in-between studies

Truth in the Word

Can we trust the Bible?

Many will refute the possibility that books like Job are about an actual man, due to the peek into Heaven in the beginning, and then the confrontation from God to Job in the end.  I personally love the book of Job.  We get to see God showing a regular man how insignificant man is.  My favorite part is below, specifically because the proud Job gets shut down.  Who are we to speak against what God has done?  Is He not able to write a book and keep it pure forever for us to read?  Why do we doubt His power? Why do we doubt that God is God, and therefore can do whatever He wishes?

Job 40:1-14

The Lord said to Job:

“Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him?
Let him who accuses God answer him!”

Then Job answered the Lord:

“I am unworthy—how can I reply to you?
I put my hand over my mouth.

I spoke once, but I have no answer—
twice, but I will say no more.”

Then the Lord spoke to Job out of the storm:

“Brace yourself like a man;
I will question you,
and you shall answer me.

“Would you discredit my justice?
Would you condemn me to justify yourself?

Do you have an arm like God’s,
and can your voice thunder like his?

Then adorn yourself with glory and splendor,
and clothe yourself in honor and majesty.

Unleash the fury of your wrath,
look at all who are proud and bring them low,

look at all who are proud and humble them,
crush the wicked where they stand.

Bury them all in the dust together;
shroud their faces in the grave.

Then I myself will admit to you
that your own right hand can save you.

If we as Christians cannot take the Bible as a whole truth, then we are in essence debating the validity of the entire thing.  For example, if I told you the sky was blue, but the sun was purple, would my statement be true or false?  Even if only part of my statement is false, it renders the entire statement untrue because of the lie.

You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God.” – Matthew 22:29, words of Jesus

There is no such thing as a half truth.  Truth is not subjective (ie: what is true for you is not true for me).  Maybe you think dogs are better than cats, and so you think it is true that dogs are better.  This is not a truth, it is your opinion.  Opinion is not truth.  There is only one source of truth that matters, and it can be found in the pages of the Bible.

Where did this Bible of truth come from?

The Holy Scriptures, which consist of the 66 books divided into the Old and New Testaments were written over a period of 1500 years.  Although it is unclear how the 39 books of the Old Testament were gathered and finally decided upon, they were bound and read aloud as ‘the Word of God’ in synagogues by the time Jesus was born.  Jesus and the apostles refer to the Hebrew Bible as ‘the Word of God’, ‘the Scriptures’, and ‘the Law’ (similar to how we espouse the entire Bible).

The Hebrew Bible is divided into 3 parts: the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings (called the Tanakh).  In 250 B.C. the books were arranged to what we have today: historical, poetic, and prophetic; and translated from Hebrew to Greek (called the Septuagint).  After the Reformation in the 16th century, the Protestant churches decided to use the Hebrew Bible rather than the Septuagint for the translation of the Old Testament to make sure the translation was accurate, but they kept the order of the books the same.

The New Testament is a collection of writings and letters written by apostles of Christ, or written under the direction of them.  Though there were several letters written during the early days of Christianity, only the ones written by those that were directly called by Christ were chosen (Luke 6:13, Acts 9, Galatians 1:1).  During the lifetime of Eusebius (A.D. 264-340, a church historian persecuted for his faith and endurance to Scripture) the books were compiled into what we know today.  He became the chief religious adviser for Emperor Constantine who accepted Christianity and had 50 copies (hand printed) made for the churches of Constantinople.  In 397 A.D.  those 27 books were adopted unanimously &  formally at the Council of Carthage as the New Testament.

How do we know it is translated correctly?

There are over 4,000 known manuscripts of the Bible (full and partial) in existence, made between 2-15 A.D.  In comparison, one of the other ‘oldest books in existence’: Homer, has no complete known copy any earlier than 1300 A.D. (originally written around 7 B.C.).  Our biblical copies, when compared to the originals, are nearly exact.  Because of the method of copying by hand, some errors that have been found are missing letters, reversed words, or an occasional but rare missed line.  None of these errors changes the validity or meaning of the text.

