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THE BIBLE IS THE WORD OF GOD
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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 complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17
The starting place in Christian growth is to have a firm conviction about the inspiration and authority of the Bible. In this chapter I want to give some solid reasons to have this assurance. Believe me when I tell you this is the starting place. You will not make solid progress without it.
Man Has Only Three Problems
While on an airplane, I was browsing the magazine selection looking for a newspaper. I met a man there who asked what kind of a newspaper I was looking for. I responded frankly that I was looking for a conservative newspaper.
He looked me up and down and said, "I'm looking for a liberal newspaper." He was wearing a dark pin-striped suit, and I asked him what he did. He responded that he was a lawyer and in return asked me what I did. I told him I was a Baptist preacher.
He was interested in what I read, and I told him that I read books, journals, and newspapers, but that I primarily read the Bible.
"You don't read any wider than that?" he asked.
"No, not really."
"Do you speak to people?"
"All the time."
He said, "Well then, how do you know what people's needs and what their problems are if you don't read any more widely than that?"
I said to this lawyer, "Man has only three problems: sin, sorrow, and death."
He said, "No, there are more problems than that."
I said, "All right, think about it and tell me a fourth problem."
He thought for a while, and then he said, "Man has only three problems."
Every other problem in the world is indeed just a subset of sin, sorrow, death, and the Bible is the only book on earth that has the answer to all three conditions. For this reason, it is important that you understand and have a rock-ribbed assurance that the Bible is the Word of God. It is not the Book of the Month; it is the Book of the Ages.
There Is a War on the Bible
The devil hates this book and would like to destroy it. Some despise the Bible; others just deny it; still others distort it and have warped, misused, and abused it. But I believe the greatest enemy of the Bible is the so-called Christian who simply ignores the Bible or disregards it. He gives only lip service to it.
"These hath God married and no man shall part: Dust in the Bible and drought in the heart."
I have been serving Jesus for a long time, and the thing that keeps me going is truth and conviction. This conviction is not based on my feelings but on what I know is truth. Feelings come and go, but God's Word never wavers.
Why is this so important?
Your salvation depends on understanding the gospel message of the Bible.
Your assurance depends on resting in the truth of the Bible.
Your spiritual growth depends on living by the principles of the Bible.
Your power in witness depends on the confidence you have in the Word of God.
Therefore, you must be absolutely certain that the Bible is the Word of God. I want to give you some principles that have confirmed this certainty for me. Let me say that beyond these objective arguments, there is the sweet affirmation of the Holy Spirit to my heart concerning the Word of God. Jesus said, "My sheep hear My voice" (John 10:27). Think with me about the following confirmations of the inspiration of the Bible.
The Bible Is Shown to Be the Word of God Because of Its Scientific Accuracy
Scientific accuracy confirms the Bible as the Word of God. This first concept is the same one most often used to dispute the validity of the Bible by those who deny it. It is commonly assumed that, of course, there must be scientific errors in the Bible. Before you say that, however, make certain you know two things: science and the Bible. Most often those who claim scientific errors in the Bible do not clearly understand either subject. And those who do understand science must admit that it is in a continual state of flux, constantly changing. The accepted science of yesterday is not necessarily the science of today. It has been estimated that the library in the Louvre in Paris has three and a half miles of books on science. Most every one of them is obsolete.
In 1861, the French Academy of Science wrote a pamphlet stating there were fifty-one incontrovertible scientific facts that proved the Bible not true. Today there is not a reputable scientist on Earth that believes one of those fifty-one so-called facts. The point is, science is changing. God's Word does not change! Let me give a few examples:
The Earth Is Suspended in Space
One of the most fundamental scientific facts that you and I agree is true today is that our Earth is suspended in space. Ancient cultures did not always know this. The ancient Egyptians used to believe the Earth was supported by pillars. The Greeks believed the world was carried on the back of a giant whose name was Atlas. And the Hindus believed something even more ridiculous-that the Earth was resting on the backs of gigantic elephants. Then somebody said, "But wait a minute, what are the elephants standing on?" The answer was, "The elephants are standing on the back of a huge tortoise-a giant turtle." Then somebody asked, "What is the turtle resting on?" The answer, "Well, that turtle is on the back of a huge coiled serpent." And somebody said, "What is the serpent on?" The conclusion was that the serpent was swimming in a great cosmic sea. This was the science of that day!
