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How Did We Get Our Bibles?

Can We Cound On The Bible?

INTRODUCTION: The Inspiration of the Bible

Tonight, I would like to begin a study of an important subject and one that many have expressed interest in. We want to examine how we can know that the Bible we have before us is the word of God in its completed state. In this study, it is truly my hope that I am “preaching to the choir”. I have great confidence that most, if not all of us, would unequivocally defend that Bible we have as the word of God. But can you prove it?

Why this study?

There are many reasons why I believe a study such as this is important and I have decided to preach these lessons: Reasons include:

· Because this is something many are interested in. When I announced this study last year, I received several comments of interest. While such is not a justifiable reason within itself, it is something to consider, especially since it at the foundation of our faith. The interest of people in this study is not the same as so many worldly attitudes that call for so-called “relevant” lessons on social issues and trends that barely skim the pages of the Bible, if at all, in their approach.
· Because our confidence in the Bible DOES relate to how we approach it. If we cannot with total confidence go to the Bible as the word of God, it will affect how we respond to its teachings, especially when such demands sacrifice or unpleasant results in our lives.
· We have a responsibility to ensure that what we believe and teach IS the Word of God. Consider 2 Tim. 2:15, rightly dividing the word of truth. The phrase, “rightly dividing” is from a Greek word which literally means “to cut straight.” It is found only here in the NT (and in the LXX in Prov. 3:6, “In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” & Prov. 11:5, “The righteousness of the blameless will direct his way aright, but the wicked will fall by his own wickedness.”). The idea is to lay a straight path with the word of God. In other words, we are to handle it accurately (cf. NASU). Doing this would not only apply to the message of the text, but also to verifying that what we have IS God’s word.
When we read that we are not to add to or take away from God’s word, we see this verified (Rev. 22:18-19, Deut. 12:32, Gal. 1:8-9, etc.)
· This study will help to increase our faith (i.e. verify) that what we have IS the Word of God. It never hurts to validate what you believe to be true. I suspect that some (if not most of us) at some point has asked questions (at least in our minds) about how can we know that what we have is the word of God. NOTE: I am not implying doubt, but questions. As I said earlier, I am preaching to the choir. But does our faith need to be blind? Can we verify that what we have is the truth? You need the confidence and tools to explain what you believe.
· Because the Word of God will be the standard by which we will be judged (Rom. 2:16, John 5:24-29, 12:48, Rev. 20:12, etc.). Should we not verify that what we have is the completed word of God?
· Because we live in a society that doubts, mocks and assaults the inspiration of the Bible and those who follow it on a regular basis. Such is seen and heard in the media on a regular basis, taught in our schools and universities and even legislated in our courts and capitols. In 2006, the DaVinci Code movie was released which was an assault on the teachings of the Bible about Jesus. In recent years, we have heard of books being released such as the Gospel of Judas and the Gospel of Thomas, and other books which have caused many to question the completeness of the Bible. These are just a handful of examples of how the Word of God in the Bible has been assaulted. What proofs do we have such works do NOT belong in the Bible? How do we answer these critics?
· Because you need to be able to defend the integrity of the Bible with those who question it – IF you discuss the Bible with others on a regular basis you HAVE come across those who have problems with the integrity of the Bible (i.e. Catholics say it is incomplete, Muslims say it is full of errors, liberal theologians and churches say it is not the verbally inspired word of God or outdated, but rather a guide of suggestions and principles whose details are left to our discretion. Others say its writers, while in contact with Jesus Christ and influenced by God, were not inspired in their wording. They presented ideas from God, but with their own interpretations.
There is also much discussion about it being full of errors or that it has been corrupted over the centuries [via translations].)
1 Peter 3:15 tells us to give a defense for the hope that is in us. Could you defend the integrity of the Bible?
· Because we don’t have to blindly deny the things critics of the word of God say. Our God has never demanded blind obedience to Him. While He does call for faith, there has ALWAYS been proof that set Him apart from that which is false. His Word is no different.
There are ways to prove and verify that which comes from God and to reject that which does NOT come from Him. Our study will be directed toward that end. Since God wants us to understand what His will is (Eph. 5:17), does it not make sense that He has provided for us to prove His will?
2 Peter 1:16 says, “For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ…”
1 Thess 1:5, “ For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance, as you know what kind of men we were among you for your sake.”

In this study we will examine some of the following topics –

· We shall establish first and foremost that the Bible IS inspired by opening it and examining its qualities and looking at evidence which validates it and sets it apart from other so-called inspired works.
· We will examine the path that leads from God to the men who wrote the actual books, both Old and New Testament.
· How do we know that the 66 books we have in our Bible are the only inspired books and ALL of the inspired writings we need? We will verify that both the Old Testament and New Testament we have are both reliable.
· Is the Bible accurate or are there errors in interpretation? IS what we have, just “a copy of a copy of a copy” or is there more to it?
· Related topics - There are many terms we hear people speak of from time to time (including in classes and sermons) which are relevant to this discussion. Terms such as the Apocrypha, the Dead Sea Scrolls, Canon, the Early Church Fathers, etc. We will briefly identify these subjects and see how they relate to the inspiration of the Bible.
· Methods of translation – noting the number of resources available and consulted in creating a valid translation
· Translating the Word of God (Bible) into English (History of English translations).
· Why so many English translations? Some of the differences. Why are some more reliable than others?

