The Authority of The Bible.

theholybiblecloseupeo2Earlier I outlined my statement of faith, focusing on several areas including Scripture, God, Creation, Angels, Man, Salvation, Maturity, and the Church. My goal is, over time, to explain in greater detail most of these topics. Some topics might overlap, but for the most part this will be a good way to keep the flow of this series intact. I do find it very important that I explain why I believe in the authority of Scriptures. To remind ourselves where I stand, here is what I quoted from my last posting:

Scripture
I believe in the verbal, plenary inspiration of the 66 books of the Old and New Testament. The Bible is the very Word of God without any mixture of error and is therefore our only authority in all matters of faith and conduct (II Timothy 3:16; II Peter 1:21; Matthew 5:17-18)

If you cannot accept the Bible as the sole authority on spiritual matters, it would be next to impossible to try to examine the other areas of my faith with seriousness. The Bible is simply that important and really becomes the foundation from where we find all of our answers and beliefs in Christianity. I am well aware there are many critics of the Bible, but I for one believe it to be absolute truth and the Word of God, given to us as a gift so that we have the opportunity to learn about the message of Christianity and the Bible as a whole – which is Jesus Christ. But, why? Why believe a book that was written centuries ago? Why place my entire self and beliefs taught from a book, and not in myself? I am a smart individual, I do listen to logic and reason. Is it possible I can have these attributes and have belief in the Bible? Yes. I’ll try to explain why and how I’ve come to the realization that I can depend on the Scriptures and have no doubt in its integrity.

First, I must make it clear that just because I’m a Christian with the statement of the Scriptures used above, doesn’t mean that other religions agree with me. There are many false religions in the world today. In fact, we must remember that the type of faith system we are examining is the only true, correct religion. There are many different religions and cultists (Jehovah Witnesses, Mormons & World Mission Society to name a few) that abuse the Bible and its Integrity by adding and taking away from the Word, as well as mixing in human-created doctrine. I cannot stress more the importance of tampering with the Bible. In John’s Revelation he makes this point ever so clear in the last few versus of the text itself:

18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share inthe tree of life and inthe holy city, which are described in this book. (Rev. 22, ESV)

It is God’s word, it doesn’t need any further explanation and its message is clear, and it doesn’t need to be altered by religious means. It stands for itself, and only the 66 books of the the Old and New Testament were inspired by God. With that said, once we believe that this Bible is the only true word from God, we have to understand what it means for the book to have been “inspired”. In Paul’s second letter to Timothy, he makes an important statement on the authentic inspiration of God’s Word:

16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete,equipped for every good work. (2 Tim. 3:16, ESV)

Some would argue the legitimacy of the Bible by defining the type of inspiration used by God to write the Bible. From my studies, some critics have argued that maybe the Word was given to the apostles by “thought inspiration” meaning that God just gave them general ideas and the apostles wrote these ideas on paper. This cannot be true because the then it would leave the inspiration of the words open for debate, and we know it to be that each word and letter was inspired by God. Others argue comically that maybe God used a dictatorship type of inspiration where he simply put the apostles under some sort of trance to write down His words in almost a robotic fashion. However, we know that none of this can be true because each of the writer’s of the Bible clearly have their own thoughts and personality shown in the writings of the Old Testament and New Testament gospels. The inspiration comes clearly from the Spirit  as direct inspiration from God and were quite literately “breathed” out by God through the work of the Holy Spirit that was in the hearts of the apostles. It was through this action they were moved by the Holy Spirit and wrote the Scripture as we know it today. Paul helps explain this better in the following passages:

10 these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. (2 Cor. 2, ESV)

20 knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. 21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. (2 Pet. 1, ESV)

The writer’s themselves proclaim over 4,000 times that source of origin came from God from making statements like “Thus says the Lord” or “The Lord has Spoken” (Isa. 1:2).  So as to stress the point further, not only was the Bible divinely inspired by God, it contains no error.  The 66 inspired books were written by 40 writers over a span of 1,500 years and yet they are infallible. Scripture cannot be broken (John 10:35), does not contradict science, inerrant, true in every part, and every word of God is pure. (Ps. 119:140 NASB). It can not be in error because God is truth, (John 3:33) therefore God cannot lie.

