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I just started going to church and I know nothing about the Bible. I was not raised in a church environment. I would like to learn. If my pastor asks us to turn to a certain place in the Bible, I have no idea where it is or how to get there, so I just don’t take a Bible with me; I just listen. Where do I begin? Some of the great characteristics of the Bible are its complexity, depth, and sheer volume. God did not send just a little information, but He sent us everything He wanted us to have in this life to learn about Him, His love for us, His provision of salvation, and how to live life victoriously through Him. And thankfully, the Bible isn’t a book that you can read through once and set aside saying, “That’s done.” Quite the contrary! If you ask any elderly man or woman who has given their life to living for God and studying His Word, they will likely tell you they have merely scratched the surface of it, though perhaps they have read it through hundreds of times! You have decided that you would like to learn the Bible, and I want to encourage you with a few thoughts on why Bible study is profitable, how to begin, and what you can do when questions arise.
WHY LEARN THE BIBLE?
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: (2 Timothy 3:16All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: See All...) The first thing to do if you want to learn the Bible is to recognize that it is God’s personal message to His human creation. In it are the words of life! He chose to use men to put it on paper, but every word is exactly what He intended. Secondly, realize that the Bible is both written for all people and, at the same time, specifically for you. It is an
God has established preaching as a means for spreading the Gospel (1 Corinthians 1:21For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God.) Listening to the preacher during church is a good priority. whether those things were so. you have a responsibility to make sure what you hear from any pulpit (or read on the web or in another book. Much like a parent requiring his child to do homework. and much more.. rightly dividing the word of truth..). See All. Knowing these things should make opening God’s Word an exciting venture on a personal level.) God has commanded us to study His word. The Lord wants us to be joyful. However. in that they received the word with all readiness of mind. Be concerned and raise . if the effort is neglected.. etc.) agrees with what you read in the Bible. and searched the scriptures daily. not any man or woman. (2 Timothy 2:15Study to shew thyself approved unto God. a workman that needeth not to be ashamed. rightly dividing the word of truth. fruitful. See All. an historical record. so He gave us a book full of great truths to help us achieve those things. that is not to say that you can’t trust your pastor or someone else who may be teaching you. it is not done so to be overbearing or unreasonable. because the parent knows what benefit it will bring the child…and what detriment. The Bible is the ultimate authority on truth. and at peace with Him.instruction manual. but out of love. These were more noble than those in Thessalonica. (Acts 17:11These were more noble than those in Thessalonica. See All.. a love letter. it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. whether those things were so. a workman that needeth not to be ashamed.. in that they received the word with all readiness of mind. Now. It is only to say that you should verify what you hear by God’s own words. and searched the scriptures daily.. since God has also provided you with a copy of His Word. Study to shew thyself approved unto God.
I recommend bringing a notebook and a pen to church. but I promise it is worth it. Make some notes about the content of those first verses and any names mentioned. In the front of your Bible there should be a listing of all the books found in the Old and New Testaments. make your own list. Read through the list once a day for a while. but that doesn’t mean God agrees with us. We all like to espouse our opinions. Check out our article on the “Seven Natural Divisions of the Bible”. that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law. . that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law. God will reward your desire to study His word. Flip through the pages to find the beginning of each Book.. God has the ability and the desire to help you. This will start to give you an idea of the length of each book and where it falls relative to the front and back covers of your Bible.) Begin every effort to study the Bible with prayer. Pray for clarification. Get a second or third opinion.. the more. You could also set out to read the first few verses of each book over the course of a week. Be wary of any preaching or teaching that isn’t backed up by specific verses. The very best way to begin learning the Bible is to spend time in it.questions when you hear or read something that doesn’t agree with the Bible. See All. you will begin to see things that catch your eye – interesting verses and stories. so ask. if necessary. If not. Throughout your efforts. HOW TO BEGIN Open thou mine eyes. the better. These exercises are to help you become more familiar with your Bible. and look them up later at your own pace. Make note of any references that you would like to read for yourself. Bible study requires time and effort. Until you become more familiar with the Bible and more skilled at turning to particular verses. (Psalm 119:18Open thou mine eyes.
