"THE FIRST EPISTLE TO THE THESSALONIANS"Preparing For Christ's Coming (5:1-11)INTRODUCTION1. In our previous study we saw where Paul discussed "The Comfort OfChrist's Coming"...a. How we ought to be comforted by the facts and events of His comingb. Especially as it relates to loved ones who have died in the Lord- cf. 1Th 4:13-182. Of course, "The Comfort Of Christ's coming" presumes that we areprepared for it...a. Whether we are among those who have died prior to that great eventb. Or we are among those who will be alive when He comes 3. Are we prepared?b. Will we be ready should we die before He comes?a. Will He find us ready when He comes? [As we come to the final chapter in Paul's first epistle to theThessalonians, we find him telling how Christians can be "Preparing ForChrist's Coming" (1Th 5:1-11). Proper preparation for the coming ofJesus takes into account that...]I. HE SHALL COME AS A THIEF IN THE NIGHT (1-4)A. FOR SOME, BUT NOT FOR OTHERS...1. The Lord's coming will be a surprise for many, as the "thief in2. But for those who heed the warnings of Scripture, the "Day"a. Because they will be ready for His coming, though we don'tknow when it will beshall consider momentarilyb. Because they will have taken to heart the admonitions weB. FOR SOME, AN INESCAPABLE DESTRUCTION...1. He will come when people are saying "Peace and safety!" - 1Th 5:3a. Not in troublesome times, but in peaceful timesb. Yet many Christians seem to think He is coming wheneverthere is tribulation2. When He comes, it will be with "sudden destruction" - 1Th 5:3a. Just as labor pains come upon a pregnant womanb. There will be no time nor way to escape this destruction,described in more detail in the second epistle to theThessalonians - cf. 2Th 1:7-103. This "Day" will be one of glory for those who are ready - cf.a. For those who now "sleep in Jesus" - cf. 1Th 4:13-16b. For those prepared for His coming when He does descend - cf.[What will this "Day" mean for us, when the Lord comes "as a thief inthe night"? A day of destruction, or a day of delight? It depends uponwhether we are prepared for His coming, and proper preparation means...]II. WE SHOULD LIVE AS SONS OF THE DAY (5-11)A. WATCHFUL AND SOBER...1. We are "children of light" and "children of the day" - 1Th 5:5a. Because we follow Jesus, the "light of the world" - Jn 8:12;b. Because we are now in Jesus, and walk in the light - Ep 5:8;c. Because we cast off works of darkness, and seek to walkproperly - Ro 13:11-142. We are to be watchful for His coming - 1Th 5:6b. Watchfulness includes prayer - cf. 1Pe 4:7c. Watchfulness includes repentance, and strengthening what wehave - cf. Re 3:2-3-- On the other hand, "sleep" in our text refers to spirituallaxity - 1Th 5:6-73. We are to be sober - 1Th 5:6-8aa. The word "sober" means to be temperate or abstinent,especially in regards to wineb. It usually used in a more general sense to be sober-minded,watchful, circumspect - Barnes c. Note how Jesus relates this to watching for His coming in-- We should certainly take the promise of Jesus' comingseriously, not frivolouslyB. ARMED AND WAITING...1. In all soberness (seriousness), putting on "the armor of God"- 1Th 5:8a. Such as the breastplate of faith and love1) Faith and love protect our hearts from much evil2) Faith comes from the word of God, and love comes from Himb. Such as the hope of salvation as a helmet1) Our hope of salvation protects our mind from much fearand doubt2) Hope also comes from the word of God - cf. Ro 15:4-- Compare this description of "armor" with one more detailed2. Encouraged to wait because God has appointed us to salvationa. He has not appointed us to wrath1) A day of wrath is coming - cf. Ro 2:4-112) Yet Jesus has come to deliver us from that wrath - 1Th 1:10b. He has appointed us to salvation1) Through the blood of His Son - Ro 5:8-102) So that whether we "wake or sleep" (live or die), we liveC. COMFORTED AND EDIFIED...1. We are to comfort one another - 1Th 5:11a. With the comfort we each receive from God - cf. 2Co 1:3-4b. With the comfort of our hope we have in Christ - cf. 1Th 4:182. We are to edify (build up) one another - 1Th 5:11b. The primary work of the church is edification - Ep 4:11-12,CONCLUSION1. Will we be prepared when Christ comes? It all depends...a. Are we watchful? Are we serious about His coming?1) With faith and love as a breastplate protecting our hearts?b. Are we putting on the armor of God?c. Are we actively engaged in comforting and edifying our brethren?2) With the hope of salvation as a helmet protecting our minds?2. Note what is absolutely necessary for us to be doing these things...-- If so, then we are truly "sons of light and sons of the day"!a. The Word of God1) Which builds faith and hope2) Which provides comfortb. The Church of God1) Where love is to be expressed among members2) Where comfort and edification is to be experienced by members"Preparing For Christ's Coming" cannot happen without diligentapplication of God's Word and active participation in the Lord's church.continuing steadfastly in fellowship with a local church (cf. Ac 2:42)?
