The Bible

The Bible exists so that all might acknowledge the sovereign Lord God, through Christ Jesus, and come to dwell now in part, and later in all fullness and glory, forever in worship to him.

The Bible is the revelation of what God has intended for all human beings to know of himself and his plan for the ages. In his sovereignty and grace God writes himself, his Son, and Holy Spirit into living-written-words that transforms lives. The Bible conveys the very essence of the character of God, through his very image, Jesus Christ, that all may come to dwell with him.

To many the Bible has become the means by which they fashion their own story. Rather than accepting the Bible as God’s own story, given to us.

The Bible became God’s means to reveal the progressive path by which, fallen humankind can once again dwell with him in a restored relationship. The Bible comprises various parts that we must understand as a whole to comprehend and follow its progressive revelation story. This synthetic method of study allows us to chart a sequence that unifies passages, chapters, and themes.

Accepting the Bible as God’s Inerrant Truth

Some might find the authorship of the Bible to be incredible and incomprehensible. The Word of God involved forty or more authors, three different languages, Hebrew, Aramaic, and Koine Greek, writers from various backgrounds, several geographical locations, time periods, and cultures “spanning almost sixteen hundred years.” (1) We can also add to the Bible the various literary styles observed throughout. The earliest known writings began with Moses, considered having written the Torah or Pentateuch, likely during the time of the Exodus 1446 B.C. to a later date of 1290 B.C. (2)

How then with such a historical background of authorship can we accept the Bible as God’s inerrant truth and inspiration?

In my first theology class in seminary, the professor explained we only term the Bible inerrant within the confines of the original manuscripts. He then added, “And, the original manuscripts do not exist.” Suddenly, I questioned my long-standing view of the inerrancy of the Bible. What did this mean exactly? How should I now interpret inerrancy?

I looked further outside the class to reaffirm my confidence in the authenticity of the Bible.

In my research I came across some fascinating statistics related to some of the earliest ancient literature. Let’s see how just two ancient works compare to the manuscripts of the New Testament.

Aristotle: Written in 384-322 B.C., earliest copy 1100 A.D., years between original and copies 1,400 years, number of copies 49, accuracy of copies no percentage given. (3)

Homer’s Iliad: Written in 900 B.C., earliest copy 400 B.C., years between original and copies 500 years, number of copies 643, accuracy of copies 95%. (4)

New Testament: Written in 50-100 A.D., earliest copy 130 A.D., years between original copies less than 100, number of copies 5,600, accuracy of copies 99.5%. (5)

“The number of manuscripts of the New Testament, of early translations from it, and of quotations from it in the oldest writers of the Church, is so large that it is practically certain that the true reading of every doubtful passage is preserved in some one or the other of these ancient authorities…This can be said of no other ancient book in the world.” (6)

In addition, we know the Bible itself provides recorded revelation to establish its integrity and witness as the inspired Word of God. For, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness” (2 Tim 3:16).

The Bible teaches that God’s Word came through revelation from Jesus Christ (Gal 1:11—12) to the apostles, through the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 2:1—4; 2 Pet 1:20—21; Acts 1:16), through the hearts of men (Rom 1:19—20; 2:14—15), dreams (Gen 20:3; 31:11—13; Dan 2, 7), visions (Isa1,6; Ezek 1), audible voices (1 Kgs 19:13), and visitations of angels (Isa 6; Matt 1). Christ, also spoke his very own words while on earth that men recorded.

Later God supervised his Word through chosen men and preserved and accorded the status of canon. This represented period in 400 to 500 A.D. was historically and theologically relevant, divinely inspired, and complete. Considering, all of this we do well to heed the words of Revelation 22:18 “I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book, if anyone adds to them, God shall add to him the plagues which are written in this book.”

The true church still stands unapologetically on the authority and inerrancy of the Bible.

Why Study God’s Sacred Word?

Today, it is often flawed thinking that distorts the truths of the Bible. Not a faulty Bible. Many redefine the message of the Bible and misinterpret verses and passages to meet their own, sometimes sinful needs. Or to corrupt God’s sacred Word to establish their own religious thought or religion.

Though the Bible is an interesting read, it should not be classified as entertaining literature, a handbook on ways to live your life with greater abundance, a book on the sciences regardless of the math, geography, archeology, and natural sciences it contains.

Much of the misuse of the Bible stems from our own ignorance on how to study it. We sometimes fall short in our understanding of God’s Word when we simply read the Bible. But proper methods of biblical study provide the means for consistent and accurate interpretation. God’s Word asks more of us. “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth” (2 Timothy:15).

Acquiring the proper tools and means of interpretation truly lies within the reach of most of us. At least in the Westernized and modern world of vast and accessible information. It is not limited just for the few or to only the scholarly.

Therefore, I have created a new menu item on this site titled, Resources. In this section you’ll find various resources to assist you in further study of the Bible. The first resource category lists books on, How to Study the Bible.

Every year brings new opportunities. So, let’s dive into our Bibles and become students of God’s Word in 2024!

Footnotes

  1. Walter C. Kaiser Jr., Recovering the Unity of the Bible: One Continuous Story, Plan and Purpose (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2009), 86.
  2. Kenneth G. Hanna, From Moses to Malachi: Exploring the Old Testament (Bloomington, IN: Westbow Press, 2015), 57.
  3. Jerry M. Hullinger, From Ezra to Gnostics Devotions: The Importance of Interpretive Method (Create Space Independent Publishing Platform, 2016), 121.
  4. Ibid, 121.
  5. Ibid.
  6. Sir Fredrick Kenyon, Our Bible and the Ancient Manuscripts (NY: Harper, 1958), 55.

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