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The Bible

The Bible is described by faithful men of God as self-authenticating and self-attesting; it does not rely on the human recipients to validate it.  Yet sinful man continues to twist and corrupt what God has revealed – this should not surprise us, as He told us this has happened and will continue to happen.  Read 2 Peter 3:15 & 16 for example.

Here, then, are two articles that look at the Bible – one that displays the truth of God’s Word being self-authenticating and self-attesting; the other proving man will try and twist God’s Word to suit his sinful desires and warped theology.

First, the good:

The Book

by John Samson on February 25, 2011

“It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.” – George Washington

“England has become great and happy by the knowledge of the true God by Jesus Christ. This is the secret of England’s greatness.” – Queen Victoria

“The Bible is more than a book. It is a living being within an action, a power which invades everything that opposes its extension.” – Napoleon

“I have known 95 of the world’s great men in my time, and of these, 87 were followers of the Bible.” – W. E. Gladstone

As Christians, we believe the Bible is inspired by God, the very word of God, without error, the sole infallible rule of faith for all Christian life, practice, and doctrine. The word “Bible” means “the book.” Its very title makes the claim that irrespective of whatever else you read, only the Bible is ‘THE BOOK’ because of its Divine authorship.

2 Timothy 3:16 says, “All Scripture is God breathed…”

Jesus Himself had this high view of Scripture. In quoting from the book of Genesis, Jesus said, “…have you not read what was spoken to you by God…” (Matt. 22:31)

But… the Bible would say this kind of thing, wouldn’t it?

All religions and cults claim that their sacred book is inspired. Is there any objective evidence we can point to that would show the Bible to be of a supernatural origin, or certainly more than a book filled with the thoughts and opinions of mere mortal men?

Here’s just a couple of evidences that support the Bible’s claim to being the Word of God, so that we can believe it, beyond doubt.

HISTORICAL CONTEXT

Most of the Old Testament was written 3,000 – 4,000 years ago. The New Testament was written nearly 2,000 years ago. Interestingly, the other major religious books were written about the same time. For example:

The Koran – written approx. 1400-1500 years ago

Buddhist writings – written approx. 2,000 years ago

The Hindu Vedas – written approx. 3,200-3,500 years ago

HISTORICAL SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE

It is important at the outset to remind ourselves that people have not always believed what we now believe about our world. There is no doubt that scientific knowledge has taken giant leaps forward in the last 2,000 to 4,000 years.

Now this is where it gets interesting. If we read the books of other religions, they all show the scientific thinking of their day – thinking that has huge fundamental errors. For example, the Hindu Vedas teach that the earth is held up on the back of four elephants. When this was written, this indeed was the thinking of the day. The earth was a very heavy object and something strong had to be holding it up. The biggest creatures around who could carry the biggest weights were the elephants.. so the scientific conclusion was obvious wasn’t it? .. elephants were holding the world up… and earthquakes occurred whenever the elephants shivered. When they shook, the earth shook. Obviously! Whenever someone asked, “who or what is holding the elephants up?” the answer was “a huge turtle which carries the elephants on its back while it swims in a gigantic lake.”

I think you will agree with me that science has found this claim to be an inaccurate one! The Hindu Vedas got it wrong.

The Hindu Vedas also teaches that the moon is 1500 miles above the sun, and that it (the moon) shines with its own light, and that the earth is flat and triangular in shape. All of these statements have proven to be false scientifically.

As another example, among many that could be quoted here, was the belief of the Greeks, that a man called Atlas held the earth on his shoulders.

Every other religious book contains statements which, when they were written, were accepted as correct, but have since been proved to be incorrect… every religious book, except the Bible. And here’s where it gets exciting; the Bible contains no such nonsense Scriptures. Even though when the Bible was written most people believed these wild theories, there is no mention of them in the Bible whatsoever… no elephant theory.. no turtle theory.. no moon shining with its own light theory.. no earth is flat and triangular theory..

What does the Bible say…?

“He hangs the earth on nothing…” – Job 26:7

It was Sir Isaac Newton who discovered the law of gravity and that in fact, the world could hold itself up. Science would therefore confirm this statement from the Bible book of Job around 4,000 years after it was written!

