8/23/15

From Jim McGuiggan... Was God once a legalist? (2)


Was God once a legalist? (2)

The notion that God ever offered life with him to anyone on the basis of their moral worth or the quantity or quality of their obedience is manifestly untrue. Life with God begins and ends with grace. And God never said anything to suggest the contrary! Adam and Eve didn't earn their life with God by obedience or moral worth. God gifted them with life in relationship with himself and asked them to live out the character of that life and relationship. Not even Jesus earned his life with God. His whole earthly life was lived in holy, sinless response to God's prior gracious gift.
That being the case, when we come to God's call and promise in Leviticus 18:5 we're not to understand the text as legalism spelled out. He was offering life. He wasn't offering life by virtue of "doing" or what is called "law keeping".
"You shall therefore keep my statutes and my ordinances, by doing which a man shall live: I am the Lord." (Leviticus 18:5)
This verse is part of the whole narrative and experience of Israel with Yahweh. The Lord made it clear to them that he entered into a covenant with them because he loved them and their fathers and was keeping his promise to their fathers (Deuteronomy 7:8; 8:18; 9:4-6). He made it clear he covenanted himself to them not because they were morally upright or worthy.
"Do not say in your heart when the Lord your God has driven them out before you, 'Because of my righteousness the Lord has brought me in to possess this land,'It is not for your righteousness or for the uprightness of your hearts that you are going to possess their land, butin order to confirm the oath which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Know, then, it is not because of your righteousness...for you are a stubborn people." (Deuteronomy 9:4-6)
When we set Leviticus 18:5 alongside a passage like this it becomes very clear that Leviticus 18 is not advocating life with God on the basis of moral worthiness or the quantity or quality of obedience. Deuteronomy 9 insists it is all God's grace so it makes no sense to understand Leviticus as life on the basis of "law-keeping".
And Leviticus 18:5 only says in different words what Deuteronomy (and many others) say repeatedly. Here are two examples from scores. Deuteronomy 4:1 says, "And now, O Israel, listen to the statutes and the judgments which I am teaching you to perform, in order that you may live"
Deuteronomy 10:12-13 says this, "And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require from you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and love Him, and to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the Lord's commandments and His statutes which I am commanding you to today for your good."
It is poor biblical interpretation to wrench a text from its grace foundation and call it a text that embodies legalism.
We hear people doing this with New Testament texts and rise immediately to the defence of the New Testament's justification by grace through faith. But one can as easily isolate calls to obedience in the New Testament from their grace setting. In 1 Corinthians 7:19 Paul says, "Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but what matters is the keeping of the commandments of God." And in Romans 2:6-7, "[God] who will render to every man according to his deeds: to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life"
The Romans 2 text is especially pointed. By perseverance in doing good some seek for glory and honour and immortality. How is it they seek for these things? "By perseverance in doing good." And won't God damn them for seeking glory, honour and immortality by persevering in doing good? No, we're told he rewards every person according to his or her deeds. Instead of branding that as legalism and an attempt to gain life by good works God rewards them according to their deeds.
How will God render to every person?
According to his deeds!
What will he render to some persons?
Eternal life!
To whom will God give (render) eternal life?
To the person who seeks glory, honour and immortality!
How does that person seek glory, honour and immortality?
By patient perseverance in doing good.
If that isn't legalism why must we construe Leviticus 18:5 to be legalism?
Romans 2:6-7 is part of a grace-saturated book. Leviticus 18:5 is part of a grace-saturated Pentateuch.
Whatever else we need to do, we need to revise our view of what Paul says about the Old Testament covenantal torah and we need stop severing glad-hearted obedience from the sheer grace of God.
To protect the honour of God and give glory to him for his grace we completely sever the obedience of faith from the relationship to God without which no one is reconciled or saved. Life, reconciliation or salvation is certainly "gift" but it doesn't exist except as an aspect of a relationship with God.
When we continue to give a specialist meaning to the keeping of God's commands, it generates a reaction in those who over-stress human obedience precisely because it places the human response of faith outside the realm of grace. This inadvertently encourages some people to believe that salvation is indeed by grace+obedience of faith. It "justifies" those who have a tendency to stress what is often called "man's part" of salvation because they see the obedience of faith as completely distinct from grace.
We dichotomise so severely between grace and the obedience of faith that those who over-stress human response believe us! Knowing that salvation is by grace and also knowing that obedience must be forthcoming if life with God is to be enjoyed they conclude that salvation is by grace and works (obedience).
Still, evangelicals insist that Paul did indeed see Leviticus 18:5 as fitly representing salvation by good deeds as opposed to salvation by grace through faith.
But does Paul so interpret Leviticus 18:5?

