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The Bible 1

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Tonight we are going to look at the Bible. It was never meant to sit on your shelf, but to be read, studied and used a guide book for our lives.

To deepen (or to form) your conviction that the Bible, as God’s Word, can be trusted more than your feelings, values, opinions, and culture.

Think about this. Say you are sitting with a friend at Starbucks and he says i’m glad you like the Bible, and I’m sure its a great book, but how is it different from other books? I’d like to trust it, but I just can’t get pas the fact that people just like you and me wrote it.
Here are the questions we will answer tonight.
How is the Bible Different from other Books?
How is the Bible different from other religious books?
Wasn’t it written by people like you and me?
These questions can be answered as we understand 3 important words.

Three Important Words and their Definitions:

1. Revelation

Revelation means that God chose to reveal his nature and his will to us through the Bible. The Bible was written so God could show us what he was like and wants us to do. Any understanding of God comes through his choosing to reveal himself to you and I.
Ezekiel 38:23 NLT
In this way, I will show my greatness and holiness, and I will make myself known to all the nations of the world. Then they will know that I am the Lord.

2. Inspiration

Inspiration is the process through which God gave us the Bible. God worked in the hearts of huan writers to inspire them to write down his words. God’s words written through these people are prefect, infallible and trustworthy.
2 Timothy 3:16 NLT
All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.
If what i read in the Bible was just from men, I can take it or leave it, but if it’s from God, I have to believe it and follow it.

3. Illumination

Illumination is the HS’s work of bringing light to the words of the Bible as we read them. It is the means by whcih we understand the Bible.
Luke 24:45 NLT
Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.
We will go into more detail on this later.
Right now,

How do we know the Bible came from God?

You may wonder how do you know you can trust the Bible. What makes it different from other books. Is there any objective evidence the Bible is the WOG?
Yes! and all of us need to know these.

1. The external evidence says the Bible is a historical book.

This just means that evidence outside of the Bible shows the reliability of the Bible.

The number of manuscript copies and the short length of time between the original manuscripts and our first copies of the New Testament.

For the New Testament the evidence is overwhelming. There are 5,366 manuscripts to compare and draw information from, and some of these date from the second or third centuries. To put that in perspective, there are only 643 copies of Homer's Iliad, and that is the most famous book of ancient Greece! No one doubts the existence ofJulius Caesar's Gallic Wars, but we only have 10 copies of it and the earliest of those was made 1,000 years after it was written. To have such an abundance of copies of the New Testament from dates within 70 years after their writing is amazing. Norman Geisler
Someone asked, why didn’t God just let us have the original? I think we would have worshiped it if we had it.
BTW the Bible was originally written in Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic. Many people think that the Bible was passed from language to language, but that’s not true. Each time the Bible is translated into a new language, the translators go back to the original languages.

The Extreme Care with which the Scriptures were copied.

The Jewish Scribes followed a strict procedure to ensure accuracy. Here are a few of the rules.
Each scroll must contain a specified number of columns, all equal throughout the entire book.
The length of each column must not be less than forty-eight lines or more than sixty lines.
Each column's breadth must be exactly thirty letters.
The copyist must use a specially prepared black ink.
The copyist must not copy from memory
The space between every consonant must be the size of a thread.
The copyist must sit in full Jewish dress.
The copyist must use a fresh quill to pen the sacred name of God. (The copyists held the Scriptures and the name of God in such reverence that they would even refuse to acknowledge the pres­ence of a king while writing the name they held so holy.)
Later they added these requirements.
They could copy only letter by letter, not word by word.
They counted the number of times each letter of the alphabet occurred in each book, and if it came out wrong, they threw the scroll away.
They knew the middle letter of the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Old Testament) and the middle letter of the entire Old Testament. After copying a scroll, they counted fonNard and backward from this middle letter. If the number of letters did not match what they knew to be correct, they destroyed the scroll and started over.

Confirmation of places and dates by Archaeology.