(1 Thessalonians 5:24Faithful is he that calleth you. Understandest thou what thou readest? And he said.) When I first started reading the Bible. He really loved God’s Word. and heard him read the prophet Esaias. think about why God chose to include the things He did.. try Genesis. That’s one way God works in the hearts of his children. What a glorious day that was! Faithful is he that calleth you. (Acts 8:30-31  And Philip ran thither to him. You’ll be surprised how God’s word begins to pop into your mind throughout today. As you read.Don’t be afraid to jump around in your study. except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him. except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him. and he always took the time to help me understand what I was reading. Eventually. In the Old Testament. Do you see any application to your own life? Write down any verses that have special significance to you and try memorizing them. this friend showed me from God’s word how I could be saved. who also will do it. WHERE TO GO FOR HELP And Philip ran thither to him. that is not its purpose. See All. and said. You don’t have to sit down and read the Bible from front to back in that order. once I understood enough of the Bible to realize I was a sinner in need of salvation through Jesus Christ. that I almost gave up.. And. Understandest thou what thou readest?  And he said. I had a lot of basic questions. I went to him with many of my questions. How can I. . in fact. and said. but it really is full of many of the Bible stories I remember hearing as a child. who also will do it. and heard him read the prophet Esaias. Then I met someone who really seemed to know a lot about the Bible and believe it with his whole heart. How can I. I know it’s the first book. so many. Just open it and read! The book of John is a great place to start. although the Bible can be very entertaining to read.
the writing even seemed confusing.) Ask others whom you trust to be knowledgeable believers of God’s Word. God does not expect you to know everything about the Bible right away. as always. Do some research on LearnTheBible. as long as you are seeking to learn. and a light unto my path. He will make sure you continue to grow. See All. Ask your pastor or Sunday School teacher to explain confusing verses or passages. I look forward to spending the rest of my life seeking and discovering His truth! The characteristics of God's revelation So how would God authenticate His message so that skeptics could be sure the Bible was truly from God and not just the writings of mere men? Here are several key points. asking God to help you learn the Bible and understand the truth of His word. Then.See All. It would be almost impossible for that many people to write one continuous story containing a single message without contradiction unless . and a light unto my path. I am fully persuaded that He will provide you with the help you need. Imagine the result of different people continuing a story starter like this over centuries resulting in one unified message.) Before I was saved. Now. “Lord.. He will see that you have just what you need. (Some of your questions may be addressed on our site. I was reading it as I would any other book. However. Write down any questions that you have while studying the Bible.) If you pray. repetitive.org. The Bible was written by about 40 different authors (the exact number is not certain) over a span of 1600 years. I would open my Bible and read.. then set out to find the answers. but there was nothing special about it. and without order. Often. You've seen those story starters that ask you to continue the story. (Psalm 119:105Thy word is a lamp unto my feet.. It is a life-long pursuit. FINAL THOUGHTS Thy word is a lamp unto my feet. verify what you read or hear with what the Bible says. I want to understand what you have written – please help me!” It wasn’t until I showed God my sincerity that He began to bless me with some answers.. but it is not like any other book! Then I sincerely prayed to God. And remember. saying. 1.
God chose one group or family of peoples to record and carefully guard His message to the world. A careful study of the original Hebrew manuscripts reveal unique mathematical designs. Even when a few authors write about a single event. Hundreds of detailed prophecies were fulfilled exactly as described up to hundreds of years after those predictions were made. 4. and many Christians reject the idea that they exist.inspired by God. The wisdom of the Bible continues to transcend all of man's wisdom. He chose the Jewish people. Through a unique. The Bible contains advanced medical and sanitation knowledge that was thousands of years ahead of its time. but that it remained completely unchanged throughout all the centuries. Over 24. 3. a number of contradictory accounts are created. This medical knowledge from the Bible continues to be corroborated by the most sophisticated new medical science. 2. Authors recording typical human history always try to present themselves in the best light possible. 6. Some were calculated to the exact day of the future event. Although some mathematicians are convinced that these codes are simply random occurances. Hundreds of the commands revealed by Moses refer to sophisticated medical knowledge of bacterial infection and other issues. This is significant. no relevant codes of this type have been found in other books despite numerous attempts to do so. Since many different authors wrote the books of the Bible. None of the guidelines for living contained in the Bible have been proven to be less than ideal at any point in human history. They would quickly be discrediting previous authors as new discoveries are made. Imagine a group of doctors over a thousand-year period writing on the subject of medical practice. The writers of the Bible present themselves with all their faults and weaknesses. these writers maintained a remarkable level of accuracy as these accounts were transmitted over many generations. In addition. a small defined race that maintained its identity over many centuries. No one but God can predict the future. there is no human explanation for these mathematical intricacies except divine inspiration. There continue to be hundreds of times as many original manuscripts of the biblical records as there are of any other historical book from equivalent time periods. 7. This fact demonstrates not only that the Bible was the most significant book at any point in history. Yet the Bible contains no accounts that have been proven to be genuine contradictions. because it runs against human nature to find authors revealing themselves with such candor. These sequences are so complex that no human could possibly have produced them. Naturally. but recorded in a permanent written form capable of being examined and read by the writer's contemporaries and every generation from every race that was to come in the future. even today. God's divine communication to the human race was transmitted by divine inspiration to individual writers. 5. highly sophisticated language. The Bible contains information that could not have been written by any person without divine inspiration. the biblical revelations contain intricate details that have been verified with secular archeological records. . by any civilization. God inspired biblical writers to record His infinite wisdom and truth. Only a few minor questions can even be raised about specific points that are mentioned by certain writers and left out in other accounts.000 manuscripts of the New Testament alone exist today despite the fact that the Roman emperors attempted to kill all Christians and burn their books. such as WW2. proving the overall truthfulness of the historical accounts.
