In the book of Esther, we see the sovereign power of the Persian Monarchs.
Their word was law. Xerxes (Ahasuerus) made decrees, published everywhere, no
one questioned it, enforced, could not be changed. The problem with that is
man makes mistakes, and he needs to change his rules sometimes.
God is our sovereign – Sovereign over all. His law makes no mistakes and shall not be repealed nor changed by a new ruler.
Key thought of this study. I Pt 1:24-25. Always has, always will.
Sometimes the question is asked, “How do we know we have the Bible as God wrote it? Can I trust the Bible? Man has put his hand in translating etc. Can I have trust?”
We want to answer that question in this lesson, so that if you have doubts, you can leave here knowing we have all the evidence we need to confirm our faith that what we have in our hands is indeed the word of God. There is no reason to doubt.
First, how did we get our Bible.
New Testament Epistles Were
For More than One Church
1. For the churches of one province Ga 1:2; Col 4:16
How sent to all? Did Paul send copies? Done somehow.
2. For all churches of many provinces I Pt .1:1
Asia Minor. Circular arrangement.
3. For all churches everywhere 1 Co 1:2. (Map chart #3)
So the Colossians would have at least 4 letters. Col, then in the
province of 1 Pt 1:1 and 2 Pet, and the Laodician (Eph) letter. Also I Cor since written there and it was for all the churches.
BTW, archaeologists have recently uncovered the tel of Colossae.
Obligations of N.T. Churches That Received Apostolic Epistles.
1. Recognize Apostolic Authority
2. Authenticate Them
3. Duplicate Them
4. Obey Them 2 Th 1:7-9
The remainder of our lesson will show how well they did these 4 things.
Recognition of Apostle’s Authority.
1. At the Beginning of Paul’s writing career. 2 Th 3:6, 12-14
No disagreement, no dispute. God spoke!!
2. At the Middle. I Co 14:37-38
3. At the End. 2 Tm 3:16-17 Bible-How 1 Catholic church says Bible is Holy today because the church
approved it – authorized by the church. That’s backwards.
God authorized the Bible – not the church.
Each letter by itself, is authoritative.
Didn’t need other letters to back them up, but they did.
The Scripture says:
l Tm 5:17-18 Dt 25:4
First part of I Tm 5:18 quotes Dt 25, but the latter part quotes Luke. Classified equally. Gospel of Luke is scripture.
2 Pt 3
Peter’s Epistles v.1-2 Prophets of O.T. and words of Jesus spoken by apostles are equal.
Paul’s V.15 Scripture
Others’ V.16 All equal in inspiration.
v.15 Should interpret the difficult by the simple. Those ignorant of the simple
will twist the hard to know.
V. 16 “The rest" of the scriptures referred to.
God didn’t expect them to be gullible, nor us.
We hear a lot of whining today. Feel sorry for ourselves – “so many problems, false teachers, divisions." They had same problems.
We have Joe Smith, Mary Baker Eddy, Ellen C. White, Mohammed.
They too. Rev 2:6. John called the names of this denomination. V.15 Doctrine or teaching.
Rev 2:2 Had to be tested. 2 Cor 11:13. How? 12:12; I Jn 4:1, 6
Paul called names of individuals and denominations 2 Tim 1:15; 2:16-18; 4:14. Sometimes we need to.
2 Th 2:1-2 Not only false prophets, but there were epistles forged saying they were from Paul. How could they know? How could they prove an inspired document vs. an uninspired? Had to use common sense. There are ways to authenticate.
1. Signed with own hand. 2 Th 3:17; Ga 6:ll
Expand on difficulty of forgery – a science.
A. Penmanship - - letter strokes. Know his handwriting.
B. Phrases used - - sounds like Paul.
C. Personal references - - “when I was with you...”
2. Sent by a known associate of Paul or the church. 2 Co 7:6-8 Titus brought 1st letter. Now brings 2nd. 8:16-18. Bible-How 2
Either of these methods was sufficient – both would be super-sufficient
(Expand. Like me receiving a letter from my wife signed by her hand, and carried by my son saying it is her letter. I trust him, I know her handwriting. Two unshakeable evidences. I would be a fool not to believe it is from my wife. Likewise the churches accepted Paul’s letters.)
1. Accept Paul’s Authentication
2. Pass the facts on to others - - “Paul sent this letter.”
1. Case of Colossians. Co 4:16 (Probably Eph letter). These three churches made a triangle and the Ephesian letter would go to Laodicea, then be sent to Colossae. Both were carried by Tychicus it seems. “Have it read.” Possible action: Gift; loan; keep copy, send original; or send copy, keep original. They were no different than us. Which would you do? Common sense say don’t get rid of our original copy from Paul. Duplicate, send copy. Keep original because he wrote it to us. Keep for further study.