These show the reliability of the Bible.
The dead sea srolls are one of the mist famous discoveries. What's so significant about them? Every one of the Old Testament books is found in these scrolls. Before their discovery, the earliest manuscripts we had of some of the Old Testament books were from 900 A.o.-almost a thousand years later than when these scrolls were made. Amazingly, when the Dead Sea Scrolls were compared with the later manuscripts, practically no differences were found.
The bibles historical accuracy has been questioned repeatedly, but Archeology has proven the Bible to be right and the critics wrong over and over again.
IE: Critics insisted that the story of Abram’s rescue of Lot was not accurate because the names of the kings was not recorded in secular writings. They said it was impossible for the king of Babylon to be serving the King of Elam was not correct. This has now been proven by Archeology. The Bible was true.
IE: For decades it was said that the Old Testament writers invented the Hittite tribe, since their existence could not be independently confirmed. However, in 191 ·1-12 Professor Hugo Winchkler of Berlin discovered some ten thousand clay tablets at Bogazkoy, the site of the Hittite capital. The existence of the Hittite empire is now extensively proven and documented.
The existence of Solomon's reign and his thousands of horses was at one time questioned. But in Meggido, which was one of five chariot cities, excavations have revealed the ruins of thousands of stalls for his horses and chariots.
Discovery after discovery has established the accuracy of the details, and has brought increased recognition to the value of the Bible as a source of history. William Albright

2. The internal evidence says the Bible is a unique book.

This is information you see inside the Bible. If you never knew anything about the extra writings or archeology, you could still prove the reliability fo the Bible using the Bible.

The majority of the Bible is from eyewitness accounts.

Eye witnesses are powerful and in our legal system give the prosecution or the defense a victory.
One piece of evidence histrians look for in assessing the reliability of any document is the number of generations that passed between when a story happened and it was written down. Most of the Biblical stories were written in the same generation.
The bible is filled with eyewitness accounts. Moses was there when the red sea split. Joshua saw with his own eyes the wall of Jericho fall. The disciples saw Jesus miracles.

The amazing agreement and consistency throughout the Bible.

The bible was written over a period of 1500 years in various places stretching all the way from Babylon to Rome. The human authors included over 40 persons from various stations of life: kings, peasants, poets, herdsmen, fishermen, scientists, farmers, priests, pastors, tent­makers and governors. It was written in a wilderness, a dungeon, inside palaces and prisons, on lonely islands and in military battles. Yet it speaks with agreement and reliability on hundreds of controversial sub­jects. Yet it tells one story from beginning to end, God's salvation of man through Jesus Christ. NO PERSON could have possibly conceived of or written such a work! Josh McDowell
The Bible is translated from 24,000 copies of the New Testament alone, with millions of people having seen some of these copies. Those copies have been translated by thousands of scholars.
The Book of Mormon is translated from a supposed single original that is claimed to have been seen and translated by one man: Joseph Smith (who was not an expert in languages). That original was "taken back." There are no copies of that original.
The Bible was written by more than forty different authors spanning over fifty generations and three continents. It speaks with agreement on all matters ot faith and doctrine.
The Qu'ran is the writings and record of one man, Muhammad, in one place at one point in history. It differs at many points with the Old and New Testament accounts of history.
The Bible provides God's distinctive solution to man's problem with sin and focuses on God's work in actual, verifiable history.
Hindu scriptures claim a/I roads lead to the same place and focus on stories ot things that happened in the "celestial realms."

3. The personal evidence says the Bible is a powerful book.

The Bible is the world's best-selling book. Most people know that it was the first major book to be printed on a press (the Gutenberg Bible). The Bible, in whole or in part, has been translated into more than 1,300 languages.
Millions of lives have been changed through the truth in the Bible!
I cant tell you how many times the passage...
Matthew 11:28 NLT
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.
This passage has helped me when I have been overwhelmed… daddy’s death, loss of job, divorce, When my dad died, God showed up and gave us rest.

4. Jesus said the Bible came from God.

You can’t trust Jesus and not trust the Bible. Jesus spoke with confidence about the Bible. If we trust him, we have to trust the Bible.

1. Jesus recognized the Spirit as the AUTHOR

Matthew 22:43–44 GNB
“Why, then,” Jesus asked, “did the Spirit inspire David to call him ‘Lord’? David said, ‘The Lord said to my Lord: Sit here on my right until I put your enemies under your feet.’
Jesus was recognizing that the Spirit inspired David’s words/

2. Jesus quoted the Bible as AUTHORITATIVE.

Matthew 22:29 NLT
Jesus replied, “Your mistake is that you don’t know the Scriptures, and you don’t know the power of God.
He told the Sadduces that not knowing the scriptures was the reason they lived in error and with out God’s power. Jesus also said that the Bible is not just a history book or a book of poetry.
Luke 11:28 NIV
He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”

3. Jesus proclaimed its UNIQUENESS.

Jesus tells us that the Bible stands above all other books and all other writings.
Matthew 5:18 NLT
I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not even the smallest detail of God’s law will disappear until its purpose is achieved.
John 10:35 NLT
And you know that the Scriptures cannot be altered. So if those people who received God’s message were called ‘gods,’

4. Jesus called it the WORD OF GOD.

Mark 7:13 NLT
And so you cancel the word of God in order to hand down your own tradition. And this is only one example among many others.”
Even though Jesus did not have the original copies, he accepted the copies of his day as the WOG.