1963). Neither India nor China can produce anything similar.”—The Biblical Period From Abraham to Ezra (New York: Harper. There is nothing like it in the tradition of the Germanic peoples. the real author of God’s Word. we look in vain for anything comparable. its unity is amazing. compared with other ancient writings. There is unity in its theme: The Messiah is promised throughout the Old Testament and declared in every New Testament book to have come in the person of Jesus Christ. “Hebrew national tradition excels all other in its clear picture of tribal and family origins. In Egypt and Babylonia. William F. wrote.There are a number of important characteristics of the Bible that should hold our attention. For example. • • Posted by UDDY on January 2. (3) Its survival: The Bible. there are more than five thousand known Greek manuscripts of the New Testament in existence. the greatest archaeologist of the twentieth century. 27. considering that it was written by approximately forty authors over a period of nearly sixteen hundred years. Homer’s Iliad is second with only 643 manuscripts that have survived. . The plan of salvation is revealed progressively from Genesis to Revelation. who inspired all the human authors. (2) The history it portrays: The Old Testament embodies the oldest history of any people in the world. p. Torch Book. Albright. The reason for this phenomenon is the Holy Spirit. has more manuscript evidence than any other piece of classical literature—in spite of early attempts by Roman emperors to destroy it. However. And there is complete harmony of teaching: The doctrines of the Old and New Testament are the same. in Greece and Rome. He ensured that the biblical historians presented an accurate picture. and He watched over the history and preservation of the Bible. in Assyria and Phoenicia. 2009 at 8:38am in Spirit and Self View Discussions (1) Its unity: The Bible at first sight appears to be merely a collection of ancient literature.
who spreads abroad the earth by myself.” Ezra 1:2-4. in Ezra 2:2-4. He penned these words around 716BC (Verifiable dates of Isaiah’s life. Ahaz and Hezekiah. Now this is history. it’s in the history books as well as recorded here in the Bible. 740BC through time of Sennacherib’s death. let the men of his place help him with silver and gold. which is in Jerusalem. who stretches out the heavens all alone. Isaiah was a prophet of God writing from the southern kingdom of Judah Why do during the reigns of Uzziah. And he was commanded me to build him a house at Jerusalem which is in Judah. Jotham. Who is among you of all his people? May his God be with him. ‘Your foundation shall be laid. Ezra is one of the historic books of the Bible. established as having lived some 116 years before Cyrus many was born. and let him go up to Jerusalem which is in Judah and build the house of the LORD God of Israel (he is God). One of the greatest proofs that the Bible is indeed the Word of God is the internal evidences of inspiration found in fulfilled prophecy that is now part of the history books. Isaiah is known to have lived during the reigns stretching from Uzziah to Hezekiah. and is verifiable in secular history.…who says of Cyrus. Manasseh. And whoever is left in any place where he dwells. 28. besides freewill offerings for the house of God which is in Jerusalem.’ and to the temple. God’s own proof of the Bible “Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: All the kingdoms of the earth the LORD God of heaven has given me. death of Uzziah. and he shall perform all my pleasure. ‘He is my shepherd. You may be thinking.Fulfilled Prophecy. Isaiah penned what follows 116 years before Cyrus was born and 180 years before the event recorded in Ezra 1:2-4 occurred! “I am the L ORD who makes all things. . and was killed by Hezekiah’s evil son. ‘You shall be built. saying to Jerusalem. This is the proclamation by Cyrus to release the people of Judah.’” Isaiah 44:24. old stuff. the Jews from their Babylonian captivity. ‘So what? What does this have to do with proving the Bible is God’s inspired Word and not the writings of some nomadic wondering Jews? Let’s establish a few facts.
