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Uncommon Things We Believe Series #1 A Proper View of Scripture 2 Peter 1:19-21  

18 Jan

Uncommon Things We Believe #1 A Proper View of Scripture (powerpoint file)

Uncommon Things We Believe Series #1

Most people know they need guidance for their lives. Just over a thousand randomly selected persons were surveyed recently on behalf of a life insurance/financial services company. 75% said they believed they were created by God for a purpose, but only 45% of those said they understood what that purpose was.

The questions more people in that survey said they would like to ask God than any other?

  1. “What is my purpose on Earth?”
  2. “Will I have life after death?”
  3. “Why do bad things happen?”

To some of us, it would seem strange that anybody would want to ask such things of God. We’d likely reply that He has already answered them.

Christians believe that God does communicate with the men and women He has created in His image and that the primary vehicle through which He does so is the Bible.

The Barna Research Group discovered a few years back that 10 % of the 1,000 people in one of its polls thought Joan of Arc was Noah’s wife, 16% were sure the New Testament contained a book written by Thomas the apostle, and 38% thought the Old and New Testaments were written a few years after the death of Jesus.

While it may be impractical and impossible for every Christian to be a genuine biblical scholar. It’s not unreasonable to expect that every Christian should be a regular reader and prayerful student of Scripture.

  • A goal for this  congregation in 2015 is to create an attitude toward the Word of God that will carry outside the walls of our classrooms and beyond the experience of a given worship assembly.
  • We want people to revere Scripture.
  • I will want to challenge us to dedicate more time to our 9:30 a.m. Bible classes here
  • We want to communicate both the importance, fun, and reward of Bible study.

Important Truth Concerning the Bible
Origin — The Bible is ultimately from God.

The psalmist declared, Psalm 119:11 (ESV) I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.

Our Lord himself announced that “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God” (Matt. 4: 4).

Paul had words of praise for the Christians at Thessalonica in that they received the gospel message, not as the word of men, “but, as it is in truth, the word of God” (I Thess. 2: 13).

There is surely a sense in which we may say God speaks to us through both nature and persons or events in our lives. But ultimately he has communicated with us through select persons called “prophets” and through the written accounts of their God-supplied messages.

(2 Peter 1:19-21)  And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. {20} Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. {21} For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

In this text, Peter affirms the value and trustworthiness of the early church’s Bible — the writings of the Old Testament prophets. He was emphatic in urging his own readers to “pay attention” to the words of Scripture for themselves.

This parallels Paul’s text about the Word of God: “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16-17).

Inspiration

Can we be sure that the writers who penned the original manuscripts did so infallibly?

Yes we can, and the process by which God protected the integrity of his word is called “inspiration.”

The expression “inspired of God” (literally in the Greek Testament, “God-breathed”) suggests that the divine Author of the sacred writings breathed into the minds of his select writers the exact message he wanted conveyed to mankind. And the biblical writers happily acknowledged this; they did not claim originality for their productions.

It is true, of course, that God utilized the talents, backgrounds, personalities, etc. of the inspired writers to convey His divine message. Nonetheless, it is an indisputable fact that the Lord so guided the sacred writers that they expressed Heaven’s will with absolute precision.

God enabled certain specially chosen individuals to know the otherwise unknowable or interpret the otherwise merely puzzling and communicate those insights correctly.  We believe the Bible in inerrant (without error) and authoritative.

Transmission

The original writings, which collectively came to be called the “Bible,” have faded into oblivion. Not a single one of those original autographs remains – and doubtless for good reason. Men, had they access to those ancient scrolls, would likely worship them rather than their Author. And so, in the providence of God, they have long since vanished.

Does that suggest, though, that the copies we now possess are not reliable as depositories of divine truth? Not in the least. Sacred oversight has seen to it that the Scriptures have been remarkably and accurately preserved – and the biblical record bears testimony to this.

For instance, Paul states that Timothy, from his earliest years, had known the sacred writings which were able to make the young man wise unto salvation (2 Tim. 3:15). The “sacred writings” here referred to are the books of the Old Testament.

Timothy had perhaps been guided by his godly mother and grandmother (2 Tim. 1:5) who doubtless took him to synagogue services whenever opportunity presented itself.

In the synagogue, the sacred text would be read. Obviously, however, those ancient synagogues possessed only copies of the original Old Testament autographs. The integrity of those narratives was so preserved, though, that Paul could affirm that their original design remained intact, that is, making men wise unto salvation.

Translation

The original text of the Bible was in three languages. The Old Testament was written in Hebrew (with some minor portions in Aramaic) and the New Testament was penned in Greek. Since most people do not read their Bibles in the original languages, they are dependent upon a translation.

The question is therefore appropriate: can one know that he is reading the genuine word of God even though he is employing a translation? Of course he can, and we need only to appeal to the New Testament itself to prove the point.

The most important version of the Old Testament was the Septuagint. In about 250 B.C., down in Alexandria, Egypt, the Hebrew Pentateuch was translated into Greek. The remainder of the Old Testament was done in piecemeal fashion, being completed by at least 117 B.C.

At the time Christ came to earth, this Greek translation had become the Bible of the Jewish people. This is doubtless why the writers of the New Testament, when appealing to the Old Testament, most often quoted from the Septuagint. In fact, of the three hundred or more quotations in the New Testament, the vast majority agree with the Septuagint.