Freedom Without Religion? by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


https://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=7&article=3824

Freedom Without Religion?

by  Dave Miller, Ph.D.

Even in the midst of ominous economic woes, the level of prosperity enjoyed by Americans is unparalleled and unsurpassed in the history of the world. So also is the freedom that Americans enjoy—unsurpassed in the annals of human existence. To what do we owe these tremendous blessings? Are these circumstances coincidental, or merely the result of happenchance? A sizable segment of the American population has come to believe that the religious complexion of the nation has little or nothing to do with America’s freedom and prosperity. But what was the viewpoint of those who orchestrated the American Republic? As they arranged the inner workings of their grand political experiment, and established the framework from which the nation was to function, did they have anything to say about the role of religion as it relates to freedom and prosperity? Indeed, they did.
Declaration signer and physician, Dr. Benjamin Rush, explained the mode of education to be adopted “so as to secure to the state all the advantages to be derived from the proper instruction of youth”:
“[T]he only foundation for a useful education in a republic is to be laid in Religion. Without this there can be no virtue, and without virtue there can be no liberty, and liberty is the object and life of all republican governments” (1804, p. 8). The “religion” to which Dr. Rush alluded was the Christian religion. Observe: without Christian virtue/morality, there can be no liberty.
On October 20, 1779, the Continental Congress—an entity that represents a host of the Founders of America—issued a proclamation to the entire nation that contains the quintessential answer to the question: “On what does American freedom depend?” Please read it closely:
Whereas it becomes us humbly to approach the throne of Almighty God, with gratitude and praise for the wonders which his goodness has wrought in conducting our forefathers to this western world; for his protection to them and to their posterity amid difficulties and dangers; for raising us, their children, from deep distress to be numbered among the nations of the earth; ...and above all, that he hath diffused the glorious light of the gospel, whereby, through the merits of our gracious Redeemer, we may become the heirs of his eternal glory: therefore, Resolved, That it be recommended to the several states, to appoint Thursday, the 9th of December next, to be a day of public and solemn thanksgiving to Almighty God for his mercies, and of prayer for the continuance of his favor and protection to these United States; ...that he would grant to his church the plentiful effusions of divine grace, and pour out his holy spirit on all ministers of the gospel; that he would bless and prosper the means of education, and spread the light of Christian knowledge through the remotest corners of the earth; ...that he would in mercy look down upon us, pardon our sins and receive us into his favor, and finally, that he would establish the independence of these United States upon the basis of religion and virtue, and support and protect them in the enjoyment of peace, liberty and safety as long as the sun and moon shall endure, until time shall be no more. Done in Congress, the 20th day of October, one thousand seven hundred and seventy-nine, and in the 4th year of the independence of the United States of America.
Samuel Huntington, President.
Attest, Charles Thomson, Secretary (Journals of..., 1904-1937, 15:1191-1193, emp. added).
There you have it—if you can accept it. The Founders of America—the very ones who initiated the incredible freedom that characterizes our country and for which she is renowned—maintained that that freedom depends on citizen commitment to the Christian religion. So does spiritual freedom. As Jesus Himself explained: “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free…. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed” (John 8:31-32,36).