5. Africa. for correction. 1:21). for reproof. "For prophecy never came by the will of man. etc. for instruction in righteousness" (2 Tim. (f) Written during different moods — sometimes in joy others in sadness. philosophers. 24:37-38. 3:16). peasants. One of the most unique characteristics about the Bible which shows a divine origin. one must also bring an equal weight of confidence to the credibility of the Bible from which He based His teachings. that they were authoritative. John 6:49. (b) Written over 40 generations. statesmen. According to Christian apologist. (g) Written on three continents (Asia. and Greek) To illustrate the phenomenal harmony of scripture. which means "God breathed. Matt. claims to be the truly inspired word of God. and conveys one consistent theme throughout: God's redemption of man. is its unity despite its diverse. Luke 17:28-31. It was composed by dozens of different authors who lived hundreds of years apart. (c) Written by over 40 authors from every walk of life including kings. and is profitable for doctrine. scholars. (d) Written in different places — everywhere from dungeons to palaces.¹ this remarkable trait of scripture is retained throughout. (e) Written at different times — sometimes in war others in peace. Luke 24:27). 19:4. (3) The Bible's Harmony. and Europe) (h) Written in three languages (Hebrew. and continually quoted from them (Matt. composite structure. The foundation for this belief comes from the combination of many overwhelming facts: (1) The Testimony of Scripture. but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit" (2 Pet. The term "inspiration" comes from the Greek. infallible Word. the scripture says. Jesus endorsed the reliability of the scriptures by repeated claims that God was the author.churches use the Bible as their sole source of teaching? Christian churches of an evangelical base generally use the Bible as the sole authority for their beliefs and practices because they accept the Bible as God's inspired. If one has confidence in Christ's infallibility. McDowell tells the story of his encounter with a sales representative of the "Great Books of The Western . even though it was: (a) Written during a span of 1. THEOPNEUSTOS. The Bible itself. Yet the Bible speaks with complete harmony from Genesis to Revelation. "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God. poets. who spoke different languages and lived in different cultures. Luke 4:1-13. (2) The Testimony of Jesus. fishermen. Josh McDowell.500 years." Elsewhere. Aramaic.
ordering the razing of churches to the ground and the destruction by fire of the scriptures. Yet the Bible is still loved by millions. Yet. "No! You would have a conglomeration. an imperial letter was everywhere promulgated. Roman Emperor Diocletian issued an edict pronouncing the obliteration of Christianity. Bernard Ramm. and since then more than ." a series of writings by some of the great philosophers of ancient and modern times. (4) The Survival of Scriptures.. The Bible has been attacked by atheistic philosophies. In 303 A. The noted theologian. scrutinized. then replied. and proclaiming that those who held high positions would lose all civil rights.. all powerful God behind its construction and composition.D. modernists. only fifty years after his death the Geneva Bible Society actually used his own press and house to produce scores of Bibles. However. The Bible continues to be the best selling book in history." And yet it was his successor. There is no other literature in history that has been more of a target of destruction than the Bible. It has managed to survive the continual attacks of critics. (5) Enduring Acceptance. would be deprived of their liberty. "." However the Bible is far more complex and does agree. it has consistently triumphed over all its enemies. knifed. "No other book has been so chopped. No other piece of literature can compare to its widespread acceptance. And not only has it survived the determined and aggressive assaults. who issued the "Edict of Milan" only 10 years later. the same place. while those in households. The Latin Vulgate Bible was the first major book printed on the Gutenberg press in the 1450's. the same time period.World. liberal theologians. all from the same walk of life. the same language and pose to them one controversial subject. it has miraculously withstood every challenge to its survival — unquestionable evidence of divine preservation. What book on philosophy or religion or psychology or belles letters of classical or modern times has been subject to such a mass attack as the Bible? with such venom and skepticism? with such thoroughness and erudition? upon every chapter.. Would they agree? The gentleman paused. and studied by millions. scientific skeptics. sifted. and its popularity has not been eroded by time or persecution. higher criticism. It is a harmonious book covering many intricate and controversial issues. if they persisted in their profession of Christianity. This fact points to an all knowing." An example of the way the Bible outlives its critics: during the 18th century. writes in his book. He challenged the representative to take just ten of the authors. read by millions. the emperor Constantine the Great. Protestant Christian Evidences. and vilified.. communists and every conceivable brand of critic. humanists. line and tenet? .. the French infidel Voltaire confidently boasted of the eventual extinction of Christianity and the Bible. which ordered the cessation of persecution against the church (and the Bible) and legalized Christianity. rationalists.
