Do You Love the Bible? Part Two.
6/4/2017 11:27:46 PM
A working knowledge of the New Testament is valuable!
Do you love the Bible? Part Two.
“It is confusing, I get so lost.”
“I want to read—I really do, but I do not even know where to start!”
“Seems like when I read it, my mind wanders, especially in the Old Testament, where there is all this weird stuff that I cannot relate to, at all!”
These are some of the things I have heard about the love/guilt struggle of reading our Bible. Oh yeah, one more – “I mean to, I try to get up and read my Bible before I leave for work, but somehow the time always gets away from me; somebody calls and I’ve got to take it!” Hmmmm. The human struggle of discipline.
When I asked you the other day if you love the Bible, (confessing that I could not honestly say that for many years), I proposed that having some kind of basic working understanding of its contents is beneficial when opening its covers, or your electronic device.
The Bible was written by about 40 different authors on three different continents, with these 66 different books—while maintaining its consistency. That could only be possible because it is inspired by God.1 It addresses the biggest and most controversial questions of life: ‘How did I get here? Why am I here? What happens when I die? Is there an after-life?’2
While the pages of Scripture span about 1500 years, it is the Old Testament that commands most of those--about 1000 years in 39 books, followed by 400 years of silence. The New Testament, on the other hand, covers only about 80-90 years.
We looked at the Old Testament, and now we shall look at the New Testament. The writings of the New Testament were finished before 100 A.D.; knowledge of that is critical in supporting the veracity of Scripture**. Contained in her 27 books—once again, not ordered chronologically--are the following categories:
The Gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John record the birth, life, death, resurrection of Jesus Christ, and his training of the disciples
History - the establishment of the early church and its spread through Mediterranean lands
Letters – After Paul’s conversion on the Damascus Road in Acts 9, he wrote letters or ‘epistles’ to the established churches. We know for certain that he wrote 13 of them, but cannot prove that he wrote the book of Hebrews.
Apocalypse – the book of Revelation, written by the apostle John when he was on the Isle of Patmos
The NT was written by the apostles of Jesus Christ, or companions of the apostles. This means that the authors were either eyewitnesses of the events they described or they recorded eyewitness firsthand accounts. “For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty.”3
**It is valuable to know that the first three gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke) were written at a time when many were alive who could remember the things Jesus said and did . . . and many would still be alive when the fourth one was written as well. The scriptures, the stories would have been refuted and the writers discredited if they recounted or represented falsehoods.
Note to self: Scripture is defensible. While the Bible is inspirational and useful for instruction and application to our lives, it can be defended! Once again, the gospels were written when people who were still alive could have refuted them--their claims about Jesus’ life, death, miracles, and resurrection—they did not, that’s because they were true.
I think of the psalmist—the ‘man after God’s own heart’-who said,
“Your word, O Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens.”4
Yes, the Bible you hold in your hands is a gift from God . . . it will instruct and inform you all the days of your life.
1 – How do we know the Bible is true? http://www.christiananswers.net/q-eden/edn-t003.html
2 – The Bible ~ Not Another Book Like It https://www.allaboutgod.net/profiles/blogs/the-bible-not-another-book-like-it
3 – 2 Peter 1.16
4 - Psalm 119.89