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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 over 40 years. I have preached it, taught it and used it as the main source of devotional meditation, study and prayer. Yet, the Bible continues to be a challenge to me and many people, in many ways! As a Christian, I am a blest person. In 1970 I believed and received Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord, because of the power and presence of the Holy Spirit working in my heart 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 lifegiving reality of God’s Word. That the Bible is the work and gift of God Himself, I have no doubt. But I also know that no one can believe the Bible’s divine origin without first receiving the Spirit’s awakening of his heart to spiritual and eternal realities. This awakening happens when a person comes to believe that Jesus is God’s Son and our Savior and Lord. The Bible says, “Therefore I tell you that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, "Jesus be cursed," and no one can say, "Jesus is Lord," except by the Holy Spirit.” The Bible also says in Romans 10:8-11, "The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart," that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, "Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame." Nor can a person appreciate, understand and receive the life-giving feeding and spiritual nurturing of God’s Word except by the Holy Spirit. As the Book of God, inspired by the Holy Spirit, it demands a heart and mind which is alive to spiritual things and illuminated 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 spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14). No amount of learning or education, no advanced degrees 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 based faith 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 human life. Prominent among these challenging issues are those related to the origin of man and our universe. Social events - such as the religious fanaticism which motivated the tragedy of 9/11, and child sexual abuse by clergy, have created new skepticism and uncertainties about all religions, and the Christian religion in particular. Currently, we live in a time when atheism is receiving many new adherents and so are other cults in great popularity. Research into the origins of religious cultures, archaeology and languages over the last 100 years, has challenged many of Christianity’s traditional beliefs! What once were very securely held doctrines are being called into question, filtering down and through the popular press, where there is uneasiness and confusion among Christian people themselves! I too have experienced this uneasiness; these tensions and conflicts. Christianity and its beliefs were formulated at a time when the world was radically different from what it is today. The modern or post-modern worldview has caused many Christians to question beliefs once taken for granted, and have caused others to abandon Christianity altogether. This questioning is especially true regarding the respect, reliability and religious value given the Bible, Christianity’s foundational source of many doctrines and beliefs. Many are asking, “What can I believe about the Bible today?” I was also asking this question when I recently spent several months reviewing, researching and re-examining my beliefs about the Bible! The Bible once held a cherished place in the Christian home and church. I now question if that sentiment still prevails in any home or in most churches today? A segment of churches and Christians defend an original position which says, “If the Bible says it, it’s true, and let the rest of the world go to hell!” On the other hand, a larger segment of thoughtful and equally sincere Christians experience conflict in defending the Bible 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 a sharp 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 become an obsolete relic from the past”? How do we reconcile biblical knowledge with all that is being learned and experienced, and how do we reconcile the many harsh, brutal, seemingly useless and absurd and hard-to-believe sentiments and actions of people which are portrayed in the Bible? And far worse, some of these are even reported as commanded, approved, and condoned by God Himself. So, what can I believe about the Bible? How relevant, reliable and accurate is it? How should I continue to use it in my ministry, devotional and spiritual pursuits? 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 the Bible’s inspiration. The belief in the inspiration of the Bible is the central issue which immediately distinguishes the authority and value of the Bible from all other books and religious resources. Can I still believe that the Bible is divinely inspired? Can I believe that God somehow supervised or superintended the writings which make up our present Bible of 66 books? Answering this question usually means examining four areas which provide evidence: Scripture itself, 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 that sounds 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, speaking about prophecy, and all scripture in general, says, “Above all, you must understand that no of Scripture came about by the prophets own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” (2 Peter 1:21). And in 2 Timothy 3:1517, the Apostle Paul is speaking to his companion Timothy saying, “And from a child you have known the holy scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and 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 that the origin of scripture is inspired by God’s Spirit and that the object of scripture is to make a person fully equipped for doing the good works of God’s kingdom. The Apostle Paul says in Romans 15:4 that, “everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” Of course he is referring to the Old Testament, for those were his only Scriptures. The OT writers wrote for their own age and for their own contemporaries. And yet, he says, they were written to teach us, meaning, Paul’s own generation. Therefore, it seems clear that Paul believed that the OT writings contained some universal application and wider, enduring significance beyond their own era of authorship. This implied for Paul, that there was a transcendent, divine wisdom and meaning in the Scriptures for every generation. He believed that behind the authors was an Author; that there was a Master Mind behind the minds of the writers, who had all ages in view in the use of the scriptures. This was a belief that each of the books of the Bible has a living message and an enduring value for all people. The underlying assumption of Paul is that the Master Author intended to share a spiritual message which was 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 it is 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 were influenced and directed by the Spirit of God to receive and communicate (and write down) some revealed truth, or manner of explaining an event, both for their own generation and for posterity. Both the content and the literary form of expression were guided by the Spirit. This means that the actual words were inspired, and implies that the Bible I hold in my hands today is accurate and reliable if it is indeed based upon the original monographs of the Bible. I understand Scriptural inspiration as represented in passages like Exodus 19:3-6:

“And Moses went up to God, and the LORD called to him from the mountain, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel: ‘You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel.”

Another passage which explains this verbal and total inspiration of the Bible is found in Zechariah 7:11-12,
"But they refused to pay attention; stubbornly they turned their backs and stopped up their ears. They made their hearts as hard as flint and would not listen to the law or to the words that the LORD Almighty had sent by his Spirit through the earlier prophets. So the LORD Almighty was very angry.”

And also, Revelations 22:18-19:

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.”

Whether the writer reveals the very words which God gave him to write, or simply speaks and records the words which he received within, the words which make up our present Bible are the words which we were intended to see and understand. The inspired authors wrote for their own generation because it had direct bearing on their relationship to God in their current circumstances! But they also unknowingly wrote for posterity because it contained significant information or relevance to future generations of believers which God wanted all people to know! Inspiration is how the Bible came about! Revelation is what the Bible is about! Yet, even if we say the Bible is inspired, we don’t claim that we always understand how the inspiration process took place. A.T. Pierson says, “As to the method of inspiration – the modus operandi of the Holy Spirit in revealing truth - it is inscrutable, wrapped in the mystery of silence, like His other operations in regeneration and miracle working (John 3:8). All we know or need to know about it is its effects…as we may know the wind by its working.” What Experience says about inspiration! My personal experience with the Bible is my strongest evidence for the divine inspiration of the Bible. This is true because of the work of the Holy Spirit in the Bible and in my own life. I have studied and meditated on the Bible almost daily for 40 years. My common experience is to be thoroughly amazed that I often hear the Holy Spirit speak to my inner spirit in some very personal and powerful ways. No other reading I have done has ever affected me quite like the Bible. I know that this is an unusual book because it is a book in which God’s speaks to me. It is a book which affects a live encounter with God the Father, or with Jesus Christ, because the Spirit of the Father and Son is embedded in this book. I say, the Bible is inspired by the Holy Spirit! Who is the Holy Spirit? For those who are unfamiliar with the Person we call the Holy Spirit, He is the third Person of the Trinity. The Trinity – in Christian doctrine – is the Christian view of God’s nature; in One God there are three Divine Persons; Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I do not pretend to understand the Trinity nature of God. It’s a profound mystery. I only know that it has been revealed to us! The doctrine of the Trinity is based on another doctrine, the deity of Jesus Christ.

