Summary: This sermon addresses the historicity, dependability, and reliability of the Bible. This sermon also addresses the legitimacy of Dan Brown’s claim that Constantine helped deify Jesus.
Can We Really Trust What the Bible Says About Jesus?
I would like to read you a quote from Dan Brown’s book, The Da Vinci Code, about the Bible and then take the rest of our time to tell you the story of the Bible we read today.
“The Bible did not arrive by fax from heaven… The Bible is a product of man, my dear. Not of God. The Bible did not fall magically from the clouds. Man created it as a historical record of tumultuous times, and it has evolved through countless translations, additions, and revisions. History has never had a definitive version of the book.
Jesus Christ was a historical figure of staggering influence, perhaps the most enigmatic inspirational leader the world has ever seen. As the prophesied Messiah, Jesus toppled kings, inspired millions, and founded new philosophies. As a descendant of the lines of King Solomon and King David, Jesus possessed a rightful claim to the throne of the King of the Jews. Understandably, His life was recorded by thousands of followers across the land…. More than eighty gospels were considered for the New Testament, and yet only a relative few were chosen for inclusion—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John among them…. The Bible, as we know it today, was collated by the pagan Roman emperor Constantine the Great.”
If you are going to attempt to disprove something, what do you do? You go for the jugular. The jugular vein of the Christian faith, in my opinion, is the Bible. Our faith begins with the Bible; how? We begin with a presupposition that the Bible is true and therefore we believe the stories and propositions in it are true. If you are trying to discredit the stories contained in the Bible then you must begin by first discrediting the Bible. This is exactly what Dan Brown’s book attempts to do.
I want to share the story of how we got the Bible we use today so that you can decide if indeed we can trust what the Bible says about Jesus.
The Bible is a work of 66 books with the combined authorship of about 40 different people representing thousands of years in history. It literally took several thousand years for the Bible to be constructed into the book we have today. The word “Bible” comes from the Greek word, “biblion” which means “papyrus scroll.”
But what makes this book so different than the millions of other religious books out there? The Church as well as the early church fathers testify that it is supernatural, necessary, and authoritative; we read in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 that the Bible, “is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.”
The Old Testament
The first five books of the Bible were written by Moses. During a dark time in Israel’s history when the nation was divided into a two separate kingdoms, those books were practically forgotten and lost. After the reign of a very godly king (Hezekiah), Manasseh (Hezekiah’s son) came to power and ushered in a very dark and satanic era in Judah’s history. Manasseh was fanatical about worshiping just about anything except for the only true God. One of the forms of worship that Manasseh endorsed as King was the worship of Molech. Manasseh even sacrificed one of his own children to Molech’s alter of flames.
About 60 years later, Manasseh’s grandson, Josiah, was made king at the age of eight. Josiah had a heart for the true God and one day as he was leading efforts to restore the Temple of God, under the ashes and debris was found the book of Deuteronomy written around 621 B.C.E. Josiah made the contents of Deuteronomy the laws of the land, and it was at this point that God began to use men like Josiah to shape the Bible we hold in our hands today.
The Old Testament can be divided up into three main parts: The Pentateuch, the Prophets, and the Writings. The Pentateuch (the first five books of our Bible) was pretty much recognized scripture hundreds of years before Josiah was born. But more than 700 years would pass before the Old Testament we have today would be officially canonized. During those 700 years the section know as the Prophets would be compiled – men who spoke on behalf of God against Israel’s worship of other gods. Roughly around 200 A.C.E. the section of the Prophets would be recognized as being scripture belonging with the Pentateuch. And although they were considered vitally important to the religious life of the Jews, the Writings (the poetic and narrative books of the OT) would not be officially recognized as scripture until about 90 years after the birth of Jesus Christ.