|Where Can We Find The Answers? Have you ever trusted
Of course. How much can you trust a person? Say, your friend promised to pick you up at five. Would you get ready? Do you believe your friend will be there? It obviously depends on the friend. You probably have a friend who is never on time. If he promised to pick you up at five - you won't see him until six! Probably some of your friends are more trustworthy. You might have a friend who would arrive at five o'clock sharp, and she would be upset with you if you were one minute late! "Why are we here?" "How did we get here?" and "What is our purpose?" Where can we find answers to these questions? Our source for answers must be worthy of trust. It must not speak from guesswork. We could ask our favourite professor. We might toss the idea about with our friends. Perhaps there's a book in the library on the subject. In fact, there is! The Word of God: The Bible. The Word of God? The Bible???? Hasn't that been proven false by science and history? How can a book claim to be God's Word, anyway? Some great people had this to say about the Bible: "In regard to this Great Book, I have but to say, it is the best gift God has given to man. All the good the Savior gave to the world was communicated through this book." - Abraham Lincoln, on the Bible.1 "I believe that the Word of God, whereby His will is revealed continued in revelation and tradition with Moses; and that the Scriptures were from Moses' time to the time of the Apostles and Evangelists; in whose ages, after the coming of the Holy Ghost, the teacher of all truth, the book of Scripture was shut and closed, so as to receive no new addition, and the Church hath no power after the Scriptures to teach or command anything contrary to the written word." - Sir Francis Bacon 2 "We account the Scriptures of God to be the most sublime philosophy. I find more sure marks of authenticity in the Bible than in any profane history whatsoever…" - Sir Isaac Newton2 "But, to prove Jesus Christ we have the prophecies which are good and valid proofs. And those prophecies, being fulfilled, and truly proved by the event, indicate the certainty of these truths, and therefore the truth of the divinity of Jesus Christ. In Him, and by Him, then, we know God." - Blaise Pascal2 The Bible Is … Trustworthy Science and history owe much to the Bible because it has always been far ahead of its time. Consider the scientific accuracy of the Bible. Its statements about nature predate humanity's discoveries of the scientific principles explaining them. Here are just a few examples. The existence of the water cycle: "All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again" (Ecclesiastes 1:7). The increase of entropy (disorder) in nature: "Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens are the work of thy hands. They shall perish, but thou shalt endure: yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed: But thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end" (Psalm 102:25-27). The existence of wind currents: "The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits" (Ecclesiastes 1:6). Earth hangs in space (not on a turtle): "He stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing" (Job 26:7). The vast number of stars in space: "As the host of heaven cannot be numbered, neither the sand of the sea measured:" (Jeremiah 33:22). The existence of ocean currents: "The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas" (Ps. 8:8). The Bible is accurate about the past, too. Consider the case of the Hittite empire. The Bible describes an empire of a people called Hittites who lived primarily to the north of Israel, but had colonized in parts of what would become Israel. Several Hittite men are named in the Bible including Ephron (Genesis 23:10), Ahimelech (I Samuel 26:6), and Uriah (II Samuel 11:3). Hittite women named Adah, Judith, and Bashemath are mentioned (Genesis 26:34, 36:2). Furthermore, the Hittites are referred to as a people group four times in the books of Exodus and Joshua. So, did this nation really exist? In the 1800s, the Hittite empire had not been discovered. Some used this gap in human knowledge to attack the Bible and claim it to be historically inaccurate. But in 1906, German archeologist Hugo Winckler discovered the Hittite capitol (in modern-day Turkey) and thousands of Hittite clay tablets. Further clay tablet discoveries in Egypt shed more light on the Hittite empire. Today, the existence of the Hittite people as a major empire in the Middle East is accepted as historic fact. The Bible recorded the Hittites long before archeology found them.1 The past 150 years has seen a great emphasis on archeology, especially in the Middle East. We now know more about history and the surviving records of vanished civilizations than humanity has ever known. What is the testimony of these records? Does the Bible consist of fairy-tale events in make-believe lands? No. "Dr. Nelson Glueck, probably the greatest modern authority on Israeli archeology, has said: 'No archeological discovery has ever controverted a Biblical reference. Scores of archeological findings have been made which confirm in clear outline or in exact detail historical statements in the Bible. And, by the same token, proper evaluation of Biblical descriptions has often led to amazing discoveries.'"2 The Bible is the