2. Case of Corinthians.
Diff. from Gal and Pet
So personal, not general. No question who wrote it. Yet, still to be spread. Paul’s expectation – Corinthians would share with all, their unique problems.
3. Case of Galatians and Asians.
Possibility. Circulation, duplication, or a combination of the
two. Can’t be sure. But you can be sure that after the letter was read, it would be copied before sent on.
Many are disturbed about lost books or some of the NT that is disputed. No such thing in reality. Fairy tales. Blown out of proportion by atheists. Yes, there were books written by uninspired men – they are not lost books, just never accepted by the church because weren’t inspired. Like the “Gospel of Judas.” People KNOW it was written around 150-180. Not possible to be written by Judas. Used words that they only used in the 2nd century. It was NEVER accepted by the Christians, and it contradicted the rest of the Bible. Only one copy, never attached to the Bible. Not once in all these copies. I could write a fictional book and call it the gospel of Timothy. Should you accept it because I called it the Gospel?
Gospel of Mary. Same thing. Only one. Never with the Bible. 5th century. And there were liberal brethren in the first century as there are today who wanted to reject John and his writings, (3 Jn 9-10) or Paul’s (the Judaizers wanted to reject Paul).
But early church accepted them. They had evidence we don’t. They knew
these men personally and knew the situations. We don’t We have faith in
God that He would preserve it like he said he would. There may have been some
puzzles, like why did John never use his name in the Gospel of John, but no
one ever questioned it was written by John. Bible-How3
We don’t have all the information they had and the eyewitnesses. Just like we still believe there was a George Washington and Japan exists. We trust they verified the witnesses. I never saw George Washington, nor did I talk to the ones who have seen him. Just a historical figure in books. But there is NO DOUBT he existed. NO DOUBT about the Bible. There is more written about Jesus than Washington. We accept him, why not Jesus?
Bible Mss. Of NT
When KJV was translated in 1611, it uses the Textus Receptus Greek N.T. put out by Erasmus. He only had 6 Greek texts to use and they all dated from the 12th Century or later. And parts were missing and he used the Latin to fill in. It relied heavily on the Latin Vulgate that was 1000 years old, but look how accurate still.
When England decided they needed to update the King James version about 250
years later, they used Edwin Palmer’s Greek text. He used all the Greek
manuscripts he had available and compiled them and put out his Greek N.T. in
1881AD. Note the Greek copies he had and compare to what we have today.
1881AD Copies 2013AD
0 Papyri 88 Ancient copies, 2-3 centuries
19 Uncials 267 All caps 4-8 centuries
950 Cursives 2764 Cursive (later copies)
400 Lectionaries 2145 Selections–topical Bible
Minuscules (7-9 cent). Lower case writing of a certain style. 8000
Versions (Latin, Syriac, Armenian, Cyrillic, etc) 19284 and growing
The N.T. church did its work well. They copied and reproduced and did it accurately, and so did the following believers. The Chester Beatty Papyri is housed up in Michigan, and it is dated to about 150AD, just about 100 years after Paul died! WOW! And it has Paul’s works, and parts of some others. You don’t have copies like this of “lost books” because the first century Christians knew they were not inspired and they were not copied and revered as the inspired writings were.
(Chart #12). Fragment of John 150AD.
Not to be worried anything left out. Those copying were honest men – not going to intentionally do anything. Therefore, nothing left out. Sometimes the first or last leaves are missing because they fell off. But sometimes notes were added by the scribe in the margin, and therefore sometimes copied by the next person. But that is no problem. There are 1000s of copies, and when you see 1 out of 1000 has this one sentence added, you know what happened. And logically, the ones that have more are usually the more recent manuscripts.
manuscripts Versions Writers
Vulgate (4th cent)
1388 Wycliffe (14th) (1000 years later. Translating to
1534 Tyndale Another language was heresy. His
Coverdale body was exhumed and burned)
Great (Tyndale was killed for his work.) Geneva
1611 KJV (17th) (80% was Tyndale’s work)
1881 American Standard (18th)
Compare KJV that practically had no Greek manuscripts with those today translated from the ancient Greek manuscripts. Very little difference. Mostly a language problem. KJV uses Latin names and the later translations use Greek names.
(Chart #14) So, can I trust the Bible?
There is no science more technical than NT criticism. Examining and re-examining. We have today the same Bible they had. You can take your bible and teach people about Jesus and they can be saved just like they were in the first century. We can preach it exactly like Paul did.
We have all the confidence in the world in our Bible.
We end how we started. I Pet 1:24-25. It has endured and will endure.
All our confidence in the Bible will do us no good to know this unless obey. God speaks to you, as surely as if He wrote this letter directly to you with His own hand. We hold in our hands God’s will for us. It is His desire for us. What will you do with Jesus?
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