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Sunday, February 9, 2013 am                Bible Index

 

BACK TO BASICS – 6
The Bible – 2
Is the Bible Inspired?
Can We Understand the Bible?

 Today we continue our study about the Bible.  Last week, we introduced the Bible and discussed what it is.  In our lesson today we want to address 2 questions about the Bible.  1) Is the Bible the Inspired Word of God?  2) Can we understand the Bible?  This is our task this morning. (Tonight we will talk about the integrity of the Bible we have now).

 I.                    Is the Bible the Inspired Word of God?

a.        What do we mean by inspiration? 

                                                   i.      It is important that we establish that the Bible is the word of God.  In so doing, we see a message “from God to us” that ought to be heeded. 

                                                  ii.      But, it is admitted that the Bible was written by men (some 40 authors).  Was what they wrote their own findings or did God actually give them the words?  It is only the latter that renders the Bible as a book worthy of reverence. 

                                                iii.      As noted last week, the word inspiration means, “God breathed” or that which comes from the mouth of God. (cf. Matt. 4:4).  What it means is that the words we have recorded in scripture (and that were first spoken), while being transmitted through men using their personalities and abilities, is still the exact message that God intended to be conveyed.

b.       Passages addressing inspiration

                                                   i.      In the same way that the Bible claims to be the word of God (continually) it claims inspiration.  And they are certainly related, if not synonymous. 

                                                  ii.      2 Tim. 3:16-17“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.  NOTE: The word “writings” is from the Greek word, “graphe” significant here as it notes that not only the teachings of the apostles and their associates (and the prophets) were inspired, but the writings themselves.

                                                iii.      2 Pet. 1:19-20, “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; knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.

c.        The character of the Bible

                                                   i.      We again appeal to the character of the Bible – written over 1600 year, by about 40 men in 3 languages, etc. with a cable of unity throughout that is only possible with the help of a designer greater than the work itself.

                                                  ii.      Prophecies – one of the things the apostles appealed to was the prophecies –  Acts 3:18

                                                iii.      Add to this, its influence in the world, its historical and scientific accuracy, its “unexcelled moral tone”,  its stile of brevity and calmness, etc. 

d.       The Biblical process of transmission (How do we get from God to the Bible is His word?) for the New Testament is as follows.

                                                   i.      God – we begin with God.  Our premise is to demonstrate it is His word.  He has PRIMAL authority!  Cf. Acts 17:22-24
Heb. 1:1-2 – the claim.  He has in these last days spoken to us by His Son. 

                                                  ii.      He DELEGATED that authority to Jesus – Matt. 28:18, John 14:10, 24, “Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works.He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me.

                                                iii.      The Holy Spirit REVEALED the message.  As Jesus was about to die, He promised that a Helper would come.  We read of Him in John 14:24-26, “He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me. “These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.
John 16:7–15 “Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me; of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.” “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.
IN Matt. 10:16-20 He instructed them that the Holy Spirit would give them the words they needed.

                                                iv.      The apostles and others DELIVERED the message (Apostles were ambassadors).
 While on this earth, Jesus trained His apostles (and others) to carry on the work after He left.  They did the job – at first orally.
Acts 2:1-4 records the Holy Spirit falling on the apostles and immediately they spoke in tongues (languages) and began preaching. 
But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God 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 that have been freely given to us by God.” (1 Corinthians 2:9–12, NKJV)
Their message was extraordinary - “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.” (Acts 4:13)
2 Corinthians 5:18–20, speaking of the apostles as AMBASSADORS,  Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.

                                                  v.      These inspired men RECORDED the message of God – In their writings they claimed inspiration and with their lives they backed it up! 
1 Cor. 11:23, 15:3, “For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received…”
1 Cor. 14:37
If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things which I write to you are the commandments of the Lord.

“How that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ),” (Ephesians 3:3–4)

Peter said, “Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle (in both of which I stir up your pure minds by way of reminder), that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior,” (2 Peter 3:1–2)

John wrote, “We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.” (1 John 4:6)

                                                vi.      And thus we have the written word of God.

