BELIEVE – Chapter 4 – THE BIBLE 

 

A story is told of the night the Green Bay Packers lost an away game they were expected to win.  After the team took the long bus ride home, legendary coach Vince Lombardi made the players put their sweaty uniforms back on and march out onto Lambeau Field.  The coach huddled them together and held up a pigskin, egg-shaped object high in the air and said, “Gentlemen, this is a football!”

Vince Lombardi knew one of the fundamentals of winning a football game is having a firm grasp of the basics. The same is true of the Christian life.  

So, in the spirit of an unforgettable night in bitterly cold Wisconsin, I hold up a leather book with onion-skin pages and say to you, “Ladies and gentlemen, this is a Bible!” 

Today, were going to talk on the 4th in the series called BELIEVE on THE BIBLE.

 

Key Verse:

2 Timothy 3:16-17 (ESV) 16  All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17  that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

 

Confession Of Faith:

I believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God that guides my beliefs and actions.

 

KEY QUESTION – How can I know God and His will for my life? 

 

We should have a confidence that this is the Word Of God that contains God’s truth and will for our lives. We should know how to read and understand it for ourselves as it is basic to our Christian life as a football is to the game of football.

 

How do we know such important life and matters as:

 

  • Who the one true God is
  • God’s love for us
  • Our birth into sin and separation from God
  • Jesus’ payment for our sin to restore us
  • The best way to live a successful and productive life
  • The truth about the future and God’s ultimate redemption of man

 

The Bible not only claims to give answers to these questions but also invites us to believe and embrace so much more.

 

Again… 

 

Confession Of Faith:

 

I believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God that guides my beliefs and actions.

 

WE would only want to give this book the right to guide our lives if we truly believed it was from God.

 

This is where we need to start our discovery.

 

There are THREE BIG CONCEPTS we need to understand in order for us to consider whether this book is from God. 

 

  1. The Bible Is INSPIRED – Breathed Out By GOD Himself

 

The Bible explicitly makes this claim:

 

2 Timothy 3:16-17 (ESV) 16  All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17  that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

 

Think about that – the Bible is “God breathed.”

 

In Genesis 2:7 – it tells us that God breathed into Adam’s nostrils.

 

I love the fact that God’s Word is still alive and active and “God- breathed.”

 

Hebrews 4:12 (ESV) 12  For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 

 

I read a lot.  There are many truly inspiring books out there.  

 

There are some books that stir something up in our soul.

 

The Bible is that way to me.  Not only has it claimed to be powerful and authoritative but it has proved to be a living organism that is relevant to today.

 

Contrary to what some may think, the Bible did not fall out of the heavens in a leather cover.  Rather, it came to us over a long time through the oversight of God in four phases.

 

GOD REVEALED HIMSELF TO US IN FOUR PHASES

 

Phase 1: REVELATION

 

  • Externally, through NATURE

 

This is called a general revelation.

 

Romans 1:20 (ESV) 20  For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

 

  • Internally, through our CONSCIENCES

 

Romans 2:14-15 (ESV) 14  For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15  They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them.

 

The internal sense of right and wrong and even the very existence of God himself are written into the code of our conscience.

 

  • Through a specific PERSON at a specific TIME with a specific MESSAGE

 

This is another way that God communicates to us.

 

Examples:

 

Joseph and Mary – they were both given direct messages from God.  The list could go on and on.

 

Through this mode of revelation – God spoke to the authors who penned the books of the Bible which leads us to PHASE 2.

 

Phase 2: INSPIRATION

 

God revealed, or breathed, His message into chosen people to be written down.

 

In the Old Testament, it was predominantly the prophets, while in the New Testament, it was the apostles.

 

It took 40 authors over 1400 years to write down the 66 books we call the Bible – all originally written on parchment paper in large rolls.

 

2 Peter 1:20-21 (ESV) 20  knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. 21  For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

 

Phase 3: TRANSMISSION

 

Transmission is the painstaking task in which the individual books were copied down and then placed into the Bible Canon of scriptures.

 

Those involved in this process applied so much scrutiny to ensure authenticity was being maintained that one often took several months to complete.

 

For example, in order to check for accuracy, when a page was completed, the middle word on a page was identified, and positioning was checked against the original.

 

If a word did not match up to the exact spot of the original, the copy was burned and the work started again.

 

Today, we don’t have any of the original scrolls, but we have thousands of those copies.

 

If you compare the copies we have of the New Testament with its closest book of antiquity – Homer’s Iliad – 643 copies of the Iliad exist today, while 24,000 known copies of the New Testament exist.

 

The oldest known copy of the Iliad is 500 years younger than the original, while the oldest copy of the New Testament is less than 1oo years removed from the original.

