Summary: This is a sermon dealing with a conservative doctrinal statement concerning the inspiration of the Bible
A New England high school teacher taught a course entitled The Bible as Literature. Only seniors in the top 10 percent of the class could take this course. A pre-test was given to evaluate the students’ biblical knowledge. One student defined the Epistles as "wives of the Apostles." A pastor was so humored by this answer that he shared it during his next sermon. One of the church members approached him afterwards and asked, "If the Epistles weren’t the wives of the Apostles, whose wives were they?"
Kind of a humorous story, but it begs the question of us—what do we know? What do we believe?
Today, we are going to start looking at what we believe. In your notes, the very first paragraph says, “We believe in the Bible as the inerrant Word of God, verbally and plenarily inspired, and the all-sufficient rule of faith and practice.”
You may be thinking, “Oh, great. He’s going to try and wow us with big theological words and confuse us.” Reminds me of a story.
An inexperienced seminary graduate went to a church in hopes of becoming their next pastor. Figuring he’d impress them with his brilliance, he preached on the attributes of God, using as many theological terms as he could find in his books. He mispronounced a few of them, but figured none of the people would know the difference. This became most evident when a little old lady met him at the back door. She scolded, "Young man, I don’t care what you say, I still believe in God!"
But it is important to know what we believe. I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I’ve committed unto him against that day.
If we don’t know what we believe, then the passage in Ephesians 4 will apply to us where Paul wrote, “14Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. 15Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.”
Instead, we find that we are more like the people in this story, a true story:
A pastor entered a class as the lesson was in progress and asked, "Who broke
down the walls of Jericho?" A lad answered, "Not me, sir." The pastor turned
to the teacher and asked, "Is this the usual behavior in this class?" The
teacher replied, "I believe this boy is an honest boy, and I really don’t
think he did it." Leaving the room, the pastor sought out a deacon and explained what had happened. The deacon said, "I have known both the boy and
the teacher for several years, and neither of them would do such a thing." By
this time the pastor was heartsick and reported the incident to the Christian
Education Committee. They said, "We see no point in making an issue out of
this thing. Let’s pay the bill for the damage to the walls and charge it to
upkeep. Anyway, our insurance may even cover it. "
It’s important to know what we believe, because what we believe will affect the way we live our lives. This morning, I want to look at that statement, “We believe in the Bible as the inerrant Word of God, verbally and plenarily inspired, and the all-sufficient rule of faith and practice.”
Let’s break down that statement, looking first at the phrase, “verbally and plenarily inspired.”
What does that phrase mean? Verbally means “words”. Plenary means “all”. That phrase means that we believe the Bible, all of the words, is inspired.
Where do we get that from? It’s not just something we’ve pulled out of the air and said, “This is what we believe,” is it? Well, let’s take a look at why we believe in the verbal, plenary inspiration of scripture.
First, we believe it because the Bible says it is true.
2 Timothy 3:16-17, which George read for us earlier, tells us that all Scripture is inspired by God. It literally means, “God-breathed” (NIV translation), that this is the text that God breathed through human authors.
2 Peter shows us the process by which this happens: “20Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. 21For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”
God’s Word is God-breathed. It was inspired by him, created by him, given to US! Remember what Jesus said when he was tempted in the wilderness? “Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” That’s from Deuteronomy 8:3. Remember what we have been talking about the past few Sundays, how we have everything we need for life and godliness? Man does live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God. What has come from the mouth of God? (HOLD UP BIBLE) God’s Word. What do we tend to live on? Everything else.