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Can We Trust An Ancient Book Like the Bible?

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God's overwhelming revelation of Himself demands a choice: believe and follow, or deny and walk away

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Introduction
Belief in the Bible
2014 Gallup poll:
2014 Gallup poll:
24% of Americans believe the Bible is the literal Word of God (inerrant) - plenary word of God (every word in the original is without error and infallible)
26% view the Bible as secular stories and history
47% View the Bible as the inspired word of God - it contains errors but the main message is the inspired word of God
When those numbers are broken down by categories (white, black, male, millennials, older, protestant, Catholic, etc.), 35% of Protestant Christians believe the Bible is the actual inspired & inerrant word of God, while 51% believe it is inspired but not inerrant, and 14% believe it is an ancient book of fable.
The Bible is ancient, going back as early as 1400 B.C. for Genesis. And the New Testament goes back to 30 or 40 A.D. (about 2000 years). That’s old!
Is it reasonable to trust such an ancient book? The only way you can trust anything is to look at the evidence…the track record. The Bible is the best-selling book of all times…bar none. I wonder why?
Logically, if we say we trust that the Bible is the infallible, inerrant Word of God, we must believe in God Himself.
John 1:1 NIV
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Belief in God
John 1:1 The Message
The Word was first, the Word present to God, God present to the Word. The Word was God,
John 1:1
According to Gallup, 79% of Americans say they believe in God. In older surveys, spanning from 1944 to 1967, between 96 and 98% said they believed in God.
How can we trust an ancient book like the Bible? How can we believe in God when we can’t see, touch, or hear Him?
79% believe in God while 11% do not
72% believe in angels while 16% do not
71% believe in Heaven while 15% do not
64% believe in Hell while 22% do not
61% believe in the devil while 27% do not
How can we trust an ancient book like the Bible? How can we believe in God when we can’t see, touch, or hear Him?
My answer has to do with how God reveals Himself. His existence and the truth of His Word becomes obvious when you consider the two ways He reveals Himself: general revelation and special revelation
My answer to that question in short has to do with how really does reveal Himself to all that have eyes to see and ears to hear. His existence and the truth of His Word becomes obvious when you consider the two ways in which He reveals Himself: general revelation and special revelation (we will get into those in a few minutes
John 1:1–3 NIV
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.
John 1:1
Prayer
Here’s what I propose to you today:
Here’s what I propose to you today:
Here’s what I propose to you today:
Big Idea: God's overwhelming revelation of Himself demands a choice: believe and follow, or deny and walk away
How can we have confidence in the existence of God and the inerrancy of the Bible?
John 1:1 NIV
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Transitional: God did not abandon us to figure this out all by ourselves: He has revealed Himself

REVEALED IN NATURE

GOD REVEALED IN NATURE

General Revelation: God reveals Himself in physical nature, human nature, and history — each one revealing unique things about God
Physical Nature
Psalm 19:1 NIV
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Ps
Psalm 97:6 NIV
The heavens proclaim his righteousness, and all peoples see his glory.
Job 12:7–9 NIV
“But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this?
Here’s what Paul had to say about it when he was in Athens -he saw all the idols - one was entitled “the unknown god”.
Paul said to the Athenians in , “Now what you worship as something unknown, I am going to proclaim to you”
Acts 17:24–25 NIV
“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else.
God is Creator
He is the cause and the sustainer of the universe
Colossians 1:16–17 NIV
For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
God is Sustainer
God is Sustainer
but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.
Hebrews 12:2–3 NIV
fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Hebrews 1:2–3 NIV
but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.
According to physicist Steven Hawking, the laws of physics demonstrate how the world came into existence, that the Big Bang was the result of these laws.
…because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist. It is not necessary to invoke God… (Hawkings and Mlodinow, “The Grand Design”)
Does anyone else have a problem with that statement? The idea that the universe can create itself from nothing is self-contradictory. If “X” creates “Y” - then “X” has to exist in the first place in order to create “Y”. “Y” needs “X” in order to come into existence. Then where did “X” come from?
Even world famous scientists are capable of believing in nonsense.
Clip from “Expelled” (Ben Stein and Richard Dawkins)
Human Nature
God created humans in His own image and likeness
It makes sense that we can learn something about God from studying humans
Acts 17:26–29 NIV
From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’ “Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by human design and skill.
Psalm 8 NIV
For the director of music. According to gittith. A psalm of David. Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory in the heavens. Through the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger. When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor. You made them rulers over the works of your hands; you put everything under their feet: all flocks and herds, and the animals of the wild, the birds in the sky, and the fish in the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas. Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!
Human History
“His Story”
Daniel 4:17 NIV
“ ‘The decision is announced by messengers, the holy ones declare the verdict, so that the living may know that the Most High is sovereign over all kingdoms on earth and gives them to anyone he wishes and sets over them the lowliest of people.’
Art, Music, literature, etc.
Application
Take time to observe God in creation (nature) human history (art, music, literature, moral codes, etc.)
Transition: General revelation…God also reveals Himself through Special Revelation (the Word)