REFERENCES

Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789 (1904-1937), ed. Worthington C. Ford, et al. (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office), Library of Congress, http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/amlaw/lwjc.html.
Rush, Benjamin (1804), Essays, Literary, Moral, and Philosophical (Philadelphia, PA: Thomas and William Bradford), http://books.google.com/books?id=xtUKAAAAIAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=benjamin+rush&cd=2#v=onepage&q&f=false.

Confessed Conjectures and Contradictions of Paleoartists by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


https://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=9&article=2747

 Confessed Conjectures and Contradictions of Paleoartists

by  Eric Lyons, M.Min.

How do we know what Neandertals really looked like? Is H. floresiensis (i.e., the Hobbit) proof of evolution, or was “the Hobbit” just a small human? Does “Lucy” (Australopithecus afarensis) look more like an ape or a person? What about the dozens of illustrations appearing on magazine covers around the world in any given year, which supposedly illustrate the truth of human evolution? What are the real facts behind the illustrations and models of our alleged ape-like ancestors?
In a recent Science article titled “Bringing Hominins Back to Life,” evolutionist Michael Balter collaborated with various scientists and artists to discuss some of the shaky science of today’s paleontologists and paleoartists. Since no one has ever seen an ape-like human or a human-like ape (they do not exist and never did—Genesis 1; Exodus 20:11), there are no photographs of hairy, bi-pedal, knuckle-dragging, club-carrying “half-and-halfs.” All of the life-like illustrations and reconstructions around the world are based upon interpretations of various fossils. So much of the time, however, “[reconstructions] require lots of decisions that science can’t answer.... The reconstructions allow us to ask the question but not to answer them” (Balter, 2009, 325[5937]:137). According to anthropologist Zeresenay Alemseged, “[A]rtists must track researcher’s latest anatomical interpretations.... But the end product should be seen as an artistic creation” (as quoted in Balter, p. 137, emp. added)—not a scientific one.
Sadly, books, magazines, and museums all over the world are full of faulty artistic creations based on misinterpretations of human and animal fossils. Balter briefly mentioned two examples of these mistakes, albeit he passed them off more as differences than mistakes. First, he noted how, in the early 1900s, French paleontologist Marcellin Boule “concluded that the Neandertal did not walk fully erect and played no part in human ancestry” (Balter, p. 137). What’s more, the early 20th-century artist that Boule enlisted “created a brutish stooped, hairy creature, more ape than human” (p. 137). However, “[r]esearchers now think that Neandertals...were closely related to Homo sapiens and did not look apelike” (p. 137). Thus, rather than focus on animalistic likenesses, “[t]oday’s Neandertal reconstructions tend to emphasize their humanity” (p. 137).
A second example of contradictory interpretations and reconstructions by paleontologists and paleoartists is found on page 138 of Balter’s article. At the bottom left-hand corner are two very different recreations of the head of Homo floresiensis. On the left is a pale, wrinkled, round-faced, round-eyed, small-nosed “Hobbit” with scraggly facial hair and thinning head-hair. On the right is a dark-skinned, tight, chiseled-faced, wide-eyed, big-nosed “Hobbit” with a head full of hair, but with no facial hair. Amazingly, paleoartists made the reconstructions from the same skull...yet they look nothing alike.
Near the end of the article, Balter quoted anthropologist Adrienne Zihlman, who admitted that “[m]ost of what we do is part art and part science” (p. 139, emp. added). Similarly, he acknowledged that “much of the work that human evolution researchers do today is based on conjecture as well as hard science” (p. 139, emp. added). In truth, the “conjecture” and “art” part of evolutionary scientists’ work is the part about evolution, while the “hard science” is that which we can know experimentally or from the laws of nature.
What we can know from “hard science” is that no one has ever observed apes or ape-like creatures evolve into humans. What’s more, such evolution defies a well-known law of science known as the Law of Biogenesis (see Thompson, 1989). “Advanced” mammals never evolved into humans, anymore than fish developed legs and lungs and evolved into amphibians and reptiles over many millions of years. Such conjectures may make for appealing art exhibits, but they will never tell the true story of human origins (Genesis 1-2; Psalm 139:13-16; see Harrub and Thompson, 2003).