When you and I pick up the Word of God, we do not find any such mythology. Job spoke of the Lord in chapter 26 verse 7: "He stretches out the north over the empty space; he hangs the earth on nothing." Job is perhaps the oldest piece of literature known to man. How did Job know the Earth is suspended in space? Job could only know through divine inspiration. The Bible says in 2 Timothy 3:16 that "all Scripture is given by inspiration of God."
The Earth Is Round, Not Flat
We also take for granted that the Earth is round. Do we know this by natural observation? Not at all. You've seen pictures from outer space, and perhaps you have traveled around the world, so you take it for granted. But people didn't always know that the Earth was round. Remember that little saying from when you were in school, "In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue"? They warned, "Columbus, you had better be careful; you might sail off the edge of the Earth."
Even as late as 1492, people did not know that the Earth is round. Yet Isaiah, in 750 BC, said, "It is He [God] who sits above the circle of the earth" (Isa. 40:22). The word for circle in the Hebrew is chuwg, which means "globe or sphere."
How did lob know that God hung the Earth upon nothing? How did Isaiah know 750 years before Christ that the Earth is round? "Holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit" (2 Pet. 1:21).
The Bible teaches that when Jesus comes again, it will be both daylight and dark. For example, "There will be two men in one bed: the one will be taken and the other will be left. Two men will be in the field; the one will be taken and the other left" (Luke 17:34-36). That seems contradictory. But while it will be light on one side of the globe, it will be dark on the other side when Jesus Christ comes again. Of course, all of this did not take the one who created the world by surprise; He knew all of it.
The Stars Cannot Be Counted
Here is another scientific fact relating to the science of the Bible. The stars in our galaxy are beyond ability to number. You and I would never be so foolish as to try to count the stars. But there was one man who laid down his pen, rubbed his eyes, and was weary because he had counted the stars, or so he thought. He was an astronomer 150 years before Christ. This man's name was Hipparchus, and he was the astronomer and scientist of his day. His study yielded 1,022 stars. He had counted the stars, he had made his chart-1,022 stars-and that was science.
His findings were considered accurate for 250 years, and then along came Ptolemy who began to count the stars and said, "Did Hipparchus say there are 1,022 stars? How absurd-there are 1,056 stars." His count had upgraded the science of the day for a while.
About thirteen hundred years later, a young medical student named Galileo invented his first crude telescope, turned it up to the heavens, and looked beyond those stars that could be seen with the naked eye. There were more stars-and more stars-and hundreds and thousands and millions and billions and hundreds of billions of stars on and on and on! No fool would ever dare try to count the stars.
A while back I was reading in a scientific journal that scientists were trying to help us to understand the size of our universe. The journal stated that there are more suns like our sun in the known universe than there are grains of sand on all the seashores of the Earth.
I'm from West Palm Beach, Florida, and I can't even imagine counting the grains of sand just in a city block! And there are more suns in our universe than there are grains of sand on all of the seashores of the Earth! Think again of Hipparchus-one, two, three-1,022 stars! He could have saved some time had he turned to the Word of God. Jeremiah 33:22 states, "The host of heaven cannot be numbered."
Job says the Earth is floating in space. Isaiah says it is a globe. Jeremiah says you can't count the number of the stars.
The Blood Circulates through the Body
Let's move away from the area of astronomy and think about human anatomy and physiology. You and I take for granted that our blood is flowing in our body and is, what some have called, "a red river of life." It was not, however, until the year 1628 that William Harvey, a medical doctor, discovered that the blood circulates throughout the body.
In college I took a course in human anatomy and physiology, and I learned all of the things the blood does. It carries fuel to the cells, carries oxygen to burn that fuel, carries away waste, fights disease, and maintains a constant temperature in the body. This is only recent knowledge, though. In the "olden days" when someone got sick, the comment would often be made, "He has bad blood." People thought they needed to get rid of some of that bad blood, so they would bleed these people. Can you imagine taking a person who is sick and draining his blood?
A barber pole looks like a piece of peppermint candy but was meant to represent a bandage. Often they would take sick people to the barber who would bleed them in order to make them well. Sometimes they would put leeches on them to take the blood out of them.