000 manuscript copies of portions of the New Testament in existence today. long before man knew anything about bacteria. and at least 9. The accuracy of translation and the massive amount of manuscripts in existence.000 of the Latin Vulgate." And another notable president. Scores of great historical figures have accepted and staked their honor upon their confidence in the Bible. because you will have found it the key to your own heart." The father of our nation. the progress of science only continues to confirm the scriptures' accuracy. It has been translated. you will know it is the Word of God. Woodrow Wilson. Homer's Iliad. wrote "It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible. Had this direction been followed by the people of Europe in the middle ages.¹ No other document of antiquity even comes close to such numbers or attestation.300 other early versions. "There are more sure marks of authenticity in the Bible than in any other profane history. For example.300 known Greek manuscripts of the New Testament. 23:1213). wrote. your own happiness. gives tremendous credence to the divine authorship and preservation of the Bible. would not have killed thousands.³ As we know from history. another ancient writing. 40:22). and your own duty. made this profound statement: "When you have read the Bible. . entirely or in part. No other book comes close to its popularity and circulation. Sir Isaac Newton. and we have more than 24. no fact or discovery of science has ever disproven any of the claims of the Bible. is second with only 643 manuscripts that still survive. All the good from the Savior of the world is communicated to us through this book. which spread from the open sewers flowing freely in the city streets. the infamous black plague. both great and common. This prevented the spread of deadly disease."² The uniqueness of the Bible's long-standing acceptance by millions. there are over 5. over 10. God commanded the Israelites to remove human waste and bury it outside the camp (Deut. The great scientist. (6) Manuscript Accuracy." Abraham Lincoln said. According to McDowell. George Washington. and its durability throughout the centuries attests to its divine origin and preservation. "I believe the Bible is the best gift God has ever given to man.seven billion copies have been printed. Despite efforts to the contrary. into nearly nineteen hundred languages or dialects. The Bible has more manuscript evidence supporting its reliability and accuracy that any ten pieces of ancient literature combined. (7) Scientific Accuracy. but the Bible had already declared that the earth was round (Isa. In fact. it was 15th century explorers that discovered that the world wasn't flat as had been thought. In comparison.
the same as 1 followed by 17 zeros. We conceive that it is impossible for the Word of God written in the book of nature. chance or human manipulation in the fulfillment of biblical prophecy. such as Ptolemy who established the number at 1. but as far back as 600 B. events and times. places. prediction of the overthrow of the city of Tyre (Ezek.056.C. An example of such involves the 6th century B. the prophet Jeremiah revealed that the number of stars were innumerable (Jer. we know that such estimates were futile. and each were later fulfilled to the letter during the 4th century B. This is the equivalent of . Simply stated. He computed the odds at 1 in 10 (17th power). Perhaps one of science's most amazing testimonies of its interface with the Bible is contained in a document found in the Bodleian Library of Oxford. or qualifications.Before the invention of the telescope. By this method. The following statement was signed by eight hundred of Great Britain's scientists: "We the undersigned. In the book."² (8) Prophetic Accuracy. and were found to be sound and convincing. and God's Word written in Holy scripture. The mathematical probability of this happening by mere chance has been calculated to be 1 in 75. he was able to show evidence that would rule out coincidence. There are hundreds of prophecies in the Bible which list specific detail in regard to persons. 26:1-21). desire to express our sincere regret that researchers into scientific truth are perverted by some in our own times into occasion for casting doubt upon the truth and authenticity of the Holy scriptures. and history has repeatedly shown such prophecies relating to the past were fulfilled in the most exact of terms (as they will also for future events). gazers tried to count the number of stars that filled the skies. Today.C. requirements. Perhaps the most amazing series of prophetic fulfillments involves the numerous Messianic predictions concerning Christ. His findings were carefully evaluated by the American Scientific Affiliation. These not only bear proof of His divine authenticity. Stoner started by calculating the probability of one individual who could precisely fulfill only eight prophecies relating to Christ. Students of the natural sciences.000.C. England. Science Speaks. this law is used to calculate the odds against a "chance" fulfillment of such predictions when compounded by a specific set of conditions.000." to assess some of the prophecies relating to Christ. Professor Peter Stoner used the mathematical principle called "the Law of Compound Probability. 33:22). The fulfillment of Bible prophecy is one of the greatest proofs of the authenticity of God's Word. but they also help substantiate the divine authorship of the Bible. The Old Testament contains 332 specific prophecies which were fulfilled by Christ. Seven specific things were predicted. to contradict one another.
