Eric Meyer - SR&W 1
BBL 8033B: Christian Foundations
John Brown University
Professor: Dr. Bill Burnett
July 17th, 2008
Assignment #2, Scripture Read And Write
Early in my relationship with Jesus, I prayed that I could hear his voice. I desperately wanted to hear God speak, to reveal Himself to me. I have come to realize that God has already revealed Himself in numerous ways, and that it is my responsibility to understand those revelations. God feeds us small pieces of His revelation as a parent feeds a child, and as the child grows the bites get larger. In the late 1800’s, Henry Latham wrote a book called Pastor Pastorum in which he said, “I believe a revelation of God is needed for the education of what is highest in man, and for bringing him to the highest point he can reach; and that God has always been revealing Himself in one way or another. But the revelation of every age must be suited to the character of that age.”
God has revealed Himself in many ways throughout human history, and this paper will be discussing some of those ways. God has spoken directly to us, He has used prophets, but Jesus is the ultimate revelation of God. He is our interpreter, teaching us how to hear and understand the language of our Creator. Henry Latham described the language of God as a color never before seen in nature for which we do not have the words to relate it to others. He said that man needed a way to understand that language, “So God can only reveal to man about spiritual existence what man can conceive, that is to say only that which he finds something analogous in his own being; for all must be put into that form with which man’s understanding can deal…” (Henry Latham, Pastor Pastorum (London, George Bell & Sons, 1890) pg. 72). The form that man can understand is God in the form of man, Jesus Christ.
I. BASIC KINDS OF DIVINE REVELATION
Throughout human history God has been revealing Himself to man. Some ways are overt and some are subtle, but there can be no excuse given that a man did not have the opportunity to hear or see God’s revelation.
A. Man Intuitively Recognizes God - Natural Revelation
1. Internally, Man Senses God – Acts 17:27; Rom. 1:19,20
2. Externally, The Universe Speaks Of Its Creator – Acts 17: 24-29; Rom. 1:19,20
B. Prophesy, God Defines What Is To Come
1. Commands or instructions – Exodus 34:27, Mat. 4:4
2. Warnings – In Neh. 8:9, the crowd was terrified because they had not been following the Law, and understood the prophetic warnings; John 8:24
3. Proof of God’s presence – Luke 24:25-27,44; John 5:39; John 8:28; John 14:26; Eph 2:20; Heb. 1:1; 2 Peter 1:19, 2 Peter 3:2
C. Written Word
1. Direct revelation: Man does not know the thoughts of other men, how could he possibly know the thoughts of God? – 1 Cor. 2:10-12; Ex. 34:27; Mat 4:4; Mat. 5:17-19; Luke 24: 44-46; John 8:23-28,29; John 14:25; John 14:26; John 16:12,13; John 17:17
2. Inspired revelation: Wisdom taught by the Holy Spirit which makes the writer infallible. Deut. 29:29; Psalm 19:7-14; Acts 17: 24-29; Romans 1: 18-32; Rom. 3:1-2; Eph. 2:20; Col. 3:16; 2 Tim. 3:16,17; Heb. 1:1; Heb. 4:12,13; Rev. 1:30
3. Illumination: Viewing the world through the lens of God’s word. Deut 29:29; Romans 1:21-32; 1 Cor. 2:2-16; 1 Tim. 4:13; 2 Tim. 1:13-15; 2 Tim. 3: 10-17; James 1:22-26
D. Miracles Luke 24:44-46; John 5:36; 2 Pet. 1:17,18
II. CHARACTERISTICS OF THE DIVINE REVELATION
Revelations may be stated or unstated. It is easy to understand or observer the overtly stated revelations, but not so easy to notice those that are unstated. Sometimes God gives instructions by what He does not say, or excludes from His message. In either case, the following characteristics apply.
A. Eternal – Deut 29:29; Psalm 19:9; John 10:35;1 Cor. 2:6,7; Mat. 5:17-19
B. Complete – Psalm 19:7;
C. True – Psalm 19:9; John 17:17; 2 Peter 1:19; John 8:32; John 14:26 (The Spirit grants perfect memory, or reminds the author of what God wants written)
D. May Be Unstated – Deut. 29:29: There are secret things known only to God. He has made us aware of what we need to know, and though not stated, indicates that we are not to worry about what we do not know. That which we do not know is God’s concern. Mat. 4:4: since both Satan and Jesus are using scripture to justify their arguments, the unstated revelation is that scripture is uncontestable.
E. Convicts – Psalm 19: 12,13; Heb. 4:12,13; 2 Tim. 4:14; John 5:40
1. Wrath made evident directly – Rom. 1:18
2. Wrath made evident through natural repercussions – Rom. 1:21-32
F. Comforts – Psalm 19:10, Rev. 1:30
G. Instructs – Psalm 19:11; Romans 1:18-32; John16:12-13 (there is more to come when you are ready); 1 Cor. 2:12
H. Is Considered Wisdom – 1 Cor. 2:6-9; Col. 3:16; 2 Tim 3:15
I. Treasure – Psalm 19:10; 2 Tim.1:14
J. Living and Active – Heb. 4:12; Col. 3:16; John 5:38
K. Perfect – James 1:25
L. Holy – 2 Peter 1:20,21
G. A Gift Which Has Been Freely Given To Man – Deut. 29:29
III. NEED FOR WRITTEN DIVINE REVELATION
The scriptures give man a lens through which to view the world, his actions, and the actions of others. The written divine revelations give man a foundation upon which he can build his relationship with God.
