40 Days In The Word – Week 1 CAN I TRUST THE BIBLE?
The Bible is the most read book in history - bestselling book in history - most translated book in history. How do we know it is the Word of God? 2 Timothy 3: 16, 17 “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching and rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” Phrase -“All Scripture is God-breathed”- “inspired.” But we’re not talking about an inspiring writer writing an inspiring book. We’re talking about God inspired this book - God breathed. God’s Word is God’s very breath - not just a good idea - God’s Word to us. Psalm 119: 86 “All of your commands can be trusted.” Everything in the Bible can be trusted as true because it comes from God. It’s the Word of God - it can be trusted. But how do I really know this is the Word of God? - not just a bunch of fables and stories that are put together. How do I know I can trust it? Time magazine thought this was such an important question it put it on its cover twice. One cover of Time magazine - How true is the Bible? Another cover of Time magazine - Is the Bible fact or fiction? Today we’re going to settle this issue - there are incredible proofs, evidences and facts that you need to know to help you make up your mind. We’re going to look at inspiration – How do I know I can trust the Bible? 7 reasons - 1. It is historically accurate The Bible isn’t just doctrinally correct - not just theologically correct - not just accurate regarding morals and ethics. It’s true history - real people, real places, real time. Why is that even important? Because the Bible tells us - God cannot lie. Hebrews 6: 18 “It is impossible for God to lie because God is truth.” The only reason the universe works is because God is a God of truth. Can you imagine if the law of gravity only worked on Tuesday and Thursday - pretty weird. The laws of physics are true. God created them. If this book has one lie in it, it’s not a godly book - because God cannot lie. Psalm 33: 4 “The Word of the Lord is right and true.” That’s not only true and right about salvation. It’s true and right about history. How do you know that any history is accurate? You go by the test of good history. The Bible is primarily eyewitness accounts. That’s why it’s good history. Moses was there when the Red Sea split. Joshua was there when the walls of Jericho fell. The disciples of Jesus sat in the upper room and saw the resurrected Jesus appear and then they wrote down what happened and we read about it. Matthew was there, he wrote it down. John was there and he wrote it down. Peter was there and he told a guy by the name of Mark and he wrote it down in the gospel of Mark. Luke talked to all of them, including Jesus’ mother and heard about what had happened. So it’s eyewitness accounts of what had happened. Another test of history by which we know the Bible is accurate is the extreme care with which the Bible was copied. The OT copyists, the scribes would copy these scrolls from one to the other - like a Xerox copy - had to be exact. They had this long list of rules - specified number of columns throughout it so it would always be the same. They had to copy letter by letter and not word by word. One of the ways we can see that they were exact is through the Dead Sea Scrolls - written about a 100 years before Jesus - copies of all of the OT books except Esther. Before they were found, the earliest copies were from 900 years after Jesus. So there’s this 1000 year gap. So we get to check how much change came in those 1000 years – about 5% - almost all just the spelling of words and names. Over 1000 years, those copyists were proved to be right as they copied again and again and made it right. That’s another proof of the historical accuracy of the Bible. Another proof is in archeology - proves again and again that the places and the people that the Bible talks about are true. You can go find these places - the Areopagus where Paul was, the theatre in Athens where there was this riot - we can see them today. The Pool of Siloam where the blind man was healed, portions of Herod’s Temple, all these places that are talked about in the Bible, they’ve dug them up - we can see them. The book of Acts - all about historical accuracy. Luke, a historian as well as a doctor, wrote about 54 cities, 39 countries and 9 different islands – complete historical accuracy. 