had communicated orally to Man, but which, in course of time, had been partly forgotten and partly corrupted.

Evidently those were days in which God was pleased to make known His will verbally, in a direct and personal manner, to individuals, as to Adam, Cain, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Job and his friends.  This period of time in which God spoke directly to the fathers of heads of families is known as the Patriarchal Period.  This period lasted from Adam to Moses.

 II.

THE BIBLE: WHAT IT IS

A few facts about the Bible are essential for one’s understanding of the greatest book ever written.

1.   The Bible is a library of books.

It is the greatest collection of books available to man.  There are sixty-six books in all, thirty-nine in the part known as the Old Testament, twenty-seven in the part known as the New Testament.  The word “Bible” is derived through Latin from the Greek word biblia (books), specifically the books that are acknowledged as canonical bt the Christian church.  In these various books of the Bible we find law, history, narrative, poetry, prophecy, letters, proverbs, parables, apocalypses, in fact examples of almost every litery form known to man.

2.   The Bible is a library of related books.

Despite the fact that the sixty-six books which go to make up The Book were written by many different authors such as a great deliverer, a shepard-warrior-king, a priest, a wise and wealthy king, a statesman, herdsman, fisherman, a medical doctor, a tax collector, etc.  These books were written over a period extending from about 1500 B.C. to about A.D. 100, and most of the writers were unknown to one another.  The amazing fact is that the completed whole is a single story with a single theme, namely, redemption through Christ Jesus.  As someone said, “In the Old Testament is the New Testament concealed; in the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed.”  Everything in the Old Testament pointed forward to Messiah (Jesus Christ); everything in the New Testament points back to Him.  The Central Figure of all human history is Jesus Christ.

3.   The Bible is a collection of selected books.

The books of the Bible did not just “get together” in some mysterious manner without rhyme or reason.  The inclusion of the various sixty-six books in the Canon was determined first by popular acceptance and use, and then by Christian scholarship directed to the specific problem of a final determination of the Canon.  The essential criterion for this determination  was the contribution made by each book to the history of redemption as worked out on earth in the Messianic Line – the genealogy that began with the “first Adam” and terminated with the “second Adam” the Lord Jesus Christ. (CF. I Cor. 15:45-49).  Behind all this effort had to be the divine providence of God in order to preserve His will for all mankind.

4.   The Bible presents itself as the Spirit inspired word of God.

Men under the control of the Holy Spirit wrote every word of the Bible.  Thus the Bible is inerrant and infallible.  It is divine rather than human, the words of God rather than the words of men.  The inspiration is both “plenary” and “verbal.”  “Plenary” is an adjective that means “entire, absolute, or complete as embracing all the parts or members.”  “Verbal” is an adjective that means “pertaining to words; concerned with words rather than the ideas they convey.”  The Bible is not inspired in some parts but in all of its parts.  It is not inspired merely in thought and doctrine, but even in the selection of words used in the original autographs.  In 2 Pet 1:20-21, Peter said, “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.”  (NIV)  Paul said, All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction , for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work”  (2 Tim 3:16-17 NAS).  Paul also wrote, “but just as it is written, Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, And which have not entered the heart of man, All that God has prepared for those who love Him.  For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God.  For who  among men knows the thoughts of a man except the Spirit of the man, which is in him?  Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God.  Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words” (I Cor 2:9-13 NAS)  Therefore, the Bible is the perfect, complete, all-powerful and the final revelation of God for Man.

5.   Even though the Bible is a library of books, it is still one Book.

We err when we think of the Bible as a source of two or three different religions.  It is the record of the progressive revelation of the one true religion as the Spirit through three successive Dispensations actualized it.  (The word “dispensation” has reference to the system by which God dispenses His Gifts and graces throughout any particular period or age: cf. Eph 1:10 and 3:2).  The Dispensations changed – from the family to the national to the universal – as the type of priesthood changed.  The Patriarchal Dispensation was the age of family rule and family worship, with the patriarchal (paternal head) acting as prophet (revealer of God’s will), priest (intercessor), and king for his entire progeny.  (The Book of Genesis gives us the history of the Patriarchal Dispensation.)  The Jewish Dispensation was ushered in with the establishment of a national institution of worship (first the Tabernacle, and later the Temple) and a national priesthood (the Levitical or Aaronic priesthood).  The Christian Dispensation had its beginning with the abrogation of the Old Covenant and the ra ratification of the New Covenant by one and the same event – the death of Christ on the Cross (although the Jewish Institution was permitted to remain as a social and civilinstitution some forty years longer, that is, down to the destruction of Jerusalem and the dispersion of its people by the Roman Empire, A.D. 70).  These successive “ages,” therefore, embrace the successive stages in the revelation of true religion as set forth in the Bible.  Refusal to recognize this fundamental unity of the Bible as a whole can result only in confusion, presumption, and ultimate rejection of the Author of the Bible – God.

6.   The Bible is pre-eminently the Book of Life.

The pages of the Bible are replete with “human interest” stories covering every phase of life as man lives it.  While portraing the virtues of the great heros of the faith in all ages, not for one moment does it turn aside to hide their frailties.  It never deceives Man, It tells him bluntly that he is in sin, in a lost condition, and in danger of perishing in hell; at the same time it offers the remedy (the blood of Christ, John 1:29; I John 1:7), and the means of applying the remedy (the preaching and accepance of the Gospel, I Cor 1:21; Rom 1:16; Acts 2:38; I Cor 15:1-4; Rom 1:8; I Pet 4:17)

III.

THE BIBLE: WHAT IT IS NOT

The knowledge of what the Bible is not will do much to clear away the false issues that have been raised in recent years in the form of alleged “conflicts” between the Bible and Science.

1.   The Bible is not a textbook of science.

It was never the intention of the Bible writers to produce a scientific textbook.  The Genesis account of the creation, for example, was not intended to be a scientific presentation:  its author makes no attempt to give us an explanation of the how (the method) of Creation (and it must be remembered that the how, rather than the why, of things, is the specific area in which true science operates: outside that area it is no longer science).  The writer of Genesis wrote with a purpose that was simply and soley religious: to impress upon man the truth that the cosmos and everything in it is the handiwork of the Will and Word of the living God (cf. Gen 1:3, 6, 9, 14, 20, 24, 26: Psa. 33:6, 9: Psa. 148:1-6: Heb. 11:3).

One writer warns us against trying to turn the Bible into a scientific textbook when he wrote:

“It (the Bible) is not, then a treatise on man……..as he is physically, astronomically, geologically, politically, or metaphysically: but as he is , and ought to be, morally and religiously.”

     There never was a time in the history of human thought when Biblical teaching and scientific theory were in greater accord than they are today.  should it not be so?  God has written two books: one is the Book of Nature in which he revealed His “everlasting power and divinity” (Rom 1:20; Psa. 19:1);  the other is the Book of Redemption in which He has made known His immeasurable love and compassion for Man ((John 3:16-18; Eph 2:4-7; James 5:11; I Pet 1:3).  Science is Man’s attempt to interprret the Book of Nature and theology is Man’s atttempt to interpret the Book of Redemption.  Therefore, there may be apparent conflicts between these two interpretations, because the interpretations are of men and men are fallible.  But by virtue of the fact that both Books are from God, they cannot be contradictory in their contents.  Hence, the Bible has no apology to make to science, nor has it anything to fear from science, for the obvious reason that it does not have any reason to fear truth under any guise, or in any branch of human knowledge.  It needs to be pointed out that it is a mistake to treat Genesis as a textbook of science by resorting to fantastic “interpretations” to make its content  conform to the latest scientific theories.  The book of Genesis has nothing to fear from, nor any need for accommodation  to human theory and speculation.

2.   The Bible is not a history of the human race.

It is rather, the history of one genealogical Line, that is, the Line that flowered and terminated in Messiah, the redeemer.  Therefore, the Bible is the history of the unfolding of the Plan of Redemption.

The Bible is not concerned with the story of the human race as a whole, but only with the particular segment of the race which was destined to bring forth Messiah, the One through whom the Plan of Redemption for mankind was to be effectuated.  In Genesis 4 we are given, but only partially, the antediluvian geneology of the Cainites, and in chapter 5 the antediluvian line of the Sethites, the account culminating in the story of Noah and the Flood.  After the death of Abel, it was Seth and his progeny who were appointed to carry on the genelogical Line that was to culminate in Messiah.

The Bible is the history of Messianic Line only, the Line that was to bring forth “in the fullness of the time”(Gal. 4:4) the world’s Redeemer.  This Line is traced from Adam to Noah, through Seth, in the fifth chapter of Genesis;  and after a brief diversion to give us the story of Noah and the Deluge, the Line is traced on down from Noah to Abraham (Gen.11).

With the Call of Abraham, the history became narrowed down to the story of the fleshly seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – the children of Israel, as they were known in Old Testament times.  God literally separated this people from the rest of mankind and gave them the responsibility to do five things:

(1)   To preserve the knowledge of the living and true God.

(2)   To preserve the knowledge of the moral law (Gal 3:19 – “the law” was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come).

(3)   To prepare the world for the advent and ministry of Messiah.

(4)   To build up a system of metaphor, type, allegory and prophecy designed to identify the Messiah at His appearance in the flesh.

(5)   To give the Messiah as Prophet, Priest, and King to the world.

3.  The Bible is not a book of philosophy.

In the branch of philosophy known as philosophy of religion, specialized attention is given to the subjects of God, freedom, and immorality.  Immanuel Kant declared that these are the three fundamental subjects of philosophy in general.  However, at its best, philosophy is strictly human speculation; hence it is not, and cannot be, a substitute for religious faith.

IV.

HOW IS THE BIBLE ORGANIZED?

As we have pointed out already, the Bible is a collection of sixty-six books and divided into two testaments, thirty-nine in the Old Testament and twenty-seven in the New Testament.  different writers from different walks of life and different periods of time wrote the Old Testament books in Hebrew with a few pasages in Aramaic.  The writers of the New Testament wrote thsir books in Greek.

The Old Testament record begins with a very brief account of the creation of the universe and closes about four hundred years before the birth of Jesus Christ.  During this period of of four hundred years there was no written revelation given by God.

The flow of history through the Old Testament moves along peaks of history because it is not the purpose of the Old Testament to be a history of mankind.  It is the history of one genealogical line, the particular segment of the race, which was destined to bring forth the Messiah.  That Flow of history moves along the following lines:

 

          Creation of the Universe

          Fall of man

          The earth-covering flood

seth, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob (Israel), sons of Jacob (fathers of the chosen nation)

          The History of Israel

               Exile in Egypt                                                430 years

               Exodus and Wilderness wanderings                40 years

               Conquest of Canaan                                        7 years

               Era of Judges                                                350 years

               United Kingdom – Saul, David, Solomon       110 years

               Divided Kingdom – Judah and Israel            350 years

               Exile in Babylon                                            70 years

               Return and rebuilding of the land              140 years

 

The details of this history are explained in the thirty-nine books of the Old testament.

Those books are divided into five different categories:

           History and Law (The Pentateuch) 5 books    (Genesis – Deuteronomy)

           History 12 books                                               (Joshua – Esther)

          Drama, Poetry, Proverbs (Wisdom Literature) 5 Books  (Job – Song of Solomon)

          Prophecy, History (Major Prophets) 5 Books    (Isaiah – Daniel)

          Prophecy, History (Minor Prophets) 12 Books  (Hosea – Malachi)

After the completion of the Old Testament, there were four hundred years of silence, during which God did not speak, or inspire, any written revelation.  That silence was broken by the arrival of John the Baptist (the baptizer) to announce the coming of the Messiah.  The New Testament records the rest of the story from the birth of Christ to the culmination of all history and the final eternal state.

While the Old Testatment focuses on the history of Israel and the promise of the coming Savior, the New Testtament’s twenty-seven books focuses on the person of Christ and the establishment of His kingdom (the church).  These books are divided as follows:

 

Biography/Gospels (The life of Jesus)          4 Books   (Matthew – John)

History (The establishment of the church)  1 Book     (Acts)

Letters (Christian Living)                             21 Books   (Romans – Jude)

Prophecy  (The Victory belongs to God)       1 Book     (Revelation)

 

The four Gospels give the record of the Birth of Christ, His Life, Death, Resurrection, and Ascention.  Each of the four writers view Christ from a different perspective:

           Matthew looks at Christ through the perspective of His Kingdom

           Mark views Christ through the perspective of His servanthood

           Luke looks at Christ through the perspective of His humanity

           John views Christ through the perspective of His deity

The Book of Acts tells the story of the impact of Christ, His life, death, resurrection and ascention resulting in the coming of the Holy Spirit and the establishment of the Church (which is the Kingdom).  The story continues through the early years of the gospel preaching by the apostles and brethern and shows the establishment of churches in Judea, Samaria, and throughout the Roman Empire.

The twenty-one epistles were written to churches and individuals to explain the significance of the person and work of Jesus Christ, with its implications for the life and serviceof his followers until He comes.

The New testament closes with Revelation, which shows God and His church in war with Satan and his servants and the victory belonging to God and His cause of righteousness.  All of God’s faithful servants enter the eternal glory prepared for them; and all the ungodly are consigned to hell to be punished forever.

To understand the Bible, it is essential to comprehend the sweep of that history from creation to consummation.  One must keep in focus the unifying theme of Scripture.  The one constant theme unfolding throughout the whole Bible is this:  God for His own glory has chosen to create and gather to Himself a family of sons and daughters to be subject to Him in the eternal kingdom; to praise, honor, and serve Him forever, and through whom He will display His wisdom, power, mercy, grace, and glory.  To gather them He must redeem them from sin.  The Bible reveals God’s plan for this redemption from its inception in eternity past to its completion in eternity future.  Paul sums this up beautifully in the following passage:

 

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as he chose us in Him before the foundation of the World, that we should be holy and blameless before Him.  In Love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.  In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace, which He lavished upon us.  In all wisdom and insight He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him with a view of  to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things upon the earth.  In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to his purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.  In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation – having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of Promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.” (Eph 1:3-14 NAS)  

TO SUM IT UP

My prayer is that the magnificent and overwhelming theme of the redemption of sinners for the glory of God will carry you with captivating interest from beginning to end of this story.  This story is from God to you; and it is all about you. It tells you why God made you, what you were, what you can become in Christ, and what He has prepared for you in eternal glory.

 

The Bible is the only book which has the power to save your soul (Romans 1:16; James 1:21).  This great book stands as the unbreakable anvil that has and will withstand all the hammer blows of infidelity.  John Clifford expressed this so beautifully in this poem.

 

“The Hammer and The Anvil”

 

“Last eve I passed a blacksmith’s door

And heard the anvil ring the vesper chime;

When looking in, I saw upon the floor,

Old hammers worn with beating years of time.”

“How many anvils have you had,’ said I

‘To wear and batter all these hammers so?’

‘Just one,’ said he, then said with twinkling eye,

‘The anvil wears the hammers out you know.'”

‘And so, I thought, the anvil of God’s word

For ages skeptics blows have beat upon;

Yet, though the noise of falling blows was heard,

The anvil is unharmed – the hammers gone!”

 

Questions

 

1.     How would you establish that there appears to have been no revelation from God before Moses?

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2.     Why is the Bible considered a library of books?

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3.     Why is the Bible a library of related books?

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4.     How did the Bible become a collection of selected books?

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5.      What is meant by “plenary” and “verbal” inspiration?

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6.      Although the Bible is a library of books, how is it “One Book?”

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7.      Why is the Bible pre-eminently the Book of Life?

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8.     Why is the Bible NOT a textbook on science?

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9.      Explain why the Bible is not a history of the human race.

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10.     Explain why the Bible is not a book of Philosophy.

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11.     According to the Bible Library list the divisions of the Old Testament and give the first and last book of each division.

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12.    According to the Bible Library list the divisions of the New Testament and give the first and last book of each division.

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Lesson 2 – The BIBLE – How Important is the BIBLE?

Lesson 2

 

The Bible

 

“HOW IMPORTANT IS THE BIBLE?”

Just to the west of Jackson Hole, Wyoming, there lies a vast and imposing fortress of
stone called the Grand Teton Mountains. Long and narrow, rising to nearly 14,000 feet, they
stretch for fifty miles north and south like the saw-toothed backbone of a half-submerged
prehistoric monster. One of the most photographed places in the United States, these mountains rise abruptly from a flat floor and cast their cold and impersonal, yet strikingly beautiful, presence in every direction for scores of miles.

The Teton Range is virtually impassable. If the summer is warm, there is one pass that
will open for a matter of weeks to let you travel east and west over the backbone. Otherwise,
you may have to drive as many as fifty or more miles out of your way to go west from Jackson
Hole, just to get around one of the largest outcroppings of exposed stone in the world. When you look at the horizon anywhere near the area, the Tetons dominate the landscape.

In the same way, when we scan the horizon of human civilization for the last two
thousand years, we see the Bible, confronting the traveler like a massive mountain range that must be negotiated and cannot be merely wished away. The Bible is an enormous historical presence, the dominant piece of literature and a dominant influence in history since the time of Christ. No other piece of literature has come within a fraction of its impact. If the Bible is a mighty oak, then every other piece of literature is a sapling, a seedling or an acorn.

The curious, the earnest, the zealous traveler on life’s highway wants to know about and
seriously consider the claims of such a book. Why is the Bible so important?

                             WHY I NEED TO KNOW THIS

             If I do not understand how important the Bible is….

1. I may dismiss its importance in my life because I underestimate its importance
throughout history.
2. I may miss the fact that any writing which has had the impact the Bible has had for
the last thirty-five hundred years cannot be dismissed as “just another book.” Its
extraordinary influence on history requires explanation, and a curious person intent
on knowing truth would want to understand what accounts for such influence.
3. I will miss the opportunity I have to learn and apply its wisdom in life. We are living
in a time when the perceived value of the Bible for society, culture, and individuals is
diminishing. I must understand the importance of the Bible so that I will know why I
should champion the message of the Bible for society, culture, and the individual.

                                                                         I.

THE INFLUENCE THE BIBLE HAS HAD ON SOCIETY

(The Bible has played a major role in determining the social values of the Western world)

The Bible has made a monumental impact on our society, and we can be glad it has. Once a South Sea Islander proudly displayed his Bible to an American soldier during    world War II. “We’ve outgrown that sort of thing,” the soldier said. The Islander smiled back and said, “It is a good thing that we haven’t. If it weren’t for this book, we would have eaten you by now.”

The Bible is certainly the dominant piece of literature worldwide, with multiple billions
of copies published to this point, and millions more published every year. While its impact may be diminishing in some circles, it is growing in others, and its historic impact cannot be denied.  As one example, the United States was founded largely on Judeo-Christian principles drawn from the Bible, and when one considers the unprecedented historic impact that this nation has had on the world in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries promoting peace and political freedom, it is clear that the influence of the Bible extends far beyond its borders.

The Bible has influenced many societies to adopt basic, important community virtues and to oppose several social vices.

THE FAMILY

In some parts of the world, a husband may have more than one wife. In some parts of the world, a man’s wife is his property, to treat as he sees fit. In some parts of the world, if a couple produces a daughter when they wanted a son, they simply throw the daughter away. Not in America, however. Our laws governing the family have come from the Bible.

The Bible has defined relationships in the family, but modern society has largely ignored this teaching and has, as a consequence, seen the family suffer. Yet, numerous voices today are calling us back to the ideal, insisting that a society flourishes only to the extent that its families flourish.

The Bible’s ideal of one man and one woman married to each other for life provided the strongest underpinning for any society. The Bible proclaims the dignity of man, woman, and child. Men and women are equals in the sight of God, and the value of women is upheld in the Bible higher than in any other religion. The Bible is often misused, as well as falsely accused of being demeaning to women. But this is entirely false.

Jesus upheld the dignity and equality of women in His teaching and all His dealings with women. In Ephesians 5:25, the apostle Paul describes the love husbands are to give their wives by pointing to Christ, whose love for the church moved Him to give Himself up for her. Total and complete commitment to the welfare of the wife is the standard to which the Bible holds all husbands. The apostle Peter writes in I Peter 3:7, “husbands, dwell with your wives with understanding, giving honor to them.” Whenever men have exploited women, they have violated the teaching of the Bible.

It is the same with children. Jesus held children in the highest esteem. Once some
children were brought to Jesus so that He might lay His hands on them and pray; and the
disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, “Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from
coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these” (Matthew 19::13-14). The
apostle Paul wrote “Fathers do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the
training and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).

Protection of both the physical and psychological dimensions of women and children is a fundamental responsibility of all Christian men, and that is the origin of laws and customs governing life in America, in spite of all the violations we see.

                                                                   LABOR

Throughout history, the pendulum of conflict has swung back and forth between owners and workers. Whether it was masters and slaves, merchants and buyers, landowners and serfs, or employers and employees, there is a long history of persecution and victimization. The teaching of the Bible, in principle, ends the pendulum swing. First, it teaches us generally to “do unto others as we would have others do unto us.” Second, it teaches us specifically concerning the responsibilities of employees and employers:

Eph 6:5-9 Slaves, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with    fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart, as to Christ; not by way of eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart. With good will render service, as to the Lord, and not to men, knowing that whatever good thing each one does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether slave or free. And, masters, do the same things to them, and give up threatening, knowing that both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him. (NAS) (Cf. Col. 3:22-24)

If employees and employers followed these principles, the major pendulum swings
between labor and management, to see who can take greatest advantage of whom, would
disappear from the workplace.

RACE RELATIONS

In some countries, discrimination is accepted and deeply entrenched. Indeed,
discrimination among races has been a particularly acute problem in American, though certainly not confined to America. Problems between African-Americans and Caucasians have received the most attention, but conflict among Hispanics, Asians, Europeans, and Eastern Europeans has also been legendary in America. And, sad to say, it shows signs of getting worse in some places, instead of better. However, the laws of our country forbid racial discrimination because as a nation we believe that all people are created equal in the eyes of God. This value, while many people do not realize it, is part of our heritage from the Bible. Scriptures lays discrimination to rest. Again, in general terms, Jesus’ teaching of the Golden Rule applies: If we would not like to be discriminated against, then we should not discriminate. Specifically, in James 2:1-9:

My brethren, do not hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with {an attitude of}   personal favoritism. For if a man comes into your assembly with a gold ring and dressed in fine clothes, and there also comes in a poor man in dirty clothes, and you pay special attention to the one who is wearing the fine clothes, and say, “You sit here in a good place,” and you say to the poor man, “You stand over there, or sit down by my footstool,” have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil motives? Listen, my beloved brethren: did not God choose the poor of this world {to be} rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? But you have dishonored the poor man.  Is it not the rich who oppress you and personally drag you into court? Do they not blaspheme the fair name by which you have been called? If, however, you are fulfilling the royal law, according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. But if you show partiality, you are committing sin {and} are convicted by the law as transgressors. (NAS)

These principles were violated in our nation in a ghastly display of selective
understanding when we tolerated slavery. But, terrible as that was, at least it is no longer legal.  And the breakdown of support for slavery was encouraged to a great extent by the Bible. Today no one can claim support from the Bible to discriminate against another person. The Bible clearly establishes the equality of all people before God, and it is a sin to treat anyone otherwise.

                                                                    CRIME

The Bible has influenced what is considered to be lawful and unlawful in America
significantly. Our law says we are not to steal, kill, cheat, or lie, just as the Ten Commandments also teach. According to the Bible, we are not even to covet, hate, or lust! People who don’t know the Bible well have stereotyped ideas of what it teaches, thinking that it teaches intolerance, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness. The fact is, if everyone started following the Bible today, most of our major social problems would be solved, or well on their way, by tomorrow!

                                                        HUMANITARIANISM

Poverty has always existed and always will exist. Even Jesus said, “the poor you have
with you always” (Matthew 26:11). Yet the Bible has encouraged our national sense of
compassion and directed us to help those who cannot help themselves. Christianity has done more for the poor, the needy, and the disadvantaged—and still does—than any other form of organized help in the world.

In the teaching of the Scriptures, from the earliest days of the church, through the Middle
Ages, and into the modern age, Christianity has led the world in the establishing of hospitals,
orphanages, and educational institutions. It has led the way in fighting slavery, child labor, and discrimination of any kind.

While excesses, miscalculations, and outright abuses have occurred throughout history in
the name of Christ, those incidents are an embarrassment to Christ and a misapplication of
biblical truth. In addition, the harm that has been done in the name of Christ comes nowhere near the good that has been done.

                                                            GOVERNMENT

There is no perfect government on earth, but the ideals of government in America as
expressed in our Constitution and Bill of Rights surpass those of any government established before. By contrast, anti-Christian governments, from the Empire of Rome to Mussolini to Hitler to Stalin to Mao to a thousand obscure tyrants, have been murderous, barbarous expressions of the darkest corners of evil hearts. The Bible’s influence on the establishment of benevolent governments has literally directed international fates. For example, if the United States had wanted to rule the world, it could have taken control at the close of World War II.  After dropping the atomic bombs on Japan, the United States could have said to all other nations, “Unless you want one of these bombs on the doorstep of your capitol, lay down your arms.” But it didn’t. Instead, it gave every country its freedom, and even spent billions rebuilding the very nations that waged war against us.

The Bible has had a profound effect on government throughout the world, especially in
democracies. The dignity of the individual, the establishment of benevolent governments, and the promotion of just and fair laws is one of the great legacies of the Bible.

                                                              EDUCATION

Christianity has been the most powerful force for education in the history of the world.
Christianity is a religion of the written word. The Bible is the record of the revelation which
God wanted preserved for the good of humanity, and central to the ideal of Christianity is the spreading of education so that people can read and understand the Bible. Missionaries have reduced many of the languages of the world to writing so that the Bible could be translated into their language. Wycliffe Bible Translators, the world’s largest Bible translation organization, has translated the Bible for millions upon millions of people since its inception. The primary purpose of this mission is to spread the knowledge of Scripture, but it has the secondary result of promoting worldwide literacy.

The first printing press, the Gutenburg Press, was invented to print the Bible. It was the
passion of the Reformers to put a Bible in the hands of as many people as possible. Many of
Europe’s finest schools were established to advance Christianity and knowledge of Scripture.
In the United States, the same is even more evident. Nearly every early college was
started for the expressed purpose of advancing the knowledge of Scripture and salvation. At the entrance to Harvard is a stone on which this inscription is found:

“After God had carried us safe to New England, and we had built our houses,
provided necessities for out livelihood, reared convenient places for God’s
worship, and settled the civil government; one of the next things we longed
for, and looked after was to advance learning, and perpetuate it to posterity;
dreading to leave an illiterate ministry to the churches, when our present
ministers shall lie in the dust.”

Yale and Princeton were started for same basic purpose. John Witherspoon, the president
of Princeton, once said, “Cursed be all learning that is contrary to the cross of Christ.”
Dartmouth was founded to train missionaries to reach the American Indians. The college of
William and Mary was established that “the Christian faith might be propagated.” In fact, every college or university in the United States was founded for religious purposes until the University of Pennsylvania was established.

While colleges and universities have defected from their original purpose, nevertheless
the Bible played a major role in the educating of Europe and the United States. If it were not for the Bible, the world would have far more illiterate people.

                                                                       II.

       THE INFLUENCE THE BIBLE HAS HAD ON OUR CULTURE

(The Bible has been a dominant influence in the arts of the Western world)

Charles Colson, in his book, Loving God, told the story of Telemachus, a fourth-century
believer. He was a peace-loving, beauty-loving man who lived in a remote village, tending his
garden and spending much of his time in prayer. One day he thought he heard the voice of God telling him to go to Rome, so he obeyed, setting out on foot. Weeks later, he arrived wearily in the city at the time of a great festival. The little monk followed the crowd surging down the streets into the Coliseum. He saw the gladiators stand before the emperor and say, “We who are about to die salute you.” Then he realized these men were going to fight to the death for the entertainment of the crowd. He cried out, “In the name of Christ, stop!”

As the games began, he pushed his way through the crowd, climbed over the wall, and
dropped to the floor of the arena. When the crowd saw this tiny figure rushing to the gladiators and saying “In the name of Christ, stop!” they thought it was part of the show and began laughing.

When they realized it wasn’t, the laughter turned to anger. As he was pleading with the
gladiators to stop, one of them plunged a sword into his body. He fell to the sand. As he was
dying, his last words were, “In the name of Christ, stop!”

Then a strange thing happened. The gladiators stood looking at the tiny figure lying
there. A hush fell over the Coliseum. Way up in the upper rows, a man stood and made his way to the exit. Others began to follow. In silence, everyone left the Coliseum.

The year was A.D. 391, and that was the last battle to the death between gladiators in the
Roman Coliseum. Never again in the great stadium did men kill each other for the entertainment of the crowd.

The Christian in tune with Scripture will love the beautiful and hate the hideous. God is a
God of beauty, and hideousness belongs to the devil. Christians ought, then, to be lovers of
beauty, and throughout history, believers have led the world in the production of beauty through the arts.

ARTS

The Bible has given art its greatest themes. The creation, fall, and redemption of
mankind; the great miracles of the Old Testament; the coming to earth of God as Jesus of
Nazareth, born in a manger, heralded by angels, living a life of wisdom, power, compassion and sacrifice, and finally, being killed because of His goodness, and His return some time in the future; all present artists with the greatest possible themes.

