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  • This sermon was preached on January 3. I apologize for the formatting.


    As your bibliology goes, so goes your Christianity.

    As a church's bibliology goes, so goes that church.

    What is bibliology?

    Bibliology is the doctrine of Scripture. Your view of Scripture dictates your life and dictates the life of the church.

    The bibliology we are going to cover in the following weeks:

    1. The Bible is the Word of God (inspiration)
    2. The Bible is Without Error (Inerrant)
    3. The Bible is the Supreme and Final Authority (authoritative)
    4. The Bible is Sufficient
    5. The Bible Can Be Trusted
    6. The Bible Must be Studied and Obeyed
    7. The Bible is to be faithfully proclaimed

     In Hosea 8:12 God brings this charge against his people Israel, “I wrote for them the many of my law, but they regarded them as something alien.”

     It is a great sin and crime against God that he has given us his great word and we ignore it, avoid it, hate, don’t believe it, find it boring, or irrelevant.

     We need to know the book, live by the book, and proclaim the book.

     The Necessity of Inspiration

    Inspiration is the cornerstone of theology. It is the starting point for all other attributes of the Bible. It is the linchpin in bibliology. Without it, the wheels of our faith and Christianity would fall off.

    This is because every Christian doctrine is founded in Holy Scripture. We don't look for doctrine and truth in modern movies or man-made revelations. No, we constantly go back to the Scriptures. The Scriptures are our authority.  Our constant question is, "What does the Bible say?" Because we are persuaded that the Bible, all 66 books, is the Word of God.

     The question is how can we be sure the Bible is God's revelation to man and not merely the product of human ingenuity or human opinion? How can we know that what God has revealed has been accurately recorded?

     The doctrine of inspiration answers that question and assures us that the Bible is accurate.

     So do you see how crucial this aspect of bibliology is?

     It is not surprising then to find that this doctrine is often under attack. It has been from the beginning and always will be as long as there is unbelief.

     The Meaning of Inspiration

    It is important we nail this down, otherwise we are going to run into some serious issues concerning authority.

     I personally do not like to use the word inspiration when referring to the Bible because in English it has a number of connotations that aren't even close to what is intended when we apply it to Scripture.

     In English, the most fundamental meaning of the word is the act of drawing in, especially the inhalation of air. But biblically, the word means "out-breathed", the act of air expiring from your lungs.

     In English the word is also used of the stimulation of the mind or emotions to a high level of feeling or activity so we speak of a work of art or a song as being full of inspiration. Again, that is not even close to the biblical concept. It is not that Scripture isn't inspiring for it most assuredly is but that Scripture is a divine product. When we speak of the inspiration of the Scriptures we don't mean that it inspires us but that it itself is inspired. It is the product of God himself.

     Its theological usage is derived from the Latin Vulgate Bible where the verb "inspire" is used in 2 Timothy 3:16 and 2 Peter 1:21. However, the word translated "inspiration" in 2 Timothy 3:16 is a word that literally means "God-breathed" and expresses the concept of exhalation by God. It emphasizes that Scripture is the product of the breath of God. The Scriptures have been breathed out by God.

     So you see, the word inspiration must be carefully defined if we are going to continue to use it so we can avoid any wrong ideas.

     Inspiration may be defined as, "The activity of the Holy Spirit whereby He supernaturally enabled certain people to receive God's special revelation and to write it without error or omission in their language and style as the very words of God."

      That is a mouth full so let me break it down into its various parts:

    • Its Process

    The process involved a divine element and a human element. The divine element is God the Holy Spirit superintended the writers, ensuring the accuracy of their writing. The human element is human authors wrote according to their individual styles and personalities.

    That is to say, Scripture is not only man’s word, the fruit of human thought, premeditation and art, but also, and equally, God’s word, spoken through man’s lips or written with man’s pen. In other words, Scripture has a double authorship, and man is only the secondary author; the primary author, through whose initiative, prompting and enlightenment, and under whose superintendence, each human writer did his work, is God the Holy Spirit

     How God did this is a mystery but the fact is not in question. There are many things that the Holy Spirit does that we don't fully understand but that is not reason to doubt it.

      • Its Extent

      Every part of the 66 canonical books of the Bible was the product of divine inspiration to an equal degree. Divine inspiration extends to every word of the Scriptures and to is grammatical form. It is not limited to a few texts

        • Its Result

        The result is that God's Word in the original autographs is free from any error or omission. That means it is trustworthy because it is the very word of God. That means it is authoritative because it is the very word of God. It also means that it is sufficient. The Bible is the complete revelation of God. It is noteworthy that the world's religions and cults are doctrinally based on alleged extra revelations, in addition to the Bible (Book of Mormon) or in place of the Bible (the Koran).

