The Relevance of the New Testament Today

The Bible is the best selling and most influential book in human history. No matter how many times you read it, you will never stop noticing and learning new things. There will always be more to discover.

Last week each book in the Old Testament was listed, along with one important question that each book answers. This is a similar list for the books of the New Testament.

Matthew: Who is Jesus, from a Jewish perspective?
Mark: What did Jesus do while He was here?
Luke: What do the eye witnesses tell us about Jesus?
John: Is Jesus God?
Acts: What is the church and how did it start?
Romans: What is the gospel?
1 & 2 Corinthians: How should Christians behave themselves when together and in daily life?
Galatians: Does salvation depend on following the Law of Moses?
Ephesians: What is the spiritual significance of Christ’s church?
Philippians: How can we have joy in the midst of troubles?
Colossians: How should we walk in Christ?
1 & 2 Thessalonians: What encouraging words would God give to His church?
1 & 2 Timothy: What is an evangelist, and what do they do?
Titus: What advice does a young preacher need?
Philemon: How does God feel about slavery?
Hebrews:  Should we give up on Christ if He does not seem to be coming through for us?
James: How can we live wisely?
1 & 2 Peter: How should Christians conduct themselves when persecuted?
1, 2 & 3 John: Can we know we are God’s children, and if so, how?
Jude: What does God have to say about false teachers?
Revelation: What do we know about heaven, hell, and how the story of humanity ends?

Advertisements

Scriptures and Thoughts: Inspiration

Introduction

Θεόπνευστος – “God breathed”

 

  • 2 Timothy 3:16 – “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;”

 

Breath/Spirit in the OT is involved in creation; preservation; and revelation to and throughout prophets.

What Inspiration did not do: 1.) inform when there is no need [Acts 22:3-common knowledge] 2.) Cite only biblical sources 3.) Make the writer all-knowing 4.) make the writer sinless 5.) supply the writer with what he could obtain from sources.

3 primary views:

 

  • Liberal view: “The Bible contains the Word of God.” Man is granted power over infinite truth, rather than taking a place under it.
  • Neo-orthodox view: “The Bible becomes the Word of God.”
  • Conservative view: “The Bible is the Word of God.” God gave verbal plenary to authors who used their personalities and cultures in their writings (2 Peter 1:21). “for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.”

What does it mean that the Bible is inspired?

(2 TImothy 3:14-17) “You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”

(1 Peter 2:13) And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe.


(2 Peter 1:16-21) “For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For when He received honor and glory from God the Father, such an utterance as this was made to Him by the Majestic Glory, “This is My beloved Son with whom I am well-pleased”—and we ourselves heard this utterance made from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain.

So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts. But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.”

What is the process of inspiration like?  Do they hear a voice?

(Exodus 33:11) “Thus the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, just as a man speaks to his friend. When Moses returned to the camp, his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, would not depart from the tent.”

(1 Samuel 3:2-4) “It happened at that time as Eli was lying down in his place (now his eyesight had begun to grow dim and he could not see well), and the lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the Lord where the ark of God was, that the Lord called Samuel; and he said, ‘Here I am.’”

(Jeremiah 1:4) “Now the word of the LORD came to me saying,”

(Ezekiel 18:1) “Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying,”

(Jeremiah 49:14) “I have heard a message from the LORD, And an envoy is sent among the nations, saying, ‘Gather yourselves together and come against her, And rise up for battle!’”

(Luke 1:46-56)
“And Mary said:
‘My soul exalts the Lord,
And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
For He has had regard for the humble state of Hisbondslave;
For behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed.
For the Mighty One has done great things for me;
And holy is His name.
And His mercy is upon generation after generation
Toward those who fear Him.
He has done mighty deeds with His arm;
He has scattered those who were proud in the thoughts of their heart.
He has brought down rulers from their thrones,
And has exalted those who were humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things;
And sent away the rich empty-handed.
He has given help to Israel His servant,
In remembrance of His mercy,
As He spoke to our fathers,
To Abraham and his descendants forever.’
And Mary stayed with her about three months, and then returned to her home.”

How do we know which ancient writings are inspired?

  • Written by a recognized prophet or apostle
  • Written by those associated with recognized prophet or apostle
  • Truthfulness
  • Faithfulness to previously accepted canonical writings
  • Confirmed by Christ, prophet, apostle
  • Church Usage and Recognition

(Isaiah 55:10-11)“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven,

           And do not return there without watering the earth

           And making it bear and sprout,

           And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater;

     So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth;

           It will not return to Me empty,

           Without accomplishing what I desire,

           And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.”

(John 16:12-14) “I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you.”

(Galatians 1:6-9) “I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!”

(1 John 4:1) “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.”

(Deuteronomy 18:17-22) The Lord said to me, ‘They have spoken well. I will raise up a prophet from among their countrymen like you, and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. It shall come about that whoever will not listen to My words which he shall speak in My name, I Myself will require it of him. But the prophet who speaks a word presumptuously in My name which I have not commanded him to speak, or which he speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.’ You may say in your heart, ‘How will we know the word which the Lord has not spoken?’ When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.”

Has inspiration ceased?

(1 Corinthians 14:36-38) “Was it from you that the word of God first went forth? Or has it come to you only? If anyone thinks he is a prophet or spiritual, let him recognize that the things which I write to you are the Lord’s commandment. But if anyone does not recognize this, he is not recognized.”

(1 Corinthians 12:8-11) “For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.”

(1 Corinthians 13:8-10) “Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part; but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away.”

Can the Bible say a word in its own defense?