The Scriptures are the only verbally inspired Word of God, proven by the prophecies within, the final authority for faith and life, inerrant in the manuscripts, infallible, and God-breathed.

Why should the Bible be believed as truth?

There are several reasons, the first being that the Scriptures accurately detail prophetic events that have taken place.  The Bible is full of prophesy, but one in particular that stands out is Daniel’s prophecy of the coming Messiah and the destruction of the Jerusalem & the temple.  Go here, as this guy is very good at documenting all of that and the history surrounding it.

Secondly, we can believe the Bible as truth because of the numerous archeological discoveries that have validated the text.  Criticism of the Bible became rampant in the 19th century and the idea spread that the details mentioned in the texts was untrue because of lack of evidence.  For example, it was assumed that since the only place the Hittites were mentioned was in the Bible, that they were simply a figment of the Bible’s author’s imagination.  But in 1884 near the village of Bogazkoy in Turkey, thousands of ancient documents were found denoting the large empire of the Hittites.  There are tons of examples like this, where we men try to fit God inside their little box, when in reality, they should be trying to fit their discoveries into His word.

How should we approach the Bible?

  • Reverently – We are handling the very words of God and we must never take that fact lightly.  2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
  • Humbly – We are always the student and never the teacher when it comes to the Bible.  Since it is God’s word, the truth presented in the Bible is superior to our ideas and opinions.  We submit to God’s truth.  Romans 15:4 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.
  • Seriously – The Bible deserves and requires serious attention, devotion, and study.  Acts 17:11 Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.
  • Like other books – The Bible is a book and it must be treated like a book.  It has an author, a plot, and a purpose, and we must study it with that in mind.  John 5:39 You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me.

What does the Bible teach us?

The Bible is God’s revealed word to us that teaches us the overarching story of our existence.  The Bible is the story of God, His Son, and His Holy Spirit, and how He interacts with us.  God is the author, the hero, and the point of the entire book.  Although the Bible does present a code of morality, it is much more than a disconnected collection of stories about how we should behave.  It is a seamless story which teaches us about what God has done on our behalf and how we are to appropriately respond to Him.

The Bible is the correct and only explanation of reality.  The principles and attitudes set forth in the Bible are the only way to be secured eternally.  Although the Bible is not exhaustive in giving us long recollections and diagrams of history explaining everything there is to be known, it gives us exactly what we need.  It provides us with the necessary information that we need to move from this life to the next that is not provided anywhere else.

When should I start to read the Bible?

Now!  Whether you have been assured of your salvation, or are full of questions, the Bible holds the answers and reinforcement needed to wade through the muck of this world.  What if I told you that God had written a letter, just for you.  Would you read it?  Or would you put it up on a shelf, only to be forgotten?  Jesus gives us warning to be ready in the many parables He spoke while here.  How else will we be made ready if we cannot open God’s Word He so graciously gave?

Luke 12

35 “Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning, 36 and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the wedding feast, so that they may open the door to him at once when he comes and knocks. 37 Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will dress himself for service and have them recline at table, and he will come and serve them. 38 If he comes in the second watch, or in the third, and finds them awake, blessed are those servants! 39 But know this, that if the master of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have left his house to be broken into. 40 You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”

41 Peter said, “Lord, are you telling this parable for us or for all?” 42 And the Lord said, “Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom his master will set over his household, to give them their portion of food at the proper time? 43 Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. 44 Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions. 45 But if that servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed in coming,’ and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and get drunk, 46 the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, and will cut him in pieces and put him with the unfaithful. 47 And that servant who knew his master’s will but did not get ready or act according to his will, will receive a severe beating. 48 But the one who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, will receive a light beating. Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.

References: 
Haley’s Bible Handbook
Wikipedia
The Bible (New International Version, & English Standard Version)
BibleGateway.com
http://ancientpathblog.com

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