Written around 700 years B.C., Isaiah 40:22, declares:

“He (God) sits above the circle of the earth.”

The Hebrew word for “circle” here is the word “chug” and actually means a sphere. Remember, it was only a few hundred years ago that people were burnt at the stake for believing the world was round. Sadly, these people were even called ‘heretics” by the church. The earth being round is a fact that has only recently gained scientific support, but 2,700 years ago, Isaiah, under the inspiration of God, the Holy Spirit, got it right.

How did Isaiah know this? He had no evidence available to him to suggest the world was round.. but God knew, and it was He who communicated that fact to Isaiah.

Selah! (Stop, ponder, think about it)

Now, the bad:

A ROB BELL TRANSLATION OF THE BIBLE?

By Ken Silva pastor-teacher on Mar 3, 2011 in Current Issues, Emergence Christianity, Emergent Church, Features, Rob Bell, Semi-Satire, Youth Ministry

This just in from Internet News headquarters, where our motto is: If it’s news; it’s news to us.

Dateline Anywhere USA; maybe even Your Town: This just in…the world’s gone mad.

Ok, that’s not so new; however, there’s been some talk around the blogosphere recently about the release of a translation of the Bible that may have been done by the Emerging Church rock star pastor Rob Bell.

Well yeah, I know that we started the talk; but work with me here, k. And our well-trained theological bloodhound defenders of the faith were allegedly able to track down a copy.

Below is 2 Timothy 4:1-2 from this controversial made-up work:

4:1 I suggest to you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who has already forgiven all of the living and the dead, and by his embracing of humanity himself in the incarnation to bring his kingdom on earth now: 2 discuss the word; be in conversation about social justice always; obfuscate, be vague, and raise many questions, with complete patience and love for mankind.

About Stuart Brogden

Reformed Baptist, married to one woman since 1978, enjoy camping, motorcycle riding, solid books that assist in understanding the Word of God, fellowship with the Lord's saints, and some classical music. A wretch saved by grace, with nothing to give my Lord except my sin. Desire to make the gospel known and shepherd some of the Lord's sheep.

20 comments on “The Bible

  1. How do you know that the Gospel of Mark belongs in the bible and the Gospel of Thomas doesn’t?

  2. Luke1732,
    You’re kidding, right? Any quick read of the “gospel of Thomas” reveals myriad unresolvable conflicts with the Bible. The Gospel of Mark reveals myriad unbreakable ties with the Bible. Read any book that investigates how God delivered the Bible to man, such as this one: http://www.amazon.com/Searching-Original-Bible-Randall-Price/dp/0736910549/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1299258210&sr=1-1 will answer your question in detail and should give you much confidence in God – IF ye be called.

  3. Praise God for His inerrant word!

    You would think that the testimony presented above would prove to be sufficient for atheists and the doubt that they contend with but it won’t. In spite of the Bible accurately describing matters that countered conventional reasoning, the atheist will be more concerned about the Bible inaccurately calculating pi. They really aren’t interested in finding the truth because it doesn’t coincide with their agenda of sowing seeds of doubt.

    In the same way as the truth does not appeal to the atheist, it also does not appeal to Rob Bell. Bell’s uncanonical teaching requires deviation from scripture. In Bell’s world, the truth is an inconvenience that has to be re-defined so that he can peddle his unorthodox gospel to a host of eagerly awaiting ears that itch for a revelation that cannot be found in conventional teaching.

    May God’s truth always prevail.

    Praise God in all His glory!
    W.

  4. @Manfred, I wasn’t asking so much for the rationale (the “why”) but more the process (the “how”).

    If I buy a bible, it doesn’t have the Gospel of Thomas in it – that’s not a result of my (or your) personal interpretation. Someone in the past decided to include Matthew, Mark, et al and not Thomas (for example). If the bible is “self-authenticating and self-attesting; it does not rely on the human recipients to validate it” then where is the scriptural mandate to include Mark and not Thomas (or any other example of inclusion or exclusion)?

