Nov. 26, 2008
Nov. 19, 2008
Nov. 12, 2008
Can the Bible be Trusted?
our struggling economy we have to trust more and more upon the standards
that we have grown accustomed to. We expect that our dollar is valued
the same in every store we shop. We trust that the gallon of milk which
we purchased at one store is equivalent to the gallon that we could
purchase at the store on the other side of town. We can clearly see
what would happen if each store owner used their own standard. Chaos
God has given us a
standard to live by. II Tim. 3:16-17 “All scripture is given by
inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for
correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be
perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” Let us examine what
the scriptures say happen to those that used their own standard.
seek to use our own hearts as a standard to live by we fail to please
God. Jeremiah once wrote, “O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in
himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps (Jer.
10:23).” Man’s failure to please God on his own terms is clearly
seen in the book of Judges. In this book we see judges sacrificing
their daughters (Jud. 11) and laying with prostitutes (Jud. 16).
We see priests using graven images (Jud. 17). Furthermore we see
a distinct pattern develop throughout the book. Israel sins, gets
punished by neighboring countries, God sends a judge to deliver them,
Israel lives faithfully during the judges life, and then it would
repeat. The reason Israel sinned is explained in the last verse of the
book. “Every man did that which was right in his own eyes (Jud.
21:25).” We can expect God to be just as displeased with us today
when we choose to use do what is right in our eyes.
stresses purity for his priests. Priests under the Mosaic Law had to be
without physical blemishes, married to Jewish women, and pure in their
daily conduct (Lev. 21-22). When God appointed Aaron and his
sons as priests he further assured their purity with a blood sacrifice (Lev.
8). Two priests, Nadab and Abihu, learned this lesson the hard
way. In Lev. 10:1-2 the burned incense before the Lord with
strange fire; that is fire that God did not authorize. As a result, God
sent a fire to consume them. God warned, “I will be sanctified in them
that come nigh me, and before all the people I will be glorified (Lev.
10:3).” The lesson is this. It does not matter what God has done
to purify you and how much you have done to remain pure as priests in
His kingdom. If we desire to come near God and to glorify Him we must
do it His way.
God will not send a “Holy Thunderbolt”
to correct our misconduct, but He will not overlook our manmade
religions (Matt. 15:1-9).
specific commands concerning the moving of the Ark of the Covenant:
It was to be carried the Kohathites of the tribe of Levi (Num.
It was to be moved with the golden staves that God designed (I Chron.
It was not to be touched, lest you die (Num. 4:15).
Sam. 6:1-7 we read a story where each of these laws were violated.
Uzzah and Ahio were given the task of moving the ark. The bible does
not tell us they were sons of Kohath. It was not carried by the golden
staves, but upon a new cart. Finally, when they reached the threshing
floor of Nacon, the ox stumbled and Uzzah touched the ark to keep it
from tipping over (II Sam. 6:6). Uzzah’s violation of the law
was full of good intentions. But, the anger of the Lord burned against
him and the Lord struck him dead (II Sam. 6:7). It does not
matter how good our intentions are, if we violate the law of God we are
Paul warned that men would
continue to do their will and call it religion. “Now the Spirit
speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the
faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of
devils…Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which
God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe
and know the truth (I Tim. 4:1, 3).” And, “Touch not;
taste not; handle not; Which all are to perish with the using; after the
commandments and doctrines of men? Which things have indeed a show of
wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in
any honour to the satisfying of the flesh (Col. 2:21-23).”
“Will worship” is self-imposed worship. It is worship without divine
guidance. What should this tell us about those that forbid what God has
authorized and authorize what God has forbidden?
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Nov. 26, 2008
We can understand the Bible, but there are some obstacles that make some
parts of it hard to understand. The Bible was penned between 3,400 and
2,000 years ago. Since that time how we live has changed a lot. Another
obstacle is that it was penned in a different language than what we
speak. Thankfully, there are many tools to help us overcome these
obstacles. Historical books and artifacts shed light on the geographics,
politics and cultures of Bible times. There are lexicons that help
understand the meaning of each word in its original language. But there
is still one more barrier to our understanding the scriptures.
“For they had not understood about the loaves, because their heart was
hardened.” Mark 6:52
The condition of our own heart is the biggest hurdle to jump in our
quest to understand the Bible. Pessimistic, antagonistic, fault finding
attitudes about the Bible will make you incapable of understanding it.
So be sure to read your Bible with an open mind.
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Nov. 19, 2008
Last week I asked
“Can we understand the Bible?” In answering this question, consider
these scriptures. “For
God does not show favoritism.” Rom. 2:11(NIV). Would not God be showing
favoritism if the Bible were written in a way that only really smart
people could understand it?
is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come
to repentance.” 2 Pet. 3:9(NIV)
If God doesn’t want any to perish, wouldn’t he write his requirements of
repentance in a way we could understand? “Therefore do not be foolish,
but understand what the Lord's will is.” Ephesians 5:17(NIV) If God is
fair and just, how could he command us to understand his will knowing
that it is impossible?
