What About the Bible
Bill Brown, Carmichael Baptist Church
Lesson Text: II Timothy 3:15-17
Lesson Objective: To understand the importance of the Bible for our daily lives. To understand which Bible we should use, how God wrote it, and how it was preserved in it’s purity until today. To show the Bible to be the perfect and inspired Word of God.
Introduction: Have you ever thought much about the Bible we use today? You may have asked some of the same questions that many others have asked. How was it written? When and by whom was it written? How do we know it is really God’s perfect word? These and many other questions have been asked for thousands of years. As one writer put it; „There is no document, ancient or modern, that shows such unity and diversity as the Bible. This book was written over a period of 1,600 years by more than 40 separate, human authors writing about the ultimate issues of life. Yet there is not a single contradiction.” Man should have complete trust in a book that is filled with exacting prophecies that have always come true. We should have no problem being convinced by a Bible whose archaeology has been proved time and time again to precise. Even the historical events recorded within Scripture are validated through other sources. Though there have always been people who have doubted the perfection or even the existence of God’s word, it has only been in the last 100 or 200 years that there has been such extreme doubt in peoples minds. Probably the main reason more doubt has come into our generation is because of the proliferation of hundreds of versions of the Bible. In the English language there was only one Bible that was prominently used; the King James Version, for hundreds of years. With the decline of our society’s grasp of the English language, and with the rise of our brand of English, people began to have a hard time understanding some of the words used in the King James Version. While some may have been sincere in their desire to help the average person gain a better understanding of the Bible, the Devil was hard at work. He has managed to bring doubt about the veracity of certain words, verses, and whole passages of Scripture. This has led many to doubt and even reject the reliability of God’s word. This lesson is designed to educate and to encourage you in your use and full faith of God’s wonderful word. If I couldn’t be sure about all of God’s word I would have difficulty preaching or teaching any of it with substantial passion and assurance. Once you have studied this lesson I hope you will have the same love, excitement, and confidence in the word of God that men and women down through the ages have enjoyed. Now, let’s answer some of those questions.
What Were The Original Languages?
The Bible wasn’t originally written in English. It helps if we understand something of the languages used during the time of the writing of the Bible. The Old Testament was written in the Hebrew language. This is not the same language the modern Israelite speaks today. They speak Yiddish. The original Hebrew language is now what scholars call a dead language. It is not spoken except by some orthodox Jewish Rabbis and few others. God allowed this language to die to preserve the exactness of the meaning of the words. Languages change over the centuries and word meanings change or lose some of their impact. Because the Hebrew language died as a spoken language it was preserved in it’s pure written form.
The New Testament was written in the Greek language with some Arabic. The Greek, which was used to write the Bible, is a vernacular that is not used in Greece today. It is called „Classical Greek.” God did not give His word to man and then leave it alone. He preserved it, protected it, and advanced in through out the world. Because this language died as a spoken language it was protected from cultural changes and has been preserved in all of its beauty for us today. Because it must be translated into the English language for us to understand we lose some of the exactness and elegance with which it was written. While we will not attempt to teach you any Hebrew or Greek we will often refer to both of these languages to help us gain a greater comprehension of the meaning of the words and the truths God wants us to enjoy. It is not required to understand or study either the Greek or Hebrew languages. God has made sure we have His preserved and perfect word in the English language today by giving us the King James translation. Our use of the original languages is to help clarify and enlarge upon what we already know to be true.
What Is Inspiration?
Our lesson text explains how we received God’s words. The verse tells us God gave them to us by inspiration. Our English dictionary states this word means to „breath in, to stimulate to mental activity, to arouse in someone.” From the Greek language we understand this word to mean „in breathed.” Men supernaturally inspired wrote the Bible as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. This means the Bible was given word by word and free from all error. The Holy Spirit moved upon the writers of the Bible so as to influence their very choice of words. David was the King of Israel and the writer of a majority of the Psalms. When he spoke about his writings he said in II Samuel 23:2; „The Spirit of the LORD spake by me, and his word was in my tongue.” God moved upon him to write what he wrote. Some people want to hear the very voice of God to authenticate the message of Jesus Christ. Peter wrote something very interesting about this in II Peter 1:16-21. He was telling those to whom he wrote that he was not following some „cunningly devised fables.” He had been with Jesus Christ and had even heard the voice of God at the Baptism of Christ and at the mount of transfiguration along with others. Though he heard this he told his readers that they had a „more sure word of prophecy.” What was that more sure word? It was and is the Bible. This passage in Peter tells us that these men did not write or speak of their own interpretation, but spoke and wrote as they were moved, or „borne along,” by the Holy Spirit.