David’s Census and the Plague
|by||Kyle Butt, M.Div.|
The biblical account of David’s census in 2 Samuel 24 and 1 Chronicles 21 is (for some) among the most enigmatic portions of the Bible. One of the first questions that arises when reading the text is who “moved” David to number Israel. Second Samuel 24:1 says that the Lord did, while 1 Chronicles 21:1 says Satan did. We have dealt with this idea in a previous article and shown that there is no contradiction between these verses (Lyons, 2003).
Another alleged problem that the skeptic is quick to point out is the “injustice” of God’s punishment for David’s sin. Because of David’s census, the Bible says: “So the Lord sent a plague upon Israel from the morning till the appointed time. From Dan to Beersheba seventy thousand men of the people died” (2 Samuel 24:15). The skeptic accuses God of punishing the wrong people. If David sinned, why did the plague kill the people? In his Skeptic’s Annotated Bible, Steve Wells wrote: “Even David can see the injustice of God’s punishment” (2001). Wells further commented that those killed during the plague were “innocent,” implying that they had done nothing wrong in the affair.
Upon closer inspection of the biblical text, however, we see that Wells’ accusation of injustice on God’s part is inaccurate. Second Samuel 24:1 says that “the anger of the Lord was aroused against Israel” (emp. added). Apparently, the nation of Israel had so sinned that they had angered God. Yet, even though God was angry, the Israelites could have manifested their obedience to God’s commands during the census. God gave Moses instructions hundreds of years earlier concerning any census taken among the Israelites. He said: “When you take the census of the children of Israel for their number, then every man shall give a ransom for himself to the Lord, when you number them, that there be no plague among them when you number them. This is what everyone among those who are numbered shall give: half a shekel according to the shekel of the sanctuary...” (Exodus 30:12-13, emp. added).
In the accounts of David’s census, there is no indication that the people gave the ransom of half a shekel in order to avoid being plagued. The plaguing of the Israelites is exactly what one would have expected, knowing what God said in Exodus 30:12-13. The Israelites should have known these verses and they should have complied with them. The feeling that one gets from reading the accounts of David’s census is that the command to pay half a shekel ransom had been completely forgotten and neglected during the intervening years between Moses and David. The people died for their disobedience to God’s command. A similar event occurred when, under David’s leadership, the Israelites did not carry the Ark of the Covenant correctly, bringing about the death of Uzzah. Concerning that episode, David himself stated: “[T]he Lord our God broke out against us, because we did not consult Him about the proper order” (1 Chronicles 15:13, emp. added). Neither did the Israelites consult God’s Word about the “proper order” concerning the census.
God, through Moses, gave the Israelites instructions concerning a census. He also warned them that a plague would ensue if they neglected to follow these instructions. Hundreds of years after His warning, the Israelites were counted, with no indication that they offered half a shekel ransom to avoid being plagued. A plague ravaged the people, exactly as God had warned. Simple obedience to God’s instructions could have prevented the plague. It is the sad truth that God’s people are often “destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6). King David once profoundly stated the solution when he said concerning God’s word: “Your word I have hidden in my heart that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:11).
Lyons, Eric (2003), “Who Incited David to Number Israel?” [On-line], URL:http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/604.
Wells, Steve (2001), Skeptic’s Annotated Bible, [On-line], URL:http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com/1cor/index.html.
|by||Eric Lyons, M.Min.|
Kyle Butt, M.Div.
The creation and evolution models stand in stark contradistinction in many ways. One model suggests the Universe is the product of an infinite, eternal, omnipotent Creator; the other credits time and random chance processes for the Universe and everything in it. The creation model declares that an intelligent Designer created a variety of life on Earth; evolution purports that all life evolved from a common ancestor. The creation model maintains that morality originated with the Creator; atheistic evolution implies that morality is a human invention without a universal standard.
