July 18, 2016 by

The Word of God Book

2 Timothy 3:16

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching,

for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,”

 

We begin with the simple observation that the Bible is the bestselling book of all time. More copies have been printed in more languages and read by more people than any other book in history. It is so far out in front of every other book ever written that it stands in a category all by itself. Over six billion copies have been printed, sold, or distributed in over 2200 languages.  It is not only the bestselling religious book, it is the bestselling book of any and every category. The Bible is number one. The all-time best seller. The undisputed champion.

Every Sunday it is read, studied, quoted and memorized in every nation on every continent.

Why is the Bible still the all-time best-selling book in world history? What is it about this ancient book that still draws the attention of this generation? Why we are still attracted to these ancient stories? Is it just our religious background? Do we turn to the Bible because it makes us feel good in times of trouble? Or is there something more?

 

I.                  Every Word and All the Words

For 2000 years Christians have used a particular phrase to describe what they believe about the Bible. We call it “the Word of God.” That alone sets the Bible apart from every other book. When we use the phrase “the Word of God” we mean that the Bible comes from God and records his message to us. That is, when we read the Bible, we are reading the very words of God. Sometimes Christians use the word “inspiration” to describe this truth. 2 Timothy 3:16 tells us that All Scripture is God-breathed.”  Applied to the Bible, that means that God breathed out the very words of the Bible and the human authors wrote them down.

Why do we believe the Bible is the Word of God and thus absolutely truthful? How can we be so sure that the Bible stands above every other book ever written? In this message we’re going to attempt to answer those questions.

 

II.               Its Claims

In the first place, the Bible clearly claims to be the Word of God. II Peter 1:21 says, For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” It’s not as if Jeremiah dreamed up his visions or David his psalms or Paul his letters. These men “spoke from God” as the Holy Spirit carried them along. The Greek word for “carried along” pictures a ship being moved through the waters by the power of the wind in the sails. The Holy Spirit is the real power behind the writing of the Bible. He is the divine author. Men like David, Daniel and John were human authors. That’s why the Bible repeatedly uses phrases like “the Lord says” and “the Word of the Lord came” and “the Lord spoke.” Jeremiah 1:9 puts it very plainly: Then the Lord reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, ‘Now, I have put my words in your mouth.This is a claim to direct, divine inspiration by God.

It is important to realize too that the writers of the Scripture were not mere writing machines. God did not punch them like keys on a typewriter to produce His message. He did not dictate the words, as the biblical view of inspiration has so often been unfairly caricatured. It is quite clear that each writer has a style of his own. Jeremiah does not write like Isaiah, and John does not write like Paul. God worked through the instrumentality of human personality, but so guided and controlled men that what they wrote is what he wanted written.

 

III.            Its Credibility

Let’s consider credibility under two headings. 

1. Accuracy of transmission. After all, everyone understands that the Bible was written between 2000-3500 years ago. And everyone agrees that we don’t possess any of the original manuscripts of the Bible. How do we know that what we are reading is an accurate transmission of what the human authors originally wrote? The answer for the Old Testament is that the Jews were almost fanatical in their insistence on accuracy. When they copied a manuscript by hand, they counted the total number of letters and figured out the middle letter of the entire book. Once a scribe finished copying that book, if his middle letter of the copy was different, the entire book was presumed to be incorrectly copied and was destroyed. The scribes even counted the various letters and compared manuscripts not just word for word but letter for letter. That’s why the existing manuscripts of the Old Testament are virtually identical.

 

2. Consider the Bible’s amazing historical accuracy. In general, we may say that historical research has tended to confirm every major factual claim in the Bible. For many years, the critics claimed that no one named Pontius Pilate ever existed. But the archaeologists uncovered a stone tablet in Caesarea with his name on it. Chuck Colson (The Faith, p. 51) summarizes the evidence this way:

Before the end of the 1950s, no less than 25,000 biblical sites had been substantiated by archaeological discoveries; there has been no discovery proving the Bible to be false. No other religious document now or in history has ever been found that accurate.

 

IV.           Its Consistency

Two important lines of evidence establish the Bible’s internal consistency. 

1. There is the testimony of fulfilled prophecy. Someone has calculated that fully one-fourth of the Bible was prophecy when it was written. The 66 books of the Bible make hundreds of specific prophecies regarding people, places, kingdoms, wars, and nations. But the greatest predictive prophecy deals with the person of Jesus Christ. The Old Testament contains over 100 predictions regarding Christ, including the place of his birth, the manner of his birth, the family into which he would be born, the scope of his ministry, the nature of his death, and the miracle of his resurrection. All of these prophecies were written down between 400-1500 years before his birth. Yet each of them was fulfilled down to the letter. Mathematician Peter Stoner calculated the odds of anyone fulfilling just eight of those predictions by chance. The odds came out to one in ten to the seventeenth power. If you took that many silver dollars and scattered them across Texas, they would cover the state two feet deep. Now take one of those silver dollars and mark it with a red X and throw it in at random into that pile of silver dollars. Then blindfold a volunteer and ask him to find the marked silver dollar on his first try. That’s the same odds that eight predictions about Christ could be fulfilled by chance. Yet Christ fulfilled over 100 prophecies! (You can read Peter Stoner’s book online.)

 

2. Consider the amazing unity of the Bible. We are accustomed to thinking of the Bible as one book, but it actually consists of 66 books written by 40 authors in three different languages over a period of 1500 years. Yet the Bible is one book because it contains an amazing unity of theme from Genesis to Revelation.

How do we explain the unity of the Bible? The Old Testament points to the coming of Christ, the gospels to the appearance of Christ, Acts to the preaching of Christ, the epistles to the body of Christ, and Revelation to the return of Christ. Jesus Christ is the theme of the Bible. This amazing unity amid diversity is one of the great proofs of the Bible’s supernatural origin.

 

V.              Its Certainty

Having said all that, how can we be sure the Bible is the Word of God? Consider one more line of evidence: the evidence of changed lives. History tells us that wherever the Bible goes, men and women are changed forever. Whole cultures are transformed from devil-worship, cannibalism and warfare into societies in which human life is respected and human dignity established. 

The Bible has, amazingly-no doubt with supernatural grace-survived its critics. Thirty to sixty million copies are produced annually. The harder tyrants try to eliminate it and skeptics dismiss it, the better read it becomes. Voltaire, for example, who passionately sought to erase the Christian influence during the French Revolution, predicted that within a hundred years no one would read the Bible. When his home was later auctioned off after his death, it was purchased by the French Bible Society. As one pastor said, the Bible survives its pallbearers (The Faith, pp. 55-56).

Is the Bible the Word of God? I cannot “prove” that to you. You still have to make up your own mind. But if you have doubts, I encourage you to read it, study its claims, observe its message, and check out the facts for yourself. I have done that and I have also read the claims of the skeptics. As for me and my house, we will stand on the Bible as the Word of God.

I submit to you that the Bible will stand the toughest test and the hardest scrutiny because it is indeed the Word of God. That’s why after 2000 years it is still the best-selling book in the world. No other book in the world contains the plan of salvation. No other book in the whole history of mankind can tell you how to get to heaven.

 

Conclusion

 

Thank God for the Bible because without it, we would never know about Jesus. And without Jesus, we could never be savedBut the Bible is true and it is the Word of God. If you still have doubts, I encourage you to read it for yourself. When you do, you will discover for yourself the most wonderful truth in the world. 

Posted in: Sermon and teaching