This week the Rock church continued in the second week of a series entitled "Who is Jesus Really?" Over Easter weekend we looked at whether Jesus really died, and did He really rise. This series is designed to maximize the ability of people at the Rock to understand and defend the identity of Christ as outlined in the Bible.
The Bible is one of the most unique books anyone will ever read. It is not 'a' religious book, but 'the' religious book. It consists of 66 books and was written over a period of 1500 years. Over 40 authors contributed to the Bible in three different continents covering hundreds of topics.
Pastor Miles drew a comparison from boxing to the Bible. Boxing is a demanding sport. When you learn how to fight you gain confidence in your skills. When you know how to throw a punch just the right way, the fight will be over, and you will have won. Complete confidence in the Word of God is critical to be able to understand and defend it.
There are four different tests Pastor Miles covered that are used to determine the accuracy of the Bible.
1. The Bibliographical Test
Most recently the Pope's ailment and death have filled the news stories that we have heard and read. However, if we were to read five different accounts of it, we would find information that differed from each other.
The bibliographical test is ancient manuscripts that are considered if there are seven to ten copies within 1,000 years of the event. For example, the New Testament had 31,000 manuscripts all within 1000 years. The closest amount of time between New Testament manuscripts was fifteen years. That is more than any other ten ancient manuscripts combined.
Yet the Bible still remains unaccepted as complete and total truth by many. Plato's Republic, which there are only seven original copies of is respected and considered reliable. Also Homer's Iliad, which there were 643 copies of, but with big time differences between copies, is still considered reliable as well.
2. The External Test
This test shows that the Bible is supported by outside documents such as archaeology and other ancient historical writings, like the Dead Sea Scrolls. The point of the external test is to show that things that are true in the Bible are true for real life.
Pastor Miles gave a few examples such as in Genesis 17 regarding the circumcision taking place when the baby boy is 8 days old. This is significant because the eigth day is the day that the baby has the greatest capability to clot blood.
Also the Bible talks about the importance of personal hygiene. In Exodus 19 God exhorts Moses to have the people wash their clothes before they came before the Lord.
Also 300 years before Aristotle talked about a round earth, the Bible mentions it in Isaiah 40:22 which states, He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in.
The Bible also refers to the importance of psychological health. Proverbs 14:30 states, a heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.
Also the Bible refers to genetic limitations. One species cannot make another species. Though scientists attempt to conceive such things the Bible shows that it isn't possible or meant to be.
3. The Internal Test
The authors of the Bible believed they were writing history. Luke 1:1-4 states, many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.
There are four criteria that established the canon. They are the fact that the church used the Bible. The Bible is authoritative, and the New Testament is consistent with the Old Testament. Lastly, that the author was an eyewitness or a close associate of one.
4. The Supernatural Test
This is a test that Pastor Miles added to the list to verify for the truth and accuracy of the Bible. The Supernatural test asks if the word can change your life. The answer of course is absolutely.
Has there ever been a time when you felt as though a preacher was speaking directly to you regarding your life situation? A preacher cannot plan such things. But God works in such a way that His word is brought forth to minister directly to your spirit.
The Word, or Logos, is the rational expression of God's truth. It is alive and active. Hebrews 4:12 states, for the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
John 1:1 states, in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The word logos is the Greek word for the Word. Jesus is the Word. As we continue on in this series we will look deeper into who Jesus is and what the Word says about Him.
Remember that God cannot be separated from the truth. If He can create the world, if He can create you, and have a plan for your life, why can't He write a book? When put to the test the Bible proves its truth and accuracy, therefore, showing why it has been the #1 bestseller of all time.