A. Instill Faith – Luke 24:24-27; John 5:36-4; John 8:23,24; Acts 17:24-29; Col. 3:16; 2 Tim 3:15; Heb. 4:12 (God knows where we stand in our faith); Eph. 3:2
B. Education – While there is visible evidence all around us of God’s handiwork (Acts 17:24-29; Rom. 1:18,19), man needs God’s actual instructions to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Deut. 29:29; 1 Tim. 4:13
1. Search for God. If you don’t understand, then ask – Neh. 8:7; Luke 24:27 (In this verse, the Spirit distinctly leaves out the details of the prophesies concerning Jesus. He wants us to search and learn, not be spoon fed.
2. Teach what you know – Deut. 29:29; Neh. 8:3; 2 Tim 3:16; Mat. 5:19
3. Know and follow the Laws – Ex. 34:27; 2 Tim 3:16; James 1:22-26; 2 Peter 3:2; Rom. 1:21-32; John 8:32; Deut. 29:29
4. Learn to be wise in the ways of the Lord - 1 Cor. 2:6-9,13; Col. 3:16; 2 Tim 3:15
IV. CONNECTING THE OLD AND THE NEW TESTAMENTS
Jesus frequently mentioned the inerrancy of the Old Testament text or scripture. He also foresaw the development of the New Testament, and set the stage for those scriptures to hold the same authority as the previously written texts. That authority comes from two sources, Jesus Himself, and the Holy Spirit.
A. Jesus’ Confirmation/Revelation
1. Defining His Deity – Jesus decisively states that His coming was foretold, and establishes that His works match the prophesies. Luke 24:44-46; John 5:36-40; John 8:25 (I imagine Jesus’ complete frustration with His audience at the question, “Who are you?”) John 8:26-32; John 14:25
2. Establishing the Authority of the Old Testament – Mat. 5: 17-19; Luke 24:25; John 17:17
3. Establishing The Authority Of The New Testament – John 14:26; John 16:12,13
B. Spirit Inspired Confirmation
1. Reinforcing the Authority of Old Testament Scripture – Acts 17: 24-29; Romans 1:18-20; 1 Cor. 2:6-9
2. Affirming the authority of Jesus – 1 Cor. 2:10-15; Eph 2:10
3. Affirming the Old Testament scripture and Jesus’ testament as coming from the same source – Col 3:16; 2 Tim 3:14-17; James 1:22-26; Heb 1:1; Heb 4:12,13; 1 Peter 1:16-21; 2 Peter 3:2; Rev 1:30
V. PROPER USES OF THE WRITTEN REVELATION
A. To Teach – Mat. 5:19; Neh. 8:1-9; 2 Tim 3:17; Rev 1:30
B. To Guide Behavior – Deut. 29:29; John 8:31,32; 1 Cor. 2:6-16; Col. 3:16; 2 Tim 3:10; James 1:22-26; Psalm 19:11
C. To Defend Against Evil – Jesus displayed that scripture must be known so well that it can instantly be recalled to ward off evil. Mat 4:4; 2 Tim 3:11-13,17
D. To Guard the Truth – Rom. 3:1,2; 2 Tim. 1:14
E. To Admonish or Correct – Cpl. 3:16; 2 Tim 3:16; Heb. 4:12,13
F. To Pray – Psalm 19:14
G. To Worship – Col. 3:16; Neh. 8:6; Col. 3:16
H. To Exhort Christian Behavior – 1 Tim 4:13; 2 Tim 3:16
I. To Study – 2 Pet. 3:2; Rev 1:30
J. To Comfort – Psalm 19:7,8; Col. 3:16; John 8:32; 1 Cor. 2:9; James 1:26
VI. DEPENDABILITY OF THE WRITTEN REVELATION
The living scripture is filled with evidence for the dependability of the revelation. While it would be wonderful to actually have a verbal conversation with our Lord, we can be confident that when we turn to the scriptures, we are reading and studying His actual words.
A. Natural Evidence – God’s nature and handiwork are evident through the beauty of the universe. Acts 17:24-29; Rom. 1: 18-20;
B. Physical Evidence – Jesus returned to life from death. Luke 24:44-46
C. Jesus’ Testimony – Mat. 4:4; Mat 5:17; Luke 24:24-27; John 5:36-40; John 8:23-32; John 14:25; John 17:17
D. Spiritual Testimony – John 14:26; John 16:12,13; 1 Cor. 2:9-13; Eph. 2:20; Heb. 1:1, Heb. 4:12,13; Rev. 1:30
E. Apostles Personal Testimony – 2 Tim. 3:10-17; 2 Peter 1:16-21; 2 Peter 3:2
There are many instances in which Jesus reassures His audience that the books of Hebrew scripture are the actual inerrant word of God. The Sermon on the Mount is framed by Jesus’ mentioning of the importance of these scriptures. At the beginning of the Sermon He defines their accuracy in Mat. 5:18. Toward the end of the sermon, Jesus interprets the scriptures saying, “In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” (Mat. 7:12) Throughout His ministry, Jesus describes how the scriptures apply to Him and His teaching. He does not ask His audience, then or now, to believe with blind faith, but to view the evidence. When asked by the Pharisees in John 8:25, “Who are you?” the text does not describe the exasperation that must have been present in Jesus’ voice when He responded, “What have I been telling you from the beginning?” Jesus was nothing if not blunt. He is the Son of Man, the “I Am”, and the scriptures plainly describe Him.
The evidence of the scriptures is there for its students to understand. Even though few people today study the scriptures the way the Jews studied 2,000 years ago, Jesus gives us even less of an excuse not to recognize Him. Paul makes the point blatantly clear when he says in 1 Cor. 15:14, “and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain, your faith is also in vain.” The simple fact is that without the resurrection, there would be nothing to argue about. Christianity would not exist. God has made His revelations quite clear.