2 Corinthians Study: Boast in Weakness

What does God want me to do with my money? How should I respond to someone who has wronged me? What is the purpose of suffering and hardships? Can’t I boast a little bit? These are some of the questions you will discover as you read through 2 Corinthians.

Paul’s second letter to the Corinthian church has a different flavor than the first. It is more personal and pastoral. You see Paul roll up his sleeves and wear his emotions on them. Paul loves the church and so should we. How can we love the church despite all its people problems? Paul gives us practical insights. There is something for everyone. Just take a look at this 2 Corinthians Study: Boast in Weakness

Click to download 2 Corithians Study

Surgery from God’s Word

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. (Hebrews 4:12 ESV)

1. It is a divine book (“the Word of God”). God thinks, He has spoken, and it is recorded for you in Scripture (Gen.1, 2, 12, 15, 31; Jn.1:1-14; Heb.1:2; Mt.4:4; 1 Pt.1:19-21).

2. It is a living book (“constantly actively alive”). Because Jesus Christ is the Living Word. (Js.1:21; Jer.15:16; Ps.119:50; Jn.17:17)

3. It is an active book. It is productive; it is the instrument for the production of spiritual results (Is.55:9-11). God never sends His Word without accomplishing something for His glory. It takes time for fruit to become visible, but God’s Word will change lives. You don’t have to ‘doctor’ (manipulate) it up to make it more appealing or relevant (i.e. plastic surgery), just speak it in love and let God do His work.

4. It is a penetrating book (“sharper”). The Word has cutting power (Acts 2:36-38; Phil.1:6; Ps.103:8). His Word is the divine scalpel used by the Divine Surgeon to cut and expose the cancerous sin that must be dealt with in order to gain spiritual health.

5. It is a discerning book (“judge”; cf. Jer.17:10; Ps.119:130; Eph.6:17; 2 Cor.10:4-5).

Adapted from Chapter 6 of Counsel One Another by Paul Tautges

Why do people have difficulty trusting the Bible?

The Bible is an ancient book.

It was written in Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic by prophets, kings, tax gatherers, fishermen, and scholars. In various genres narratives, poetry, songs, apocalyptic literature, promises, stories, commands, wisdom literature, history (although not exhaustive), and letters. R. Laid Harris adds about the historical setting of the Bible,

Its historic setting changed from the Bronze Age to the Iron Age to Roman times. Its events occurred in Canaan, Egypt, Greece, and Asia Minor. No wonder it has puzzled some readers. These supposed difficulties are the result of ignorance of Bible lands, customs, and languages. Most problems fade away under deep, earnest, and prayerful Bible study.[1]

Christians do not believe that the Bible dropped out of the sky or was dictated to men who scribbled down furiously to catch every word from God. Christians believe that the Bible is both fully inspired by God and fully written by humans. Christians believe that Bible is inerrant in its original manuscripts, not the copies and translation. Christian doctrines of the Bible allows for the human elements of style to be present in the writing process and accounting for the inevitable human error that occurs in textual transmission. Some of the supposed contradictions are because of obvious copying errors. But many of the contradictions are because many skeptics or contradiction seekers do not seem to know the basics of how to read an ancient text.

The Bible is a strange book.

It is different from all other books. It deals with spiritual things that cannot be understood “naturally.” Spiritual things are “spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14–16). Unfriendly critics and skeptics, therefore, discover problems even where no real problems exist. Nicodemus exclaimed to Christ, “How can these things be?” (John 3:9). People unwilling to accept the Bible’s spiritual message cannot understand it. So we must help them find answers through wisdom, spiritual discernment, and godly character.

People have a difficult time trusting the Bible because it is ancient and strange. But that is not what makes it most unbelievable. What makes the Bible most difficult to trust is what it says about God redemptive plan and that God calls you to believe it. The message of the Bible might just change your life, and for some self-ruled people that is too hard to swallow.

[1] R. Laird Harris, Exploring the Basics of the Bible, Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 2002), 72.

how to use the Bible in personal ministry

Connecting the Stories: How to Use Scripture in Personal Ministry

1. Some passages speak more clearly to certain issues that others, but all passages provide a lens through which to view any issue.

2. In ministry to others, we move from life to text or text to life.

3. Some passages are more easily used in ministry situations than others.

4. Major on connections that arise from the passage as a whole, not so much on isolated phrases.

5. Remember that all passages are linked some way to Jesus Christ and His redemptive work.

Adapted from the book, CrossTalk: Where Life & Scripture Meet, Michael R. Emlet. New Growth Press, Greensboro, NC. 2009. 83-88.

