Bibliology Session 1-Uniqueness of the Bible
Bibliology • Sermon • Submitted • Presented • 1:08:01
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Bibliology: The Study of the Bible Personal Testimony I was probably 9th or 10th grade when I gained a serious understanding of what we are about to study. I can say will all honesty, this topic on the origin, nature, authority, and authenticity of the Bible changed my life. I became so confident in my Bible that it lit a fire in me to study it. I have only grown in my confidence and love of this book since then. Historic Testimony Mid- Late 1700s Europe was under the influence of powerful philosophers such as Voltaire and Rousseau. These men exalted Reason. The Cult of Reason rejected the Bible as inerrant and authoritative and exalted human thought over the Bible. The physical result of their philosophies was the French Revolution, and the Reign of Terror, in which 16,594 official death sentences were passed as those in power tried to maintain control. Historic Testimony America also experienced a revolution in 1776, yet of a very different sort. More on the influence of the Bible in American politics in a moment. Yet the in early 1800’s the cult of Reason was coming out of Europe and hitting America. Students at Yale began to call one another by the nicknames of “Voltaire and Rousseau.” Timothy Dwight the then president of Yale University, who was the grandson of Jonathan Edwards, began a lecture series on the inerrancy of the Bible. Historic Testimony Dwight’s lecture series is credited with sparking off the 2nd Great Awakening in North Eastern America. This “Awakening” spread throughout the country and huge percentages of American’s were converted. As a result of the Awakening, Yale University became a bastion for truth in that generation, and also became a nursery for the modern missions movement in America. Why Study The Bible? The Bible is the single most unique & important book in Human history. In fact the word, “Bible” is a Greek word that literally means “book.” Matthew 1:1 opens with the phrase, “This is the book [Biblos] of the generations of Jesus Christ…” There are lots of “books” throughout history, but there is only one “BOOK.” Why Study The Bible? • The Bible is Unique in 5 ways… 1. Unique in its Composition & Continuity 2. Unique in its Circulation 3. Unique in its Survival 4. Unique in its Influence 5. Unique in its Teaching Unique in its Composition & Continuity - The Bible has 40 different human authors, from various walks of life including kings, peasants, philosophers, prophets, military leaders, and shepherds. - The Bible was written over a span of about 1,600 years, from a multitude of different geographical locations including 3 continents! Unique in its Composition & Continuity - The Bible was originally written in three distinct languages: Hebrew, Aramaic, & Greek. The Bible includes writing from every literary genre such as Prophecy, Poetry, Law, Song, Satire, Biography, Epistle, Apocalyptic etc. - Yet the Bible completely agrees with itself in spite of these seemingly insurmountable barriers. No other book in all of history can claim this level of uniqueness. Unique in its Circulation - Though exact statistics are impossible to track, estimates of how many Bibles have been printed throughout history sums to over 6 billion. The next 15 most printed books in history, some of which include Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, the Book of Mormon, the Quran, and many many more still do not equal one billion when combined. - In fact the Bible was first book ever printed on the Gutenburg press in the 1430s. - The Bible yearly tops the best seller list by a huge number, so it is never included. Ironically, the Bible is also the most frequently shoplifted book according to Christianresearch.org. Unique in its Circulation The Bible is the most widely translated book in history. - All or parts of the Bible exist in nearly 2,200 languages, with hundreds more in progress. - It is calculated that 98% of the world’s population has access to part of or a whole Bible. - The next closest book is believed to be Pilgrim’s Progress, which is translated into some 200 languages. Unique in its Survival The Bible is incredibly ancient. It was written at a time when everything was hand-copied, and there was no such thing as a printing press. Some of history’s greatest figures from the ancient world (eg. Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, or Cyrus the Persian), and most precious writings from the ancient world have scarcely any documentation in comparison with the Bible. Theologian Henry Thiessen points out, “When we recall that only a very small percentage of books survive more than a quarter of a century; that a much smaller percentage lasts for a century; and that only a very small number live a thousand years; we at once realize that the Bible is a unique book.” Unique in its Survival - 5 copies currently exist of Aristotle’s writings, yet he was born 1,000 years after Moses, whose writings exist in great numbers. - 10 copies currently exist of Julius Caesar’s “Gaulic Wars,” yet the copies we possess were written 1,000 years after the originals. - 647 copies currently exist of Homer’s works yet they were made 1,300 years after the originals. - The New Testament alone has over 24,000 manuscripts in existence, some of which date to within 35 years of the originals. Unique in its Survival Yet the Bible is not only unique in its survival against time, but perhaps even more unique in its survival against enemies. Numerous historic figures and events have tried to capture or destroy written copies of the Bible. Unique in its Survival A.W. Pink informs us that, “When we bear in mind the fact that the Bible has been the special object of never ending persecution the wonder of the Bible’s survival is changed into a miracle… For two thousand years man’s hatred of the Bible has been persistent, determined, relentless, and murderous. Every possible effort has been made to undermine faith in the inspiration and authority of the Bible and innumerable enterprises have been issued to the effect that every known copy of the Bible should be destroyed, and when this measure failed to exterminate and annihilate God’s Word then commands were given that every person found with a copy of the Scriptures in his possession should be put to death.” Unique in its Survival - Antiochus Epiphanes (167 B.C.) - Emperor Diocletian (284-305 A.D.) - Julian the Apostate (361 A.D.) - Council of Toledo (1229 A.D.), placed the Bible on Rome’s Forbidden books list. - William Tyndale was burned at the stake (1536 A.D.) for translating