God does not want to set us up for failure by revealing his will to us
in some secret code, or mysterious language. Pick up your Bible today,
and know that you CAN understand.
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Nov. 12, 2008
The Bible has over a thousand pages, contains 1,189 chapters, over
31,000 verses and over 700,000 words. Contained in it are laws,
histories, songs, poetry, mail, prayers, prophecy, wise sayings and
genealogies. And on top of all that some of it is meant to be taken
literally, and some figuratively. In light of all this many have asked,
“Can we understand the Bible?”
“At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, ‘I
praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden
these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little
children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.’”
The men God used to pen the Bible were fishermen, tent makers, tax
collectors and farmers. God revealed his will to us with simple words
by simple men so that the simple could understand.
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Can the Bible be Trusted?
For centuries people have been critical of the information
provided in the scriptures. Critics have attacked its authenticity in a
realm of areas. Some claim that the bible contradicts modern science.
Others claim that the bible is historically inaccurate. Still, some
claim that the bible contradicts its own pages.
These claims are made for a variety of reasons. However,
when one truly considers why such claims are made, it really all comes
back to one reason. Someone is trying to tear down the bible as a
source of authority on how one should live their lives. The bible was
not written to teach man about science, although, scientific facts are
revealed in its pages. The bible was not written to tell the whole
history of man, although many historical facts are found in its pages.
The bible was written to tell God’s redemption story.
From the beginning, God revealed who He was through the
creation accounts (Gen. 1-2). The fact that He is our creator
teaches us that he has the right to have certain expectations of us. If
you designed a computer, you expect it to work the way you want it to
work. Such is the same with our creator. Man failed to keep God’s
commandments. The first man and first woman failed (Gen. 3).
Since then, every person that has the ability to reason has failed. For
Paul said, “there is none righteous no not one (Rom. 3:10). God
then began to reveal his redemption plan (Gen. 3). This was kept
a mystery, as Paul calls it (Rom. 16:15), until the times were
fulfilled so that Jesus of Nazareth, God’s only begotten son, could come
and redeem man (John 3:16).
This “plan of redemption” is what these men are really
critical of. These critics do not want to be held accountable. They do
not want to know that there is some higher power that can and will judge
them based upon the lives that they live (Ecc. 12:14).
This however does not answer their claims of falsehoods in
the bible. It merely explains why they make such claims. So, is the
Bible accurate or, is it just a book of stories made up by men?
Let us begin by examining the realm of science. As
mentioned earlier, the bible was not written to teach us about science.
However, the bible does reveal some scientific truths.
In times past, scientists believed that the different ethnic groups in
this world contained different types of blood. Their beliefs led them
to attack what the bible said on the matter. Acts 17:26 “And
hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face
of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the
bounds of their habitation.” If you were to take the blood of men from
every different ethnic group and examine them under a microscope, you
could not tell whose blood belonged to whom. Scientists believe this
today. Had they accepted bible teaching they would have always accepted
With the rise of evolution, scientists believed that all life came from
a single-celled organism. They also believed that since all life came
from the same ancestor all cellular structures must be the same. This
is called the “Continuity Theory.” As modern science became
technological enough to truly study the cell, they learned that not all
cells are made alike. Under a microscope it can be
immediately determined whether a cell belongs
to a fish, bird, or man. This is exactly what the Bible taught
nearly 2000 years ago. I Cor. 15:39 “All flesh is not the same
flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts,
another of fishes, and another of birds.”
know that even within the last 100 years doctors were using “bleeding”
to treat disease? While “modern” medicine understood that blood could
be contaminated, they did not understand the real value of blood until
the 1940’s. It was at this time that doctors understood that life was
made possible by keeping blood in the body. Moses, nearly 1500 years
before Christ graced this world, wrote, “the life of all flesh is the
blood thereof (Lev. 17:14).”
mentions the “paths of the sea.” Matthew Maury, the father of
oceanography, used this information to begin his studies of the oceans
in the mid 1800’s.
says that God “hangeth the earth upon nothing.” Yet, Isaac Newton
didn’t prove this to be true until 1697.
refutes a long held belief that the Bible calls the earth flat. God
reveled long ago that he earth was round, not flat. Nearly 400 years
before it was widely accepted by “modern” thinkers.
Now, let us examine the realm of history. Does the bible have
historical inaccuracies? Critical historians have often claimed that
the bible is full of historical inaccuracies. Let us examine of few of
these past claims.
The Hittite empire is mentioned in 47 different passages in the bible.
They were not described as a small nomadic people, but rather a people
with kings (I Kings 10:29; II Kings 7:6; II Chron. 1:17).