A little known fact is how George Washington, the father of our country, died. He was sick so the physicians bled him. When he didn't get well, they bled him again. He didn't get well, so they bled him a third time. They bled him to death! Could it be that ever since that time the politicians have been bleeding us to death to get even? Hmmm!
Today they might have given him a blood transfusion. The Bible tells us in Leviticus 17:14: "For it [blood] is the life of all flesh. Its blood sustains its life." The blood is the life of all flesh. How did Moses know of the life-giving property of the blood? Well, "all Scripture is given by inspiration of God." "Holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit." The medical science in the Bible is truly wonderful.
Rattlesnake Fat and Worm's Blood
Dr. S. I. McMillen reports in his intriguing book None of These Diseases that archeologists have found a medical book called the Ebers Papyrus written by the Egyptians about fifteen hundred years before Christ, during the time of Moses. The Egyptians were clever and skilled, yet they had some foolish ideas. Let me give you some of the medical knowledge that was in the Ebers Papyrus. I don't suggest you follow this advice.
For example, if you want to prevent your hair from turning gray, you can anoint it with the blood of a black cat that has been boiled in oil or with the fat of a rattlesnake. Or, if you want to keep your hair from falling out, take six fats, namely those of the horse, the hippopotamus, the crocodile, the cat, the snake, and the ibex. And if you want to strengthen your hair, anoint it with the tooth of a donkey crushed in honey.
If you have a splinter embedded under your skin, here is the recommended medicine-worm's blood and donkey dung. Can you imagine the tetanus spores that would be in donkey dung? Other kinds of drugs they used were lizard's blood, pig's teeth, rotten meat, moisture from pig's ears, and excreta from humans, animals, and even flies.
We are still trying to understand some of the things the Egyptians knew about embalming and a variety of other things. They were highly intelligent people. The Bible says that Moses was schooled in all the wisdom of the Egyptians. Moses went to the University of Egypt, and old Pharaoh paid his tuition. And I suppose he learned all of these things that were written in the Ebers Papyrus. Yet I am so glad that when I open the Bible I don't find any of these absurd treatments.
Answer to the Black Plague Found in Leviticus
In Europe during the fourteenth century, there was something called "the black plague." One out of four people died from the black plague. They didn't know what to do with it. They couldn't control it. They had no concept of microbiology like we have now. Do you know what finally brought the plague to an end? The Bible! Finally they turned to Scripture. Leviticus 13:46: "All the days he has the sore [the plague] he shall be unclean. He is unclean, and he shall dwell alone; his dwelling shall be outside the camp." They learned to quarantine from the Word of God.
Although I've mentioned several areas of science where the Bible has been vindicated, I have only touched the surface of the many medical and scientific truths contained in the Bible. Frankly, I'm glad the Bible and modern science don't always agree. Science changes. The Bible-never!
The Bible Is Shown to Be the Word of God Because of Its Historical Accuracy
The Bible is not primarily a science book. It is not written to tell us how the heavens go; it is written to tell us how to go to heaven. But when it speaks on science, it is accurate. And the Bible is not primarily a book of history. It is "His story," the story of God. But you would expect to find the history of the Bible to be accurate and to be true. However, as you might suspect, the Bible has been attacked because of its history.
In the late 1800s, the scholar Dr. S. R. Driver ridiculed the idea that Moses wrote what is called the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible-Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. Driver claimed, "In the time that Moses was supposed to have lived on the Earth, men didn't know how to write. So how could he have written the Pentateuch?"
So some scoffed at the Bible for a while until one day, in northern Egypt, a lady was spading her garden when she came across some clay tablets. They were called the Tel el-Amarna tablets and were tablets used for correspondence. They were written from people in Egypt to people in Palestine, or what we call today the Holy Land, centuries before Moses was born. Not only did they know how to write, but also they had a postal service that allowed them to send letters back and forth to one another. This proves that Moses did indeed have the capability to write the Pentateuch and also proves a learned man's opinion wrong.
Excerpted from What Every Christian Ought to Know by Adrian Rogers Copyright © 2005 by Adrian Rogers. Excerpted by permission.
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Posted June 22, 2011