Read the Introduction and Chapter 1 (PDF)

implications for reading and using the Bible

Read back to front and front to back.

It means rereading any text in light of the end of the story–the coming of the kingdom in Jesus Christ. The end of the story forces you to see earlier parts in a new light. Details matter. Think about an accident scene investigation. The end of the story is clear; the debris lies on the road to prove it. Go back to the future. The end of the story only makes sense in light of what has come before. “Bidirectional reading” does justice to the unity and diversity of Scripture.

Bigger Bible, richer ministry.

Knowing that all parts of the Bible make unique contribution to the whole give us the courage and motivation to read and apply the Scriptures widely and deeply.

The centrality of God’s mission.

Seeing the Bible as a unified story of God’s redemptive mission helps us avoid introspective, individualistic application.

Bidirectional living.

No matter where you are in Scripture, you should feel the inexorable pull forward to where history will end up. The Bible shows us that we cannot live as mere “present tense” Christians. Our present moments are framed by God’s past acts of redemption and by the glorious future he has planned.

Interpretation and application are a community affair.

Scripture addresses communities with few exceptions [3 John, Philemon]. The Bible is God’s story and our story before it is really my story.

Adapted from the book, CrossTalk: Where Life & Scripture Meet, Michael R. Emlet. New Growth Press, Greensboro, NC. 2009. 53-62.

Read the Introduction and Chapter 1 (PDF)

What the Bible is Not [Primarily]

The Bible is not primarily a book of do’s and don’ts.

This view of Scripture rightly recognizes that commands, exhortations, and prohibitions are throughout the Bible. Obedience matters, and that obedience has very specific contours. Several problems arise with using the Bible principally as a kind of “rule book” for life. Much of the Bible seems to be descriptive rather than prescriptive. And an exclusive focus on commands paradoxically may minimize the God who graciously redeems us.

The Bible is not primarily a book of timeless principles for the problems of life.

First, there is a continues tendency to overlook historical, cultural, and social aspects of the Bible. Rather than draw out principles from texts, it is all too east to read principles into a text to support a cherished belief especially when a text is detached from its particular place in God’s redemptive history. Second, the Bible leans towards the triumph of the principle over the person.

The Bible is not primarily casebook of characters to imitate or avoid.

It’s natural to empathize with the people God has placed in your life. A character or example oriented approach can highlight that God reveals Himself to people who have the same basic problems we do. However, it does;t necessarily help us understand the overall plot [Jesus and His redemptive work] that incorporates all of these characters, praiseworthy or not.

The Bible is not primarily a system of doctrines.

This can minimize the depth and breadth of biblical wisdom. And if you’re a hammer-everything’s-a-nail syndrome, you will have a tendency to approach texts expecting [and perhaps seeking] to support certain theological beliefs.

Adapted from the book, CrossTalk: Where Life & Scripture Meet, Michael R. Emlet. New Growth Press, Greensboro, NC. 2009. 25-36.

Read the Introduction and Chapter 1 (PDF)

is the Bible sufficient for life?

According to 2 Timothy 3:16-17 “all Scripture is inspired.” I believe that “all scripture is inspired” means that the Bible comes from God. Every word from Genesis to Revelation is the very word of God. The implications of the inspiration of the Bible are huge since the Holy Spirit is the author of scripture.[1] Therefore, the Bible is true (Ps. 119:142) and altogether reliable (Heb. 6:18). It is powerful, working its purpose in our hearts (1 Thess. 2:13) and not returning empty to the One who sent it (Is. 55:10-11). It is pure like silver refined in a furnace seven times (Ps. 12:6). It is sanctifying (John 17:17). It gives life (Ps. 119:37, 50, 93, 107; John 6:63; Mt. 4:4). It makes wise (Ps. 19:7; 119:99-100). It gives joy (Ps. 19:8; 119:16, 92, 111, 143, 174) and promises great reward (Ps. 19:11). It gives strength to the weak (Ps. 119:28) and comfort to the distraught (Ps. 119:76), and guidance to the perplexed (Ps. 119:105), and salvation to the lost (Ps. 119:155; 2 Tim. 3:15). The wisdom of God in Scripture is inexhaustible.

