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The Bible Tree 1-10

The Bible Tree 1-10

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What do you think about the Bible?
What do you think about the Bible?

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Published by: Dr Bill Consiglio MSW Mdiv DMin on Sep 22, 2007
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05/08/2014

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…The Bible Tree…
 The Bible is the Tree of the Word of Life
Genesis 2:9
In the middle of the garden was the tree of life
.
By W. E. Consiglio D Min
What do you believe about the Bible?
 The Bible has been the living, speaking Voice of God and the Word of God for me for over40 years. I have preached it, taught it and used it as the main source of devotionalmeditation, study and prayer. Yet, the Bible continues to be a challenge to me and manypeople, in many ways!As a Christian, I am a blest person. In 1970 I believed and received Jesus Christ asmy Savior and Lord, because of the power and presence of the Holy Spirit working in myheart through the words of Scripture. It happened while I was reading the third chapter of  John’s Gospel? Because of that experience, and hundreds since then, I know the life-giving reality of God’s Word. That the Bible is the work and gift of God Himself, I have nodoubt.But I also know that no one can believe the Bible’s divine origin without firstreceiving the Spirit’s awakening of his heart to spiritual and eternal realities. Thisawakening happens when a person comes to believe that Jesus is God’s Son and ourSavior and Lord. The Bible says,
“Therefore I tell you that no one who is speakingby the Spirit of God says, "Jesus be cursed," and no one can say, "Jesus isLord," except by the Holy Spirit
.” The Bible also says in Romans 10:8-11,
"The wordis near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart," that is, the word of faith weare proclaiming: That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," andbelieve in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Forit is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with yourmouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, "Anyone whotrusts in him will never be put to shame."
Nor can a person appreciate, understand and receive the life-giving feeding andspiritual nurturing of God’s Word except by the Holy Spirit. As the Book of God, inspiredby the Holy Spirit, it demands a heart and mind which is alive to spiritual things andilluminated by the same Spirit.
“The natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, neither can he understand them, because they are spirituallydiscerned”
(1 Corinthians 2:14). No amount of learning or education, no advanceddegrees in theology can prepare one to be penetrated and illuminated by God’s Word.Only God’s Spirit can change the written Word, into the Living Word!
Challenges to the Bible!
On the other hand, like all thoughtful Christians everywhere, my biblically basedfaith has been challenged by the rapid changes in the last several decades made by
 
science, which has brought new knowledge about the world, the universe and humanlife. Prominent among these challenging issues are those related to the origin of manand our universe. Social events - such as the religious fanaticism which motivated thetragedy of 9/11, and child sexual abuse by clergy, have created new skepticism anduncertainties about all religions, and the Christian religion in particular. Currently, we livein a time when atheism is receiving many new adherents and so are other cults in greatpopularity.Research into the origins of religious cultures, archaeology and languages over thelast 100 years, has challenged many of Christianity’s traditional beliefs! What once werevery securely held doctrines are being called into question, filtering down and throughthe popular press, where there is uneasiness and confusion among Christian peoplethemselves! I too have experienced this uneasiness; these tensions and conflicts.Christianity and its beliefs were formulated at a time when the world was radicallydifferent from what it is today. The modern or post-modern worldview has caused manyChristians to question beliefs once taken for granted, and have caused others toabandon Christianity altogether. This questioning is especially true regarding the respect,reliability and religious value given the Bible, Christianity’s foundational source of manydoctrines and beliefs. Many are asking, “What can I believe about the Bible today?” I wasalso asking this question when I recently spent several months reviewing, researchingand re-examining my beliefs about the Bible! The Bible once held a cherished place in the Christian home and church. I nowquestion if that sentiment still prevails in any home or in most churches today? Asegment of churches and Christians defend an original position which says, “If the Biblesays it, it’s true, and let the rest of the world go to hell!” On the other hand, a largersegment of thoughtful and equally sincere Christians experience conflict in defending theBible against what they know to be true from other areas of learning and the sciences.Often, the Christian’s experience of everyday life and the world causes them to draw asharp separation between biblical knowledge and life, so that there is an experience of living two different lives. They are afraid to ask themselves, “Has the Bible really becomean obsolete relic from the past”?How do we reconcile biblical knowledge with all that is being learned andexperienced, and how do we reconcile the many harsh, brutal, seemingly useless andabsurd and hard-to-believe sentiments and actions of people which are portrayed in theBible? And far worse, some of these are even reported as commanded, approved, andcondoned by God Himself. So, what can I believe about the Bible? How relevant, reliableand accurate is it? How should I continue to use it in my ministry, devotional and spiritualpursuits? These are the questions and answers I am seeking in this writing!
Can I still believe that the Bible is divinely inspired?
Let’s begin by asking about the important long-held belief in theBible’s inspiration. The belief in the inspiration of the Bible is thecentral issue which immediately distinguishes the authority andvalue of the Bible from all other books and religious resources. Can Istill believe that the Bible is divinely inspired? Can I believe that Godsomehow supervised or superintended the writings which make upour present Bible of 66 books? Answering this question usuallymeans examining four areas which provide evidence:
Scriptureitself, reason, tradition, and personal experience.
 
What Scripture says about inspiration!
 I believe in the inspiration of the Bible, in part, from the Bible itself. I know thatsounds like circular thinking. But it only makes sense to me that if the Bible was inspired,the authors themselves would show that they held this belief. And so, Peter, speakingabout prophecy, and all scripture in general, says,
“Above all, you must understandthat no of Scripture came about by the prophets own interpretation. Forprophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God asthey were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”
(2 Peter 1:21). And in 2 Timothy 3:15-17, the Apostle Paul is speaking to his companion Timothy saying
, “And from a childyou have known the holy scriptures, which are able to make you wise forsalvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus
.
All Scripture is God-breathedand is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work 
.” That term, “God-breathed” is a reference to the Holy Spirit. Paul is telling us thatthe origin of scripture is inspired by God’s Spirit and that the object of scripture is tomake a person fully equipped for doing the good works of God’s kingdom.
 
 The ApostlePaul says in Romans 15:4 that,
“everything that was written in the past waswritten to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of theScriptures we might have hope.”
Of course he is referring to the Old Testament, forthose were his only Scriptures. The OT writers wrote for their own age and for their owncontemporaries. And yet, he says, they were written to teach
us
, meaning, Paul’s owngeneration.
 
 Therefore, it seems clear that Paul believed that the OT writings containedsome universal application and wider, enduring significance beyond their own era of authorship. This implied for Paul, that there was a transcendent, divine wisdom andmeaning in the Scriptures for every generation. He believed that behind the authors wasan Author; that there was a Master Mind behind the minds of the writers, who had allages in view in the use of the scriptures. This was a belief that each of the books of theBible has a living message and an enduring value for all people. The underlyingassumption of Paul is that the Master Author intended to share a spiritual message whichwas for all peoples in all ages. What is implied in Paul’s statement is the notion of revelation and inspiration.
What is Inspiration and Revelation?
 What do I mean when I say that the Bible is
inspired 
by God? And how do I know itis not simply another book containing just the inspirational thoughts of the writers?When we say that the Bible was divinely inspired, we mean that the writers wereinfluenced and directed by the Spirit of God to receive and communicate (and writedown) some revealed truth, or manner of explaining an event, both for their owngeneration and for posterity. Both the content and the literary form of expression wereguided by the Spirit. This means that the actual words were inspired, and implies thatthe Bible I hold in my hands today is accurate and reliable if it is indeed based upon theoriginal monographs of the Bible.I understand Scriptural inspiration as represented in passages like
Exodus 19:3-6
:

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