         The Demonstration of Inspiration

        I am deeply convinced of the Bible's self-attesting power to persuade and convince so what I want to do at this point is show you how the Bible teaches its own inspiration. We do not believe in inspiration because some person developed some well-reasoned arguments but because it is the constant testimony of the Bible. As in any just court of law, we need to allow the Bible to give testimony to itself. 

         

        The Testimony of the Old Testament

         

        Time and time again in the OT we read, "The Word of the LORD came to me, saying" or "Thus says the Lord." This is the continual refrain of the prophets and by it they are claiming that their words are the very words of God.

         

        The phrase "the word of the Lord" is found 240x in the OT.

        The phrase "thus says the Lord" is found some 130x in Jeremiah alone!

        David said in 2 Sam. 23:2, "The Spirit of the Lord spoke by me, and His word was on my tongue."

        Isaiah 1:10 - Hear the word of the Lord

        Isaiah 1:20; 40:5 - "The mouth of the Lord has spoken…"

        Isaiah 20:2 the Lord spoke "through Isaiah…saying…"

        Isaiah 56:1 - "This is what the Lord says…"

        "All that I command you, you shall speak…Behold I have put my words in your mouth" - Jer. 1:7-9

        Jeremiah 1:11 - "the word of the Lord came to me…"

        Jeremiah 2:1 - "The Word of the Lord came to me…"

         

        Frequently God commanded his people to write things down:

        After Israel defeated Amalek, God told Moses, "Write this in a book as a memorial…" Ex. 17:14.

        Moses wrote down the covenant provisions that God gave to Israel through him. After recounting "all the words of the Lord and all the ordinances" to the people, "Moses wrote down all of the words of the Lord (Ex. 24:3-4). Again God said, "Write down these words, for in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel" (Ex. 34:27).

        Historical records of the acts of Israel's kings were written by the prophets Samuel, Nathan, and Gad.

        Isaiah, Jeremiah and Habakkuk were instructed to write down their prophecies (Isa. 8:1; Jer. 30:2; 36:2-4, 27-32; Hab. 2:2).

        Entire prophetic books are described as "the word of the Lord:"

         

        "The word of the Lord that came to Hosea son of Beeri…" - Hosea 1:1 

        "The word of the Lord that came to Joel son of Pethuel" - Joel 1:1 

        "The word of the Lord that came to Micah of Moresheth…" - Micah 1:1 

        "The word of the Lord that came to Zephaniah son of Cushi…" Zephaniah 1:1 

        "In the second year of king Darius, on the first day of the sixth month, the word of the Lord came to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel…" - Haggai 1:1  

        "In the eight month of the second year of Darius, the word of the Lord came to the prophet Zechariah son of Berekiah, the son of Iddo" - Zechariah 1:1 

        "An oracle: The word of the Lord to Israel through Malachi" - Malachi 1:1

         

        The Testimony of Jesus

        In determining the inspiration of the Scriptures, nothing could be more significant than determining the view Christ held regarding the Scriptures. Certainly no one ought to hold a lower view of Scripture than he held! His view of the Scriptures ought to be the determinant for our views.

         

        Matthew 5:17-18

         

        "Law or the prophets" is a common phrase designating the entire Old Testament.

         The term" smallest letter" refers to the Hebrew letter yodh, which looks like an apostrophe.

         The stroke refers to the minute difference between two Hebrew letters.

         An equivalent would be the distinction between an O and a Q or an E and an F.

         Our english equivalent would be  "not one t will be uncrossed or one I undotted." 

         Do you see the extent of inspiration?

         Jesus is emphasizing that all the details of the OT writings would be fulfilled down to the least stroke of the pen! Every part of the OT is true. Every part is God's Word.

         

        John 10:34-36

        Jesus has been charged with blasphemy because of his claim to be God. In response he quotes Scripture (Psalm 82:6). This was Jesus constant practice which also proves his confidence in the Scriptures. He also believed in the historicity of such persons and events as Abel, Noah and the flood, Moses, David, Jonah and the fish, mans creation and marriage institution).  

        "The Scripture cannot be broken."  

        This means that Scripture cannot be shown to be in error. They cannot lose their force and be no longer binding. Scripture cannot be voided or annulled.

         

        John 14:26/16:12-15

        This is part of the upper room discourse.  

        Jesus indicates that the Holy Spirit would give the apostles perfect, total recall as they penned the Scriptures, guaranteeing their accuracy. What is more, they would speak with his authority. 

        Thus Jesus teaches not just the inspiration of the Old but also the new!

         

        The Testimony of Paul

        2 Timothy 3:16

         

        1. The fact of inspiration

         This verse unequivocally states that Scripture is God-breathed. Its origin or source is God.

