Wednesday, December 4, 2013

God's Revelation to Man: Authenticity of the Bible

Dr. David R. ReaganBy

Why should anyone believe that this book called the Bible is different from all other books? What sets it apart? How do we know it came from God?

A good place to start is the fact that the Bible itself claims to be divinely inspired. More than 3,000 times the biblical writers claim to be speaking the words of God. Over and over, the writers say, "Thus says the Lord," or "The Lord said." These are the most common phrases in the Bible.

The writers also repeatedly refer to the Scriptures as "the Word of God" (1 Samuel 9:27 and Acts 6:2), and they affirm that it is inspired by God (2 Timothy 3:16).

The Attitude of Jesus

Most importantly, Jesus affirmed the Scriptures as the inspired Word of God. On one occasion, as Jesus was teaching, He was interrupted by a woman who yelled, "Blessed is the womb that bore You!" To which Jesus replied, "On the contrary, blessed are those who hear the Word of God and observe it" (Luke 11:27-28).

In His Sermon on the Mount, delivered early in His ministry, Jesus affirmed that He had come to fulfill the Scriptures, and He asserted that heaven and earth would pass away before one jot (the smallest letter) or tittle (the smallest stroke) of God's Word would pass away — thus affirming the verbal inspiration of the Scriptures (Matthew 5:18). At the end of His ministry, in the last prayer He prayed with His disciples, Jesus referred to the Scriptures as the Word of God and then added, "Your Word is truth" (John 17:14-17).

Jesus' life is a testimony to His belief in the divine authority of the Scriptures. At age 12 He confounded the spiritual leaders of Israel with His knowledge of God's Word (Luke 2:41-51). He used the Scriptures to justify His Messianic claims (Luke 4:16-21). He used Scripture to teach the fundamentals of kingdom living (Matthew 5-7). He used Scripture to confront and confound Satan (Matthew 4:1-11). He used Scripture to teach His disciples after His resurrection (Luke 24:27, 44-45).

Jesus quoted Moses, the Psalms, and the Prophets. And yes, He quoted the two Old Testament books that modern day liberals despise the most — Jonah and Daniel.

The Respect of the Apostles

The disciples of Jesus evidenced the same respect for the Scriptures. The Gospel of Matthew quotes Old Testament passages repeatedly from beginning to end, attempting to prove to Jewish readers that Jesus fulfilled Messianic prophecy.

Paul refers to the Scriptures as "inspired by God" (2 Timothy 3:16). Peter refers to the Hebrew prophets as men who were guided in what they said by "the Spirit of Christ within them" (1 Peter 1:11). The Apostle John asserted that the one who loves the Lord is the one who "keeps His Word" (1 John 2:5).

In the third segment of our study of God's revelation to man — the Bible, we'll answer whether it is circular reasoning to use the Bible to prove the Bible.

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