Archive for August, 2023

The Bible – Part Three

The Bible consists of 66 books, 1,100 chapters, and 31,0000 verses, and 733,746 words. The story of the compilation of the books shows the spiritual effort involved in finding the mind of God. The compilation was known as the kanon, which is from a Hebrew word “qaneh” meaning reed or measuring rod. It was the standard by which the books were judged. 

The Jewish historian Josephus (37 – 100 AD) was the first to explicitly distinguish books that were canonical. He determined them to be based on the proximity to the happening, and inherent authority. Regarding the New Testament added to these requirements was that the author had to have known or seen the resurrected Jesus. 

Of the authors of the New Testament four were apostles, two were half-brothers of Jesus and one was a Gentile and second largest writer of the New Testament, Luke. One was Mark, a companion of Peter, and at times an assistant of Peter.

The earliest known recognition of the 27 books of the New Testament to which nothing could be added or deleted is the list preserved by Athanasius in 367 AD. The Synod of Hippos (393 A. D.) and the Third Synod of Carthage in 397 A. D. concurred.

A council of rabbis, called the Synod of Jamnia, met in 90A. D. and put together the Old Testament.

The first official New Testament appeared in the fifth century. 

Political events hastened the canonization. Emperor Diocletian bitterly persecuted the Christians between 302 A.D. and 305 A.D. One of his edicts called for the burning of all Scripture. Christians had to decide what books were worth dying for. There criteria for inclusion:

Is the book authoritative — does it claim to be of God.

Is it prophetic – was it written by a prophet or apostle.

Its antiquity, how close was text written  to the events.

The Bible – Part Two


Scripture says of itself it was “God breathed.” The verb “breathed” translates the Greek. The expression uses language related to music. As an instrumentalist breathes the breath of air in one end of an instrument and it comes out the other end as a musical sound, so God breathed the breath of thought into the minds of authors and it came out though the human hand as written words. It came from God through man to humankind. It was God’s thought infused into each author’s own vocabulary. A “word” is simply a vehicle by means of which thought is communicated from one mind to another. Thus, the Bible, God’s Word, communicates from one mind, God’s, to another, the author’s.                                . 

The exact spiritual means by which this was accomplished is a mystery.

Following are factors indicating the authenticity and reliability of the Bible as God’s Word.  

* Prophecy fulfilled, such as:

                                         Prophecy                Fulfillment
Jesus Born in Bethlehem         Micah 5: 2              Luke 2: 4 – 7

Time of birth                   Daniel 9:: 25   Luke 2: 1, 2

Born of a virgin                        Isaiah 7: 14            Luke 1: 26

Slaughter of children           Jeremiah 31: 15 Matthew 2: 16 – 18

Crucifixion                             Isaiah 53: 12   Mark 15: 27

Buried with the rich            Isaiah 53: 9            Matthew 27: 57 – 60

Resurrection                    Psalm 16: 10    Mark 16: 6, 7

The Bible consists of 66 books, written by more than 30 different authors, written over 1500 years, in four languages, in several countries, by men of every social strata, under varied circumstances. Yet, in all this conglomeration it has remarkable unity of thought.

        * The historical life of the Book

No sooner than it was compiled attacks were made on it. Throughout its life every engine that human science, philosophy, wit, reasoning, or brutality has been unleashed against it.

        * The psychological impact of the Book

If all psychologists were asked what are the basic needs of human beings a summary list of about 10 would be noted. They would include such needs as “love and affection,” and “belonging.”  The Bible addresses all ten.

        * The inexhaustible depth of the Book. Much is to be learned and much gained by each subsequent reading. George Muller has read it over 100 times and says it is more refreshing every time he reads it.

        * The availability of basic manuscripts near the time of the writing.

Homer’s “Illiad” has 643 existing manuscripts the nearest to the event is 500 years. Caesar’s “Gallic Wars” 10 early manuscripts exist, the closest to the events is 1,000 years. Aristotle wrote around 343 B.C. The earliest copy is dated 1100 A.D. Only five manuscripts exist. The New Testament, 25,000+ exist with the closest being 25 years. The records regarding the first two are considered reputable. Those consisting of the New Testament are even more credible.

The Bible – Part One

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 
II Timothy 3:16–17

The extent of inspiration includes “all Scripture.” As an old timer said, I believe it from cover to cover, and what it says on the cover “Holy Bible.”

Another confessed, “I believe it from Genesis to maps.”

Being inspired by God it is therefore authoritative for doctrine, reproof, and correction. It is endowed with clarity regarding how to establish a relationship with God the Father through God the Son, Jesus. Its truths can transform us, making us complete in Christ.

II Peter 1: 21 tells how God did it: “…prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit…”

God used penmen with different intellect, various vocabularies, and writing styles to inspire it.