         

        1. The extent of inspiration

        All Scripture is God-breathed!

         Now it is often noted that "Scripture" here refers to the OT and that is true but it also refers to other portions of the NT that had been written by that time and ultimately the entire NT, some of which had yet to be written.

         

        The Testimony of Peter

        2 Peter 1:20-21 – The How of Inspiratio

        Prepared Men – “Prophets”

         

        God chose certain men – such as Moses, David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel – to receive his words and write them down. What they wrote became books or sections of the OT. Nearly 2000 years aog God chose other men such as Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, Peter and others to communicate his message. What the wrote became books of the NT.

        Divine Element – “Men spoke from God”

        God gave his word to these men to write down. The Bible is truly the Word of God. It originates from him and are the expression of His mind.

        Human element – “Carried along by the Holy Spirit”

        In only a few instances did God dictate what the human authors were to write (10 commandments). God’s usual method was to guide the human authors in the words to use, their idiosyncrasies were respected to the extent that their characteristics and style and vocabularly are empled but without the intrusion of error. The Holy Spirit worked concurrently with human authors. He superintended more than 40 authors from widely divergent backgrounds (shephers, kings, prophets, fishermen) spanning approx.. 1500 years, to produce without error the very words of God to mankind.

         What we see here is dual authorship. The Bible is truly the Word of God. The Bible is truly the production of men. It is marked by the evidence of human authorship all through it. Summed up in one single statement – “The whole Bible is truly God’s word written by men.”

         

        2 Peter 3:16

         

        In a rather unique statement Peter places Paul's writings on a par with the OT scriptures.  

        In summary then, how do we know the Bible is true? How do we know it is trustworthy? Because it is God-breathed. This is the testimony of the OT. This is the testimony of Jesus. This is the testimony of Paul. This is the testimony of Peter.  

        Do you believe it? I wish I knew how to enlarge this thought! I wish I knew how to express it in such a way that it would move you, help you to remember that this Bible was actually and really written by God! This Bible is a book of authority for God has written it!

        The Implication of Inspiration

        As I stated earlier, this doctrine is the lynchpin of bibliology so in a very real way every sermon in this series is the direct application or outworking of this truth.

        All of The Bible is profitable (2 Tim. 3:16).

        Don’t ignore the OT. Don’t despise it. Don’t consider it a strange thing. Could God bring the charge of Hosea 8:12 against you concerning the OT? Read it. Cherish it. It is profitable. It is more profitable than any of your other books you are reading. Perhaps you say, “I don’t like some of those old testament passages” or “I don’t care for such and such a passage.” What? Rest assured that your taste is corrupt. God’s Word is truth, it is the water of life. Drink it. It is the bread of life. Eat it.

        Don’t be a red letter Christian. These are Christians who view the words of Jesus as more authoritative than all other Scripture. Now the problems with this approach are legion, not the least of which is it denies the doctrine of inspiration! If all of Scripture is God-breathed then all Scripture is authoritative and profitable! It is profoundly unbiblicaly to say you follow the teachings of Jesus and then take a different view than his regarding the OT! Look at how much he quoted it and pointed to it and referenced it! It is also profoundly unbiblical to say you follow the teachings of Jesus but then question the writings of Paul. It is after all, the red letters of Jesus that say, “Paul is a chosen instrument of mine, to bear my name before the Gentiles (Acts 9:15). Who are we to naysay Jesus’ choice of a spokesman? You see, if we are going to be consistent, the entire NT should be printed in red. It was not a generic spirit that inspired the words of Scripture. It was the Spirit of Christ that moved the authors to write what they wrote. Jesus described the Spirit this way in John 15:26, “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me.”

        All the Bible is profitable. We must not willfully leave out any portion of it. We must keep the straight line of Scripture and hold nothing back that he has revealed to us in the Bible.  

        Teaching – doctrine. Preaching/teaching if it is to be of any value must be in accord with the inspired word. What is more this means the Bible is always relevant! Our place is not to tell the Bible what to say but to submit to what it says.

        Reproof – conviction. Personal conviction through exposure to the truth. God’s Word is inspired and should convict you.

        Correction – setting right. The Bible restores us to the right path.

        Training in righteousness – it develops godly character, strength, skills.

        But these four objectives have a greater goal or purpose (v. 17). Fully furnished, fully supply as in fitting a ship or a car for a long journey.

        Where does this equipping come from? Knowing the God-breathed book.

        God’s goal in giving us his book and our goal in studying it must be to become fully competent servants of God for every kind of good work in the midst of a dark and needy world, like thoroughly equipped rescue vessels on missions of mercy.

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