Article # three: Words About Words (Part 2)
This series of articles inspects the wisdom/folly of departing from the evangelical system (the system, not the people in the system).
Basing decisions on anything other than the Bible is disobedience to the One we call “Lord, Lord.” Jesus defines wisdom and folly in Matthew chapter seven: Wisdom is building one’s life on His words; folly is building one’s life on the words of another. The words of Christ, as stated previously, are more than the red ones; they are the entire Bible.
What does the Bible mean to Joe and Jill Average Evangelical? In spite of Christ’s definition of wisdom/foolishness, not much. As Joe and Jill Average retain a symbolic Christ, so do they hold to a symbolic authority…. the Bible.
Rare is the christian who embraces the Bible as sole authority. And rare is the christian who realizes he or she does not embrace the Bible as sole authority. Most don’t, but assume they do. Or they obey another word and somehow conclude it is God they serve. Submitting to christian ‘leadership’ is equated to submitting to God. And more childish yet, it’s okay to obey the words of another provided that person is nice.
Enough of that, let’s talk about the Bible. How do we know this book is not just another book, though claimed to be extraordinary, even divine? Let’s look at it:
Jesus responds to satan’s temptations in the wilderness, “It is written, you shall worship the Lord your God and Him only you shall serve,” a quote from Deuteronomy. There is much evidence the Deuteronomy of Christ’s day is the same as our Deuteronomy (such as the Dead Sea Scrolls). Can you see Christ’s quote is Christ’s authentication of the book of Deuteronomy? Notice satan did not challenge Jesus. (“Come on now, we both know Deuteronomy is a fabrication!”)
When satan quoted from Psalm 91 (“He shall give His angels charge concerning you”) Jesus accepted his words as legitimate (though misapplied) because they were. This validates the Psalms. Now let’s carry this further….
Since Jesus corroborates Deuteronomy and the Psalms, these books can be used to validate other books. (And these in turn can be used to validate others.)
L a r r y J o n e s : Jesus is fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies. He appeals to them as evidence that He is who He claims to be. That appeal must be considered His endorsement. (A Catholic No More)
Jesus quotes from Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Samuel, Kings, Isaiah, and others.
L a r r y J o n e s : A friend…. scoffed at my suggestion that the Bible is to be taken literally. “You don’t really think that Jonah was swallowed by a whale do you?” I replied that Jesus Himself made reference to the three days that Jonah spent inside the belly “of a great fish.” “He did?” my friend replied. He had no more to say…. he knew Jesus would never authenticate a fabrication. (A Catholic No More)
If one agrees New Testament writings are inspired, all reference by New writers to the Old must be considered verifications. There are many such references. But are New writings really inspired of God? Let’s look at it:
New Testament writings are fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies. It had been prophesied Jesus would be born of a virgin…. in Bethlehem…. a descendant of Isaac…. and David. He would be raised in Egypt…. and Nazareth…. proclaimed by John the Baptist. He would open blind eyes…. heal the deaf and the mute…. speak in parables. Old writings foretold Jesus would be betrayed by a friend…. for thirty pieces of silver. He would be spit upon…. and ridiculed. They would pull His beard. The soldiers, as was prophesied, cast lots for his clothing…. and gave Jesus vinegar to drink. His hands and feet were to be pierced. He was to be buried with the wealthy…. and resurrected. And then He was to ascend to heaven from where He came to reign as our High Priest.
All these fulfilled prophecies, recorded over many centuries, validate New Testament writings to all but the most unreasonable. The Old confirms the New and the New confirms the Old.
L a r r y J o n e s : An exhaustive research would reveal literally thousands of evidences interweaving the Old Testament, each one doing its part to substantiate its trueness. (A Catholic No More)
L a r r y J o n e s : The very survival of New Testament writings is a further indication of its supernatural quality. What chance did they have? Why should the world listen to Jews? They seemed to be such a peculiar people. Logic cannot explain why the words of a Nazarene miracle worker whose life ended in shame two thousand years ago should have ever survived. (A Catholic No More)
There are very good books detailing decades of exhaustive research authenticating the Bible and prove it to be in a caste of its own (such as, Evidence That Demands a Verdict, Josh McDowell). Perusing such material will dispel even stubborn doubts about the supernatural quality of the book we consider God’s word to us. And there is greater evidence….
People, even many unsaved, just know the Bible is true. We know because the Spirit of God bears witness to its integrity (just like He bears witness to all that is true). That seems to be the only explanation why the Bible continually outsells all other books, why it is the most loved text, why many risk their lives by hiding it from authorities.
This series, Leave or Stay? is based primarily on the Bible. But that is only meaningful to those holding the Bible close to heart.
C h a l l e n g e : In your heart are words that belong and words that don’t. The Lord is not lord of your heart, you are. All words occupy by your acceptance. Time to do inventory? Time to sort? Time to do serious cleansing?
P r a y e r : Help us clean house, Lord! Pour Your Spirit upon our lives in greater measure. And anoint this message according to its truth and relevance. In Jesus’ name. (And hopefully the reader says, “Amen!”)