Know Your Bible
August 2005

You Have Questions? The Bible Has Answers!

According to a recent USA SNAPSHOTS' report on "What adults would ask a god or supreme being if they could get a direct and immediate answer," 16% would ask, "Why do bad things happen?"; 19% "Will I have life after death?" and 34% "What's my purpose here?"

Jehovah God, Supreme Ruler of the universe (Isa. 45:20-22), Who has made us (Psa. 100:3), has revealed everything we need to know in the Bible. We just need to take the time to investigate the Book of God to learn.

1) Why Do Bad Things Happen?: -- Job wrestled with this question, in the long ago, and a study of the book bearing his name shows the devil was the source of his misfortune. In the beginning, sin gave birth to the bad. Before "the transgression" (1 Tim. 2:14), everything was good; there was no knowledge of evil. Anytime God's laws are disregarded or broken, whether in the natural world or in the spiritual realm, bad things happen. "Good understanding giveth favor: but the way of transgressors is hard" (Prov. 13:15). Sometimes things we perceive as bad are for our good (Gen. 50:20).

2) Will I Have Life After Death?: -- The book of immortality poses the timeless question, "If a man die, shall he live again?" (Job 14:14). The Book of Job reveals "there is a spirit in man" (Job 32:8), and "though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God" (Job 19:26). There is life beyond the grave as the Bible affirms the bodily resurrection of man (Jn. 5:28,29; Acts 24:15). The Hebrew writer penned, "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment" (Heb. 9;27). John sets the judgment scene in Rev. 20:12-15, in which we will either hear the Lord say, "enter" or "depart" (Matt. 25:21, 41). The cursed shall "go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal" (Matt. 25:46). The more important question is: Where will you spend eternity?

3) What Is My Purpose Here?: -- How sad that so many go through life without knowing what it is all about, and miss the whole point of everything! It is best summed up in these words: "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man" (Eccl. 12:13).

--- John Isaac Edwards

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A Living Document?

I have said many times in sermons, classes, and bulletin articles that many trends and philosophies in the world are mirrored in the religious realm. Let me just make mention of one such philosophy in our country and see how the same philosophy is present among religious folks.

There are two schools of thought about the Constitution of the United States. One thinks that the Constitution stands firm, needing no new changing or "tinkering" with it. Such folks are generally called "Strict Constitutionalists." The other school usually describes the Constitution as a "living and breathing document, constantly changing." Thus, these folks will interpret the Constitution as they see fit. The latter are in the majority and so we see how it is possible for such swings in the Constitutional basis of the death penalty over the years. The death penalty was at first Constitutional, later it was not, and now it is again. Yet, the document has not changed. Ah, it must be people, or we might say society, who changes. That's right and that is why these things happen in relation to the Constitution. This will cause a certain inconsistency to always be just one step away.

Now, let us understand that the Constitution is a document created by man for ruling in the affairs of man. As such it is imperfect in nature. The fact that the original document can still be read is eloquent proof of this. That more amendments have followed is even more proof that this is a man-made document and will always be subject to examination and change through an amendment process. Folks, that's the way it is with man.

Now let us consider the religious realm and the approach to the Bible. Some folks believe that the Bible stands firm. It is unalterable and fully sufficient. One can read such passages as Matthew 24:35; 2 Peter 1:3; Revelation 22:18-19 and learn that this is the case. Yet, there are others who believe that the Bible is also a "living and breathing document, constantly changing." So they add creeds or ignore certain passages or re-interpret things. These constitute their "amendments to the Bible". These additions will fluctuate according to the ebb and flow of society. This is how such sins as adultery and homosexuality are supposedly approved by the Bible now. Yes, there was a time when such things were not approved socially, but now times have changed. Thus, the Bible needs to change to fit the changes in society.

One thing I would like to point out. With the Constitution, man is the master. The Constitution was made by man for man. However, the Bible is not like that. The Bible was made by God for man. Therein is a huge difference. If the Bible changes to fit man and society, then man is the master, not God. So, we would have people who perhaps agree that God does not change. "For I am the Lord, I do not change" (Mal. 3:6). But they would not agree that His word is likewise unchanged. "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My will by no means pass away" (Matt. 24:35).

In the first case of the Constitution, there is sparse room for toleration on the parts of those who come from these two different schools. They will never be able to view the Constitution as they do and have unity, though there will exist a shaky union. Likewise, those who view the Bible through these two different schools of thought pointed out in this article will never be able to co-exist or tolerate each other because of two totally divergent approaches to the Scriptures.

Where do you find yourself in regard to your view of the Bible? If you think it is a "living and breathing document, constantly changing", remember there is no stopping place and no limit as to how far this will go. Danger lurks behind such a position. Let us seek to treat the Bible as the final revelation from God. It needs no change. He has told us all we need to know and it will lead us to heaven.


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