REFERENCES

Balter, Michael (2009), “Bringing Hominins Back to Life,” Science, 325[5937]:136-139, July 10.
Harrub, Brad and Bert Thompson (2003), The Truth About Human Origins (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).
Thompson, Bert (1989), “The Bible and the Laws of Science: The Law of Biogenesis,” [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2004.

God's Fierce Anger by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


https://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=1186

God's Fierce Anger

by  Dave Miller, Ph.D.

A great disservice has been committed against the present generation of Americans. An inaccurate picture of the character and nature of God has been created. But only God’s Word can provide us with a balanced, healthy comprehension of God’s personal attributes. Only the Bible can bestow upon us the appropriate interplay between the love and mercy of God, as well as the wrath and anger of God. Many people today have failed to assess properly the reality of God’s wrath. They have substituted emotion and human feelings for truth and the clear statements of God.
A general attitude of permissiveness, laxity, and undiscriminating tolerance has blanketed American society. Christians comfortably relax in the presence of impenitent sin and open defiance of the laws of God—using the refrain that, after all, “nobody’s perfect.” Christians demonstrate a willingness to toy with unscriptural innovation—after all, “God wants us to be happy and to express ourselves.” Church members entertain fellowship with denominationalism and false religion—after all, “it’s sincerity that counts,” not whether you conform to the objective, absolute will of God. Churches lose their sense of alarm and urgency in providing wayward church members and the unevangelized with the divine antidote to sin and their lost condition.
Out of this context, voices have arisen that focus almost exclusively upon the love of God. Emphasis is repeatedly placed upon God’s compassion, mercy, and grace—to the neglect of other attributes of God. While one never can emphasize God’s love enough, one can be guilty of misrepresenting the true nature of that love. One can so present the love of God that the equally biblical doctrine of God’s wrath makes no sense, and eventually fades into irrelevance.

THE LOVE OF GOD

Many Bible passages detail the amazing love of God. Consider the following from the New Testament:
“Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things” (Matthew 6:30,32).
“If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” (Matthew 7:11).
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:16).
“For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:6-8).
“He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” I John 3:16 says: “By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren” (Romans 8:32).
“In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:9-10).
“[T]he kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared” (Titus 3:4).
Even in the Old Testament, God’s amazing love is expressed repeatedly:
“And the Lord passed before him and proclaimed, ‘The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin’ ” (Exodus 34:6-7).
“As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:12).
“ ‘Come now, and let us reason together,’ says the Lord, ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool’ ” (Isaiah 1:18).
“I had great bitterness; but You have lovingly delivered my soul from the pit of corruption, for You have cast all my sins behind Your back” (Isaiah 38:17).
“I have blotted out, like a thick cloud, your transgressions, and like a cloud, your sins. Return to Me; for I have redeemed you” (Isaiah 44:22).
“He will again have compassion on us, and will subdue our iniquities. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea” (Micah 7:19).
Of course, the Bible contains many more similar allusions. These few serve to summarize the basic nature of the incredible love of God. God loves every single human being. He wants every single person to obey Him so that He can usher every person into eternity in His presence. “God…is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). God “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4).