(2 Timothy 3:17) “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”

What is the evidence for the inspiration of the Bible?

Predictive prophecy (see Deuteronomy 18 above) – consider prophecies in Daniel about great world empires and the demise of Macedonia, or Isaiah 51 and Psalm 22 describing Christ.

No factual errors or logical contradictions.

Scientific foreknowledge.

A few examples:

Noah’s ark (Genesis 6:15) – Ship builders today are well aware that the ideal dimension for ship stability is a length six times that of the width;

Oceans containing springs (Job 38:16) – Until recently, it was thought that oceans were fed only by rivers and rain. Yet in the 1970s, with the help of deep diving research submarines that were constructed to withstand 6,000 pounds-per-square-inch pressure, oceanographers discovered springs on the ocean floors;

Sexual promiscuity is dangerous to your health (1 Corinthians 6:18; Romans 1:27) –  Much data now confirms that any sexual relationship outside of holy matrimony is unsafe;

Do different writers of the Bible have different styles?  What does this tell us?

Matthew 26:36-46; Luke 22:39-46

*God used different men with different perspectives and styles to provide a whole picture of the same event.

Are any English translations inspired?

Ancient Shadows in the Book of Exodus

What we call “The Old Testament,” Jews often referred to as “The Law, the Prophets, and the Writings.”  One remarkable thing about living after Christ’s resurrection is having the opportunity to look back and notice the many fulfilled prophecies and symbols that these ancient inspired works contain.

The New Testament refers to the Law of Moses as “a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ” (Colossians 2:17).  The historical account of Noah and the Ark, for instance, is spoken of as “symbol” or “antitype” which corresponds to baptism (1 Peter 3:21).  Many such “shadows” and “antitypes” can be seen in the account of Israel’s sojourn in Egypt and pilgrimage to the promised land.

·      Israel became a great nation in the land of Egypt, so that the Pharaoh feared what they might accomplish (Exodus 1:7-10).  In the same way, we each have the potential to do great things for God, which the devil will try to thwart.
·      The Pharaoh decided to “deal shrewdly” with the Israelites in order to keep them under control (Exodus 1:10).  In the same way, Satan has been using trickery and scheming since Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:13) and continues to do so (John 8:44).
·      The Pharaoh’s plan was to force the people to do hard labor as a means of controlling them (Exodus 1:11-14).  Likewise, the devil seeks to enslave us to sinful desires (Romans 6:20).
·      Help came to the enslaved Hebrews in the form of a newborn baby (Exodus 2:2).  Our help, also, was prophesied with the words: “unto us a child is born.” (Isaiah 9:6).
·      Moses fought for his people to be free, displaying many signs and wonders (Exodus 5-11).  The Christ also suffered many things (Luke 17:25) and did many miracles (John 21:25).
·      In the end, the oppressors were swept away and drowned in the same water that the Israelites passed safely through (Exodus 14:21-30).  We also pass through water, that it might wash our sins away (Acts 22:16).
·      God’s salvation of His people was commemorated by a feast of unleavened bread and the marking of doorposts with the blood of a lamb (Exodus 12:14-27).  We also remember what God has done for us in a feast of unleavened bread and fruit of the vine, which represents the blood of the Lamb of God (Luke 22:15-20).
·      A land of milk and honey awaited the Israelites as they left Egypt (Exodus 3:8, 33:3).  We, as sojourners, also seek a better land, in heaven (Hebrews 11:16).
·      While they sojourned, the people of Israel needed to be careful that they did not turn aside to foreign gods (Joshua 24:14-15).  We also must be faithful until death in order to receive the crown of life (Revelation 2:10).

Hidden away in an Old Testament book like Exodus are many symbols that still have great power today.
Ancient Egypt

Is Jesus God?

It is surprising to some to learn that Muslims generally hold Jesus of Nazareth in very high regard.  They acknowledge His virgin birth, His status as a great prophet and teacher, the most miraculous man in history, and even His role as Messiah.

But Muslims do NOT believe that Jesus is God.  They claim that the scriptures of the New Testament have been twisted and misrepresented over time.  So let us be clear.  What DOES the New Testament say?  Is Jesus God?

First, it is important to establish that the New Testament translations we commonly use (NIV, NASB, ESV, etc.) are translations by teams of scholars directly from the Greek.  Nothing has been lost through multiple translations.  Thousands of Greek manuscripts confirm the words of our New Testament directly.

Now, let us examine the evidence:

  • In John 5:16-18, the Jews were outraged that He was “making Himself equal with God.”  Jesus did not tell them that they had misunderstood His claim.
  • In John 8:49, Jesus said “before Abraham was, I AM.” Jesus appeared to be taking on God’s Hebrew name, “I AM.”
  • In John 10:30-33, Jesus said “I and my Father are one.” The Jews took up stones to stone Him, saying “you, being a man, make yourself equal with God.”  Wouldn’t this have been a good time for Jesus to correct them if they were misunderstanding things?
  • In Matthew 16:63-64, the high priest says “tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.” Jesus responds “It is as you said.”
  • John 1:1-3 tells us plainly that Jesus is God and that He created the universe.
  • In Matthew 28:17, the apostles worship Jesus.  He does not tell them to stop.
  • In John 20:28, Thomas looks at Jesus and says “My Lord and my God!”  Jesus responds, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed?”
  • Revelation 5:8-14 tells us that Jesus is worshipped forever and ever.  Is anyone but God to be worshipped forever and ever?
  • Colossians 1:16-17 tells us that “all things have been created through Him and for Him.  He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” Were all things created by the power of a man, to the glory of a man, or is Jesus God?

    Cross of Jesus Christ