This God—his way is perfect; the word of the Lord proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.Psalm 18:30
Questions About the Bible
When I switched majors towards the end of my freshman year of college from computer/robotic engineering to pastoral theology, one of the first classes I had to take was a class in the Bible.
There were actually three classes that first year – Biblical Theology, Old Testament Overview and New Testament Overview.
It shouldn’t surprise you that a man who wishes to become a pastor would take college courses in the Bible.
And while it could probably go without saying, I’m going to say it anyway: I never stopped learning and studying this incredible book. I’ve been doing so since that Fall of 1984, when I started my pre-seminary studies.
One of the reasons I never stopped studying the Bible is because I still have questions about it!
Who wrote it? When did they write it? What does it mean?
Every time I lead a Bible study, I get questions upon questions about it. The answers to these questions are important because they really get to the heart of the quest of trusting this book and, ultimately, trusting God.
The Bible as Library
The Bible is often treated as one book. But it really isn’t. It is sixty-six books written by about forty different people.
This library of books can be categorized into history, wisdom literature/poetry, prophetic, epistle, and apocalyptic.
These sixty-six books are not usually compiled chronologically, but as groups. And there are two main sections – Old and New Testaments.
However, even though there some forty different writers, there is only one author – God.
And he authored it for a reason.
The Bible Reveals God in a Specific Way
The Bible has a specific purpose, which St. Paul states clearly in his second letter (epistle) to Timothy:
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 complete, equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV).
That “good work” is rooted in God himself. You see, the Bible reveals God to man. It starts with how God created mankind (and everything else) and concludes with the new creation of saved mankind.
Salvation of mankind is the main subject all sixty-six books. Starting with Genesis 3:15, the Bible reveals how God reverses the curse of sin.
The Bible reveals God as almighty, just, merciful and loving.
No other book reveals this to us like the Bible does. In fact, any other book that does speak of God in these terms does so because it was first revealed in the pages of Holy Scripture.
The Bible Is a Reliable Source
That makes the Bible an interesting book, don’t you think?
But what if it were actually true? Then that would make it more than just interesting. It would make it vital, powerful, and life-changing.
I believe the Bible to be truly the Word of God without error and a life-changing book.
And while I’m far from the only one to hold this belief, there are still a vast number of people who do not believe this.
“Man-made.” “Mythology.” “Unreliable.” This is what so many people feel the Bible is.
I think that if the evidence is seen, however, just the opposite conclusion will be reached.
For two thousand years, the Bible has been rooted in history.
Just a few tidbits of this evidence:
According to Rich Deem, texts of the Masoretic Text of the Old Testament (which dates to about AD 800), the Dead Sea Scrolls (which date between the Fourth and First Century BC) and the Septuagint (fragments of which also date to the First Century BC) – with only minor variations and a few discrepancies – are 95% identical.
Also according to Rich Deem, there are upwards of twenty-four thousand fragments and manuscripts of the New Testament, many of which date as far back as the Second Century AD.
I’ll pick up this thought in part two of “The Book.”
Blessed Lord, You have caused all Holy Scriptures to be written for our learning. Grant that we may so hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them that, by patience and comfort of Your holy Word, we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
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