THE WRATH OF GOD

But, having noted the reality of the wonderful love of God for all people, the reader is urged to integrate and harmonize this attribute of God with what the Scriptures teach about God’s wrath. Numerous passages in both the Old and New Testaments depict God as a God Who executes His wrath against people. Notice the following from the Old Testament:
“For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me” (Exodus 20:5).
“[B]y no means clearing the guilty” (Exodus 34:7).
“[Lest the anger of the Lord your God be aroused against you and destroy you from the face of the earth” (Deuteronomy 6:15).
“For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality nor takes a bribe” (Deuteronomy 10:17).
“Then the anger of the Lord was aroused against this land, to bring on it every curse that is written in this book. And the Lord uprooted them from their land in anger, in wrath, and in great indignation, and cast them into another land, as it is this day” (Deuteronomy 29:27-28).
“Then My anger shall be aroused against them in that day, and I will forsake them, and I will hide My face from them, and they shall be devoured. And many evils and troubles shall befall them, so that they will say in that day, ‘Have not these evils come upon us because our God is not among us?’ ” (Deuteronomy 31:17).
Moving to the New Testament, notice the following verses:
“And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him!” (Luke 12:4-5).
“[S]ince it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power” (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9).
God struck dead two Christians, a husband and wife, in the church at Jerusalem (Acts 5:1-11). The writer of Hebrews provided this sober warning:
For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. Anyone who rejected Moses’ law died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God under foot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. And again, “The Lord will judge His people.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Hebrews 10:26-31).
He then added: “For our God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:29). Given today’s religious climate, many people do not believe that such verses exist in the Bible. Or they ignore them or insist that they do not apply today. What a tragic mistake! The Bible is replete with such references to the wrath and justice of God, and it is imperative that we accept them and respond accordingly.
Consider the example of the great Judean king, Hezekiah. He endeavored to bring the nation back into harmony with God’s written revelation. Why? “...that His fierce wrath may turn away from us.” That expression is used three times in the context (2 Chronicles 29:10; 30:8; 32:26). King Josiah found himself in a similar circumstance. When he realized the extent to which the nation had departed from God’s will, he tore his robes and declared: “[G]reat is the wrath of the Lord that is poured out upon us, because our fathers have not kept the word of the Lord, to do after all that is written in this book” (2 Chronicles 34:21).
People in our day go merrily on their way, out of harmony with God’s written Word, consoling themselves with a false view of God’s love. They are like Jeremiah’s contemporaries, who tried to heal the hurt of the people “slightly.” “Slightly” meant they did not consider their neglect of God’s will to be all that serious. They said, “Peace, Peace” when there was no peace as long as they were out of harmony with the Scriptures (Jeremiah 6:14).
The time has come to approach the situation the way the prophets of God did. Read the Old Testament books written by the prophets—like Amos, Joel, and Habakkuk. As they did, we need to warn people today about the reality of God’s wrath and its inevitable occurrence. One day, all people will know what God’s wrath is. Listen again to the words of Paul in 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9: “[T]he Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who know not God, and who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ; who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord.”
It is absolutely imperative that we live our lives everyday with a correct understanding of both the love of God and the wrath of God. The same God Who speaks of the availability of an eternal home of bliss called heaven is the same God Who will provide an eternal place of conscious pain called hell. Consider closely Paul’s summary given to Christians in Rome, warning them of the danger of losing their salvation: “Therefore, consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off ” (Romans 11:22).
Did you know that God cannot save everybody? “But I thought God can do anything?” Not true! The Bible certainly represents God as omnipotent—all-powerful (Romans 1:20; Ephesians 1:19). But we misunderstand the power of God if we think He somehow is going to gloss over people’s rejection of His words and save everyone. God simply cannot do that and still be God! God is powerless to save people who do not want to be saved. He cannot save people who refuse to take advantage of the antidote to sin that He has provided. He is incapable of saving those who reject the one and only means by which they can be forgiven of sin.
God made provision for human sin by sending His Son to die in place of us. Only the sacrifice of Christ had the atoning power to pay for our sin. But the very nature of the Universe is such that God gave us free moral agency. He cannot interfere with our own wills and coerce us to be saved. We must make the choice. We are responsible for all of our choices. If we wish to take advantage of the free gift of salvation available in Christ, we must freely choose to believe, to repent of our sins, to confess Jesus to be divine, and to be immersed in water for the forgiveness of our sins. Passage after passage in the New Testament indicates that this is the divine plan of salvation for human beings. Hear the Gospel message of salvation and choose to believe (Romans 10:17). Change your mind about your past sinful conduct (Acts 17:30). Confess with your mouth that Jesus is the Son of God (Romans 10:9-10). Then allow someone to baptize you, that is, immerse you in water with the understanding that in that action, the blood of Jesus will wash away your sins by the grace of God (Acts 2:38; Acts 22:16; Titus 3:5; 1 Peter 3:21).
If you deliberately reject these simple instructions on how to become a Christian, then you will have no one else to blame in eternity when you experience the wrath and punishment of God. When one becomes a Christian, then a new life commences. Now that person will pour over the Scriptures in order to learn how to live the Christian life. He or she will find out how God wants to be worshipped. “You mean, I can’t just worship God spontaneously out of my own inclinations?” Jesus said, “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:24).
A person also will determine which church Christ endorses, and refrain from associating with churches spawned by mere men. “You mean one church is not as good as another?” That’s correct. Jesus did not build a multiplicity of churches. He built only one (Ephesians 4:4; 1 Corinthians 12:20). He declared: “I will build My church” (Matthew 16:18).
A fitting summary regarding the nature of God and how all people must make preparation now for eternity is found in 2 Corinthians 5:10-11: “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men.”

