God Speaking, Man Writing

Saturday, July 8, 2017

“Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. 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” (2 Peter 1:20,21 KJV).

Behold, the dual nature of the Bible—written by God and man!

A common assumption about the Bible is that it is man’s book about God. While it is true that God used men to write the Bible, today’s Scripture is clear that the Bible was not “by the will of man.” That is, men did not suddenly desire to write about God. Rather, God chose to cause man to write down His Word. The credit goes to one Member of the Godhead in particular—God the Holy Ghost.

Quoting Deuteronomy 8:3, the Lord Jesus gave the best definition for “inspiration:” “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). The words of the Bible came directly out of God’s mouth, and He caused men to write down those words. He put His Spirit into some words; He breathed them out, speaking them forth. They are thus “the lively oracles” (Acts 7:38)—the “quick [living and life-giving] and powerful” words of God (Hebrews 4:12).

God did not give His words to angels for them to give it to man. Nay, He gave it directly to us in the form of a multiplicity of reliable manuscript copies. We have the privilege of having it today in our language, English, in the King James Bible. Despite all of the corruptions over the centuries, we still have a pure Bible text, one just as authoritative and reliable today as it was when it was first written some two millennia ago.

Beware of the counterfeits! The verses following today’s Scripture caution: “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.”

Bereans

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

“And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so” (Acts 17:10,11 KJV).

“Bereans.” Have you ever heard of this title, friend? If you have been around Bible-believing circles, of course you have. It comes right out of today’s Scripture. What Christian meaning does it carry?

After unbelieving Jews traveled to Thessalonica (northern Greece) to harass Paul and his ministry coworkers, the Christian brethren were forced to secretly send Paul and Silas by night. Paul and Silas arrived in nearby Berea, again entering the synagogue to preach to lost Jews. The wicked, unbelieving Jews heard of Paul’s entrance into Berea, so they traveled there to bother him again; the saints in Berea had to sneak Paul and his companions away once again, lest they be injured or killed.

Verses 12-14 follow today’s Scripture: “Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few. But when the Jews of Thessalonica had knowledge that the word of God was preached of Paul at Berea, they came thither also, and stirred up the people. And then immediately the brethren sent away Paul to go as it were to the sea: but Silas and Timotheus abode there still.”

Friends, the title “Berean” will be forever preserved in the Word of God as indicative of someone who “received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so” (today’s Scripture). These Jews had copies of the writings of Moses and the Prophets (cf. Acts 13:15; Acts 15:21), and they appealed to that inspired record to verify if Paul and his companions were really preaching the truth. (There were no “New Testament” Scriptures as of yet, remember.) They did not simply sit in the pew and mindlessly shout “Amen!” to whatever they heard the preacher say! As they eagerly heard the Apostles preach, they took the Word of God and studied it, using it to determine the quality of the message spoken. May we follow suit, beloved!

Read the Copy!

Saturday, April 8, 2017

And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites: And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them (Deuteronomy 17:18,19 KJV).

What does the Bible say about manuscript copies?

Friend, if you have read or heard material from seminary and/or Bible College students, and/or their staunch sympathizers, you know their maxim. They declare, ad nauseum: “We do not have the original Bible manuscripts. All we have is copies. Only the autographs were perfect and inspired of God.” They exalt the originals (which they know no longer exist); they belittle the copies (which alone exist). Leave it to theologians to embrace such absurdity: “I have full confidence in original manuscripts that I can neither access nor read. As for these manuscript copies we do have, they are good but not infallible. By the way, my doctrinal statement is perfect—the Bible out of which I derived it is not!”

We should have a verse somewhere to support what we believe or teach. There is not a verse in all of Scripture—in any manuscript or version—that supports the idea that manuscript copies are less reliable than the originals. However, there is a verse—several, actually—that shows us that God equates original manuscripts (“autographs”) and their resultant copies (“apographs”). When Israel’s king assumed the throne, today’s Scripture says that God commanded that he copy the original manuscripts of Moses’ writings (Genesis through Deuteronomy, the “Pentateuch”). The originals were kept in the Ark of the Covenant; the king was to read his own personal copy!

In God’s mind, the copy was just as authoritative as the originals, for that copy would prevent the king from “turning… aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left” (verse 20). If the king obeyed the copy, God declared he would not make a mistake (indicating the Bible copy was also inerrant). Either we believe the King James Bible, or we believe theologians!

Paper, Pen, and Ink

Monday, November 14, 2016

“Having many things to write unto you, I would not write with paper and ink: but I trust to come unto you, and speak face to face, that our joy may be full. The children of thy elect sister greet thee” (2 John 12,13 KJV).

We use today’s Scripture to glimpse into the culture of “New Testament” times!

The Apostle John wrote in his Third Epistle, verses 13 and 14: “I had many things to write, but I will not with ink and pen write unto thee: But I trust I shall shortly see thee, and we shall speak face to face. Peace be to thee. Our friends salute thee. Greet the friends by name.”

In John’s day, A.D. first century, “paper” was quite different from our paper. The cheaper—and thus, more common—form was papyrus. Thin strips were cut from the papyrus plant reed, laid side-by-side and overlapped, with an alternating layer glued on top, all pressed together to form a sheet. More expensive (and rarer) writing media were vellum (calf skins—higher quality) and parchment (bull and goat skins—lesser quality). Text written on skins would obviously last longer than that which was written on papyrus. Scrolls were first, with codices (books) arriving in the third and fourth centuries. What they called “ink” was really a mixture of soot and water, with gum added to make the ink more durable. The “pen” they used for writing was either a small dried reed/stick, cut to a point at one end; or a quill (feather); which was filled with the “ink.”

