And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.
Just as Peter was "sure" that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God (John 6:69), we too, can be sure about various matters. In lesson one, we learned that a person can be sure about God. Now attention is directed toward the book that is called "The Holy Bible." Can we be sure about the Bible? Indeed we can! It is logical that God would communicate with His creation. He could have chosen any means to communicate unto us. He has chosen a method that is very logical and effective - WORDS. Words are vehicles of communication and God has chosen this method to reveal His will for our lives.
The Bible is here. How did it get here? Obviously it did not write itself. It consists of 66 books that were written over a period of some 1600 years by about 40 different authors, many of them living in different times and unknown to one another. The Bible is a best seller virtually every year. The Bible has been attacked, yet still survives all its critics.
Last eve I passed beside a blacksmith's door,
And heard the anvil ring the vesper chime;
Then looking, I saw upon the floor,
Old hammers, worn with beating years of time.
"How many anvils have you had," said I,
"To wear and batter all these hammers so?"
"Just one," said he, and then with twinkling eye;
"The anvil wears the hammers out, ye know."
And so, thought I, the anvil of God's Word,
For ages skeptic blows have beat upon;
Yet though the noise of falling blows was heard
The anvil is unharmed, the hammers gone.
The Bible truly is an amazing book. It answers the most interesting questions concerning life: (1) From where did we come, (2) Why are we here, and (3) Where are we going? It alone can give us the correct answers to life's questions and fill our lives with hope.
The Bible claims to be divinely inspired (God-breathed). Paul wrote, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works" (2 Timothy 3:16-17). The writers did not claim that the message they wrote was their own; rather it was the Word of God. Peter explained; "Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost" (2 Peter 1:20-21). Peter is explaining that the message the prophets wrote was not a matter of their private interpretation. The holy men spoke as they moved (borne along) by the Holy Spirit.
Not only is the Bible inspired, but it claims verbal inspiration. Verbal inspiration means that God gave the writers the very words He wanted them to have. By so doing, the Bible is thereby protected from the writer choosing the wrong word. David wrote, "The Spirit of the LORD spake by me, and his word was in my tongue" (2 Samuel 23:2). Notice that God's word was in David's tongue. Also the prophet Jeremiah stated, "Then the LORD put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the LORD said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth" (Jeremiah 1:9). God's words were in the mouth of Jeremiah. Consequently, the Bible is the word of God.
God, in the past, used various means to communicate His word. He used dreams, visions, angels, etc., to communicate His will. However, He now uses the written word. The Hebrews' writer explained; "God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds" (Hebrews 1:1-2). God has in time past used divers (diverse) manners, but now in the Christian age, He has spoken to us by His Son, Jesus Christ.
God promised He would send the Holy Spirit unto the apostles who would guide them into all truth. "Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come" (John 16:13). Christ was true to His promise. The Holy Spirit guided the apostles into all truth. Jude wrote, "Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints" (Jude 1:3). The faith - the Gospel system - was once and for all delivered unto the saints (Christians).
Since the inspired men in the first century were guided into all truth, there is no more revelation being given today. It is not uncommon for certain ones to rise occasionally and claim that God has given them a message (revelation). Such, however, is false and is an attack on the words of Jesus. Today, we have the complete revelation of God in the Book - the Bible.
God does not expect us to accept statements without proof or evidence. In fact, the Bible itself proclaims, "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good" (1 Thessalonians 5:21). The Bible has no fear of honest investigation. God has given evidences of the Bible's inspiration. Evidences is a very broad area and only a few of the amazing evidences will be discussed in this lesson.
Scientific evidence: There is no disharmony or disunity between true Science and the Bible. One should remember there is scientific evidence and then the interpretation of that evidence. Also there is the Bible and then the interpretation of the Bible. The interpretation of science could be faulty and would make it appear that science is in disagreement with the Bible when, in fact, it is the wrong interpretation. Likewise, the Bible can be incorrectly interpreted and make it appear to be out of harmony with science. God is the author of true science and the Bible. There is no disharmony between true science and the Bible.
