All posts by Ted

Essential Truths 2 – The Bible

The Truth Will Set You Free

In John 8:31ff, Jesus was talking with some Jews who had come to know Him as their Messiah.  He makes this profound statement that encompasses all of man’s history on the earth and future eternity as well — “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”  They were amazed to think they would be “made free”, so Jesus elaborated and made this conclusion in 8:36 – “So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.” 

Ever since Adam & Eve were banished from the Garden, mankind has been struggling to be given lasting freedom from the bondage to sin and its consequences.  God’s Written and Living Word contain the complete and final Truth about how man’s relationship with God is re-established.  Knowing the incredible authority and validity of this Book, the rich wisdom that it reveals, the hope that is given to the man or woman who trusts in it, we begin to understand value of the Real Truth and Real Freedom which it offers. 

Why do we need doctrine?

  • The study of what we believe about the Bible is called “bibliology”.  These “ologies” (hamartiology, ecclesiology, eschatology…) stand as pillars of truth on which biblical ministries and the Church as a whole establish their foundations.  These categories of belief seek to recognize certain truths to be essential to our understanding of God.  God has led His people to organize these truths into a “system of theology”.
  • Biblical Doctrine is developed by sorting the Bible’s teachings out one by one, observing all of the related Scriptures that teach a truth, in order to grasp all the biblical aspects.  It has involved godly men & women, both in the Church age, and reaching back to the godly faithful Jews of the Old Testament times.  These people have been dedicated to the task of gaining a complete grasp of a biblical truth that is trustworthy and faithful to the whole teachings of God’s Word.
  • “Essential Truths” seeks to highlight those doctrines that form the core of biblical truth.  Within our global, diverse church of born again believers, we recognize there are going to be differences of opinion on some various doctrine understandings.  However, there are certain Essential doctrines that aren’t debatable.  Examples are the inspiration of Scripture, the virgin birth of Christ, God’s sovereign and literal creation of the universe, the fact of man’s sinful condition, and the complete provision of man’s salvation by the finished work of Christ on the Cross and His literal resurrection.

Chicken or egg?

  • What is the single greatest doctrinal truth in the Bible?  It is God Himself
  • In order for an unbeliever to come to faith in Jesus Christ, he needs to agree with the authority of the Bible as the literal word of God, and He needs to agree what claims about Himself.  That can be summarized in three simple statements:
    • God Is – He has always existed, and is sovereign over all of creation
    • He Is Who He Says He Is – In the Bible, He tells us about His power, knowledge, holiness, justice and other important characteristics
    • He Does What He Says He Will Do – He has complete plans for His creation, for mankind, and for each of us. These plans include judgment of sin and sinners, and an eternity in His presence who accept His provision of salvation through Christ. 
  • God Himself is Truth & Life, He always has been Holy, Righteous, Just
    • Revelation reveals and explains these and many other great truths about God
    • So while God is primary, we need the Bible in order to know about God and understand how He has provided a way for  us to have a relationship with Him.

We Believe the Bible!

How do we develop and declare our belief in the Bible?  By reviewing major books on doctrine, looking at doctrinal statements of our church and other God-honoring organizations, and hearing godly leaders express their faith, we can begin to see a set of statements come together which express our belief in the inspired Word of God:

  • Everything which the One True God, our Creator, knew we needed to know about Him, and how to have a relationship with Him, is contained in this Book. 
  • Inspired – The Bible is God-breathed, a miraculous work by God alone, ingesting His very life into it
  • Written by authors supernaturally led & enabled by God
  • Plenary – the Bible is equally inspired in every detail – we can’t pick & choose only portions of it as inspired
  • Verbal – meaning every actual word (in the original manuscripts), not just the ideas or thoughts, 66 books of the Old & New Testaments) –translations must take care to be faithful to the actual words, seeking to represent what the word meant to the author, understanding how the grammar expresses the intended message God gave the author
  • Inerrant – the Bible is absolute truth, completely error-free (again, in the original manuscripts) – there are no conflicts between different parts of the Bible
  • Infallible – the Bible is completely trustworthy, the Christian’s absolute and only authority and guide to salvation and a life of faith, our “sole source and authority” for all Truth man needs to know and live by.

Is the Bible Inspired?