Successful living means obeying the Scripture. The Scriptures are intended to impart truth in such a way that the reader is moved in a Godward direction. Not only is the Bible clear in what it affirms, but it is also self-authenticating in nature.[2] The Bible way of counseling is radically dependent on the work of the Holy Spirit to apply the Word of God to people’s lives. Our agenda in counseling is the Bible; the change comes through the agent of the Holy Spirit.

The Bible is most certainly sufficient for all of life. The Bible deals with the heart of man and says that the heart is wicked. The Bible exclaims that sin is man’s main problem, and the Bible has the answers to man’s sinful heart problem. The gospel of Jesus Christ is the answer to man’s sin. In Christ we have forgiveness and the ability to change into His image (Colossians 1:28). Why do we need the gospel? Without it we are dead in our sin without a hope of salvation [life in Christ].

Since, the Bible reveals man for who he is, effect by sin, therefore, the Bible is sufficient and must have active functional control in one’s life through the work of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit. The Word of God offers grace to the sinner, encouragement to persevere, edification, and hope through sanctification (Acts 20:32).

[1] John Piper, The Holy Spirit: Author of the Scripture, 1984

[2] John MacAuthur, Biblical Counseling, p.24

breaking news

Have you ever received any breaking news? The kind of news that startles you for a moment and your life is never the same. Maybe you received news that your lover has just broken off the relationship, your father passed away suddenly, you failed the test, you are pregnant, you lost your job, or you watch a tragedy unfold on the breaking news today.

This is not the kind of news we want to hear, but inevitably we will all here some bad breaking news. How do you normal respond to bad news? Brace yourself; I have some more bad news for you. Ready? You are going to die. 100% of people who are born into this world will one day die. Do you know where will you go when you die? The answer to this question might be even worse news to you. The thought of death and the perplexity of an afterlife cause many to be fearful or anxious.

Not all breaking news is bad news. I have some wonderful breaking news for you: the gospel. What is the gospel, you ask? The gospel is good news. It is earth shattering, life-altering breaking news. When I am confronted with the gospel I see myself for who I really am and the way I respond to the gospel can have eternal ramifications.

The Gospel is the center of Christianity. Without a right understanding and application of the gospel you do not have a true picture of Christianity. The gospel is what makes Christianity distinct and exclusive from other faith-based systems. The gospel to Christianity is like a wrench to a mechanic or a flower to a florist. The mechanic does not sit around and ponder, “What is this wrench used for?” Nor does a florist wonder, “What is a bouquet of roses?” Without the gospel one does not understand the core of Christianity.

How good a grip do you have on the gospel? What is the good news that Christians blaa-blaa-blaa about? What is so good about good news anyway? We do know what the gospel is not, or at least what the gospel is not alone.

  • The gospel is not Jesus alone.
  • The gospel is not Jesus death, burial and resurrection alone.
  • The gospel is not a belief in Jesus alone.
  • The gospel is not being forgiven of my sins alone.
  • The gospel is not God loves you alone.
  • The gospel is not God has a special plan for you alone.
  • The gospel is not changing my life to be a better [loving] person alone.

The gospel is a belief that the Bible is absolutely true: God is a loving creator, and man has sinfully disobeyed God, therefore Jesus graciously and sacrificially died for man that they might respond to Christ’s forgiven and have a means to become right before God. The gospel is not only something I believe in for a moment that will change my life eternally, but its also the means for me to live righteously all throughout my life.

How do I know this is the gospel? How do I know this gospel is true? How do I know this gospel is for me? Could it be as simple as Bible tells me so? YES. It comes down to whether I believe God wrote a book and that this book is Truth.

How can I know that the Bible is absolute truth and authoritative? Is the Bible reliable? Other than the Bible we have three sources of so-called reliable truth. The first source of truth we have is tradition. Tradition tells us what has be true passed down from generation to generation. Some say tradition is not reliable because traditions change or generations might distort the truth to another generation. A second source of truth is reason. Reason uses mans thinking to proven or make understandable what is true. Does everybody agree on what is true? Reason often leads to skepticism and more questions rather than understanding truth. A third source of truth is experience. Some measure truth by what I can seems or feels right. What we know from experience is the experience is not a good measurement for truth. Tradition, reason, and experiences fail us more often then not. What is your standard of authority? Is it reliable? Are you sure?

So where can we find truth? I believe that God authored His Word and spoke these words to called men who recorded them in what we know as the Bible. I also believe since God is perfect and holy, the Bible is infallible and authoritative [2 Timothy 3:16; Psalm 18:30]. Therefore, the overall plan of salvation for sinful men that God lays out through His Word is absolutely true.