Another major contrast between creation and evolution, which receives relatively little attention from evolutionists, concerns whether some groups of humans are innately superior to others. The biblical creation model indicates that all humans, regardless of shape, size, or color, descended from an original couple created specially by God (Genesis 1-2). Every human life is valuable (Genesis 1:26-27; Genesis 9:6), but no human (save God incarnate—John 1:1-3), nor any group of humans, is more valuable or superior than others (Romans 10:12; cf. Colossians 3:11). Darwinian evolution, on the other hand, is grounded in the idea that all humans evolved from ape-like creatures, and, since some groups of humans supposedly are less ape-like than others, some humans are more highly evolved, and thus, superior and of more value.
Multiplied millions, perhaps even billions, of people around the world are familiar with Charles Darwin’s most famous work, The Origin of Species. This year (2009) marks the book’s 150th anniversary—a fact highly publicized by today’s scientific establishment. It seems, however, that relatively few people are aware of the full title of Darwin’s 1859 work: The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection—or The Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life (emp. added). Favored races? Did Darwin believe that some races, or “species of men,” as he referred to them (1871, p. 395), were favored or more highly evolved than others? Although he steered clear of these ideas in The Origin of Species, his second major work on evolutionary theory, The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex, published in 1871, did address the issue.
Darwin began the first chapter of The Descent of Man with these words: “He who wishes to decide whether man is the modified descendant of some pre-existing form, would probably first enquire whether man varies, however slightly, in bodily structure and in mental faculties; and if so, whether the variations are transmitted to his offspring in accordance with the laws which prevail with the lower animals” (1871, p. 395). Later, in his chapter titled “On the Affinities and Genealogy of Man,” Darwin wrote:
At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilised races of man will almost certainly exterminate, and replace, the savage races throughout the world. At the same time the anthropomorphous apes, as Professor Schaaffhausen has remarked, will no doubt be exterminated. The break between man and his nearest allies will then be wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilised state, as we may hope, even than the Caucasian, and some ape as low as a baboon, instead of as now between the negro or Australian and the gorilla (p. 521).
Clearly, Darwin was convinced that the more “civilised races” (e.g., Caucasian) would one day exterminate the more savage races, which he considered to be less evolved (and thus more ape-like) than Caucasians. Darwin believed that “the negro” and “Australian” are like sub-species, somewhere between Caucasians and apes. [NOTE: In addition to Darwin’s racist comments in The Descent of Man, he also included sexist statements. His evolutionary views led him to believe that “[t]he chief distinction in the intellectual powers of the two sexes is shown by man’s attaining to a higher eminence, in whatever he takes up, than can woman—whether requiring deep thought, reason, or imagination, or merely the use of the senses and hands.... [T]he average of mental power in man must be above that of woman.... [M]an has ultimately become superior to woman” (pp. 873-874).]
One of Darwin’s closest friends and defenders, the prominent 19th-century English biologist Thomas Huxley, was even more direct in his evolutionary-based racist remarks. In his 1865 essay, “Emancipation—Black and White,” Huxley remarked:
It may be quite true that some negroes are better than some white men; but no rational man, cognisant of the facts, believes that the average Negro is the equal, still less the superior, of the white man. And, if this be true, it is simply incredible that, when all his disabilities are removed, and our prognathus relative has a fair field and no favour, as well as no oppressor, he will be able to compete successfully with his bigger-brained and smaller jawed rival, in a contest which is to be carried on by thoughts and not by bites. The highest places in the hierarchy of civilisation will assuredly not be within the reach of our dusky cousins, though it is by no means necessary that they should be restricted to the lowest (emp. added).
According to “Darwin’s Bulldog,” as Huxley was called, the “Negro” is not equal to “the white man.” The alleged smaller-brained, big-jawed negro supposedly cannot compete on the same playing field with the white man. Huxley espoused the false notion that “[t]he highest places in the hierarchy of civilisation will assuredly not be within the reach of our dusky cousins” (1865, emp. added). Little did Huxley know that less then 150 years later an African-American would sit in the highest office of the most wealthy and powerful nation on Earth.
