Sunday, June 3, 2012

What God Says About OUR Bible

Temple Baptist Church - 6-3-2012
2 Timothy 3:13-17


A. As we begin this morning, I want you to notice that my sermon title uses the word “OUR” bible. We live in a day of “talking heads:” men and women who do a lot of talking but, as the squeal on a pig, add nothing to the truth. A good example are the news people who are constantly discussing the economy and politics but not having the answers to solve our nation’s problems. In the theological realm, we have such men also. They are constantly giving their “take” or offering their opinions about spiritual things by bringing about more confusion than good. By interpretation, Paul is talking about Timothy’s “Bible” or the manuscripts that he used. God told Timothy to “preach the word!” and, in order to do that, he must have had the Word! Paul is writing to young Timothy (a pastor or future pastor) to: 

1. Instill in him confidence in his “Bible” or manuscripts that were available to him. If you and I do not have COMPLETE confidence in our Bible, then it will not be allowed to work effectively in our hearts and lives. If it contains errors and contradictions, then it is not God’s Word but can only contain God’s Word. It is either God’s Word and the work of God or it only contains God’s Word and is the work of man. In our day, men are constantly undermining the confidence of believers in one of two ways:

a) By introducing various other versions. This requires that either one be right and all others wrong or that all of them are wrong because “things that are different are not the same” and they cannot all be right.

b) By standing for the right Bible while maintaining that it is only a version and not the perfect Word of God. Then those who “know the languages” are constantly rendering or correcting the English with the Greek texts.

2. Assure him of its authority. Just what is our final authority: the Bible or the men who interpret the Bible? I stand without apology on the authority of the Bible and every word that it contains. 

a) If the Bible is our final authority, then it matters not what men say.

b) If men are our final authority, then it matters not what the Bible says.

3. Give him purpose in his preaching. It is “profitable” according to our text because it has the approval and power of God behind its words. 

a) Our Bible is honored by the Author, the Holy Ghost. It is the Scripture that He uses to get His work done.

b) Our Bible is effective when taught or preached. It has always worked and it always will.

B. By application, Paul is writing (under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost) to do the same for us. As Timothy did not have the original autographs in his hand, neither do we have them. I believe that it is of the utmost importance that we have confidence in our Bible, recognize its absolute authority, and depend upon its veracity for guidance and correction in our lives.

C. There have been misinterpretations and misinformation concerning the verses that we just read this morning so I wanted to take a close look at what God says about the scripture. I am not a Greek scholar nor do I even care about the extant manuscripts from which our Bible comes. I could not interpret them if I had them! I can look up a Greek word but can neither read nor translate manuscripts. God gave me an English Bible, not a Greek one. Since the completion of the translation work on the King James Bible, we have had God’s Word in English. The Bible that we now use is the 1769 edition which standardized punctuation and spelling.

D. If the Word of God is not understandable to the common people like us, then the deeds and doctrine of the Nicolaitans continues! The clergy or “Greek Scholars” have to render to you and me the proper interpretation of the extant manuscripts in order for us to properly understand what God said in the English! I certainly am not against education or study of history and languages but when these things cast a shadow of doubt upon the Bible by contradicting its clear teachings about itself, then the educator and educated are both wrong! Unfortunately, the universities and institutes that were started to help men of God learn God’s Word have become enemies of truth and destroyers of the faith once delivered.

E. God ascribed the attributes of Jesus Christ to the Word of God. If Jesus Christ is the incarnate Word (and He is: John 1, 1 John 1, Revelation 19, etc.) and the Scriptures are the inscribed Word (and they are), then the Bible that I carry must be more than just a translation from some error filled set of extant manuscripts translated y fallible men! Our King James Bible must have these attributes ascribed to it by the words within it. God said that His Word was:

1. Inerrant (no errors) - Proverbs 30:5 Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.

Psalms 1:6 The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.

Psalms 119:140 Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it. (These verses along with many others are clear concerning what God and the Bible says on the subject. According to God, if it is God’s Word then it is pure; if it is not pure it cannot be God’s Word! End of subject!)

2. Infallible (total reliability) - Luke 16:17 And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail.

Psalms 119:89-90 For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven. (90) Thy faithfulness is unto all generations: thou hast established the earth, and it abideth.

1 Peter 1:25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.

2 Peter 3:13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. (Not one prophecy or promise will fall to the ground. We can completely rely upon the Bible for accuracy, consistency, durability, and perfection. The Bible is completely reliable historically, scientifically, prophetically, and doctrinally.)

3. Immutable (impossibility of change) 1 Peter 1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. (The word “abideth” mean not only to remain but to continue in a particular condition. If the Word of God is “incorruptible seed” (not subject to decay or dissolution), and it “abideth” forever, then it must therefore be immutable! This means no change during the preservation process! This is what God says about His Word, not what this preacher says. Either God is right or He is wrong and, if this Bible is imperfect, then this verse must be in error.)

1 Peter 1:25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.

4. Immortal (it is alive eternally) - 1 Peter 1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. (I used the word “immortality” instead of simply eternal because of the special aspect of the bible. “Mortal” means life with an expected end. “Immortal” means life with no end expected! As God breathed into Adam the breath of life and he became a “living soul,” God breathed into the scripture and it became alive and alive for evermore.)

5. Inspired (it has the breath and life of its Author) - 2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: (All means all and that is all the ALL means! No originals mentioned in these verses nor alluded to! God said “inspiration” when referring to Timothy’s Word which was not the original autographs. I have no problem saying “inspiration” when speaking of my King James Bible.)

