Advent 5: The Bible

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

I am a conspiracy theorist at heart.  I take nothing on face value.  I am one of those people I talked about yesterday: I like hard facts and proof.  Trust does not come easy for me.

But when I look at The Bible, when I see it for exactly what it is… For me, understanding that Scripture not only claims to be God’s Word but absolutely has to be God’s Word is a great faith enabler.  (If you are looking for a great book to bone up on your apologetics or help with understanding the veracity of Scripture and the truth of Who God is, Who Jesus is and that, yes, He is The Way, The Truth and The Life, I would recommend Josh McDowell’s The Evidence That Demands a Verdict, a very insightful tome.)

The Bible is God’s Word to His people. When we’re seeking God, this is the place to start. It is here that He reveals Himself to us.  The collection of 66 books runs as a thematic narrative, It was penned by around 40 different writers – some educated men, some simple shepherds and fishermen, even one who was a reformed Pharisee (Paul, who wrote the largest percentage of the New Testament).

The books that are contained in the Bible were written over the span of around 1500 years, in three different languages (Hebrew, Koine Greek and Aramaic).  When you consider all these facts, then see that the Bible does not contradict itself within these pages, you begin to see there is something indeed quite special about this collection.

For me, one of the factors that shows the Bible’s veracity is it’s cohesion.  Think about it: Moses was a stuttering Israelite raised as an Egyptian royal. David was a shepherd who became king.  Solomon was a king – and the wisest man on earth – who fell in disgrace and foolishness.  Jonah was a hesitant prophet. Matthew was a tax collector (scourge of the earth in Jesus’ day).  Luke was a physician.  Peter and John were simple fishermen.  Now, on top of that, try to imagine a running narrative that holds together, without error or hiccup, being written from 500 AD – the days of Attila the Hun, the decline of the Roman Empire and the rise of Mayan Civilization – until now.

There is also the amazing economy of the writing.  There are no wasted words in all of Scripture.  No filler.  No meaningless lines.  It is a collection so rich with wisdom, history, ethics, poetry, prose, prophecies fulfilled and to come, and truth that there is no possible way the Bible is anything short of what it claims to be: the entirely inerrant Word of God, written down by men by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

Consider this also: The Bible is God – Existence Himself, Our Heavenly Father – showing Himself to us and defining the terms of His relationship with us.  The Creator of the Universe has given us His Word not for His benefit, but for ours.  But it s for our benefit by God’s terms, not ours.  The wisdom contained within far exceeds the wisdom of man.  The expectations set for us are not those that would be set by sinful, self-serving humans but by a loving, omniscient (all-knowing), omnipotent (all-powerful), omnipresent (everywhere all the time), eternal God Who reaches out to His people wherever they are, regardless of position or station in life.  From the highest king to the lowest tax collector to the humblest fisherman, He is God.  He loves us.

There is absolutely no way The Bible could be anything less than God’s Word.  It is too enduring, too cohesive, too wise and accurate, to be anything less.  So we better take God at His Word, seek Him in His Word, trust that His Word is true and faithful and worthy.

6  “Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; 7 let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. 8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. 9  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. 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. 12  “For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. 13  Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress; instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle; and it shall make a name for the Lord, an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.” – Isaiah 55:6-13 (ESV)

To that I can add nothing more. Except a hearty “Amen!”

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