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Scripture Reading: John 10:10-39
What is the Bible?
(How we got the Bible)
1. The Bible has been praised and despised, ridiculed and exalted, honored and deplored.
2. What is the Bible? Men have suggested:
a. Collection of myths.
b. Compilation of philosophical treatises.
c. Handbook of ancient proverbs.
d. A testimony of the religious sensibility of its day.
3. What does the Bible claim to be?
-In any investigation, one should examine the claims of what is being investigated in order to arrive at an accurate conclusion.
4. The claims of the Bible cannot be discarded as irrelevant because they reveal the beliefs of its writers.
a. Were these men honest, yet deceived?
b. Were they dishonest in the claims they made?
c. Were they writing the actual word of God for humanity?
5. What is the Bible? What are some of its claims? What respect for it is demanded of us?
I. THE BIBLE: A COLLECTION OF BOOKS.
A. The Name.
1. “Bible” (biblia): From biblos, first, the inner bark of the papyrus, hence, books.
2. Bible is a library of books:
a. Jerome (4th cent.): “The Divine Library.”
b. Usage of the word “Bible” dates from the 4th century.
B. Overview of the Bible.
1. Approx. 40 writers / 66 books / 1500 years.
2. Written in three languages (Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek).
3. Most popular book of all time:
a. 2.4 billion copies from 1816-1975 (3 times more than any other book).
b. 2020: Full Bible translated into 704 languages; NT (1,551); Partially (1,160).
4. It has influenced literature, science, art, culture of humanity. “In fact, nearly half of all the famous paintings in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. are based on the Bible. Take away from the libraries of the world all the books which deal directly or indirectly with the Bible and you would destroy our very best reading materials.” (Shelly, 42)
5. Has impacted the morality of man wherever it has gone.
6. Shown to be a reliable source of history of the ancient Middle East.
C. Its Survival is Remarkable.
1. 175 BC: Antiochus Epiphanes (ruler of Syria) tried to destroy the Jews by destroying their temple and their sacred Scriptures. Failed.
2. AD 303: Diocletian (Roman Emperor), tried to destroy Christianity through deadly persecutions and burning the Scriptures. (In less than 25 years, Christianity became the recognized religion.)
3. 18th century: Voltaire, a French infidel, said in 100 years from his time Christianity would be swept from existence. He died in 1778.
“And only 50 years after his death, the Geneva Bible Society sued his press and house to produce stacks of Bible.” (Geisler and Nix, cited by McDowell, 23).
4. Epiphanes, Diocletian, and Voltaire have passed from history but the Bible ever remains – loved, read, and studied by millions.
The Hammer and the Anvil
“Last eve I passed beside a blacksmith’s door
And heard the anvil ring the vesper chime’
When looking in, I say upon the floor,
Old hammers worn with beating years of time.
“’How many anvils have you had,’ said I,
‘To wear and batter all those hammers so?’
‘Just one,’ said he; then said with twinkling eye,
‘The anvil wears the hammers out, you know.’
“And so, I thought, the anvil of God’s word
For ages skeptic’s blows have beat upon;
Yet, though the noise of falling blows was heard,
The anvil is unharmed – the hammers gone.”
II. THE BIBLE’S CLAIMS CONCERNING ITSELF.
A. It Claims to Have Originated With God.
1. Scripture (“Writings”), 2 Tim. 3:16.
a. Old Testament, 2 Tim. 3:15; Rom. 15:4; Acts 7:38; Rom. 3:2.
b. New Testament, 1 Tim. 5:18 (Luke 10:7; Matt. 10:10); 2 Pet. 3:15-16; 1 Cor. 14:37.
2. Given by inspiration of God, 2 Tim. 3:16.
a. “God-breathed” [theopneustos: Theos, God; and pneo, to breathe].
b. Of this word, Benjamin B. Warfield said it
“…very distinctly does not mean “inspired of God’… The Greek term has, however, nothing to say of ‘inspiring’ or of ‘inspiration: it speaks only of a ‘spiring’ or ‘spiration.’ What it says of Scripture is, not that it is ‘breathed into by God’ or the product of the Divine ‘inbreathing’ into its human authors, but that it is breathed out by God, ‘God-breathed,’ the product of the creative breath of God.” (ISBE, III:1473-1474)
c. God “breathed out” the writings He wanted to communicate His will.
d. 2 Pet. 1:20-21: Both the prophecy (v. 21) and the recorded fulfillment of it (v. 20) came from God, not from men.
