Summary: How do we know that the bible is a factual document of hsitory and what difference does that make?
“Decoding the Past”
Can the Bible be Trusted?
May 7, 2006
Introduction: Today we are starting a three part series dealing with some serious issues being raised in our culture. For a couple of years now the book “The Davinci Code” has been a national best seller and has sparked controversies and questions about the church, the life of Christ and the authority of scripture.
Before we begin, let me tell you what you are not going to be hearing.
1) I am not going to tell you to read the book or watch the movie. I am also not going to tell you not to.
2) I am not going to give you all the reasons Dan Brown is right or wrong in certain areas.
3) I am not going to tell you that Christians need to boycott or picket. In fact, please don’t!!
Here is what I will tell you.
1) If you are planning to engage non-believers or non-church members in a conversation, you need to have truth to share.
2) If you are going to be a part of this cultural conversation, you must be familiar with the arguments.
3) If you are unwilling to be informed and communicate with understanding and with intellect, and with respect for others, don’t participate in the conversation.
Today we are going to begin with the question of “Can the Bible be Trusted?” Many Christians have no idea of how we got the bible we have, where it came from, or how we know it is a reliable document of history.
However, if we are going to participate in a cultural conversation with people who do not believe in the bible, we must have a better argument than, “Well it is in the bible so it must be true.”
One of the principle marketing schemes of “The DaVinci Code” is the tagline, “Seek the Truth.” That is such an important saying. However, we must understand that in seeking truth we must seek the whole truth and not simply parts of the truth. Truth is everywhere and all truth is God’s truth.
The bible is filled with truth. Everything in the bible is true. But it is not true because it is in the bible; it is in the bible because it is true. All truth is God’s truth. And we can see God in all kinds of places.
Paul, who wrote the majority of the New Testament, quoted pagan philosophers and authors in his letters. Those quotes ended up in our bible. Let me give you an example.
Paul is writing to Titus who lives on the island of Crete. The people of Crete were dishonest, lazy and untrustworthy people. But, instead of Paul simply saying that about them, he says this:
“Even one of their own prophets has said, "Cretans are always liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons." This testimony is true. Therefore, rebuke them sharply, so that they will be sound in the faith and will pay no attention to Jewish myths or to the commands of those who reject the truth.” Titus 1:12-14 (NIV)
So, the writing of an atheistic, pagan philosopher ended up in scripture. Why? Because what he said was true and Paul claimed that truth to teach a spiritual lesson.
It also points out that the apostle Paul was not a big fan of boycotting literature or art of his day that didn’t necessarily agree with his particular theology. But, he was discerning in his application of it. So how does this deal with the accuracy of the bible? Today we want to talk about seeking the entire truth.
I. What does the bible say about itself?
The bible has a lot to say about its authority and its truth. We need to begin by looking at the claims of the bible to determine if those claims are true.
If the bible is not true, then it is of no significance to our lives.
“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.”
2 Tim. 3:16 (The Message)
The scripture tells us two very important things:
1) The Bible is inspired by God.
That means that it flows from the heart of God into the lives of men.
This is the same idea used at the center of creation when God brought life into humanity.
“The Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” Genesis 2:7 (NIV)
Scripture flows from the heart of God to us. It is his idea and not the creation of man. We are going to look at where the bible came from in a moment, but ultimately what we need to understand is that this is God’s design.