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

A New Venture

We started to discus the Millennium, the exciting future thousand year reign of Christ on earth.  It is a wonderful study to see how the Old and New Testaments complement each other, even when it comes to the Millennium.  

The thousand year reign of Christ deserves proper investigation by believers.  There is a dearth of information on the Internet and many books that deal with the subject.   We have concluded our discussion of the Millennium and trust the Holy Spirit to lead those who are interested, into further study of this wonderful subject.

The Holy Spirit has laid Psalm 71:18 on our hearts, 

‘Even when I am old and grey, do not forsake me, O God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come.’  Psalm 71:18

We are 75.   About 45 years ago the Lord called me out of darkness.  I think He told the Holy Spirit to please help my wife.  We had been married for five years then.  She was a believer and she remained faithful to the Lord while I had no clue about God and His Kingdom.  The clashes were unavoidable because there were two ‘different’ people in one house.  One was a believer and one was not.  

God has been good to us.  Because of various reasons our marriage was a bit under strain when God called me.  (Note ‘a bit’ is an understatement).   Yet with God also in me, our marriage changed for the better.  God willing we will celebrate our 51st wedding anniversary in July.  She is still the best gift God could have given me.  

Because of the way I grew up, I distrusted all authority.  It took me a long time to get used to God and His Book.  There were few facts in the Bible that I did not question.  Today, there are no facts I question.  God answered all my queries.  With His help we both stand strong in the faith.  

In those days I was a tottering, shivering ‘saint.’  When any prominent atheist criticised God and the Bible I started to shiver.  There was no way I could reply to their criticisms.  Today not even the most aggressive ardent ‘qualified’ atheist can cause me to miss a beat.  It is all because of God’s faithfulness, through the Holy Spirit, to me specifically.   

God gave us four children.  How they survived under me remains a mystery.  Yet today they all know the Lord and along with their spouses, trust Him.  We have eleven grandchildren.  God taught us through the years, through many a crisis, but now the time has come to systematically pen it down in a book. 

Our plan is to stop blogging for a time.  Thank you to our loyal readers.  We appreciate you.  From time to time we want to publish excerpts from the proposed book for comments and suggestions from you.  Blessings to all.  

My shivery faith

One of the things that regularly tripped me up in my walk with God, was what I call my ‘shivery faith.’  Every time I came across a book that purports to ‘prove’ the Bible is rubbish, or somebody claims this or that should not be in the Bible, or what some ancient civilisation thought about ‘gods,’ or that Paul’s letters are nonsense, I literally shivered.  Doubt gripped me – I used to ask myself if I am wasting my time with the Bible and God?  But, with time I learned something very interesting.

#  Why would an old book get so much attention?

  • The Bible is an old book.  The first book, Genesis, was written about 1400 BC (before Christ).  The last book, Revelation, was written before 100 AD (after Christ) and the other 64 books were written between those dates.  
  • It struck me as odd: why does such an old book still get so much attention? The Bible is at least 2,000 years old and belongs in a museum.  Only historians, linguists and others interested in the distant past should study it.  
  • Yet the stream of anti-Bible propaganda knows no end, even now in 2019. 

#  The war against the Word gave me faith.

  • The Bible teaches that Satan is the ruler of the world system. 1  He influences people against God and the Bible.  
  • I understood that the attacks and ‘war’ against the Bible prove that it is true, relevant and important.  God is alive and well.  
  • Now I rejoice, even when people blaspheme God, slander the Bible and curse Christians.2  If the Bible was just a book of fiction, nobody would say a word about it.  

Conclusion

I can say, in a sense, that the world with its actions and agenda against the Bible, convinced me that my faith rests on a solid foundation.  No longer do I fear or shiver.  A strong faith in the immovable Rock, Jesus, and His precious Book, the Bible, has replaced it.

References

  1. 1John 5:19b; John 14:30 
  2. Mathew 5:11-12
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