The Bible is the very centerpiece of our times of worship together. As a result, the Bible is the very thing that Satan and his followers work to undermine. This scheme is something that Satan works with great skill both inside and outside the church.
The sermon title expresses an oft-asked question: “Why do Christians adhere to such an old book?” One book asked the question, “Why should we believe an ancient book written by dead Jewish males?” Many other pieces of literature were written many moons ago—in fact, some of them we revere in our culture even now. Homer’s The Iliad and The Odyssey. The Magna Carta. The Declaration of Independence spawned a new republic called the United States of America. Some see the Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx as a classic piece of literature that spawned a new worldview of Communism and Socialism. Mein Kampf was Adolf Hitler’s autobiography that laid out his worldview, to the detriment of millions both past and present.
The nature of the Bible is a discussion that is either explicitly or implicitly what the culture and even the church debates. As we think about the Bible upfront, we need to realize that the Bible is just like any other book, but it’s unlike any other book—all at the same time.
How is it like any other book? It uses letters, words, sentences, paragraphs, chapters—and even books within the Book. You see, the Bible is not just a book, but it is a library. It’s like other books in that it contains different literary genres: history and poetry, a unique type of genre called a gospel that gives a bit of Jesus’ life and ministry, epistles (a structure/form of letter during that age), and apocalyptic literature which unveils that which is behind a curtain giving us a peering into heaven. It takes place in history, using times, places, people, events, and the like.
The Bible is unique in that it was written by 40 men over a period of 1500 years and possesses a unity and authority that make it clear that this is a spiritual book. It’s a book not just of information, but God’s revelation for our salvation and transformation through His Son Jesus Christ. Our Baptist Faith & Message 2000 starts off with no question as to where to start with the faith—what God has revealed in the Word of God.
The Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired and is God’s revelation of Himself to man. It is a perfect treasure of divine instruction. It has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter. Therefore, all Scripture is totally true and trustworthy. It reveals the principles by which God judges us, and therefore is, and will remain to the end of the world, the true center of Christian union, and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and religious opinions should be tried. All Scripture is a testimony to Christ, who is Himself the focus of divine revelation.
We see this priority of the Word of God in John 8:31-47 and all that the Word does. While the skeptic questions the Word, our faith is grounded in it.
As you read through John 8:31-47, you see Jesus making a definitive statement regarding those who are Jesus’ disciples.
1. They believe that God’s Word is the last Word (authority).
Jesus speaks in John 8:32, “If you abide in my word, you are my disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” So we to phrases that Jesus uses that apply to the question that many ask regarding the Scriptures. And here, he employs a type of comparative parallelism:
- If you abide in my word, you are my disciples indeed.
- And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.
So Jesus says that his word and ‘the truth’ are synonymous. His Word is the last word. And it is at this very point that the majority of the issues against the Bible arise—the issue of authority. What makes this Book the ‘last word’ on the matter? Is the ultimate message of the Bible about slavery or about freedom?
It’s ultimate message is about freedom—but if the Word of God is not ‘the truth,’ then there would be no freedom to be apprehended from there either!
In 2 Timothy 3:16-17, the Spirit gave to the Apostle Paul these words:
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[a]may be complete, equipped for every good work.
All Scripture is breathed out by God. From Genesis to Revelation, we have the Word of God in our hands. If all Scripture comes from God, and we know that God is holy, perfect, righteous, and just, then the Word would follow suit.
(Tomorrow: The Bible is the living Word.)