In the letter to the Romans the apostle Paul writes about the Gospel. He gives a concise and clear explanation of God’s purposes in Christ. He writes this letter to people who would consider themselves Christians, but Paul wants to make sure they really do understand the Gospel of Jesus Christ, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.” [Romans 1:16]

If Paul were alive today he would share the gospel with his mailman, garbage man, X-Box buddies, bowling league, and bullies at work or school. We know this because he was unashamed of the gospel in his time when Christians were killed for their faith. He was beaten, bullied and put into jail, but this did not stop him from sharing the gospel with the prison guards. The gospel was life to Paul.

What is the Gospel according to the Bible?

First, I am responsible to God. I am responsible to God because He is my Creator and Sustainer. Without God I would not be breathing. Since He is Creator He has say so over His creation. He did not just create you and leave you alone. He created you for fellowship with Him. You cannot have fellowship with a God who is far off playing Parcheesi in another planetary system. The God of the Bible says He is with us and He has made His presence know quite plainly.

ROMANS 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 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.

God is visible through His creation. When I look at Mount Everest, the Grand Canyon, the vastness of the Pacific Ocean, and the myriads of stars in the summer sky I am left to ponder: Could not have been created by mere chance? Could there be a greater power behind this? God says we are without excuse. It is as if He has written in the clouds, “Look around you, I am with you.” Since God is your Creator, He owns you. On that basis alone you are obligated to obey Him. Yet that is not always what happens, which brings us to the next point.

Second, I have rebelled against God. Rather than obeying our Creator and thanking Him we spit in His face and in a sense tell Him by our words and actions we do not think He is doing a good job running this world. Therefore we sin against God.

ROMANS 1:21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.  22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. 24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

Have you ever blamed you messes on someone else? That is exactly what we do to God. We say to God, “If you really loved me and if you were really good, my life would not be like this!” Thus we pretend to be God and create our own truth system that makes us feel good. When we replace God we think we are wise, but God says this is foolish. You cannot play pretend god for long because God is jealous and wants to be our King and True Vine. Those who do not praise God will be rejected from His kingdom and cut off as dead branches.

Since, God is Creator, He has the right to judge His creation [cf. Romans 2:1-5]. My sin condemns me to death and eternal separation from my God. This is bad news. Do you see how bad your sin really is? Sin is life altering. Yet in the shadow of this bad news there is breaking news that shines as a beacon of light to our rescue.

Third, I can be redeemed by the blood of God’s Son who died and resurrected for the sins of humanity. What is God’s solution to our sin problem? God took action. Since God is a good and loving Creator He made a way for His creation to be forgiven—by faith in the work of Jesus Christ.

ROMANS 3:21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.

God sends Christ to earth as visible a message: “My creation, you are not okay. You are not as good as you think you are. In fact, you are wicked. You need Me. You need My help. I have come to the rescue. Repent of your sin and follow Christ.” Now this is good news!

Fourth, I must respond to the gospel. My response is to turn from my sin and believe Christ. It’s an all-in-Jesus-is-my-King choice. There is no turning back. When we give our life over to God we are saying to God I no longer want to be enslaved to sin, but now I want to be a slave of righteousness [cf .Romans 6-8]. God draws me to the message of the gospel in His grace and I must respond in faith. Salvation is not based on how good I am, can be, or wish to be, but solely on the work of Christ. “Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness [Romans 4:4-5].

You now have come face to face with the breaking news of the gospel. The gospel is indeed life-altering and earth shaking. Your response to the gospel is a matter of life and death eternally. In review the gospel is: God is a loving creator, and man has sinfully disobeyed God, therefore Jesus graciously and sacrificially died for man that they might respond to Christ’s forgiven and have a means to become right before God.

the Word

Why has God placed His authority over us? God’s authority is like an umbrella that protects us. What is the umbrella? It is God’s Word, the Bible. The Word of God is His wisdom for us. Sometimes we just wish God would chisel His plans for us in stone, paint what He is up to in our life in the sky, or speak to us for real in a loud voice. What we often fail to realize is that He does, in God’s Word.