Christian art began to flourish under the protection of Roman Emperor Constantine in
Byzantium (later called Constantinople and then modern Istanbul) after the first three hundred years following Christ’s death. Byzantine art was very flat and representative. Then, during the Renaissance, the golden age of art was ushered in, and the biblical themes were painted as never before and never again. Michelangelo painted the incomparable Sistine Chapel and carved from stone Jesus dead in the arms of his grieving mother, Mary.

Raphael painted hundreds of Christian scenes, including some three hundred of the
mother of Jesus. Leonardo de Vinci gave us the Last Supper, and Rembrandt filled our eyes
with the interplay of dark and light, portraying perhaps the most touching scene of Jesus being taken down from the cross after His death.

In the twentieth century, the secularism that crept in and manifested itself from the
acceptance of Darwinism to the near banishment of religious expression from all public arenas has manifested itself in a profound degeneration in art. Abandoning the images and themes of the Bible, much modern art consciously rejects Christian categories and reflects the breakdown of laws, meaning, and morals that typifies our modern society. You can watch America defect from the faith and begin to self-destruct just by leafing through a book on the history of art in America.

                                                                  MUSIC

The same thing is true of all other art forms. Much great music of the past was distinctly
“Christian.” The haunting Gregorian chant is the focal point of earliest preserved music. The
Reformation brought newly evolving music into religion, with Luther’s “A Mighty Fortress is
Our God” being the best-known example. The next period, the Baroque period, saw music
ascend to heights never before reached and, some would say, never again. Johann Sebastian
Bach (1685-1750) and George Frideric Handel (1685-1759) were devout believers whose music was composed for the glory of God. Handel’s Messiah has ministered to millions.

Bach is recognized by many as the greatest composer that ever lived. Much of his music
was overtly “Christian,” with titles such as “St. Matthew’s Passion,” “St. John’s Passion,”
“Jesus, Joy of Man’s Desiring,” and so on. And he often put initials on his music manuscripts
such as S.D.G., which were initials for the Latin Soli Deo Gloria, meaning “glory to God alone.”
Other times he wrote J.J. standing for Jesu Juban, meaning “Help me Jesus.” He dedicated some of his works I.N.J. standing for In Nomine Jesu, meaning “In Jesus’ Name.”

Bach’s influence is so pervasive that Beethoven, Haydn, Mendelssohn, Mozart, and many
others reveal their debt to him in their own musical contributions. It is generally agreed that
Bach is to music what Shakespeare is to literature—each the highest practitioner of his art form.

As in art and literature, we see a steady decline in music from that time on, reaching the
low point in our modern era. I agree with Francis Schaeffer, who showed that decline in music, art, and literature parallels the decline in overall devotion to God.

                                                              LITERATURE

The Bible’s influence on the literature of the Western world since the Middle Ages is
simply immeasurable. In fact, the Bible’s influence on literature is so great that, in the words of the literary scholar Northrop Frye, “a student of English literature who does not know the Bible does not understand a great deal of what is going on in what he reads.” Today courses in the Bible are offered in many university English departments in order to equip students adequately for their study of literature, since many students now arrive at college with little knowledge of the Bible.

Consider a handful of noteworthy examples: Augustine’s Confessions, the first modern
autobiography, tells of the role of the Bible in his own conversion to Christ. Both Dante’s The
Divine Comedy and Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales exhibit enormous influence from the Bible, as do the works of Shakespeare, John Milton, Edmund Spenser, and many other poets,
dramatists, and novelists.

Examples from the last two centuries include the works of Charles Dickens, Nathaniel
Hawthorne, James Joyce, Robert Louis Stevenson, Mark Twain, William Faulkner, C. S. Lewis
and many others. As scholar Leland Ryken points out, beyond providing major substance to
many poems, dramas, or works of prose fiction, the Bible continues to provide titles for works, such as Go Down Moses (Faulkner), East of Eden (John Steinbeck), The Sun also Rises (Ernest Hemingway), and Go Tell It on the Mountain (James Baldwin).

People who want to understand great works of Western literature must not only hold in
one hand the literature they are reading, but also keep in the other the Bible of literature, which is nothing other than the Bible of Jewish and Christian faith.

                                                                      III.

THE INFLUENCE THE BIBLE HAS HAD ON OUR SPIRITUAL LIFE

(The Bible has been a dominant influence in the spiritual, moral, and ethical formation of the
Western world)

Truth is like light. Ignorance and falsehood are like darkness. With light, living life
successfully is difficult. Without light, it is impossible! The fate of civilizations hangs on
whether or not they will see the light beaming from the Bible and walk in its illuminated
pathway.

                                                           OBJECTIVE TRUTH

The Bible is important because it gives us objective truth. We are living in a day when
there are those who say there is no such truth. In fact, Allan Bloom wrote in his profound book,  The Closing of the American Mind, that the most common value held by nearly everyone today is that all truth is relative. In fact, if there is one thing we can be certain of, they say, it is that there is nothing they can be certain of.

No question is more important than that of religious authority. Everything which men do
they do either by the authority of God or by the authority of men. The question which Jesus
poses in Matthew 21:23-27 makes this clear. The passage explains that Jesus is teaching in the temple at Jerusalem, and the Jewish chief priests and elder ask him, “(23) By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority?” Now notice Jesus’ reply recorded in verse 25. Notice carefully that He specifies two sources of authority, God and man: “(25) The baptism of John, whence was it? from heaven, or of men?” No question is, or can be, of greater importance than the question of religious authority. Either there is some objective standard to which all men have obligation, or there is no objective standard to which he can refer in order to obtain the correct answer to religious questions. Otherwise man is thrown back upon sheer subjectivism. This would mean that any answer given by anyone to any religious question is a true and acceptable answer! This is self-contradictory and therefore false. The person without the Bible as an objective standard has no answers for the great questions of life: Who am I?; Where did I come from?; Why am I here?; and Where am I going when I die? I challenge you to answer these questions without the Bible. Furthermore, man has no basis for declaring something right or wrong, good or bad, beautiful or ugly, just or unjust. However, the instant the light from God’s truth (the Bible) is turned on, the questions are answered, directions are given, and man has the light by which to live his life.

                                                        MORAL STANDARDS

With many people today their attitude is “the ends justify the means.” Often you hear,
“Get what you can while the getting’s good.” “Might makes right!” “The winners write the
history books.” “It’s a dog-eat-dog world, so I’ll do whatever I have to and let others argue
about whether it’s right or wrong.”

That is why we need the Bible. The Bible gives us moral standards that are necessary if
we are to get along with each other. If it were not for God and the Bible, it is hard to tell how far civilization might degenerate. If everyone looks out only for himself, the law of the jungle
becomes the law of the land….the survival of the fittest. Only as people willingly look out for
one another can civilization advance. When Jesus said, “Do unto others as you would have
others do unto you” (Luke 6:31), He voiced one of the most profound single sentences in the
history of humanity. With the acceptance of that one principle, many of humanity’s greatest
problems would disappear.

Hitler killed six million Jews. Stalin killed over fifty million of his countrymen. Mao
was responsible for perhaps as many as seventy million Chinese deaths. All three of these men were committed and reasoned atheists. Without God, the “rights and wrongs” of what we call civilized countries disappear. If there is no God, then there is nothing wrong with what these men did. Francis Schaeffer, an evangelical theologian, was right when he used to teach that unless you can appeal to God, there is no such thing as right and wrong. You say something is right, I say it is wrong. We cancel each other out. Only if there is a God, and if God has revealed right and wrong to us can we say something is right or wrong, good or bad, just or unjust.

                                                           LIFE AND DEATH

As we look at life, we see people dying, but we don’t know where they go. Left to our
own perceptions or knowledge, we have no confidence in knowing what happens when we die.  However, the Bible speaks convincingly of life after death and tells us what we must do to prepare for eternal life. The Bible teaches very clearly that there is a heaven and a hell. Heaven is described as a place or state of eternal joy, and hell is a place of torment and eternal punishment.

If the Bible is wrong, then there is nothing to worry about. But if the Bible is right, there
is plenty to worry about. The Bible teaches that the only thing that separates us from God is sin, (Isaiah 59:1-2). All have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), and the
wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). God in His love and mercy sent His only Son to die for
man and provide salvation for him. Jesus said in John 8:24, “I said therefore to you, that you
shall die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am {He} you shall die in your sins.”  Jesus also said in Luke 13:3, “I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.
In sending His apostles into all the world He told them to preach, “He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.” Mark 16:16.

Now putting all that together we see that a person is to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, repent of their sins, and be baptized for the remission of sins in order to be saved and become a citizen of the kingdom of heaven. This puts us into a relationship with God, our Father, so we may serve Him and live for Him.

                                                            CHANGED LIVES

When people commit their lives to following the Bible their lives change. This was true
of the disciples in the first century and countless numbers of people down through the ages. I think most people are afraid of failing to serve the Lord acceptably and returning to the world, thereby embarrassing themselves and the Lord. However, Christians find a new power, a new presence, in their lives that the Bible calls the Holy Spirit. He is there convicting one of sin, calling one to righteousness, convincing one of truth, of the validity of righteousness, and the self-destructiveness of sin, and causing one to want to please God and be like Him.  Changed lives are the most powerful testimony to the importance of the Bible.

                                                            CONCLUSION

Why is the Bible so important? The Bible is a massive historical presence. Its influence
on nearly every area of life is difficult to exaggerate. Suffice it to say, the world would be a
darker, uglier, crueler place than we can imagine if it were not for the light, beauty, and love
revealed in the Bible.

                                                          THE BIBLE LIVES

Generation follows generation – yet it lives.
Nations rise and fall – yet it lives.
Kings, dictators, presidents come and go – yet it lives.
Hated, despised, cursed – yet it lives.
Doubted, suspected, criticized – yet it lives.
Condemned by atheists – yet it lives.
Scoffed at by scorners – yet it lives.
Exaggerated by fanatics – yet it lives.
Misconstrued and misstated – yet it lives.
Ranted and raved about – yet it lives.
Its inspiration denied – yet it lives.
Yet it lives – as a lamp to our feet.
Yet it lives – as a light to our path.
Yet it lives – as a gate to heaven.
Yet it lives – as a standard for childhood.
Yet it lives – as a guide for youth.
Yet it lives – as an inspiration for the matured.
Yet it lives – as a comfort for the aged.
Yet it lives – as food for the hungry.
Yet it lives – as water for the thirsty.
Yet it lives – as rest for the weary.
Yet it lives – as light for the heathen.
Yet it lives – as salvation for the sinner.
Yet it lives – as grace for the Christian.
To know it is to love it.
To love it is to accept it.

(Selected)

Questions

1. Why do you need to understand the importance of the Bible?
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2. What influence has the Bible had on our society?
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3. What influence has the Bible had on our culture?
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4. Why is the Bible important to us spiritually?
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5. Contrast the moral standard of the world with the Bible’s moral standard.
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6. Why is the Bible important to us regarding life after death?
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7. Why are changed lives the most powerful testimony to the importance of the Bible?
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8. If you are not reading the Bible a few minutes every day, does the Bible have the place in your life it should have? (This question is not to be discussed in class)
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9. Would you explain what is more important than reading your Bible? (This question is not to be discussed in class)
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Lesson 3 – The Bible – Is The BIBLE Indestructable

Lesson 3

The Bible

 

                                             IS THE BIBLE INDESTRUCTIBLE?

Throughout the centuries some people have hated the Bible. Some have even shown
violent hatred for the Bible by attempting to destroy it, as did King Jehoiakim in Jeremiah 36:1- 23. Others have killed the men who wrote the Scriptures as Stephen said in Acts 7:51-53. The Bible is hated even today because it condemns their wickedness and demands submission to the will of God. Many have attempted to discredit its divine inspiration and destroy its influence.  Others are completely indifferent to God’s word and have never studied it, believing it is not relevant to the problems of mankind.

In the late 1960’s, A. Z. Conrad penned a poetic tribute to the indestructibility of the
Bible:

Century follows century-There it stands.
Empires rise and fall and are forgotten-There it stands.
Dynasty follows dynasty-There it stands.
Kings are crowned and uncrowned-There it stands.
Despised and torn to pieces-There it stands.
Storms of hate swirl about it-There it stands.
Agnostics smile cynically-There it stands.
Profane punsters caricature it-There it stands.
Unbelief abandons it-There it stands.
Higher critics deny its inspiration-There it stands.
Thunderbolts of wrath smite it-There it stands.
An anvil that has broken a million hammers-There it stands.
The flames are kindled about it-There it stands.
The arrows of hate are discharged against it-There it stands.
Radicalism rants and raves against it-There it stands.
Fogs of sophistry conceal it temporarily-There it stands.
The tooth of time gnaws but makes no dent in it-There it stands.
Infidels predict its abandonment-There it stands.
Modernism tries to explain it away-There it stands.

The Bible has shown itself to be impervious, imperishable, impregnable,
indissoluble, and invincible toward the vicious assaults hurled against it throughout the centuries.  In spite of its enemies, the Bible lives. The Bible surpasses all other books in its popularity and its influence. It has been translated, in whole or in part, into nearly 2,000 languages and dialects and has been circulated by the billions of copies into every corner of the world. Bernard Ramm wrote:

“A thousand times over, the death knell of the Bible
has been sounded, the funeral procession formed, the
inscription cut on the tombstone, and committal read.
But somehow the corpse never stays put.”

WHY I NEED TO KNOW OF ITS INDESTRUCTIBILITY

1. The Bible’s indestructibility proves that it is inspired of God.
2. When I appreciate the fact that every effort to destroy or discredit the Bible has failed,
I will have greater respect for its durability.
3. These things should cause me to want to read and study the Bible.

I.

PASSAGES CLAIMING INDESTRUCTIBILITY

Turning to the Old Testament in Psalms 89:28 we read, “My loving kindness will I keep
for him forevermore; and my covenant shall stand fast with him.”(ASV) In Ps 105:8, “He hath
remembered his covenant forever, the word which he commanded to a thousand generations,”  (ASV). In Psa. 117:2, “For his loving kindness is great toward us; and the truth of Jehovah (endureth) forever. Praise ye Jehovah.”(ASV). In Isa 40:8, “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth; but the word of our God shall stand forever.”(ASV). In Isa 54:10, “For the mountains may depart, and the hills be removed; but my lovingkindness shall not depart from thee,  neither shall my covenant of peace be removed, saith Jehovah that hath mercy on
thee.”(ASV).

Therefore, the Old Testament claim is that the Word of God:

1. Shall be kept and shall stand fast forevermore.
2. Is commanded and remembered forever or to a thousand generations.
3. Endureth forever.
4. Shall stand forever.
5. Shall not depart or be removed.

These are all claims of indestructibility.

Turning to the New Testament in Matt 24:35, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but
my words shall not pass away.” (ASV). In John 10:35, “the scripture cannot be
broken.” (ASV). In John 12:48, “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my sayings,
hath one that judgeth him: the word that I spake, the same shall judge him in the last
day.” (ASV). In 1 Pet 1:24-25, “For, All flesh is as grass, And all the glory thereof as
the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower falleth: But the word of the
Lord abideth forever. And this is the word of good tidings which was preached unto
you.” (ASV).

The New Testament also claims that the Word of God:

1. Shall not pass away.
2. Cannot be broken.
3. Shall judge us in the last day.
4. Liveth and abideth forever.
5. Endureth forever.

These are claims of indestructibility. There are many other passages claiming that the
Word of God is indestructible, but these should suffice.

II.

THE FOLLY OF MAN’S ATTEMPTS TO DESTROY THE BIBLE

ANCIENT FOES OF THE BIBLE

The first attempt to pervert the word of God was the serpent’s assurance to Eve. In
Genesis 3:1-6 we read of this effort:

“Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which Jehovah
God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not
eat of any tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, Of the
fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat: but of the fruit of the tree which
is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall
ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not
surely die: for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your
eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as God, knowing good and evil. And
when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight
to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of
the fruit thereof, and did eat; and she gave also unto her husband with her, and
he did eat.” (ASV)

From the very beginning man has been at variance with God’s word because he has so
often yielded to Satan’s lies, John 8:54. Even though Satan changed the word of God, the word stood and Adam and Eve suffered the consequences of their disobedience.

King Manasseh of Judah, (697 to 642 B.C.) encouraged all forms of paganism and
possibly destroyed all copies of the law that he could find. Twenty years after his death, his
grandson, Josiah, found the lost book of law in the temple and brought about a great spiritual restoration in Judah. You can read of this in 2 Chronicles 34 and 35.

Jehoiakim was The Prince in Judah. He lived in the period of the divided kingdom and
reigned from 609-598 B.C. (2 Kings 23:34-36; 2 Chronicles 36:4-5). The problem was that
Jehoiakim and the house of Judah were involved in doing what was evil in the sight of God (2
Kings 23:37; 2 Chronicles 36:5). When God delivered His word to Jeremiah and then had it
declared to Jehoiakim, He said, “It may be that the house of Judah will hear all the evil which I
purpose to do unto them; that they may return every man from his evil way; that I may forgive their iniquity and their sin” (Jeremiah 36:3). But because of the continued evil of Jehoiakim and Judah, God, through Jeremiah, issued this pointed prophecy to Jehoiakim:

“But thine eyes and thy heart are not but for thy covetousness, and for
shedding innocent blood, and for oppression, and for violence, to do it.
Therefore thus saith Jehovah concerning Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king
of Judah: they shall not lament for him, (saying), Ah my brother! or, Ah sister!
They shall not lament for him, (saying) Ah lord! or, Ah his glory! He shall
be buried with the burial of an ass, drawn and cast forth beyond the gates of
Jerusalem.” Jer 22:17-19 (ASV)

Therefore, when Jehoiakim heard what God said he launched a persecution against the
word of God. He cut and burned the roll of Jeremiah thinking such would destroy the word of
God. But, Jehoiakim learned that the word of God is indestructible and that sin has a price
(Romans 3:23). Another roll was written, describing the payoff of Jehoiakim’s persecution,
wherein God said:

“And concerning Jehoiakim king of Judah thou shalt say, Thus

saith Jehovah: Thou hast burned this roll, saying, Why hast thou written therein,
saying, The king of Babylon shall certainly come and destroy this land, and
shall cause to cease from thence man and beast? 30 Therefore thus saith
Jehovah concerning Jehoiakim king of Judah: He shall have none to sit upon the
throne of David; and his dead body shall be cast out in the day to the heat, and
in the night to the frost. 31 And I will punish him and his seed and his servants
for their iniquity; and I will bring upon them, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem,
and upon the men of Judah, all the evil that I have pronounced against them, but
they hearkened not. 32 Then took Jeremiah another roll, and gave it to Baruch
the scribe, the son of Neriah, who wrote therein from the mouth of Jeremiah all
the words of the book which Jehoiakim king of Judah had burned in the fire; and
there were added besides unto them many like words.” Jer 36:29-32 (ASV)

This challenger to the indestructibility of the word of God died and, though he had been
the Prince of Judah, his burial was the burial of an ass, with no lament. Josephus wrote the
following concerning this:

“Now a little time afterwards, the king of Babylon made an expedition against
Jehoiakim, whom he received [into the city,] and this out of fear of the foregoing
predictions of this prophet, as supposing that he should suffer nothing that was
terrible, because he neither shut the gates nor fought against him; yet when he
was come into the city, he did not observe the covenants he had made; but he
slew such as were in the flower of their age, and such as were of the greatest
dignity, together with their king Jehoiakim, whom he commanded to be thrown
before the walls, without any burial.”

ENEMIES OF THE BIBLE DURING THE CHRISTIAN ERA

Still others have challenged the indestructibility of the Bible, such as some of the
Potentates of the Roman Empire.

Valerius Diocletian ruled Rome during the period from A.D. 284-305. The
problem at this time was political and is summed up in the following quotes:

“Diocletian was a strong military leader who came to the imperial throne at the
end of a century that was marked by political disorder in the Roman Empire. He
decided that only a strong monarchy could save the Empire and its classical culture.
In 285 he ended the diarchy of the principate, created by Caesar Augustus in 27
B.C., by which the emperor and senate had shared authority. A powerful,
orientalized monarchy seemed in his opinion to offer the only alternative to chaos.
In such a despotic Empire there was no place for democratic elements in government
or for the toleration of faiths hostile to the state religion. It was out of this
historical situation that the most severe persecution that the Christians ever endured
came. (Earle E. Cairns, Christianity Through The Centuries, p. 100).

“The first edicts calling for persecution of the Christians came in March, 303. Diocletian      ordered the cessation of meetings of the Christians, the destruction of the churches,    the deposition of officers of the church, the imprisonment of those who persisted in their
testimony to Christ and the destruction of the Scriptures by fire.” Ibid

“     All assemblies of Christians were forbidden and churches were ordered to be torn
down. Four different edicts were issued, each excelling the preceding in intensity.
One edict ordered the burning of every copy of the Bible—the first instance in
[Christian] history when the Scriptures were made an object of attack.” (Wayne Jackson,
Reason & Revelation, 1994, 14:12:90)

“Moreover, after a couple of years of these persecutions, he became so arrogant that
he claimed to have exterminated the Christian writings from the face of the earth. He
even erected a monument over the ashes of burned Bibles with the inscription: Extincto
Nomine Christianorum—‘Extinct is the name of Christians.’ He also fashioned a medal
With the engraving, ‘The Christian religion is destroyed and the worship of the gods
Restored.’” (B. J. Clark, The Indestructibility of the Bible As Proof of Inspiration, 1996, p.
61-62)

There were radical changes made when Constantine the Great came to the Roman throne
in A.D. 306. In A.D. 313 he issued the famous “Edict of Milan,” which granted freedom from
persecution to Christians and the church. “During the next few years Constantine issued edicts that brought about the restoration of confiscated property to the Church, the subsidization of the Church by the state, the exemption of the clergy from public service, a ban on soothsaying and the setting apart of the ‘Day of the Sun’ (Sunday) as a day of rest and worship.” (Cairns, p. 134).  Therefore, in spite of the fact that Diocletian had waged the worst persecution against the Bible in the history of the Roman Empire, and in spite of the fact that he had boasted that he had completely destroyed the Christian writings from the face of the earth, Constantine offered a substantial reward to anyone who could discover and deliver copies of the word of God. Within twenty-five hours fifty copies of God’s Word were offered to the emperor.

From that day to this, the rest of the story is history! Diocletian’s monument and medal
are but dust and ashes, as is Diocletian, but the Bible has become and still is the world’s best selling book. The poet Flynn thoughtfully captures the ineptitude of the Bible’s opponents:

They burned Truth in the market place
And thought their work complete;
But next day, with a smiling face,
They met it on the street.
They threw it in dungeon damp
And thought it was no more;
But lo, it walked with lighted lamp
Among them as before.
They scorned and ostracized it,
And ordered it to depart;
But still it dwelt in all the land
And challenged every heart.

     The Bible, the Word of God, has not only had to survive attempts of destruction from its
enemies, but also from its so-called “friends.” Toward the close of the Dark Ages, Roman
Church authorities were the chief enemies of the Bible.

In 1184, Pope Lucius III excommunicated the Waldenses, who became the forerunners of
the Protestant Reformation, and who kept the Bible central in their worship. Pope Innocent III,  in 1199, had the French Bibles burned at Metz and forbade the people to have more. A Catholic synod in Toulouse, France, in 1229, forbade the people to possess the scriptures, except for the Psalms and a few verses contained in prayer books. The synod particularly denounced all Bible translations. Ferdinand and Isabella, 1474-1516, forbade the people to have Bibles….Ten thousand Bibles were burned at Graez in Steiermark on August 8, 1600 by order of Ferdinand II, who had been emperor. The Jesuits boasted of burning 60,000 Bibles in a single year – 1637 – in Bohemia. Pope Clement II, in 1713, condemned Bible reading on the part of Christians. Pope Pius VI did likewise. Pope Julius VII called the Bible societies a pest in 1816. Pope Gregory XVI, on May 6, 1844, said those favoring Bible societies were guilty of the greatest crime before God and the church. (Adapted from Why We Believe The Bible by George Dehoff, p. 111).

The problem was and is that the Roman Catholic Church does not recognize the Bible as
the supreme and sole authority in religion. According to Catholicism: “Tradition is to be held as the highest authority in the church, even above the Bible.” However, the modern approach of the Catholic Church is to emphasize great love and respect for the Scriptures. Present day Catholics want people to believe that the Catholic Church has faith in the Bible, is the church of the Bible, and encourages its members to read and study the Bible. However, when Catholics try to disprove the Bible as the only authority in religion, their true attitude toward the Bible is revealed. Notice some arguments against the Bible:

NOT INTENDED TO BE WRITTEN

“If Christ Himself had written the book and set it forth as a text-book,
so to speak, of His religion, we would rest securely in it, and have no need
to inquire farther. That the Bible is not a book, like the Koran for instance,
set forth by the founder of the religion as its authoritative exposition, is in
fact the fundamental weakness of Bible Protestantism. If Christ had intended
His religion to be propagated and preserved by means of a book,
can any conceivable reason be urged why He should not have written one?
(Plain Facts for Fair Minds – p. 26 A Catholic source)

The above is an effort to establish that the Bible alone is not the standard of authority.
Christ did not actually take a pen in His hand and write the New Testament; nevertheless, it is His production. The Old Testament declares that God built the temple (I Kings 8:16, 20), but God did not actually come down and build it Himself. He built it through the agency of others. Likewise, the written New Testament is the will of Christ. He wrote it through those
commissioned by Him. It contains His laws (I Corinthians 14:37) and produces the faith that
brings life in His name (John 20:30-31).

Christ commanded the apostle John, “Write therefore the things that thou hast seen, and
the things that are, and the things that are to come hereafter.” (Revelation 1:19). Therefore, the Catholic officials are incorrect when they say Christ never commissioned His apostles to write.  In many different places in the Old Testament the prophets were instructed by God to write. The purpose of writing was to preserve God’s will for all time.

DOES NOT CONTAIN ALL TRUTH

“The Bible does not contain all the teaching of the Christian religion, nor
does it formulate all the duties of its members.” (The Faith of Millions, pp.
153-154).

“Now the Scriptures alone do not contain all the truths which a Christian
is bound to believe, nor do they explicitly enjoin all the duties which he is
obliged to practice. (Ibid, p. 72).

“Can you learn to save your soul just by reading the Bible? No…because
the Bible does not have everything God taught.” (A Catechism for Adults,
Q. 1, p. 52).

Paul told Timothy, “And that from a babe thou hast known the sacred writings which are
able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 2 Tim 3:15 (ASV).
Consequently, according to an inspired apostle, one can save his soul just by the Scriptures. Paul continued by saying, “Every scripture inspired of God (is) also profitable for teaching, for
reproof, for correction, for instruction which is in righteousness. That the man of God may be
complete, furnished completely unto every good work.” 2 Tim 3:16-17 (ASV). The Scriptures
contain everything that is necessary to “life and godliness through the knowledge of him that
called us by his own glory and virtue;” 2 Pet 1:3 (ASV).

NOT UNDERSTANDABLE

“A competent religious guide must be clear and intelligible to all, so that
everyone may fully understand the true meaning of the instructions it contains.
Is the Bible a book intelligible to all? Far from it; it is full of obscurities
and difficulties not only for the illiterate, but even for the learned.”
(The Faith of Our Fathers, p. 70).

“We must, therefore, conclude that the Scriptures alone cannot be a sufficient
guide and rule of faith….because they are not of themselves clear and intelligible
in matters of the highest importance…” (Ibid., p.73).

As you can see from the above, the Catholic Church claims that the Bible cannot be
understood. It then declares that it alone is God’s official interpreter to give the true meaning of the Bible. Of course, this claim is false.

Paul wrote in Ephesians 3:3-4, “How that by revelation he made known unto me the
mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my
knowledge in the mystery of Christ)” (KJV).

That which the word of God does and supplies to the hearts of men can be done only by
an intelligible source. For example, Ps 19:7 “The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the
soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple;” (NKJ). Ps 119:130 “The
unfolding of thy words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple.” (RSV). Acts 20:32
“And now I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build (you)
up, and to give (you) the inheritance among all them that are sanctified.” (ASV). Heb 4:12
“For the word of God is living, and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, and
piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and quick to discern the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (ASV). These things could not be said of a dead letter, and one that cannot be understood by all who receive it.

God requires that we understand: Eph 5:17 “Wherefore be ye not unwise, but
understanding what the will of the Lord is.” (KJV). Would God command something that is
impossible? God wants all men to come to knowledge of the truth (I Timothy 2:4). Jesus
teaches that we will be judged by His words (John 12:48-49). Will God judge us by a standard
that cannot be understood? There are many passages teaching us to study, search, and grow in knowledge and they all imply that Scripture is understandable.

The Roman Catholic Church has made other charges against the Bible that can be proven
from their own authorities such as the following:

1. Not intended to be circulated
2. Not intended to be gathered into one volume
3. Not accessible to all
4. Not a safe method
5. Is a dead letter
6. Does more harm than good

We have not presented these facts to be ugly or unkind, but to show that the Bible has
suffered at the hands of so called “friends of the Bible.”

PHILOSOPHERS OF FOOLISHNESS

In more modern times attempts have been made through philosophy. Some of these
philosophers include:

1. Voltaire
2. Thomas Paine
3. Robert Ingersoll

Voltaire lived and wrote during the period of 1694-1778. The problem during this period
was “Rationalism,” which is defined as, “the claim that the fundamental principles of religion
are innate or self-evident and that revelation is not necessary.” (Herbert R. Morgan, Funk &
Wagnalls New Encyclopedia 1988, 22:126).

