New Year in the Old Book.
One of the things that I’ve been looking forward to as we kick off 2017 is reading through the Bible again devotionally. I don’t always get the whole book read in a year as some passages are missed because of interruptions in life. But I’ve found that a daily practice of systematically working through the Bible has been just as important spiritually as eating a healthy diet is physically. The objective is one of simply coming before the life changing Word of God on a regular basis and allowing HIM to change us.
In my occupation it’s easy to check out and simply look at the Bible as a text book. By this I mean merely studying the content for sermon preparation, teaching, and the like. Actually, that’s probably not too far off for many of us. In other words, it’s easy to take it for granted. Somehow we know there’s something different to this book and we have at least one laying around our house even if it’s just the white covered gift Bible we got from our grandmother at High School graduation; but we ignore it. Thus many times it just sits next to the Webster’s Dictionary until we hit the wall emotionally and seeks an answer from the Divine.
A lot of folks question the validity of scripture and speculate whether it can be trusted or not. Many people suggest that “because the Bible was written so long ago and was translated so many times” that it just can’t be reliable for us today. If that is true, then the Bible rightly should be questioned. But what if there are solid reasons to trust the authenticity of the Bible and its inspiration by God? Below I’ve posted a summary list a retired minister and I put together which offers 8 major proofs for the authenticity of the Bible.
The challenge is to pick up the Bible today and read it through in 2017. Among many other good ones, here is one possible reading schedule that will navigate you through the year: BibleGateWay. If you miss a day, like when your lost aunt shows up at the door unexpectedly with drama to unpack or on a positive note, when you have to deal with the emotions surrounding the fact that the Dallas Cowboys actually have a winning season again, don’t sweat it. Just pick it up again the next day at the scheduled reading spot. The purpose is not more religious points scored with God, but rather preparing the platform for Him to speak into our lives. He knows our hearts and is able to speak whenever we’re looking to listen.
In talking about this subject, I’m often reminded of one of my favorite US Presidents, Theodore Roosevelt, who once observed that “A thorough knowledge of the Bible is worth more than a college education.” Consider that feeling was from a man who was very educated and a profound leader.
What else would you add? How does this affect your view of scripture? How does this affect your view of God and His Kingdom? How does it affect the way you do life today?
- Fulfilled Prophecy. There are thousands of prophecies that were made in the Bible centuries before their detailed fulfillment. There are more than 300 concerning Jesus Christ. Only God can accurately foretell the future.
- Unity of the Bible. The Bible is a collection of 66 individual books that were written over a period of 1600 years, in three different languages, on three different continents, by numerous men, most of whom did not know each other. Yet there is complete unity and harmony from beginning to end.
- Historical Accuracy. Although the Bible gives countless thousands of historical facts, it contains no historical errors. Such perfection could not even be approached in a mere man-made historical record.
- Archaeological Confirmation. Hundreds of Bible facts have been substantiated by the science of archeology. In every case where archaeology and the Bible have come together, the Bible has been confirmed without exception.
- Reliability of Scriptures. From the New Testament alone there are 5,366 manuscripts to draw from, with many of those being from the second century. That figure does not include additional fragments and other random portions. That is compared to only 643 copies of Homer’s Iliad, which is the most famous book in ancient Greece. There are only 10 copies of Caesar’s Gallic Wars and no one in the ‘educated’ world questions those, even though the earliest copies we have date 1000 years after the event. By contrast, we have some sections of the New Testament that were written within 70 years of the original events. The John Ryland’s fragment is a perfect example of this reality.
- Preservation of Scripture. Although unbelievers have attacked the Bible throughout its existence, they have been unable to discredit it. Although it has been legally banned by civil governments, it has been preserved and remains the world’s bestselling book. Jesus said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.” (Mark 13:31)
- Influence in the World. The transformed lives of millions of Christians is an irrefutable argument for the Bible being from God.
- Testimony of Jesus Christ. The Son of God who died for our sin and rose again from the dead, repeatedly quoted the Scriptures with authority and attributed them to His Father.