Benjamin Warfield wrote; „The Bible is the Word of God in such a sense that its words, though written by men and bearing indelibly impressed upon them the marks of their human origin, were written, nevertheless, under such an influence of the Holy Ghost as to be also the words of God, the adequate expression of His mind and will.”
This means the Bible is more than just a book of history, poetry, or of personal letters. This makes the Bible a revelation From God to man. The Bible is full of history and historical events. The pages of the Bible are abundant with beautiful poetry, and a major portion of the New Testament is written as letters to various churches and individuals. Each and every word („all scripture”) is inspired by God. Every word and truth presented is relevant to all people, in all cultures, in all ages. What hope could we possibly find in a book filled with man’s ideas, opinions, and even errors. Our hope and confidence rests in a book that is truly God’s perfect revelation from God, about God, to man. Not one word came from the will of man, but by the will of God.
From Hebrew And Greek Into English
What has happened in the last 200 years concerning the authority of the Bible is sad. I mentioned in our introduction that the Devil has a scheme to deprive men of the truth. This is not new, it originated in the garden of Eden. Satan has always wanted men to challenge the authority and reality of God’s word. In Genesis 3:1 Satan disputed what God said and twisted what God said. After he found out that Eve actually knew what God really said he suggested it to be untrue. If he can not get us with misinformation he wants us to doubt the reality of the information. This is what he has tried to accomplish with the hundreds of versions of the Bible on the market today. It is sad to say that many Christians are ignorant of his devices in these attempts and continue to aid his objective.
We use only the King James translation of the Bible. Many will ask why when it’s language seems antiquated and hard to understand. We use the King James version of the Bible because of one reason. It is the pure, undefiled, inerrant word of God. It is the only Bible in the English language that comes from the unpolluted Greek manuscripts called the „Received Text” or „Textus Receptus.” All other versions and translations (including the New King James Version) come from a different source of manuscripts which are polluted and corrupt. If you follow the history of these two manuscripts you will find them to be the product of two religious systems or philosophies. One places the Word of God above all else. The other places human tradition, logic, and reasoning on equal ground with the Bible. The one stream has produced such variance in renderings that it is impossible to read the same verse in one Bible and follow along in another and know where you are. The true stream has led to no such confusion and one Bible, the King James 1611 translation. Two of the men who were most prominent in giving substantial credit to the polluted stream of manuscripts, Westcott and Hort, called the „Received Text” vile and villainous.
Within the first hundred years after the death of the apostles the Bible was under attack. A historian provides us with information regarding this fact. „Wherefore also Marcion and his followers have betaken themselves to mutilating the scriptures, not acknowledging some books at all; and curtailing the gospel according to Luke; and the epistles of Paul they assert that these alone are authentic, which they have themselves shortened.” It is this very method of human logic that has led to a series of manuscripts that have been asserted as the most reliable by theologians who never accepted the virgin birth of Christ or the actual accounts of the miracles of Christ. Constantine chose a heretics Bible (Origen’s, who taught that Christ was a created being, re-written by Eusebius) to be copied and used. These copies found their way into the Vatican library and were later used to produce Bibles such as: The New American Standard, The Living Bible, The Revised Version, and every other translation except the King James translation. The scholars who gave us the King James translation rejected these manuscripts.
I happen to have many of the various translations in my library. None of which are used to study God’s Word except the King James translation. In one such Bible, the American Standard Version, I find a most curious note made by the translators. In John 9:38, we find a blind man being asked if he believes on the Son of God. He replies „Lord I believe, and he worshipped him.” In the footnote of this passage the translators reveal the fact that they do not believe in the deity of Christ. In their notation they say „The Greek word denotes an act of reverence, whether paid to a creature (as here) or to the Creator.” They just called Christ a creature or created being and not the Creator. Another difference in readings makes their doctrinal positions clear. In II Timothy 3:16, our lesson text, the Revised Version reads „Every Scripture inspired of God is also profitable.” To me this implies that part of the Bible may not be inspired. That follows along with the goal of the father of all lies. It also aided many Catholic writers who felt, and wrote, that Protestants had now been robbed of their stronghold of Bible inspiration by a correct rendering. There are other such contradictions of plain biblical teachings elsewhere. Now when you hear some one say „this is the best version” beware! My suggestion is to stick with the King James Bible. It is our pure and unperverted Word of God in the English language. When some one attempts to direct you to another version remember the plot of the Devil.