“Voltaire was a deist who produced several volumes brimming with hatred
for the Bible. No one in Europe did as much to destroy faith in the Word of
God as Voltaire. France rejected the Scriptures, tied a copy of the Bible to
the tail of a donkey, and dragged it through the streets to the city dump, where
it was ceremoniously burned. But since that time, the government of France
has fallen thirty-five times.” (Wayne Jackson, Reason & Revelation, 1994, p.92).

In his persecutions of the Bible, Voltaire made a number of prophetic predictions. He
boasted, “One hundred years from my day there will not be a Bible in the earth except one that is looked upon by an antiquarian curiosity-seeker.” He blasphemed and called Christ “the cursed wretch.” Voltaire sought to destroy the Bible with his boasting and bragging and blaspheming,  but the payoff for such insolence is seen in the trouble he suffered.

“His final days were spent in agony. As an ex-Catholic, he loathed the idea of
not having a “Christian burial.” He even signed a confession begging God to
forgive his sins—which his biographers claim was insincere. When the composer
Mozart heard of the skeptic’s death, he wrote: “[T]he ungodly, archvillain,
Voltaire, has died miserably, like a dog—just like a brute. That is his
reward.” (Wayne Jackson, Reason & Revelation, 1994, p. 92).

Geisler and Nix observe that “only fifty years after his death the Geneva Bible Society
used his press and house to produce stacks of Bibles.” (Norman L. Geisler and William E. Nix,
A General Introduction to the Bible, 1968, p. 124). One hundred and fifty-five years later “a first edition of Voltaire’s work sold in Paris for eleven cents. That same day—December 24, 1933—the British government paid $500,000 for an ancient New Testament manuscript, Codex Sinaiticus, dating to about 350 A.D. and it is now in the British Museum. A poet by the name of Blake, put it very well when he wrote:

“Mock on, Mock, Voltaire, Rousseau;
Mock on, mock on; ‘tis all in vain!
You throw the dust against the wind,
And the wind blows it back again.”

     In America, men like Thomas Paine led the battle against the Bible. He lived and worked
during the period 1737-1809. He gained considerable prominence as a result of his writings
advocating America’s independence from Britain. However, he went to France and yielded to
the influence of French deism and so composed his infamous work, The Age of Reason, which was a passionate attack against the Bible. Although he confessed a belief in God, his book was called the “atheists bible.” Like Voltaire, Paine boasted of the coming demise of the Bible, except that Paine was much bolder in his assessment of how soon the Bible would be obsolete. He said: “In five years from now there will not be a Bible in America. I have gone through the Bible with an axe and cut down all the trees.” (Roy J. Hearn, Inspiration of the Bible). The payoff for such arrogance is seen in the fact:

“…..that within ten years of this arrogant claim, Thomas Paine was a
largely forgotten man. The sunset of his life was spent in bitter isolation.
In fact he is reported to have said: “I would give worlds if I had them,
had The Age of Reason never been written. O Lord, help me! Christ
help me!….Send even a child to stay with me, for it is hell to be alone.
If ever the devil had an agent, I have been that one.” (Ibid).

Ironically, after Paine died, his printing press was also employed to print Bibles and
Biblical materials.

Robert Green Ingersoll, who lived during 1833-1899, was a politician who gained his real
fame as an agnostic lecturer. He toured the country blasting the Bible. Quite the eloquent
speaker, he was paid as much as $5000 for some of his speeches, and thousands thronged to hear him rail against things holy. His “Mistakes of Moses” was a popular presentation. William Jennings Bryan once quipped that it would be much more interesting to hear Moses on the “Mistakes of Ingersoll.”

Ingersoll had been greatly influenced by the writings of Voltaire and Paine and initially
was a deist. Eventually, he evolved into a full-blown agnostic. Also Ingersoll was enamored
with Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, and argued that Darwin’s discoveries, “carried to
their legitimate conclusion,” would destroy the Scriptures. He prophesied that in a quarter of a century no more churches would be built. He held up a copy of the Bible on one occasion and arrogantly asserted, “In fifteen years I will have this book in the morgue.” But, instead of
Ingersoll having the Bible in the morgue, Ingersoll was in the morgue and the Bible continues with us today. Furthermore, after his death, a man by the name of Robert Garry sat and wrote Bible lessons at the very desk at which Mr. Ingersoll had worked to try to discredit the Bible.

III.

PRINCIPLES CONFIRMING INDESTRUCTIBILITY
PRESERVATION

The preservation and transmission of the Bible from the time that it was written until the
present involves two areas of study. The study of the process by which the documents (66 in all) were written, used, collected into groups, and elevated to the authoritative place that they occupy today is called the study of the canon. The other is the process of preserving in writing and translations the text of the documents. This is the study of text and versions. Some divide the history of the text of the Bible into two periods.

1. From the time the documents were written until the time
of printing (A.D. 1453).
2. From that date until the present.

The invention of printing was very important for the transmission of the text of the Bible. Before that date, the only way that a person could have a copy of any written work was to make a copy (or have it made) by hand, letter by letter. This was slow and often expensive.

It was to the Jews that this task of preservation was committed (Romans 3:1-2), and what
a wonderful job their reliable and ready scribes did.

“The most noted of the earlier scribes was the priest Ezra, who was “a
ready scribe in the law of Moses” (Ezra 7:6). Such men, to whom we
owe the transmission of the text of the Old Testament, were more than
copyists…The scribes were known as sopherim (counters), because it
was said that they counted all the letters of the Hebrew Old Testament:
they knew the middle verse, the middle word, and the middle letter of
the various books. Under the guidance of carefully established rules a
high standard of accuracy was maintained.” (Henry S. Gehman, The
Biblical Archeologist, Vol. VIII, Manuscripts of the Old Testament in
Hebrew.)

Bernard Ramm asked: “Who ever counted the letters and syllables and words of Plato or
Aristotle? Cicero or Seneca?” Greenfield observed “that the Jews have neither mutilated nor
corrupted these writings is fully proved by the silence of the prophets as well as of Christ and His apostles, who, though they bring many heavy charges against them, never once accuse them of corrupting one of their sacred writings.” Such preservation is, itself, a marvel. Adolph Saphir explains:

“The Jews, who themselves rejected the Messiah of whom Moses and
the prophets testify, preserve the very books which prove their unbelief
and convince the world of the divine authority and mission of Jesus.
Where is there a nation preserving carefully a record which so repeatedly
and emphatically declares that they are obstinate, ungrateful, and perverse;
and which attributes all their victories and excellencies, not to
their natural disposition and qualities, but exclusively to the mercy and
power of God? …..The Jews bear unwilling witness to Jesus.” (Rene Pache,
The Inspiration and Authority of Scripture, 1969).

PROVIDENCE

Melvin J. Wise gives this explanation:

“It is an indisputable fact that what man can produce, man can destroy.
Why, then, if the Bible is a mere product of mortal man, have nineteen
centuries of assault upon the Bible been unable to destroy it? Down
through the centuries enemy after enemy has come forth to war against
God’s Word. But this Holy Book has survived despite the frequent and
continue attempts to destroy it. Again and again, the most powerful
governments in the world sought to eradicate it from the earth. Men have
died on the gallows for reading it, and they have been burned at the
stake for possessing it. If the Bible had been man’s book it would have
gone down in defeat and would have been forgotten centuries ago.”
(Melvin J. Wise, God: Abilene Christian College Annual Bible Lectures, 1958).

W. J. Russell in New Testament Christianity, Vol. II, Edited by Z. T. Sweeney, paints a
picture of how God’s providence has protected the Bible:

“The last book of the Bible was written nearly 1,300 years before the
invention of printing. And when you think how those many centuries
horde after horde of heathen barbarians swept like destroying blight
over the lands where the Scriptures had a home; when you think of all
the great libraries of the world, those for example at Alexandria and
Constantinople, and Athens and Rome, were destroyed by fire; you
see that it is a wonderful thing that the Bible has come to us in its
integrity. How true are the words: “The grass withereth, the flower
fadeth, but the word of our God shall stand forever.” …Nations have
been born and have passed away since the Bible was written. New
customs have come into existence and formed parts of the government
of the world. Manners have changed, dynasties have crumbled, while
the Bible alone, in spirit, has remained the same, fresh, true, and as indestructible
as its Author. Linguists have assailed its language—tested,
tried, analyzed and weighed in the balance, and yet not one iota of its
truth has grown weaker, nor one ray of its light dimmer. Age has
failed to affect its power. It has flourished, while its adversaries have
been entombed one after another, and it never bade so fair as at present
to be the Book of Truth, and the Most High has ever been its conservator
and defense.”

PROPHECY

The Bible contains remarkable prophecies that were written hundreds of years before the
events described occurred and which have been accurately and minutely fulfilled. If predictive prophecies recorded in the Bible can only be explained on the basis of supernatural influence,  then they are evidences (proofs) of the Bible’s supernatural claims of inspiration. As Bernard Ramm has pointed out, this argument from prophecy “is essentially the argument from omniscience. Limited human beings know the future only if it is told them by an omniscient Being.” We have seen some of the passages that predicted that the Scriptures would “endure forever” and in spite of every attempt to destroy them they are with us today and are even more glorious than ever.

No other book has been so chopped, knifed, sifted, scrutinized, and vilified. What book on philosophy or religion or psychology has been subject to such mass attack as the Bible? With such venom and skepticism? With such thoroughness and erudition? Upon every chapter, line and tenet? Considering the thorough learning of the critics and ferocity and precision of the attacks, we would expect the Bible to have been permanently entombed and forever forgotten. But such is not the case. The Bible is still loved by millions….It still remains the most published and most read book in the world of literature. Its survival through time, persecution and criticism is remarkable. This can only be attributed to God’s providence.

CONCLUSION

Abraham Lincoln affirmed, “All the good from the Savior of the world is communicated
through this Book; but for this Book we could not know right from wrong. All things desirable
to man are contained in it…..It is the best gift which God has given to man.”

The Bible is indispensable to man. It is all sufficient for our needs. The Bible as God
gave it is perfectly adapted to man as God made him. Experience proves that the Bible cannot be denied; the word of the Lord cannot be broken; the Bible never fails; it is infallibly right; it is our only source of right living, of comfort, hope and life.

Therefore, it is not surprising that believers are going into every country with the word of
God. Its blessed influence is gaining strength and power, and when the last battle has been
fought and the last victory has been won, when the last attack has been made and the last drop of martyr’s blood has been shed, the earth will melt with fervent heat, and Christians will stand before the Lord and see opened their Book, which guided their weary feet and brought them safely home. Someone wrote the following:

Despised and torn to pieces,
by infidels decried,
The thunderbolts of hatred,
the haughty cynic’s pride—
All these have railed against it in this
and other lands
Yet dynasties have fallen, and
still the Bible stands!

Lesson 4 – The BIBLE – Are the Scriptures Inspired of God?

                                                 Lesson 4

                                                 The Bible

 

ARE THE SCRIPTURES INSPIRED OF GOD?

Immanuel Kant, great German thinker, said:

“The existence of the Bible as a book for the
people is the greatest benefit the human race
ever experienced. Every attempt to belittle
it or to do away with it entirely is a crime
against humanity.”

Sir Walter Scott, a brilliant writer said:

“Within this powerful volume lies
the mystery of mysteries.
Happiest he of human race
to whom God has given grace
to read, to fear, to hope, to pray,
to lift the latch and learn the way.
But better had he never been born
who reads to doubt or reads to scorn.”

     Throughout the centuries men have tried desperately to destroy the Bible through
persecution, inquisition, torture, and by burning volumes of the Bible. Yet, the Bible still circles the earth and blesses millions.

The specific question that we ask concerns the reliability of the Bible as a completely
trustworthy guide for what we believe and what we practice in religion. Is the Bible
Christianity’s “constitution” by which every doctrine or practice must be judged acceptable or
unacceptable? Is the Bible our Supreme Court? You must decide in one of three ways:

1. You may say that the Bible is full of mistakes, is human
in authorship, and consequently is not at all trustworthy
in the ultimate sense.

2. You may think, as we do, that it is fully inspired, in part
and in whole, and therefore is complete, inerrant, and
infallible as our guide. Those of us who hold this view
must believe that since God wrote the Bible, there is
nothing in it that is untrue or that is unreliable.

3. You may seek some position in between the other two
camps, holding that that it contains some truth and some
error, that it is partially human and partially divine, and
therefore that it is neither completely trustworthy nor
completely untrustworthy, that its reliability as a basis
for faith must be determined by either theological
scholarship or some intuitive or direct spiritual guidance!

Position number one explains the skepticism of contemporary theology, and position number three explains the hodgepodge of modern denominationalism.

At one time nearly all professed Christians in America believed in the inspiration of the
Scriptures. Hardly any significant denomination would ordain as a minister one who even
hesitated to affirm his confidence in the Bible as the inspired word of God.

Actually there have been three major conflicts in our country over the inspiration of the
Scriptures. The first was in the 1880’s and brought forth such works as B. B. Warfield’s classic
“Inspiration and Authority of the Bible.” The second came in the 1930’s when J. Gresham
Machen was suspended at Princeton and became founder of Westminster Theological Seminary.  The third big battle is being fought at the present time.

No religious group can long retain any of its former character once it rejects the inspiration and inerrancy of the Scriptures. Perhaps the most striking example is that of the Unitarians. The group broke away from the Congregational Church in the Northeast because of refusal to believe what the Bible teaches about the deity of Jesus and the Holy Spirit. As a result of rejecting the inspiration and inerrancy of the Bible on this one point, the Unitarians abandoned all faith in other basic doctrines such as the virgin birth, the bodily resurrection of Jesus, and the atonement.  Some of the signers of the Humanist Manifesto were Unitarian clergymen! This departure from the truth is being repeated in nearly all of the major denominations of our country.

In an impressive defense of the inerrancy of the Bible, Harold Lindsell, former editor of
Christianity Today, wrote:

“It is not unfair to allege that among denominations like
Episcopal, United Presbyterian, United Church of Christ, the
Lutheran Church in America, and the Presbyterian Church U.S.A.
there is not a single theological seminary that takes a stand in favor
of biblical infallibility.”

As a consequence of rejecting the inspiration of the Bible, theological schools at Harvard, Yale, Union Seminary, University of Chicago, and Princeton have filled denominational pulpits with preachers who could care less about what the Bible teaches or about the fundamental doctrines of the Christian religion. If the preachers of these liberal churches have no respect for the Bible, why should their memberships?

I.

THE BIBLE CLAIMS INSPIRATION

Even the casual reader has been impressed with the frequent use of such expressions as:

“Thus saith the Lord”
“The Lord hath spoken”
“The Lord testified, saying”

It is said that in the prophets alone these expressions occur 1,300 times; and elsewhere in the Old Testament, 2,500 such phrases, attributing the authorship to God, are found. The writers of the Bible claimed to speak as the Holy Spirit moved them along:

2 Pet. 1:20-21

“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.”

They spoke of the Bible and its various parts as having been given through the guidance of the Almighty. Notice what Paul said in 2 Tim. 3:16-17:

“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.”

It is crystal clear that Paul did not have in mind any “theory of partial inspiration.” What
Paul wrote is quite different from the modernistic statement: “The Bible contains the word of God.” According to Paul, the Bible IS the word of God; it is all given by the inspiration of
God.

When Moses was about to begin his work as the leader of Israel, God said to him:
Exod 4:12

“Now then go, and I, even I, will be with your mouth, and teach you
what you are to say.”

At the end of his life, David bore this testimony:
2 Sam 23:2

“The Spirit of the LORD spoke through me; his word was on my
tongue.

And the Lord said to Jeremiah:
Jer 1:9

“Then the LORD reached out his hand and touched my mouth and
said to me, “Now, I have put my words in your mouth.”

When one comes to the New Testament, one quickly realizes that Jesus endorsed the Old
Testament in its entirety. He said “all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me” (Luke 24:44). These three
divisions:

“Law of Moses”
“Prophets”
“Psalms”

according to the Jewish usage, included all the Old Testament. Further, Jesus specifically
endorsed those portions of the Old Testament that have most often been under attack by the enemies of the Bible and thereby put His stamp of approval upon them:

The story of Creation – Matt. 19:8
The account of the flood – Matt. 24:37
The story of Jonah and the great fish – Matt. 12:40

Jesus put Satan to flight during the temptations in the wilderness by using quotations from
Deuteronomy, a book that has been often under the fire of modernists. It is not surprising,
therefore, that the devil does not think well of Deuteronomy. Jesus also endorsed the New
Testament before it was written. He promised the apostles that the Holy Spirit would enable
them to know “how” and “what” to say (Matt. 10:19), and that he would guide them into “all
truth” (John 16:13). On Pentecost the Spirit came on the apostles and they began to speak as He gave them utterance (Acts 2:4). Paul commended the Thessalonians for having received the word he preached, “not as the word of men, but, as indeed it is, the word of God” (I Thess. 2:13). Paul spoke not in “words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Spirit teacheth” (I Cor. 2:13). And John, speaking of his writings, frequently urged his readers to “hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches” (Rev. 2:11). The apostles claimed the very
guidance of the Spirit that Jesus promised.

II.

THE NATURE OF INSPIRATION

Our word “inspiration” literally means breathing in. It is derived from two Latin words, in
and spiro, which mean to blow or breathe into. Strong says in the original the Greek word
“theopneustos” is employed. It is composed of two words—Theos, God; and pneustros,
breathed from pneo, to blow or breathe. Pneuma meaning spirit comes from the verb pneo.
“Pneustos” then, might mean spirited, and then theopneustos would mean God-spirited, or Godbreathed, or “filled with the breath of God, or the product of the divine breath (or Spirit, or given by God through the Spirit.) The word implies an influence from without, producing effects which are beyond natural powers.” Inspiration means that influence which God exercises through the Holy Spirit over the minds of Biblical writers to make them infallible in the receiving and recording of His will.

The words, as well as the thoughts, of the sacred writers were inspired. Jesus promised this
very type of inspiration. He said that the Holy Spirit would teach the apostles “how” and “what” to speak (Matt. 10:19). The “what” means the thought, the “how” means the verbiage, the manner of expression. This is verbal inspiration. It would be interesting for a modernist to tell us how God could inspire the thoughts without at the same time inspiring the words. How can we carry on a conversation without words? How can we express thoughts without words or their equivalent? Jesus said: “Till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass away from the law, till all things be accomplished” (Matt. 5:18). Therefore, Jesus asserts the verbal inspiration and guarantees the verbal indestructibility of the text. Not even a “jot,” small letter, or “tittle,” part of the letter, shall pass until the law shall have been fulfilled. Paul said that he spoke “not in words which man’s wisdom teacheth,” but in words “which the Spirit teacheth” (I Cor. 2:13). This is a positive claim of verbal inspiration. Paul also makes an argument based on the singular of a noun in Galatians 3:16: “The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. The Scripture does not say ‘and to seeds,’ meaning many people, but ‘and to your seed,’ meaning one person, who is Christ.” (NIV) If the very words in this case are not inspired, Paul’s argument is weak and untenable.

This inspiration was not purely mechanical. If the writers had been mere pens in the hands of God the style and vocabulary of the Bible would be uniform. But such is not the case. While the Holy Spirit moved the penmen of the Bible to write, they were free to speak through their own individual background, personality, vocabulary, and style. Inspiration did not involve the suspension or suppression of the human faculties, so neither did it interfere with the free exercise of the distinctive mental characteristics of the individual. If a Hebrew was inspired, he spoke Hebrew; if a Greek, he spoke Greek; if an educated man, he spoke as a man of culture; if uneducated, he spoke as such a man would speak. If his mind was logical, he reasoned, as Paul did; if emotional and contemplative, he wrote as John wrote.

Inspiration was therefore, both plenary and verbal. God breathed out all Scripture (plenary)
and gave the very words (verbal) He wanted penned. When someone claims that the Bible only contains the word of God and that we are free to determine which words are and which words are not from God, we have a serious problem. Who is going to determine this? If one person has the right then everyone has the same right. John Montgomery made an astute statement when he said, “Scripture is a seamless garment, and when one begins to unravel it at one place it is not long until the entire fabric gives way.” It becomes the responsibility of each reader of the Bible to either accept it totally as the word of God, or reject it totally as the word of God.

III.

THE EVIDENCES OF INSPIRATION
EXTERNAL EVIDENCES

The evidences of the inspiration of the Bible fall into two classes—external and internal.
First, we want to consider external evidences in light of Archeology. The discoveries of
archaeology in recent decades have provided believers with some of their most compelling
reasons or “external evidences” for accepting the historical trustworthiness of the Bible. The
word “archaeology” means “a study of ancient things.” The aim of archaeology is to reconstruct the past, to provide the data that will enable scholars to write the histories of ancient civilizations. This is why archaeology has become a valuable tool in Biblical studies—because the Bible is a historical book. The Bible tells of events that really happened, it describes real people, real places, real cities, and real events. The Bible is unique in this respect. Other great religious books of mankind, such as the Koran of Islam and the Vedas of Hinduism, are philosophical and ethical; but they are not historical, while the Bible is.

WHY I NEED TO KNOW THIS

The Bible claims to be the word of God. I need to know if it makes sense
to believe that it is. Blind faith is not a sufficient platform on which to place
one’s eternal destiny. If I can reasonably justify accepting the Bible as the
word of God, then I have a compass for life, giving me instruction in how to
live on earth and assurance of life after death in heaven with God.

There are a number of ways in which archaeological discoveries can be of value in Biblical
study:

1. Sometimes the light of archaeology is general and serves simply to
illuminate the Biblical world and its various cultures. But the better
we can understand the ancient world, its alien cultures and languages
and ways of life, the better equipped we are to understand all Biblical
events that are set within the framework of that ancient world.
2. Other discoveries of archaeology relate much more specifically to the
Bible and give direct evidences for its truthfulness. And it is interesting
to note that many of these specific evidences have come at the very
points where the Bible was once brushed aside as legendary or mythical.
3. The most important discoveries of all are manuscripts, ancient copies
of Biblical books and other manuscripts that relate to the Scriptures.

THE NUZI TABLETS

The Nuzi tablets are a good example of an archaeological discovery that gives us valuable
insights into the culture of the patriarchal age, and at the same time, shows the accuracy of the book of Genesis in describing that culture. Nuzi is located southeast of Nineveh, and in
excavations at this site beginning in 1925 thousands of clay tablets from the fifteenth century B.C. were discovered. The people of Nuzi are the same as the Horites in the Bible (Gen. 14:6; Gen. 36:21; 29). The laws that are revealed in the Nuzi tablets were widely accepted in the world of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and these laws show that many customs described in Genesis accurately reflect the culture of the period. For example, if a Nuzi couple was childless, it was customary for them to adopt a slave as their legal heir. He provided for them during their lifetime and inherited their estate at their death. However, if the couple later had a son, the adopted slave forfeited his place as the heir. This helps to explain the relationship between Abraham and Eliezer and the expectation before the birth of Isaac that Eliezer would become the possessor of Abraham’s house (Gen. 15:2).

Many ancient cultures regarded childless marriages as tragic, and marriage contracts at Nuzi sometimes stipulated that if the wife failed to bear her husband an heir, she must supply her husband with a handmaid who would bear him children. This provision helps us to understand Sarah’s giving Hagar (Gen. 16:3) to Abraham and Rachel’s giving Bilhah (Gen. 30:3) to Jacob. These barren women were simply following the customary law of their age. The Nuzi tablets also provided that if a young man had no dowry to exchange for his bride, he could work for a number of years for his prospective father-in-law. Thus, Jacob worked seven years to provide a dowry for Rachel, awakened to find himself tricked into marriage with the wrong girl, and worked another seven years for Rachel (Gen. 29:18).

There is another Genesis story that seemed very obscure before the Nuzi tablets were
discovered—Laban’s concern for the loss of his teraphim (Gen. 31:30). When Jacob finally left
Haran after twenty years with Laban, he took his wives and sons, a substantial part of Laban’s flocks as well as the family gods which Rachel had stolen from her father. When Laban overtook Jacob, he seemed far more incensed at the loss of his teraphim than anything else and asked Jacob, “Why have you stolen my gods?” Why should Laban have been so concerned about the loss of his teraphim? According to the Nuzi tablets, whenever there was a dispute about family property, the one who possessed the family gods was entitled to the family estate. Thus, it seemed to Laban that Jacob had done more than trick him out of his cattle, he had stolen the title of the family estate.

How do these Nuzi discoveries relate to trustworthiness of the Bible? During the latter part
of the nineteenth century a rather extreme liberalism dominated Biblical and theological studies. When this liberalism had finished its reconstruction of the Old Testament, the great German scholar Julius Willhausen and his disciples argued that there was very little reliable historical material in the Pentateuch. The patriarchal stories were considered legendary, and there was real doubt about whether Abraham had ever lived. Wellhausen called Abraham “a free creation of unconscious art.” Wellhausen wrote of the Genesis narratives, “From the patriarchal narratives it is impossible to obtain any historical information with regard to the patriarchs; we can only learn something about the time in which the stories about them were first told by the Israelite people.”

But today, as a result of the discoveries of Nuzi, we know that the patriarchal stories in
Genesis reflect the culture of that age in a very accurate way and that the skepticism of the
Willhausen school was unwarranted. As a result of many discoveries, Nelson Glueck, the late
archaeologist who was president of Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, has written of “the
Bible’s almost incredibly accurate historical memory”—a statement of confidence in striking
contrast with the skepticism of Willhausen and the old liberals.

THE HITTITE CITY OF HATTUSAS

The discovery of the long-lost Hittite city of Hattusas in Turkey is especially interesting to
students of the Bible, because the rediscovery of the Hittites provided specific confirmation of the Bible at a point where its accuracy had been questioned.

According to the Old Testament the Hittites were a prominent people and are mentioned
forty times in passages from Genesis to Nehemiah. When the Lord promised Abraham that his seed would inherit Canaan, he listed the Hittites among the nationalities in the land (Gen. 15:20). When Sarah died and Abraham sought a burial place for her, he bargained with Ephron the Hittite for the Cave of Machpelah (Gen. 23:1-16). And centuries later, David fell into sin with Bathsheba who is identified as “the wife of Uriah the Hittite” (2 Sam. 11:3). Despite these numerous Old Testament references, there were some nineteenth century scholars who were skeptical of the Bible’s accuracy. There was no reference to the Hittites in non-Biblical sources. The Greek and Roman historians did not even mention them. It was easy for popular critics of the Bible like Robert Ingersoll to ridicule the Bible and brush aside the Hittites as “just another legend.”

Late in the nineteenth century a British scholar, A. H. Sayce, published The Hittites: The
Story of a Forgotten Empire (1892). Sayce had found references in Egyptian hieroglyphic
inscriptions to a people called the “Hatti,” and he theorized that these “Hatti” were the same as the Biblical Hittites. Sayce’s theory proved to be correct when in 1906 Hugo Winckler, a
German archaeologist, discovered Hattusas, the capital of the Hittite empire, in central Turkey.  Later excavations unearthed a vast library of clay tablets some going back to around 1700 B.C. Sections of the city walls and gates of Hattusas have been unearthed. The gates were constructed with large stones tilted toward the top to form a vault. The gates were decorated with sculptures, which included Hittite warriors.

Since the discoveries at Hattusas, articles relating to the Hittites have been found in other
lands. Egyptian sculpture has been found that pictures Hittite soldiers who were taken prisoners in a great battle between the Egyptians and Hittites at Kadesh on the Orontes River in 1286 B.C. The Hattusas library included a treaty of peace, negotiated about 1270 B.C. between Pharaoh Rameses II and the Hittite king Hattusil. This is the oldest peace treaty between nations ever discovered. And an interesting piece of Hittite sculpture, picturing a dog attacking a lion is now on display in the Rockefeller Museum in Jerusalem. What makes this piece of art of special interest is where it was found—at Bethshan in Palestine. This discovery proves that the Hittites were in Palestine in the days of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, just as the Bible says.

BELSHAZZAR

Belshazzar, named in the book of Daniel as the last king of Babylon, was nowhere to be
found in Babylonian records: all known Babylonian records listed Nabonidus as the last king.
Then, archaeological records revealed the Nabonidus left Babylon for ten years and went to
Arabia. In his absence, his son Belshazzar ruled as king during the time of Daniel. In this way, archaeology explained the apparent discrepancy between the biblical record and the previous Babylonian record (Paul Little, Know Why You Believe, p. 95).

SANBALLAT

Clifford Wilson, a retired archaeologist at the University of Sydney in Australia, tells of
evidence of a man named Sanballat, found during the time of Alexander the Great. A man
named Sanballat is also found in the book of Nehemiah, before Alexander the Great’s time.
Critics often cited this as proof of historical error in the Bible. But then it was discovered that
there were three Sanballats, and that one of them lived during the time of Nehemiah. The Bible was right after all (“The Bible: Fable, Fraud or Fact,” Coral Ridge Video Ministry, Jan. 4,
1994).

BIBLICAL MANUSCRIPTS

It may be that the one area where archaeology has made its greatest contribution to Biblical
studies is in the recovery of Biblical manuscripts. In the early part of 1947 an Arab was tending his goats in an area about fifteen miles south of Jericho and to the northwest of the Dead Sea when he came, by chance, upon a cave in a ravine known as Qumram, which proved to contain a veritable library of ancient Hebrew and Aramaic writings of the most significant nature. These remarkable manuscripts were leather rolls enclosed in cloth wrappings and stored in earthen jars. In rapid order, after this unique find became known to the world, other discoveries were made and the Qumran caves have yielded hundreds of documents which have excited Biblical scholars throughout the world, and which have been subjected to the most minute scrutiny.

