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Sunday, February 2, 2014 an                        Basics Index

Back to Basics
Give me the Bible – 1
What is the Bible?

 

In our study of getting back to the basics, we now turn to the word of God.  The next few lessons will address some fundamental elements of scripture.  Today we want to talk about the Bible in general.   We will identify what the Bible is and notice some things it tells us about itself.

 I.                     What is the Bible?

a.       The Bible is the account of God’s work and purpose for this world and his creation.  It is the story of the fall of man and his redemption.  It is a book whose focal point is Jesus as our Savior (He is even described as “the Word” – John 1:1-4, 14, cf. Rev. 19:11). It is a book about how to live that can transform lives for the best.

b.       The word “Bible” is from the Greek word, “Biblos” which means “book”.  The word is actually found about 45 times (40 verses) in the New Testament, referencing books as we use the term (Acts 19:19, 2 Tim. 4:13), scrolls (Rev. 1:11, Luke 4:17), the “book of life” (Rev. 3:5, 22:19, etc.), various books of the Bible such as psalms and Isaiah (Luke 3:4, 20:42), etc.

c.        Facts about the Bible

                                                   i.      It is a collection of 66 books (39 in the OT and 27 in the NT), written in 3 languages by about 40 different men from all different backgrounds – city and country, rich and poor, etc., on  3 continents, over a period of 1600 years – yet with a united message centering around the coming of our Savior.

                                                 ii.      It is divided into the Old and New Testaments (What is a testament? A Covenant)
Something we need to clearly understand and distinguish.

                                               iii.      It contains different literary styles as diverse as its authors– law, history, poetry, proverbs, parables, narrative, letters, apocalyptic writings, prophecy, etc.

                                                iv.      It was the first book to be mass produced (the Gutenberg Bible).  It is the number one best seller of all times.  According to Guinness World Records[1] - around 5 billion copies having been produced since 1815.  One source says that about 50 Bibles are sold every minute.[2]  As a whole, the complete Bible has been translated into 349 languages, with more than 2100 languages having at least 1 book translated.

d.       It is called: (Sound Doctrine Volume I)

                                                   i.      The book – Heb. 10:7,“Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come— In the volume of the book it is written of Me— To do Your will, O God.’ ”

                                                 ii.      The Law of the Lord – Psalm 19:7, “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple;

                                               iii.      The Word of God – Heb. 4:12; For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Luke 11:28, “But He said, “More than that, blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”” Eph. 6:17,

                                                iv.      The Word of Christ  - Col. 3:16“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” (Colossians 3:16, NKJV)

                                                  v.      The Gospel – Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. The word gospel means “good news.”  In Greek it is actually the word from which we get our word evangelize.

                                                vi.      The word of life – Phil. 2:16“holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.

                                              vii.      Words of the Lord – Psalm 12:6, “The words of the Lord are pure words, Like silver tried in a furnace of earth, Purified seven times.

                                            viii.      Holy Scripture, scripture – John 5:39,  You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.
Romans 1:2, “which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures,
Acts 17:11, “These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.
 The word “scripture” is a word that simply means, “writings” or a portion of a document. 

                                                ix.      Oracles of God – 1 Pet. 4:11, If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Rom. 3:2, Much in every way! Chiefly because to them were committed the oracles of God.” Heb. 5:12. “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food.

The word “oracle” means a saying, a message, an utterance.  In other words, it is a way of saying it is God speaking (more on this next week).

 

 II.                    How is the Bible described?

a.       Inspired – 2 Tim. 3:16, 17.  The word “inspired” means, “God breathed.”  The idea is that God is behind its message.  We will discuss this in greater detail in our next lesson when we talk about the Bible as inspired and understandable.
This text also describes it as profitable.  Thus it is useful.

b.       Truth – John 17:17, “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.” Truth means that which is actual, as in what actually happened.  It means that which is upright and dependable.  IT is the opposite of that which is false.
Psalm 119:151, “You are near, O Lord, And all Your commandments are truth.” (, NKJV)

c.        As a sword – Eph. 6:17, “And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;
Heb. 4:12, “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
The word of God is our offensive weapon with which we can engage our spiritual enemy. 

d.       As perfect – Psalm 19:7, “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple;
James 1:25,  But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.  The idea of being perfect is that it is not lacking (complete) and it is without error. 

e.        Living and powerful – Heb. 4:12, “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.  God’s word is not dead and ineffective.  It works at accomplishing its purpose.  The Bible can change lives and convict hearts.

f.         As a lamp (light) – Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.  One of the contrasts the Bible frequently uses is light and darkness.  Light being that which is good and darkness that which is evil.  Light exposes.  God’s word exposes our sins and the path in front of us.  It also exposes (reveals) God is in our lives to others (Matt. 5:14-16). 
2 Pet. 1:19, “And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts;

g.        Food – Matt. 4:4, Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.
1 Pet. 2:2 – “as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby,

Also, Hebrews 5:12-14 – which speaks of milk and meat.

h.       A mirror – James 1:22-25 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.  A mirror reflects the image of that which it is placed in front of.  The point of James is that we use the word of God to reveal who we are in God’s eyes. 

i.         A fire – Jer. 23:29, ““Is not My word like a fire?” says the Lord, “And like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?  Fire both energizes and purifies.  The word of God can spark zeal within us and it can certainly purify our hearts if applied, cf. 1 Pet. 1:22.

j.         A hammer – Also Jer. 23:29.  A hammer is a tool used to break down things and to build them up.  Similarly, the word of God can break through the hardened heart and be used to build it up again.

k.        Seed – Luke 8:11 in the parable of the Sower says, “The seed is the word of God.”, 1 Pet. 1:23-25 says, having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever, because “All flesh is as grass, And all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, And its flower falls away, But the word of the Lord endures forever.” Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you.

l.         Enduring – again 1 Pet. 1:25.  The word of God is indestructible.  Man has tried to destroy it in every conceivable way but without success.  Jesus said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.” (Matt. 24:35) 

m.      Perhaps there are other descriptions of God’s word, but these are sufficient to demonstrate the impact it can have in our lives.  BUT, it must be said that for God’s word to be effective and accomplish the results of these descriptions, it must be applied.  Matt. 7:21-23, James. 1:25

 III.                  What can the Bible do for us?

a.       It reveals God to us as we discussed in our last lesson – Rom. 1;16,17.  It is through His word that we learn how much He cares about us. 

b.       Give us life and lead us to salvation – John 20:30-31, “And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.
1 Cor. 15:1-2
Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:1–2, NKJV)

c.        It can give us faith – Rom. 10:17

d.       It can make us complete - 2 Tim. 3:16-17

e.        It gives us “all things that pertain to life and godliness.”  2 Pet. 1:3-5

f.         As such, it is a resource that governs how we live our lives for good, how to manage our relationships, etc.

g.        It can be a source of refuge in troubling times

h.       It gives us hope in a world that is drains the hope out of us.

 

And there you have it.  Much more can be said about the Bible and how important it is to us.  Dwight L. Moody said, “The Bible was not given for our information, but for our transformation.”  That about sums it up!  What effect has the Bible had in your life?