only book that gives us a continuous history from the beginning of the world to the Babylonian empire. It covers a span of approximately 3,500 years ending around 530 BC. The Bible also gives us details of periods from the Babylonian into the first century AD. As history, the Bible is second to none! The Bible is completely accurate regarding science and history. What about creation? What about Noah's ark? We'll get started on those subjects in the next lesson. Let's consider why only the Bible, of all the religious writings on Earth, is the Word of God. The Bible Was … Given By God In II Timothy 3:16 we read, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:" The Bible refers to itself as "scripture" and makes the claim that God inspired it all. The word "inspiration" simply means that God breathed the words into the authors who penned them for us to read. There were about forty authors whom God used to write the sixty-six books that compose the Bible. The Bible tells us that there is a God in Heaven who desires to communicate with us. Further, the Bible describes this God so that we may know Him and come to have a personal relationship with Him. In II Peter 1:21 we read, "For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." The Bible uses the phrase "saith the LORD" 815 times. God wanted us to know that this was His message. Hebrews 1:1-2 says, "God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;" God has a message for humanity. He spoke directly through His prophets. He sent His Son with His message. And He used humans to record His message for us: the Bible. The Bible Is … Preserved By God God promised He would preserve His Word. "In a very real sense, the Bible is a TIMELESS BOOK, that is, it will never have an end. It will never cease to exist. There will never be a year or a century, either now or in the future, when it can be accurately said, 'The Bible is no more. It has disappeared. It has evaporated.'"3 Consider Psalm 105:8, "He hath remembered his covenant for ever, the word which he commanded to a thousand generations." The Psalmist wrote this passage about 1000 BC, roughly 3000 years ago. If a generation is roughly 20 years, we are only 150 generations from the Psalmist! Even if this "thousand generations" is a figure of speech, it must mean a long time, approaching forever. Speaking of forever, let's look at Psalm 119:89, "For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven." From this verse, we see that God has a permanent message established in Heaven. Jesus spoke of God's Word as a permanent message to humanity that would not be destroyed, "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled" (Matthew 5:17-18). Jesus promised His words would be preserved, "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away" (Matthew 24:35). The Bible we have today is translated from copies of manuscripts. The original written documents no longer exist. So how do we know that God kept His promises? Consider the book of Isaiah, a major prophet in the Old Testament of the Bible. Prior to 1947, the earliest copy of Isaiah known to exist dated about AD 900. In 1947, the Dead Sea scrolls were discovered in Qumran, Israel. These scrolls were copies from about 100 BC, 1000 years before our most recent copies. A complete scroll of the prophet Isaiah was found in this collection which is nearly identical (spelling changes and extraneous markings aside) to the texts our Bible is based on.4 This scroll is known as the Great Scroll of Isaiah and resides in Jerusalem. Visitors can see it at the Shrine of the Book. God promised it, and God did it! Believe it or not, for 1000 years God preserved His Word, and in recent times gave us proof of it. Surely if God could use humanity to preserve Isaiah, the rest of His message has been preserved as well. The Bible is … One Book With Many Parts Do you have a Bible handy? If not, please grab one. Now, open your Bible to the table of contents near the front. You will notice that the Bible is divided into two parts, the Old Testament and the New Testament. We'll abbreviate Old Testament as OT and New Testament as NT. There are sixty-six books in the Bible, thirty-nine in the OT and twenty-seven in the NT. The "Old" is God's message to humanity which He gave through the nation of Israel. It can be easily divided into four parts: The Law, History, Poetry, And messages of the Prophets. The "New" is God's message about Jesus Christ the savior of humanity who fulfilled the OT law and prophecy. It can also be easily divided: The Gospels - the life of Jesus Christ, History of the early church, Doctrinal letters which explain and clarify truths, And Prophecy (God foretelling future history). Next, open your Bible to the book of Genesis, chapter one. You already noticed that each book of the Bible is divided into chapters. Each chapter is subdivided into verses. This was done about 1000 years ago to help us quickly locate Bible teachings. You might have a Bible that has notes and references. These are often in a center column between the verses or on the outside columns of the page. None of these notes are God-inspired Scripture. They were added as helps. They may be a great help, or they might just be confusing. As we study together, we are going to get to know the God of the Bible. His Word can answer "Why are we here?"
Lesson #1 Review