The library evidently belonged to a Jewish sect, which occupied the region near the Dead Sea
where the documents were found from slightly before 100 B.C. until about the fall of Jerusalem,

A.D. 70. It is conjectured that the members of the “Qumran community” were a strict, ascetic
sect known as Essenes. Much of the literature dealt with the sect itself—its worship, its
customs, and it’s teaching. But, there are other documents, or portions thereof, which are of
tremendous value and interest to us today. Among these are brief quotations from various Old Testament books, portions of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Deuteronomy and Judges are quoted and three are fragments of commentaries on Micah, Nahum and Zephaniah.
Perhaps the most important find in this area, however, was the discovery of a scroll
containing the text of Isaiah in Hebrew, and the first two chapters of the book of Habakkuk with a commentary thereon. The significance of this discovery to Christians will be at once apparent, when it is recalled that until this find, the oldest Old Testament manuscripts dated no further back than about the year 1,000 A.D. These scrolls enable us to know what the text was which our Lord and the apostles used! These texts are identical, in all important respects, to our Old Testament text today, thus establishing once more the fact that God preserves His word for all subsequent generations. Is it not reasonable to conclude that if God thus guaranteed the preservation of the text of the Old Testament, much of which was designed to bring the Jews to Christ (Gal. 3:23-29), He has surely done so with that precious portion of His word—the New Testament—which alone contains the way of life and salvation? If, as we are told, His word “is settled in heaven” forever, may we not believe that it is equally permanent in character and structure here on earth? (Psa. 119:89.) We may indeed rejoice with Peter when he said, “all flesh is as grass, and all the glory thereof as the flower of the grass, the grass withereth and the flower falleth: but the word of the Lord endureth forever” (I Pet. 1:24-25).

These are only a few examples of the literally hundreds of examples from archaeology that
show the historical accuracy of the Bible. The late William F. Albright said, in 1968, that the
“result of archaeology is favorable to the biblical record” (Archaeological Discovery and the
Scriptures,” Christianity Today, June 21, 1968, p. 3).

After many years of involvement in archaeological work, the Jewish archaeologist Nelson
Glueck stated that he has “spent many years in biblical archaeology, and, in company with his
colleagues has made discoveries confirming in outline or in detail historical statements in
Scripture” (Quoted in Revelation and the Bible, p. 397). Nelson Glueck also said, “It may be
stated categorically that no archaeological discovery has ever controverted (contradicted) a
biblical reference” (quoted in Josh McDowell, Evidence that Demands a Verdict 11:65)

Albright and Glueck, outstanding names in archaeology, could hardly be classified as
conservative or fundamental, and this makes their testimony even weightier.

WHAT DOES ALL THIS MEAN?

To be completely candid, we must assess what all this means. By itself, this does not mean
that the Bible is the word of God. It does mean that the Bible has never been proven wrong on any point of history or geography. However, the historical-geographical test must be passed if we are to conclude that the Bible is the word of God. Mistakes in the record would cause us to doubt the Bible as the word of God. Since there are no mistakes in it, it passes the historical geographical test and allows us, on that ground, to conclude that it could be the word of God.  Whether or not we decide it is the word of God is ultimately a matter of faith, but we would not be able to come to that conclusion if we found the Bible riddled with error.

INTERNAL EVIDENCES

Space does not permit us to discuss in detail all internal evidences for the inspiration of the
Bible. Internal proofs of the divine inspiration of the Bible include the following:

1. The Bible’s profound and rational Doctrines:

a) The Doctrine of God
b) The Doctrine of Man
c) The Doctrine of Salvation
d) The Doctrine of Immortality

2. The Purity of its Ethics

In the Bible, righteousness is everywhere commanded and commended; sin is
always condemned. Inner purity, not merely outward, ceremonial and
conventional morality, is always inculcated (Psa. 1:6; Psa. 51:10; Matt. 5:8).

3. The Unity and Consistency of its Teaching

Written by about forty different authors, in different countries, separated by about
1,500 years, yet the Bible throughout teaches the same great doctrines regarding
God, man, morality, salvation and immortality. The Old and New Testament are
organically connected, the former leading up historically and logically to the
latter. While there is, as there should be, progress in teaching and revelation,
there is vital agreement. “The Old Testament is patent in the New, and New is
latent in the Old,” as one writer put it. Another says: “While there is no collision
among the writers, neither is there any evidence of collusion.”

4. Its Historical Character

The Bible professes to recite history from the narrative of Genesis 1, to the last
chapter of the Acts and even throughout the New Testament. Never is its
religious teaching wrested from the stream of human history. Christianity is a
historical religion. It is not a flight of the imagination, nor a mosaic of myths,
legends, folk-lore and human tradition.

5. The Soberness of its Teaching

In the Bible even the most momentous events are narrated in a calm, simple,
dignified way that is inimitable and bears the marks of its own credibility. Note
the narratives of the creation, the flood, the crucifixion, the resurrection and
ascension of Christ. Observe the absence of fanaticism or of utopian and
visionary theories and guesses.

6. Its relevancy to Human Needs.

a) It satisfies man’s longing for God
b) It complements man’s conscious weakness
c) It gives positive assurance of truth
d) It affords comfort in trial
e) It promises the solution of all problems
f) It meets the desire to be right with God
g) It meets the desire for inner purity
h) It cancels the fear of death
i) It fits into man’s complex psychology

(Taken from, A System of Christian Evidences, p 77-95)

FULFILLED PROPHECY TESTIFIES TO THE IDENTITY OF THE BIBLE AS THE
WORD OF GOD

The Bible is the only book in the world that has specific prophecies clearly fulfilled hundreds
of years after they were given. Fulfilled prophecy is one of the strongest evidences that the Bible is the divinely inspired word of God. Homer Hailey stated our proposition in the form of a syllogism:

1. Man cannot know the future; only God can foretell history or events.
2. The Bible foretold the destiny of nations and the coming of Christ.
3. Therefore the Bible is the word of God, not of man.

(Note: Only the second, or minor premise must be proved. The first is accepted.
Internal Evidences of Christianity, p. 26)

Prophecy is not a guess, a forecast, a calculation, a mere conjecture, a vague generalization,
or an educated analysis of a forthcoming situation. With all of their scientific training the
weathermen still frequently fail to give the weather correctly. The National Weather Service
admits that about 60% accuracy is the best they can do.

Henry M. Morris examined 72 “prophecies” uttered by 10 prominent psychics in The
National Enquirer (Jan. 3) for 1978. Some were obscure, but most were quite explicit “and
dealt with people and events which would assure headline coverage if they eventually came to pass. Of these, it is remarkable that not one was fulfilled in 1978 as predicted!” (Christian
Heritage Courier, Feb. 1979 as quoted in Introduction to Christian Evidences by Ferrell
Jenkins p. 87.)

Biblical prophecy is not making a lot of predictions about the future and then having a few,
or even most, of them come to pass. In Biblical prophecy everything that was predicted has
come to pass. The criteria of true prophecy was set forth by H. W. Everest in his book The
Divine Demonstration p. 260 as follows:

1. The event must be beyond the power of man to foresee. It is not a vision of hope or
fear, nor the result of a mathematical calculation, nor the forecast of political or
scientific sagacity, and not a fortunate conjecture.                                                                       2. It must be demonstrated that the prediction was written before the event.
3. The prediction must be applicable to the event.
4. The language of the prediction must be unambiguous and unmistakable.
5. The prediction must have a clear and demonstrable fulfillment.

Bernard Ramm says: “One real case of fulfilled prophecy would establish a supernatural
act. But if our interpretations of the prophetic passages are correct, there are great numbers of them. One unequivocal miracle, one indubitable fulfilled prophecy would show the fallacy of naturalism, for the causal web of the universe would be ruptured at that point through which the supernatural is intruded. Therefore, radical doubt must be certain it has silenced the testimony of all prophecies, whereas the Christian asserts that rather than resting the case of one prophecy, we have dozens at our beck and call” (Protestant Christian Evidences, p. 86 and quoted in Ferrell Jenkins, Introduction to Christian Evidences).

While there are examples of fulfilled prophecies regarding the nation of Israel and the nations around Israel, we will only consider a few of the fulfilled prophecies of the Messiah, Jesus Christ.

Jesus fulfilled many Old Testament prophecies, some of them more obvious than others. For
our purposes, we will focus on some of the more obvious ones. So that you can see them most clearly, I state the Old Testament prophecy briefly, and then its fulfillment in the New
Testament. Please let the record speak for itself:

1. Prophecy: The Messiah would be born of a virgin. Isaiah 7:14 “Therefore the Lord
Himself will give you a sign: behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and
she will call His name Immanuel.” (NAS)
Fulfillment: Jesus was born of the virgin Mary. “She was found to be with child by
the Holy Spirit. And Joseph arose from his sleep, and did as the angel of the Lord
commanded him, and took {her} as his wife, and kept her a virgin until she gave
birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus.” (NAS) Matt. 1:18-25

2. Prophecy: The Messiah would be born into the family of King David. Jer 23:5
“Behold, {the} days are coming,” declares the LORD, “When I shall raise up for
David a righteous Branch; and He will reign as king and act wisely and do justice
and righteousness in the land.” (NAS)
Fulfillment: In the genealogy in the Gospel of Luke, Jesus is listed as being in the
lineage of David. “Jesus…..the son of David.” Luke 3:23-31

3. Prophecy: The Messiah would be born in the city of Bethlehem. Micah 5:2 “But as
for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, {too} little to be among the clans of Judah, from
you One will go forth for me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long
ago, from the days of eternity.” (NAS)
Fulfillment: Jesus was born in Bethlehem. Luke 2:11 “For today in the city of
David (Bethlehem) there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”
(NAS)

4. Prophecy: A friend would betray the Messiah. Ps 41:9 “Even my close friend, in
whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.” (NAS)
Fulfillment: Judas Iscariot, one of His twelve disciples, betrayed Jesus. Matt 10:4
“Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed Him.” (NAS)

5. Prophecy: The Messiah would be tortured and crucified. Isa 53:5 “But He was
pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the
chastening for our well-being {fell} upon Him, and by His scourging we are
healed.” (NAS)
Fulfillment: Jesus was beaten and then crucified. Matt 27:26 “Then he released
Barabbas for them; but after having Jesus scourged, he delivered Him to be
crucified.” (NAS)

6. Prophecy: Jesus would rise from the dead. Ps 16:10 “For Thou wilt not abandon
my soul to Sheol; neither wilt Thou allow Thy Holy One to undergo decay.” (NAS)
Fulfillment: Jesus rose from the dead. Matt 28:5-6 “And the angel answered and
said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus
who has been crucified. He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come,
see the place where He was lying.” (NAS)

We could continue with many more prophecies and fulfillments. I have selected only a few
of the major ones to give an idea of Jesus’ remarkable life as it fulfilled one after another of the prophecies that told of the Messiah, in some cases, thousands of years before He was born. Again, in Evidence that Demands a Verdict (p. 167), we see that the chance that any man might have lived down to the present time and fulfilled just eight of the major prophecies that Jesus fulfilled are 1 in 10 to the 17th power. That is, one in 100,000,000,000,000,000.

The above prophecies deal only with Jesus Christ. But, many more prophecies in the Bible
were fulfilled. These are not fortune-cookie prophecies like, “an attractive person will soon
come into your life,” or “things will soon begin looking up for you.” No, these are specific and
verifiable. The Bible makes it clear that fulfilled prophecy attests to the supernatural origin of the word of its prophets in Jer. 28:9: “The prophet who prophesies of peace, when the word of the prophet shall come to pass, then that prophet will be known as one whom the Lord has truly sent.” If a prophet ever spoke anything that did not come true, he was not a true prophet (Deut. 18:20-22). “But the prophet who shall speak a word presumptuously in My name which I have not commanded him to speak, or which he shall speak in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.’ 21 “And you may say in your heart, ‘How shall we know the word which the LORD has not spoken?’ 22 “When a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.” NAS

TO SUM IT UP

A relentless warfare has for centuries been waged against the Bible. After all the storms of
persecution that have been and are hurled against it by atheists, infidels, and higher critics, it lives. All the power that could be brought to bear to blot it from the earth has been tried, and yet it survives. It has stood the acid test of practical experience. It has never failed when fairly tried. We have seen it in the forum of public discussion, we have seen it at the bedside of the dying, we have seen it at the graves of the dead; yet we have never seen it weighed and found wanting.

“Yes, I’ll to my bosom press thee,
Precious Word, I’ll hide thee here,
Sure my heart will ever bless thee,
For thou sayest ‘Good cheer’.
Speak my heart and tell thy ponderings,
Tell how far thy rovings led,
When this Book brought back thy wonderings,
Speaking life as from the dead.
Yes, sweet Bible, I will hide thee,
Hide thee richly in this heart;
Thou through all my life will guide me,
And in death we will not part!
Part in death! No, never, never!
Through death’s vale I’ll lean on thee;
Then in worlds above forever
Sweeter still thy truths shall be.”
–Anonymous

Questions

1. How may we decide if the Bible is our Supreme Court?
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2. What are the three major conflicts over the inspiration of the Scriptures?
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3. What is a frequent expression used in the Scriptures to help us understand that the Bible is inspired?
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4. List two New Testament passages that help us to understand the Bible is inspired.
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5. What is a modernistic way of explaining the inspiration of the Bible?
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6. How did Jesus endorse the Old Testament in its entirety?
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7. What are some of the stories of the Old Testament Jesus endorsed and thereby teaches
that they are not myths?
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8. What does the word “inspiration” literally mean?
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9. Explain how the Bible is inspired in thoughts as well as words.
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10. Explain plenary and verbal inspiration.
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11. What do we mean when we speak of external and internal inspiration?
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12. Why is the Christian faith not blind faith?
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13. Discuss the Nuzi Tablets.
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14. Discuss the Hittite City of Hattusas.
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15. How did archaeological records help support the Bible regarding a king of Babylon?
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16. What was the name of the man who explained the matter of a man named Sanballat?
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17. What is the one area where archaeology has made its greatest contribution to Biblical
studies?
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18. Discuss the Dead Sea Scrolls.
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19. What does all this mean?
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20. What do we mean when we speak of the Bible’s rational and profound doctrines?
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21. Give some of the internal evidence of the Bible’s inspiration.
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22. Discuss fulfilled prophecy.
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23. Give some examples of fulfilled prophecy regarding Jesus.
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Lesson 5 – The BIBLE – How the Old Testament came to Be

Lesson 5

The Bible

“HOW THE OLD TESTAMENT CAME TO BE”

INTRODUCTION:
The Old Testament has been much neglected as far as our understanding of it is
concerned. However, the apostle Paul emphasizes the importance and profitability of the Old Testament in two passages:

“For everything that was written in the past was written to teach
us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures
we might have hope.” Rom 15:4

“These things happened to them as examples and were written down as
warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come.”
1 Cor 10:11

But we must ask the question, “How do we know that the books which are contained in
our Old Testament Canon are the same books which the Jews acknowledged as being from
God?” In other words, do we have the same Old Testament they had?

Before we answer that question I believe it will be helpful for us to briefly review the
history of the Israelites, since the Old Testament is essentially a record of God’s dealings with
them.

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT FOR ME TO UNDERSTAND
HOW THE OLD TESTAMENT CAME TO BE?

1. I need to know if we have the same books God gave to the Israelites or if other books
should be included with the thirty-nine books we have today.
2. It is important for me to know if these books were inspired of God and how they
relate to the New Testament.
3. I need to have respect for the Old Testament since it is supposed to be profitable for
me today.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE ISRAELITE PEOPLE

The Israelites (whose physical descendants are now called Jews) trace their origin to a
man named Abraham. God called Abraham’s family to leave their polytheistic homeland in
Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq) and follow the Lord. In return, the Lord promised to bless
Abraham, making him into a great nation (the Israelites). Through Abraham and his descendants the Lord also promised to bless the whole world through his seed (Genesis 12:1-3; 17:1-8).

Abraham obeyed God’s call to follow Him, as did his son Isaac and his grandson Jacob
(later renamed Israel). God established a covenant with Abraham and his descendants, making them His chosen people, and He instructed them to circumcise all Israelite males as a sign of this covenant. God also promised to give Abraham’s descendants the land of Canaan. Before this would happen, however, they would endure a time of slavery in Egypt.

The Israelites had originally entered Egypt as welcomed guests (Genesis 45) under the
protection of Pharaoh, but later they became enslaved by the Egyptians (Exodus 1). When the
time came for the Israelites to leave Egypt and claim their Promised Land, Canaan, God raised up a man named Moses, along with his brother, Aaron, to lead the way. At the Lord’s direction, Moses confronted Pharaoh and told him to let God’s people go. Pharaoh refused, bringing upon Egypt ten plagues from the Lord. After the tenth plague, which resulted in the death of all the firstborn males of Egypt (including Pharaoh’s own son), Pharaoh released the Israelites. This event, along with all that accompanied it (including the parting of the Red Sea) would later become the hallmark of the Lord’s relationship with the Israelites (Exodus chapters 1 through 14). This was a major battle between the Living God and the idols of Egypt resulting in tremendous respect for Jehovah. This is evidenced in the preamble to the Ten Commandments, which the Lord gave to the Israelites shortly after their release from Egypt: “I am the Lord your God, who rescued you from slavery in Egypt” (Exodus 20:2). The Ten Commandments, along with a long list of other requirements, were the code by which the Israelites were to live, and these were based upon the character of God Himself.

As the Israelites neared the Promised Land, Moses sent twelve spies to investigate the
new land (Numbers chapters 13 & 14). Ten of the spies returned with a fearful report, and the Israelites opted not to enter the land. The Lord was angry with His people for their lack of faith, so he caused them to wander in the wilderness for forty years before finally entering the Promised Land. Moses died just before the Israelites entered the Promised Land, and Joshua became their new leader (Deuteronomy 34 and Joshua 1).

Once the Israelites entered the Promised Land, they began the long process of conquering
the many peoples who already lived there. Some of the people were never completely eliminated and their pagan ways continued to exert influence among the Israelites throughout the nation’s history. The Old Testament writers credited such paganism as the primary reason for the Exile.

From the first few hundred years after the Israelites entered the Promised Land, they
functioned essentially as a confederation of twelve tribes rather than as a unified nation. Local rulers, called Judges, rose up from time to time to deliver the people from various oppressions and to lead them back to the Lord (the book of Judges). Under Saul, the first king, all the tribes came under the rule of a single king. Due to his sinful actions, Saul was not allowed to pass on the kingdom to his children, and David became the new king (I Samuel) The Lord established a covenant with David, promising to establish his family as the heirs to the throne. David was a very successful military leader and he vastly expanded Israel’s domain. He also moved the capital to Jerusalem. After David, Solomon reigned as king, and God blessed him with incredible wisdom. Great wealth and influence throughout the world (I Kings) marked his reign. His greatest achievement was the construction of a magnificent temple for the Lord, (I Kings 6).

After Solomon died, the nation split into two kingdoms because of Solomon’s son
Rehoboam (I Kings 12). The people were then known as the Northern Kingdom and the
Southern kingdom. David’s descendants continued to reign over the Southern kingdom. Great sin and idolatry throughout the remainder of their history marked these two kingdoms—especially the Northern Kingdom. Occasionally the Southern kingdom would experience revival and would return to the worship of the Lord, but the Northern Kingdom appears to have been much more corrupt. Their first king even formally instituted the worship of idols in the towns of Dan and Bethel (I Kings 12).

Eventually the sins of both kingdoms caught up with them (2 Kings 17). The Northern Kingdom was captured by the Assyrians in 722 BC, and the people were exiled. The Southern Kingdom held on until around 586 BC, when the Babylonians under Nebuchadnezzar captured them. The Babylonians exiled many people to Babylon, and the Temple was destroyed.

Several decades later, the Persians conquered the Babylonians and issued a decree that all
exiles could return to their native lands. So many Israelites (who were beginning to be called
Jews) returned to their homeland. Others, however, continued to live in Babylon. The Jews who returned soon rebuilt the Temple, and worship was restored. About sixty years later, a man named Ezra returned to Judah along with many other exiles, and he initiated a time of repentance and a renewed study of the Scriptures. Another man, Nehemiah, also returned and rebuilt the walls around Jerusalem (the books of Ezra and Nehemiah).

Beginning with Moses, God began to reveal the Old Testament Scriptures, and they
continued to be revealed during the rest of the period covered from Moses to the rebuilding of the temple after the captivity and return to Jerusalem. God could have given Moses the first five books of the Bible, and one of the prophets might have received the rest of the Old Testament. But we didn’t get the Old Testament that way. Many different men wrote the Bible over a long period of time (approximately 1500 years) in different countries and touching on many different subjects. Since the Old Testament did not come to us in a completed package as we now have it, how did we get it? How did we get what is called the “canon?” Therefore, the question is how was it determined what books were accepted as Scripture and included in the Old Testament?

THE TERM “CANON”

The term “canon” is borrowed from Greek, in which kanon means a rule—a standard for
measurement. This word in the Greek (kanon) occurs in 2 Cor. 10:13, 15; Gal. 6:16; Phil. 3:16
in the KJV and is defined by Thayer:

1. “A definitely bounded or fixed space within the limits of which
one’s power or influence is confined; the province assigned
one; one’s sphere of activity: 2 Cor. 10:13, 15.
2. “Any rule or standard, a principle of law of investigation, judging, living, acting…”

With respect to the Bible, it speaks of those books that met the standard and therefore
were worthy of inclusion. Since the fourth century, canon has been used by Christians to denote an authoritative list of the books belonging to the Old Testament or New Testament. What then makes a book canonical? There are five tests that will help us to determine or ascertain the canonicity of the Old Testament books:

1. Inspiration: Did God make the revelation or did the book spring from
human will?
2. Was it written or endorsed by a spokesman of God? Any writing that
was not written by God’s spokesman could not truly lay claim to being
inspired.
3. Can it be proved to be genuine? Is it possible for us to find out who
wrote it or, if not the author, can we determine that it contains the same
matter that it did when it was first written?
4. Is it an authentic book? Authenticity merely means the factualness of
a matter. If a book is authentic, that means that it presents the facts as
they were.
5. Does the testimony of those who lived in or close to the time of
writing favor the Canonicity of the book? Do those who lived when
the book was written, or at least in the same age that the book was
written, testify to its divinity? (Charles Pledge, Getting Acquainted
with the Old Testament Vol. 1; 1970; pp. 83 84)

THE FIRST EMERGENCE OF THE CANON

The doctrine of Biblical inspiration is fully developed only in the pages of the New
Testament. But far back in Israel’s history we already find certain writings being recognized as having divine authority, and serving as a written rule of faith and practice for God’s people. This is seen in the people’s response when Moses reads to them the book of the covenant (Exodus 24:7), or when the Book of the Law found by Hilkiah is read, first to the king and then to the congregation (2 Kings 22-23; 2 Chron. 34), or when the Book of the Law is read to the people by Ezra (Neh. 8:9, 14-17; 10:28-39; 13:1-3).

The Pentateuch (the first five books of the Old Testament) presents itself to us as
basically the work of Moses, one of the earliest and certainly the greatest of the Old Testament prophets (Num. 12:6-8; Deut. 34:10-12). God often spoke through Moses orally, as He did through later prophets too, but Moses’ activity as a writer was also frequently mentioned (Ex. 17:14; 24:4, 7; 34:27; Num. 33:2; Deut. 28:58, 61; 29:20-27; 30:10; 31:9-13, 19, 22, 24-26). There were other prophets in Moses’ lifetime and more were expected to follow (Ex. 15:20; Num. 12:6; Deut. 18:15-22; 34:10), as they did (Judg. 4:4; 6:8), though the great outburst of prophetic activity began with Samuel. The literary work of these prophets started, as far as we know, with Samuel (I Sam. 10:25; I Chron. 29:29). The earliest kind of writing in which they seem to have engaged extensively was history. Afterwards they became the basis of the books of Chronicles (I Chron. 29:29; 2 Chron. 9:29; 12:15; 13:22; 20:34; 26:22; 32:32; 33:18ff) and probably of Samuel and Kings too, which have so much material in common with Chronicles. Whether Joshua and Judges likewise were based on prophetic histories of this kind we do not know, but it is quite possible. That the prophets on occasion wrote oracles also is clear from Isaiah 30:8; Jer. 25:13; 29:1; 30:2; 36:1-32; 51:60-64; Ezek. 43:11; Habakkuk 2:2; Dan. 7:1; 2 Chron. 21:12.

The reason why Moses and the prophets wrote God’s message and did not content
themselves with delivering it orally was sometimes to send it to another place (Jer. 29:1; 36:1-8; 51:60ff; 2 Chron21:12), but quite as often to preserve it for the future as a memorial (Ex. 17:14) or a witness (Deut. 31:24-26), that it might be there for the time to come (Isa. 30:8). The unreliability of oral tradition was well known to the Old Testament writers. An object lesson here was the loss of the Book of the Law during the wicked reigns of Manasseh and Amon. When it was rediscovered by Hilkiah, its teaching came as a great shock, for it had been forgotten (2 Kings 22-23; 2 Chron 34). The permanent and abiding form of God’s message was therefore not its spoken but its written form, and this explains the rise of the Old Testament canon.

EVIDENCE FOR THE CANON OF THE OLD TESTAMENT
By the beginning of the Christian era the identity of all the canonical books was well
known and generally accepted. We will note two sources to establish this fact:

1. Jesus Christ and His apostles recognized the fact that the Old Testament Scriptures
were divided into three sections:

Luke 24:44-45 He said to them, “This is what I told you while I
was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written
about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”
(Psalms was part of the Hagiographa, the sacred writings,
see below)

The traditional number of the canonical books is twenty-four or twenty-two (with
Ruth being in that case appended to Judges, and Lamentations to Jeremiah, in
order to conform the count to the number of letters in the Hebrew alphabet):

The five books of the Law (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy)
The eight books of the Prophets (Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Isaiah, and the Twelve {the Minor Prophets}
The eleven books of the Hagiographa (sacred writings) Psalms, Job,
Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs (Solomon),
and Lamentations, and the historical books Daniel, Esther,
Ezra-Nehemiah, and Chronicles. Ruth is prefaced to Psalms,
as ending with the genealogy of the Psalmist David.

The traditional order has Chronicles as the last of the Hagiographa or Writings.
This position for Chronicles can be traced back to the first century AD, since it is
reflected in a saying of Christ’s in Matthew 23:35 and Luke 11:51, where the
phrase “from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah.” This probably means
all the martyred prophets from one end of the canon to the other, from Genesis
4:3-15 to 2 Chronicles 24:19-22.

2. The famous Jewish historian Josephus likewise recognized that the Old Testament
was divided into three parts. He also mentions that no Jew even dared to doubt the
authenticity of the books in the Old Testament Canon.

“For we have not an innumerable multitude of books among us, disagreeing
from and contradicting one another (as the Greeks have), but only twenty-two
books, which contain the records of all the past times; which are justly believed
to be divine; and of them, five belong to Moses, which contain his laws, and the
traditions of the origin of mankind till his death. This interval of time was little
short of three thousand years; but as to the time from the death of Moses till the
reign of Artaxerxes King of Persia, who reigned after Xerxes, the prophets, who
were after Moses, wrote down what was done in their times in thirteen books.
The remaining four books contain hymns to God, and precepts for the conduct
of human life. It is true, our history hath been written since Artaxerxes,
very particularly, but hath not been esteemed of the like authority with the
former by our forefathers, because there hath not been an exact succession
of prophets since that time; and how firmly we have given credit to those
books of our own nation is evident by what we do; for during so many
ages as have already passed, no one has been so bold as either to add
anything to them or take anything from them, or to make any change in
them; but it becomes natural to all Jews, immediately and from their
very birth, to esteem those books to contain divine doctrines, and to
persist in them, and, if occasion be, willingly to die for them…”
(William Whiston, A.M., The Works of Josephus)

Josephus said:

1. They were in harmony with one another. They did not contradict one another.
2. They contained records, which they believed, were of divine origin.
3. Five of the books were considered the Law of Moses.
4. The five books recorded the origin of the universe till Moses’ death.
5. This time period covered a little less than three thousand years.
6. The prophets were after Moses.
7. The remaining four were hymns to God
8. No one bold enough to add to or take away or change anything that was found
therein.
9. The Jews were taught from birth to esteem these books and to die for them if
the need ever arose.