The fact is, Darwinian evolution implies that some groups of humans are closer to our alleged ape-like ancestors in their mental faculties than others. Thus, some groups of humans supposedly are superior to others. The Bible teaches exactly the opposite. There are not different species or races of men; there is just one human race—an intelligent people (see Lyons, 2002)—that God created “in His image” in the beginning (Genesis 1-2; see Lyons and Thompson, 2002), both “male and female” (Genesis 1:27, emp. added). All of humanity descended from Adam and Eve, the first couple (1 Corinthians 15:45; Genesis 3:20), and later Noah, through whom the Earth was repopulated after the Flood (Genesis 6-10). Whether we are red, yellow, black, or white, we share equal value as human beings, God’s image-bearers (Genesis 1:26-28; cf. Romans 10:12). What’s more, all men stand on equal footing before God as sinners (Romans 3:10,23) in need of a Savior (John 8:24; Mark 16:15-16).
Darwin, Charles (1859), The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection or The Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life (New York: The Modern Library, reprint).
Darwin, Charles (1871), The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex (New York: The Modern Library, reprint).
Huxley, Thomas (1865), “Emancipation—Black and White,” [On-line], URL:http://aleph0.clarku.edu/huxley/CE3/B&W.html.
Lyons, Eric (2002), “Ancient Nitwits or Knowledgeable Ancestors?” [On-line], URL:http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/1798.
Cut Violent Passages Out of the Scriptures?
|by||Kyle Butt, M.Div.|
Rarely does the magazine Nature write articles about the Bible. Heidi Ledford’s article titled “Scriptural Violence Can Foster Aggression” is an exception. In the article, Ledford cites studies that suggest that the violent passages in the Bible could lead readers to act more aggressively if the readers believe that God sanctioned the violence exhibited in the passages. Ledford quotes from various theologians, sociologists, and psychologists in an attempt to confirm the idea that “when scriptural violence is used to promote hostility, it is extremely effective” (2007, 446:115).
In the concluding paragraphs of the article, Ledford quotes from Hector Avalos, a theologian from Iowa State University in Ames. Avalos’ solution to the problem is simple—“cut the violent passages out of the scripture” (Ledford, 446:115). Avalos admits that such is a wildly controversial suggestion, but he says it ought not to be. Practically speaking, religious leaders generally avoid reading the passages that contain violence such as genocide anyway. So, according to Avalos, these passages should simply be removed from the text.
Several points need to be made concerning Ledford’s article. First, Nature is infamous for its support of Darwinian evolution. According to evolution, the sole purpose of an organism is to pass on its genes to the next generation. Who cares if it does this in a violent or passive way? Even the most cursory look into the natural verifies the fact that many animals are extremely violent. Furthermore, since humans are nothing more than higher forms of animals, and their purpose is to pass on their genes as well, why would aggression or violence be a negative characteristic? Why not glorify the violence as an adaptive trait that helps the fittest humans survive?
Second, even though some leaders might attempt to use the Bible to support modern-day violent acts of genocide or murder, such would be a heinous misinterpretation of the biblical message. This type of loose and improper handling of the Scripture fails to acknowledge that the crucial message of the Bible which is applicable today is summed up in such passages as Galatians 6:10: “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.” Any person can misinterpret any literary text and misapply their self-imposed message.
Finally, attempts to destroy the Word of God by removing those parts that contradict a person’s chosen worldview have been legion throughout human history. During the life of Jeremiah the prophet, Jehoiakim reigned as king in Judah. Due to Jehoiakim’s sinful activities, the Lord instructed Jeremiah to produce a scroll containing the judgment that would come upon Judah and her wicked king. One of the king’s servants read the scroll and its divine judgments in the presence of Jehoiakim. Upon hearing the message, the evil king took a scribe’s knife, slashed the scroll to pieces, and tossed it into the fire burning in the hearth (Jeremiah 36:11-26). In a literal or figurative sense, humans have consistently attempted to do away with parts of God’s Word that they reject.
Instead of attempting to destroy the parts of God’s Word, we should be trying our best to rightly divide the Word of truth, since God’s Word will judge all people on the Day of Judgment (John 12:48). We should take heed to the inspired principle spoken by John pertaining to the book of Revelation:
For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book (Revelation 22:18-19, emp. added).
Ledford, Heidi (2007), “Scriptural Violence Can Foster Aggression,” Nature,446:114-115, March 8.