3. “All” Scripture: Complete inspiration is claimed.
a. “Plenary” inspiration: Full, complete, extending to every part.
b. Every part of the Bible is inspired and equally inspired.
B. It Claims to be the
Verbally Inspired Word of God, 1 Thess. 2:13.
-[1967 survey of Protestant ministers].
1. “Thus saith the Lord” (or its equivalents): Over 2,000 times in the Old Testament.
a. Matt. 22:43 and 2 Sam. 23:1-2: When David was “in the Spirit,” the Spirit of the Lord spoke by (in) him. God’s word was on his tongue.
b. Jer. 1:9; 10:1-2: God’s words in Jeremiah’s mouth; Hear the word the Lord speaks.
2. Verbal inspiration is claimed.
“Verbal Inspiration is the work of God through the Holy Spirit so directing men in their choice of the subject matter and in their choice of words that their writings contain, written accurately, exactly what God desired, and all that He desired, them to contain. It is the doctrine of the superintendence, or guidance; that is, God so guided in the writing of the books of the Bible that the words are His words in the style of the writers. Verbal Inspiration is the opposite of Inspired Concepts.” (H. S. Miller, General Biblical Introduction, p. 24; Cited by Jenkins, 51)
a. Zech. 7:12: Words which Jehovah sent by His Spirit by the prophets. Illustrates the entire process of inspired revelation: Lord–Spirit–Prophets–Words.
b. 1 Cor. 2:10-13: God revealed His mind to the apostles and prophets through the Spirit.
-They spoke these revealed things using words taught them by the Spirit, 2:13.
c. Words taught by the Spirit: Allows for different styles of those who wrote Bible.
d. Verbal inspiration is claimed for the original autographs. (It is evident that translations are not inspired.)
C. It Claims to Meet Man’s Needs, 2 Tim. 3:16-17.
-Profitable and beneficial to thoroughly furnish the man of God unto every good work.
D. It Claims to be Relevant and Powerful to Change Lives, Heb. 4:12.
1. Living words, not dead letters.
2. It meets our need for salvation from sin and contains God’s communication to humanity, Heb. 1:1-2 (Rom. 1:16-17).
III. OUR RESPECT FOR THE SCRIPTURES.
A. We Must Respect the Authority of the Scriptures, John 10:30-38.
1. Jesus’s claim was considered blasphemy by the Jews because with it He made Himself God, 10:30-33.
2. In response, Jesus quoted Psalms 82:6 (10:34-36).
3. Shows Jesus’s attitude toward the OT: “and the Scripture cannot be broken.”
a. Psalms (“law”). Jesus ascribed legal authority to all the OT Scriptures, 10:34.
b. Scripture cannot be undone, unloosed, or deprived of its binding authority, 10:35.
c. Jesus saw authority in the most casual clauses of the Scriptures.
4. Authority of the Old Testament was emphasized, Matt. 5:17-18.
-Its authority reached to the “jot” and “tittle.”
a. Jot: The Hebrew yodh, the smallest letter in the Hebrew alphabet.
b. Tittle: A distinguishing mark, a serif, a stroke.
c. Some modern translations: “not even the smallest letter, nor one stroke of a letter” (2oth Century New Testament); “...not one dotting of an i or crossing of a t” (Goodspeed).
d. Jesus declared the Scriptures were letter-perfect.
B. We Can Have Confidence in the Accuracy of the Scriptures (see above, Matt. 5:18).
1. We can believe all of it (and should.):
a. Believe all the prophets…in all the scriptures concerning Himself, Luke 24:25, 27.
b. Luke 24:44 echoes Matthew 5:18.
2. Have confidence in its words, Matt. 22:31-32. Jesus rested His case on the tense (present) of a Hebrew verb to prove the resurrection of the dead.
3. “It is written” ended all controversy with Jesus, Luke 10:25-26.
1. What is the Bible?
a. Much more than the words of men.
b. The inspired word of God, 2 Tim. 3:16.
2. How you use it directly affects your soul, 2 Pet. 3:16-18.
Fite, Jerry, The Bible, What is it?
International Bible Society, https://tinyurl.com/yaraa5w3
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
Jenkins, Ferrell, Introduction to Christian Evidences
McDowell, Josh, Evidence that Demands a Verdict
Shelly, Rubel, Simple Studies in Christian Evidences
By: Joe R. Price
Posted June 22, 2022