Foundations – The Bible (pt.1) ~ 20200316 ~ Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org
03/15 Foundations – The Bible (pt.1); Audio available at: http://www.ephraimbible.org/Sermons/20200316_the-bible.mp3
Foundations, a study on the basics of Christian belief
The Bible (part 1)
We will be looking at who God is, who Jesus is, who we are, our problem and how we are saved. We will be looking at what the church is, and the Christian life.
Throughout this study, I want to focus on how what we believe impacts how we worship. Good theology should always lead to doxology. We were created to glorify God; in the first two commandments God communicated that it matters to him that we worship him alone, and it matters what we believe about him.
Our starting point is the Bible, because it is through the Bible that God communicates to us what he wants us to know about himself.
I want to start with some songs. Here are some children’s songs that I grew up with:
‘The B-I-B-L-E, yes that’s the book for me, I stand alone on the word of God, the B-I-B-L-E.’
‘Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.’
If the Bible is not true and trustworthy, we might as well go home. The reformation doctrine of ‘Sola Scriptura’ teaches that the scriptures alone are the sole infallible source of authority for faith (what we believe) and practice (how we live).
What the Bible Says About Itself; (not circular reasoning; asking what the Bible claims to be)
2 Timothy 3:14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it 15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
-sacred or holy writings
-all scripture breathed out by God (θεόπνευστος)
-purpose: to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus
2 Peter 1:18 we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. 19 And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, 20 knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone's own interpretation. 21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
-source of prophetic word; men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit
-source is not human
-prophetic word we have has been more fully confirmed by the testimony of God himself
Hebrews 1:1 Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.
-God’s final word to us is Jesus the Word made flesh
Revelation- (n) a disclosure, (v) to disclose, reveal, uncover, unveil, bring to light. Refers to communication of truth that cannot otherwise be discovered.
General Revelation- That which can be known of God from a study of his creation.
Special Revelation- That which can be known of God as a result of his communication.
Inspiration- (II Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21) God breathed. Refers to the recording of revelation. Supernatural influence of the Holy Spirit on the writers of Scripture insuring that what they wrote was an accurate record of revelation.
Plenary Inspiration- All of Scripture is inspired.
Verbal Inspiration- Every word of Scripture is inspired.
Dual Authorship- “On the one hand God spoke, deciding himself what he intended to say, yet not in such a way as to distort the personality of the human authors. On the other hand men spoke, using their faculties freely, yet not in such a way as to distort the message of the divine author.” (John Stott, Evangelical Essentials. P92.)
Jesus’ View of Scripture
As followers of Jesus, we must follow his example in how to think about the Scriptures
Jesus’ View of the Old Testament
Jesus assumed the O.T. narratives to be true and factual
Matthew 12:39-42 – Jonah; Solomon
Matthew 19:4-6 – creation; marriage
Matthew 23:34-35 – Abel to Zechariah
Luke 4:25-27 – Elijah and Elisha
Luke 17:26-29 – Noah, Lot (cf.Mt.10:15; 24:37-39)
John 8:56-58 – Abraham
Jesus appealed to Scripture as His final authority
in His own moral decisions (Mt.4:4,6,7,10)
in controversy with religious leaders (Mt.15:3-6; 19:4-6; 22:29-32, 37-40)
as the basis for His teaching (Mt.5:17-48)
as a guide in His messianic office (Mt.26:24,31,54,56; 27:46)
as prophecy pointing to his own life and ministry (Lk.24:25-27, 44-49)
Jesus assumed the Plenary and Verbal inspiration of Scripture
Mt.5:17-19 (down to letters and parts of letters)
Mt.22:23-33 (argument based on genitive case – ‘of’)
Mt.22:43-45 (argument based on word ‘lord’)
Which Books? Canon: an authoritative list of books accepted as Holy Scripture
κανών from kane (a straight reed, i.e. rod) – metaphorical: rule or standard (Gal.6:16)
Luke 24:44 Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46 and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, 47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”
-three divisions of the ‘Old Testament’; Law, Prophets, Psalms/writings; (Tanakh: Torah, Neviim, Ketuvim)
-aim of Scriptures; ‘written about me’
-need of God’s help to ‘understand the Scriptures’
Luke 11:49 Therefore also the Wisdom of God said, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and persecute,’ 50 so that the blood of all the prophets, shed from the foundation of the world, may be charged against this generation, 51 from the blood of Abel (Gen.4:8-10) to the blood of Zechariah (2Chron.24:20-21), who perished between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, it will be required of this generation.
-not A to Z, but first book of Hebrew OT to last book.