F. Inspiration and Preservation. Our Bible is inspired because preservation is an act of God, not of man. The inspiration is intact through preservation, not a recurring act of inspiring or re-inspiring. Once again, I want to use the First Mention of Bible Interpretation when dealing with both inspiration and preservation.
The First Mention Principle: "God indicates in the first mention of a subject the truth with which that subject stands connected in the mind of God."
1. Inspiration Genesis 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. (The first recorded “breath” of God was the “breath of life” that was breathed into Adam and he will live forever. I will not get too involved in this verse because, in about one minute, I will be “over my head.” This “breath of life” was so much more than just giving man the breath to live. If it was breath for this life only, then when that breath stopped, life would cease but God made man to live eternally! At the age of 930, Adam died physically on that day but still lives eternally. Every human since Adam has had that same eternality of life for, when the body ceases to exist; every man will exist in heaven or hell for all eternity because he is a living “soul.” Since Adam, man continues to have the “breath” of God. God also breathed His Word in the originals but that same Word still breathes in one form or another for all eternity.)

Exodus 31:18 And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God. (Here we find the first recording of God giving to man an original autograph or “hard copy.” I understand that men had some portions of the Word of God previous to this but here God gives both the tables of stone and the words written upon them.)

Exodus 32:15-16 And Moses turned, and went down from the mount, and the two tables of the testimony were in his hand: the tables were written on both their sides; on the one side and on the other were they written. (16) And the tables were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, graven upon the tables. (When God first gave the Law, God both made the tables and inspired the writings upon them. Inspiration was God using earthly tables of stone [a type of the authors of the Bible penning down God’s Word] to carry the very words of God to mankind.)

2 Peter 1:21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

2. Preservation - Exodus 34:1 And the LORD said unto Moses, Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first: and I will write upon these tables the words that were in the first tables, which thou brakest. (The first mention of the preservation of God’s Word is found here. This time, man hewed out the tables but God continued to place the words upon it. I do not know all that I “know” about inspiration and preservation because His ways are higher than mine and His thoughts are beyond my comprehension but I do know that God has used man through the centuries to copy and publish the Word of God. Fallible man and an infallible Word make no human sense because there is no possibility of sinful men keeping or reproducing the perfect Word of God without the help of God! We have a miraculous Bible in our hands today and I believe that it is the work of a miracle working God, not merely men.)

Psalms 12:6-7 The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. (7) Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.

G. Men are so quick to say that they hold the Word of God in their hands and yet are so afraid to say what God said about it because when you say “inspired, you become “Ruckmanites!” I want to officially go on record again that I am neither a follower nor a proponent of Peter S. Ruckman and advise my people to stay away from both him and his teachings. At the same time, this poor old ignorant preacher is not afraid to say what God so clearly said about the Bible!

1. I believe that the King James Bible is the preserved Word of God. God declares it to be so, the Bible declares itself to be so and that satisfies me.
2. I believe that the King James Bible is the inspired Word of God. God declares it to be so, the Bible declares itself to be so and that satisfies me.
3. I believe that the King James Bible is the pure Word of God. God declares it to be so, the Bible declares itself to be so and that satisfies me.

H. Notice that I said “the Bible declares itself to be so” so, if you do not agree with me, take it up with God. He told Timothy that his “Bible” or manuscripts were “holy scripture” in verse 15 and declared them to be “inspired” in verse 16. As God breathed into Adam the breath of life and he became both a living and an eternal soul, so God breathed into the Word the breath of life and it became both a living and an eternal Word. I do not believe in “double inspiration!” I believe that God breathed His Word, through the Holy Ghost, to the writers and that breath of life into the Scriptures continues to live within it. This King James Bible is just as “inspired” as the originals because the breath of God that gives life is eternal in nature. It is the life of God! The inspiration, an act of God, is intact through the preservation which is also an act of God. I stand where I stand because I stand where God stands on the subject. He said it was inspired and I say that it is inspired.

I. It is impossible to overemphasis the importance of having the very Word of God in our hands. If it can err, it is not God’s but man’s work. If it can err, then it cannot be completely trusted. If it can err, then the experts will have to become our final authority as they explain where it differs from the “original autographs.” How can they do that when they have never seen one? Never get smart enough to “figure out” God and His ways because that is an impossible task.

J. This bible that I hold in my hand is profitable:
1. It is profitable for Doctrine. True doctrine teaches us what is “what is right.”

a. We Are To Teach Sound Doctrine - 1 Timothy 4:13 Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.

b. We Are To Continue Steadfastly In Sound Doctrine - 2 Timothy 3:14 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;

c. We Are To Heed Sound Doctrine - 1 Timothy 4:16 Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.

d. We Are To Reject False Doctrine - Romans 16:17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.
2. It Is profitable for Reproof. Reproof teaches us “what is not right.”

a. It Is Commanded - 2 Timothy 4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.

b. It is Courageous - Jeremiah 1:17 Thou therefore gird up thy loins, and arise, and speak unto them all that I command thee: be not dismayed at their faces, lest I confound thee before them.

c. It Is Cautionary - Colossians 1:28 Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:
3. It is profitable for Correction. Correction teaches us “how to get right.”

a. It Condemns the Sin - Acts 2:37-38 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? (38) Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

b. It Convicts the Sinner - Hebrews 4:12-13 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (13) Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.

c. It Corrects the Sinful - Revelation 3:19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
4. It is profitable for Instruction in Righteousness. Instruction in righteousness teaches us “how to stay right.”

a. It Reveals God’s Plan - 2 Timothy 3:17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

b. It Reveals God’ Purpose - Genesis 1:22 And God blessed them (First Mention Principle), saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth. 

c. It Reveals God’s Promises - Psalms 84:11 For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.

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