Furthermore, God considered them to be greater (in power) than the
Israelites were when they took the land of Canaan (Deut. 7:1).
But, until 1871 not one mention of their existence was known outside of
the bible. This lack of information was a leading charge against the
accuracy of the bible. Then in 1906-1907 Hugo Winckey found 10,000
tablets from the ancient Hittite Empire (Zondervan’s Pictorial Bible
Dictionary). This discovery not only revealed their existence, but their
existence as the political power they were described as in II Kings
Critics once regarded Belshazzar of Dan. 5:1-31 as a mythical
character created by the author of Daniel. However, Babylonian
artifacts were eventually discovered that Belshazzar did co-rule as king
time many believed that King David was to be likened to King Arthur.
Both were nothing more than fanciful legends. Yet, in 1993 a 3000 year
old monument was unearthed that referred to the “house of David” in
flood account of Gen. 6-9 has long been called an erroneous
story. But, did you know that a global flood has been recorded by
countless tribes and ancient histories throughout the world? Nations
such as Babylon, Sumeria, China, India, and Egypt all have global flood
stories. Some Native American tribes have flood stories. The
Aborigines of Australia have a global flood story. While the stories
are mythological in nature in these other cultures, three things are
taught in each. 1. Universal destruction of the human race and all
animals. 2. A boat or an ark to provide a means of salvation. 3. Those
on the ark replenished the whole earth. Yet, despite the growing
evidence many still doubt it happened.
When one studies the scriptures with an open mind, the truth comes out.
Although critics will continue to attack the word of God, there is one
area that they are silenced. Did you know that the Bible prophesied of
major historical events? Unlike “prophets” today, the bible is 100%
accurate. It was not merely good guess work or the reading of the
“times.” Let us examine a few of these prophecies.
Nineveh, the capital of the city of Babylon was destroyed in 612 BC.
God’s prophets had prophesied its destruction multiple times. Nahum
dated 661-612, Isaiah 10 written 773 BC and Zephaniah dated 625 BC all
prophesied in some detail what would happen to Nineveh. Isaiah’s was
more than 100 years before it fall.
Speaking of Isaiah, he not only said that Babylon would fall, he also
foretold that a conqueror named Cyrus would destroy Babylon (Isa.
44-45). One might argue that nations rise and fall, but to name the
man responsible more than 100 years before he was born is undeniably
chief city of the Philistines, was besieged by Nebuchadnezzar in 585-572
and destroyed by Alexander the Great in 332 BC. Ezekiel’s prophecy
against Tyre was dated at 586 BC.
know that God’s prophets prophesied about Alexander the Great? In
Daniel 8, which was written in the 6th Century, more than
200 years before Alexander was born, foretells of the Greek Empire and
its “Great King.”
Did you know the bible was written by more than 30 different authors
over a period of 1400 years? Despite the vast differences in time,
culture and language the theme of the bible, God plan for saving man,
remained unchanged from Genesis to Revelation. Still, many critics
believe the bible contradicts itself. Let us look at some common
alleged contradictions of the bible.
Was the Sermon on the Mount preached on a mountain (Matt. 5:1) or
in a plain (Luke 6:17)? While the sermons are similar, they are
not the same sermon. It is clearly not the same location and therefore
a different crowd is listening. Is it so hard to believe Jesus would
reuse a basic “outline?”
Why are the genealogy accounts in Matt. 1 and Luke 3
different? Matthew traces his genealogy through Joseph, Jesus’ father
by “law.” Luke traces his genealogy through Mary, Jesus only earthly
Jesus taken into Egypt while an infant? In Matt. 2:14-23
mentions that Herod the Great sought the life of every male child ages 2
and under in the city of Bethlehem. As a result of this, God had Joseph
take Mary and Jesus into Egypt. After Herod’s death they returned to
Nazareth. Luke’s account mentions nothing of Egypt. Is this a
contradiction? Hardly. No single Gospel records every act by Christ or
his parents. Luke simply mentions that after they had returned to
Nazareth to raise Jesus.
alleged discrepancies can be answered by simply reading the whole text.
For example, many claim that the bible contradicts itself in telling the
story of blind men found in outside of Jericho (Matt. 20:30; Luke
18:35-38). Matthew records two blind men, while Luke records one.
But, the entire story reveals that they were two different events.
Luke’s healing occurred when they came near to Jericho. Matthew’s
healing occurred when they left Jericho (Matt. 20:29).
You will find what you are looking for. If you want the truth, you will
find it. However, many want to disbelieve the bible so they look for
reasons to discredit God’s word. Yet, when the word is examined to
determine whether these alleged contradiction in science, history,
prophesy, and its own pages are true, the contradictions are found to be
just that; alleged. They do not exist. Let us trust in God’s word.
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