The most eye-opening evidence of the Bible’s truth comes from its overall message which is Jesus Christ. I will be doing a blog post later that will examine this further with more specific evidence geared toward that topic, but for the time being I will say that everything that was prophesied in the Old Testament about the coming Messiah was fulfilled in the New Testament through Jesus Christ. Most Jews tend to turn a  blind ear to such passages like Isaiah 53 which speak clearly of the prophesy of Jesus on the cross. Jesus himself clearly made it known that He was the one fulfilling prophesy after his resurrection when he spoke to the original eleven:

44 Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you,that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46 and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, 47 and that repentance and[c] forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. (Luke 24, ESV)

Not only was he proclaiming in this verse that the Old Testament was talking about him, his resurrection itself was prophesied by Jesus himself 3 times in the New Testament alone. For reference of one of the last times he did just that, go back a few chapters to Luke 18:

31 And taking the twelve, he said to them, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished. 32 For he will be delivered over to the Gentiles and will be mocked and shamefully treated and spit upon. 33 And after flogging him, they will kill him, and on the third day he will rise.” 34 But they understood none of these things.This saying was hidden from them, and they did not grasp what was said. (Luke 18, ESV)

Jesus was known to quote Scriptures he was either fulfilling or teaching by constantly stating “Have you not Read” etc. In fact, one tenth of the recorded words in Scripture that came from Jesus were taken from the Old Testament. Jesus himself quoted the Old Testament 180 times of the 1,800 versus of written scripture that details what He said. Jesus was very specific in fulfilling Scripture to every last detail as well. Consider in Matthew’s gospel when after Judas betrayed him, Peter drew out his sword and Jesus made him put it back:

51 And behold, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his ear. 52 Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword. 53 Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? 54 But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?” 55 At that hour Jesus said to the crowds, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs to capture me? Day after day I sat in the temple teaching, and you did not seize me. 56 But all this has taken place that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.”Then all the disciples left him and fled. (Matthew 26, ESV)

I could go on and on, but since Jesus is the center of the message of the bible, you will have to wait until a later time to hear more evidence on Jesus specifically. The authority of Jesus himself showcases the authority of the Bible and vice versa. As well, there are the simple things. Some argue that the writer’s of the book just made everything up. But consider Luke. When writing his Gospel it was of his nature and of the people of his time to carefully investigate the facts and research. From his gospel:

1 Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us, 2 just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us, 3 it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4 that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught. (Luke 1, ESV)

Bear in mind, when the writer’s of the gospels were writing the Bible. Why would the writers risk being ridiculed for lying and making all of this up? Most of the gospels were written anywhere from 30-90 years after Jesus’s resurrection, in the span of their own lifetime. Some of Paul’s writings can be recited as early as 20-30 years after the Death and Resurrection of Christ. Not to mention the fact that there was over 500 eyewitness accounts to Jesus’s resurrection, most of who would have been alive when these gospels were being written. Wouldn’t these eyewitnesses have called out the writers for their deceit, had this message not actually happened? And think about the overall message for a moment. If the writers were making this up, why would they write a book that pretty much damns most of the human population to hell? It doesn’t seem like a popular message that one would want to take part in. These very people who wrote our scriptures became martyrs of their faith. Their persecution and death was not just based on something they believed, but something that they saw – Jesus resurrected from the Dead!

The authority of the Bible is powerful and it is a book we can trust, and its message is true. I’m only hinting at some of the evidence here, but I invite you to try to prove that anything in the Bible is in error and is contradictory to itself. If you do so, I promise I will get back to you with an answer. Even though Christians know the Bible is absolute truth and without error, some will refuse to believe. To trust it,  it must be a work of the Holy Spirit. God designed it in such a way that evidence alone can’t cut it to convince the unbelieving, because natural man cannot believe. This is why Jesus spoke mostly in parables because it aids the unbelieved.  To the Non-Christian the truths of the Bible can be considered foolish, unattainable through wisdom, incomprehensible, and unfashionable. No means of human reason can convince you that this is truth. You have to step outside of reason and wisdom to believe it is true. You must be as an innocent as a baby to fully comprehend. From Scripture:

25 At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; 26 yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. 27 All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. (Matt. 11, ESV)

Further:

14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 15 The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. 16 “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ. (1 Cor. 2, ESV)

It’s crazy to think that God made it work this way. But it was by design. It is not my job, nor do I have the authority to help save those that are completely lost and unable to belief in the Bible’s truth. But if after looking at this topic, you feel that something does make sense – and you can believe this truth – please consider reading the Scriptures for yourselves. I was so naïve for many years in this area and tried to live out a life worthy of God without being in the Word. It just doesn’t work. If you don’t believe the Bible to be true, I challenge you to study it word for word, chapter by chapter. The more you read it the more you realize that the Bible does speak truth, it does not lie, and that it is perfect. The Bible can’t save you, but its message and confidence you put in Jesus can.  I read very little of the Bible before I was saved, and now that I’m in the Word daily I am amazed at how perfect this book is. Most of you know me personally. I am not crazy, I have sense. Yet, from studying it I can not deny the authority it has on my life.

I look forward to hearing your input and dwelling onto more topics in the future.  If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments below.