Asked another way: “Why should I believe the Bible?”  When we find ourselves in a conversation with a person who makes no claim to know or even believe in God, we want to share the marvelous Good News of the Gospel.  But something inevitably gets in the way – you begin to share the words of John 3:16, and they stop you and say “Those words have no impact in my thinking at all.”

What do you know about the Bible?

  • Inspired  – God’s moved holy men by His Holy Spirit to write, 2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Pet. 1:21
  • The nature of this inspiration infers that God permeated the Bible with His very mind, soul, life – this compares to God creating man and breathing into him the breath of life (Gen. 2:7), that is spiritual life and understanding, in God’s image – also see Job 32:8; Prov. 20:27; Psa. 33:6
  • The extent and depth of inspiration – what is its impact, how far does it reach?
    • The facts – 40 authors with a broad variety of backgrounds, over 1600 years (from Moses to John), many cultures, geographies, political systems, religious traditions.  The Bible was the first book to be printed (Gutenberg) and is still being printed more than any other book (>40 million/year). It has been translated into the majority of the world’s languages, and countless thousands of books written about it
    • The statements – “God said”, Gen. 1:3; Exo. 3:14; “Thus says the Lord”, (Moses to Pharoah); God spoke through the prophets – the expressions of God’s mind & heart, His faithfulness, promises, compassion, etc. – I will redeem, starting in Gen.3, followed by many statements and narratives of progress towards the Savior and Salvation – I will complete, promises and descriptions of what transpire in the “end times”, the “Day of the Lord”, and Eternity.

What is Revelation?

Unveiling Truth

  • Secret things – Deut. 29:29, the secret things of God’s mind, His mind encompasses everything that can be known, His omniscience
  • God chooses what to reveal to us – Isa. 65:1, He determines what we need to know or are capable of handling, His benevolence o The mystery of the Church – Eph. 1:7-14, a good example of vast amounts of truth that He already knew but chose to withhold until the fifth millennium of man’s history
  • General Revelation
    • Rom. 1:19-20 – God’s witness to Himself through “natural” creation, science, man’s conscience, witnessed by every human who ever lived
    • 1:21, Unredeemed man responsible to bow and worship the God of creation
    • Psa. 19:1-6; Job 38
  • Special Revelation
    • What God has revealed about Himself by unique revelation, His witness through salvation history – cp. Psa.19:7-14 with vv1-6
    • Abraham & Isaac, Gen. 22; Passover and Atonement, Exo. 12; Heb.1
  • Progressive Revelation
    • God’s relationship with man clarified and expanded, as history has developed, God has “adjusted” His provisions for establishing relationship with Him
    • Dispensations – through history, different periods are observed in the Bible related to moral responsibilities based on what God has revealed about Himself
  • Revelation Complete
    • God’s work of revelation is closed, no further revelation will occur, after the completion of the New Testament o
    • Our understanding of the doctrine of the Bible requires that no new revelation be agreed to

Validation

• Facts

The supreme mind of God is demonstrated by the sheer burden of weight given by the recording of His wisdom
o Man’s instinct is to record history as it progresses, from personal memoirs to major literary works – God assured that the history would be accurate
o Rom.11:33; 16:26-27; Job 28:20-28; 38:1-11
o References to Cultural and political events, individuals, great historical figures, geographical features, etc.
• Statements
o “Thus says the Lord” – over 2000x, the Bible hangs it reputation on being the very word of God
o Prophecy declared & fulfilled – hundreds of prophecies are recorded that were fulfilled within the timeframe of the Bible’s record; hundreds more, spoken by the same prophets, remain to be fulfilled in the future
o The heart of man is completely laid bare, Rom. 3; Heb. 4:12 – man is completely exposed to his Creator – the guilt of man’s sin
• The Living Word
o Jesus Christ is Validated by the Father – His birth, His baptism, the Resurrection
o Demonstrated God to man – Jesus “pitched His tent” among man, Jn. 1:14; He revealed God’s glory, Heb. 1:1-4
o Jesus represented man to God – suffered temptation, hunger, rejection, stood before God in our place for our sin and sentence
o Jesus validated all of Scripture – Matt. 5:17-18, spoke many times with authority based on the Scriptures
o Jesus revealed new truth, expanded God’s revelation to man of His program of Redemption
• Many verses to consider about the veracity of God’s Word
o Mark 12:26, 36
o Luke 24:27, 44
o John 5:39
o Acts 1:16
o Acts 17:2–3
o Acts 26:22–23; 28:23
o Rom. 15:4
o 1 Cor. 2:11-13
o 2 Tim. 3:16-17
o 2 Pet. 1:21