You cannot read the New Testament, especially the gospel of John and the writings of the apostles, without realizing that Christ is more than a man. Colossians 2:9 says, “For in him (meaning Jesus) dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” If, from what you read, you do not conclude that he is also one who shares in the Godhead as equal to the Father who is God, then you must conclude that he is a liar, deceiver, self-deceived or a mentally deranged person. Furthermore, a third person is introduced as another Counselor (the Holy Spirit), who also is portrayed as equal to Christ and the Father in his godlike characteristics. And so, the early Christians could not but conclude that Christ had indeed revealed the true nature of God as a Trinity. Many deny the doctrine of the Trinity nature of God! Among these are Jews, Muslims, Unitarians, and Jehovah’s witnesses. But notice that with each of these religious groups the denial of the Trinity is based on the denial of the deity of Jesus Christ. And in that, they are at least being consistent! For, it is belief in the deity of Christ which leads to an understanding of the Trinity. If Christ is God, and Christ calls the Father God, and later he and the other NT writers attribute deity to the Holy Spirit, then the there must be a Trinity. But if Christ is just a man, and the Spirit is some kind of impersonal force, then only the Father is God. So, we see that the deity of Christ is the foundation of the Trinitarian faith. There also have been many attempts to somehow explain the Trinity. Personally I have spent many hours, and years, pursuing this mystery for my own understanding. I feel the intense study I made of this mystery has been a tremendous benefit to me. It has led me to an enriched understanding of the importance of not using the word “God”, but of speaking and praying in such a way as to recognize my relationship with each Person of the Trinity. I pray to the Father, in Christ Jesus, through or by the Holy Spirit. I have come to see their inseparable work in my life. Where one Person is, all are! They always act as One! They always have! I have especially come to know each Person more intimately and to realize their continual presence and work in my life. Paul says in 2 Corinthians 13:14, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with you all”. One way which I find helpful to think about the Trinity is to understand the Father to be complete and perfect LOVE. That love for mankind led the Father to promise, prepare and prophesy a plan of salvation for mankind. That plan was enabled or expressed through His Son (who we know as Jesus Christ), the WORD of God! “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. In him was life, and that life was the light of men.” The Holy Spirit is often thought to be the executor of God’s will and desires. He carries out or enacts what the Godhead (Trinity) plans and wills. The Holy Spirit is considered to be the Spirit of love, life, light (i.e. truth), and the VOICE of God who enacts the plan of salvation. The Trinity is LOVE expressed as the WORD and given VOICE to us. Because the Spirit of God is the voice of God, he is able to speak to the spirit in a man who is receptive to his voice. The Bible’s writers were such men because the Spirit came upon them and their spirits were awakened by the Holy Spirit. Therefore the Spirit was instrumental in spiritually guiding the biblical authors. Luther calls the Bible “the book of the Holy Spirit.” What Reason and Tradition say about Inspiration!

Other than the Bible itself and personal experience giving witness that it is inspired, how do we know that God had anything to do with the Bible? What do we base our claims on when we say the Holy Spirit inspired it, and that God wanted mankind to have the Bible? After all, maybe it is just a book of writings by people who felt they had something to say! Well, our response is that there are some things about the Bible that make it a book that just cannot be explained in any other way than to say God had his hand upon it. These things are not the kinds of things which ordinary men could affect without the aid of God. And, by and large, they also indicate that the Bible also stands apart from what is found in other “sacred” literature as well. 1. Prophecies: The Bible is filled with prophecies which have proven to be true. 2. Looking backwards, from the NT to the OT, we see Christ the Messiah in every book of the Bible. The Old Testament allusions, types, figures, shadows and appearances of Christ the Messiah are all fulfilled in the New. This is a remarkable occurrence, in that among 66 diverse books and some 37 diverse authors, written over more than a 1000 years, each book alludes to the Messiah in some form or another. The Bible is all about Jesus Christ! He is the heart of the Trinity’s plan of restoring and saving mankind. He is the Savior! The presence of Christ throughout the Bible is sometimes quite visible and clear. Sometimes the plan of salvation centered in Christ seems to disappear among the many other stories and events in the Bible, some significant and some less so! This is particularly true of the Old Testament writings. Yet Christ continues to be seen from book to book, from Genesis through to Revelations. There is a chain of links which runs throughout the Bible. Every link is a sign, a hint, a type, a metaphor; many times it is a prophecy which shows Christ the Messiah. There are hundreds of examples of this Christ-chain I could site. Here are just a sample! In Adam, Melchizedek, Isaac, Joseph, in Abel’s offering we see the Lamb of God (Gen 4:4). All the Covenants God made with man are types of the sacrifice of Christ to come, (Gen 8:20; 25:9-18; Heb 7:22). The Blood is a sure type of Christ, (Gen 9:4). The Ark is a symbol of salvation through Christ (Gen 6). Christ is known as the Angel of Jehovah in Gen 16:7-14 and the angel or man who wrestled with Jacob in Gen 32, and the angel of God in the burning bush. Christ is the Passover Lamb in Exodus (1 Cor 5:7-8; Ex. 12:3,5,7,20). Christ is seen in all its rich detail in the various articles and parts of the Tabernacle, the Veil, the High Priest, the offerings for sin, the Cloud and the Fire guiding the Israelites through the desert, the Water and the Manna, the Brazen Serpent, and the Captain of the Lord’s Host. Moses, David, Samson and so many others represent the Christ. Of course we find Christ throughout the Psalms and Prophecies. Jesus Christ is the thread running through the whole Bible! Christ said, “You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me.” Christ himself makes this abundantly clear. He says, “Abraham rejoiced to see my day”, “Moses wrote of me”, “David called me Lord”, “This day is the Scripture fulfilled in your ears”, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.” He says, “Have you not read? “It is written”, The Scriptures testify of me”, “The Scriptures cannot be broken”.