From Mark Copeland... "GIVE ME THE BIBLE" Why I Believe The Bible



                          "GIVE ME THE BIBLE"

                        Why I Believe The Bible

INTRODUCTION

1. In our previous study, we offered reasons to read the Bible...
   a. Its unique nature:  Continuity - Distribution - Survival -
      Teaching - Influence
   b. Sufficient reasons for anyone searching for truth to read the Bible

2. But what reasons are there to believe the Bible...?
   a. Our study will offer several reasons to take it seriously
   b. The examples will be few, but illustrative
   c. Links are provided to assist in further study

[I can think of at least five reasons to believe the Bible, i.e.,
evidences of inspiration, starting with its...]

I. SCIENTIFIC FOREKNOWLEDGE

   A. EXPLAINED...
      1. In the Bible there are statements related to astronomy,
         cosmology, medicine, meteorology, oceanography, etc.
      2. Mentioned thousands of years prior to scientific discovery of
         these truths
      3. Discovered in modern times with the aid of scientific instruments
      4. The writers of the Bible could have known these facts only
         through divine inspiration
      5. Such evidence of inspiration confirms the Bible's claim to be
         from God the Creator

   B. EXAMPLES...
      1. Stars too great in number to count - Gen 15:5; Jer 33:22
      2. The roundness of the earth - Isa 40:22
      3. The suspension of the earth in space - Job 26:7
      4. The currents in the seas - Ps 8:8
      5. The springs in the seas - Job 38:16
      6. All nations of one blood - Ac 17:26
      -- More examples can be found by searching here

[Perhaps even stronger evidence for the divine inspiration of the Bible
are the many...]

II. FULFILLED PROPHECIES

   A. EXPLAINED...
      1. Prophecies in the OT foretold events in detail beyond the scope
         of human speculation
      2. How did the writers do it?  They attributed it to God!
      3. God declared such evidence was proof of His existence and
         superiority over men and all heathen gods - Isa 41:21-24;
         42:8-9; 46:8-11

   B. EXAMPLES...
      1. Prophecies concerning nations
         a. The fall of Babylon, written two hundred years before it
            occurred - Isa 13:17-22
         b. The fall of Egypt, that it would be destroyed more by civil
            war - Isa 19:1-4
         c. The fall of Nineveh, with its utter desolation - Zep 2:13-15
         d. The fall of Tyre, with its becoming a place for the
            spreading of nests - Eze 26:1-5
         e. The destruction of Jerusalem, fulfilled in 70 A.D. - Mt 24,
            Mk 13, Lk 21
      2. Prophecies concerning Christ
         a. Alluded to by Jesus - cf. Lk 24:44-45
         b. It has been stated there are 332 prophecies fulfilled in
            Christ - Henry Liddon
      -- More examples can be found by searching here

[The Bible's trustworthiness is often confirmed in ways that can be
checked, especially in the area of...]