The Lord Jesus himself frequently quoted from this version. Christ could even quote from the Greek translation and say:

(Matthew 22:31-32)  But about the resurrection of the dead–have you not read what God said to you, {32} ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’ ? He is not the God of the dead but of the living.”…demonstrating that the translation process did not destroy sacred truth.

Comprehension

But here is another question of great importance. What if one grants that the Scriptures have been faithfully transmitted and translated: is it not a fact that man’s mind is so hopelessly corrupt, and the Bible is a book so shrouded in mystery, that one cannot understand it without supernatural guidance?

No, that is not the truth (though it is commonly taught by both Catholic and Protestant theologians). Romanism alleges that the Bible “is but a dead letter calling for a divine interpreter” [Conway, The Question Box, 76], which is supposed to be the clergy of the Catholic Church.

And many sectarian groups contend that man is so depraved by sin that he cannot comprehend the teaching of the Bible; he is thus in “need of an inward supernatural teaching of the Spirit” [Hodge, Systematic Theology, 1, 671. Both of these views are quite erroneous.

In the parable of the sower, Jesus said that the good soil is “he that hears the word, and understands it” (Mt. 13:23).

(Ephesians 3:4)  In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ,

(Ephesians 5:17)  Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.

It has never ceased to amaze me that a host of demoninational teachers can all claim to have a supernatural, illuminating guidance of the Holy Spirit, and yet teach a hundred contradictory doctrines.

Any person who has an honest heart and strong desire to understand the will of God, if he will but exercise enough discipline to study hard, applying sound principles of interpretation, can comprehend the plain and essential elements of the Scriptures.

Demonstration

A mere theoretical knowledge of the Bible is worthless. Christ declared: Luke 11:28 (ESV)  But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”

We must allow the word of God to work in us: James 1:22 (ESV) But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

The Low View of Scripture Shared By Many

In general, the ungodly have a dangerously low view of Scripture. It is often so low that they reject it, hate it and in some cases try to destroy it and the person speaking it out. It can be like that even for the religiously ungodly:

I know you are Abraham’s descendants. Yet you are ready to kill me, because you have no room for my word. (John 8:37)

Therefore, as tongues of fire lick up straw and as dry grass sinks down in the flames, so their roots will decay and their flowers blow away like dust; for they have rejected the law of the LORD Almighty and spurned the word of the Holy One of Israel. (Isa 5:24)

But to the wicked, God says: “What right have you to recite my laws or take my covenant on your lips? You hate my instruction and cast my words behind you.” (Psa 50:16,17)

For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has rejected you as king. (1 Sam 15:23)

But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. (Rom 2:8)

Propositions to govern our thinking as we approach the subject of the authority of the Scriptures

  1. We have no right to hold a different view of Scripture than that held by Jesus himself.

There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; that very word which I spoke will condemn him at the last day. (John 12:48)

That is the first fact we must hold in mind as we come to this subject of the authority of the Word. To put it another way, the authority of the Bible rests squarely upon the authority of Jesus Christ himself.

To be a Christian at all means that we have fully accepted the authority of Jesus. It is an utter inconsistency to say that we accept what the Bible says about Christ and reject what He says about Scripture.

You see the utter inconsistency of that position? We cannot call him Lord, and say he has the right to choose our mates, and to pick our line of work, and to govern our life in all its attitudes and ways — even to trust our eternal destiny into his hands — but we cannot believe him when he speaks of the creation of man, or the sanctity of marriage, or the sinfulness of certain sexual acts.

  1. We have no right to views of Scripture which are different from the apostles’ view of Scripture.

The apostles, like our Lord, are our teachers. We are not theirs. It is Karl Barth who says, “We cannot stand and look over the apostles’ shoulders, correcting their work. It is they who stand looking over our shoulders, correcting our work.”

The apostles, in writing the New Testament, everywhere declare that their authority is simply the Lord’s authority. They, too, rest the authority of their words squarely upon the authority of the Lord Jesus.

These men who lived in the 1st century and associated with the Lord Jesus, who heard his words, and who so ministered in power throughout the world of their day as to transform the generation in which they lived, knew far more about what God thought and said than any man studying theology today.

  1. We can never discover the depths of Scripture’s insights into life without first accepting it as true and authoritative.

What I am saying is that we must first believe Scripture before we can understand it. As long as we keep asking, “Should this passage be here? Is it genuine, is it real? Has it been inserted? Is it a legend? Is it a fairy tale? Is it something that is merely the thinking of the apostles and was never in the mind of Christ?”

— if this is our constant approach then we can never get around to asking, “What does this say to me? What does it mean? Where is the wisdom hidden in this that I need so desperately in my life?”

Those students and pseudo-scholars who feel they are a final authority on what ought to be here, and what ought not to be here, never seem to be able to understand what is written. They never seem able to say anything about the depths of Scripture or the teaching of it, for they exclude themselves from understanding by their attitude of judgment over it.

  1. Scripture does not need to be defended, but simply declared.

No one today has access to divine truth by means of any personal interview with deity. God does not speak in dreams, visions, or by a supernatural illumination of the Holy Spirit.

Objective revelation has been made known through the completed Bible, and men will only be exposed to the message of the Scriptures as we distribute the sacred volume and proclaim its saving message.

Every single Christian must take seriously his obligation to teach the Bible consistent with his divinely appointed role, ability, and opportunity.

The whole testimony of this church is to the fact that it is the preaching and the exposition of the Bible that establishes its authority. We do not need to defend it, just declare it, proclaim it.

 
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Posted by on January 18, 2015 in Article

 

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