Cultural Effects on Religion in America
|by||Kyle Butt, M.Div.|
What effect is culture having on religion in America?
In the midst of heated discussion and hot debate, the Episcopalian Church met in Columbus, Ohio to consider, among other things, whether the organization should ban gays and lesbians from being bishops. In the media attention surrounding the Episcopal General Convention, Katharine Schori, the first female presiding Bishop in the denomination’s history, had much to say about her beliefs regarding homosexuality. She stated: “I am fully committed to the full inclusion of gay and lesbian Christians in this church” (Clark, 2006). Ironically, Asian and African Anglican bishops are so appalled at the stance of their American counterparts that they have cried out: “Don’t you believe the Bible you gave us?”
With such sentiments expressed by the prominent leader of the group, it is no surprise that the denomination did not pass the measure to ban homosexuals from being bishops. They did, however, institute a quasi-reversal of the non-ban and suggested that churches should “‘exercise restraint’ in selecting openly gay bishops” (Clark, 2006). Such a policy would make it more difficult for homosexuals to be bishops, but not impossible.
The troubling thing about such news is the way in which decisions are being made by those who profess to be Christians. The Bible explains that Christ is the head of the church, His body (Ephesians 1:22-23). Scriptures further explain that anything done by His Church should be done in accordance with His revealed will, by His authority (Colossians 3:17,23-24). It has never been the prerogative of any group that supposedly follows Christ to vote on whether an action is a sin or not. Furthermore, if someone is openly committing sin, it certainly is not the prerogative of “the body” to overrule “the head” and appoint such sinful individuals to leadership positions.
Inspired Scripture explains that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God. In the litany of activities that would be considered unrighteous, homosexuality is conspicuously and repeatedly included (1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Romans 1:26-28). Not only should openly homosexual individuals be banned from becoming bishops, they should be publicly marked and withdrawn from (along with adulterers, fornicators, thieves, etc.) until they repent of their sins and stop committing homosexual acts (1 Corinthians 5). Any group that presumes to vote on such issues and thinks that such a vote alters the way Heaven views sin is sadly mistaken. The church that Jesus died to save has no earthly headquarters, finds unity only through obedience to the New Testament, and is to function as an obedient body of Christ. All religious organizations that refuse to recognize the authority of Christ as revealed in the New Testament (Matthew 28:18) will hear these sad words spoken by Christ on the Day of Judgment: “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness” (Matthew 7:23).
Clark, Stephen (2006), “Episcopalians Curb Policy on Gays,” LA Times, [On-line], URL: http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-episcopal22jun22, 1,1257035.story?coll=la-headlines-nation.
The Internal Claims of the Bible
Once we have established the soundness of the actual words of the Bible, we must now turn our attention to the value and worth of these words. Is the Bible unique from all other so-called "revelations from God"? What distinguishes it from books used by other religions and other cultures? Is the Bible just another book, from another religious culture?
We will begin this investigation by focusing on the uniqueness of the signs and miracles associated with the Bible. It is only fair to expect that true messengers from the true God would have some sign or means of showing that they were sent by God. Throughout both the New and Old Testament, prophets from God worked miracles to establish any new or additional message from God. These miracles were undeniable and immediate, unlike many unverifiable "miracles" that are worked today. Second, the prophets foretold events hundreds of years into the future, which have been fulfilled without fail. While the miracles were more compelling to people during the prophets' lifetimes, the fulfilled prophecies are more compelling for us today. We can easily date the writing of the prophecies, and their fulfillment is easily confirmed. Only God and messengers sent by Him would have the power to foresee specific events hundreds of years into the future.
The Bible teaches that faith should be based upon the Word of God (Romans 10:17). We are never expected to have blind faith, emotions, feelings, or intuitions as the basis of our faith. If we resort to such a criterion, then we must recognize that one person's feelings are just as good as anthers. This is true because we have no means to confirm that our feelings are from God. This was the point of miracles, and no one is able to work miracles today, especially of the magnitude of those performed by Christ and His apostles and prophets.
Now, let's turn to the Bible to see if it is different from other �messages from God�. If it is truly God's Word, then we must determine if it allows for future revelations, conflicting gospels, or corruption of its message. We begin with the fundamental, common sense tests of fulfilled prophecies and miracles to determine if the prophets of the Bible were truly sent and inspired by God. Once the Bible's claims are presented, further scriptures are used to answer questions concerning latter revelations.