                                               vii.      The OT is similar, beginning with God, delivered directly to prophets (in various ways), spoken and written down (cf. Heb. 1:1, 2 Pet. 1:19-20)

e.       Consider the inspiration of the Bible, what we have is:

                                                   i.      Complete – 2 Tim. 3:16-17, Jude 3

                                                  ii.      irrevocable, unbreakable – John 10:35, Luke 16:17

                                                iii.      Inerrant – John 17:17, Psa. 19:7, 119:160, The entirety of Your word is truth, And every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever.

 

 II.                  Can WE Understand the Bible

a.        The challenge – today there are so many different religions, even among believers in the Bible.  Why?  Does this mean we cannot understand the Bible?  There are some who will you, “You understand the Bible your way and I understand the Bible my way.  We should not judge each other.”  That argument is not logical nor is it accurate, especially when we consider that we are dealing with the word of God.  I am a firm believer that we CAN understand the Bible alike.  Let us consider this for a few moments.

b.       The Bible claims to be “truth” (John 17:17).  That means that its message is unmistakable.  When you have 2 differing views of a teaching, both CANNOT be right.  They can both be wrong, but truth by its very nature only has one conclusion (given context).  Our quest is to find THE TRUTH!
We apply this in society every day.  Why do people flock to stores for a sale on the same day and expect a product to be sold for a specified price?   Because the advertisement is understandable (unless there are deceptive practices – and you CANNOT compare that to God’s word).
How can people across the country take the same recipe and create the same dish?  Because the recipe is accurate and FOLLOWED!

c.        We are told we can understand it

                                                   i.      Ephesians 3:3–4 again says, “how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ),

                                                  ii.      Ephesians 5:17, “Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

                                                iii.      Jesus said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ ”” (Matthew 4:4)   If we cannot understand the will of God, how can we live by it?

d.       We are told to speak the same thing.

                                                   i.      1 Cor. 1:10, “Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

                                                  ii.      Philippians 2:2 “fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.

                                                iii.      How can we have true unity if we cannot understand God’s word?

e.       The same thing was taught everywhere in every church

                                                   i.      Paul did it For this reason I have sent Timothy to you, who is my beloved and faithful son in the Lord, who will remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach everywhere in every church.” (1 Corinthians 4:17)

                                                  ii.      Peter acknowledged the preaching of Paul – 2 Pet. 3:16

                                                iii.      John to the 7 churches of Asia.  While chapters 2 & 3 are addressed to 7 different congregations, each with an independent message, it was NOT a different gospel. The same gospel was applied to deal with different circumstances.  At the conclusion of EACH letter we read, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” (Revelation 2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22)

f.         The claims of scripture we have already discussed bear this out –

                                                   i.      2 Tim. 3:16-17 – with God’s word we can be complete

                                                  ii.      2 Peter 1:3-4 – His divine power has given us “all things that pertain to life and godliness.”

g.        So why is there so much division and diversity of views with the Bible?  While the reasons are varied, it’s not God’s fault – it is in man’s approach to His word.  Either man has faulty attitudes or poor study habits.  We’ll address that next week as we discuss how to study the Bible. 
Jesus rebuked poor application of scripture in passages like Matt. 22:29
Jesus answered and said to them, “You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God.  That’s just one example.  You also have the rebuke of Nicodemus in John 3:10, “Jesus answered and said to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not know these things?

h.       NOTE: IT does need to be said that there are things we don’t fully understand about God and even subjects that are addressed in His word.  There are some things God doesn’t intend for us to fully understand.  BUT, when it comes to our salvation, how to serve Him and how to live – you can’t miss the point!

 

And thus we can see that the Bible is dependable.  WE can with confidence accept it as the word of God and with equal confidence, if we put forth diligent effort we can understand its message and have assured hope that we are pleasing to God.  What about you? Is His word useful to you?