I. About the Bible

a. The word “Bible” is from the Greek word, ß?ß???? (Biblion) and simply means a book or scroll.
b. It is found some 32 times in the New Testament and its equivalents more than 180 times in the Old Testament (translated in the LXX). Easton’s Bible Dictionary notes that the name was given to “the Library of Divine Revelation” in the 5th century.
c. But the word, in our language has been watered down to refer to “any book, reference work, periodical, etc., accepted as authoritative, informative, or reliable.” I.e. The hunter’s Bible, etc. (Random House Dictionary)
d. As we refer to the Bible in our study, we are making reference to what we accept to be the word of God revealed to us exactly as He desired it to be written – namely, the 66 books which comprise the Old and New Testaments.
We reject other books that are accepted by some as inspired, such as the Apocrypha and the creedal writings of books such as the Book of Mormon, the Qur’an, The New World Translation (Jehovah’s Witnesses) and supplements such as Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures (Church of Christ Scientist), Watchtower publications, etc.
e. We need to understand that the Bible we have before us was not something thrown together by some groups of men based upon their opinions and whims, but something that has been scrutinized, tried and proven to be the word of God itself, as He intended for us to have it (cf. 1 John 4:1, .

II. The Inspiration of the Bible

a. The term inspiration literally means, “the breath of God” or “God breathed.” It has reference to that which is divinely recorded in writings as uttered and directed by God, while using the attributes of the authors.
b. The word is found only once in scripture – 2 Tim. 3:16 where we read that all writings inspired of God are profitable to give us all that we need.
c. The Bible claims inspiration. Throughout scripture, both in the Old Testament and the New Testament we find claims of the Bible being inspired (the Word of God).
i. Quite frequently, the message is revealed as if God is speaking.
Exodus 24:3-4, “So Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord and all the judgments. And all the people answered with one voice and said, "All the words which the Lord has said we will do." And Moses wrote all the words of the Lord…”
ii. We frequently read in the prophets, “Thus says the Lord”. In fact that expression is found more than 400 times in the Old Testament.
Isaiah 1:2, “The Lord has spoken”
iii. 1 Corinthians 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.”
iv. Ephesians 3:3-5, Paul mentioned “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)…”
v. 1 Cor. 2:10-13 finds Paul clearly noting that his message was not from man, but from God.
vi. 1 Timothy 4:1, “Now the Spirit expressly says…”
d. The scriptures claim to be true –
i. Psalm 119:128, “Therefore all Your precepts concerning all things, I consider to be right; I hate every false way.”
Psalm 119:151, “You are near O Lord, and all Your commandments are truth. Concerning Your testimonies, I have known of old that You have founded them forever.”
ii. John 17:17, “Sanctify them by Your truth, Your word is truth.”
iii. Ephesians 4:21, says, “as the truth is in Jesus.”
e. The scriptures claim perfection – a characteristic which demonstrates that it is from God.
i. 2 Tim. 3:16, 17 – All scripture is given by inspiration and is profitable…to make the man of God complete.
ii. Psalm 19:7-9 – the law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul.
iii. James 1:17 says, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” Would not the word of God be included in this?
Jas 1:25 would then describe “the perfect Law of liberty” that we are to look into.
iv. John 10:35, scripture cannot be broken – Jesus was defending His works.
f. The scriptures claim completion
i. 2 Pet. 1:3, He has given us “all things that pertain to life and godliness.”
ii. Jude 3 is a passage that reminds us there will be no other message after this one.
iii. Galatians 1:6-9 – there is not another gospel.
g. We have recorded in scripture that men received from God that which He intended.
i. 2 Pet. 1:19-22 speaks of the prophetic word confirmed (that which prophets had spoken of centuries earlier was now manifested and fulfilled) which we need to heed. He proceeds to identify how holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. This verse VERIFIES that what the prophets spoke was not their own message.
ii. Consider the corrupt prophet Balaam. While he was a prophet of God, his motives were evil. Nonetheless, as he prophesied for God he had NO power to change the message he was to deliver (Num. 22:18, 24:13-14, etc.). Could not the same be said of the written word?
iii. Galatians 1:12 notes that what Paul taught did not come from man, but “through the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
iv. Jesus promised His apostles that the Helper, the Holy Spirit would guide them into “all truth” – John 16:13-14. They in turn recorded this message.

We have shown internally that the Bible claims to be inspired. Because the Bible claims inspiration, we must take it seriously and we ought to verify its claims. They go hand in hand. Furthermore, we should be prepared to defend the word of God as much as we defend God and our Savior to those who doubt. It is with this in mind that I believe this study to be needed.

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