Friends, it is quite difficult for us to imagine just how laborious writing was in those days. Instruments and materials were crude and sometimes hard to obtain. They did not have computers to which they could dictate, or keyboards on which to type fast. Furthermore, if they wanted to copy a text, there was no photocopying machine. Copying had to be done entirely by hand! Surely, it was very time consuming. However, there were prophets in both “Old and New Testaments,” guided by the Spirit of God, to ensure the Holy Bible was accurately copied and collated. Consider what has been written here. Then, look at your physical Bible today, friend. It has come a long, LONG way! 🙂

Behind the Scenes #5

Monday, March 16, 2015

“The counsel of the LORD standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations” (Psalm 33:11 KJV).

In the form of the Holy Bible, the Creator God has given us a “behind-the-scenes” look at creation! Will we humble ourselves to take a sneak-peak?

Imagine, if you will, an inventor has just given you a new product, the first of its kind. You are the first to use it. Apart from an instruction manual (which hopefully you get with the product!), you have no idea of its purpose. You could sit there and inspect the product, you could disassemble it, you could learn how it functions, and so on, but unless you have some written explanation as to its purpose, you are wasting your time guessing! The product will be meaningless to you if you cannot use it as the inventor intended.

This crude illustration epitomizes the flaws of the strict, rationalistic, empirical nature of the scientific method. We must observe a natural process before we can proceed to explaining it and testing our hypothesis (tentative explanation) with data gathered. That idea must then withstand scrutiny and future testing if it is to be elevated to a theory or model. Otherwise, the hypothesis is rejected and must be refined.

As you can see, science is limited to answering only the “how” question. Science is useful in discovering how something works. But, why does the something work? What is its purpose? Science cannot answer it and it will never be able to answer it. The “why” question cannot be answered because “why” is something immaterial; science, strictly speaking, is concerned only with the material (visible) world. Science has no authority in the invisible (spiritual) realm: it cannot be used to ascertain intention.

As Bible-believing creationists, it is not we who are closed-minded, for we admit the study of the natural world leads us to understand just how orderly-structured and fine-tuned our universe is (and exists so for a purpose!). The close-minded individuals are those who refuse to see and hear anything but what their eyes see and their ears hear. They can explain how the universe works, but why it works, to the “why” question they close their eyes, ears, minds, and hearts….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “The Son of man hath not where to lay his head?

Behind the Scenes #4

Sunday, March 15, 2015

“The counsel of the LORD standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations” (Psalm 33:11 KJV).

In the form of the Holy Bible, the Creator God has given us a “behind-the-scenes” look at creation! Will we humble ourselves to take a sneak-peak?

Today’s Scripture follows five verses (verses 6-10) that survey the Creation story of Genesis. Recall verse 6: “By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.” “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear” (Hebrews 11:3).

John 1:1-3 says: “[1] In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. [2] The same was in the beginning with God. [3] All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” Verse 14 explains that the “Word,” the Creator, was none other than Jesus Christ.

Today’s Scripture says, “The counsel of the LORD standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations.” The God of the Bible had a plan in creation, and Scripture calls that plan “the counsel of the LORD.” It “standeth for ever.” In spite of what will happen, that purpose will still be brought to fruition. This plan contains “the thoughts of [the LORD’S] heart,” and He has made those thoughts known to “all generations.” As Psalm 100:5 says, “His truth endureth to all generations.”

What was and is Father God’s purpose in creation, His “counsel,” the “thoughts of His heart?” In the form of the Holy Bible, we have the instruction manual of creation, “the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16). God’s Holy Spirit caused those precious inspired words to be written centuries ago in Hebrew and Greek, He preserved them through history via manuscript copies, and He translated them into English so that we could have them today (the Authorized King James Bible).

While we can study the material world through scientific analyses, unless we use the Creator’s Manual, it is we who will have closed minds….

Instant Christians #7

Monday, January 12, 2015

“Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine” (2 Timothy 4:2 KJV).

In this day and age of “instant this and instant that,” we need more “instant” Christians!

Travelling out-of-state, I once had a very interesting conversation with an Evangelical seminarian-pastor who had a testimony of salvation in Christ. Meeting privately with this brother, I lovingly explained to him that the Greek New Testament he was preaching from was unreliable. Then, I showed him the error in his book, hoping he had an ear to hear and a heart to believe. Although I expected his reaction, I will never forget it. He blurted out to justify the error in his Bible, “We do not have what [Saint] Mark wrote anyway!”

Dear friends, he was no “cultic kook” but a “Bible-believing, Jesus-Christ-loving” preacher who would never, ever, ever even think of saying in his pulpit that today’s Bible is not—yes NOT—identical to the apostles’ Bible! (This heretical view of “textual criticism” drives the endless search for another manuscript reading “closer to the originals,” so another translation “more scholarly” [?] than its predecessors can be publi$hed.) Had this assembly and its deacons known their Bible, they would have asked this pastor the right questions before choosing him… to lead them “into the [doctrinal] ditch” (Matthew 15:14)! Friends, if most preachers spoke their true beliefs about Bible versions, they would agree with this wayward brother. Seminary has polluted them concerning manuscript evidence and Bible versions. Bible critics are the very people leading most “Christian” churches!

Had the Body of Christ studied, known, and appreciated/believed their 400-year-old King James Bible, they would have never purchased a century’s worth of 200 (pathetic, corrupt) modern English versions. They would have known that Satan questions God’s Word and robs mankind of its clarity at every opportunity (Genesis 3:1-5). Had the pastors educated their people in God’s English Bible, and warned them of counterfeits (2 Thessalonians 2:2; 2 Peter 1:18–2:3), Bible publishing companies would have gone bankrupt, no one buying their worthless modern-speech perversions predicated on equally-godless manuscripts. Very few want to hear such strong language, but it is true nonetheless (2 Timothy 4:3,4).

Oh, how we NEED “instant” Christians….