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Can We Trust the Bible?

Various   |   Shaun LePage   |   September 7, 2008

I.       Introduction

A.    In Genesis 1-2 we have paradise. A perfect world—joy, happiness, food, love and marriage. Chapter 3, everything changes. Mankind is plunged into sin and all its consequences—shame, strife, pain, problems and death. How did it happen? Where did the enemy attack? Look at Genesis 3:1-4. The enemy first caused the woman to question God’s word. Then, he flat out accused God of lying.

B.    There is nothing new under the sun. Whether from an A&E expose’ on the mysteries of the Bible or a fictional novel that suggests that Jesus was married and fathered children or a university professor who lumps the resurrection of Christ into a pile of resurrection myths—the voices sound new, but are really the same old whisper: “Indeed, has God said…?”

C.    Since that day back in the garden, God’s Word has been questioned. In whatever form it has come to us—stone tablets, papyrus sheets, voices of the prophets or a voice from heaven. The attack has always been the same: God’s Word can’t be trusted. God’s Word is a lie.

D.    In a very real way, I can think of no more important question to ask than, “Can We Trust the Bible?”

E.     The outline this morning may look somewhat complex, but my hope is that when we are done you will be able to use it as a tool to walk others through a Biblical answer to the question. In fact, I hope you will be able to use this tool not just today or this week but any time in the future. No blanks to fill in, just a flow chart to help you follow my train of thought.

F.     I want to acknowledge the work of Ken Boa and Larry Moody—this outline was adapted from their book called I’m Glad You Asked. I encourage you to read the entire book.

G.    Across the top of the sheet you have three common answers to this question. My hope is that we can walk through this entire overview this morning, then come back and dig into a few of the more important and misunderstood issues in the next few weeks.

H.    But, let’s start with the ending…Let’s start with why I am convinced that there is no more important question we can ask than, “Can We Trust the Bible?” Let’s look at the implications (under “The Bible can be trusted”)


The Bible cannot be trusted.
Most people have derived their knowledge of the Bible from unreliable sources and therefore have false impressions. 
Adapted from I’m Glad You Asked, Boa & Moody, Victory Books: Wheaton, pp. 88-120. Adapted by Shaun LePage, March 24, 1999.
False Impression:“The Biblical documents aren’t reliable.”
1. The Bibliographic Test:   a. Quantity of manuscripts   b. Quality of manuscripts   c. Time span of manuscripts2. The Internal Test: Examines the eyewitness accounts of Bible writers.3. The External Test: Examines related historical and archeological sources.(See “The Bible is Reliable” on separate sheet)
1. Unique in its production:   a. Diversity of authors (over 40)   b. Great time span (~1800 years)   c. Variety of literary forms2. Unique in its preservation:   a. Through time   b. Through persecution   c. Through criticism (19th Century)3. Unique in its proclamations about:   a. The Future: ¼ was prophetic   b. God: Triune, personal, etc.   c. Man: Image of God, sinful, etc.   d. Salvation: Christ & faith alone4. Unique in its product:   a. Impact on individuals   b. Impact on history, thought, culture,         morality, law, politics, art, music,         literature, education, etc. is beyond        unique
False Impression:“The Bible isn’t much different than other ‘sacred writings’”. 
The Bible has major problems.
The Bible can be trusted.
Some may acknowledge that the Bible is reliable and unique, but still have other intellectual problems with its authority. (See “Problems of Biblical Authority” on separate sheet) 
The Problem of Inspiration
1. Claims: Luke 16:17; 2 Tim 3:16-172. Prophecies: Specific and fulfilled.
The Problem of Interpretation
1. Wide agreement on primary issues2. Many faulty interpretation methods(See “The Bible Can Be Understood”)
The Problem of Science
1. Evolution is theory, not fact2. Bible never contradicts the facts
The Problem of Ethics
1. Genocide: God is the Author of Life2. Slavery: All are equal before God
The Problem of Apparent Errors
1. Without error in original documents2. Faulty interpretation explains most
The Problem of Canonicity
1. OT same as ancient Hebrew Bible2. NT “discovered” to be inspired(See “How We Got the Canon”)
The Problem of Miracles
1. The Creator God is capable2. Issue of history: Examine evidence
A few of the implications:Implications regarding absolute truth: John 17:17Implications regarding sin: Romans 3:23; 6:23Implications regarding God: Romans 1:18; 1 John 4:8Implications regarding Jesus: John 1:18; 14:6; 20:28Implications regarding man:     Our value: Genesis 1:26     Our greatest need: John 3:3,16-18; 1 John 5:11,12     Our purpose: 1 Corinthians 10:31; Matthew 28:18-20 
Examine the claims of Christ: Christ claimed to be the only way to God!See John 3:18; 8:24 and 14:6Others proclaim their teachings as the only way to God.Jesus proclaims Himself as the only way to God. Christ claimed to be God!1. To know Him was to know God! John 8:192. To see Him was to see God! John 14:93. He claimed the name of God! Compare Exodus 3:14 to John 8:24,28,58; 18:54. He claimed the attributes of God!   a. He accepted worship. Matthew 14:33   b. He forgave sins. Mark 2:5-12   c. He claimed to be the Judge of all. John 5:24-28
Believe the good news of the gospel!1. Admit your need for His gift of salvation.    See Ephesians 2:8,9 and Titus 3:52. Receive that gift by faith.    See Luke 19:10; John 1:12; 2 Corinthians 5:21

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