5. Jesus believed that people and places in the Bible were real.

He believed in the PROPHETS (Matt 22:40; 24:15)

He believed in HOAH (Luke 17:26)

He believed in ADAM and EVE (Matt 19:4)

He believed in SODOM & GOMORRAH (Matt 10:15)

He believed in JONAH (MATT 12:40)

Some of these are in the section of the OT people think are fables or stories. Jesus referred to them as real.
possible ending
Though the Bible is the record of how God revealed himself to men and women down through history, he gave us this book to personally reveal to us what he is like. He gave us this book to change our lives.
Before we go on, I'd like you to answer in your minds two intensely per­sonal and incredibly important questions about this book:
First, what changes has God's Word worked in your life, or what changes would you like to see the truth of God's Word bring about in your life?
Take a moment to think about that.
Second, how has this book, the Bible, shown you who God really is, or how do you need God to reveal himself to you through this book?
In the last few Years, the Jesus Seminar, a group of foolish scholars, has reduced what the Gospels attribute to Jesus to 18% of what the Gospels say he said.
We've looked at four tests, or proofs, of the Bible's reliability. By every one of these four tests-external, internal, personal, and scriptural ­the words of the Bible are clearly shown to be God's revelation to the people of every generation. There is, however, one nagging question that continues to bother some people regarding the reliability of the Bible.

How do we know we have the right books?

One misconception is that while God might have written it, a group committee chose the books that were included. Listen, if God was powerful enough to write the WOG he is powerful enough to get the right books included.
Here are three reasons we know we have the right books.

1. The testimony of the BIBLE.

Jesus recognized the OT canon.

Canon refers to the list of books that are accepted into the Bible.
Luke 24:44 NLT
Then he said, “When I was with you before, I told you that everything written about me in the law of Moses and the prophets and in the Psalms must be fulfilled.”
Right here Jesus is affirming the OT

Peter recognized part of the New Testament Canon.

2 Peter 3:16 NCV
He writes about this in all his letters. Some things in Paul’s letters are hard to understand, and people who are ignorant and weak in faith explain these things falsely. They also falsely explain the other Scriptures, but they are destroying themselves by doing this.
Paul had just written these and Peter recognized them as scripture.

Paul recognized the EQUAL inspiration of the Old and New Testaments in a single verse.

1 Timothy 5:18 NLT
For the Scripture says, “You must not muzzle an ox to keep it from eating as it treads out the grain.” And in another place, “Those who work deserve their pay!”
Paul is quoting from Deut 25:4 and Luke 10:7 and calls them both scripture. Luke was written in 60 AD, and First Timothy was written in 63 AD so Luke was being accepted as scripture in just 3 years after it was written.

2. The history of the church

The books that were included in the Bible were not a result of one meeting and one vote.

Books were included in the New Testament on the Basis of Three Things.

1. The authority of an APOSTLE.

The NT stands on the foundation of the apostles… the men who KNEW Jesus. God decided to use those who were close to Jesus to tell the story of Jesus.
The NT has eye witness authority. The Gospels were written by eye witnesses to what was going on. Matthew was an apostle. Mark wrote down Peter’s remembrances. Luke was a friend of Paul. John was an apostle.

2. The teaching of the TRUTH.

The first people to read the NT saw the light of God’s truth in them. The truth in these words set hem apart form other writings.

3. The confirmation of the CHURCH.

Many people think that the New Testament books were cho­sen by a council of a few people. That is not true. A council. did recognize the books of the New Testament (around 400 A.D.), but that was after the church had been using these books for 300 years. The council formally recognized the books in response to false teachers who were trying to add books to the Bible.
The misconception is that what gives these books authority is the fact that they were "voted in." The opposite is true. What caused these books to be recognized as God's Word is the fact that these books had the authority of God behind them.

3. The power of God.

Isaiah 40:8 NLT
The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the word of our God stands forever.”

Our assurance that we have the right books is a matter of FAITH. God would not have allowed any part of what he had chosen to stand forever to be left out.

You don’t have to worry that one day they will discover a book of the Bible that got left out. God would not let that happen.

What does it mean when we say the Bible is inspired?