Isaiah, who wrote in about 750 B.C. spoke of God in contrast to idols (false gods), "It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in" (Isaiah 40:22). God had Isaiah say that the earth was a "circle." This went against the common belief for many years that the earth was flat. How did Isaiah know that the earth was a circle? Also many years earlier, David, a shepherd in Palestine, wrote, "The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas" (Psalm 8:8). How did David know there are "paths" (water currents) in the sea? Later, as a result of reading Psalm eight, the paths were discovered and are used even today by ships traveling the seas. Many other scientific matters are discussed in the Bible, such as the springs in the sea, the dividing of light, the water cycle of the earth, etc. How did these writers know (without modern scientific technology) truths that were discovered much later? God, who is the Author of science, is also the author of the Bible.
The unity of the Bible is another evidence of its divine inspiration. As stated earlier, the Bible consists of 66 books written by about 40 different authors unknown to one another. Yet, the Bible is in reality one book. There is amazing unity of theme in the Bible. The foretelling of the coming of Christ, the establishment of the church, and many other themes are discussed in the Bible with complete unity. Again, this is easily understood when one understands there is actually one Author of the Bible - God.
Prophecy and fulfillment: The Bible contains hundreds of prophecies concerning the Christ. They were all minutely fulfilled. His conception, His birth, the place of His birth, His life, His betrayal, His death, His burial, His ascension back into heaven, etc. were all foretold hundreds of years before He came to earth. The church was a matter of prophecy as well. Its time and place of establishment was correctly foretold. These are just a sampling of the prophecies and fulfillment contained in the pages of the Bible. Keep in mind that these prophecies were not "close" to being accurate; they were fulfilled minutely! Also, it isn't the case that most of them were accurate; they were all accurate!
Many more evidences could be given (such as the geography, archaeology, etc.), but these are sufficient to show that you can be sure about the Bible.
Although the Bible contains 66 individual books, it basically has two major covenants known as the Old Testament and New Testament. It is imperative that a person distinguish between these covenants if he is to understand God's will for his life. Paul admonished Timothy, "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" (2 Timothy 2:15). The word of God must be rightly divided. To admonish that it is to be rightly divided implies, of course, that it can be wrongly (incorrectly) divided.
The word of God distinguishes between the two covenants. The Old Testament, given at Mount Sinai, was given to the Jews who had come out of Egypt. "And Moses called all Israel, and said unto them, Hear, O Israel, the statutes and judgments which I speak in your ears this day, that ye may learn them, and keep, and do them. The LORD our God made a covenant with us in Horeb. The LORD made not this covenant with our fathers, but with us, even us, who are all of us here alive this day" (Deut. 5:1-3). This covenant was for the purpose of leading the Jews unto Christ. Paul wrote, "Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster"(Gal. 3:24-25). The law (the old covenant) was a schoolmaster or tutor to bring the Jews unto Christ. But after "that faith" (the gospel system) was come, they were no longer under the schoolmaster (the old covenant). Under the Old Testament the Jews were to travel to Jerusalem three times a year and observe the Old Testament feasts. They were to offer various animal sacrifices, etc. Today, however, we are under the New Testament. Hebrews states, "Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all" (Hebrews 10:9-10). Christ took away the first (the Old Testament), that He might establish the second (the New Testament). The book of Colossians also affirms that Christ took away the Old Testament as our law for today. "Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross" (Colossians 2:14). To the Romans, Paul stated, "Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God" (Romans 7:4).
A brief overview of the New Testament is helpful to those desiring to understand the word of God. The books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are books of biography of the life of Christ. The book of Acts is a history of the Lord's church. It tells of the establishment of the church of Christ and the spread of the Gospel throughout the world. Romans through Jude are letters written to congregations and individuals giving them further instruction for dealing with some specific problems. The book of Revelation is written to Christians who were undergoing tremendous persecution and it assured them (and us) of the victory one has in Christ if he will remain faithful.
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