The Central Message Of The Bible
The central message of the Bible is about the redemption of man. The Bible reveals God, His character and His attributes. While we may come to the conclusion of God’s existence from other sources we can not learn of his righteousness and all of His attributes except by Divine revelation from the Word of God. The absolutes of right and wrong according to God are revealed to us from His Word. All of these things and more are revealed. The most important revelation is that man is a sinner after having fallen from his created state. God, though, did not leave man to fend for himself. God has provided a way of salvation in the „Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” Man’s redemption is the primary message of the Bible. The Bible explains why man must be redeemed, how man is redeemed, the cost of redemption, and who does the redeeming. Christ is at the center of every book. Christ himself said, John 5:39 „Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.” It is not the Bible that gives life, but the Christ we discover in and through the Bible. We need this revelation because man’s reasoning and logic is flawed. We do not have the same thought process as God. God, by His wonderful grace, has communicated to us how we can be saved, how we can have assurance of this salvation, and how we can live with hope looking forward to an eternal home with Him.
How Does This Affect Me?
This should give us assurance in the message of the Gospel. God, who cannot lie promises us eternal life by and through His Son Jesus Christ. If we have an imperfect Bible then our faith will be imperfect. A corrupt word will lead to a corrupt faith. This truth does more than just give us assurance. Because we have the inspired, infallible and inerrant Word of God we must recognize the authority of God’s Word. This book has the power to command and to require submission and obedience to the teachings we find within it’s pages. We are not talking about obedience to a book, but to the God of the book. Within the Bible we learn of God and what is essential to acceptable worship of God. It is in the Bible that we find the absolute standards of moral right and wrong. We learn how we can be restored to a place of relationship and fellowship with God. We learn about where we are going and what will be the final end of this earth. We learn about the primary goals that we should make ours in every aspect of our lives.
Without an absolute and final authority our lives, goals, and directives are merely speculative. Without an absolute and final authority any church could dictate its opinions over those of others. In this church we believe the Bible to be the final rule of faith and practice. It is here that we will find common ground. It is within the pages of the Bible we will find our doctrine, our standards of righteousness, the rebuke and admonition we often need, the means by which we can achieve maturity, and how we can be equipped for the service we desire to give to God. Without an inspired Bible we can pick and chose what we want to believe, as many do. With an inspired Bible we must submit ourselves to the truths revealed because they come directly from God.
This book we call the Bible „is a perfect treasure of heavenly instruction… that it has truth without any mixture of error for its matter… it is the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creed, and opinions shall be tried.” It is a book worthy of our attention, daily reading, and helpful if we enter into a systematic study of its contents. It is God’s revelation of all things most necessary to us. We have need for both chart and compass to guide us in moral and spiritual matters. Political and social changes challenge our every move. In the Bible we have a book for all ages, one which shall stand for eternity. Jesus promised those who followed Him: „If you continue in my word, then are you my disciples indeed: and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” It is the unspiritual man who does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, who seems them as foolishness. It is up to you to read, to study, and to apply the Word of God to your life. It is up to you to be in a church where the Bible is questioned for truth and not about whether it contains truth. You have a priceless possession for which men and women have given their lives over the centuries. Surely we can give some time each day for study and meditation with the Word of God.
1. How many human authors were involved in the writing of the Bible?
2. The period over which the Bible was written lasted about how long?
3. Does the Bible contain any errors or contradictions?
4. What were the original languages of the Bible?
5. What difference does it make that these are now considered to be dead languages?
6. What does inspiration mean?
7. Though the personalities of each of these men were used, can we consider the Bible to be an expression of God’s mind and will?
8. How much of God’s word is perfect and inspired?
9. Which English translation is the preserved word of God today?
10. What is wrong with all other English translations?
11. When do you think God’s Word first came under attack as being unreliable or untrue?
12. What is the Central message of the Bible?
13. Can we just pick and chose what we want to believe in the Bible?
14. What do you think is our responsibility towards the Bible?
15. What authority does the Bible hold over our lives and conduct?
16. What is the final rule of faith and practice for a Baptist church?
17. The Bible is an old book with old ideas, is it really relevant for us today?
18. What is the most important thing you have learned in this lesson?
Lesson Four What About the Bible Bill Brown, Carmichael Baptist Church Lesson Text: II Timothy 3:15-17