the Bible into English. - In 1543 an act was passed forbidding absolutely the use of Tyndale’s version, and any reading of the Scriptures in assemblies without royal license. Unique in its Survival The Bible outlives critics… - Voltaire, the French philosopher, was one of the most celebrated figures of his day. He used wit and worldly wisdom to ridicule Christianity and the Bible. But as He lay on his deathbed for two months, he turned against his flatterers with rage: “Begone! It is you that have brought me to my present condition…What a wretched glory is this which you have produced to me!” - This French infidel, who died in 1778, predicted that the Bible would be long forgotten within 100 years of his death. While many today do not know of Voltaire, the Bible still stands. Unique in its Influence Language: - So dominant has been the influence of the Bible upon the English language that it has shaped much of our use of grammar, vocabulary, and idiom. Social Reform: -English and American reforms such as Abolition of Slavery, workers rights, women’s rights, children’s rights, prison reforms, and the civil rights movements were all begun by Christians. - Some of the most horrendous practices in history such as gladiatorial games, wife burning in India, or cannibalism in Africa were stopped because of the influence of Christianity and the Bible. “The N.T. is the very best book that ever was or ever will be known in the world.” -Charles Dickens “That book accounts for the supremacy of England.” -Queen Victoria (1837-1901) “It is impossible to enslave mentally or socially a Bible reading people. The principles of the Bible are the groundwork of human freedom.” -Horace Greeley (1811-1872) Unique in its Influence Education: - Beginning with Judaism, from which Christianity was derived, there has been an emphasis on the written word. Historically the Jews, and later Christian societies, have maintained the highest literacy rates. Much of the modern educational systems find their root in the Protestant Reformation, which strove to make the Bible readable for the commoner. - Several world languages did not have a written form until Christian missionaries wanted to translate the Bible into those languages. - In America, the first law to require education of the masses was passed by the Puritans. The law was called "THE OLD DELUDER SATAN ACT." This name was a reference to the devil, who Christians believe gets his foothold into people's lives because of their ignorance of Scripture. Unique in its Influence Modern Science: - Francis Schaeffer in his book, “How Should We Then Live?” notes that the modern scientific revolution that began in the wake of the Reformation & Renaissance was led by men such as Francis Bacon, Sir Isaac Newton, & Faraday, who had a Biblical worldview, which motivated their belief in an orderly creation. Governmental Systems: - Historic documents that have led the western world such as the Magna Carta, the Mayflower Compact, and later, the U.S. Constitution were founded upon principles from the Bible. “There are more sure marks of authenticity in the Bible than in any profane history.” -Sir Isaac Newton “It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.” -President George Washington “That book, sir, is the rock on which our republic rests.” -President Andrew Jackson “I believe the Bible is the best gift God has ever given to man. All the good from the Savior of the world is given to us through this book.” -President Abraham Lincoln “Democracy in America” In 1830 Alexis Tocqueville conducted a remarkable study of American life on behalf of the French government. He was sent to America to study American society, beliefs, and to discover the reason there was so little crime, and so few prisoners at that time. America seemed a paradise in comparison to the corruption that swept France during the period following the French Revolution. This study resulted in his work, “Democracy in America.” “I sought for the greatness of the United States in her commodious harbors, her ample rivers, her fertile fields, and boules forests-it was not there. I sought for it in her rich mines, her vast world commerce, her public schools system and in her institutions of higher learning-and it was not there. I looked for it in her democratic Congress and her matchless Constitution-and it was not there. Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits aflame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because America is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.” - Alexis Tocquerville Unique in its Teachings The Bible is also unique in its content. No other book teaches… -The Existence of an Infinite, Triune, & Personal God… -Prophecy with such authority & accuracy… -History with such precision that it corrects other historic documents… -Character so lofty that it produces the greatest societies in the world… Unique in its Teachings The History of the Bible is so accurate that it has been known to correct secular historians. The famous Israeli archeologist Nelson Glueck took the O.T., read where it said their were wells, and found water for the new struggling nation of Israel in the 1940’s. Glueck made another important contribution to Israel’s economy based on Deuteronomy 8:9, which describes Israel as “a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills you may dig brass.” At the time, Israel was not known for its vast mineral deposits. Many though Glueck was on a wild goose chase. Yet leaning on passages from 1 Kings, which described Solomon’s copper mines, Glueck discovered these sources of raw materials in southern Israel near Elat. Unique in its Teachings The prophecies of the coming of Jesus that have already been fulfilled where written down hundreds of years before they occurred, yet they were literally, and perfectly fulfilled. Many examples of Biblical prophecy exist, which we will examine further in our study. “Other books claim divine inspiration, such as the Koran, the Book of Mormon, and parts of the [Hindu] Veda. But none of those books contain predictive prophecy.” - Norman Geisler & William Nix Where We are Headed 1.Revelation: From the mind of God to the Mind of the Author. 2.Inspiration: From the Mind of the Author to the Document. 3.Canonicity: Which Documents are, or are not from God? Is the Bible Complete? 4.Preservation: From the original Documents down through the centuries to the present. 5.Translation: From the languages original Documents to the language of the reader. 6.Interpretation & Illumination: From the Document to the mind of the reader. 7.Application / Animation: From the mind of the reader to the life of the reader.