2 Timothy 3:1, 10-13 "Now you followed my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, perseverance, 11 persecutions, andsufferings, such as happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium and at Lystra; what persecutions I endured, and out of them all the Lord rescued me! 12 Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.13 But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived."
Today begins a new series that will tackle questions that revolve about the issue as to why the Bible alone is to be considered the Word of God. Without a doubt I will aim to communicate as clearly as I know how what I preach, teach and attempt to live out by God's grace daily when it comes to the scriptures. Knowing what one believes about the scripture informs ultimately how one lives for the Lord. However, in the midst of unprecedented attacks on Christianity in this country in general and the trustworthiness of scripture in particular, this blogger felt it necessary to equip readers with the tools needed to answer the question: why the Bible, and no other book?
How is it that the scriptures are able to perform this function? They can only do so because of the fact they are the revealed Word of God. Proof of these assertions will be brought forth in later posts. It is important to remember that the scriptures claim themselves to be God's authoritative Word in places such as Proverbs 30:4-5; Psalm 112:6; 2 Timothy 3:16-17 and 2 Peter 1:20-21. Jesus reminds us in John 10:35 that the scriptures cannot be broken and in Matthew 5:18 the the Word of God is preserved by ordinance of God. 1 Peter 1:25 states that the Word of the Lord will endure forever and Isaiah 55:6-10 explains the Word of God not returning void but achieving the purposes for which God reveals it. To say that the Bible is God's revealed word is only repeating what the Bible claims for itself.
It can be stated without apology that to deny the inerrancy, infallibility and Divine authority of scripture is to depart from the view that the Prophets, Jesus and the Apostles held while the scriptures were being produced in their days.
We see examples of this time and time again throughout history - from the decadence of Greece and Rome to the rise and fall of cultures and kingdoms from those days until now. In general terms, we also see throughout Old and New Testament history cases where in the darkest hours of humanity, God gave His Word. Think about the following few examples:
1. Adam and Eve were given Gen 3:15
2. Noah was revealed the ark Gen 6-9
3. Abram was told to leave and go to the promised land. Genesis 12
4. Moses was given the revelation of Genesis - Deuteronomy to lead 2 million unruly people
5. David was given a covenant of promise assuring that coming of an ultimate king. 2 Samuel 7:8-16
6. Israel throughout her history was given the prophets to speak God's Word
7. Jesus came as the living Word made flesh. The Gospels, John 1:14-18
8. The early church received the Holy Spirit and was formed and grown by prophetic preaching, despite persecution. Book of Acts
9. The Apostles were given revelation in the form of letters to guide the church through her trials and to better understand what Jesus achieved and how they were to live. The Epistles
10. The Apostle John penned his book of Revelation on an isolated island in exile.
Why the Bible? The present time was predicted by it
However there is a particular sense in which the sinfulness of man will reach untold, unprecedented proportions in the days preceeding the coming of Christ. Jesus Himself predicted in Matthew 24:37-39 "For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah.38 For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking,marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, 39 and they did notunderstand until the flood came and took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be.
How can we have the ability to see God's faithfulness to us in times of persecution? By the Word of God. Paul Timothy to God's faithfulness to him, and the faith he himself had in God as an example to follow. Despite the persecutions and sufferings that he experienced in Acts 14 at the hands of the Jews in Iconium and Lystra, wherein they had left Paul for dead, God miraculously raised him (Acts 14:20). Then get this: Paul went back into the city to preach some more! To then further demonstrate how much he saw God's goodness, Paul is recorded saying in Acts 14:22 "strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, andsaying, “Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.”
What Paul expressed some twenty years prior in Acts 14 was communicated to Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:11b-12 "what persecutions I endured, and out of them all the Lord rescued me!12 Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesuswill be persecuted." Paul appealed to his experience, which in turn was nested inside the Divinely revealed record of Acts 14. God's Word enables the saint to see God's faithfulness in darktimes, which is why we need God's Word. Now notice the second reason why God's Word is needed in darktimes.....
1. Persistent need for the lamp of truth
2. Past times needed God's Word
3. Present time predicted by it
4. Perilous times need the Word of God to both see God's faithfulness and hear His voice.