Summary: 2nd in a 4 part series dealing with topics that tend to divide people from each other and God.
THE GREAT DIVIDE - PART 2
“The Bible: Is it Credible?”
2 Timothy 3:16-17 & 2 Peter 1:20-21
INTRODUCTION: (:22 video intro)
This book is, without a doubt, the most popular book in history. Last week we talked about the novel, The Da Vinci Code and mentioned that it was one of the most popular novels ever. Well, let’s compare.. The Da Vinci Code was the #1 best selling novel for 26 weeks. The Bible is the #1 best selling book of all time. The Da Vinci Code has sold over 60 million copies in 3 years. The Bible sells 30-60 million copies every year! The Da Vinci Code has been translated into 44 languages. The Bible has been translated into over 1800 languages! The Da Vinci Code has challenged people’s view of renaissance history, the Bible has challenged people to view and change their personal history! What is it about this book that would cause people to rethink their lifestyles, change their values and actually risk their lives to get it to others? Why is this book so popular and influential? Well, as we continue in our series, The Great Divide, we come to a book that has caused great division among people. Some say it is the very Word of God, others say it is a man made myth and some say it’s just good children stories. So, this morning we want to ask the question: Is the Bible credible? Since it’s a book that elicits such strong feelings let’s look at it’s content, how it came to be, whether or not it’s a trustworthy document and most importantly - what kind of difference it could make to our daily lives.
I. THE BIBLE: WHAT IS IT?
No matter your personal opinion of the Bible, all of us can agree it is a unique book. The Bible is actually not one book but a library of books. It is 66 books in all with 39 books making up the O.T. and 27 books making up the N.T. Sometimes people will try to read it like a novel. That works okay through the first few books but when you get to say, Leviticus, you can really get bogged down! But when taken as a library of books, bound in one volume, it makes more sense.
Now, don’t get the idea that these are disjointed books without any line of logic or theme. There is an incredible unity in the Bible that we will talk about in a moment. But for now just realize how unique this book is. It was written over a span of 1500 years, by 40 different authors from every walk of life. It was written by Kings, servants, fisherman, poets, doctors, herdsman and even a first century IRS agent. They wrote on three different continents (Europe, Asia, Africa) in 16 different countries and in three different languages. (Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek.) We’ve already seen it’s long standing popularity, but it’s also the most hated book in history. Time and time again people have tried to wipe it out of existence. Noted French Philosopher & skeptic Votaire died in 1778. Before he died he said, “Within 100 years the Bible will be a forgotten book.” When Voltaire died they auctioned off his home and it was purchased for the headquarters of: the French Bible Society! The Bible has outlived all of it’s pallbearers. Jesus knew what he was talking about when he said, “Heaven and earth will disappear but words will remain forever.”(Mt. 24:35 NLT)
What kind of book is this that has outlasted and outsold every other book? Well, whenever you are trying to discover the content and authenticity of a document you first look at what the writings say about itself. If you wanted to know what kind of book you had found in an old bookstore you would look at what the contents and writings told you about itself. You’d know if it started “Once upon a time,” that you would be reading a work of fiction, if it said “the historical account of..” you know the author meant it to be non-fiction. Well, the Bible is a document that is pretty clear about it’s purpose. Over 400 times in the O.T. alone you see the phrase, “Thus saith the Lord,” or “God says...” You don’t have to read very far to understand that the authors of this book believed that the Bible was God’s words to human beings. Look at our two printed texts. 2 Tim. 3:16-17: “Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another—showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way. 17Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us.”(Mge) Obviously this author is convinced that all scripture, not part, but every part of the Bible is given by God. And he’s not alone. 2 Pt. 1:20-21- “Understand this first, that no one can explain the written Word of God as he likes, because it never was the will of a human being that brought us God’s Word, but the Holy Spirit moved holy men to write what God told them.”(NTTL) According to Peter this book was written by men, with their styles and personalities evident but God made sure they wrote what He wanted in this book. Now, you can say you don’t believe it, you can say you won’t accept it but you can’t deny what this book says about itself. If we try to refute that, it’s like saying that Abraham Lincoln, when he wrote the Gettysburg address in 1863 and said, “Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal,” did not believe that our nation was started in 1776 by people who wanted equality. It’s clear that he believed that from his first paragraph. It is just as clear that those who wrote the Bible believed, beyond any doubt, that this book was and is from God. That’s what it says about itself.