III. ARCHAELOGICAL CONFIRMATION

   A. EXPLAINED...
      1. The Bible purports to be a book of history, describing real
         people, nations, events
      2. Discoveries by archaeologists confirm the historical accuracy
         of the Bible

   B. EXAMPLES...
      1. Cities in Abraham's time (Ur, Haran)
      2. Ancient empires once doubted (Hittites)
      3. Cities in ancient Israel (Jericho, Shechem, Dan, etc.)
      4. The house of David and Solomon's temple
      5. The census at the time of Jesus' birth
      6. Lysanias, tetrarch of Abilene
      7. The Pavement (Gabbatha) in the court of the tower of Antonia
      8. The politarchs in Thessalonica
      -- More examples can be found by searching here

[The Bible's trustworthiness is often questioned because we do not have
the original manuscripts.  But we have good reasons to believe that we
have reliable copies, thanks to the science of...]

IV. MANUSCRIPT ATTESTATION

   A. EXPLAINED...
      1. A bibliographical test is applied to all ancient documents,such as:
         a. Julius Caesar's Gallic War       c. Annals of Tacitus
         b. Histories of Tacitus             d. The New Testament
      2. The purpose - to establish the likelihood that copies are:
         a. Faithful representatives of the original manuscripts
         b. Free from changes, errors, or collusion by copyists
      3. Questions raised in the bibliographical test include:
         a. How many copies of the document in question are available?
         b. Where were the copies found?
         c. What time has passed between the original and earliest
            copies?
         d. What variances exist between the copies?

   B. EXAMPLES...
      1. How many copies of the NT manuscripts are available?
         a. Over 4,000 Greek manuscripts; 13,000 copies of portions
         b. Compare with other ancient writings:  Caesar's Gallic Wars
            (10), Annals of Tacitus (2), Livy (20), Plato (7), Sophocles
            (100)
      2. Where the copies of NT manuscripts found?
         a. In various places:  Egypt, Palestine, Syria, Turkey, Greece,Italy
         b. Such diverse locations make collusion very difficult
      3. What time has passed between the original and earliest copies
         of the NT?
         a. Several papyri fragments of the NT have been dated to within
            50-100 years
         b. Complete NT Greek manuscripts were copied within 300-400 years
         c. Compare the time span with other classical histories:
            1) Histories of Thucydides - 1300 years
            2) Histories of Herodotus - 1350 years
            3) Caesar's Gallic War - 950 years
            4) Roman History of Livy - 350 years (and it is a fragment)
            5) Histories of Tacitus - 750 years
            6) Annals of Tacitus - 950 years (and there are just two
               manuscripts)
      4. What variances exist between the copies of the NT?
         a. Only 1/2 of one percent is in question (compared to 5
            percent for the Iliad)
         b. Even so:  "No fundamental doctrine of the Christian faith
            rests on a disputed reading...It cannot be too strongly
            asserted that in substance the text of the Bible is certain:
            especially is this the case with the New Testament." - Sir
            Frederick Kenyon, authority in the field of New Testament
            textual criticism
      5. The NT has the strongest manuscript attestation of any ancient
         document!
         a. "The evidence for our New Testament writings is ever so much
            greater than the evidence for many writings of classical
            authors, the authenticity of which no one dreams of
            questioning.  And if the New Testament were a collection of
            secular writings, their authenticity would generally be as
            beyond all doubt." - F. F. Bruce
         b. "After trying to shatter the historicity and validity of the
            Scripture, I came to the conclusion that they are
            historically trustworthy. If one discards the Bible as being
            unreliable, then he must discard almost all literature of
            antiquity." - Josh McDowell
         c. "One problem I constantly face is the desire on the part of
            many to apply one standard or test to secular literature and
            other to the Bible.  One needs to apply the same test,
            whether the literature under investigation is secular or
            religious." - ibid.
         d. "Having done this, I believe one can hold the Scriptures in
            his hand and say, 'The Bible is trustworthy, and h
            istorically reliable.'" - ibid.
      -- More on this can be found by searching here