“He said to them, "How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to

believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?" And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.” The key to the Bible is Jesus Christ. He said to his disciples after his resurrection, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms." Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, "This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.”

3. Christians believe that the nature of God as a Trinity was revealed by Christ in the NT. Through the eyes of faith and the revelation of the Holy Spirit, the Trinitarian nature of God is revealed, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.” And, as will be shown, there is a Trinitarian structure to the Bible. I call this the Bible Tree. 4. We see how the Holy Spirit is like a two-edged sword and is revealed in the Bible. He quickens the Word of God in at least twelve ways and applies it to the heart of the person who is in Christ. He counsels, corrects, convicts, converts, comforts, cleanses, convinces, causes us to confess sin, communes with us, and conforms us to the restored image of God in Christ.

5. I believe another sign of the divine inspiration of the Bible is the fact the Bible has the power to do just what it says it will do. That is, the power to awaken a spiritually dead soul to life and impart a new birth. See Romans 10:9-11,17; John 3:3, 1 Peter 1:3-5). “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great
mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade— kept in heaven for you, 5who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.” Also, “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.”

6. The fact that a person without the Holy Spirit does not experience the Word as the Living Word of God, but only those with the Holy Spirit, is an unmistakable sign that the Bible is both inspired and understood under the Spirit’s guidance. The Bible is a sealed book to the person who does not hold the key of God’s Holy Spirit dwelling in him. 7. The preservation of the Bible over many centuries and many attacks. This indestructibility is another sign of its inspiration by God. 8. The worldwide impact and influence of the Bible over many centuries on so many lives. 9. Its perennial relevance to people of varies cultures in every age. 10. Its proven soundness and realism for living a morally wholesome life. These are ten of many other reasonable areas of evidence, which also have been traditionally shared by Christians, and which speak strongly to me that God had his hand on the formation and inspiration of the Bible which I hold in my hands.

The Bible Tree!
I want to share a view of the Bible which I have found most helpful and practical in understanding and interpreting the Bible. The view is to think of the Bible as a tree. God loves all people whom he created. But people had become alienated from him by asserting their independence from Him which was inherited from our first parents. Adam and Eve were tempted to be as “gods” and wanted to think of themselves as no longer in need of God; no longer dependent upon Him. The whole human race fell into thinking that they could live without God, only to experience increasing emptiness and alienation in themselves and from others. They found themselves caught up in various sins and dysfunctional lifestyles. Paul lists them: The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. And in another place he says, “Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” But God had a plan by which he could establish a new relationship with himself, settling the penalty of sin and the power of sin. That plan meant a restoring of all people to a full and fulfilling relationship to Himself - Father, Son and Spirit – as his adopted children. Hebrews 2:9-10 says, “We do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he

suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone………..bringing many sons and daughters to glory.” God wanted the story of His love-plan written down in black and white - not just orally passed down - for all to see and study, teach and share, in all ages, across the centuries. The Bible is all about God’s love-plan of our restoration. The Bible Tree! The Bible can be illustrated as a Tree with three main parts which represent this plan of God. These three phases of the plan (trunk and two major branches) cover the whole span of Genesis through Revelations, show the work of each Person of the Holy Trinity, and begin to reveal the nature of God as a Trinity. As on any tree, there are many branches and twigs that make up the Bible, but we need to keep a clear focus on these three main parts. The Tree Trunk The trunk of the tree represents the Old Testament. It shows the reality that the Father promised, prepared and prophesied the plan of restoration even before creation. The whole of the Old Testament (Genesis to Malachi) tells us this plan in five books: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. (1) The Plan is initiated in these first five books of the Bible called the Torah. The word Torah means "teaching," "instruction,” or "law" in Hebrew. It is also known as the Five Books of Moses, or the Law. A summary of this section might be that it shows how difficult it is for people to maintain a relationship with God based on externals, even when God provided them with a separate identity, a law, a priesthood, a book of worship, a system of sacrifice, feast days, a guided pilgrimage to a promised land of their own, commandments and statutes. And yet, there is still constant sinning, idolatry and backsliding. The (2) second OT section is a continuation of the History of God’s relationship with His chosen people through leadership of Joshua, judges, a kinsman redeemer, kings and spiritual leaders like Samuel, Saul, David and the kingdom, Solomon, Elijah, Elisha, the divided kingdoms, the Temple, Captivity, Ezra, Nehemiah and Esther. The (3) third section of the OT is called Poetry. It is edification, including the poetic books of Job, the psalms, the proverbs, Ecclesiastes and the Song of Solomon. The (4) last section are the books of the five major Prophets and the twelve minor prophets. Throughout these sections are found continuous allusions, illustrations, types, appearances and a foreshadowing of the Messiah and Savior to come, Jesus Christ, the Son of God. The Right Main Branch of the Tree! The plan (right main branch) is enabled by the advent of the Son of God. Hebrews 1:1-3 says, “In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by

his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word”. The restoration and salvation of mankind is enabled and accomplished in the birth, life, wonderful teaching, preaching, healing, deliverance, miraculous power and authority over nature and even death. It is completed in the suffering, death, resurrection and ascension of God’s Son and perfect image, Jesus Christ, as told in the four gospels. The Left Main Branch of the Tree! Then, (left main branch) with the ascension of Christ, the Holy Spirit is poured out upon the apostles and disciples. He enacts the gospel to be preached throughout the world until the time of Christ’s return. All this and more is reported in the Book of Acts, Paul’s letters to the churches and letters to various people, in the writings of the other apostles, through to the Book of Revelations. It is the work of the Holy Spirit to enact what Christ enabled and the Father initiated. Like a living tree, the Bible is the living written Word of God. Like a tree, the Bible bears fruit in the lives of those who read, meditate and study it under the Spirit’s guidance. Like a tree, the Bible is experienced as many spiritual changes, seasons, and growth in the Christian’s life. . Understanding the Bible in this three-fold manner is to realize that the Bible is the work of the Three Person God, the Trinity, and is a revelation of God the Trinity. The Bible is essentially a book about the Trinity God. The Father is predominantly revealed and seen in the Old Testament. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is predominantly revealed and seen in the four gospels. The Holy Spirit is predominantly revealed and seen in the epistle letters and the revelations.

This is how I interpret the Bible!

The Bible is from God, by God, and to me, for my spiritual instruction and growth. When I open my Bible to study, share, teach it, preach it, meditate or pray, the first thing I recall is that this is The Word of God. The words I am about to read are inspired by God and the whole book is an inspired gift of God who desires to speak to me in what I read. This is a holy book! This is the Holy Bible! Opening this book is unlike opening any other book; for when I open this book, God is ready and waiting to talk with me and me with Him. Therefore what I read is always a potential personal encounter with my Father God who desires to speak with me through the Spirit of his Son. I hold a reverence and respect for the Bible; and I expect and anticipate meeting God. Therefore I approach it in faith, in trust, and in love. It is a spiritual book with a spiritual message. I do not open the Bible to study geology, anthropology, psychology, philosophy or the sciences. If it speaks of these areas, it does so in a spiritual manner. I do not open the Bible to study history, cultures, sociology or archaeology. If it speaks of these areas it does so only to support and elaborate its central spiritual message. All talk about the Bible in relation to these areas of research and study may be interesting, but they neither substantially add to, nor detract from the Bible’s spiritual and moral instruction and purpose. The Word of God must be viewed as a whole. I know and see the Bible as a whole, for there is a unity to the Bible. A common practice among those who would discredit the Bible and the Christian faith, is to select a particular passage and hold it up against some widely held humanistic assumption, and ask how such a passage can be defended. This is the frequent approach, for instance, of those who are critical of the creation account of Genesis concerning the universe and man’s origin. In such cases, the Bible’s defender must know enough about the whole Bible in order to explain any one part or