OLD TESTAMENT MANUSCRIPTS

Not one of the original writings (called the “autographs”) of any book in the Old
Testament still exists today. Fortunately, Jewish scribes throughout the ages have made copies of God’s Word. There have been those who have worried about the accuracy of those who copied the Old Testament Scriptures. However, Jewish scribes took meticulous care in
producing copies of the Scripture because they regarded the text as being God-given and God inspired down to the very letter. Jesus had the same regard for the Old Testament text; on several occasions He affirmed the immutability of every word of the text (Matt. 5:17-18; Jno. 10:34-35). The Jews had 17 rules they followed in order to copy the Scriptures accurately:

1. A Synagogue roll must be written on the skins of clean animals.
2. Prepared for the particular use of the synagogue by a Jew.
3. These must be fastened together with strings taken from clean animals.
4. Every skin must contain a certain number of columns, equal throughout the
entire codex.
5. The length of each column must not extend less than 48 nor more than 60
lines and the breadth must consist of thirty letters.
6. The whole copy must be first-lined; and if three words should be written
without a line, it is worthless.
7. The ink should be black, neither red, green, nor any other color, and be
prepared according to a definite recipe.
8. An authentic copy must be the exemplar, from which the transcriber ought not
in the least deviate.
9. No word or letter, not even a yod, must be written from memory, the scribe
not having looked at the codex before him.
10. Between every consonant the space of a hair or thread must intervene;
11. Between every new parashah, or section, the breadth of nine consonants;
12. Between every book, three lines.
13. The fifth book of Moses must terminate exactly with a line; but the rest need
not do so.
14. Besides this, the copyist must sit in full Jewish dress.
15. Wash his whole body.
16. Not begin to write the name of God with a pen newly dipped in ink.
17. And should a King address him while writing that name he must take no
notice of him.

(Norman L. Geisler and William E. Nix, A General Introduction To The Bible,
pp.348-349)

It is evident that the Jews took great care in copying the Old Testament Scriptures. With
these 17 rules, the Scriptures could be copied in their completeness and with virtual “perfection.” It is known that scribes would count the number of letters on the new copy and compare it with the exemplar in an attempt to find even one letter difference between the two. If the copy were in error, it would be corrected or destroyed. This practice continued generation after generation, century after century. With the evidence that is available concerning the copying of the Old Testament Scriptures, we can feel confident that we have the same Old Testament the Jew had in Old Testament times and also the Jews of Jesus’ day. The Jews believed strongly that the Old Testament Scriptures were something to be revered, for we noticed above in the quote taken from the writings of Josephus that if the situation ever arose the Jewish people would, “….be, willing to die for them….”

We also find a statement by Robert Dick Wilson (1856-1930) to be very encouraging
when we consider the topic of Old Testament textual criticism. He was a well-studied man in the  Old Testament. In 15 years of studying the languages of the Old Testament plus 15 years of studying the text itself he makes this statement:

“The result of those thirty years study I have given to the text has been
this: I can affirm that there is not a page of the Old Testament
concerning which we need have any doubt. We can be absolutely certain
that substantially we have the text of the Old Testament that Christ and
the Apostles had, and which was in existence from the beginning.”
(David Otis Fuller, D.D., Which Bible? pp 44, 45).

The books we now have in our English Old Testaments are the same books or writings to
which the Jews had access. There are many today, though, who teach that when the books of the Bible were written, they became authoritative but not canonical. However, the Bible teaches us something entirely different because God intended these books to become canonical the moment they were written and not for them to wait for some Church Council to do it. These books were received as the Word of God the moment they were preached or written. There are also some that allege that the authors of these books used “other” sources in writing their books. If this were true then why did Peter say:

“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 Pet 1:20-21

This passage does not say that the Old Testament writers received their information from
“other” sources. This is what the skeptics would like for us to believe, but those writers received their information from the Holy Spirit of God. Paul said, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God” (2 Tim. 3:16), not by the opinions of men from “other” sources. Even the New Testament claimed this same type of inspiration.

“And we also thank God continually because, when you received the
word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the
word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work
in you who believe.” 1Thes 2:13

The New Testament plainly teaches that the apostles were guided into all the truth by
means of the Holy Spirit (Jno. 14:26; 15:26; 16:13). And this is also the same manner in which
the Holy Spirit guided the Old Testament writers, (2 Pet. 1:20-21). So, to teach that these writers of God’s Holy Word received their information from “other” sources is to invent a doctrine that the Bible does not teach.

OLD TESTAMENT BOOKS QUOTED OR REFERRED TO IN NEW TESTAMENT

Another thing one should consider is how many of the Old Testament books are referred
to or quoted so as to acknowledge their authenticity, historicity, and authoritative qualities,
which would of course point to their divine origin.
OLD TESTAMENT                               SUBJECT                                           NEW TESTAMENT
1. Gen 1:1,2                                        Creation                                           John 1:1-3
Gen. 1:26, 27                                      Creation of man                              Mk 10:6
2. Ex. 32                                              Golden Calf                                     Acts 7:40-42
3. Lev. 23:1-8                                      The Passover                                   Mat. 26:2; Mk 14:1;
Lk. 22:1; John 13:1, 2
4. Num. 20:7-11                                  Water from the Rock                      I Cor. 10:4
5. Deut. 4:12-24                                  Images of the God-                         Acts 17:29, 30; Rom.
Head Forbidden                             1:22, 23
6. Joshua 6:1-20                                  The Fall of Jericho                           Heb. 11:30
7. Judges 2:16                                     The Judges Raised Up                     Acts 11:30
8. Ruth 4:18-22                                   The Generations of                          Matt. 1:3-6; Lk.
Pharez                                              3:32, 33
9. I Sam. 13:14                                     David, A Man After                          Acts 13:22
God’s Own Heart
10. 2 Sam. 7:12                                    The Promise of a                             Acts 13:22, 23
Kingdom
11. I Kings 19:18                                  The Faithful Seven                          Rom. 11:4
Thousand
12. 2 Kings 5:1-14                                The Healing of Naaman                 Lk. 4:27
13. I Chron. 17:11-15                           God’s Promise to David                   Lk. 1:30-33
14. 2 Chron. 24:20, 21                          Murder of Zechariah                      Matt. 23:35
15. Ezra 2:1, 2                                       Babylonian Captivity                       Matt. 1:11-13
16. Neh. 9:1-25                                     Israel’s Wilderness                          Acts 7:35, 36
Wanderings
17. Ester 2:5, 6                                      Babylonian Captivity                       Matt. 1:11, 12;
(cf. Jer. 22:24-30)

Acts 7:43
18. Job 1:20-22                                      The Patience of Job                          I Tim. 6:7;
Jas. 5:10, 11
19. Psa. 8:4-6                                         The Son of Man                               Heb. 2:6-9
20. Prov. 3:11, 12                                   Father Disciplines                            Heb. 12:5, 6
His Children
21. Eccl. 12:13, 14                                  The Judgment                                   Rom. 2:16;
2 Cor. 5:10
22. Song of Sol. 4:7                                Purity of Christ’s Church                  Eph. 5:27; Rev. 21:27
23. Isa. 2:1-5                                           Establishment of the                       Acts 2: I Tim. 3:15
Lord’s Church
24. Jer. 31:31-34                                     God Promises a New                        Heb. 8:7-13
Covenant
25. Lam. 1:15                                          The Lord Destroys                            Matt. 23:34-39
Jerusalem Because of                      Rev. 14:16-20
Her Sin                                              Rev. 19:13-16
26. Ezek. 1:10                                         The Four Beasts or                            Rev. 4:7
Creatures
27. Dan. 2:44                                          Kingdom of God                                 Mk. 9:1
Established                                        Col. 1:13
60
28. Hosea 1:10; 23                                  God Calleth the Gentiles                   Rom. 9:25, 26
29. Joel 2:28-32                                       God Pours Out His Spirit                    Acts 2:16-21
30. Amos 5:25-27                                    Israel’s Idolatry                                   Acts 7:42, 43
31. Obadiah 21                                       The Lord Is Ruler of All                      Rev. 11:15; 14:1
32. Jonah 1:17                                         Jesus and Jonah                                 Matt. 12:39, 40
33. Micah 5:2                                          Jesus Born in Bethlehem                   Lk. 2:4
34. Nahum 1:15                                      Preaching the Gospel                         Rom. 10:15
of Peace                                               (cf. Isa. 52:7)
35. Hab. 2:18-20                                      Dumb Idols                                          I Cor. 12:2
36. Zeph. 3:13                                         The Remnant Shall Do                        Rev. 14:4, 5
No Iniquity
37. Haggai 2:6                                         God Shook Heaven                              Heb. 12:26
and Earth
38. Zech. 2:1-5                                         The Glory of Christ                             Rev. 21:15-17, 23
and His Church
(New Jerusalem)
39. Mal. 3:1                                              John the Baptist is Sent                      Mk. 1:2

We should be able to see by now that either direct quotations or references to each of the
Old Testament books may be found in the New Testament. God’s people accepted these books as canon and as being from God as soon as they were written. It has not been until recent centuries that the skeptics of this world have launched an all-out attack on the authenticity of these writings.

If these books of the Old Testament are not authentic documents then Jesus, the apostles,
and the rest of the New Testament writers not only believed a lie, but they lied to us. This would make null and void the whole Bible. If this is the case then there is no God, for the Bible says that God cannot lie (Num 23:19; Tit. 1:2; Heb. 6:18). And if this were the case then when our life is over we would pass away into peaceful non-existence. What a waste of life!

WHAT IF I DON’T BELIEVE THE OLD TESTAMENT?

If I don’t believe this information, I will have little confidence in or respect for the Bible.
I will consider the Bible only a work of humans, and I am not likely to use it to guide me in all of my life’s decisions. I will probably not understand the Bible well, because I probably will not study it diligently. I will not respect the church, since the church is founded on the Scriptures. My ability to fellowship with Christians who do believe this information will also be limited.

Questions

1. Why is the Old Testament important?
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2. Why is it important for me to understand how the Old Testament came to be?
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3. Who were the Israelites and how did they come into existence?
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4. After God brought Israel out of Egypt how did God govern them?
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5. List other ways God governed them?
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6. What happened to the kingdom of Israel after Solomon?
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7. With whom did God begin to reveal the Old Testament Scriptures?
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8. How long did God continue to reveal the Old Testament Scriptures?
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9. What does the term “canon” mean?
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10. With respect to the Bible, of what does it speak?
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11. What are the five tests which will help us to determine the canonicity of the O. T.?
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12. Why did Moses and the prophets write God’s message and not content themselves with delivering it orally?
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13. Discuss how Christ and His apostles recognized the fact that the O. T. Scriptures were
divided into three sections.
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14. Who was the famous Jewish historian who also recognized that the O. T. was divided
into three parts?
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15. Do we have any of the original manuscripts today?
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16. How careful were the Jewish scribes to make copies?
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17. What if I don’t believe the Old Testament Scriptures?
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Lesson 6 – The BIBLE – How Did the New Testament Come to Be?

                                                     Lesson 6

                                                     The Bible

 

“HOW DID THE NEW TESTAMENT COME TO BE?”

INTRODUCTION:

Why be interested in the proof of the validity of the New Testament canon? Simply put,
if the twenty-seven books of the New Testament are not canonical, the New Testament is not the rule of faith and practice by which all men, in this Christian age, must walk in order to be
pleasing to God; that is, in order to be saved now and eternally. If the New Testament is not
God’s inspired rule and standard, we have no such rule. If we have no inspired rule, and are
without a divinely given standard, we would not know how to walk. Chaos and anarchy would
be the order of the day. That means that any way we, as mere men, determine for ourselves
would, and could, only lead to death (Prov 14:12). There would be no law to govern life and no way of determining right or wrong. There would be no way of knowing whether our thoughts, words, and deeds were pleasing to God. There would be no way of knowing that we could know God or even how to know God. Therefore, there could be no salvation through revealed faith and there could be no faith and no hope.

One writer, J. W. McGarvey, affirmed the need to find proof that the Scriptures are
accurate and infallible. (Evidences of Christianity, 1886)

“The divine origin of the Christian religion depends for its proof on the evidence
that Jesus of Nazareth is ‘the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ As He is the author
of this religion, if it be proved that He is the Christ whose coming and work were
predicted by the prophets of the Old Testament, and that He is the Son of God
miraculously begotten, His religion is proved to be of divine origin, and to be
for this reason possessed of divine authority.

But should we succeed in establishing the fact that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of
God, and fail to show the authenticity of the writings on which we depend for a
knowledge of His religion, the fact established would be of no practical value,
seeing that we could not know how to secure to ourselves the blessings which the
religion might offer. For this reason it is necessary to the practical value of an inquiry
into the evidences of Christianity, that it furnish conclusive proof not only of the claims
of Jesus, but of the authenticity of the Christian Scriptures.

Moreover, an authentic account of the Christian religion which should fall short of
infallibility, would leave the mind a continual prey to doubt in regard to its exact
teaching and requirements. If we have in the Christian Scriptures nothing more than
an authentic account, such as wise and good but fallible men could give, we must be
content, and not pretend that we have more. But our inquiry will not reach the
result that is desirable unless we find proof that the Scriptures are infallible.”

Whereas the Old Testament was written over hundreds of years, the New Testament was
completed within the span of fifty years, during the second half of the first century A.D. In
various ways all of the books of the New Testament center upon one person—Jesus Christ.
Some of the books tell of Jesus’ life and ministry; these are called Gospels. Another, the book of Acts, tells of the birth and spread of the church, which is made up of those who believe in Jesus Christ and who meet together to worship and commemorate His death and resurrection. Still other books were written as letters, or epistles, to various people and churches. These epistles give instructions regarding matters of both doctrine and Christian living. The book of Revelation appropriately concludes the New Testament with a message about the victory of God over His enemies and gives hope to Christians.

In order to understand where the books of the New Testament came from, we must learn
about the important people and events that shaped these books.

I.

The Life and Ministry of Jesus Christ:

As we have already pointed out, all of the New Testament books center upon the person
and ministry of Jesus Christ. Jesus is the unique Son of God and the head of the church. His life and ministry made the old covenant, which is described in the Old Testament, obsolete and established the New Covenant with all believers, giving all people a way to come to God through faith in His Son.

The “beginnings” of Jesus actually go back before His birth to Mary. The apostle John
describes Jesus as “the Word,” who has existed from the very beginning of time (John 1:1).
John adds that Jesus was with God and that He was God. Yet John and the other New
Testament writers also describe Jesus as the Son of God (John 1:14).

Regarding His earthly life, He was born during the reign of Herod the Great, around 5
B.C. (The B.C./A.D. dating system was developed hundreds of years after Jesus’ birth, and it
was off a few years.) At this time the land of Israel had undergone many changes since the last book of the Old Testament (Malachi) was written. The Persians, who ruled over the Jews during Malachi’s time, were conquered by Alexander the Great, whose kingdom was quickly divided among four generals. Two of these generals were Seleucids, who ruled over modern-day Syria, and Ptolemy, who ruled over Egypt. The land of Israel, or “Palestine” as it came to be called was sandwiched between these two kingdoms, and as result it was the battleground for many disputes between the two kingdoms.

Eventually, Palestine came under the firm control of the Seleucids, who began to oppress
the Jews, forcing them to abandon their religious distinctions and conform to Greek customs.
This caused a great uprising, led by a family known as the Maccabees. In time, this family
allowed the Jews to gain independence once again. Eventually, however, the Romans took over Palestine, and they later placed the region under the rule of Herod the Great, an Idumean, not a Jew.

We should also note a couple of social developments that occurred during this period
between the two Testaments of the Bible. First, the Jews began to establish synagogues, local
places where they could gather to learn about and observe the Law of Moses and other books of the Old Testament. Second, there arose several politico-religious parties within Palestine. These included the Pharisees (who strictly adhered to the Law and the teachings of their rabbis), the Sadducees (mostly priests who denied many of the beliefs held by the Pharisees, such as the resurrection of the dead), the Essenes (who were even stricter than the Pharisees in their adherence to the Law), and various anti-Roman parties, such as the Zealots. All these groups would have touched our Lord’s life in some way or another as He lived and ministered in Palestine.

Jesus comes upon the scene near the end of Herod the Great’s reign. The Gospels tell us
that the Holy Spirit, who came upon a virgin named Mary, conceived Jesus. Jesus’ earthly,
adoptive father was a carpenter named Joseph, a descendant of King David. Jesus was born in Bethlehem and grew up in the small town of Nazareth in Galilee, a northern territory of
Palestine. Not much else is known of Jesus’ early life, except that He grew in wisdom and
possessed great knowledge of spiritual matters by the age of twelve (Lk 2:41-52).

When Jesus reached the age of thirty, He began His formal ministry period. His cousin,
John the Baptist, who had already established a widespread ministry of his own, initiated this with His baptism. Early in His ministry, Jesus began preaching essentially the same message that John the Baptist had preached: “The kingdom of God is near! Turn from your sins and believe this Good News!” (Mk 1:15).

For most of His early ministry, Jesus traveled throughout the region surrounding the Sea
of Galilee. In His hometown of Nazareth, Jesus made His mission clear: “The Spirit of the Lord
is upon me, for He has appointed me to preach Good News to the poor. He has sent me to
proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the downtrodden will be
freed from their oppressors, and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come” (Lk 4:18-19).
This statement, taken from the Old Testament (Isa 61:1-2), made it clear that Jesus was God’s
anointed (Greek christos)—that is, Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah written about by the Old Testament writers. Jesus then began His travels, healing the sick and casting out demons. He also began teaching about God and His Kingdom, often through the form of stories, or parables. These teachings often clashed with those of the Pharisees and other leaders of His day. Along the way Jesus selected twelve disciples as His special followers. These men lived and traveled with Jesus, listening to His teachings and witnessing His miracles. In time, they would be instrumental in the establishment of His church.

After three years of ministry, Jesus made a final trip to Jerusalem. Throughout His
ministry He had told His disciples that He would eventually suffer and die in Jerusalem at the hands of His enemies. This is exactly what happened. On the Sunday before Passover, Jesus entered Jerusalem triumphantly, with all the people bowing down before Him and shouting, “Bless the one who comes in the name of the Lord!” (Mk 11:9). Just a few days later, however, Jesus was arrested by the Temple guard, put on trial, and executed as a criminal by the Roman governor Pontius Pilate. All this, however, was in fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah’s ministry (Isa. 53:1-12).
But the story does not stop there. On the third day after His death, Jesus arose from the
dead! He first appeared to some women disciples and then later to all the disciples. For forty
days He remained on earth, proving to His disciples that He was truly alive and teaching them further about the Kingdom of God. Finally, Jesus was taken up into heaven, where He was seated at the right hand of God the Father.

II.

The Birth and Spread of the Church:

About a week after Jesus ascended to heaven, the disciples (who were now called
apostles, meaning “sent ones”) were gathered together in a room in Jerusalem. Suddenly,
everyone in the room was filled with the Holy Spirit, and all of them began speaking in different languages. This took place during the festival of Pentecost, when Jews from all over the world were visiting Jerusalem. After a while the apostle Peter stepped forward and began preaching about Jesus, declaring Him to be the Messiah, who was crucified and raised to life again. Thousands of people responded to His message and repented of their sins. They were baptized for the remission of their sins in the name of Jesus Christ and committed themselves to meet together to pray, listen to the apostles’ teaching, celebrate the Lord’s Supper and give of their financial means. The Lord’s Supper had been established by Jesus as a way for His followers to remember Him and His great sacrifice, resurrection and His coming again. It involved partaking of bread, representing the Lord’s body, and drinking of the fruit of the vine, representing the Lord’s shed blood. This coming of the Holy Spirit and gathering of believers marked the birth of the church/kingdom.

Soon after this, Peter and the apostles began taking the message of Jesus throughout the
world, despite many persecutions. One of their persecutors was a zealous Jew named Saul, who had been given special orders to hunt down and arrest Christians. One day as Saul was traveling to Damascus, the Lord Jesus appeared to him, and Saul became a new follower of Jesus. Over time, the church, which was initially leery of this new persecutor-turned-follower, came to trust that Saul’s conversion was genuine. Saul, who soon began using his Latin name, Paul, exclusively, became a great leader and teacher in the church, and he was considered one of the apostles as well. Throughout his lifetime he made three trips throughout Asia Minor and Greece, planting and strengthening churches along the way. Paul was a key figure in the establishment of the gospel among the Gentiles, or non-Jews. Many of the books of the New Testament are actually letters, or epistles, written by Paul to the churches.

Soon after Paul’s return from his third missionary journey he was attacked at the Temple
by a Jewish mob which was angry at him for his role in converting many—including Gentiles—to Jesus Christ. A Roman officer arrested Paul, and before Paul was about to be flogged, he appealed to his right as a Roman citizen to appear before Caesar. So he was eventually sent to Rome, where he lived under house arrest for a couple of years before being released. A few years later, Paul was arrested again, and it is believed that Nero martyred him in Rome.

The other apostles continued their preaching, traveling throughout the known world
spreading the Good News about Jesus. John lived in Ephesus until he was exiled to the island of Patmos, where he recorded the book of Revelation and then died. John’s death marked the end of the apostolic age, that is, the era when the church was under the direct leadership of living apostles.

III.

The Canon of the New Testament:

The New Testament was written within the period of half a century, several hundred
years after the completion of the Old Testament. There is a sense in which Jesus Christ
established the New Testament content or canon, by way of anticipation. It was He who
promised, “the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach
you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you” and “He will guide you
into all truth” (John 14:26; 16:13).

From this we can derive the basic principle of canonicity for the New Testament, since it
narrows down to a matter of divine inspiration. Whether we think of the prophets of Old
Testament times or the apostles and their God-given associates of the New, the recognition at the very time of their writing that they were authentic spokesmen for God is what determines the intrinsic canonicity of their writing. It is altogether God’s Word only if it is God-breathed. We can be assured that the books under question were received by the church of the apostolic age precisely when they had been certified by an apostle as being thus inspired.

After the various books of the New Testament were written and began to circulate among
the churches, Christians collected certain books into single volumes. In the first century, each of the four Gospels was treated as an individual book about Jesus’ life and ministry. By the end of the first century, many churches had collected Paul’s epistles into one volume. Beginning in the late second century, Christians began to collect the four Gospels into one volume. This collection became known as “The Gospel: According to Matthew, According to Mark, According to Luke, According to John.” Later, in the second and third centuries, other Christians began to combine Acts with the General Epistles into one volume.

By the second century, several of the books of the New Testament were considered to be
divinely inspired Scripture: the four Gospels, Acts, Paul’s epistles, 1 Peter, and 1 John. Other
books took longer to gain full recognition: Hebrews (because the author was unknown), James (because it was thought to have doctrinal differences with Paul’s theology on salvation), 2 Peter and Jude (over the question of authorship), 2 and 3 John (because they were not well known), and Revelation (because its message and authorship were debated). By the middle of the fourth century, however, most issues had been resolved, and these books were also accepted by the church as divinely inspired and worthy of inclusion in the New Testament canon.

Irenaeus (a disciple of Polycarp, who was himself a disciple of the apostle John) had
affirmed the canonicity of the fourfold Gospel in the second century. This fourfold Gospel
continued to be confirmed by later Christian scholars, such as Hippolytus, Novatian, Tertullian,  Cyprian, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, and Dionysius. These writers also affirmed the canonical status of most of the other books as 2 Peter, Jude, 2 and 3 John, and Revelation. In the beginning of the fourth century, the well-known church historian Eusebius sought to establish the New Testament canon as consisting of those books which we now regard as Scripture today. Athanasius of Alexandria established this twenty-seven-book canon once and for all in the fourth century. In his Festal Letter (A.D. 367), Athanasius listed the twenty-seven books of the New Testament and admonished his readers, “Let no one add to these; let nothing be taken away.” At the close of the century, the Council of Carthage (A.D. 397) decreed, “aside from the canonical Scriptures nothing is to be read in the church under the Name of Divine Scriptures.” The council also listed the twenty-seven books of the New Testament as we have them today.

One must remember that as a product of God, the New Testament books were canonical
as soon as they were written, though they may not have been “formally” recognized by men as such. Even before being written, and as soon as it was revealed, the rule of faith given by God was the standard of godly living (Jno 6:63; 14:26; 16:13). The steps were these: it was first spoken, then confirmed by miracles and finally, written (Heb. 2:2-4).

So, at first, in the New Testament age, God’s rule for faithful living was given orally,
then it was written (cf. Gal 1:9; 5:21; Phil 3:18; 2 Thess 3:10-12). In Phil 3:18, Paul spoke of
the rule (canon), and then spoke of some who were not walking by it when he said, “I have told you often.” That was before this epistle was written and would have been when he was at Philippi, and spoke to them in person regarding such people.

Just so, when Jesus walked upon the earth, spoke the words that He received from the
Father (Jno 14:10), and preached the “gospel of the kingdom” (Matt 4:23), were His words
authoritative (cf. Mk 1:22,27)? Certainly! That His words were written (and printed in red
letters in some Bibles) does not increase their authority. The truth is that by His words we shall be judged; thus, by His words, we must live (Jno 12:48; 2 Cor 5:10; Acts 17:31).

The New Testament canon was, finally, given in written form. This process was
completed over a period of about fifty years, culminating near the close of the first century.
When written, these books were inspired and authoritative; thus, at the moment of their being written they were canonical in the true sense of the word. They were recognized by the original recipients and believers of the first century as authoritative and genuine; that is, from God. So, the inspired books were circulated among the brethren, resulting in the collection of these books over a period of time. The general circulation of all twenty-seven books would not come about until printing was invented.

A common practice was for an epistle to be read, copied, and sent on to another church.
“And when this epistle is read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the
Laodiceans; and that ye likewise read the epistle from Laodicea” (Col. 4:16).

The time required for collection was lengthened because of travel and communication
difficulties, the diversity of places from which the books were written, and recipients to whom the books were addressed. Adding to this problem were the many false writings (counterfeit and apocryphal) alleged to be authentic, and other writings, which did not claim to be inspired, but that some regarded as such, were in circulation. The distinction had to be made as to which were canonical; the process was not accomplished immediately.

And though a section of the church may not yet have been satisfied of the
apostolicity of a certain book or of certain books; and though afterwards
doubts may have arisen in sections of the church as to the apostolicity of
certain books (as of Revelation): yet in no case was it more than a respectable
minority of the church which was slow in receiving, or which came
afterward to doubt, the credentials of any of the books that then as now
constituted the Canon of the New Testament accepted by the church at large.
(Benjamin B. Warfield, The Inspiration and Authority of the Bible, p 415).

The fact that the early church questioned some of these books indicates the seriousness
with which this question was considered.

The New Testament writers knew that what they wrote was from God. Paul pointed out
that he had received revelation from God, had recorded this revelation in written words, so that when the Ephesian brethren read those words, they could understand (Eph 3:3-4). Peter wrote that what Paul had written was Scripture (2 Pet 3:15-16). Paul said, what Luke wrote was Scripture (Lk 10:7; I Tim 5:18). John was told to write what he saw and “send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia” (Rev 1:11). A blessing would be upon “he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand” (Rev 1:3).

Geisler and Nix list three of the most important stimuli for an official collection of the
New Testament canon (From God to Us, pp. 101-103). They are:

(1) The ecclesiastical stimulus to know which books should be read in the churches and
translated into the languages of the converted peoples;
(2) The theological stimulus to define the limits of apostolic doctrine;
(3) The political stimulus through Diocletian’s edict of A.D. 303 to destroy all copies of
the Scriptures; and Constantine’s subsequent order to Eusebius to make and distribute
fifty copies of the Bible. As William R. Kimball wrote in his book, The Book of
Books p. 175, “under Diocletian’s persecution, there was an urgent need to clearly
establish which writings were worth dying for and safeguarding from confiscation.”
(4) The growth of the church and the cessation of miraculously given oral revelation (I
Cor. 13:8-13) also brought the need for each church to have a copy of the New
Testament Scriptures in order to function as a New Testament church.
(5) F. F. Bruce writing in his book, The Books and Parchments, pp. 95-96, affirms the
abbreviated and altered “canon” of the heretic Marcion forced church leaders to “state
the orthodox position regarding the canon more clearly.
(6) In addition to point (1), the “proliferation of counterfeit writings” and “the rise of
heretic sects…promoted sound, apostolic doctrine be officially established to offset
their corruptive teachings.
(7) There was the necessity of preserving the inspired writings themselves from
corruption.

IV.

INTERNAL EVIDENCES OF CANONICITY

It is neither wrong nor a lack of faith to want evidence as to the canonicity of a book.
There were dozens of false “Gospels,” “Acts,” and “Epistles” in circulation in the first few
centuries following the completion of the written revelation. As well, there were many “Postapostolic” writings, which did not claim inspiration, but which were esteemed highly by
members of the early church. The facts are that the so-called “evidences,” purported by those who deny the inspiration of the Bible, and consequently its canonicity, are refutable. On the other hand, the “evidences” of canonicity are “definite, abundant, and accurate—in fact overwhelming” as Turner writes in his book, The Canon of the New Testament, p. 8.

