Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Bible as the Unique Book of Books

Matthew 1:1 The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. (KJV)

Today's blog is going to speak on the subject of the Bible: Book of Books.  Here in the Gospel of Matthew, the King James Version renders the beginning of the New Testament with these words: "The Book".  No doubt Matthew is writing about the Gospel he is going to present to us about the King Jesus Christ. 

Whether we are talking about Matthew, or the other 65 books that make up the Bible, the term "Bible" is theological shorthand for referring to what I term "The Book of Books".  The Bible is God's Divine library - featuring His mind in words, focusing on the revelation of Himself in the Second Person of the Trinity Jesus Christ and the power of His presence in the Third Person - the Holy Spirit. 

Today I want to take this first verse of Matthew and unpack why it is that the Bible alone can be called "the book of books"

The Bible is a unique book.
Matthew's Gospel shares in common with the other 65 books the unique designation of being the "Word of God".  Why? What makes the Bible Unique? In using Matthew's words of Matthew 1:1 we can note the following reasons:

a. The Bible's Authority as the Book of Books.
Matthew 1:1-17 gives us a 2,100 year summary of the history between Abraham and Jesus.  52 names, divided up into three sets of 14 generations, presents the broad sweep of redemptive history.  Matthew is utilizing the entire Old Testament Canon in drawing up this opening of His Gospel.  He is trusting the Bible to be uniquely authoritative in all matters of history, science, culture and faith. 

2 Timothy 3:16-17 tells us - "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work."  As God's Word and God's words, the Bible alone is authoritative.  It is profitable for teaching me how to be right; for reproof - or telling me when I'm not right; for correction - or telling me how to get right and for training - or telling me how to stay right. 

b. The Bible's inerrancy as the Book of Books
In Matthew's text we read after the words "the Book" the next set of words "of the generation" (KJV), or as it says in the NASB "the genealogy".  Matthew, as we already mentioned, lays out three sets of fourteen generations. In order for this to be a reliable geneaology, all of the history and the events of each of these names had to be without error in order to demonstrate Jesus' legal right to the throne of David.  Biblical inerrancy lies at the center of Biblical authority. 

The Baptist Faith and Message 2000 makes this statement pertaining to the Bible's inerrant authority:
"The Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired and is God's revelation of Himself to man. It is a perfect treasure of divine instruction. It has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter. Therefore, all Scripture is totally true and trustworthy."  To say that the Bible is the Word of God and yet to deny its inerrancy is to contradict oneself.  Proverbs 30:5 tells us - "Every word of God is tested;  He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him."  In Matthew 5:18 and 24:35 Jesus asserted the perfection and soundness of the Biblical text. 

James Montgomery Boice and J.I Packer wrote a little book called "Does Inerrancy Matter?" 1 These were the reasons they gave for the importance of biblical inerrancy:
-Inerrancy meets the Christian's need authority
-Inerrancy meets the Preacher's need for preaching
-Inerrancy is behind the health of a local church

c. The Bible's Unity as the Book of Books
As you continue reading Matthew 1:1, note the middle words: "Jesus Christ."  Only the Bible can claim the title of being uniquely unified above all other would be contenders.  Consider some of the following statistics:

-Over 1500 years of time needed to write it
-40 different authors = i.e farmers, prophets, Kings, Priests, statesmen, a former texcollector, a medical doctor, a scholar, a fisherman and others wrote as the were moved along by the Spirit of God. 2 Peter 1:21
-Three different languages of Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek were used.
-The Bible was composed on three continents: Asia, Europe and Africa
-The Old Testament has 39 books, 929 chapters, 23,214 verses and 593,493 words
-The New Testament has 27 books, 260 chapters, 7959 verses, 181,253 words

The miracle of the Bible is as much in its diversity as its unity.  Its central person is Jesus Christ.  I've read other books claiming to be Divine revelation.  The three marks of authority, inerrancy and unity do not exist in any other book like they do in the Bible.  The Quran - the book of Islam, does not have it.  The Book of Mormon has no flowing progression of thought.  The Upanishads and Bhagavad-gita, the books of Hinduism, have neither logical progression nor unity.  All these other books have one author, were written on one continent and were written in a period of years or decades.  They are books of men, representing a tainted collection of religious philosophy.

Yet the Bible alone is unified, took a millennium and a half to write, has diversity of human authorship and is truly an international, transcultural book, Divinely inspired, authoritative and inerrant. 

More tomorrow....

End Notes:
1. James Montgomery Boice and J.I Packer - "Dooes Inerrancy Matter?" International Council on Biblical Inerrancy. Oakland, CA. 1977

No comments:

Post a Comment