First: The Bible's Claims For Itself. The Bible claims, first of all, to be the Word of God to man:"All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof for correction, for instruction in righteousness." (I Timothy 3:16)
"Knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation (origin), for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit." (II Peter 1:20-21)
These verses make a tremendous claim, they say that the Bible prophets did not just conjure up out of the air and originate what they wrote. Rather, they recorded what was given to them directly by God. They were moved (literally "borne along") by the Holy Spirit. Now that does not mean that their individual personality or style of writing was overpowered. It means that they were kept from having any error creep into what they wrote. And if it truly is what it claims to be -- a God-inspired book then it is absolutely trustworthy.
Second: Christ's Claims For The Bible. While Jesus Christ was on earth, He affirmed the Bible's claims for itself. By what He said about it and in the way He used it, the Son of God showed the Bible to be the Word of God. Consider the following:
A. He used the Bible and its stories as fact, as history that applies to us and to those who went through, that it has happened and will happen, thus Christ showed its authenticity and accuracy:
"The commandment of God" (Mark 7:8)
"The Word of God'' (Mark 7:13; John 10:35)
Jonah (Matthew 12:38-41)
Adam and Eve (Matthew 19:4-5)
Noah and the flood (Matthew 24:37-39)
"Scripture" (Luke 4:21; John 5:39, 10:35)
Lot, Lot's wife, and Sodom (Luke 17:28-32)
B. He saw His own words as Scripture to be believed and obeyed. (John 12:48-49)
C. He held people responsible for what was written in the Scriptures. (Matthew 12:3)
D. He used Scriptures as conclusive evidence in answering His critics:
Matthew 22:32 quoting Exodus 3:6, 15
Matthew 22:42-44 quoting Psalm 110:1
E. He used the authority of Scripture to refute the temptations of Satan in the wilderness. (Matthew 4:4-10)
Third: The Writers Claims For the Bible. The individual writers affirmed the Bible's claims for itself by accepting the other parts of the Bible as the Word of God. First let's look at how the Bible writers viewed the Scriptures:
· When Daniel read Jeremiah's prophecy that the Babylonian captivity would last 70 years, he accepted it as true and began to pray and plan accordingly. (Daniel 9:2)
· Peter accepted the supernatural origin of the writings in the Old Testament prophets and Paul's writings as scripture, even though he sometimes did not understand it.
(II Peter 1:21) (II Peter 3:15-16)
· Secondly, the Biblical writers often saw themselves as communicating the Word of God. The prophet Isaiah began his book by proclaiming "For the Lord has spoken." (Isaiah1:2)
· The prophet Jeremiah opened his prophecy by saying, "Then the Word of the Lord came to me." (Jeremiah 1:4)
· God commissioned Ezekiel to go to His people and tell them "Thus says the Lord God." (Ezekiel 3:11)
· Paul claimed that the words he spoke were directly from God. (Galatians 1:11-12; 1 Thessalonians 2:13)
There are, of course, many more than "three reasons to trust the Bible." Among these are textual unity, textual preservation, historical accuracy, scientific accuracy, prophetic accuracy, and its social and personal impact. But even the above three reasons are enough to show that the claims the Liberals and cults make against the Bible are unfounded!
(This session was inspired in part from the book "Evidence that Demands a Verdict" by McDowell, and the booklet "Can I Really Trust the Bible?" published by Radio Bible Class Ministries.)
Discussion Questions for The Importance of Bible Study
Open Q: Have you ever taken a risk? If so what was it, and what happened?
1. Read Joshua 1:8; 24:14-15. Answer the following questions,
§ What did these statements mean to Joshua?
§ What risk could he have been taking?
§ How can this statement, when applied to your life, make your life a difference?
§ Why would studying God's Word be essential for our growth?
§ What happens to Christians when they do not do as Joshua did?
2. Read Psalm 1, What are the benefits of studying God's Word?
(This does not mean problems will not come our way. But these verses do say that when we continue in His Word, we will be rich in fulfillment and meaning. Something that money, cars, popularity, cats, or anything can ever do! Just watch the VH-1 biographies of famous rock, TV and movie stars, and see how and what money fame and success did for them. 99% of the time they ended up dead from drugs, or totally frustrated and disillusioned with life. All that they had, which most of us can only dream about, could not bring them the deep fulfillment and happiness they desired!)
3. Q: Are you confident that you know the Bible? Why or why not?
4. So if you had everything you ever wanted, what difference would that make? Would you end up like a Jim Morrison, Jimmy Hendriks, or Janis Joplin (Most popular rock stars of the 60's who all died by choking on their vomit, and died totally disillusioned and hopelessly unhappy.) or a Curt Corbain, who committed suicide at the height of his popularity a few years ago? How would their lives be different with God's Word?
5. Why did God give us the Bible?
6. So what will God's Word mean to you?
7. What will you do now that you know the importance of God's Word?
8. Do the three reasons make sense to you so that you can have more faith and trust in the Bible? If so, why is that important?
There are many ways in which we can trust in the Bible. So during the following week, look for and then write down things that are happening to you, such as problems, frustrations, decisions, and opportunities, and how the Bible could make the difference. Keep in mind, stress, anxiety, busyness, social impact and personal impact."GOING DEEP"
Have student's lay on the floor with the lights off and eyes closed. And ask them to see themselves as Joshua, and read the passages 1:8; 24:1-15. Then slowly in a contemporary paraphrase, such as the New Living Translation, or CEV, remain silent for 2 to 3 minutes and read vs. 16-18, and remind them that this is their story, you are there!
© 1993 R. J. Krejcir, Into Thy Word Ministries http://www.discipleshiptools.org/