REVEALED IN THE WORD

REVEALED IN THE WORD

General revelation reveals God as Creator — but that is not enough. Nature cannot reveal God’s plan to save us.
Special revelation: Through the Living Word of God, we understand His heart of redemption
The Bible is Infallible and Inerrant
The easiest way I know to summarize this truth is through Hank Haneggraaff’s acronym: M.A.P.S
Manuscripts
How can we test to see that the text we possess in the manuscript copies is an accurate rendition of the original (autograph)?
Bibliographic Test
The Bible has stronger bibliographic support than any other classic literature
More than 14,000 manuscripts and fragments of the Old Testament exist
The Dead Sea Scrolls are the oldest…dating back to 250-200 B.C., only 200 years from the original Old Testament
More than 5300 manuscripts or or portions of the Greek New Testament exist
More than 5300 manuscripts or or portions of the Greek New Testament exist
Nearly 800 of those were copied before 1000 A.D.
Our earliest copies are within 60 years of the New Testament autograph
The Old and New Testament authors were eyewitnesses of — or interviewed eyewitnesses
Luke 1:1–3 NIV
Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus,
2 Peter 1:16 NIV
For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.
When you look outside the Bible for corroboration of its claims, there is an abundance of historical, geographical, and cultural evidence
Archaeology
Many examples from Old and New Testaments
A biblical skeptic, Sir William Ramsay, trained as an archaeologist and then set out to disprove the historical reliability of this portion of the New Testament (Luke and Acts). However, through his painstaking Mediterranean archaeological trips, he became converted as — one after another — of the historical statements of Luke were proved accurate. Archaeological evidence thus confirms the trustworthiness of the Bible. - Hank Hanegraaff
Prophecy
There are many prophetic passages in the Old Testament that cover a wide range of topics — many have come to pass — some yet to happen
By far the topic of prophecy we see most in the Old Testament has to do with Christ
Many of the prophecies about Christ would have been impossible for Jesus to…fulflill — such as:
His descent from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (; ; )
His birth in Bethlehem ()
His crucifixion with criminals ()
The piercing of His hands and feet ()
Soldiers gambling for His clothes ()
The piercing His side and the fact that His bones were not broken at His death (; )
His burial among the rich ()
(From Hank Hanegraaff’s M.A.P.S.)
Statistics
Statistics
It is statistically impossible for the multitude of predictive prophecies in the Bible to have come about accidentally or coincidentally - or even by deceit
The Bible was written over a span of 1500 years by forty different human authors in three different languages (Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek), on hundreds of subjects. And yet there is one consistent, noncontradictory theme that runs through it all: God’s redemption of humankind. Clearly, Statistical probability is a powerful indicator of the trustworthiness of Scripture — Hank Hanegraaff
The Bible was written over a span of 1500 years by forty different human authors in three different languages (Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek), on hundreds of subjects. And yet there is one consistent, noncontradictory theme that runs through it all: God’s redemption of humankind. Clearly, Statistical probability is a powerful indicator of the trustworthiness of Scripture — Hank Hanegraaff
…even more important than all of the solid evidence:
The Bible Reveals God’s Redemptive Plan
The Bible is the revelation of Jesus Christ and His role in our lives
Matthew 5:17 NIV
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.
Luke 24:27 NIV
And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.
John 5:39 NIV
You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me,
Hebrews 10:7 NIV
Then I said, ‘Here I am—it is written about me in the scroll— I have come to do your will, my God.’ ”
You can observe the beauty of and laws of nature through General revelation — but you can only understand how to make it to Heaven through special revelation (God’s living word)
Acts 4:12 NIV
Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”
Romans 10:9 NIV
If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
Romans 10:14 NIV
How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?
This is why the preaching of the Word of God --- the Good News of Christ to all the world is so important ()
Galatians 2:20 NIV
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Without the Living Word, there would be no Church
Ephesians 2:20 NIV
built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.
CHALLENGE
CHALLENGE
CHALLENGE
Since God reveals Himself to us so powerfully — how can we dispute His existence and the truth of His Word?
Here’s what is important above all else:
Here’s what is important above all else:
Here’s what is important above all else:
When you accept the reality of God and the power of His Living Word, the only real choice is to believe He is who He said He is and He will do what He said He will do
God’s purpose in creating us wasn’t because He needed us, but because He wanted us
He still wants you — what is His will for you?
To redeem you by His love through the life, death, burial and resurrection of Christ
To be in a relationship with you
For you to bring glory to Him
God is truth
Do you believe God is real and Jesus Christ is truly our only way to eternal life?
Do you believe the Word of God is infallible and inerrant?
Then surrender to Him and follow His plan
When God says something, there really is no room for debate — accept it and surrender to His plan....He will give you the understanding and desire to worship Him and serve Him above all else
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