Tuesday, 10 August 2010

The Bible - Good Book or God's Book? Part Three

We have been looking at the fact that the Bible is a book we can rely on, but we would miss the point of the Bible if we thought it was merely a book giving us information on the ancient world – it actually claims to give us information about the present world and the world to come. It is not just a book that tells us about historical figures, but a book that tells us about ourselves and about God. Its proven reliability on matters of science and archaeology should lead us to investigate its message for us today, and would forbid us from lightly dismissing its weightier claims.

But how could we know that the Bible is actually the Word of God? The question has many answers, and we will not pursue them all, but here are a couple:

Fulfilled Prophecy – approximately 30% of the Bible is prophecy; this is not the vague airy fairy kind of Nostradamus / horoscope type of fortune telling, but specific, clear prophecies relating to personal, local, and national events. By the way, this is one of the many things that marks the Bible out as unique amongst all "holy books" - other religious texts don't engage in prophecy, they aren't prepared to go into print on issues that can be verified, and those that do "prophecy" end up embarassed and discredited (e.g. Jehovah's Witnesses) - do you not find that significant?  Do you not think it strange that it is only the Bible that makes prophetic declarations, and made them in a time in which the death penalty was enforced for making false prophecies (Deuteronomy 18 v 20-22)? Consider especially the portrait that was given of the promised Christ – there were hundreds of prophecies and pictures given of Him throughout the whole Old Testament, but if we confine ourselves to just two chapters we have a graphic description of the manner of His life, trial, death, burial and resurrection (Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53), and there is only one who fits the picture – Jesus of Nazareth. When we read these prophecies we would think they were written by eye-witnesses rather than by people who lived centuries before hand. How can we account for this? The answer is given by Peter, “Holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2Peter 1 v 21).

Fulfilled Lives – the message of the Bible is a message that transforms lives (and societies) for the better wherever it is heeded. People in the gutter of sin have been lifted, and people in the grip of sin have been liberated. Lives have been changed immediately, dramatically, permanently and positively as a result of the Bible’s message of the saving grace of Christ.

The supernatural prophecies of the Bible and the supernatural power of the Bible both point to a supernatural source of the Bible. The Biblical writers were clear what the source was, or rather who the Source was: “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God” (2Timothy 3 v 16).

The Bible is relevant to all of us – it answers the questions of our origin (where did we come from?), our purpose (what are we doing here?), and our destiny (where are we going?) It explains what is wrong with the world, and exposes what is wrong with us! It also tells us what God has done, and will do, about the problem of evil in the world.

Luke 24 v 27 gives us the main theme of the Bible: “And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself”. The subject of the Bible is pre-eminently the Lord Jesus Christ – the Son of God, who came from heaven to provide salvation for mankind.

In light of all this, the relevance of the Bible is beyond question. Its message has never been refuted, but is sadly often refused.