2. The Bible is scientifically accurate. God set up the laws of science and he made sure that his Word does not contradict the laws of science. The Bible was not given as a scientific textbook - you don’t study the Bible to build a rocket. The Bible doesn’t use scientific language. But the Bible never gives bad science. Johannes Kepler - famous mathematician and astronomer - “Science is simply thinking God’s thoughts after him.” Truth never changes - but science changes. There’s nothing more worthless than an obsolete science book. Nothing is more worthless than a 5 year old computer book. God understands stuff even when we don’t and his rules don’t change. Psalm 148 “Let every created thing [that s the whole universe] give praise to the Lord, for he issued his command, [God set these rules in motion] and they came into being. He established them forever and ever. And his orders will never be revoked.” Truth doesn’t change. For thousands of years, people believed that the earth was flat. It wasn’t until Copernicus, Galileo and Columbus that people realised the world’s round - it’s a sphere - a ball. Not a single verse in the Bible says the earth is flat. In fact it says the exact opposite. 2600 years ago - Isaiah 40:22 “God is enthroned above the sphere on the earth.”Long before anybody knew it - God said it and it was true, whether anybody believed it or not. For thousands of years, people believed that the earth had to be held up by something. In Greek culture you believed that the world was held up by a giant - Atlas. Atlas isn’t in the Bible. Why? Because it’s not true. In fact, the oldest book is likely the book of Job. Job 26: 7 “God stretches the sky over empty space and hangs the earth on nothing.” For years it was the accepted science that there were about a 1000 stars in the universe – Hipparchus and Ptolemy – said the stars could be counted. But 2600 years ago in the Bible God said - Jeremiah 33: 22 “The number of stars are infinite.” For many years people believed that too much blood in your body made you sick. Doctors would cut a sick person and bleed them thinking that was going to make them healthy - accepted science. Today we know you give people blood when they’re sick. Leviticus 17: 11 - God said - “The life of every creature is in its blood.” During the Middle Ages there was the bubonic plague - 1out of every 4 people died - we didn’t understand germs and infection. So they had sick people who were contagious sleeping right next to healthy people - became an epidemic and then a pandemic. Thousands of years before the plague God had said - Leviticus 13: 4 “Put an infected person in quarantine for seven days.” Proverbs 30: 5 “Every word of God is flawless.” Mine aren’t and yours aren’t, but every word of God is flawless. Psalm 12: 6 “The words of the Lord are flawless, like silver refined in a furnace of clay and purified seven times!” 3. It is prophetically accurate. The predictions in the Bible always come true. The Bible is filled with literally thousands of prophecies where God says, This is going to happen at this time, in this way. Over the centuries thousands of these prophecies have already been fulfilled, every one of them exactly as God said. Some of them are still yet to be fulfilled. There are over 300 prophecies in the Bible about Jesus - this is when he’ll be born - where he’ll be born - how he’ll be born - this is how he’ll die. It takes more faith to believe it was all just a coincidence than to believe that God planned it. 2 Peter “No prophecy ever originated from humans. [Guys just didn’t sit around and say, Let’s think this one up, and write it down.] Instead, it was given by the Holy Spirit as humans spoke under God’s direction.” Jesus said in Matthew 26 “But this is all happening to fulfill the words of the prophets as recorded in Scriptures.” Jesus said it’s all coming true just like God predicted. Revelation 22 - John said “The angel said to me, ‘These words are trustworthy [you can trust them] and they’re true. [Why? Because they’re from God] The Lord… sent his angel to show his servants the things that must soon take place.” It is prophetically accurate. The odds of all these prophecies happening just the way they did, over thousands of years, are astronomical. 4. It is thematically unified. It has the theme through the entire book from cover to cover, from Genesis to Revelation. It is the same theme of redemption - Jesus is the star. This book was written over 1600 years, by 40 different authors, on 3 different continents, in 3 different languages. How do you think they all got the same story? This book was written by poets and prophets, by princes and kings, by sailors and soldiers, by a lawyer and a doctor, by kings and prisoners. They all come up with the same theme - the same story. Jesus - Luke 24 “Beginning with Moses [first 5 books of the Bible] and all the Prophets, [the rest of the OT] Jesus explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.” Everything in Scripture from beginning to end is about God’s plan to redeem people and build a family for eternity. John 5: 39 - Jesus “You search the Scriptures because you believe they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me!” 5. It is confirmed by Jesus. Jesus trusted the Bible – the whole Bible. Matthew 5: 