Authorship

• When – the books of the Bible were written over 1400 years
• Who – 40 authors from all walks of life, Hebrew & Gentile, from Moses to John
• How – within the context of each writer’s unique walk of life, God manifested Himself with clear messages of Truth that the writer understood and expressed in his own words, guided by the Holy Spirit in such a way that they actually were the words of God Himself


Other topics regarding Revelation:
• Preservation –
o God led His faithful people to maintain habits and procedures that assured us that what the original authors wrote would be maintained through the following centuries
o God has raised faithful defenders from the relentless attacks against the integrity and/or the very existence of the Bible
• The Canon
o God led the Church to defend the integrity of the inspired Scriptures and this included the Holy Spirit’s guidance of church leaders from 300AD to at least 600 to go through the exercise of debate and examination to be sure the final Bible’s content was what God intended.
• Illumination
o Our responsibility as believers is to properly “handle” the Bible – that includes diligent study using dependable methods that will guide us to the intended meaning of the passage
o God has provided us His Holy Spirit as our Teacher, He guidies and sheds light on the truths we are reading in the Bible


o The supreme mind of God is demonstrated by the sheer burden of weight given by the recording of His wisdom
o Man’s instinct is to record history as it progresses, from personal memoirs to major literary works – God assured that the history would be accurate
o Rom.11:33; 16:26-27; Job 28:20-28; 38:1-11
o References to Cultural and political events, individuals, great historical figures, geographical features, etc.
• Statements
o “Thus says the Lord” – over 2000x, the Bible hangs it reputation on being the very word of God
o Prophecy declared & fulfilled – hundreds of prophecies are recorded that were fulfilled within the timeframe of the Bible’s record; hundreds more, spoken by the same prophets, remain to be fulfilled in the future
o The heart of man is completely laid bare, Rom. 3; Heb. 4:12 – man is completely exposed to his Creator – the guilt of man’s sin
• The Living Word
o Jesus Christ is Validated by the Father – His birth, His baptism, the Resurrection
o Demonstrated God to man – Jesus “pitched His tent” among man, Jn. 1:14; He revealed God’s glory, Heb. 1:1-4
o Jesus represented man to God – suffered temptation, hunger, rejection, stood before God in our place for our sin and sentence
o Jesus validated all of Scripture – Matt. 5:17-18, spoke many times with authority based on the Scriptures
o Jesus revealed new truth, expanded God’s revelation to man of His program of Redemption
• Many verses to consider about the veracity of God’s Word
o Mark 12:26, 36
o Luke 24:27, 44
o John 5:39
o Acts 1:16
o Acts 17:2–3
o Acts 26:22–23; 28:23
o Rom. 15:4
o 1 Cor. 2:11-13
o 2 Tim. 3:16-17
o 2 Pet. 1:21

Authorship

• When – the books of the Bible were written over 1400 years
• Who – 40 authors from all walks of life, Hebrew & Gentile, from Moses to John
• How – within the context of each writer’s unique walk of life, God manifested Himself with clear messages of Truth that the writer understood and expressed in his own words, guided by the Holy Spirit in such a way that they actually were the words of God Himself


Other topics regarding Revelation:
• Preservation –
o God led His faithful people to maintain habits and procedures that assured us that what the original authors wrote would be maintained through the following centuries
o God has raised faithful defenders from the relentless attacks against the integrity and/or the very existence of the Bible
• The Canon
o God led the Church to defend the integrity of the inspired Scriptures and this included the Holy Spirit’s guidance of church leaders from 300AD to at least 600 to go through the exercise of debate and examination to be sure the final Bible’s content was what God intended.
• Illumination
o Our responsibility as believers is to properly “handle” the Bible – that includes diligent study using dependable methods that will guide us to the intended meaning of the passage
o God has provided us His Holy Spirit as our Teacher, He guidies and sheds light on the truths we are reading in the Bible

 

 

Stay in the Word!

These Bible studies are designed with you in mind!  Every one of us need to have a habit of spending some time every week studying God’s Word.  Each of these studies provides enough “fuel” to move you through 30-45 minutes of study time.  Be sure to commit to using a Bible Study Journal – either a paper & pen or digital type.  Whenever you do Bible study, be sure your pen is in your hand the whole time.