Jesus Himself confirmed the verbal inspiration of the Scriptures when He said, “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.” (Matthew 5:17-18). Thus, Jesus acclaimed the accuracy of the Scriptures right down to the infinite detail. It represents itself as the very Word of God.

When the word “inspired” is used it means motivated or encouraged. It is that and more, it literally means “breathed out.”

The Bible’s claim to be Holy Scripture has been tested and proven through the centuries. Every generation gives rise to those who really believe they will put the last nails in the coffin that will bury the Bible — yet it never, never works.

Skeptics like Voltaire and Ingersoll have for centuries attacked the validity and genuineness of the book. 

Had Scripture not made a claim to being divinely inspired critics would have said not even the Bible itself claims to be divinely inspired. Hence, such an inclusion forms a starting point for validating the inspiration of Scripture.

The Scripture: “All Scripture is God breathed” describes the Bible’s nature as being God’s literal word, given to men by inspiration of the Holy Spirit. It is the supernatural work of God the Holy Spirit.

As in the case of Adam and Eve God breathed, that is infused, imbued, the breath of physical life, so now He breathed, that is infused, imbued, the essence of spiritual life in the book, the Bible.

What to Do When God Closes a Door – Part Three

Paul had a dream of going East to share the gospel “but the Spirit of God did not permit them” (Vs. 7).  When the door was closed Paul looked around for a new direction.

Notice that little word “but.”  It is an exciting one. It is a conjunction. For a definition of a conjunction turn to educational sources such as Sesame Street. They had a segment on “the conjunction function.” What is the function of a conjunction?

Conjunctions are words used to link together words, phrases, clauses, or sentences, such as, but or and.

A contrasting conjunction means what follows is different from what came before. You find them throughout the Bible. There are times God contrasts with circumstances.

“Heaven and earth shall pass away, BUT My word will by no means pass away” (Matthew 24: 35).

In Genesis 50: 20 the account is given of people ganging up on Joseph he said, “You meant it for evil against me; BUT God meant it for good (Genesis 50: 20).

“God is not the author of confusion BUT of peace, as in all the churches of the saints” (I Cor. 14: 33).

“Finally, brethren, pray for us … that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men; for not all have faith. BUT the Lord is faithful who will establish you and guard you from the evil one” (II Thess. 3: 1, 2).

“There is no fear in love; BUT perfect love casts out fear” (I John 4: 18).

Jesus came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue whose daughter was dead. Jesus said she is just sleeping. Dr. Luke says, “They laughed Him to scorn, knowing she was dead. BUT He (Jesus) put them all out, took her by the hand and called, saying, ‘Little girl, arise’” (Luke 8: 53, 54).

They said, she’s dead BUT He said “little girl arise.” It is a good thing He said, “little girl arise” and not simply “arise.” He had such power that if He had simply said “arise” even Adam would have gotten up. She’s dead BUT He said, “little girl arise” and she did.

The world says to the believer “You are weak and defenseless,” BUT my “God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus our Lord” (Phil. 4: 19). 

Now the reason it was said “you” was the reason God said no to Paul. It was because God knew the gospel would be more readily received in the west and eventually America — and you.

When God says “no” we should say thank you Lord, I was about to make the wrong decision.

God loves you enough to close the wrong doors in order that He might guide you to the right one. Be patient and wait on the Lord.

What to Do When God Closes a Door – Part Two

Has God ever put you in a holding pattern? Why? Because He knows more than you and is concerned for your welfare. He wants you to make your connections.

God said, “Paul, your plans to go to Asia are out. Macedonia is your route. Don’t go East, go West, that’s the best.” Why? Because there were some connections about which God knew and Paul didn’t. You are one of those connections.

There is a reason why God rerouted Paul. God knew the territory into which Paul wanted to go was one day to be overrun by the Islamic hoards and the Christians killed off. Macedonia was on route to all the fertile fields of Europe. Beyond Europe was the mission field of England and Scotland. God knew what not even Columbus knew when he ventured westward. The door to the East was closed. The door to the West opened and eventually the gospel brought to America a land not even known of at the time God closed the Eastern door. Thank God He pointed Paul in the right direction.

How do you suppose Paul felt at the time it happened? Probably very much like you when God closes a door, frustrated.

Can we learn from Paul’s experience? Can we learn to trust God when confronted by closed doors?

Whether God’s plan UNFOLDS when your plan FOLDS depends on your interpretation of His prohibition. 

It is said of Paul he “concluding the Lord had called us to preach the gospel to them” (Acts 16:10) they went to Macedonia. How did this unfold?

Luke said “a vision appeared to Paul” (Acts 16:9). Then Luke follows by saying, “…immediately we sought to go…” (Vs. 10).

Paul and Luke partnered in taking the gospel to Asia Minor. Leadership without fellowship is futile.

Paul could not have known for sure God’s will. He acted by faith and Luke followed by faith. That is how we live –by faith. We are saved by faith and we walk by faith not by sight. The Christian life is a faith walk.