The test of a Prophet
- Fulfilled prophecy shows prophet is from God (Deuteronomy 18:20-22; Isaiah 41:23)
- Miracles and signs show prophet is from God (Exodus 4:1-9)
Security of O.T. - Its prophets were proven and their message was preserved
- Fulfilled prophecy (II Peter 1:19-21)
- Named Persian nation and ruler, Cyrus, that overtook Babylon before Babylon was even a world power (Isaiah 44:28; 45:1-3)
- Destruction of Babylon (Isaiah 13:1-14,23; 21:9; 47:1-5)
- Jesus (Micah 5:2; Isaiah 9:1; 50:6; Psalm 22:18; Isaiah 53:9,12)
- Miracles performed
- It was preserved
- The Jews religion depended and focused on preserving O.T. (Romans 3:2)
- Textual Criticism - hundreds of collaborating, pre-Christ copies of O.T.
Security of N.T. - Its prophets were proven and their message was preserved
- Jesus proved He was the foretold Messiah (Matthew 3:1-6,13-17; 17:1-13; John 5:31-47; 10:37-38; 20:30-31; Acts 2:22)
- He fulfilled hundreds of prophecies about the Messiah (II Peter 1:16-21)
- Born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2; Matthew 2:1)
- His hands and feet would be pierced (Psalm 22:16; John 20:24-29)
- No bones would be broken (Psalm 34:20; John 19:31-36)
- He foretold future events showing His divine Authority
- His crucifixion and resurrection (John 2:18-22; Matthew 17:22-23)
- Judas would betray Him (John 13:21-30; Matthew 26:45-56)
- Fall of Jerusalem (Luke 21:20-24)
- He performed indisputable miracles proving He was from God (Acts 1:3)
- Apostles are Christ's authorized ambassadors (II Corinthians 5:18-20; Matthew 10:40)
- Jesus promised He would guide the apostles into all truth (John 14:16-17,26; 16:7-15)
- After Christ's ascension, they claimed to have all truth - even the very mind of Christ (I Corinthians 2:6-16; II Peter 1:3)
- They proved they were from God and were teaching God's message through miracles (I Corinthians 2:4-5; Romans 15:18-19; Acts 5:12-16; II Corinthians 12:12; Hebrews 2:1-4)
- Through inspiration, they preached their knowledge of God's mystery (I Corinthians 2:13; Matthew 10:20; I Thessalonians 2:13)
- Their writings also contained this same knowledge (II Peter 1:16-21; Ephesians 3:2-5; II Timothy 3:16-17)
- Their inspired writings were preserved
Security of the whole Bible - It is all we will ever need
- Unity of the Bible - There are no contradictions in the Bible
- It was written by about 40 different writers over a period of about 1500 years.
- God cannot lie or contradict Himself (Hebrews 6:16-18; I Corinthians 14:33)
- When we read the writings of the apostles and prophets, we can have the same understanding that they had (Ephesians 3:2-5; II Peter 3:1-2)
- It is complete, lacking nothing (II Timothy 3:15-17)
- It was given only once, and for all time (Jude 3; Hebrews 10:17)
- It will abide forever; it is incorruptible; it cannot be undone; and it cannot pass away (I Peter 1:22-25; John 10:35; Matthew 24:35; Matthew 5:18)
- It is trustworthy to the very word
- Jesus' argument depended on the tense of a single word (Matthew 22:29-32)
- Paul's argument rested on singularity of a single word (Galatians 3:16)
- No other message can rightfully be taught (Galatians 1:6-9)
- God's Word is the source of truth and the message of salvation (John 17:17)
WARNING: We may be condemned already by our attitude
Although this outline does not consider in detail the historical evidence or evidence external to the Bible, it is essential for us to understand the internal claims that Bible makes for itself. If we do believe that the Bible is God's Word, then we must also believe that it is complete, uncorrupted, and relevant today. This eliminates room for additional revelations or conveniently believing only the parts of the Bible. Therefore, with a strengthened faith let us redouble our efforts to study and obey the Bible "as it is in truth, the Word of God" (I Thessalonians. 2:13). Having established the Bible as the sole revelation from God for us today, we must now turn our attention to the question of establishing Bible authority - how do we establish what the Bible teaches as right and wrong. This is the next step in our search for truth.
Next: Biblical Authority