  5. Luke1732 – get that book I suggested and it will explain the “how” to you. In a nutshell, early church “fathers” examined the letters that were being read in the various churches and determined which were of God. Many of the so-called “lost gospel” (such as Thomas) were considered and rightly categorized as heresy, not Scripture.

    If you don’t want to or can’t buy the book I linked to above, here’s an on-line free book that ought to also answer your question in detail: http://www.ccel.us/bible.toc.html

  6. @Manfred, thanks for the link; I’ll check it out. So you’re saying that the early church fathers made the determination. Like when Jesus gave Peter the power to “bind and loose” (Matthew 16:19)

  7. Luke1732,

    The early church “fathers” discovered what God has written through His chosen authors – they didn’t make the determination by their own authority. This is a key point, as the Roman cult teaches that the church “gave the Bible” to us.

    That verse about binding and loosing you refer to is misunderstood by most who quote it. Here’s a clarifying comment from J.C. Ryle:

    “Finally, what are we to understand, when we read the words, “Whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven”? Does this mean that the apostle Peter was to have any power of forgiving sins, and absolving sinners? Such an idea is derogatory to Christ’s special office, as our Great High Priest. It is a power which we never find Peter, or any of the apostles, once exercising. They always refer men to Christ.

    “The true meaning of this promise appears to be, that Peter and his brethren, the apostles, were to be specially commissioned to teach with authority the way of salvation. As the Old Testament priest declared authoritatively whose leprosy was cleansed, so the apostles were appointed to “declare and pronounce” authoritatively, whose sins were forgiven.—Beside this, they were to be specially inspired to lay down rules and regulations for the guidance of the Church on disputed questions. Some things they were to “bind” or forbid;—others they were to “loose” or allow. The decision of the council at Jerusalem, that the Gentiles need not be circumcised, was one example of the exercise of this power. (Act_15:19.) But it was a commission specially confined to the apostles. In discharging it they had no successors. With them it began, and with them it expired.

    “We will leave these controverted words here. Enough perhaps has been said upon them for our personal edification. Let us only remember that, in whatever sense men take them, they have nothing to do with the Church of Rome.”

  8. Hey Manfred,
    Methinks Luke1732 is Catholic. His questions have the same flavor as the ones I am asked by my dear husband when he is trying to entrap me in an authority issue. Of course I could be wrong…

  9. Kaydee,

    I had the same sense. My stepmother is a Roman and has grown very reluctant to talk with me. Curious about Luke’s screen name – Luke 17:32 – “Remember Lot’s wife.” Hmmmmm.

  10. Heh heh. Curious indeed.
    Is your dad Catholic?

  11. “Does this mean that the apostle Peter was to have any power of forgiving sins, and absolving sinners?”

    That would seem to be the clear meaning of John 20:23 – “If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” This is the first thing Jesus said to his disciples after the Resurrection when they were stunned to see him and I’m pretty sure he had their full attention.

    So we have two clear instances of scripture (Matthew 16:19 and John 20:23) reflecting Jesus’ delegation of his authority to Peter and the Apostles.

    Ryle contradicts Matthew 16:19 because he finds the notion “derogatory to Christ’s special office, as our Great High Priest”. Sorry – I’ll trust the plain meaning of scripture over the interpretation of men. As you say, “it does not rely on the human recipients to validate it”.

    Indeed, the claims of the second paragraph are contradicted by scripture. “Declare and pronounce”? No, it says they could “forgive/not forgive” and “bind/loose”. “They had no successors”. Actually, they had the authority to choose successors (Matthias for Judas) to preserve the visible structure of “The Twelve”.

    In the third paragraph Ryle exposes his motivation – to try to distance the scripture from “the Church of Rome”. Maybe he should drop his anti-Rome agenda and just accept what the scripture says.

    But, that still begs the question of what “scripture” is. If it’s self-authenticating, then there should be something in the sacred text itself that describes its contents. Please quote from the bible, not Mr. J. C. Ryle or other men.

  12. Kaydee,

    My mother was Baptist and my father was Nazarene. My mom taught us the Word of God; she died when I was 16. My father had no fruit of being saved, married a Roman. He died when I was 32 – and not yet saved myself. My stepmother is only 13 years older than me. But God is faithful and merciful.