We are bombarded with words every day, words with varying degrees of authority behind them. Suppose you're driving down the road and see a billboard that says, "Pull off at the next off-ramp." You may or may not pull off. But if you see a flashing light in your rearview mirror and hear a voice from the police car behind you saying, "Pull off at the next off­ramp," you would react quite differently! Of all the voices we hear call­ing to us each day, none speaks with more authority than the Bibl·e. Because God said it, and because he knows and controls everything, each word in the Bible has immeasurable authority behind it. This authority of God's Word is what the doctrine of inspiration is about. Look at this definition.
Inspiration - As a process, it refers to the writers and the writings being controlled by God. As a product, it refers to the writings only, as documents that are God's message

What does it mean when we say the Bible is inspired?

1. Inspiration means God wrote the Bible through PEOPLE.

2 Peter 1:21 NCV
No prophecy ever came from what a person wanted to say, but people led by the Holy Spirit spoke words from God.
The details of how God inspired the Bible are a matter of great debate. One thing is obvious as you read the Bible: he didn't use people as robots. You can clearly see people's personalities and pas­sions in what they wrote. God created a perfect Bible through real people. He moved them internally to create a Word that will last eternally.
For those of you who doubt whether God could create something perfect through a fallible human being, I'd remind you that Jesus was born into this world through a faith-filled but imperfect woman named Mary. And Jesus was perfect.

2. Inspiration means the Holy Spirit is the AUTHOR.

Acts 1:16 NLT
“Brothers,” he said, “the Scriptures had to be fulfilled concerning Judas, who guided those who arrested Jesus. This was predicted long ago by the Holy Spirit, speaking through King David.
Acts 28:25 NLT
And after they had argued back and forth among themselves, they left with this final word from Paul: “The Holy Spirit was right when he said to your ancestors through Isaiah the prophet,
Ezekiel 11:5 NLT
Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon me, and he told me to say, “This is what the Lord says to the people of Israel: I know what you are saying, for I know every thought that comes into your minds.
Who wrote the Bible? God did! He worked through people, but ulti­mately he is the author. The fact that God created a perfect book through so many imperfect people is one of his greatest miracles. Splitting the Red Sea is nothing compared with that!
We have to be careful, of course, to see that the authority is in God's words and not in our opinions about his Word. God always has a way of humbling us when we try to speak for him rather than allowing him to speak for himself. example - A church bishop of a century ago pronounced from his pulpit and in the periodical he edited that heavier-than-air flight was both impossible and contrary to the will of God. His name was Bishop Wright. ... You've already guessed that his two sons were named Orville and Wilber!

Two important words to understand

Verbal: God inspired the WORDS, not just the ideas.
Matthew 5:18 NIV
For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.
Matthew 22:43–44 NIV
He said to them, “How is it then that David, speaking by the Spirit, calls him ‘Lord’? For he says, “ ‘The Lord said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet.” ’
Plenary: God inspired ALL, not just part.
2 Timothy 3:16 NLT
All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.
Psalm 18:30 NIV
As for God, his way is perfect: The Lord’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him.
So when you hear someone say we believe in the "verbal, plenary inspi­ration of God's Word," now you know what they mean.
Some books and portions of the Bible will be more inspiring to you than others, but that doesn't change the fact that all of the Bible is inspired. Augustine gave us a clear warning of the danger of our deciding which parts of the Bible are inspired:
If you believe what you like in the Gospel, and reject what you don’t like, it is not the Gospel you believe, but yourself.
— Augustine

3. Inspiration means God’s Word is to be our FINAL AUTHORITY

Psalm 119:9 NLT
How can a young person stay pure? By obeying your word.
Psalm 33:4 NLT
For the word of the Lord holds true, and we can trust everything he does.

Understanding inspiration increases my CONFIDENCE in the Bible

The truth behind inspiration is that I can trust his Word above my FEELINGS, VALUES, OPINIONS, and CULTURE

Whenever there is a conflict between what the Bible says and the way I feel or what I've been taught or the opinions of others or what seems reasonable to me-whenever I have a difference of opinion with the Bible for any reason-the Bible is always right!
Sometimes you'll hear a person say that it is closed-minded to accept the Bible as authoritative truth. Belief in the authority of the Bible is not being closed-minded; it is being right-minded. It is not closed-minded to say that on a compass there is only one true north, or that on a map there is only one geographical location for your destination. Since God inspired the Bible, it is not closed-minded to say that it has the final say in our lives.
You need to believe God completely or not all. There is no logical place to stand with the two. You must be one or the other.
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