Christ's resurrection confirmed that Jesus is who He claimed to be. The discoveries of archaeology have consistently. "it may be stated categorically that no archaeological discovery has ever controverted a biblical reference. And yet in Joshua 6:20 we read ". strangled and burned to death in 1536 for translating the Bible into the language of ordinary people."¹ (10) Sacrifice of Martyrs. If the Bible was a mere book. Millions have laid down their lives in defense of the Bible. the renowned Jewish archaeologist wrote." Why so unusual? Because the walls of cities do not fall outwards. and instructing a blindfolded man to pick the right silver dollar on the first try. torture. specially marking one of them. Foxes Book of Martyrs describes scores of believers who historically endured banishments. (11) The Resurrection of Jesus.the wall fell down flat. . civilizations and cities. John Hus was burned at the stake in 1415 because he taught that the Bible was the only inspired and reliable message from God to man. This figure is astronomical and beyond human comprehension. spoke to. but Christ fulfilled over 300 distinct prophecies. Among other evidence. (9) Archaeological Evidence. The fact of the resurrection can be proven by many "infallible proofs" (Acts 1:3). There has never been a discovery which has contradicted a scriptural reference."¹ During the excavations of Jericho archaeologist John Garstang found something so starling that a statement of what was found was prepared and signed by himself and two other members of his team. Garstang said. and ate with him. persons would not have been willing to throw away their lives for a book of fairy tales. there remains no doubt: the walls fell outwards so completely that the attackers would be able to clamber up and over their ruins into the city. confiscation of property. proving the divine authorship of scripture beyond any doubt. He calculated the odds at 1 X 10 (to the 157th power) — or 1 followed by 157 zeros. ongoing research continues to show that the Bible was correct about its references to historical figures. so that the people went up into the city every man straight ahead. the Bible has spoken to men's hearts and changed their lives. 15:6) who touched. and continually verified the reliability of the Bible. without the attestation of such remarkable internal and external proofs. and that His own statements regarding scripture are reliable. therefore they know it is true and have been willing to die for it. William Tyndale was tried as a heretic. and they took the city. Dr. "As to the main fact then. they fall inwards. In reference to these findings.. Nelson Glueck.. The appearance of Christ after the resurrection was verified by more than 500 eyewitnesses (1 Cor. and imprisonment rather than to deny their confidence in the Holy Scripture.covering the entire state of Texas 2 feet deep in silver dollars. Stoner then computed the odds of one individual that could fulfill just 48 prophecies relating to Christ. and to this day.