    Luke – I will get back with you in a bit. But know this – the whole of Scripture stands as a witness against the cult of Rome.

  13. Luke1732,

    When one says the Bible is self-authenticating, one means that God’s Word stands on its own, needs not the “proof” man desires to provide or many demand. Such as when the Lord God appeared to Moses and disclosed His name as “I Am” – pre-existent and self-defining. As this is true of Creator God, it is true of His special revelation. Hebrews 4:12 is oft cited as evidence of this; I would add 2 Peter 1:15 – 21.

    When Christ gave the Apostles power to forgive sins, this cannot be seen as authority given to anyone else. The Apostles were the foundations of the New Testament church, built on Christ the Chief Cornerstone.

    The Bible does not tell us God approved of the Apostles choice of Mathias; it merely records the action. Mathias is nowhere else named as an Apostle – he was not personally chosen by Christ. Paul would fill this spot.

    Be ye of Rome, Luke?

  14. LUKE1732
    “But, that still begs the question of what “scripture” is. If it’s self-authenticating, then there should be something in the sacred text itself that describes its contents. Please quote from the bible…”

    Jesus many times said what is the Word of God according to Him. He was talking about Law of Moses and the Prophets (and today we call it “Old Testament”). So He described its contents for you.

    As for the “New” part, you would know what belongs to it if you know His voice and you follow Him.
    The Scripture came through the Spirit, so you can recognize and understand Scripture for sure only having the Spirit of Truth. The Spirit is in His sheep. Then, only His sheep can recognize His Scripture. His sheep hear his voice.

    Jesus said (John 10:27-29):
    But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.
    My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
    And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
    My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.

    Do you believe on Him? Do you have eternal life and no one is able to pluck you from hand of God? Is your salvation certain today because of Him and you will never perish?

    Why are you asking: ‘what “scripture” is’? Don’t you hear His voice?

    I hope you have only temporary problems with hearing. And the Shepherd is looking for you.

  15. “…this cannot be seen as authority given to anyone else”

    Why not? Scripture, please? Peter and the apostles (aka the early church) have the keys to the kingdom and the power to bind and loose and the power to forgive/retain sin. That’s all pretty clear in scripture. Where do you get the idea from scripture that this authority that was given to the early church died with the apostles?

    “The Bible does not tell us God approved of the Apostles choice of Mathias”.

    Wow. Simply wow. You could try to apply this kind of logic to just about any scripture. The bible doesn’t tell us that God approved of anything that Paul wrote – just that he wrote it. Which is my original point – how do we know what “scripture” is? For example, where in the bible is God’s approval of Paul’s Letter to the Romans?

    “Paul would fill this spot.”

    Scripture, please? By the way, was Paul given the power to bind and loose, since he wasn’t there when Jesus gave the power to the apostles? If so, where did he get it? If not, why is so much of the New Testament his writing? Again, back to my original question.

  16. Manfred,

    What do you make of Tomek K’s assessment?

  17. Luke – I agree with Tomek K’s response. Your questions lead me to suspect you are a Roman who may not be of Christ’s sheep-fold.

    The passage in Acts is narrative. When reading anything – including the Bible – one needs to understand the genre of the literature he’s reading. Narrative throughout the Bible is merely that – history from which can learn much but not instructive nor binding as such. Paul’s instructions to the church, on the other hand, are written as instructions – not historical narrative.

    The Apostles were given position and authority not given to other men of their era or newer. The fable of apostolic succession is not to be found in the Scriptures. We must be careful not to add nor take away from what God has said.

  18. No mortal man has power to forgive sin, the verse Luke mentioned is taken out of context by the RCC. If someone confesses and repents, you have authority to tell them they are forgiven, according to God’s word; for that is what the Bible teaches (1 John 1:9).
    Are you born from above Luke?