The Bible describes itself as God’s Word [over 4,000 times from Genesis to Revelation]. It is obviously God’s Word to you and me. Yet people have many views about the Bible. Here are a few false beliefs about the Bible:

First, some deny that God wrote a book. However, it is what it is. You cannot deny gravity as being true. It is what it is, and the Bible is what it is, the Word’s of God to us. Second, some distort the Bible to fit their personal opinions, false religions or make it mean something other than what God intended. Third, others dissect the Bible like a lab rat testing its validity against science, psychology, history and archeology. As history shows the Bible affirms science. Fourth, the most common view of the Bible is to disregard its authority in their life right now [i.e. obey your parents and employers, Eph.6:1ff; anger and adultery, Mt.5ff]. You cannot just pick and choose the verse you like and throw out hard passages you do not like. It is like tearing pages out of the Bible, you cannot do that without consequences. An incomplete Bible equals an incomplete life. So what is the right way to view the Bible?

The Bible is a Love Letter. It is what it is [Jer.31:3]. I remember when I was dating Sarah we would write letters to each other weekly and sometimes more. I craved getting letters from her. I would check the mail each week with enthusiasm waiting to read what her hand penned. When I would get a letter from her I would read them over and over, almost memorizing them. I could never get enough of Sarah’s love letters. Most of the time she would draw a picture and I would put them all over my bedroom. Once she includes a glamour shot that I would carry with me everywhere. Sarah did not have to write it in the sky or sound the air siren that she loved me. It was obvious. She told me. You know God has done the same for us. The Bible is God’s love letter to us. Like a good love story is has a villain [Satan], hero [Christ] and clear message [Jesus saves]. The Bible shows God’s tender love and tough love at the same time. The Bible is tough because it reveals your true condition [sin/hell]. Sometimes we view the Bible like a pile of bills that cost us big bucks and if you don’t pay the creditor is hunting your head. Not true, it is a love letter.

The Bible is a Light. It is light a flashlight that helps us see the path before us [Ps.119:105; Prov.6:23]. Sin darkens our understanding, but God shows us the Light who is Christ [1 John 1:5-10]. The Word is like a lighthouse protecting you from the dangerous rocks that will ripped your life apart and send you sinking to the bottom. The authority of God’s Word protects us from a world of hurt.

The Bible is a Lunch. We must feed ourselves to a fill on the Word of God [Jer.15:16]. Eat this Book! The Bible is like a carbo-load that gives you energy to do as He says. How many meals do you eat a day? What if you did not eat? Not good. So it is when we neglect to dine on the Word of God.

The Bible is alive. This book is able to change a life and get to the deepest part of a person [Heb.4:12; 2 Tim.3:16-17]. Like a defibrillator the Bible is able to awaken your dead in sin soul and able to make you alive in Christ through faith in Him. By submitting to the authority of the Word of God we see that we have a great need that cannot be reached by my goodness, rather I have a great Savior.

How does the Bible come alive? Study it through. As you read it, it reads you. You see that you are a great sinner, but Jesus is a great Savior. If you are unsure where to start, begin with reading John or Romans. Pray it in. Ask God to help you understand, to be and do what you see and hear. Live it out. The Bible is not information, but it was written for your transformation.  We live it out, by obeying it. Pass it on. Show others that you are walking in the light as He is in the light. You might be the only Bible someone reads.

plinko vs. the Bible

bible plinko

Who doesn’t like the Price Is Right? If you were on the game show, which game would you want to play? If I were on the Price Is Right I would love to play Plinko. You get the little puck, stand on the platform and try for $10,000. It’s a complete game of luck. It really doesn’t matter where you put the puck. It’s all in the bounce.

Sometime I treat  quiet time with God a lot like Plinko. “What should I study today?” I open the Bible and bounce from passage to passage without a plan and hopefully I will luck out and win big “truths” for the day. I admit there are times when I come to God like this!? Sure God might bless my efforts, but God wants me to approach His Book with a bit more respect and purpose than “drop the puck and hope for luck” approach.

There are some great plans out there for reading the Bible with a purpose. Even for ADHD people like me who do not have long attention spans. Here are a few for starters:

  • Study a theme. i.e. love in 1 John, one another in the letters of Paul, kingdom in Matthew, etc.
  • Look at how a particular book of the Bible describes God.
  • Discover how OT books picture Christ. Be careful not to read into the text too much.
  • Trace the hymns of Revelation and write God a new song for the day.
  • Start a quiet time journal that tracks promises, commands and truths.
  • Read the same book over and over from 5 or more translations and note similarities or differences.
  • Read a psalm a day for 5 days a week. You can go through the Psalms twice in a year this way.
  • Read a chapter of Proverbs a day for an entire month. There are 31 chapters and works perfect for some months with the same number of days.
  • For the heavy reader, read through the Bible in a year. At a pace of 4-5 chapters a day you can read through the entire book.