Josephus writes “We have not myriads of books, disagreeing and conflicting with one another, but only twenty-two, containing the record of all time, and justly accredited. … From Artaxerxes to our own time a detailed record has been made, but this has not been thought worthy of equal credit with the earlier records because there has not been since then the exact succession of prophets.” [Josephus, Against Apion 1.38-41 quoted in F.F.Bruce, The Canon of Scripture, p.32-33.]
The record written after Artaxerxes refers to what we know as the apocrypha, which the Jews never accepted as scripture.
The apocrypha was officially declared to be part of the canon by the Roman Catholic Church at the Council of Trent in 1546. Protestants have always rejected these books as authoritative scripture because 1. they do not claim for themselves the same kind of authority as the Old Testament writings; 2. they were not regarded as God’s words by the Jewish people; 3. they were not considered to be scripture by Jesus or the New Testament authors; 4. they contain teaching inconsistent with the rest of the Bible.
Jesus’ View of His Own Teaching
‘Truly, truly I say unto you’ (Jn.5:24)
‘But I say unto you’ (Mt.5:21-48)
‘My words shall not pass away’ (Mt.24:35; cf. Mt.5:18)
His words carry the Father's authority (Jn.14:10, 24)
Mt.7:28-29 (His hearers recognized that He taught with authority)
Jesus’ View of His Apostles’ Writings
He called them to bear witness of Him (Jn.15:27; Acts 1:8; 10:41)
He invested them with His own authority (Mk.3:13-19; Lk.10:16)
He promised the Holy Spirit to help them remember accurately (Jn.14:25-26)
He promised the Holy Spirit to continue to guide and teach them (Jn.16:12-13)
The Apostles recognized their writings as authoritative Scripture (Acts 2:42; Eph.2:20; I Thess.2:13; Heb.1:1-2; 2:3-4; II Peter 3:2,15-16; 1Tim.5:18 [quoting Deut.25:4 & Lk10:7] Jude 17)
2 Thessalonians 2:13 And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.
2 Peter 1:12 Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have. 13 I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder, 14 since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me. 15 And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things. 16 For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.
2 Peter 3:2 that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles,
...15 And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, 16 as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures.
New Testament Canon
1. Apostolic writings were acknowledged by the writers and the readers as authoritative (1 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Peter 1:12-15; 3:2, 15-16).
2. Apostolic writings were circulated among the early churches
3. The writings were combined into collections – the fourfold gospel and the writings of Paul
4. Around 150 AD the heretic Marcion published his own scriptures, rejecting the Old Testament and including only an edition of the gospel of Luke and ten of Paul’s letters which he purged of their Jewish traits. The church rejected Marcion’s ideas, but this attack forced the church to more carefully define what should be included in a collection of New Testament writings.
5. Around 240 AD Origen acknowledged all 27 NT books, but reported that James, 2 Peter, 2 and 3 John and Jude were disputed
6. Around 300 AD Eusebius categorized the 27 NT books in 'disputed' and 'undisputed' categories, Hebrews and Revelation falling into the latter. He refers to 5 other widely known books (Acts of Paul, Shepherd of Hermas, Apocalypse of Peter, Letter of Barnabas, and The Didache) which were judged false.
7. In AD 367 the Thirty-ninth Paschal Letter of Athanasius contained an exact list of the twenty-seven New Testament books we have today. This list spelled out the books that the churches in the eastern part of the Mediterranean world had accepted.
8. In AD 397 the Council of Carthage, representing the western part of the Mediterranean world, declared its acceptance of the same 27 books.
Requirements for inclusion in the New Testament Canon:
Writings acknowledged as theopneusos [God-breathed or inspired]; the question of canonicity was never meant to bestow upon the writing authority, rather to acknowledge the intrinsic authority of the writings because they were indeed God’s words
A. Apostolicity – The Apostles were given authority to write words that are God’s own words, equal in authority to the words of the Old Testament Scriptures.
The five books Mark, Luke, Acts, Hebrews and Jude that were not directly authored by an apostle were accepted because of their connection with an apostle. The early church would have also had the personal testimony of some living apostles to affirm the absolute divine authority of these books.
B. The Rule of Faith – A writing must have theological consistency with the other already accepted writings to be considered.
C. The Consensus of the Churches; or the Internal Witness; the Self-Attesting Character – John 10:27; Romans 8:16
Doxology / Worship
God has spoken to us! He has communicated in trustworthy written form. He wants to be known. And he makes it clear that the purpose of his communication is “to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim.3:15)
Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org