Geisler and Nix (General Introduction, pp. 94-97) give “Specific Claims That New
Testament Books Are Spirit-Breathed,” showing each book has, within it, claims of inspiration.
They are noted as follows:

(1) Matthew begins with Christ as the fulfillment of the Old Testament Messianic
prophecies (1:1ff) and concludes with His command to teach His Truth to all nations
(28:18-20).
(2) Mark, likewise, begins with “the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; As it is
written in the prophets” (1:1-2). He records Christ’s promise of the Spirit to guide
them (13:11).
(3) Luke wrote by inspiration as an authentic narrative (1:1-3), in order that Theophilous
might “know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed”
(1:4).
(4) John writes, “That ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God”
(20:31). He adds: “This is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote
these things: and we know that his testimony is true” (21:24).
(5) Acts claims to be the inspired record of what “Jesus began both to do and teach”
(1:1).
(6) Romans claims to be from the apostle Paul (1;1), who was taught by the Holy Spirit
(9:1), and which doctrine they had learned (16:17).
(7) I Corinthians also claims to be from Paul (1:1), “in the words which the Holy Spirit
teacheth” (2:13), as commanded from the Lord (14:37).
(8) 2 Corinthians is from the apostle Paul (1:1), who claimed authority given by the Lord
(10:8, as a true apostle (12:12).
(9) Galatians, written by “Paul, an apostle (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus
Christ, and God the Father, who raised Him from the dead)” (1:1), recorded the
revelation that Paul did not receive from man but “by the revelation of Jesus Christ”
(1:12). No other gospel was to be received or preached, lest the preacher be accursed
(1:8-9).
(10) Ephesians also claims to be written by an apostle (1:1). Paul received by revelation
and wrote the words he received in order that the Ephesians could read and
understand (3:3-4).
(11) Philippians comes through an apostle from “God our Father, and from the Lord
Jesus Christ” (1:1-2). It enjoins, “Those things which ye have been learned, and
received and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you”
(4:9).
(12) Colossians, from the apostle Paul, with greetings from “God our Father, and the
Lord Jesus Christ” (1:1-2), authoritatively answered the heresy which confronted
the Colossians (2:4-8), and included the command that it was to be read in the
church of the Laodiceans (4:16).
(13) I Thessalonians, again from Paul, claims to be the “word of the Lord” (4:15), and
gives the command, “I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read unto all the
holy brethren” (5:27).
(14) 2 Thessalonians, also from the apostle Paul, warns about a false letter “as from us,”
that is, purporting to be from Paul (2:2), and declares its authority by saying: “And
if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company
with him, that he may be ashamed” (3:14).
(15) I Timothy is from “Paul an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our
Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ” (1:1). It claims authority in 4:11, “These things
command and teach.”
(16) 2 Timothy adds, “Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me,
in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus” (1:13), and gives the charge, in the
presence of God and the Lord Jesus Christ, “Preach the word” (4:1-2).
(17) Titus, another epistle from the apostle Paul, commands, “These things speak, and
exhort, and rebuke with all authority” (2:15). Paul adds, “this is a faithful saying,
and these things I will that thou affirm constantly” (3:8).
(18) Philemon claims apostolic authority (from Paul), and greetings from “God our
Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (1-3). It also “asserts apostolic authority” (8).
(19) Hebrews begins with a claim to be from God through Christ (1:1-3), and concludes
with a call to accept this letter of exhortation (13:22).
(20) James introduces himself as a “servant of God” (1:1), and gives divine instruction
concerning practical Christian living; that is, concerning doctrine (ch. 2) and
practice (ch. 3).
(21) I Peter is from “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ” (1;1), in which, as he penned, “I
have written briefly, exhorting, and testifying that this is the grace of God
wherein ye stand” (5:12).
(22) 2 Peter, also written by Peter (1:1), calls them to remember the “commandment of
us the apostles of the Lord and Savior” (3:2), for it is the “more sure word of
prophecy” (1:19).
(23) I John, written by one who was an eye and ear witness (1:1), proclaims Christ that
their “joy may be full” (1:4), and that they might have eternal life (5:12).
(24) 2 John writes a commandment (4-5), warns against deceivers (7), and declares the
necessity of abiding in the doctrine of Christ (9-11).
(25)3 John was written by one with apostolic authority (9-10), who has the “truth itself”
(12).
(26) Jude writes of the “common salvation” and the “faith which was once delivered
unto the saints” (3).
(27) Revelation begins with “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto
him” (1:1), through John, one of the prophets (22:9). It concludes with the warning
of the severe consequences for one who would add to or take from that which was
written in the “book of this prophecy” (22:18-19).

Therefore, when consideration is given to each book of the New Testament, each claims,
whether directly or indirectly, to be of divine origin and to possess divinely given authority, that in “all of its parts and as a whole the New Testament claims to be the inspired Word of God.”

V.

EXTERNAL EVIDENCES OF CANONICITY

Though the canonicity of the New Testament books was acknowledged in the first
century, the Synod of Hippo (A.D. 393) was first to list the twenty-seven books of the New
Testament. “It did not confer upon them any authority which they did not already possess, but simply recorded their previously established canonicity” (F. F. Bruce, The Books and
Parchments, p. 113). “In A.D. 397, the Council of Carthage demonstrated a universal
recognition by listing all the books of the New Testament, as they are today, acknowledging them as genuine” (Sidney Collett, All About the Bible, p. 57). Councils did from time to time
pronounce their approval on certain lists…simply giving official approval to what had already come to be accepted by the church under the guidance of the Spirit of God. The Council of Carthage’s list was in exact agreement with that of Athanasius and Jerome. They adopted the following rule: “It was also determined, that beside the canonical Scriptures nothing be read in the churches under the title of divine Scriptures.” (J. W. McGarvey, Evidences of Christianity, p. 60). The present order (canon) of books in our New Testament is not the chronological order in which the books were written. The Council gave the New Testament books in the following order, which is the same order in which we have them today, saying: “We have received from our fathers that these are to be read in the churches.”

“Four books of the Gospels, one book of Acts of Apostles, thirteen Epistles of the
Apostle Paul, one of the same to the Hebrews, two Epistles of the Apostle Peter, three
of John, one of James, one of Jude, one book of the Apocalypse of John.”
(J. W. McGarvey, Evidences of Christianity, pp. 60, 61)

Earlier, Athanasius who was “Bishop” of Alexandria from A.D. 326 to 373, listed the
true books of the Bible, including the New Testament as we have it today, in order to prevent the weak from being deceived by apocryphal books. “He declares that these books have been
‘delivered to the fathers’ by those who were ‘eye witnesses and ministers to the world,’ and that he had learned this from the beginning.” (Ibid. p. 61)

Cyril (A.D. 315-386), “Bishop” of Jerusalem, composed a list of the books which were
inspired Scriptures, and included in it all the books of the New Testament with the exception of Revelation. The Sinaitic Manuscript believed to have been copied at the request of Constantine (A.D. 311) contains the twenty-seven books of the New Testament and two others placed at the end “to indicate that they were doubtful books or that they held an inferior or secondary position.” Eusebius (A.D. 270-340), who has been called “The Father of Ecclesiastical History,” listed all twenty-seven books. He says of Hebrews, James, Jude, 2 Peter, 2 and 3 John and Revelation that though questioned, “they are nevertheless constantly recognized by most of our ecclesiastical authorities.” Origen (A.D. 185-254), noted as “a competent and unimpeachable witness,” whose knowledge of the composition of the New Testament reached back into the early second century, in a sermon on the book of Joshua, listed all the books of the New Testament as they are today. He notes that some held in doubt 2 Peter and 2 and 3 John, but “he expresses no such doubt as existing in his own mind.”

Clement of Alexandria (A.D. 165-220), who lived within sixty-five years of the apostle
John, gave explanations of all the New Testament books in his work “Hypotuposes” (Outlines).
He did not omit the books which some styled “disputed.” Tertullian (A.D. 160-240), wrote
about all the New Testament canon except 2 Peter, James, and 2 and 3 John. Irenaeus, who was taught by Polycarp, a disciple trained by John, became “Bishop” of Lyons in A.D. 180. His
writings show his acquaintance with and acceptance of all the books of the New Testament, with the exception of Philemon, Hebrews, James, 2 Peter, and 2 and 3 John. The Muratorian Canon, composed no later that A.D. 170, lists all the books except 1 and 2 Peter, 1 John, James, and Hebrews. As these important Epistles are absent, while II and III John, and Philemon, far less important, are present, it is more probable that the former have been lost from it than that they were originally omitted.

These lists, given by men, some of whom had direct connections to the time of the last
living apostle show the books of the New Testament were known and recognized as authoritative from the first century. Therefore, as McGarvey concluded, “the evidence from catalogues alone is credible proof that all of the New Testament books originated in the days of the Apostles.” By the end of the third century, the “church fathers” had declared all twenty-seven books as authoritative, and nearly every verse of the New Testament was cited in one or more of the over thirty-six thousand citations by the “fathers.” In addition, there are more than eighty manuscripts, about two hundred fifty uncial manuscripts, more than two thousand cursive manuscripts, and almost three thousand lectionaries that attest to the accuracy of copies or portions of the New Testament canon. “A grand total of over 24,000 manuscript copies or portions of the New Testament are in existence today.” (William R. Kimball, The Book of Books, p. 185)

VI.

MAN CAN TRUST THE NEW TESTAMENT

The twenty-seven books of the New Testament (Matthew through Revelation) are the
authoritative rule from God for man. They comprise the New Testament canon of sacred
Scripture. Other books have been set forth by some as “canonical,” but their exclusion from the canon has been because they have, by their own composition and content, shown themselves to be the works of men. Comparing them with the inspired books quickly and adequately convinces the thoughtful reader of their lack of divine inspiration; therefore, their lack of canonicity.

If we can trust Christ, we can trust the New Testament of Christ. As Geisler and Nix
pointed out in their General Introduction, p. 88,

“In a real sense, Christ is the key to the inspiration and canonization of the Scriptures.
It was He who confirmed the inspiration of the Hebrew canon of the Old Testament; and
it was He who promised that the Holy Spirit would direct the apostles into “all truth,”
the fulfillment resulting in the New Testament.”

God’s Word is complete, full, finished, and final. He determined it would be so, and He
has declared it to be so (2 Tim 3:16-17; 2 Pet 1:3; Jude 3). Its preservation to the present day is not accidental, but is according to His plan and providence. Therefore, He can call upon man to keep His Word, for it is just that, His Word. Though translated from the original language, “The integrity of a book is preserved when it has been transmitted without material change; that is, change which affects its meaning” (McGarvey, p. 7). Therefore, an accurate translation is a reliable translation in which man can trust.

“Two and a half centuries of careful work have established a New Testament
text as near as possible to the original. In a few instances there is still some
doubt about the precise form of the text, but these are of minor importance and
none affects the essential teaching of the New Testament.” (David Alexander
and Pat Alexander, eds. Eerdman’s Handbook to the Bible, p. 73)

“The art and science of textual criticism has helped determine the New Testament’s
reliability beyond any reasonable shadow of doubt. The massive abundance of
manuscript copies in possession have aided textual scholars in establishing the
the exacting accuracy of manuscript translation and transmission, as well as the
divine authorship, accuracy, and preservation of the New Testament over the last
1,900 years.” (Kimball, p. 185)

“Inspiration of the Bible resides not merely in the original Hebrew and Greek words,
but in the truth itself. Any correct translation is inspired. To the extent that it
is correctly translated it is the inspired word of God. Jesus and the Apostles quoted
from the Septuagint—a human translation of the Old Testament—and called it the
word of God. If Christ and His apostles could hold up a human translation of the Old
Testament and call it the word of God there is not any good reason why we should
not hold up any correct translation of the Bible and call it the Word of God. Away
With this infidel notion that we do not have an inspired Bible today.” (Foy E. Wallace, Jr.,
A Review of the New Versions, xiv)

Man can argue against God’s canon, disputing its authority, blaspheming its Author, and
denying its authenticity—but it will remain. The “New Hermeneutics” folks can rail on about
culture changing Scripture, but the New Testament canon does not change. It still is, and shall be as long as this world continues, the same rule by which we are to walk (Phil 3:16). Jesus said, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away” (Matt 24:35). “But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you” (I Pet 1:25). Man must receive it as the Word of Truth (Jno 17:17), which is “able to save your souls” (James 1:21).

CONCLUSION

“In conclusion, it is necessary to emphasize that no church through its councils made the
canon of Scripture. No church—in particular the Roman Catholic Church—by its decrees gave or pronounced upon the books of the Bible their infallibility. The Bible owes its authority to no individual or group. The church does not control the canon, but the canon controls the church. Although divine authority was attributed to the New Testament books by the later church, this authority was not derived from the church but was inherit in the books themselves.” (Neil R. Lightfoot, How We Got The Bible, p. 87)

Questions

1. Why should we be interested in the proof of the validity of the New Testament canon?
________________________________________________________________________
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2. Contrast the difference in the length of time it took to write the Old Testament and the
New Testament.
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3. All of the New Testament books center upon one person. Who is this?
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4. Discuss a little about the time in which Jesus was born.
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5. Tell a little about the earthly ministry of Jesus.
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6. Discuss the birth and spread of the Church.
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7. How did Jesus establish the New Testament content or canon, by way of anticipation?
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8. Who was Irenaeus and how did he enter the picture of the canon?
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9. Discuss some internal evidences of canonicity.
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10. Discuss some external evidences of canonicity.
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11. Why can we trust the New Testament?
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Lesson 7 – The BIBLE – Are The Apocryphal Books to Be Received as Inspired?

                                                       Lesson 7

                                                      The Bible

 

“ARE THE APOCRYPHAL BOOKS TO BE RECEIVED AS INSPIRED?”

INTRODUCTION:

The canon of the Holy Scriptures is settled, but the question of the canon has been
decided differently in the general parts of Christendom. Catholicism and Protestantism are
united in their acceptance of the twenty-seven books of the New Testament, but concerning the books of the Old Testament there is disagreement. When you look at a copy of the Catholic Bible, like the Douay translation, you will see that there are several additional books included in the Old Testament section that are not found in other translations. These extra books are generally known as the apocrypha. The word apocrypha is a Greek neuter plural from the word apokruphon, and it means things that ought to be kept secret and hidden away. However, for the Roman Catholic Church these books are an integral part of the Bible and are regarded as sacred and profitable.

Many who are acquainted only with modern Protestant Bibles do not realize that there is
or ever has been a legitimate questions such as, “Which books belong in the Bible?” However,
those better acquainted with the history of the Bible know that this has been a vital and hotly debated topic. A proper study of this problem really demands a careful study of each book that lays claim to being in the Bible and determines the solution on the merits of each book. But, that is beyond the possibility of this study. Therefore, this lesson will only call attention to the major points and present an overall view in dealing with the question, “Which books belong in the Bible?”

I.

APOCRYPHAL BOOKS OF THE OLD TESTAMENT

The Old Testament Apocrypha include either fourteen or fifteen books, depending on the
method of counting, which were written in the period of 200 B.C. to 100 A.D. Thomas Nelson
and Sons have put out the most convenient and readable edition of the apocrypha in a special edition of the Revised Standard Version (1957). The titles and order of books in this edition are as follows:

1. The First Book of Esdras (also known as Third Esdras)
2. The Second Book of Esdras (also known as Fourth Esdras)
3. Tobit
4. Judith
5. The Additions to the Book of Esther
6. The Wisdom of Solomon
7. Ecclesiasticus, or the Wisdom of Jesus the Son of Sirach
8. Baruch
9. The Letter of Jeremiah (This letter is sometimes incorporated as the last chapter of
Baruch. When this is done the number of books is fourteen instead of fifteen.)
10. The Prayer of Azariah and the Song of the Three Young Men
11. Susanna
12. Bel and the Dragon
13. The Prayer of Manasseh
14. The First Book of Maccabees
15. The Second Book of Maccabees

Three of these fifteen books (I and II Esdras and the Prayer of Manasseh) are not
considered canonical by the Roman Catholic Church. In Catholic Bibles the remaining twelve
are interspersed among and attached to the undisputed thirty-nine books of the Old Testament: Tobit, Judith, Wisdom of Solomon, Ecclesiasticus, Baruch with the letter of Jeremiah, and I and II Maccabeees which are arranged separately; the Additions to Esther are joined to Esther; and appended to the book of Daniel are the Prayer of Azariah and the Song of the Three Young Men (added after Dan. 3:23), and Susanna, and Bel and the Dragon. (I and II Esdras of the Catholic Bible are not the same as the I and II Esdras in the above list, but are different designations for our books Ezra and Nehemiah.) Since several of the apocryphal writings are combined with canonical books, the Catholic Bible numbers altogether forty-six books in the Old Testament. Non-Catholic editions of the English Bible since 1535, including early editions of the familiar King James Version, separate these apocryphal books from the canonical Old Testament.

II.

THE CHARACTER OF THESE WRITINGS

1. HISTORICAL. I Esdras is an ill-arranged collection of much of the material found
in the canonical Ezra (Esdras is a Greek form for Ezra), and includes worthless and
legendary accounts that are not supported by the books of Ezra, Nehemiah and II
Chronicles. It is also known as the “Greek Ezra” in contrast to the “Hebrew Ezra”
(the Canonical Ezra). I Maccabees is an important source of information on Jewish
history during the second century B.C. The book derives its name from Maccabeus,
the surname of the Judas who led the Jews in revolt against Syrian oppression. It was
written probably during the early part of the first century B.C. II Maccabees concerns

2. LEGENDARY. The Book of Tobit was written about 200 B.C. It tells the story of a
religious Israelite named Tobit who was carried as a captive to Nineveh by the
Assyrians. Its purpose is to encourage the keeping of the Law, yet the fictitious
character of its tales detracts from its usefulness. The book of Judith is likewise to be
classified as fiction. Judith is the name of a Jewish widow who successfully charms
and kills the leader of an enemy army, thus delivering her city and people from
impending destruction. This story of heroism was most likely composed during the
time of the Maccabean revolt in order to incite courage and patriotism against the
Syrian foe.

The Additions to Esther are expansions of the canonical Esther, which were probably
handed down through the centuries by oral traditions. The Additions to Daniel
contain folk-tales and legends that could not have originated much earlier than 100
B.C. and form no part of the genuine text of Daniel.

3. PROPHETIC. Baruch purports to come from the hand of Jeremiah’s friend of that
name. The contents of the book not only make this claim impossible, but also help to
fix the real date of composition at some point after 70 A.D. The letter of Jeremiah,
which for no good reason is often appended to Baruch, is a brief notation on the
vanities of idolatry. The Prayer of Manasseh, written perhaps in the second century
B.C., is a prayer put in the mouth of King Manasseh after he was taken captive to
Babylon. II Esdras is a collection of materials written at different times (from c. 100
B.C. to c. 200 A.D.). It is of such inferior quality that it is unquestionably noncanonical.

4. ETHICAL. Ecclesiasticus, or the Wisdom of Jesus the Son of Sirach, is one of the
chief works of the Apocrypha. A Palestinian Jew wrote it about 200 B.C. in a style
similar to the wise sayings of the Book of Proverbs. The Wisdom of Solomon is a
book of ancient Jewish philosophy. It is evidently to be traced back to the city of
Alexandria and to the first century A.D.

III.

WHY THESE BOOKS HAVE BEEN REJECTED

A brief survey of these books has indicated something of what they are like. Some of the
books of the Apocrypha, such as I Maccabees and Ecclesiasticus, are worthwhile. The question, however, concerns not their usefulness but their place in relation to the authoritative Scriptures. Should they be received as “Scripture” or rejected? And if they are to be rejected, on what grounds? Are there really good reasons why they should not be accepted as divinely authoritative?

There are many valid reasons why the Apocrypha cannot bear acceptance as “Holy
Scripture.”

1. These books were never included in the Hebrew canon of the Old Testament.
Josephus expressly limited the Hebrew canon to twenty-two books, which are the
exact equivalent of the thirty-nine books of our Old Testament. Josephus knew of
other Jewish writings down to his time, but he did not regard them as having equal
authority with the canonical works. (Josephus, Against Apion I. 8.) So the
Apocrypha were never received by the Jews as God-given Scripture. This takes on its
full significance when it is remembered that the Old Testament is a Jewish collection
of Jewish history and law – and there is no evidence that these books were ever
accepted by any Jewish community, either in or outside of the land of Palestine.

2. Jesus and His apostles, as far as the evidence goes, never accepted these books, as
canonical. We have already learned that the Old Testament that Jesus knew is our
Old Testament today. Jesus’ Old Testament was the Hebrew Old Testament, and the
Hebrew Old Testament has never included these apocryphal writings. The apostles
in their preaching mention many Old Testament events, but they never refer to any
incidents or characters of the Apocrypha. The New Testament writers quote from
practically all of the Old Testament books, but nowhere quote from the Apocrypha as
“Scripture.” The canon of the Old Testament accepted by Jesus and His apostles
should be sufficient for the Christian today.

3. These books were not accepted as Scripture by such Jewish writers of the first century
as Philo and Josephus; the Jewish council at Jamnia (ca. 90 A.D.); and by such
eminent Christian writers as Origen and Jerome. About 400 A.D. the great Christian
scholar Jerome, whose translation of the Latin Vulgate remains the basis of the
Roman Catholic Bible, strongly maintained that these books were “apocryphal” and
were not to be included in the canon of Scripture.

4. These books do not give evidence of intrinsic qualities of inspiration. Great portions
of these books are obviously legendary and fictitious. Often they contain historical,
chronological and geographical errors. In Judith, for example, Holofernes is
described as being the general of “Nebuchadnezzar who ruled over the Assyrians in
the great city of Nineveh” (1:1). Actually Holofernes was a Persian general, and, of
course, Nebuchadnezzar was king of the Babylonians in Babylon. Some of these
books contradict themselves and contradict the canonical Scriptures. It is said in
Baruch that God hears the prayers of the dead (3:4).

5. These books have been shrouded with continual uncertainty. Since they were not
regarded as authoritative by the Jews, they had to gain their recognition elsewhere.
This recognition came form some segments of the Greek-speaking church, with the
result that eventually these books became incorporated into the Greek and Latin
Bibles. But there is no evidence that the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Old
Testament) ever had a fixed or closed canon of books. No two early Greek
manuscripts agree as to which books are to be included in the Septuagint, and not all
of those included in the Septuagint are accepted even by the Roman Catholic Church.
The Septuagint itself is a witness against one book of the Apocrypha (II Esdras) since
it is found in no manuscript of the Septuagint.

6. These books cannot be maintained on a compromise basis. The Church of England
gives to the Apocrypha a semi-canonical status: they may be read in public worship
“for example of life and instruction of manners” but not in order “to establish any
doctrine.” This position assumes that the Apocrypha at times may add to or conflict
with the established teachings of the canonical Scriptures. If this is true, then the
Apocrypha should not be read in public worship, for what is read regularly in public
worship tends to be authoritative for the congregation. To allow the Apocrypha to be
read in public worship is a strange way to show their inferior rank.

7. Objections to these books cannot be overturned by dictatorial authority. On April 8,
1546, in the Fourth Session of the Council of Trent, the Roman Catholic Church
pronounced the Old Testament Apocrypha (except I and II Esdras and the Prayer of
Manasseh) as authoritative and canonical Scripture. This was done even though in
different periods of its own history officials of the Roman Church had been outspoken
against the Apocrypha as Scripture. But this action was not unnatural for a
religious body whose whole structure is framed according to traditions and whose
faith is derived equally as much from the “fathers” and “popes” as from Scriptures. It
appears that the Apocrypha would never have posed a serious problem were it not for
the usurped power of Rome over Scripture. Yet Rome with all of its “infallibility”
cannot make the fallible Apocrypha infallible.

IV.

CRITERIA FOR DETERMINING

WHICH BOOKS BELONG IN THE BIBLE

Recognizing that there is a problem and a legitimate question as to which books belong in
the Bible, what criteria are to be used to test the various books that are under consideration? The ultimate test or question is, “Is the book inspired by God?” This automatically raises the
question, “What is meant by inspiration?” While there are various definitions of inspiration,
depending on the degree of authority one recognizes in the Bible, yet to Christians who hold that the Bible is the sole, absolute authority for the Christian’s life and conduct, the proper definition of inspiration must include the following:

1. Since God is perfect and infallible, an inspired book is absolutely infallible and
errorless in its facts and doctrines in the original manuscript.

2. Since God is holy and pure, an inspired book must present only holy and pure
doctrines.

3. Since God is omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent, then an inspired book should
reflect these characteristics in such ways as prophecy which is fulfilled, accurate
statements with regard to geography, astronomy, science, math, psychology and all
areas of knowledge to the extent that it makes reference to these. If God is the creator
of the world and man, he could not make an inaccurate statement about them. A book
that does is not inspired.

4. Since God is absolute truth, one inspired book cannot contradict another.

5. Since God is just and fair, an inspired book must be impartial, without prejudice
toward anyone.

These are the minimum criteria for an inspired book. Someone may argue, “you define
inspiration by defining God, but you cannot know God’s characteristics apart from revelation.” While this may in part be true, if God is not at least all the above things, it would be impossible to serve Him. If God were unholy, impure, unfair and a liar, we certainly could not trust Him even if we obeyed Him.

Another important criteria for determining which books belong in the Bible is the will to
believe. Jesus said in John 17:17, “If any man willeth to do his will, he shall know of the
teaching, whether it is of God, or whether I speak from myself.” Thus, faith and unbelief are
largely a matter of attitude. In a discussion of this point it is necessary to answer a frequent
question, “Why did God allow such an important question regarding which books belong in the Bible to be a matter of debate?”

The answer, I believe, lies in the biblical doctrine of the free moral agency of man. Since
Adam and Eve, man has had the freedom to accept or reject God’s word. Moses was God’s
appointed leader, and was inspired by God to speak for Him. Yet, Korah, Dathan, Abiram
(Numbers 16) and, at times, all the children of Israel challenged the canonicity of the word which he spoke and the laws which he gave. In the days of Ahab, Micaiah (2 Kings 22) spoke the words of the Lord. What he spoke was truth inspired by God and thus canonical. But Ahab and 400 prophets rejected its authority. Jeremiah spoke the words of the Lord and even wrote them in a book but the princes of Judah rejected their canonicity and even King Jehoiakim took Jeremiah’s canonical book inspired of God, cut it up and threw it into the fire with contempt (Jeremiah 36). Finally, the apostle Paul spoke the inspired words of God and yet his words were rejected and his authority was questioned and controverted by some at Corinth, Galatia, and other places (2 Corinthians 10-12).

Certainly, if men could so reject the direct words of God and treat shamefully the inspired
persons speaking for God, then people of a later generation indeed may be expected to reject the words of God in written form and treat shamefully the books of his spokesmen. If people in ancient times could reject in person the true spokesmen of God such as Jeremiah and Paul and could substitute in their place false prophets and false teachers, then certainly men today will reject the true books of God and accept false books as authoritative.

God’s word self-authenticates itself as is indicated in Deuteronomy 13:1-18; 18:9-22;
Jeremiah 28:9, 17. In the same way that God’s people of old could distinguish between
sorcerers, false prophets and God’s true prophets, we can distinguish between inspired books and books of men. However, we must want with all our heart to do God’s will.

Apparently this is what Acts means in 13:46-52 and 16:14. The Jews at Antioch of
Pisidia thrust God’s word from them while the Gentiles had a will to believe. Lydia wanted to
do God’s word and thus her attitude of heart caused God’s word to self-authenticate itself to her. It is senseless to have the will of skepticism. Only the will to believe has hope.

Of course, God has not left us without objective evidence. He just has not made this
objective evidence so overwhelming that a rebel against God or a false teacher cannot possibly find support to justify his own delusions.

V.

EVIDENCE FOR THE NEW TESTAMENT CANON

As in the case of the Old Testament, the canonicity of a New Testament book is not
determined by the acceptance or rejection of that book by men. Its canonicity is determined by its inspiration of God and God’s overruling providence to authenticate it to those who will to do His will. Marcion rejected all the books except Luke and ten of Paul’s epistles. This, however, did not nullify the inspiration of the others because in his self-delusion he refused to accept God’s word.

A few others rejected or questioned the recognition of some books like James, Jude, First
and Second Peter, etc. On the other hand, a few contended that I Clement, Barnabas, and
Shepherd of Hermas, should be accepted. However, the vast majority of sincere Christians were led to accept as the word of God the present twenty-seven books of the New Testament.

The earliest Christians had no need to list the inspired books. They knew them because
they knew the writers. However, gradually sects began to develop in the church and heretics
began to lead astray the elect. Luke may have written his gospel due to the circulation of
heretical versions (Luke 1:1-4). At any rate, after the work of Marcion and other heretics, some Christian leaders felt it necessary to discuss the question of which books were authoritative and some gave forth lists. However, none of these could be considered binding. The lists only served as recommendations. Furthermore, neither was the authority of a New Testament book settled by a church council.

H. C. Thiessen has made a careful study of these early discussions and lists and has
written an excellent summary of them in his Introduction to the New Testament. His conclusion is most interesting:

“It is a remarkable fact that no early church council selected the books that should
constitute the New Testament Canon. The books that we now have crushed out all
rivals, not by any adventitious authority, but by their own weight and worth. This
is in itself a strong proof of the genuineness and authenticity of the books that have
survived.”

After making a study of the Apocryphal New Testament books Metzger concludes by
quoting M. R. James:

“The most cogent proof that these books are intrinsically on a different plane from
the books of the New Testament is afforded merely by reading them side by side with
the books of the New Testament and allowing each to make its own impression. Then,
in the words of M. R. James, ‘it will very quickly be seen that there is no question of
anyone’s having excluded them from the New Testament: they have done that for
themselves.’” (Bruce M. Metzger, An Introduction to the Apocrypha, pp. 262, 263).

We believe that God’s divine providence has provided ample internal and external
evidences to prove that the sixty-six books of our Bible are inspired by Him. If we will do His
will, He will help us to know His teaching.

Questions

1. What is the basic meaning of the word apocryphal? How is it generally used?
______________________________________________________________________________
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2. How many Apocryphal books are there?
______________________________________________________________________________
3. How does the Douay translation differ from the translations recognized by the Protestant
world?
______________________________________________________________________________
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4. Which books are not considered canonical by the Roman Catholic Church?
______________________________________________________________________________
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5. Since some of the apocryphal books are combined with those canonical, how many books
are there in the Catholic Bible?
83
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6. Why have these books been rejected?
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7. What are the criteria for determining which books belong in the Bible?
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8. Why should we not be surprised at people rejecting the written word?
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Lesson 8 – The BIBLE – Did The Catholic Church Give Us The Bible?