  19. LUKE1732
    – “Actually, they had the authority to choose successors (Matthias for Judas) to preserve the visible structure of “The Twelve”.”
    As you read Acts 1:16-21, you surely understood where the authority for Peters decision came from. From the Scriptures. Why he thought that Judas should be replaced? Because it was written in the Scriptures.
    And it is not hidden from you that it was one, special situation prophesied earlier in the Scriptures, and not the rule to preserve the visible structure of “the Twelve”.
    But how did Peter know what belongs to the Scriptures? How did anyone before Jesus know what belongs to the Scriptures? Why was Jesus sure that Jews should know the Scriptures and should act according to the Scriptures?
    You should understand that these were works of the Spirit to bring God-given Scriptures to people and to secure preservation of His Scriptures. Because through the Scriptures people are made accountable before God (John 5:39), and in the Scriptures God revealed His Truth and Way of Salvation. People can acknowledge the Scriptures, but they do not decide what belongs to the Scriptures. It was God’s decision made before He created this world. So from the very beginning, the Scriptures and the Spirit of God go together.
    – “Peter and the apostles (aka the early church)…”
    – “Where do you get the idea from scripture that this authority that was given to the early church died with the apostles?”
    No matter how you count, there were always only twelve apostles of the Lamb (Rev. 21:14). After their death there would be no more. God knew them from the beginning.
    But of course, there is something special about the whole early church. There were more than 12 in the upper room (Acts 1:15). And more than 500 people saw the resurrected Lord (1 Cor. 15:6). And as you see from Acts, there were even those 2 very special men. In Peter’s opinion, only they met those strict criteria to become one of the Apostles. They had been among His disciples beginning from the baptism of John until the day when He was taken from them (Acts 1:21-22). From the Scriptures, His disciples knew that ONLY ONE can be added to the Apostles after the death of the son of perdition. So they draw lots and chose Matthias.
    Our Lord and Savior also chose only one. Of course from the Scriptures you know that Jesus Christ has other selection criteria than Peter. Jesus chose Paul (Acts 9:15-16) as He earlier did all His other Apostles. And after all of the Twelve died, what was special for them ended. But that what was special for the Church, was always for all the believers. Because “He washed us from our sins by His blood, and made us kings and priest to God, even His Father” (Rev 1:6).
    Now also from the Scripture we have other criteria for choosing an overseer (1 Ti 3:1-7). Because all His Apostles are now with Him.

    And with regard to:
    – “That would seem to be the clear meaning of John 20:23 – “If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
    (So Thomas Apostle missed his chance to forgive sins (John 20:23-24).
    – “So we have two clear instances of scripture (Matthew 16:19 and John 20:23) reflecting Jesus’ delegation of his authority to Peter and the Apostles.”
    We have third one – Matthew 18:18?
    From Matthew 18:15-18, you can see what all this binding and loosing/forgiving and not forgiving was about. Of course, having read this, you also understand what was the purpose of this authority. And you know there is nothing there about being like God (Luke 5:17-25). From the previous paragraphs you also understood that all “special authorities” ceased with the Twelve.
    So, could you tell me what your problem really is? If, of course, you are really searching for a solution.

  20. Luke:

    Regarding your question:

    “how do we know what “scripture” is? For example, where in the bible is God’s approval of Paul’s Letter to the Romans?”

    Do you consider the writings of Peter to be God’s word? Peter equates Paul’s letters with the rest of Scripture:

    “And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, as he does in ALL his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do THE OTHER Scriptures.” (2 Pet.3:15-16)

    Also, Paul testifies that he did not receive the Gospel from any man, but directly from God (Gal. 1:11). That would make him uniquely equal to the 12 Apostles. In the beginnings of Paul’s letters, he claims to be an Apostle. If he were not, there were certainly others at the time who could have testified if this were untrue.

    Consider also this:

    “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matt.28:19-20)

    Though the 11 certainly held the office of Apostle in the early church, they were also the first Disciples. Thus this is a statement to the first members of His church to perpetuate the growth of the church. Since Jesus obviously wasn’t going to be with those specific 11 disciples “to the end of the age”, (since they would have long since died), He was speaking to them as the first of many disciples to come (the church). Notice within this is the statement “teaching them to observe ALL that I have commanded you”. Thus, whatever and ALL, that Jesus commanded the 11 first disciples, is to apply equally to all followers of Jesus Christ to come afterward.

    Hope that helps.

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