Summary: The Bible, best seller of all time...Dan Brown says we can’t trust it....Well, can we?
All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work.
2 Timothy 3:16 - 17 (NRSVA)
The Bible has been called "The Divine Library". I’m told that the Vatican in Rome has a complete Bible that measures two feet thick. And they have a complete one that is only an inch square. Guides there tell tourists that the big one contains everything Eve said to Adam; the small one has everything Adam said.
More than 500 years ago Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press. The very first book in history to roll off the press was the Bible. The Bible has been the world’s best seller ever since. In October 1987 a Gutenberg original was purchased for over five million dollars. It was the largest price ever paid for a printed book.
Dan Brown, author of “The DaVinci Code” says we can’t trust it! Bernard Ramm, a Bible scholar says, A thousand times over, the death knell of the Bible has been sounded, the funeral procession formed, the inscription cut on the tombstone, and the committal read. But somehow the corpse never stays put. (1)
The Bible doesn’t go out of style; that doesn’t mean people put it to good use. U.S. News and World Report cited a survey that wanted to know what people believed about the Bible. Among the results:
a. 80% of Americans believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God.
b. 48% believe there is no one set of values that is right: 48%! (2)
Ladies and gentlemen, if the Bible is God’s Word, it is the only set of values that can possibly be right. He is God! Billy Graham was quoted as once saying, If the Bible is right nothing else matters; if it is wrong nothing matters.
If the Bible is indeed God’s final authority for all the decisions in church life, family life, interpersonal relationships, and business, then being a Bible-believing person, presupposes the fact that you are a Bible-behaving person!
How does that work? (Glad you asked). A Wycliffe missionary in a remote village of Papua New Guinea was translating the Bible into the native language for folks who had only recently begun hearing the Gospel. When the first chapters of Genesis were completed the attitude toward women changed dramatically, and overnight.
Previously women were treated as possessions. They had not realized that the woman had been specially formed out of the side of the man. When the Gospel confronted previously wrong thinking, these people immediately grasped the ideas of equality between the sexes, and began adjusting their behavior. The people heard, believed and obeyed. They changed; just like that! (3)
And that is what the Bible does best – confrontation and change. It confronts our silly human notions, and we change. We either conform to God’s Word, or we harden our hearts…but you cannot remain neutral about Holy Scripture.
Our text says that all scripture is “inspired”. The word “inspired” means God-breathed. Bishop Warren A. Candler was preaching to a large church group using as his text the story of Ananias and Sapphira, who lied to God and were struck dead. The old bishop roared: “God doesn’t strike people dead for lying like he used to. If he did, where would I be?” This got a laugh from his audience; then he added, “I tell you where I would be. I would be right here, preaching to an empty house.” (4)
There is a sense in which the house has been emptied. The DaVinci Code has raised the question-mark over the Holy Book. In short the hypothesis is that the ancient church tried to hide the truth by cutting stuff out of the Bible if it didn’t line-up with its teaching. (Now…there’s a novel idea…put heresy out of the Bible!)
In fact, many people are buying the theory Brown is presenting, which is that the Gospel accounts of the life, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus is an unreliable account.
I want to give you an extended quote from Lee Strobel’s book, of an interview he conducted with Dr. Scot McKnight of Biola University, an expert in history and Scripture:
• Strobel: You’re claiming that Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are essentially reliable, but Dan Brown makes the claim that there were a lot more gospels than those four. In fact, he says there were over eighty gospels, and that Constantine got rid of the ones that said Jesus was just a mortal human being and only kept the ones that suited his agenda. That left Matthew, Mark, Luke and John – the ones that emphasize Jesus’ supernatural side and claim he’s the Son of God. What about that? If we have a skewed deck from which to retrace history, then we can’t really trust it, can we?