Confidence in the Bible, Part 2

How I developed confidence in the Bible, Part 2

In Part 1 we began to discuss how the Bible and ‘normal’ books differ.  The reasons were that 

  • The Bible is a very old book. 
  • The Bible has a supernatural Author.  
  • The Bible’s message has never been updated.
  • The Bible books form the Biblical Canon. 
  • Criticism against the Bible is rife.  

This blog has more reasons that the Bible is unique and different from other books.  

#  God uses the devil to teach us

God has an enemy, 

‘…that ancient serpent, called the devil or Satan.  Revelation 12:9  

He is invisible, but powerful and at work all the time.  

‘The whole world is under the control of the evil one.  1 John 5:19b 

  • We see his hand in the opposition to the Bible.  Scripture explains the devil’s origin and eternal fate and that is why he hates it and tries to keep people away from it.  It also explains why some people, nations or groups hate, scorn, ban, burn, or make fun of the Bible. 
  • God uses the devil to teach us that eternity is very, very important.  We are not to fall into the trap of the devil, but carefully to follow and serve the Lord, who will one day welcome us into His eternal Kingdom.  It is remarkable that God even uses the devil to send us an important message: choose right, not the devil’s way of rebellion and destruction because eternity is very, very long – especially in the wrong place, hell.   

#  Appreciate the unique Bible

  • A follower of Jesus cannot become properly acquainted with the Bible if one does not study it yourself.  Teachers help to shorten the learning curve, but it does not negate the fact that you need to seek the Lord in Scripture.  The Bible leads to a remarkable relationship between the invisible Holy King, His Son, God the Holy Spirit and the person who reads it.
  • The Bible is about reality, not religion.  In religion you can put up a facade that you are ‘good.’  God knows everything about all people.  He knows those who love Him.  They are the ones who are interested to build a relationship with Him because they listen to what He says in Scripture and respond in prayer and action.  God cannot be fooled.  
  • The Bible’s information is not systematized but scattered.  In some places the theme changes abruptly, it is not chronological and at places there are apparent contradictions, et cetera.  It is because God designed the Bible to be studied, pondered over, meditated on and questions can be asked and answered.  
  • The layers of revelation in the Bible are remarkable.  One reads a section today and the Holy Spirit speaks.  Later with the same passage, the Holy Spirit has another revelation.  It is a wonderful book with always something new and fresh,

‘He [Moses] was in the assembly in the desert, with the angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai, and with our fathers; and he received living words to pass on to us.’  Acts 7:38

Confidence in the Bible, Part 1

When I was a kid we went to church a few times.  I marveled at the person in front with the black book.  It baffled me why he did not read a more interesting (to me at that time) book about cowboys or shining knights in armor.   Years later at the age of 31, I did meet the Man the Bible is about –  Jesus.  Today, many, many years later I cannot understand how a person could be interested in cowboy stories or knights in armor compared to the most precious book of all times, the Bible.  What follows is part of what I learned through the years, going from zero knowledge about the Bible to 100% confidence in it.  

Books, books, all over

History has yielded an impressive amount of books.  Name almost any subject, and there will be books about it.  In the remote past, people had to rely on their memories and later they developed writing.  It grew from primitive writing on clay tablets, to papyrus and vellum, to the vast output of books by modern printing presses.  With the e-book and other means, even more books are written.  

Books range in content from fairy tales to fiction, biographies, romantic stories, science, history, medical science, psychology, paleontology, science fiction, et cetera.  Then there are also religious books like the Koran, Vedas, Upanishads, et cetera. 

We can put the millions of books written in the course of history, in categories.  However, there is one book that is in a category all of its own.  There is no other book like it and no book will ever be written like it.  It is the Bible, also known as the Holy Scriptures or the Word of God.  It is a unique book. 

How the Bible and ‘normal’ books differ

#  The Bible is an Old Book.  

The first five books of the Bible, from Genesis to Deuteronomy, called the Pentateuch, written down by Moses, have a date of about 1,400 BC.  It is necessary to understand that, 

  • The dates are not precise, which should be understandable. 
  • Every aspect of the Bible, doesn’t matter from where, will be disputed by some unbeliever or even some ‘theologians.’  That is a trap one can easily fall into.  I came to the conclusion that it was not worth it to spend hours, days or even weeks to try to discover who wrote which book when?  The easiest way to handle it is to reject all the endless speculation and accept the Bible is Holy Spirit inspired, 

‘All Scripture is God-breathed….’  2 Timothy 3:16

The last book of the Bible is Revelation written down by John.  Again, there are a variety of differences, from 70-100  AD.  

A period of about 1,500 years separates the writing of the first book, Genesis, from the last, Revelation.  To help us understand it better, let’s say Genesis was written in 500 AD.  Then Revelation would be finished in 2,000 AD.  Think about the changes that occurred during those ages.  World powers came and went.  There were social changes, different fashions, great advancements in industry and science, et cetera.  Yet the theme of the Bible is constant: the Kingdom of God and the role of His Son, Jesus, in it.  This is a miracle in itself and a testimony to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. 

