Monday, October 17, 2016

Why the Bible? (part 1)

(by Pastor Joe)
The Word for today: Psalms 137 & 138
mark this: Psalm 138:2 --
"I will bow down toward Your holy temple and will praise Your name for Your love and Your faithfulness, for You have exalted above all things Your name and Your word."
I want to talk about God's Word today- more specifically, I want to talk about why the Bible, and the Bible alone, is God's Holy Word. Many of you take that statement at face value- you accept the Bible for what it is- and that is excellent.
But our world is one where the majority of the people no longer believe that statement is true. It's a world where the Bible is lumped with other "sacred" books such as the Talmud, the Koran, the Book of Mormon, the Bhagavad Gita and whatever else may be in vogue. We live in an age where most people no longer care that "the Bible tells me so," an age where we must do more than simply reference chapter and verse to make any kind of point.
Today, I want to talk not so much about what the Bible says, but why I trust the Scriptures to begin with. In short, I want to give to all believers some ammunition to defend their faith and also challenge the unbeliever with the truth of the most amazing book mankind has ever had.
Truly God has, as this Psalm declares, "exalted His Word." The first reason I trust in the Bible is that it stands head and shoulders above any other book ever written. It is by far, not only the best selling book of all time, but it is also the best selling book each and every year. It puts anything written by Dan Brown or Stephen King or any other best selling author to shame in comparison. It is also, by far, the most translated book of all time, translated into over 1400 languages that can be understood by 90% of the people of the world.
God has exalted His Word by making it unbelievably available. It is good news to all people, no matter language, social status, gender, culture, race, or education level. That is categorically untrue of any other "sacred" writings. The Koran is locked in Arabic, both linguistically and culturally. The Bhagavad Gita can only be interpreted by those of the Brahman caste. The Book of Mormon is and the Jehovah Witness Bible (NWT) are controlled from their autocratic central headquarters in Salt Lake City and Brooklyn, respectively.
God has also exalted His Word by how the Bible authenticates itself. Despite having dozens of different authors, being written over thousands of years, on three different continents- the Bible is united - its central theme is Jesus Christ, and His plan to redeem humanity. People will often speak of supposed "contradictions" in the Bible, but cannot give a single example. When we do see a tough passage, we can find resolution as we compare it to the whole of the Bible. The Bible is very clear in its testimony about itself (1). It claims to be the inspired revelation of God and then backs those claims up.
In truth, the multiple authors and perspectives strengthens the case for the Bible. I love the fact that my trust in the Bible does not rest on the trust in a single author. I know how prone to error I am and people are, especially in isolation. But for the Mormon or for the Muslim, their entire faith system is stands or fails on the integrity of one individual. If one could prove that Joseph Smith or Muhammad were in any way not completely trustworthy, then all of Mormonism or Islam falls apart. All one has to do is cast some doubt on what supposedly happened to either of them when they were supposedly given direct revelation from an angel- all alone I might add.
But to deny the Bible, you are would have to say that the testimony of Moses and Samuel and David and Isaiah and Jeremiah and Ezra and Matthew and Mark and Luke and John and Peter and Paul and every other one of its authors; it all untrue.
There's much more to say on this subject- we'll save it for future blogs. Suffice it to say that when you are holding the Bible, you are holding an utterly unique and trustworthy account of God's testimony to us. Doubt yourself, doubt others, certainly doubt the drivel that comes from our world and media, but don't let ignorant naysayers trip you up with unfounded attacks on the Word.
(1) 2 Timothy 3:16, 2 Peter 1:20 -21

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