                                                      Lesson 8

                                                     The Bible

 

DID THE CATHOLIC CHURCH GIVE US THE BIBLE?

INTRODUCTION:

How did the Bible originate? Did the Catholic Church give us the Bible as they claim?
Was the Bible already in existence before the Catholic Church existed? These are questions we must answer in any approach to the study of the Bible.

The Catholic Church has made frequent use of the printed page to advertise its claims in
the field of religious belief. The large daily newspapers and national magazines have been used with paid advertising by the Knights of Columbus to foster the claim that they gave the world the Bible. One of those ads was entitled: “The Bible Is a Catholic Book.”

I.

THE CATHOLIC CHURCH CLAIMS TO HAVE GIVEN US THE BIBLE

The following quotations are from authentic Catholic sources and will show clearly that
they teach they gave the Bible to the world.

(1) THE NATIONAL CATHOLIC ALMANAC, 1960, page 218: “To interpret Holy
Scripture infallibly pertains to the Holy Spirit Who is its principal Author. This He
does through the Catholic Church alone, to which He has entrusted the Bible.”

(2) JOHN A. O’BRIEN, former President of Notre Dame University: (Our Sunday
Visitor, 1955, pp. 142-145) “Far from being hostile to the Bible, the Catholic
Church is its true Mother. She determined which are the books of religion from the
many writings circulated as inspired in early Christian ages, assembled them all
within the covers of a single book, shielded it from destruction by the hordes of
barbarian invaders that poured into Europe and translated it into many languages
long before Protestantism saw the light of day. If she had not declared the books
composing the New Testament to be the inspired word of God, we would not know it.
The only authority which non-Catholics have for the inspiration of the Scriptures is
the authority of the Catholic Church. The Church is not the child of the Bible, but its
mother.”

(3) KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS AD, (Woman’s Home Companion, April, 1955).
“Nowhere in the Bible text will you find a list of the 73 inspired books of which it is
composed. This list was given to the world by the Catholic Church almost three full
centuries after the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Established by Jesus Christ Himself
and rapidly spread among the nations of the world, the Catholic Church was
carrying on Christ’s work for the salvation of men some 60 years before the Apostle
John wrote his books of the New Testament. Yes, the Bible is truly a Catholic book.
They were members of the Catholic Church who, under God’s inspiration, wrote the
New Testament in its entirety. It is the Catholic Church which treasured it and gave
it to the world in its original and unaltered form. It is the infallible authority of the
Catholic Church that always has been the only sure guarantee of its inspiration.”

(4) THE FAITH OF MILLIONS, p. 146. “She is not the child of the Bible, as many
non-Catholics imagine, but its mother. She derives neither her existence nor her
teaching authority from the New Testament. She had both before the New Testament
was born: she secured her being, her teachings, her authority directly from Jesus
Christ.”

II.

WHY THE CATHOLIC CHURCH COULD NOT HAVE GIVEN US THE BIBLE

(1) The Catholic Church could not have given us the Bible for the very simple and
conclusive reason that the Catholic Church was non-existent for several
centuries after the Bible was given to the world.

A bit of irrefutable history here will establish the point above. The process was quite
gradual by which the Bishop of Rome ascended above his fellow bishops. Although
God’s word makes it clear that elders are to rule in the church of the New Testament
(I Timothy 5:17, and there are to be a plurality of such elders in every church (Acts
14:23), yet, in course of time, the lofty title of Patriarch was assumed by the bishops
of Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem. In the beginning, these
patriarchs were altogether independent of each other. An intense rivalry developed
between the Bishop of Rome and the Bishop of Constantinople. In 451 A.D. the
Council of Chalcedon was held. It was the first council over which the Bishop of
Rome presided. In the twenty-eighth canon of the Council of Chalcedon, it was
decreed that the Bishop of Rome and the Bishop of Constantinople should be
accorded equal right and honor due to the dignity of the two cities. That did not
terminate the rivalry. In 588 A.D. John, the faster, Bishop of Constantinople,
proclaimed himself the Universal Bishop. That was five centuries after the Bible was
completed. John, the faster, was faster than the Bishop of Rome in grasping that
vainglorious title. Gregory, Bishop of Rome, referred to as Gregory the great, wrote
epistles to his own representative at Constantinople, to the Emperor Mauritius, and to
the Patriarch John, in which he denounced the title of Universal Bishop as “vain”,
“anti-Christian”, “blasphemous” and “diabolical”. In response to a letter from the
emperor at Constantinople, Gregory stated, “Whoever adopts, or effects, the title of
‘Universal Bishop’ has the pride and character of the antichrist….” (Epistles of
Gregory, 1. vi Ep. 30). Gregory died in 604 A.D. In 605 A.D. Boniface III ascended
to the Roman See, and in 606 A.D. he conspired with Emperor Phocus, a bloodthirsty
tyrant, to proclaim him the “Universal Bishop”. Therefore, we have established that
the Catholic Church was several centuries too late to have given us the Bible.

This history also disproves the Catholic claim that they gave the world the complete
Bible at the Council of Hippo in A.D. 390. This is false because we had the
complete Bible early in the second century, before the existence of the Catholic
Church. There are more than 2,000 manuscripts of the Bible books, but three are
recognized as most outstanding: Codex Vaticanus, Codex Alexandrinus, and Codex
Sinaiticus. Perhaps the greatest manuscript is the Codex Sinaiticus discovered at the
foot of Mt. Sinai in 1844. It was written in Greek capital letters on one hundred
antelope skins. It contains the entire Bible except small portions of the Old
Testament. The New Testament is complete. Scholars are certain that this
manuscript of the Bible was copied in the third century. Yet, Roman Catholics claim
that they gave the world the complete Bible near the dawn of the fifth century. The
Codex Sinaiticus manuscript was never in the hands of the Roman Catholic Church.
The German scholar, Tischendorf, who was a Protestant, discovered it.

The Codex Vaticanus manuscript, which has been in the Vatican since 1475, has
missing parts of Genesis, Psalms, and Hebrews, plus many small portions of other
books. Scholars believe this manuscript was one of the fifty ordered by Constantine
and was copied from the original language in the third century.

The Codex Alexandrinus, said to be one of the best manuscripts, was written in
Alexandria, Egypt, possibly in the 5th century. It is in the British Museum.

The Syriac Version was translated from the original into six dialects of Syrian early in
the 2nd century. It is believed that some who read this version were acquainted with
some of the New Testament writers.

The Old Latin Version was translated from the Greek into the Latin at the close of the
2nd century. The Coptic Version was translated from the original into the Egyptian
about the close of the 2nd century. Ulfilas translated the Gothic Version for the Goths
in A.D. 375.

The Latin Vulgate was a revision of the Old Latin Version. This work of the New
Testament translation was done by Jerome A.D. 385, who stated that he used a Greek
Bible belonging to Origen who lived in the early third century. The irony of the false
claim that the Catholic Church gave the world the complete Bible at the Council of
Hippo in A.D. 390 is the fact that the bishops at the Council of Hippo declared that
Jerome was inspired in his translation of the Bible into the Latin language and could
not make a mistake in his translation. Yet, Jerome rejected the additional books that
the Roman Catholics include in their Bible. He branded them as “Apocrypha”, which
means “hidden, obscure and without authority”.

These facts, recognized by scholars of the world, refute the false claims of the Roman
Catholic Church that she gave the world the Bible. The Bible is from God and not
from the Catholic Church.

(2) The Catholic Church did not give us the Bible because no religious movement
gives literature that condemns the very teaching of that religious movement.

If the Catholic Church gave the Bible to us why does it so thoroughly condemn the
Roman Catholic hierarchy and the doctrines and practices of the Catholic Church?

For example, the Bible does not mention nor give authority for:

A pope, a cardinal, a college of cardinals, metropolitans, patriarchs, councils
(whether ecumenical, national, provincial, or diocesan), apostolic legates, the
Roman Curia, the Vatican, bishops over seas, a special order of priests, religious
orders, parishes, dioceses, archdioceses, monk, friars, nuns, sacraments, original
sin, infant baptism, sprinkling for baptism, confirmation, the mass,
transubstantiation, rosaries, auricular confession, indulgences, penance, worship
of Mary, immaculate conception, perpetual virginity, bodily assumption,
adoration of images or relics, canonized saints, intercession of such saints, prayers
for the dead, holy water, extreme unction, purgatory, limbo or a host of other
things that make up the doctrines and practices of the Roman Catholic Church.
When Catholics begin to read the Bible they immediately wonder why they
cannot find their church in the very book that the Catholic Church claims to have
given to the world in the first place.

(3) If the Catholic Church gave the world the Bible why has she always opposed the
Bible?

The voice of Romanism down through the centuries has been against the
influence of the Bible! Please observe the following:

In 1229 A.D., the Bible was forbidden by the Council of Toulouse to the laity
with the following decree: “We forbid also the permitting of the laity to have the
books of the Old and New Testament, unless any should wish, from a feeling of
devotion, to have a Psalter or breviary for divine service. But we must strictly
forbid them to have the above-mentioned books in the vulgar tongue.” (History of
the Councils, Vol.ii, part I, Col. 425, can. 14, Paris, 1671).

“The very nature of the Bible ought to prove to any thinking man the impossibility
of its being the one safe method to find out what the Savior taught” (Question
Box, p.67, 1913 edition).

“Again, it has ever been practically impossible for men, generally to find out
Christ from the Bible only” (Question Box, 70).

“The Bible was not intended to be a textbook of the Christian relgion” (Catholic
Facts, p. 50).

“In other spiritual books the truths of the Bible are presented more fully, and in a
more modern and familiar style, so that we can hardly wonder that they are, as a
rule preferred; and that though Catholic families generally have a Bible, it is
more venerated than read” (Plain Facts, p. 154).

“It is that of having for a foundation authority in all ages, for a means of deciding
all doubtful points, not a book alone, or a book with authorized interpreters but
simply authorized interpreters of the faith such as the Apostles were, with a book
perhaps to help them, but still not absolutely needing that book for the discharge
of their office any more than the Apostles did themselves” (Plain Facts, p. 33).

“The Scripture indeed is a divine book but it is a dead letter, which has to be
explained, and cannot exercise the action which the preacher can obtain” (Our
Priesthood, p. 155).

Pope VIII, in 1829, denounced the circulation of the Bible in vernacular tongue as
a “crafty device” and “a nefarious scheme threatening everlasting ruin”.

Pope Gregory XVI in his encyclical letter of 1844 condemned Protestant Bible
Societies with these words: “Among the chief machinations by which in our times
non-Catholics of various denominations try to enslave Catholic believers and turn
their minds away from the holiness of their faith, a prominent place is held by the
Bible societies…. Moreover, we confirm and by our Apostolic authority renew the
commands already given against the publication, distribution, reading and
keeping of Scripture translated into the vernacular.”

“No, the Bible is not the only source of faith. The Bible itself is but a dead letter
calling for a divine interpreter. Moreover, a number of revealed truths have been
handed down by divine tradition only.” (Question Box, p. 76)

“We do not in any way presuppose that the books of the New Testament are
inspired, but only that they are genuine, authentic documents written by honest
men.” (Question box, p. 80)

As you can see from their own writings the Catholic Church has always
opposed the Bible. Why then did the Catholic Church give us the Bible
according to their claim? If the Catholic Church is the official interpreter of the
Bible then why did God wait several centuries after giving the Bible to establish
the Catholic Church?

The Bible is crystal clear in requiring that man understand the Scriptures (Eph.
5:17). Would God command something that is impossible? God wants all
men to come to knowledge of the truth (I Tim. 2:4). Jesus teaches that we will be
judged by His words (John 12:48-49). Will God judge us by a standard that
cannot be understood? We are commanded to study, search, and grow in
knowledge and Scripture implies that the Scriptures are understandable.

(4) If the Catholic Church were truly desirous of preserving the Bible, how could it
be so antagonistic to the spirit of the author of the Bible?
Jesus said, “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that
hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you: that
ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his
sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the
unjust” (Matt. 5:44-45).

The cruelty of the Catholic Church toward those who have opposed her and who
have tried to spread the influence of the Bible is too well established in history to
be successfully denied. Anne Fremantle, associate professor at Fordham
University, in her book “The Papal Encyclicals in Their Historical Context”, pp.
69, 70, has written: “The Church reached the zenith of its earthly power with
Innocent III (1198-12-16). Then it was a supranational world state, organized
with its judiciary and its law, its centralized bureaucracy, its financial system,
and its armies prepared to coerce by force of arms, by threat and the reality of a
holy war any rebellion against the standard doctrines of belief and conduct or
against papal policies”. So, under Innocent III, the armies of the Catholic Church
were prepared to overthrow by the force of arms any rebellion against the
teachings of the Catholic Church or the policies of the pope. Such a spirit and
disposition accounts for such tragic events in human history as the merciless
Inquisition and the persecution of the French Huguenots with the diabolical
massacre on St. Bartholomew’s Day.

John Wycliffe completed the first translation of the Bible into English in 1380.
His translation was from the Latin Vulgate. Yet a Catholic council condemned
his work. Twenty-three years after his death his library was burned. Forty-one
years after his death, the Council of Constance ordered his remains to be dug up,
burned, and his ashes scattered on the River Swift, in order that the English
speaking people would have no shrine at which to pay honor to one who gave
them God’s word in their own language.

A century and a half after Wycliffe’s translation, William Tyndale translated the
New Testament from the original Greek into the English language. Tyndale said,
“With God’s help, I will make the sacred volume so abundant in England, that
every ploughboy might read it.” He kept his word. On a charge of heresy, he was
strangled and then burned at the stake near Antwerp. His last words were, “Lord,
open the eyes of the King of England!”

Tyndale published his first version from Antwerp with the help of John Frith and
William Roye. Thereafter, William Roye fled to Portugal, where the Catholic
Inquisition committed him to the flames. John Frith went to England. There he
was burned at the same stake with a young tailor, named Hewet, who had made
known that he agreed with the religious views of John Frith.

John Huss, the Bohemian reformer, as the preacher of Bethlehem Chapel in
Prague, denounced the corruptions of the Catholic Church with much boldness.
He was summoned to the Council of Constance on a charge of heresy, and went
with a safe-conduct assurance from the emperor. But once there, he was
apprehended. Despite the safe-conduct assurance, he and his writings were
condemned to the fire. He was burned and his ashes were thrown into the Rhine
River.

One may wonder why such things have happened in history. The following quote
will show the real attitude of the Catholic Church toward those who oppose
Catholicism: “The death sentence is a necessary and efficacious means for the
Church to attain its end when rebels against it and disturbers of the ecclesiastical
unity, especially obstinate heretics, can not be restrained by any other penalty
from continuing to disturb the ecclesiastical order and impelling others to all
sorts of crime…it (the Church) can and must put these wicked men to death” (Vol
II p. 143 of a book of Cannon Law, 1901, by Marianus da Luca, J.S., a professor
of Canon Law at Georgetown University at Rome. The book opens with a strong
commendation by Pope Leo XIII).

Could such an evil movement give us so glorious a book as the Bible?

III.

QUESTIONS THAT MUST BE ANSWERED

1. If the Bible is a Catholic book, why does it so thoroughly condemn the Roman
Catholic hierarchy and the doctrines and practices of the Roman Catholic
Church?

2. If the Bible is a Catholic book, why does not the name and identity of the
Catholic Church appear in the Bible?

3. If the Bible is a Catholic book, why is there no mention made of the pope,
with the honor and reverence given him?

4. If the Bible is a Catholic book, why is there no reference to Peter as the Vicar
of Christ on earth?

5. If the Bible is a Catholic book, why does the Bible declare that Christ is the
head of the church instead of the popes? Eph. 1:22

6. If the Bible is a Catholic book, why does the Bible say that Peter forbade men
to fall down and worship him? Acts 10:25-26

7. If the Bible is a Catholic book, why does the Bible say that Peter was a
married man? I Cor. 9:15

8. If the Bible is a Catholic book, why does the Bible foretell that an apostate
doctrine would be that of “forbidding to marry and commanding to abstain
from meats”, both being taught and practiced by the Catholic Church? I Tim.4:1-3 (The Catholic Church once condemned the eating of meats on Friday
and now allows it.)

9. If the Bible is a Catholic book, why would it forbid calling a priest “Father”?
Matt. 23:9 Jesus said, “Call no man your father on the earth; for one is your
Father, even he who is in heaven.”

10. If the Bible is a Catholic book, why does the Bible not even mention praying
to Mary? I Tim. 2:5

11. If the Bible is a Catholic book and handed down to Protestants, why is it so
completely silent about the doctrines of “Purgatory”, “The Mass”, “The
Rosary”, “Auricular Confession”, Indulgences”, “Holy Water”, and
“Transubstantiation”?

12. If the Bible is a Catholic book, why does it condemn the making of and
bowing down to images, the special observance of days, and the worshipping
of saints and angels? Ex. 20:4, 5; Gal. 4:8-11; Col. 2:16-19

13. If the Bible is a Catholic book, why will the Catholic Church not accept it as
their authority in religion? Jno. 12:48

14. If the Bible is a Catholic book, why would the Catholic Church insist on
interpreting the Scripture for their members, when the Bible clearly declares,
“no prophecy of scripture is of any private (special) interpretation.”? 2 Pet.
1:20; II Tim. 3:16-17

15. If the Bible is a Catholic book, why does the Bible condemn the practice of
keeping “traditions” as taught and practiced by the Catholic Church? Matt.
15:2, 3, 7, 8, 9

These are but a few of the questions one could ask. These and others deserve an
honest and sincere answer.

The Bible message was complete, final and fixed before the Catholic Church came into
existence as can be proven by history. Furthermore, Paul declared, “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.” (KJV) Gal 1:6-9.
Therefore, the Bible is complete, fixed and final, and has been that way since the
inspired apostle John closed it with the writing of the Book of Revelation on the Isle of Patmos toward the end of the first century A.D. While we may have streamlined transportation today and a computerized economy the same spiritual requirements are enjoined upon us today as were enjoined upon the people under the direct teaching of the inspired apostles. The Lord’s church changes not; the Catholic Church changes. In the words of an ex-Catholic, “If the Catholic church wants to change, that’s her business, but I want to ask this question: why has she enjoined these things upon us so arbitrarily for so long?” Many people are now asking this same question today. They are ready to leave their bondage. The truth will make them free, Jno. 8:32.

Questions

1. In what ways has the Catholic Church tried to teach people that it gave the world
the Bible?
________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________
2. Give the simple reason the Catholic Church could not have given the world the
Bible?
_______________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________
3. List the three greatest manuscripts.
________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________
4. In what way does the Bible condemn the Catholic Church?
92
________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________
5. Name some ways the Catholic Church has opposed the Bible.
________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________
6. How is the Catholic Church so antagonistic to the spirit of the author of the Bible?
________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________

Lesson 9 – The BIBLE – Are There Contradictions In The Bible?

Lesson 9

The Bible

 

“ARE THERE CONTRADICTIONS IN THE BIBLE?”

INTRODUCTION:

Ever since the Bible was written there have been infidels and atheists who have attempted
to disprove its histories, impugn its motives, and misrepresent its morals. Skeptics and
unbelievers often make the following argument against the Bible:

“The Bible is filled with error, obvious myths and self-contradictions.
This proves that it is not a book written by divine guidance, but by
fallible men. Therefore, the Bible must simply be viewed as an ancient
book which, although containing wise sayings and valuable illustrations
of certain moral principles, should not be exalted to the status of a divine
production.”

Those who believe the Bible to be the inspired word of God formulate an argument such
as: “If the Bible contains characteristics that are totally beyond the capabilities of human
beings, then the Bible was authored by a Being far superior to man (i.e., God).”

“The characteristics within the Bible that are presented as that which are
totally beyond the capabilities of human beings are: prophecies made and
fulfilled, scientific foreknowledge, its amazing unity and others. Since the
Bible does contain characteristics that are totally beyond the capabilities
of human beings, then the Bible was authored by a Being who is far superior
to man (i.e., God).”

The Bible is either inspired of God or it is not. One of those positions must be true.
They cannot both be true. Neither can they both be false. One position must be true and the
other false. This issue has profound ramifications as to how man should live. If the Bible is not inspired of God, it ought to be exposed as a fraud. On the other hand, if it is inspired of God, all men ought to live according to the Bible’s teaching.

Please understand the problem. We have two diametrically opposed positions. Either the
Bible contains prophecies, scientific foreknowledge and unity, or it contains inaccuracies,
inconsistencies and contradictions. If the Bible is not inspired, then the evidence (prophecies, etc.) that is used in an attempt to prove it inspired is incorrect. On the other hand, if the Bible is inspired, then the evidence (contradictions, etc.) that is used in an attempt to prove it uninspired is erroneous.

It is my contention that there is not a single error or contradiction in the Bible! For every
supposed error that the unbeliever tries to produce, there is a sufficient logical explanation that can be offered. In fact, many of the alleged errors or contradictions of the Bible are simply manufactured in the mind of the critic!

I do not deny that some passages, when compared with corresponding passages, do
appear at first to be contradictory. But the fact that two statements may be difficult to reconcile is no proof that they are contradictory. Any mention of difficult passages brings to mind the statement of the apostle Peter:

2 Pet 3:15-16 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is
salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also, according to the
wisdom given to him, wrote unto you; as also in all (his) epistles,
speaking in them of these things; wherein are some things hard
to be understood, which the ignorant and unstedfast wrest, as
(they do) also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. (ASV)

Notice that Peter did not say: That all of Paul’s writings, or the scriptures in general, are
hard to be understood. Peter said there are “some” things that are difficult. Peter did not say that the scriptures are “impossible” to understand. He said that only “some things” are “hard to be understood.” Some things may be “hard” to understand because of:

a) Our level of maturity Heb 5:12-14
b) Our reluctance to accept the teaching (Jno 6:60-66)
c) Our lack of background understanding (Acts 1:6-7)
d) Our reading more into a statement than it contains (Jno 21:2-23) or,
e) Our failure to research the scriptures (Acts 17:11).

Peter said that some things written by Paul are wrested or twisted by the unlearned and
unstable unto their own destruction. This shows that one can misuse the scriptures. We are
admonished to handle aright the word of truth (II Tim 2:15). One should approach the study of the scriptures with integrity and reverence. Further, there is a principle that we ought to bear in mind: Those things in the scriptures that must be understood and obeyed to be saved are among the simplest; things of a deeper nature are there to provide growth and advancement in the Christian life.

I.

DEFINING TERMS

The term “alleged,” when connected with the words contradiction or discrepancy, is not
to be mistaken for a proven contradiction; but this means simply that something is asserted by someone to be true or to exist.

The word “contradiction” is defined as follows: “A statement or proposition that
contradicts or denies another or itself and is logically incongruous.” The word contradictory
means: “In logic: A proposition so related to a second that it is impossible for both to be true.” The word “discrepancy” means: “The state or quality of being discrepant, differing, disagreeing, discordant, inconsistent.”

John W. Haley in his monumental work, An Examination of the Alleged Discrepancies of
the Bible, p. 53, says:

“In considering the solutions hereafter proposed, the legitimate force of a hypothesis
should be kept in mind. If a certain hypothesis meets the demands of a given case,
then, unless it can be proven false or absurd, its logical value is to set aside any and all
objections, and to secure a strong presumption in its own favor. For instance, it is said:
‘Here is a hypothesis which serves to explain and reconcile the disagreement.’ Now,
unless our hypothesis can be proven untrue, or irrational, it stands and the objection is
effectually met. In such cases the burden of proof devolves upon the objector.”

Roy H. Lanier, Sr. made the following observation. “According to the definition given by
reliable dictionaries as the meaning of the word contradictory, it must be absolutely impossible to harmonize two statements before we conclude that they are contradictory. And for one to prove that two statements are impossible of being brought into agreement, that one must know all about the time the statements were made, the purpose for which they were made, the persons by whom the statements were made, and the circumstances under which they were made. If it is at all possible that these things being known there would be no disagreement, the objector has not proved that he has found a contradiction. He may have found, what for him is, a difficulty; but he has not found a contradiction. And it is possible that many of us will be unable to solve many of the difficulties that have been pointed out by infidels and atheists as contradictions, while others who have delved more deeply into the meaning of the scriptures may have little trouble in solving the difficulty. So unless we know that we have more wisdom than anybody else in the world, we should be slow to conclude that it is absolutely impossible for two statements of scripture to be brought into agreement.” (Alleged Contradictions Of The Bible, The Holy Scriptures, edited by Wendell Winkler in 1979).

II.

SOME GENERAL RULES TO FOLLOW REGARDING SOME DIFFICULTY

In our study of the Bible, there are certain rules of fairness that should exist. Please take
note of the following:

1. Make sure that you have the best translation of the Bible you can obtain. Sometimes
it is helpful to compare different translations.
2. Learn whom is speaking and the circumstances involved and the object of thought
responsible for the statement.
3. Read the passage of dispute a number of times.
4. Read the setting of the passage. Read before and after the verse under consideration.
5. Notice the wording and the punctuation supplied (usually in italics) by the translators,
along with the setting.
6. Of the several possible solutions and reasonable explanations that are usually present
for any “difficulty” in the text of the Bible, common sense is always in order.
7. Make sure that each “explanation” be found in harmony with every other known
Bible truth.
8. Be sure to start out with the right attitude in an honest search.

III.

SOURCE OF ALLEGED ERRORS

Our difficulties with the alleged errors of the Bible will be solved when we learn their
origin. John W. Haley in his work, An Examination of Alleged Discrepancies of the Bible p. 31,
lists the following sources:

1. Difference in dates
2. Difference of authorship
3. Difference of standpoint or of object
4. Different principles and methods of arrangement
5. Different modes of computing time
6. Peculiarities or oriental idiom
7. Use of several names for persons and places
8. Use of the same words for different meanings
9. Error in manuscripts
10. The imagination of critics

The origin of the alleged errors in the Bible might be summed up under the following six
headings:

First, A Change in Circumstances.

People often take random statements from the Bible (failing to take into account their
historical setting) and set them in opposition to each other in an effort to prove the Bible is self-contradictory. For example, “And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold it was good…” (Gen 1:31). “And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart” (Gen 6:6). And error is charged when these two statements are
placed side by side, but these two statements were made many years apart (some would say over one thousand years apart). Genesis 1:31 was stated after God created the world and before sin entered, while Genesis 6:6 was made after man had reached such a level of spiritual degeneracy “that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Gen 6:5).
Each statement was perfectly correct at the time it was made.

Second, Ignorance on the Part of the Critic

Many critics boldly proclaim that the “Bible is full of mistakes and contradictions,” but
when asked to produce one they are, in most cases, totally ignorant, not only of the supposed error, but of the precious truth of the Bible. For example, some critics were confident that the Old Testament references to the Hittites (more than 40 in number) were in error. But in 1906 excavations were begun at Bogazkoy (90 miles east of Anhaso, Turkey), which proved to be the capitol of the Hittite empire. Today, no scholar in his right mind would claim the Hittites were not a people.

Third, No Single Author Claims to Tell the Whole Story

Each Bible writer had a definite purpose to accomplish in his writing. The Holy Spirit
helped each one select the facts needed to accomplish that purpose, but no writer ever claimed to give all the facts. Each of the gospel writers tells us something that the other writers do not tell us, but no writer contradicts the other in the detail. Therefore, in order to get the whole story, we must read all the accounts.

Fourth, Failure to be Fair With the Bible

Failure to read exactly what the Bible says accounts for some of the alleged
contradictions. For example, some people think they have found a contradiction in the Genesis account of the origin of the human family. They allege that the Bible says that all people descended from Adam and Eve. Then, they say that Cain, the son of Adam and Eve, is said to have gone to the land of Nod and found a woman who became his wife. “If everyone descended from Adam and Eve,” the unbelievers ask, “where did this woman whom Cain married come from”? Now if these critics had been fair with the Bible they would never have come up with such a ridiculous criticism of it. The Bible does not say that Cain went into the land of Nod alone and then found a woman already living there. The Bible says that Cain “dwelt in the land of Nod” and that while living there “he knew his wife; and she conceived and bore Enoch” (Gen 4:16-17). Therefore, the Bible actually says that Cain lived in Nod with his wife. In other words, it is only logical to assume that he had a wife before he went to the land of Nod, that she was one of the daughters of Adam and Eve mentioned in Genesis 5:4, and that Cain chose Nod as the place where they lived.

Fifth, Misinterpretation of the Bible

For years critics have argued that Paul and James contradicted each other in their
teaching about faith and works. It is argued that Paul teaches salvation by faith apart from works (Rom 4) and that James contradicts Paul by saying that salvation is by works (James 2). This alleged contradiction arises from a lack of study into what they actually wrote. A close
examination of the facts will show that both men teach that a man is saved by faith when that faith leads him to perform the works of obedience which God has assigned. There is not a single author of the Bible that teaches that salvation is by faith alone. James said, “ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only” (James 2:24). Paul wrote, “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love” (Gal 5:6) Now where is the contradiction between these two inspired men? There is none!

Sixth, Blind Prejudice of the Critic

Many people simply do not want to be convinced that the Bible is the Word of God;
therefore, regardless of how much proof one may present in support of the Bible they will not believe. John W. Haley points in his book on dealing with alleged contradictions on page 380:

“Although in hundreds of cases criticisms of Scripture have been shown to be
unfounded, those who refuse to believe in inerrancy never seem to be satisfied.
Why is this so? Does it not constitute a frame of mind that wants to disbelieve?
Does it reflect a viewpoint that says in effect, ‘I will not believe what the Scripture
teaches about itself until every objection has been answered to my satisfaction.’”

