Sentinels For Christ :: The Bible's Reliability

The Bible's Reliability

Posted by jimgrier on April 24, 2015

So how about this Book we claim as the blueprint for life?

John 10:35 

Let’s look at the Bible from a different angle. It’s worth taking a little extra time.   We’re going to start from a perspective which surprisingly, won’t be a list of scriptures.  I have for myself that my journey with God is parallel to my understanding of who God is revealed in His Word.  We grow in our relationship with the Word just like we grow in aspects of our faith.  Does this book, the Bible actually have the answers for all the remedies of life here and in the afterlife…and just how deeply do we really believe it?  This is a central question to faith and quality of the Christian life.  It really boils down to how we perceive the “Word” in its entirety.  Is it completely reliable and authoritative? 

I’m going to stay away from a defense of the word.  There are great books out there if you want to read on the subject.  Instead in this installment lets just start with what the Word and the Bible rests its authority on…

Jesus Christ.  If He himself used it the Bible it seems it would lend it credibility?  That question can only be answered by an individual who examines Jesus himself and determines if He Himself is credible

Now I’m talking to a friendly audience so let’s remind ourselves of a couple basic truths about what we think and believe about Jesus as Christians. 

First we believe Jesus is Gods Son, He is one with the Father and an expressed complete part of the Father in human form that frankly we can’t completely wrap our minds around!  But as such a couple truths are inseparable from who He is… 

He is the full representation of the Father in physical form.   Colossians 2: 9 “For in Him all the fullness of the Deity dwells in bodily form” 

As the Son of God he says He is “one with the Father” (His words John 10: 30) He is, like God, incapable of deceit incapable of a lie. Hebrews 6:18 “God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged” This is the writer of Bibles book of Hebrews speaking of the reliability of Gods promises. 

Ok we all made it through that with our faith intact!  Let’s look at what is probably the three most controversial stories of the Bible and what Jesus said about them based on the premises above, Jesus is the Son of God and as God he cannot lie. 

The Story of Jonah:  For a long time as a new Christian I considered this book and allegorical tale out of my own ignorance, comparing it to “Aesop’s fables” and covertly not giving the tale the respect it was due. 

Look how Jesus references the story in Matthew 12:38.  In a response to the Jews who are demanding a sign from Jesus to prove who he says he is, Jesus responds:  

"A wicked and unfaithful generation asks for a sign! But none will be given it except the sign of he prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now something greater than Jonah is here.
In one statement we have Jesus establishing

     Jonah was a real person

     Jonah spent three actual nights in the stomach of a huge sea creature

     Jonah's warnings produced the repentance of Nineveh just as the Bible      records. 

Time to put the allegorical reference of the story of Jonah to bed. 

The Great Flood and Noah (Genesis 6-9)

Remember flannel graph Noah and all those cute little animals?  Today he’s presented in high quality digital format!  This story seems to be an anchor reference point in every children’s Sunday school from the beginning of time. Which by the way has probably resulted in it’s diminishment as a cute children’s tale to encourage us to “be good."  Again In Matthew 24:37-39 in a discussion with the disciples a couple days before the crucifixion Jesus is talking to His disciples about His eventual return and what the state of mankind will be. Jesus is talking to the disciples about His eventual return and the establishment of  Earth II.” It’s a deadly serious chapter where Jesus is talking about His specific return to earth and the state of mankind at the event:

But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.  For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” 

Here again Jesus establishes:

     Noah existed as a real person

     Noah built the ark therefore the ark is real

     Noah entered the ark

     The Great Flood actually occurred as written in Genesis destroying mankind

     Again this is not allegorical; this is Jesus using a scriptural event to describe another scriptural event yet forthcoming. “Flannel graph” Noah just took on new meaning. 

Adam and Eve Genesis Chapter 2 

Well this is probably the toughest one for a skeptic.  If you can believe the Adam and Eve of Genesis you can probably get thought the rest of it right?  I mean after all there’s huge investment to us as humans based on our first parents right?

In Matthew 19: 1-8 Jesus is yet again in another argument with the Jews.  This time the issue is marriage.  So Jesus wanting his opponents to be perfectly clear, how God understands marriage and who it’s between and what it involves, the Bible reocrds:

“Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?” “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’  So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

Jesus response is a direct scriptural quote from Genesis 2: 24.  If your familiar with section of the Bible, this is the account of the creation of Adam and subsequently Eve with all the fantastic events of the creation, i.e. Adam naming the animals, Eve being taken from Adams side in the form of a rib all of it… validated by Jesus.  Nor is it coincidence the parallel account of creation is verified and validated by Christ as well as He quotes from Genesis 1:27.  The argument the “accounts” of creation in Genesis are actually two accounts one being poetic and the other representative takes a low priority in light of this.  Of course that’s based on what you believe about Christ and what comes out of his mouth.

Now let’s look at John 10: 35.  This is one remarkable statement by Jesus.  Instead of getting sidetracked in what Jesus says about “gods” and what that means, lets look at the use of the word “Scripture” what it means and what Jesus meant when he use it saying: Here's Jesus again:

"If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken)  

Pretty short quote right? The word "Scripture" used here in the Greek is the same word used in the New Testament when referring to as the Bible of Jesus day, Genesis through Malachi.  In Greek the word is graph-e, meaning “a document i.e. Holy Writ.” Jesus is quoting from Psalm 89 in this event referring to the Holy Writs of the day” and their authority while deliberately identifying them as divine.  That’s why the word graph-e is used. The most remarkable statement is added after this is when Jesus says “and scripture cannot be broken.”  What’s the intent of the phrase?  Well consider the discussion in John 10, Jesus hearers who are ready to stone Him because he just said “I and the Father are One” If we paraphrased the discussion Jesus in saying “the very scriptures you rely on to justify your incorrect perception of who I am are unbreakable.”  That would of been perceived by the way as a major insult.  Jesus qouted the Psalm (89)  to emphasize the Bible or their Holy writs:

     They are “Holy” meaning divine in origin

     They are unbreakable

That certainly gives the story of Jonah, the Flood and the Creation a new perspective!  Isn’t it interesting that Jesus made it a point, (and so did the Gospel writers) of using what would be some of the most controversial stories of the Bible to reinforce the following bedrock truths to our faith?

     Jonah -  His Death and Resurrection

     Noah and the Flood – His Return and establishment of Earth II the sequel!

     Adam & Eve The design of God to express himself through the human race.

     Consider this by the time Peter (one of Jesus disciples) is writing his second letter to first century Christians it’s obvious that the writings of the New Testament had become regarded as the same “Holy Writs” with the same authority of the complete Old Testament of the day.  Notice Peter’s references to the letters of Paul which had already begun circulating in the early church: 

"Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.” 

Peter uses the same word again “graph-e” referring to the writing of Paul. The argument about Bibles reliability really doesn’t need to be a recital of verses the Bible uses to authenticate itself.  It can if you want to be.  I have found when communicating anything about our faith, it’s a safe bet to return to Jesus as often as we can.  Jesus is so remarkable in who He is, that you can reflect on His own words to see truth about faith.  Let’s stop feeling squeamish about the Bible, Jesus considered it reliable...  All those incredible events from the Old and New Testament are meant to introduce us to a huge God with a great plan that’s a personal “love letter” to each one of us.

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