[Finally, there is a more subjective reason to believe the Bible, based on...]

V. PERSONAL EXPERIENCE

   A. EXPLAINED...
      1. Those who read, believe, and obey the Bible will receive
         evidence of its inspiration
      2. As Jesus stated:  "If anyone wills to do His will, he shall
         know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or
         whether I speak on My own authority." - Jn 7:17
      3. In other words, "He shall have evidence, in the very attempt to
         do the will of God, of the truth of the doctrine." - Albert Barnes
      4. "He who in his heart says, 'Thy will be done, give me light and
         I will walk in it,' will find that Christ is just the teacher
         demanded by his soul, and that the gospel meets his soul's
         want. Jesus will so meet the wants of his soul that he will be
         satisfied and will know the doctrine, that it comes from him
         who made the soul." - B. W. Johnson
      3. As stated in a familiar proverb:  "The proof of the pudding is
         in the eating"

   B. EXAMPLES...
      1. The Bible has transformed the lives of millions of people
         a. It has motivated them to become missionaries, even martyrs
         b. It has spurred them to care for the sick, the poor, the
            hungry, even enemies
         c. It has made them better spouses, parents, friends,
            neighbors, workers
      2. For one willing to obey the Bible from the heart, there is:
         a. Peace to calm the troubled heart - Jn 14:27; 16:33; Php 4:7
         b. Joy to lift our spirits - Jn 15:11; 1Pe 1:8
         c. Love which casts out fear - 1Jn 4:18; Jn 15:9; Ep 3:19
         d. Hope for facing the future - Jn 11:25; Re 14:13
      3. As a believer more than 50 years, I have found the Bible to be:
         a. A source of guidance, wisdom, and peace with God and man
         b. Worthy of my lifelong trust and obedience

CONCLUSION

1. The reasons I believe the Bible are both objective and subjective...
   a. The objective evidence includes its scientific foreknowledge,
      fulfilled prophecies, archaeological confirmation, and manuscript attestation
   b. The subjective evidence is seen in its impact on our lives and the
      world in which we live

2. I hope this brief survey of reasons to believe the Bible will encourage you...
   a. To read the Bible
   b. To believe the Bible

Again, follow the links above to search for more information on
evidences related to this subject.  In our next study, I wish to share
reasons as to "Why I Love The Bible"...

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Gary... The long version of a timeless classic


How different life in The United States of America is today as compared to the fifties when I was in elementary school. America is becoming a dangerous place and it is because some of our children are "raised" without godly instruction. Whose fault is it? Parents, teachers, administrators, legislators, lawyers and courts are all to blame. The thing is... if you raise a child without GOD, he or she becomes a godless adult!!! And if this happens too many times... a godless nation. Remember this verse from the book of Proverbs???

Proverbs, Chapter 22 (WEB)
 6 Train up a child in the way he should go,
and when he is old he will not depart from it.

Humm, I think I would like to modify the above poem by adding this somewhere...

Mary had a little lamb
whose life was white as snow,

And HE taught her how to live her life
because he loved her so,

She listened to her little lamb, 
and followed him all her days,

And now that she is old and gray
she wouldn't have lived any other way

Oh, that we had a nation full of people like her!!! We can, if we put the Bible and Jesus back in our schools (and in our homes as well)!!!