#  The Bible’s real Author

While all other books have human authors, this book claims to come from an Extra Terrestrial Highly Intelligent Being called God.  The Holy Spirit inspired the different writers like Moses, David, Jeremiah, Matthew, Paul, et cetera to pen down what God wanted to reveal to us about the Triune God and their plans with the creation of the universe.   

The ‘writers’ of this best selling book all came from a small country, Israel, with a relatively small population.  They were not from the mighty Roman Empire or other world powers like the Greeks or even the Aztecs.  No, from the small country, Israel, came the most important book of all time. 

God is the real Author, 

  • ‘You [God] spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David….’ Acts 4:25 – referring to Psalm 2:1,2.
  • “For to which of the angels did God ever say, ‘I will be His Father, and He will be my Son.”’  Hebrews 1:5, referring to 2 Samuel 7:14.

Although God is the real Author, we use the names of the human writers for practical reasons.  It would be difficult and time consuming to refer to a passage in book 29, chapter 31, line 29.  It is much easier to say, Jeremiah 31:29.  The chapter and verse numbers were added later to make it easier to study and write about the Bible.

#   The Bible is a Single edition Book.

The Bible is different and unique because the message has never been updated or revised.  From the original Hebrew and Greek it has been translated into many different languages.  

Doesn’t such and old book need updating?  After all, we now live in Post Modern times and the Bible is the product of the Prescientific Age.  Nevertheless no updates have so far been received from the Author.  Why?  Two reasons:  

‘All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field.  The grass withers and the flowers fall, because the breath of the Lord blows on them.  Surely the people are grass.  The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands for ever.’  Isaiah 40:6-8

Second:  All people will be judged by the standards of the Bible.  Therefore it is  fixed and final.    

#  The Bible forms part of the Biblical Canon.

The 66 books of the Bible were written at different times, but they were formally accepted around 367 AD when Athanasius mentioned that they formed the Canon of the Bible.    

#  Criticism against the Bible

The Bible is probably the only book that is systematically criticized on every important aspect in it – on God the Creator, God the Savior, God the Judge, God’s brilliant plan, the Divine nature of the Bible, the inspiration of the Bible, the flood of Noah, the young age of the earth and universe, the creation of the universe.  There are hardly any aspects of the Bible that are not hotly disputed, discussed, denied and argued about.  The Bible is always, but always controversial.  It has been under threat of destruction almost from the beginning whether as the complete 66 books or individual books.  Somewhere, somehow somebody has a gripe about it.  That is strange because no one is compelled to accept it.  It is a ‘take it or leave it’ book.   All the Bible does is to warn against those who reject it.  They do it at the risk of an eternity of loss.    

Please take note!

We write about our personal journey with the Bible.  Because of how I grew up, I was very dubious and distrustful of this ‘Word of God.’  In time the Holy Spirit answered all my questions and doubts about the Bible.  The Bible is the Word of God, flawless, the truth and absolutely wonderful because,   

‘God is not a man, that He should lie, nor the son of man that He should change His mind.  Does He speak and then not act?  Does He promise and not fulfill?’  Numbers 23:19

Did Jesus evolve?

Many years ago when God called me, my wife and I joined a small church.  Coming out of a background of zero knowledge of either God or the Bible, some things puzzled me.  How could I be sure the Bible was the words of God?  Another  problem was… Jesus.  It baffled me where He came from?  Later I just decided He must have fallen out of heaven.  Or He evolved.  

With time came more insight.  God already introduced His Son in the first few chapters of Genesis 1-11:9.  Personally I doubted if the Garden of Eden and Satan’s entry into it could be explained by evolution.     

Besides that, Jesus was part of the eternal Triune God.  The reason for Him to become Son of Man made sense:

  • Sin and rebellion entered the world through the deceit of the devil,

“You will not surely die, ‘the serpent [Satan] said to the woman.’” Genesis 3:4.  

Satan deceived Adam and Eve.  Expelled from the Garden, sin became part of life.  Cain, their eldest child, became the first ‘convert’ of Satan.  God warned him, 

‘But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door.  It desires to have you, but you must master it.’  Genesis 4:7b

Cain could not master sin.  Humans cannot resist the cleverness of the devil.  

  • God came to the rescue.  Someone, in the image of man, would be our Deliverer,

‘He [Seed of the woman, Jesus] will crush your [Serpent’s, Satan’s] head and you will strike His heel.’  Genesis 3:15b

Jesus would be the Saviour to redeem us from the power of the devil,

‘The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.’  1 John 3:8

God already hinted at the Great Escape from the dungeons of the devil in what He did for Adam and Eve, 

‘The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.’ Genesis 3:21

God Himself made the clothes and dressed them.  It is a remarkable reference to salvation through the shedding of blood – a vivid picture of God’s grace and mercy. 

The lesson for me? 

Jesus did not fall out of the air.  He did not evolve.  God in His wisdom planned it all before creation,

‘He [Jesus] was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.’  1 Peter 1:20

Glory! 

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