spiritual man. (People often prefer to focus on trivial matters. so that it can communicate the message that God wanted to communicate. or religious background. and then criticize the Bible for not being written that way. since it is already written in the best form possible. even though they do not say things the way people often want them to be said.) It cannot be corrected since it is already correct in its entirety. vocation. (People often choose a method or a literary structure that they think is best. Rather. It wants to make these changes within all the contexts of life . precise. Millions of born again Christians are a testimony of the transforming power of God's Word. "systematic" manner. social class. and it often disagrees with the opinions and viewpoints that people have invented. age. it speaks to the heart and bears witness to our inner.¹ (12) Personal witness and Transformation. When one reads the scripture. despite whatever differences of sex. nationality. intellect. culture.The number of witnesses." which we can interpret in whatever way we want. along with his conduct. The form in which the words of Scripture have been given is the best form possible for accomplishing this task. What people want and what they need are two different things.even those not explicitly mentioned. (People often criticize the Bible. to the point. The Bible has produced the same life changing effect upon the lives of millions all over the world.) It cannot be improved in the form in which it was given to us. because it doesn't present issues the way they want them to be presented. This attests that it is a communication of God designed to speak to the heart of man — and that message changes and transforms lives. Authorities claim more evidence of the resurrection than any other event in history. and it does so in the best way possible. we can trust God to . together with the circumstances and various appearances provide powerful proofs that the resurrection was not a hoax or plot. while ignoring what the Bible says is of greater importance.) • • It is important to remember that the intended purpose of the message is not to distribute a sterile list of doctrinal facts in an easy-to-memorize. its purpose is to change a person's whole perspective on reality. These witnesses were of high moral integrity and many were executed for their defense of the resurrection. Nor it its purpose to give us a collection of "inspirational stories. The books of the Bible are totally perfect and very precise in the way they say things. These three things can be said about the Bible's message: • It is totally accurate. and it does not waste time on unimportant issues. The Bible tells us what God wants us to know. Even if we do not fully understand the reason for the way something is presented.
genealogies.and when this is the case." which appear to help in one way. If there is ever a potential for conflict or disagreement between a resource and the Bible. and the way God gave it to us. God would have included them in his Word. Yet it all comes together as a unified message from God. songs. for they are written by imperfect people. and then they are taught to others as "the Christian perspective. Note that we are not focusing on the issue of variations between manuscripts (copies of the original documents which the apostles and prophets wrote). stories. the only thing they really prove is that "God's ways are not the same as man's ways" . through approximately 40 human authors who came from many different cultures and backgrounds. The Word was given to us over a span of perhaps 20 centuries. there are none which have a significant impact on the message of the Word! (Errors of this type are just a fact of life. We who use them are also imperfect. Yet if they were really necessary. But too often. the message of the Bible as a whole must be given priority over the resource. since he didn't include them. printing presses and other forms of technology. there will be two or more groups holding contradictory viewpoints. with computers. with each claiming that the Bible promotes their own view and not the others' view! This is why many people claim (wrongfully so) that a person can prove "anything" with the Bible. who will reinterpret the Bible and then "prove" that the Bible teaches the fad they are trying to promote. to aid us in understanding the Bible. rather than being some obscure interpretation of some isolated verse or "proof text. I repeat: Errors of this type are just a fakt of life!) There are many types of "resources" and "helps" that people have written. Passages do exist. . there are often spelling errors and other types of mistakes in printed literature. As we said before.and we do not need to ignore this fact. just serve to hinder the Bible's ability to accomplish what God intends in other ways. scheme-inventors will claim that the Bible supports their view. among all these variations. It is claimed by proponents of such things that the Bible cannot be correctly understood until their own favorite "key" or "basic principle" is accepted. some resources are truly helpful. Some are helpful in certain ways . someone will come along. Other people try to make the Bible "relevant" by superimposing man-made teachings into the Bible. Many so-called "resources" have absolutely no legitimate place in the interpretation of the Bible. Frequently. they aren't really necessary. and are capable of abusing them. we can normally understand the message being communicated with no problem at all. Even today. But people normally have to be told to interpret a verse the way that the scheme promotes. Even without comparing thousands of manuscripts. and much more. rather than us! Note that we are focusing here on the message of the Word. Of course. doctrinal presentations. and it has been shown that. man's "improvements.even if those purposes involve other people. Interpretational schemes and "keys" beyond number have been invented and superimposed upon the Bible. There is history. before they will begin to "see" it that way! They will not normally reach such a conclusion by simply reading the Scriptures the way they are written.accomplish his purposes through it . Yet even these might not be perfect in all ways. poetry. they would have been strongly emphasized." We must conclude that." Whatever the latest fad is. Yet we have thousands of manuscripts available for examination. in which there are questions as to the exact wording. Furthermore. Popular religious trends and viewpoints (or even non-religious worldly ones) are suddenly "discovered. man's ways are the wrong ways." after being read-into the Bible. At times.
and they were praised for having such an attitude! Certainly Paul was a much greater "resource" than anything we have today! . They were unwilling to accept the words of the apostle Paul. until after they had compared what he said with Scripture . mentioned in Acts 17:11.We need to follow the example of the Bereans.
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