Summary: How did the Bible as we have it today, come to be?
Today we begin a series on understanding the basics about the Word of God. As we look to 2 Timothy 3:16-17, we will consider how the
Bible is useful, transformational, and inspired. Today, we going to think together about the inspiration of the Bible. (READ TEXT)
I want us to focus our attention on the first part of verse 16:
“All Scripture is God-breathed.”
There are 3 things this passage says about the inspiration of the Bible:
1. The fact of inspiration - Scripture
Followers of Christ believe God has inspired writings, called Scripture, that we can look to as authoritative revelation of Himself, His working, and His ways. This collection of writings is called The Bible. “Bible” comes from the Greek word, “biblia,” which means, “books.” Now, a common question that is asked is how did the Bible come to be?
A common misconception that reveals an ignorance of history is the notion that a council or committee of some kind decided in a meeting, for the sake of developing the religion of Christianity; or for the purpose of maintaining power, which books to keep in the Bible and which ones to reject. Nothing could be further from the truth.
When scholars refer to the books of the Bible, they speak of the “Canon of Scripture.” What do they mean? Well, the word, “canon” comes from the Greek word, “kanon” which means “measuring rod.” In other words, the word “canon” refers to a standard. The books of the New Testament, for example, had to meet a certain standard before they were recognized as being Scripture. What were those standards?
A. Was the testimony tied to the Apostles?
When the 120 waited in Jerusalem for the coming Holy Spirit, Peter said someone needed to be elected to take the place of Judas, who had betrayed the Lord and committed suicide. What he said is interesting:
“So now we must choose a replacement for Judas from among the men who were with us the entire time we were traveling with the Lord Jesus - from the time he was baptized by John until the day he was taken from us. Whoever is chosen will join us as a witness of Jesus’ resurrection.” - Acts 1:21-22 (NLT)
Why was this important? Because in the coming days, there would be much said about Jesus. After all, His tomb had been found empty!
How would one know if what someone wrote about Jesus was true or not? They would know it by whether or not this person’s teaching or testimony was somehow tied to the Apostles.
Take the Gospels, for example, Mathew and John were Apostles; but Mark and Luke were not. However, Mark wrote his Gospel under
Peter’s authority and Luke wrote under Paul’s authority.
B. Was the testimony endorsed by the Apostles?
The Apostle Paul likely lived around Jerusalem during the time of Jesus’ ministry; and possibly witnessed our Savior’s crucifixion. He wasn’t a witness to the resurrection, although he did encounter the risen Christ at his conversion on the road to Damascus. He was,
nevertheless, accepted as an Apostle, by the other Apostles.
“He was seen by Peter and then by the Twelve. After that, he was seen by more than 500 of his followers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. Then he was seen by James and later by all the apostles. Last of all, as though I had been born at the wrong time, I also saw him. For I am the least of all the apostles.” - 1 Corinthians 15:4-9 (NLT)
Paul is an example of one who was endorsed by the Apostles.
“Also, regard the patience of our Lord as an opportunity for salvation, just as our dear brother Paul has written to you according to the wisdom given to him. He speaks about these things in all his letters in which there are some matters that are hard to understand. The untaught and unstable twist them to their own destruction, as they also do with the rest of the Scriptures.” - 2 Peter 3:15-16 (HCSB)
C. Was the testimony consistent with that of the Apostles?
The book of Galatians is considered one of the earliest books of the New Testament to be written. Yet, even when the Apostles were still alive and preaching, there were those who were proclaiming a false message, a false Gospel.
“There is no other message that is the Good News, but some people are confusing you. They want to change the Good News about Christ.” - Galatians 1:7 (Easy to Read)
The fact is that almost every book of the New Testament was written in an effort to correct false teaching and defend the truth.
This Apostolic test was applied to every writing by the early church, and only those that passed the standard we’ve outlined here were