The Bible claims to be a divine revelation, a serious claim that demands careful examination.
Is it true? Can it be relied upon?
The implications are obvious. If the Bible is true and God’s message to people then
Bible is God’s self-revelation. It is God’s account of His dealings with people throughout the ages. It is the record of His rescue plan. It is a book based in history. It is not giving us optional concepts for life nor broad ideas but precise directions about how we can know God.
Not the same as an inspired poet or song or football team!
2 Timothy 3:16 speaks of the Bible being inspired or “God breathed”
2 Peter 1:20-21 “Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophets own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”
We note the words “carried along” used in Acts 27:15 “The ship was caught by the storm and could not head into the wind; so we gave way to it and were driven along”
Inspiration teaches God’s protection and direction over what was written. It was not holy men recording their own thoughts but men directed by the Holy Spirit writing down words approved by God.
Exodus 24:3-4 “Moses told the people all the Lord’s words and laws; they responded with one voice, Everything the Lord has said we will do. Moses then wrote down everything the Lord had said.”
Jeremiah 36:2 “Take a scroll and write on it all the words I have spoken to you concerning Israel....v. Jehudi cut them off with a scribes knife and threw them into the fire... v.32 Jeremiah took another scroll gave it to the scribe Baruch who wrote on it all the words on the scroll that the King had burned in the fire, and many similar words were added to them.”
1 Thessalonians 2:13 “We thank God continually for when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God which is at work within you.”
2 Timothy 3:16 “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
Hebrews 3:7-11 begins with this “So, as the Holy Spirit says; Today if you hear His voice, harden not your heart,” A quote from Psalms 95:7-11, written by the Psalmist directed by the Holy Spirit.
Acts 4:25 “You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our Father David.”
We have options here. Either to accept the words of the writers themselves as being true and that their writings are indeed the words of God or we can reject them as spurious and mere propaganda.
City of Babylon destroyed never to be inhabited. True to this day despite all the natural advantages that would have encouraged a new city.
We could look at history and note the Bible’s accuracy as a history book. We could examine sites that have been excavated which show the truth of Biblical accounts but I am aware that sceptics have a long shelf life and that external evidence will produce further questions, some of them with a deal of truth. Even if the Bible were proved to the satisfaction of the greatest sceptic, it would not necessarily produce a response of belief. We would be back to the UFO syndrome; some are convinced, others will never be convinced.
The Bible makes claims about itself. That it is God’s self-revelation. Have I proven that to all who read these words?
It is presumed that as we approach the Bible’s claims about God that we are able to make a decision based upon a full knowledge both of ourselves and God. We assume that we are able to think accurately, without any bias at work within us. That is simply not so! We often forget that our minds are also affected by this very same principle.
Colossians 1:21 “Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behaviour.”
Romans 3:4 “Let God be true, and every man a liar.”
Biblical standard is this: God is the standard of truth, not man!
God reveals his truth but this is often rejected.
Romans 1:18 “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness.”
Creation enables people to know about God even to those who don’t believe. Unbelievers do have a grasp of truth but generally they suppress it.
v.21 “For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.”
Romans chapter 1 exposes the true state of people and concludes with verse 32
Romans 1:32 although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things, but also approve of those who practice them.”
There is a knowledge of truth placed by God in the conscience of people, believer and non-believer alike.
People have within them, believer and non-believer an understanding of God’s truth.
Romans 2:14 “ Gentiles who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law ,they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts.” There is within people a sense of right and wrong placed there by God.
Within people there is also a sense of justice. We expect that wrongdoing will be punished. We have more than a suspicion that the wrong that we commit against God must be dealt with.
Some would claim that we have a system of morals gained from some source or other. Such people will then reject that the Bible is the source of that moral base.
People are willing to accept what the Bible says as long as it doesn’t contradict what they already believe. Their real standard is not the Bible but their own beliefs and they are content to believe certain passages and teachings but retain the freedom to reject other sections they don’t like or agree with.
Are we free to use the Bible like this? Jesus gave no liberty for that. He said to some who professed faith;
John 8:31 “If you hold to my teachings, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.”
What’s right for me may not be right for you.
This denies any absolute truth and therefore rejects the Bible. Truth becomes what you want it to be.
The storyline of the Bible is that Jesus Christ, came to be the Saviour of all who will believe. The core truths of Scripture show the perfections of God and the sinfulness of all people. God came to effect a rescue of people who trust in Christ.
Jesus came into the world to save people from their sins.
The Bible is a clear statement of God’s intentions towards us. We cannot know God in a full way apart from the Bible. We cannot appreciate Christ’s saving power for lost people outside of the account of the Bible.
May I suggest you read through the Gospel of John and if we can help in any way get in touch.
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Newry Baptist Church
31-33 Lower Catherine Street