Per Ancient Documents’ Scholar, Wes Huff, the 2nd most Googled question over the past two years has been, “What is the Bible?” This post will share some notable resources that I hope and pray will answer some questions you might have about the Bible, its history, reliability, sufficiency, and relevancy. As well as helpful teaching on how to read the Bible (at the bottom). But at the heart of it all is one question:
Do you want to know Jesus…for who He really is?
This question is paramount! The answer will certainly guide your receptivity toward what is shared. Let’s say that finding ample evidence regarding Jesus’s Resurrection is compelling to you, but you would rather have life as you want it to be. Not submitted to God. And lived on your terms. Therefore, evidence for the reliability of the Bible will be the same…Interesting, perhaps, but that’s where it ends. We can have all of the information we seek, but it can’t change the heart. Only God can. For example, some skeptics focus upon finding “errors” and supposed contradictions…but when presented with the findings, nothing satisfies a heart at odds with Jesus as Lord. What’s most important is placing our hearts before God and asking Him to show us who Jesus really is.
“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”Hebrews 4:12
Now that we have prioritized the heart-of-the matter (pun intended), let’s tackle the predominant concern of skeptics: “Textual Variants.” What Dan Wallace, Wes Huff, and Bart Ehrman have found is that of all attested “Textual Variants” found within the 24,000 copies of the New Testament, 75% of those were spelling…as spelling had not been standardized at that time. The remaining “errors” were word replacements. Ninety-nine percent of these replacements were words synonymous of the original text, and less than 1% were seemingly contradictory (i.e. “anger” or “compassionate”). However, Wallace and Huff explain that we have an “embarrassment of riches” when it comes to copies of the original…allowing for accurate transmission. Of all of these textual variants, even Bart Ehrman notes, none of them affect the doctrine! And all are shared in our Bibles with the side notes. Nothing is hidden.
Now, when someone refers to the “differences” between the Gospel accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, do not worry. “Differences” no not signify “inaccuracy.” The differences cited often are related to the intended audience of a Gospel as well as to the personality of the writer. For example, Mark was writing to Jewish readers and John to Greek. The Jewish day began at 6am and the Greek day began just after midnight. Each sited events accordingly. John wrote more chronologically but Mark wrote thematically. The styles were unique, but the message was the same. The events pointed to the Gospel of Jesus…Christ and Him Crucified.
The Jews picked up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you going to stone me?” The Jews answered him, “It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God.” Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I said, you are gods’? If he called them gods to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be broken— do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.”John 10:22-38
“and you know that from childhood you have known the sacred Scriptures, which are able to give you wisdom for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”2 Timothy 3:15-17
Gals, in a world where there are many voices, we need the help of God’s Word to test every message carefully. God’s Word is a precious gift to us…so we need to be reading it as often as possible. Jesus valued the scriptures! He encouraged His listeners to live by them! It’s in them where we see Jesus…all over the Old and the New Testaments. Jesus is the Word of God John spoke of in John 1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” We need Jesus…His words are Truth and Life. Sisters, please view the resources shared below,…all the while praying for Jesus to reveal Himself as He really is through scripture. And please pray for the The Church. Friend, we need God’s guidance through Scripture more than anything else.
Let’s Define our Terms:
What is the Bible? Per Voddie Baucham, “The Bible is a reliable collection of historical documents, written by eyewitnesses during the time of other eyewitnesses that report supernatural events that took place in fulfillment of specific prophecies, claiming that their writings are Divine rather than human in origin.”
What is essential Christian Doctrine? Per Dr Kevin Lewis from Biola, “We believe in inspiration and inerrancy of the Bible. We believe in the Trinity. We believe in the full deity and humanity of Christ. We believe in the lostness of mankind, and spiritual death of mankind. We believe in the Incarnation of Christ. We believe in His virgin birth, His Resurrection, His full atonement for sin, and that by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, to the glory of God alone, one can be saved – and add to that, you know, a couple other things – you know, Christ is going to come back to judge the living and the dead,”
What is Reliability? Bible Gateway defines reliability in these terms, “The quality of consistency and dependability which is the basis for confidence and reliance. It is exemplified by God in his changelessness and is required of God’s people in their service and witness. Scripture gives warning, too, of those things which may prove unreliable.”
What is Biblical Sufficiency? Sufficiency here refers to authority. What carries ultimate authority for you? Experience first? Or experience checked by Scripture?
Is the Bible still relevant today? Yes! But do you want it to be? The question of “Who do you say that Jesus is?”…is essential regarding relevancy. If we know Jesus for whom He really is…Lord, than we would not mold Him into our liking. Nor would we bend His words to fit our perspectives(or those of the culture).
What is Textual Criticism? Dan Wallace shares, “Well, the word ‘criticism’ simply means research, and ‘textual criticism’ is the discipline that has as its primary goal to ascertain the wording of an original document that no longer exists or can no longer be found. We apply it to all ancient literature. We apply it to a lot of modern literature, including the Gettysburg Address. We don’t have what Lincoln wrote. We have five secretaries that wrote down what he said, and they all have differences among them.”
Transmission and Translation? Transmission = creating more copies, and Translation = the process of writing the text from one language into another, all the preserving the meaning.
Information from Answers in Genesis
- Bible- What is it?
- Bible- Is the Bible True?
- Bible- The Bible and Science
- Bible- How much is inspired by God?
- Bible- Full of contradictions?
- Bible- The uniqueness of the Bible
- Bible- Genesis, the first Book of the Bible
- Bible- Adam and Eve
- Bible- Archeology
- Bible- Bible Characters
- Bible- History
- Bible- Is the Bible enough?
- Bible- Bible Study (Biblical Authority Study and Hebrew Word Study)
- Bible- The Gospel
- Bible- Bible Timeline
- Bible- Hell
- Bible- Hermeneutics
- Bible- Word of God
- Bible- Is the Bible accurate?
Historians, even Christian Skeptic Bart Erhman, acknowledge that Jesus was a real man who was crucified, and that His tomb was found empty. More than 500 witnesses saw His resurrected body. Those who didn’t believe in His Lordship and Deity beforehand (ie James and Paul) were followers afterward…even to the point of martyrdom. Friends, please open the Bible and read it for yourselves. God gave us the Scriptures as He knew we would need them.
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:16-17
How to Read the Bible
“But he answered, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”Matthew 4:4
Per Walt Russell, we need to “interrupt the part in light of the whole.” This refers to not taking a single verse out of the paragraph (“cherry-picking” or “proof-texting”), but to read the whole paragraph. It’s important to read the whole letter as to read what God is wanting the audience of that letter to know. Dr. Russell also teaches that we should read the New Testament in light of the Old Testament. In the New Testament, the writers were sending letters to Churches. To Believers, not unbelievers. The audience was a particular group of followers of Jesus. As Wes Huff says, each letter was written to a particular church at that time, as well as for us today. God’s Word is relevant today as it’s about the Gospel of Jesus. He is our Lord and our Life. We need to follow His lead. Sisters, let’s be devoted to prayer, dwell in God’s Word, and walking in Gospel-driven community…In His strength and for His glory! Love, Meridith
- Hermeneutics Video Resources, By Walt Russell and Biola 🎞
- “What is the difference between Exegesis and Eisegesis?” By GotQuestions ✏️🎞
- “Why is important to Study the Bible in Context?” By GotQuestions ✏️🎞
- “What does it mean that a passage is Descriptive or Prescriptive?” By GotQuestions ✏️