18 “I’ll tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen will disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished!”Jesus looks at the Bible and says, it’s going to last until the end of time. John 10: 35 - Jesus “Scripture is always true.” Jesus proclaimed the truth of the Bible. When Jesus talks about the Bible, he doesn’t just talk about poetry and history. He talks about it as something that is life changing. Luke 11: 28 “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.” Do it. Jesus talked about the Bible as a real book, talking about real people and real places and a real God who’s really at work in our lives. Jesus believed in the prophets. He talked about all the prophets being real. He talked about Daniel being real. Jesus believed in Noah, everything that happened with the flood. He believed in Adam and Eve. Jesus believed in the tragedy of Sodom and Gomorrah and what happened there. He taught on that. He believed in Jonah and what happened there. The interesting thing about those last 4 – Noah, Adam and Eve, Sodom and Gomorrah and Jonah – some of the most disputed stories in the Bible - didn’t really happen. Jesus believed they really happened. Jesus trusted it, so I trust it. 6. It has survived all attacks. The Bible is the most despised book, the most denied, the most disputed, the most debated, the most outlawed, the most destroyed, the most banned book ever in history. Millions of people have died because they refused to give up their Bible. Yet it is still the most read book in the world, the most published book in the world, the most translated book in the world, the bestselling book in the world and it is still making a difference in people’s lives. Jesus - Mathew 24: 35 “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” Everything else is going to burn up, but the Word of God is eternal, because truth is lasting forever. 1 Peter 1: 24, 25 “The grass withers and the flowers fall, [temporary stuff just wilts. Today’s news is worthless tomorrow] but the word of God stands forever.”The truth will always be the truth. Whether I believe it or not, it’s the truth. God gives you the freedom to totally thumb your nose to him and rebel against him your entire life. But that’s not the end of the story. You can run from God the rest of your life, but then you can’t run anymore. When I ignore what God says in his inspired, inerrant, infallible Word, when I ignore what it says and say I don’t like that, I only hurt myself. I don’t hurt God. I only hurt myself. 7. It has transforming power. Nothing can change the lives of people like the Bible. Your life has been changed by it. Jesus - John 8: 31, 32 “If you continue in my Word, then you are my disciples indeed; And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free!” I want you to be free. Lots of people quote the second half of this verse - The truth will make you free. Then they ignore God and ignore the Bible. They forget the first part: “If you continue in my Word, you will know the truth and the truth will make you free.” The fundamental question - ask yourself - What is going to be the final authority for my life? Is it going to be the Word? Or is it going to be the world? Am I going to listen to what God says is true? Or am I going to listen to public opinion or my own set of feelings? Who’s going to be the authority in my life? God or me? Romans 12 “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, [the world’s way of thinking, the world’s opinions and attitudes] but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. [You’re either conformed to the way the world thinks or you’re transformed by the truth.] Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.” God’s plan for your life is good. God’s plan for your life is pleasing. And God’s plan for your life is perfect. But you’re only going to know it through the perfect Word of God. Prayer: Dear God, from this day forward I will accept the Bible as your Word to me. I will make it the final authority for my life. Not what TV says, not what popularity says, not what I feel like doing or what I think sounds best. You are God and I’m not. Thank you, God, for loving me enough to speak to me through your Word. Thank you that you are not silent. Thank you that you spoke through about 40 men and women, over 1600 hundred years, on 3 continents, in 3 languages, to tell me 1 story. That you wanted me in your family and you wanted me to know you. I want to love your Word, I want to learn your Word and I want to live your Word. Use 40 Days in my life to set me on the right path. In your name I pray. Amen. Colossians 3: 16 is our memory verse for this week. “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.” Where is it? Colossians 3:16. What is Colossians 3:16? “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.”