IV.

WHAT PURPOSES ARE SERVED BY THE SUPPOSED CONTRADICTIONS?

First, they stimulate the human intellect. Difficulties often arouse men to find the
solutions. Roy Lanier, Sr. said, “Bible difficulties have stimulated infidels to write more books
about the Bible than have been written criticizing any other books; and believers have been
stimulated to study more than they would have studied to answer infidel criticisms.” Westcott wrote, “The very existence of the difficulties in our Gospels – which are the groundwork of our faith – is a fresh incentive to vigorous and rational study.” One of the greatest beauties of the Bible is that there is always more study demanded and more to learn, and that for a lifetime (2 Peter 3:18). Books of men are read, digested, and set aside after only a brief time, with no further reference after all that can be gained for our lives has been gained. But this is not so with God’s Book! His very thought processes are so far above our own that brilliant men have studied for a lifetime and still find that they have much to learn when studying God’s Book (Isaiah 55:8-9).

Second, they test the moral character of individuals. Jesus often spoke in parables to
test the moral character and sincerity of his hearers (Matthew 13:1-15; Mark 4:11-13). He knew that those with honest hearts would exert the necessary effort to learn the truth, but those superficial and insincere characters would reject it. So, today, those who “love the truth” will search diligently for the solution to all the difficulties, but those that “love not the truth” will be sent a “strong delusion” (II Thess. 2:10-12), and will feel justified, because of the difficulties and seeming contradictions, in rejecting God’s message.

Third, they become “strong incidental proof that there was no collusion among the
sacred writers.” Indeed, we could say that the differences in the gospel accounts exclude all
ideas of an intention to deceive. If they had been consciously inventing the story, then the
simplest prudence would have made them avoid all traces of differences in their accounts. David Hartley, in 1749, said:

“No single forger, or combination of forgers, would have suffered the apparent
inconsistencies which occur in a few places, such as the different genealogies and
variations in the narration of the same fact of Christ…..and some little in different
Gospels. These are too obvious at first sight, not to have been prevented, had there
been any fraud.”

Fourth, they give evidence that the Bible and nature came from the same source.
Augustus Neander in his book, The Life of Jesus Christ, said:

“God reveals Himself in his word as He does in His works. In both, we see a
self-revealing, self-concealing God, who makes Himself known only to those
who earnestly seek him; in both we find stimulants to faith and occasions to
unbelief; in both we find contradictions whose hightest harmony is hidden
except from him who gives up his whole mind in reverence; in both, in a word,
it is the law of revelation that the heart of men should be tested in reviving it;
and that, in the spiritual life as well as in the body, must eat his bread in the sweat
of his brow.”

If one has trouble with all the seeming contradictions in the Bible, then look at all the
contradictions in nature. There is the beauty of mountain meadows for some and the ugliness of barren deserts for others; there is plenty for some, starvation for others; sorrow and sadness fill the lives of some, while others enjoy peace and contentment.

V.

IF CONTRADICTIONS REALLY EXIST

To charge that contradictions really exist in the Bible implies a number of other
propositions one must accept:

First, God is a liar. The Bible declares that God “…..cannot lie” (Titus 1:2; and that
….it is impossible for God to lie” (Heb 6:18). If it is true that God cannot lie, and if God is the
author of the Bible, then it follows that no two statements in the Bible can contradict each other. As Edward J. Young has well stated:

“If the Bible is indeed God-breathed, it follows that it must be true and infallible.
To assume that God could speak a word that was contrary to fact is to assume
that God Himself cannot operate without error. The very nature of God therefore
is at stake.”

Second, God has not revealed Himself. If the Bible was written by fallible men,
unaided by any higher power, and contradicting each other often; it follows that God has not
revealed Himself.

Third, the Bible’s claim of inspiration is false. The Bible claims to be the Word of
God. It claims that the Holy Spirit helped each writer select the very words to write the thoughts (I Cor 2:6-13). Therefore, should it be discovered that falsehoods or actual contradictions exist in the Bible; our conclusion must be that the Bible does not come from God and is not inspired.

Fourth, truth is not as powerful as contradictions and lies. No book has done more for
mankind in all areas of life than the Bible. How many books would be left in most libraries if all those influenced by the Bible were removed? If all the works of art, songs and laws, influenced by the Bible, were destroyed how much poorer the world would be. If the testimony of the writers of the Bible is not creditable, and it is “cunningly devised fable” then it follows that a few unlettered peasants of Galilee devised a system of religious philosophy and morals that has overthrown all the boasted fabrics of human reason, putting to shame its profoundest speculations, and have become the leaders in human civilization and the acknowledged teachers and guides of the most enlightened nation. This has never been true of falsehood.

THE BOOK DIVINE

Harold Lindsell wrote in “The Battle For the Bible, p. 181-182:

“It is my judgment that many of the so-called discrepancies will be
resolved as evangelical scholars give their attention to them. It would
be foolish for me or anyone else to assert that all of the difficulties will
be answered this side of eternity. They may, or they may not be. But
the absence of a solution for even a single remaining problem is no
reason to suppose that there is no solution. The fact that there have
been dogmatic assertions made about the certainty of this mistake or that
only to have the vapor of poison dispelled by a solution suggests the
need for critics to be very tentative in charging error against Scripture.”

The inspired apostle Peter pointed out in 2 Peter 3:16-18:

“as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some
things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do
also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction. You therefore, beloved,
knowing this beforehand, be on your guard lest, being carried away by the
error of unprincipled men, you fall from your own steadfastness, but grow in
the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory,
both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.” NAS

The mind of Him who gave the Bible knows His creatures to whom it is given, and with
mercy He leads them ever further in knowledge and understanding, toward Heaven (Ephesians 5:17).

Questions

1. What argument do skeptics and unbelievers make against the Bible?
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2. How do Christians reply?
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3. Explain why the statement “The Bible is either inspired of God or it is not” cannot both
be true or both be false.
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4. What did Peter say about some things being hard to understand in 2 Peter 3:15-16?
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5. Why may some things be hard to understand?
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6. Give some general rules to follow regarding some difficulty:
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7. Name the different sources of alleged errors:
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8. The alleged errors may be summed up under what six headings?
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9. What purposes are served by the supposed contradictions?
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10. What is implied if contradictions really exist?
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Lesson 10 – The BIBLE – Does The Bible Have Power To Change Lives?

Lesson 10

The Bible

 

“DOES THE BIBLE HAVE POWER TO CHANGE LIVES?”

INTRODUCTION:

The secular world has laid the Bible aside as being unreliable, because what it teaches
does not always coincide with the unfounded pronouncements that emanate from the scientific community. Dr. Bert Thompson wrote:

“There are growing indications that as our scientific prowess has grown,
our ever increasing knowledge of the creation has diminished, or replaced
completely, our knowledge of the Creator. This situation has manifested
itself in both the secular and spiritual realms.

As scientists have enjoyed increasingly more frequent and more impressive
successes, an attitude has developed suggesting that science, and science alone,
can provide answers to all life’s questions.” (“The Folly of Being Scientifically
Learned, but Biblically Ignorant,” Reason and Revelation Vol. XVI, No. 4,
1996 p. 26)

The Bible is an amazing book. The Bible is amazing in that it stands up to many tests of
authenticity. But it is particularly amazing when looked at from a spiritual and moral
perspective.

The Bible claims to be alive and powerful. Paul wrote in Romans 1:16:

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for
salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”
NAS

The Hebrew writer emphasized in Hebrews 4:12:

“For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged
sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints
and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”
NAS

The Psalmist describes the Word of God in Psalms 19:7-9:

“The law of the LORD is perfect, restoring the soul; The testimony of the
LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The precepts of the LORD are right,
rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the
eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the
LORD are true; they are righteous altogether.”
NAS

Perhaps the most comprehensive passage dealing with the Word of God is found in 2
Timothy 3:15-4:4:

and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able
to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ
Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof,
for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be
103 adequate, equipped for every good work. I solemnly charge you in the presence
of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by
His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out
of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the
time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have
their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to
their own desires; and will turn away their ears from the truth, and will turn aside
to myths.” NAS

There is one more passage I want us to look at. It is Luke 16:27-31 and this is a part of
the story of a certain rich man and Lazarus. The rich man wanted Abraham to send Lazarus back to talk to his brothers and warn them to change their lives “…lest they also come into this place of torment.” “Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’ “‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.'”

The words “Moses and the prophets” represent God’s written message to man at that
time, and the only thing required of anyone was simply to hear and obey Moses and the prophets. That would make the difference between heaven and hell, and that was the only thing that would make that difference.

THE RELIGIOUS WORLD DOES NOT AGREE

The truth with reference to the power of the Bible to change the lives of men strikes at the
heart of all kinds of religious error:

Ask the Roman Catholic if he/she believes the Bible has the power to change men’s
lives, and he/she will tell you the Bible is not a complete guide, but that man must also depend on the official pronouncements of the church and upon church tradition. (Refer to Lesson 8 page 84)

The Mormon will say that he/she believes the Bible is God’s Word, but that the writings
of Joseph Smith are also the Word of God, and that man must have both.

Ask the Calvinist if he/she believes the Bible has the power to change men’s lives, and
he/she will reply “No.” They think the only thing that can change a man’s life is an irresistible
act of God’s grace, which removes the sinful nature and sets the sinner on the road to heaven. Once the sinner is saved by that act of grace, he can never again be lost.

When the conservative denominationalist is approached regarding whether he/she
believes the Bible has the power to change men’s lives, they will reply, “Yes, but not the Bible
alone.” They only pay lip service to the Bible being adequate. What the Bible actually says
really does not settle matters with them. Their own subjective leadings, inner feelings, hunches, and experiences are depended upon far more than anything the Bible might say.

No false religion can succeed while strictly adhering to the Bible. One can not build
up the Catholic Church by getting people to just follow the Bible. Just getting people to follow
the Bible would never advance the cause of Mormonism, nor of Calvinism. Denominationalism can never be built and maintained by just getting people to follow the Bible. It takes something in addition to the Bible to build a false religion like those just mentioned or any other false religion.

GOD’S MESSAGE TO MAN
COMMUNICATED BY SPEAKING WORDS

It has always been the case that God communicates His will or His message to man by
speaking words to him:

How did Adam and Eve know that God did not want them to eat of the fruit of the tree of
knowledge of good and evil? Was it some kind of hunch, some inner leading, or some
experience they had? No. It was by virtue of the fact that God had said:

Gen 2:16-17 “And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are
free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from
the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it
you will surely die.”

How did Noah know that God was going to destroy all flesh with a great flood, and that
he was to build an ark? Did he build the ark because of some felt need, or some inner leading? No. It was because that is precisely what God told him to do.

Gen 6:13-14 So God said to Noah, “I am going to put an end to
all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them.
I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth. So make
yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in it and coat it
with pitch inside and out.”

     What made Abraham leave Ur of the Chaldees and move into the land of Canaan? The
answer is in Genesis 12:1:

Gen 12:1 The LORD had said to Abram, “Leave your country,
your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will
show you.”

Abraham’s move into Canaan was not based on some subjective feeling, or some experience he had, but upon the word of the Lord. What God had said was the only thing required to get
Abraham to do what he did.

The giving of the Ten Commandments is prefaced by these words: “And God spake all
these words, saying…” (Exodus 20:1). And then the Ten Commandments themselves are given in words. Now I ask you, if a man obeys the words, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me,” then what else would he have to have or do in order to be obedient to the first
commandment? If he obeyed the words, “Thou shalt not kill,” then what else would he have to have or do in order to obey the sixth commandment?

It has always been the case that God’s law is made up of what God says, that and nothing
else. Where did the idea come from that God’s leadership of man was ever in any other way?
Some talk about being led by the Spirit of God, without understanding that the only means by which the Spirit of God has ever led anyone is by speaking to him. During the days of the Old Testament prophets Nehemiah wrote:

Neh 9:30 “For many years you were patient with them. By your
Spirit you admonished them through your prophets. Yet they paid
no attention, so you handed them over to the neighboring peoples.”

David said in II Sam. 23:2, “The spirit of the Lord spake by me, and his word was on
my tongue.” Notice that David did not say the Spirit caused him to have some hunch or some
feeling, but that the Spirit spoke by him, putting words on his tongue.

In the prophetic books of the Old Testament the phrases “the word of the Lord” and
“thus saith the Lord” are found more than five hundred times, not to mention such phrases as “the Lord said,” and “the Lord spake.” While we have used this fact to emphasize that the
Bible is not a human production, and that it is really the Word of God, it needs to be emphasized that the Bible message is contained in words. All anyone knows about the will of God is contained in the words of the Bible. That is all anyone needs to know to get from this earth to heaven. Read what Paul said in Ephesians 3:2-5:

“if indeed you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace which
was given to me for you; that by revelation there was made known
to me the mystery, as I wrote before in brief. And by referring to this,
when you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ,
which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as
it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the
Spirit;” NAS

Notice that Paul said, God revealed it to him, that he had written briefly, and that the Ephesians could read it and understand it. Now if they read it, understood, and obeyed it, what else would be needed on their part?
We are not discussing whether or not changes must take place in sinful man in order to fit
him for heaven. The question is, can the Bible accomplish those changes, or are they changes that must be accomplished by something other than the Bible?

THE BIBLE IS ADEQUATE

Ps 19:7-11 “The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the
testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes
of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the
LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean,
enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous
altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine
gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them
is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.” (KJV)

God’s glory, (that is His goodness to man) appears much in the works of creation, but
much more in and by Divine Revelation. The Holy Scripture, as it is a rule both of our duty to
God and of our expectation from Him, is of much greater use and benefit to us than day or night, than the air we breathe, or the light of the sun. The discoveries made of God by His works might have served if man had retained his integrity; but, to recover him out of the fallen state, another course must be taken; and that must be done by the word of God. The Psalmist gives an account of the excellent properties and uses of the Word of God, in six sentences (vv. 7-9), in each of which the name Jehovah is repeated, for the law has its authority and all its excellency from the lawmaker. Let’s notice each of the wonderful things said by the Psalmist about the Word of God.

THE BIBLE IS PERFECT

Notice first, “the law of the Lord.” This is a Hebrew term used to define Scripture. The
writer here specifies that “the law of the Lord” is “perfect” – a comprehensive treatment of truth that is able to transform the soul. It is complete, there is nothing left out. It is comprehensive; it does everything that we need it to do. There is no part of your life, no problem that you will ever face in your life, no question with which you will ever be troubled, that the Word of God does not speak to and meet. Remember that Jesus spoke of “rivers of living water,” (John 7:38) which would be available to buoy up the human spirit and to meet its need. That is exactly what the Word of God is designed to do for us. The Hebrew word translated “soul” (nepesh) refers to the total person. It means the real you—not just your body but what is inside. Therefore, the writer means that Scripture can totally transform (change) a person.

You may say, “I’m not really interested in being transformed.” Then you probably aren’t
interested in the Bible. The Bible is for people who have some sense of desperation about where they are. It is for people who don’t have the purpose in their lives they wish they had. They’re not sure where they are, where they came from, or where they’re going. There are things in their lives they wish they could change. They wish they weren’t driven by passions they can’t control. They wish they weren’t victims of circumstances. They wish they didn’t have so much pain in life. They wish their relationships were all they ought to be. They wish they could think more clearly about things that matter in their lives. That’s whom this book is for: people who don’t have all the answers and who want something better.

The Bible teaches that the key to this transformation is the Lord Jesus Christ. God
came into the world in the form of Christ. He died on a cross to pay the penalty for your sins and mine and rose again to conquer death. He now lives and comes into the lives of those who acknowledge Him as their Lord and Savior by obeying Him, thereby transforming them into the people God wants them to be. If you are content with the way you are, you are not going to look to the Word of God for a way to change. But, if you are aware of your guilt, if you want to get rid of your anxiety and the patterns of life that desperately need to be changed, if you have some emptiness in your heart, if there is some longing that has never been satisfied, and if there are some answers you just can’t seem to find, then you are just the person to look into the Word of God.

Millions are living proof that the Word of God can transform a person completely
through the power of Christ, the One who died and rose again.

THE BIBLE IS SURE

Psalm 19 also says that the Scripture is “sure”—absolute, trustworthy, reliable—you
can count upon this word to be true. Therefore, you do not need to know a lot about everything else. Please understand that the Bible is not against knowledge; it is only against knowledge that does not begin at the right place (Proverbs 9:10). Notice the phrase “making wise the simple.”

The Hebrew word translated “simple” comes from a root that speaks of an open door. Ancient Jewish people described a person with a simple mind as someone with a head like an open door: everything comes in; everything goes out. He doesn’t know what to keep out and what to keep in. He’s indiscriminate, totally naïve, and unable to evaluate truth. He doesn’t have any standards by which to make a judgment.

The Bible says it is able to make such a person wise. Wisdom to the Jew was the skill of
daily living. To the Greek it was sheer sophistry—an abstraction. So when the Hebrew text says it can make a simple person wise, it means it can take the uninitiated, naïve, uninstructed person who’s undiscerning and unskilled and make him skilled in every aspect of daily living. What a fantastic promise.

The Bible touches every area of life. You want to know about relationships? It deals
with that. You want to know about marriage? It touches that. You want to know about a work
ethic? It speaks of that. You want to know about the factors of the human mind? You want to
know about motive? You want to know why you do what you do and how to do it better? You
want to know how to get the most out of your life? You want to know what you’re to live for?
It’s all there. The matters of skill in daily living are all there. It tells you about attitudes,
reactions, responses, how to treat people, how you’re to be treated by people, how to cultivate virtue in your life—every aspect of living is covered in the pages of the Bible. With all of its power and wisdom, the Bible can take a person with no understanding and make him skilled in the matter of daily living.

You may ask, “How does that happen?” It happens not just by reading the Book but also
by committing your life to Jesus Christ, the Subject and the Author of the Book. He comes to
live in you and applies the truth of the Word to your life.

THE BIBLE IS RIGHT

The Word of God—called “the precepts of the Lord”—is right. In Hebrew, that means
it sets out a right path or lays out a right track. And the result is joy to the heart. Do you rejoice in your heart to know that you are right about something? When you get into a controversy with somebody and he/she argues with you but you have the solid assurance that you are right—what a feeling! Well, that is the way it is with the Word of God. The glorious thing about His Book is that when the story is all told, when everything is said and done it will all end up just as it is written here. This Book is right, it is the way things really are.

I know you want a happy life. I know you want peace, joy, meaning, and purpose. I
know you want the fullness of life that everybody seeks. The Bible says, “[Happy] are those
who hear the word of God and keep it” (Luke 11:28). Why? Because God blesses their
faithfulness and obedience. You can have a happy life without sin, without sex outside of
marriage, without drugs, and without alcohol. God is not a cosmic killjoy. I know some people
think He is. They think God runs around saying, “There’s one having fun; get him!” They
believe God wants to rain on everybody’s parade. But that isn’t so. God made you. He knows
how you operate best. And He knows what makes you happy. The happiness He gives doesn’t
stop when the party’s over. It lasts because it comes from deep within. Spend some time
reading and understanding the beatitudes in Matthew chapter 5.

THE BIBLE IS PURE

The Psalmist says the Word of God is “pure [lucid], enlightening the eyes.” The
simplest Christian understands things that many scholarly people don’t know. Because I know the Bible, things are clear to me that aren’t clear to others.

The autobiography of English philosopher Bertrand Russell, written near the end of his
life, implies that philosophy was something of a washout to him. That’s shocking. He spent his life musing on reality but was not able to get anywhere. I don’t believe the average individual is his equal intellectually, and yet, one can know the Word of God. Scripture enlightens the eyes, particularly concerning the dark things of life. Consider what the Bible has to say about death, disease, tragic things and the devastation of the world? Don’t you get sick of picking up the paper and reading about lying, cheating, murder, and war? Scripture deals with the tough issues of life and points us to the ONE who is in charge of the universe.

Look at the Christian who is facing death and see the joy characterizing his/her heart. I
have stood by the bedside of many Christians facing death and I have yet to see one frozen with fear. As a good friend and brother lay dying, my wife was at his bedside and his last words to her were, “I will be waiting for you on the shores of the eternal city of God.”

Do you have that kind of hope? Can you look death in the eye and say, “This is not the
end, it is but the beginning for me?” What can you say to someone who loses a child? What can you say to someone who loses a spouse to cancer or heart disease? Benjamin Franklin expressed this hope when he wrote his own epitaph:

THE BODY OF
BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, PRINTER,
(LIKE THE COVER OF AN OLD BOOK,
ITS CONTENTS WORN OUT
AND STRIPT OF ITS LETTERING AND GILDING)
LIES HERE, FOOD FOR WORMS!
YET THE WORK ITSELF SHALL NOT BE LOST,
FOR IT WILL, AS HE BELIEVED, APPEAR ONCE MORE
IN A NEWAND MORE BEAUTIFUL EDITION,
CORRECTED AND AMENDED
BY ITS AUTHOR! THE BIBLE IS CLEAN

Psalm 19:9 says that the Word of God in “clean, enduring forever.” It is without
darkness; it is clean, without dross and defilement. It is itself purified from all alloys, and is
purifying to those that receive and embrace it. It is the means the Spirit uses in enlightening the eyes; it brings us to a sight and sense of our sin and misery, and directs us in the way of duty.

The only things that last forever are things untouched by the devastation of sin. The
word of God is clean. It describes and uncovers sin, but it is untouched by evil. And even
though it is an ancient document, every person in every situation in every society that’s ever
existed can find in it things that endure forever. Here is a book that never needs another edition. It never needs to be edited, never has to be updated, never out of date or obsolete. It speaks to us pointedly and directly as it ever has to any one in any century since it was written. It is so pure that it lasts forever.

THE BIBLE IS TRUE

Finally, the Psalmist says that the Word of God is “true.” All the precepts of God are
framed in infinite wisdom and are therefore true. They are grounded upon the most sacred and unquestionable truths; they are righteous altogether. They accord with the truth and are a correct representation of the reality of things. They are not arbitrary, but are in accordance with what is right. There is not a single one of them that is not just and proper. All that God determines, whether in giving or in executing His laws—all in His requirements, and all in the administration of His government—are always and wholly righteous.

Scripture describes some people as “always learning and never able to come to the
knowledge of the truth” (2 Timothy 3:7). I am not talking about mathematical truth; I am
talking about the truth of life, death, God, man, sin, right, wrong, heaven, hell, hope, joy, and
peace. People can’t find it on their own. Yet, the Bible has the answers and they are true and
righteous altogether.

WHAT ABOUT MAN NEEDS TO BE CHANGED?

What is there about sinful man that needs to be changed? In order for man, lost in
darkness and sin to be saved, his thinking must be changed. His ignorance and unbelief must be changed into understanding and faith. Can the Bible bring about this change? We have just noticed the power of God’s word above. Also in Psalms 119:130 the psalmist said, “The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.” It makes no difference how much man may know about secular matters, unless he has a knowledge and understanding of God’s will, “the whole world lieth in wickedness” (I John 5:19). The Bible
can change that.

Only the Bible can change unbelief into faith. Romans 10:17 says, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Jesus also prayed, “Neither pray I for
these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word.” (John 17:20).
Believe through what? Through the word that would be preached by the apostles of Christ. Now look at an example of this in Acts 17:11-12:

“Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they
received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily, to see
whether these things were so. 12 Many of them therefore believed, along with
a number of prominent Greek women and men. “ NAS

The Word of God changed their unbelief into faith, and the Word of God is the only thing that has the power to do that. But faith alone is not enough. “Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only” (James 2:24). “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble” (v. 19). And verse 17 says, “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.” It is not enough that those formerly in ignorance and unbelief are now informed, and that they believe the truth of the gospel of Christ. There are many people who know what is right, but who have no desire to do right. I have had people tell me that they did not want to do right. That must be changed. This change is called repentance. Does the Word of God have the power to bring about repentance? The answer to that question is in II Corinthians 7:8-10:

“ For though I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it; though
I did regret it– for I see that that letter caused you sorrow, though only for
a while– I now rejoice, not that you were made sorrowful, but that you were
made sorrowful to the point of repentance; for you were made sorrowful according
to the will of God, in order that you might not suffer loss in anything through
us. For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance
without regret, leading to salvation; but the sorrow of the world produces death.” NAS

Therefore, Paul’s writing the Word of God to them brought about that change which we call
repentance. Romans 2:4 says:

“Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience,
not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?”

The only way one may know about the goodness of God is through his acquaintance with the
Bible. The Bible tells about God loving us, and providing the Scheme of Redemption, even at
the cost of His Son. It seems to me that a contemplation of God’s goodness would be enough to cause the sinner to repent and serve the Lord the rest of his days on earth.

But, of course, there are warnings, admonitions, reproofs, and promises contained in the
Bible as well. From the Bible we learn about the eternal punishment of the wicked, and about the eternal reward of the righteous. We learn about the resurrection of the dead, and about the judgment. Acts 17:30-31 says:

“In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people
everywhere to repent. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with
justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by
raising him from the dead.”

This says the impending judgment day should cause men to repent. But if it were not for the
Bible, then we would not know about the judgment. If what is contained in the Bible will not
bring about repentance, then repentance will not come about. Concerning the rich man’s five brethren, Abraham said, “If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be
persuaded, though one rose from the dead” (Luke 16:31). And so it is in our time; if the Bible
will not produce repentance, then there will be no repentance, regardless of what else may take place.

But there is more to man that needs changing than what he thinks, believes, and desires.
Man, in his lost and sinful condition, loves the things he should hate and hates the things he
should love.

I Jn 2:15-17 “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves
the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world—the
cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and
does– comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires
pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.” (NIV)

II Th 2:9-11 “The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance
with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs
and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing.
They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this
reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie” (NIV)

What a man loves is important. If he loves the wrong things, that needs to be changed. Can the Bible bring about the necessary changes? Look at I John 4:19: “We love Him, because He first loved us.” But, were it not for the Bible we would not know God loves us. How do you know God loves you? The Bible clearly teaches us about God’s love for us.

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten
Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” (NAS)

The Bible also teaches us that we must love God supremely.

Matt 22:37 “And He said to him,”‘ You shall love the Lord your God with all your
heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” (NAS)

Not only must we love God, we are taught to love the Lord Jesus Christ. In I Corinthians 16:22
Paul wrote, “If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha.”
(accursed and devoted to destruction when the Lord comes). One cannot follow the Bible
without having his affections properly placed in the Father and in His beloved Son, Jesus Christ. The Bible makes this change possible.

But it is possible for a man to learn the truth, believe the gospel, love God and His Word,
make up his mind to do right, and still be in a lost condition. After the Bible has wrought a
change in his intellect, his will, and his affections, man is still in a lost condition. Paul wrote in Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” Can the Bible
change man from his lost state to a saved state? Listen to the Bible:

Mark 16:16 “ Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not
believe will be condemned”. (NIV)

Acts 2:38 “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in
the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the
Holy Ghost.” (KJV)

ACTS 22:16 “And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy
sins, calling on the name of the Lord.” (KJV)

Gal 3:26-27 “You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you
who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” (NIV)

1 Pet 3:2121 “And corresponding to that, baptism now saves you– not the removal of dirt
from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience– through the resurrection of
Jesus Christ,” NAS

Just doing what the Bible teaches will bring about the change that is so needed by the sinner. Nothing more is needed to bring the sinner into a saving relationship with God. The Bible has the power to take a person who is groping in confusion and unbelief, and change him, giving him understanding and faith. It can take one whose desire is to fulfill every lust of the flesh and change him, making him want to do right. It can take one whose heart is set on the things of the world, things that are wicked and evil, and change him, making him love the things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, and things that are virtuous and praiseworthy, Philippians 4:8. And it can take the person who is lost because of the guilt of his sins and change him, and lead him to be baptized into Jesus Christ, so he will be cleansed by the blood of Christ and every sin forgiven, so he may stand as spotless and innocent as a little child.

The Word of God changed three thousand people on the day of Pentecost in Acts chapter
2. In Corinth the Word of God changed fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, effeminate, abusers of themselves with mankind, thieves, covetous people, drunkards, revilers, and extortioners into saints (I Corinthians 6:9-11). The Bible has changed thousands upon thousands, throughout the history of the world and it has never changed one for the worse.

While the gospel is God’s power unto salvation (Romans 1;16) it can be resisted by
anyone who chooses to resist it. God has made man a free moral agent and man has the power to choose whether or not he will allow himself to be changed by the Bible.
The Bible will change the lives of those men and women who will believe it and obey it.
It will save them, and take them to heaven. It will judge and condemn those who reject it. Jesus said in John 12:48-50:

“He who rejects Me, and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges
him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day. “For I did not
speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given
Me commandment, what to say, and what to speak. 50 “And I know that His
commandment is eternal life; therefore the things I speak, I speak just as the
Father has told Me.” NAS

Will you allow the Word of God (the Bible) to change and save you?

Questions

1. Why is the Bible an amazing book?
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2. What do various religious groups feel about the Bible having power to change lives?
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3. How has God communicated His message to man?
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4. What did the Psalmist say regarding the Law of the Lord in Psa 19:7-11?
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5. What about man needs to be changed?
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6. What did Jesus say His word would do in Jno 12:48-50?
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