 

In the New Testament, only 400 words carry any question to their original penning, none of which relate to actual doctrine.

 

That is a 99.9% accuracy rate.

 

It is clear from these historical facts that God himself oversaw the handling and care of his Word in a meticulous manner.

 

Phase 4: TRANSLATION

 

Translation refers to the process by which the Bible was translated from the original Hebrew and Greek copies into other languages.

 

One of the first translations was in Latin and called Jerome’s Sacra Vulgata.

 

Today we have a variety of translations and paraphrases of the Bible – with more in process as we are talking today.

 

Many ministries are working to get the Bible to all the people in the world.  Yet, it is estimated 180 million do not have the scripture in their language.

 

To date, only 513 of the more than 7,000 languages in the world have complete Bibles in their native tongue.

 

We are so blessed with ministries like the Gideons and Wycliff Translators that are out there putting God’s Word in people’s hearts.

 

I am so glad that God’s Word has been made available to me.  How about you?

 

  1. The Bible Is AUTHORITATIVE  – Possessing The Right To DIRECT Our Lives

 

As the Word Of God, the Bible has the right to govern a Christian’s life.

 

As a result, we cannot treat it as a buffet, where we pick and choose what we read and obey, but rather we must take the entire book as a total work and accept every word.

 

As we swear with our left hand on a copy of the Bible in a courtroom, it is “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me, God.”

 

The longest Psalm in the Bible celebrates the Word Of God and it’s authoritative nature:

 

Psalm 119:1-4 (ESV) 1 Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the LORD! 2  Blessed are those who keep his testimonies, who seek him with their whole heart, 3  who also do no wrong, but walk in his ways! 4  You have commanded your precepts to be kept diligently. 

 

  1. The Bible Is INFALLIBLE  – Unfailing In Accomplishing It’s PURPOSES.

 

Notice what Isaiah said… 

 

Isaiah 55:10-11 (ESV) 10  “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, 11  so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. 

What God’s Word says will come about, WILL come about. What God’s Word says it will do in our life, it WILL do in our life.

 

KEY APPLICATION:  What difference does this make in the way I live?

 

If someone actually believed this about the Bible from their heart – how would they live differently?

 

  • The Bible is the lens from which we view the world.  

 

Every one of us sees the world through a different set of lenses.

 

We can look over our shoulder and see the images from the past.

 

We can look forward and get a vision for the future.

 

God’s Word informs us what we think and feel about everything we encounter.  We see the intervention of God in history, in our present lives, and on into the future as he continues to write his grand story. 

 

  • We are obligated and motivated to study the Bible to understand God’s Will for our lives.

 

The apostle Paul wrote:

 

Romans 12:2 (ESV) 2  Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

 

The Bible forms the content of truth we seek to marinate our minds in.  

 

We seek to do as the Psalmist suggests “I meditate on it all day long.” Psalm 119:97.

 

  • The principles in the Bible must govern our lives, even when we don’t fully understand or like what they teach us.

 

In the book of Proverbs, we find this wise command:

 

Proverbs 3:5-6 (ESV) 5  Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. 6  In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. 

 

Renowned theologian Soren Kierkegaard challenges our false front: “The Bible is very easy to understand.  But Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers.  We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand, we are obliged to act accordingly.”

 

Hebrews 4:12 (ESV) 12  For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

 

Put it another way, its words have a way of getting under our skin.

 

I read something a couple of weeks ago called “A Diary Of A Bible.”  (It’s just a writing – a Bible couldn’t actually write a diary.)

  • January 15th – Been resting for a week.  A few nights after the first of the year – my owner opened me – but no more.  Another New Years Resolution gone wrong.
  • February 3rd – The owner picked me up and rushed me off to Sunday School.
  • February 23rd  – Cleaning Day!  Dusted.  Got put back into my place.
  • April 2nd – The owner had to present a lesson at church.  He picked me up and looked up a lot of references.
  • May 5th – Grandma is in town.  Such a comfortable place here on here lap.
  • May 9th – Grandma let a tear fall on John 14.
  • May 10th  - Grandma is gone.  I’m back in my old place.
  • May 20th – A baby is born.  They wrote his name in one of my pages.
  • July 1st – Packed in a suitcase.  Off to vacation.
  • July 20th – Still in a suitcase.  Almost everything else taken out.
  • July 25th – Home again.  Quiet a journey although I don’t see why I went.
  • August 16th – Cleaned again and put in a prominent place.  The minister is coming over for dinner.
  • August 20th – Owner wrote grandma’s death in the family record.
  • December 31st – Owner just found his glasses.  I wonder if he will make any resolutions about me for next year.