Know Your Bible

VOL. 13                                                                                                                         December 7, 2014                                                                                                                            NO. 40



New Testament Writers Were Inspired: -- 

1. The apostles claimed to speak and write by inspiration. Paul said: "now theSpirit expressly says" (1 Tim. 4:1). Peter referred to Paul's writings as "Scripture" (2 Pet. 3:15,16). Paul explained that the apostles and prophets were guided by the Spirit of God to write down the things that were in the mind of God (Eph. 3:3-5). The same apostle claimed that what he spoke at Thessalonica was the “Word of God" (1 Thess. 2:13). He told the Galatians that he received his gospel, not from men, but God (Gal. 1:11,12). What he wrote to the Corinthians and others was the "commandments of the Lord" (1 Cor. 14:37). These writers could make this claim because Jesus said the Holy Spirit would guide them into all the truth (Jn. 16:13).

       2. The apostles were directed in What and How to speak. The apostles were told: "But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given you in that hour what you should speak; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father Who speaks in you" (Matt. 10:19,20). Notice that they would be told both what (the content of the message) and how (the words to express the message).

The Nature Of Inspiration: -- 

1. Plenary inspiration:  This refers to the fact that all of the Bible is inspired. Paul said: "all Scripture is inspired of God" (2 Tim. 3:16). The Psalmist said that: “All of God's precepts are right" (Psa. 119:128). Peter's reference to the prophets included all the Old Testament prophets (2 Pet. 1:20, 21). Thus, what is true of one prophet (inspired of God) was true of others. One Bible writer was just as inspired as the others.

       2. Verbal Inspiration: This refers to every word being inspired of God. Some believe in "thought inspiration." That theory says God gave the writer the thought to teach, but the writer was left to choose his own words. Such thinking would make the Bible subject to error. The Bible claims that not only is the entire book inspired, but that every word was chosen by the Holy Spirit. Paul said: "These things we also speak, not in words which man's wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual words." Notice that the words were chosen by the Holy Spirit. That is a verbal inspiration.

       3. The Scriptures are reliable down to the smallest detail. Jesus said: "For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled" (Matt. 5:18). A "jot" is the smallest Hebrew letter. A "tittle" is the small stroke distinguishing one Hebrew letter from another. A jot and tittle is much like our dot of the “i" and the cross of the "t." Jesus said that there would not be one jot or tittle to pass until all was fulfilled. His point is that the Scriptures are true and reliable down to the smallest detail.

Evidence Of Inspiration: -- 

1. The resurrection of Christ: If Jesus was raised from the dead, that proves there is a God. Jesus is Divine and what He says is true (Rom. 1:4). The empty tomb (Matt. 28:6) is just one of many proofs that Jesus indeed arose from the dead. This assures us the Bible is indeed from God.

       2. The Unity Of The Bible: The Bible was written over a period of 1500 years with forty different writers from different parts of the world. They used three different languages. Yet, there is not a single contradiction. Thus assures us there is one mind (the mind of God) behind the Scriptures.

       3. Prophecy and Fulfillment: Man cannot foreknow the future only God can. Thus, if men foretold the future, they had to be speaking by the inspiration of God. There are over 300 prophecies concerning the Messiah that were fulfilled in every detail. Thus, the prophets of old were inspired of God.

—Donnie Rader




In an article by George Cornell, AP religion writer, we learn that a Presbyterian scholar, Dr. Arthur F. Glasser, has discovered that religious tolerance indicates a spiritual vacuum. Sounds good! Let me quote. "We've become so mushy-headed and tolerant in America that people say any religion is okay, but the fact is that they can be demonic. Such relativism is the curse of Biblical faith." Several of his statements are worthy of circulation. "Many people are so jaded that they uncritically accept any idea that comes down the pike."

Much of what the dean of Fuller Theological Seminary had to say was addressed to the mass suicide in Guyana. "In all this tide of relativism, the flood of eastern cults and the assumptions that any religion is okay as long as it's sincere, we've tried to face the situation and say plainly that there is truth and there is error."

In my experience it is such a novel thing to hear such statements from denominational leaders that I would like to encourage this thinking among them. Therefore, I want to avoid the temptation of sarcasm and yet point out a few problems for denominational preachers and leaders who would reason in the manner of Mr. Glasser.

Let me quote once more: "Tolerance, in its best sense, is a virtue" and "we must allow for a measure of differences, listening to one another, and learning, a principle of the ecumenical movement." Frankly, this last statement, in the ecumenical context, means that whereas we should not be mushy-headed enough to tolerate the far-out cults, we should be mushy-headed enough to continue tolerating enormous differences on everything from organization to what is necessary for salvation. 

Tolerance and ecumenism are like father and son. The grandfather is a lack of respect for the authority of the Bible. The existence of ecumenism demands tolerance. The movement the ecumenical unity has involved the discounting of more and more that might be important enough to differ over. In other words, when there are vast differences between two or more parties, they can achieve togetherness in three ways. (1) One side can be converted to the other side. (2) Both sides can give up their positions. (3) Both sides can be converted to the truth. The ecumenical movement has been accomplished primarily by the second method. Such a course, however, creates more and more tolerance for different ideas and directly fosters as "anything goes" attitude. When this attitude boils over in the acceptance of such cock-eyed cults as the Peoples' Temples, we are shocked. Trying to keep ecumenism alive while not tolerating cults is like trying to have a mild fatal illness.

Those denominational leaders who have taught that "one religion is as good as another" and "it doesn't matter what you believe as long as you are sincere" are going to have to count the cost. If they say it does matter whether one is sprinkled or immersed, whether one is "once saved always saved" or not, and whether one is born totally depraved or not. If, on the other hand, it does not matter which one of these positions one holds, then they will need to decide which of the possible following answers is the reason why. (1) Everything is true. There is no false doctrine. Two plus two is one, two, three, four, or whatever. One is saved by faith only as well as not by faith only. It is all true. (2) Everything is false. There is no truth. Anything one believes is false, so it does not matter.

If it does not matter what one believes, these are the only two valid possibilities why not. If we once grant that both truth and error exist, then they differ, men can tell the difference, and we cannot blithely ignore the difference.

What a dilemma: on the one hand to see the proliferation of personality cults or to give up the beauties of ecumenism. There is an alternative. Reject denominationalism and make the Bible the sole rule in faith and practice.

—Bob Waldron

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