Be creative. There are an endless amount of ways to study the treasures of God’s Word. God wrote it for a purpose, shouldn’t we have a purpose in studying it?

Deuteronomy 6:4-9, “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”

real questions: fairytale?

Ned Anzers: Isn’t the Bible just a fairytale?

What if the Bible were not true? Everything a Christian believes would be a farce!

At the moment I am studying two dead languages that no one speaks anymore, but they are essential to understanding the Bible. As I have studied these languages I have learned a valuable lesson: the importance of accents. Not the accents you use while speaking like British or Jamaican, but the accents placed over letters when you write. They often look like dots, dashes, little rainbows or carrots. They are often missed when reading because they are so tiny. Jesus says something really amazing about these little accents (Matthew 5:18). He says this Book; all of its big and small parts are powerful because it comes from God.

Is Jesus’ view of the Bible really important? As we saw in the last question, Jesus words carried some authority, He calmed a storm, healed the sick, predicted the future, and was even there at the beginning to create the universe.

Jesus never questioned the authority of the Bible; in fact, He considered it authority.

The Bible always has the last word on all sides of the playing field whether in defense or offense. Look at these examples from the life of Jesus: during temptation of Jesus in the desert (Mt.4), and when talking to religious people about His miracles (Mk.12:26-27). Jesus often quoted the OT to expose the wrong-thinking of the religious of the His day. There is no smart comeback line for the Bible!

Jesus even affirmed the Bibles history as true: God created the world (Mt.19:4), Noah and the ark was not a fable (Gen.6-9; Mt.24:38). Rather than a book full of errors, the Bible keeps us from a life of error (Mk.12:24).

My first and only haircut from my mother. When I was about 8 years old I received a haircut from my mother. Needless to say it was the only haircut my mother ever gave. About 3 cuts in, her fourth cut was into my ear. Now it was a little cut, but it did make me a little uncomfortable (more  that she could not stop laughing). Now this story has evolved over the years, and at family outings it has become quite exaggerated. You might hear something like: My mother the beautician was styling my hair when all of a sudden a centralized earthquake appeared in Wisconsin. My mothers hand slipped and cut off my ear. Blood was gushing everywhere. Mom in a hysterical panic called 911. They struggled to save my life. After hours of fighting and a two-month long comma Justin miraculous recovered. He now has an ear skin graphed from a giraffe.

Now some of these documents might be true and people were there to back up some of the facts, but anyone can see this story is an exaggeration. Many have this same view about the NT. Yes, Jesus was a real man that walked this planet. He was a good teacher, moral example, and memorable character, but couldn’t he have been so loved by those closest to Him that stories about Him drifted further from the truth as time went on? Sure. But listen to what Jesus says about this (Jn.14:26; 16:13). He promises His disciples long after He is gone, the Spirit would remind them of His words and lead them in “all truth” as they wrote the NT.

Jesus’ disciples (followers) were no bozo’s.

Luke, was OCD about details. He was a doctor. He wrote 25% of the NT (Lk.1:3-4; 2:1-2, note the details about people/places). Paul, was a history buff and a man of the law. He wrote 50% of the NT and goes on to explain that every disciple (follower) writer was an eyewitness of Jesus. They did not write down hearsay or secondhand information, rather they experienced and saw what they are writing down and they were not alone (1 Cor.15:6, after the resurrection). How could hundreds of people all have the same story?

The Bible is not written like a fairytale, but HIStory.

The Bible is quite unlike any other book. It is a book that has changed lives for centuries, and gives hope for eternal life. It is 66 different books (stories, poems, songs, letters, etc.), written by dozens of authors most of who never met each other, over 5000 years, and yet the Bible has one central theme: Jesus Redeems! God says I can trust all of it even its dots and dashes (Matthew 5:18).

The Bible is backed by archeology, history and prophecy.

It has made predictions of which are 100% truth so far (300 about Jesus). People have put His Word’s into practice and have been changed!

As LaVar Burton of Reading Rainbow used to say, “Of course, you don’t have to take *my* word for it.”

real questions: the Bible?

Ned Anzers: How do you know the Bible is true? What makes the Bible different than any other book?

Bible simply means book. I believe the Bible is more than a book, but an inspired book.  Inspiration is the supernatural influence of the Holy Spirit on the Scripture writers which rendered their writings an accurate record of the revelation or which resulted in what they wrote actually being the Word of God.

According to 2 Timothy 3:16-17 “all Scripture is inspired.” I believe that “all scripture is inspired” means that the Bible comes from God. Every word from Genesis to Revelation, in its original autographs, is the very word of God. The Bible is the very Word of God, 2 Thessalonians 2:13 says “…you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.” When we read the Bible we should realize we are receiving God’s own message, in other words God divinely produced the Bible.

2 Peter 1:20-21 explains that the Holy Spirit moved men to guarantee that no human contribution would corrupt, distort, or in any way diminish the written Word from being the very Word of God. This passage teaches that when one reads Scripture, what they are reading does not only come from a man but also from God. The Bible is the writing of many different men. These men spoke with their own language and style. Peter mentions two dimensions of their speaking:

First, they spoke from God. What the men had to say was not merely from their own limited perspective because they were not the origin of the truth they were speaking. The truth is God’s truth. Their meaning is God’s meaning.

Second, not only is what they spoke from God, but how they spoke it is controlled by the Holy Spirit. The Bible was not left to human voice boxes alone, but also the Holy Spirit. The words of the Bible are the Word of God (plenary) [“all” in 2 Tim 3:16 – Luke 11:51/Gen 4/2 Chron. 24:20-21], and the reality that the words themselves are God’s words (verbal) [Matt 5:17-18].

The implications of the inspiration of the Bible are huge since the Holy Spirit is the author of scripture.  Since the Holy Spirit is the author of truth, the Bible is true (Ps. 119:142) and altogether reliable (Heb. 6:18).

  • It is powerful, working its purpose in our hearts (1 Thess. 2:13) and not returning empty to the One who sent it (Is. 55:10-11).
  • It is pure like silver refined in a furnace seven times (Ps. 12:6).
  • It is sanctifying (John 17:17).
  • It gives life (Ps. 119:37, 50, 93, 107; John 6:63; Mt. 4:4).
  • It makes wise (Ps. 19:7; 119: 99-100).
  • It gives joy (Ps. 19:8; 119: 16, 92, 111, 143, 174).
  • It promises great reward (Ps. 19: 11).
  • It gives strength to the weak (Ps. 119 :28 ) .
  • It gives comfort to the distraught (Ps. 119:76).
  • It gives guidance to the perplexed (Ps. 119:105).
  • It gives salvation to the lost (Ps. 119:155; 2 Tim. 3:15).

The wisdom of God in Scripture is inexhaustible.

I also believe that the entire Bible is the infallible Word of God and without error in the original manuscripts. Infallibility is synonymous with inerrancy. The Bible is without error regarding either assertions or denials even in matters of History and Science. The Scripture is without error or fault in all its teaching, no less in what it states about God’s acts in creation, about the events of world history, and about its own literary origins under God, than in its witness to God’s saving grace in individual lives. The Bible cannot lie and proclaims the truth on each and every matter.

I believe that God’s purposes revealed in the Bible are the supreme and final authority in proving all claims about what is true and what is right. Authority means that the Bible has the right to tell me how to think and how not to think, and how to behave and how not to behave.

If the Bible is inerrant then it must also be authoritative on whatever it affirms or denies.  The Scriptures explain that it is all that is required for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3), therefore, I can have confidence that the Bible is authoritative for all areas of life. Jesus Himself said, “Scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35). There are many other proofs inside the Bible that declare it is true and authoritative.

According to Romans 3:4 it is stated that God cannot lie. 2 Tim 3:16-17 and 2 Peter 1:20-21 says that God is the author and protector of the Bible. Jesus Himself affirms the authority of the Old Testament authors (John 5:39-47). Also, there are many prophecies within the Scriptures that have been fulfilled. Second, the history recorded in the Bible is accurate with the history recorded outside the Bible (Ex: 2 Kings 20—Hezekiah and Sennachareb/Daniel 11). Third, the Bible is harmonious with itself from Old Testament to New Testament. The Bible’s theme of Redemption is woven in the fabric of each book so clearly and purposefully.

Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology, p.225

John Piper, The Holy Spirit: Author of the Scripture, 1984

The Chicago Statement on Biblical inerrancy, 1978

Norman L. Geisler, Inerrancy, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, MI. p.268