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Thursday, August 7, 2008

CAN YOU TRUST YOUR BIBLE?

2 Timothy 3:16, 17

Introduction: As our spring board we are looking at a very revealing passage of scripture about the subject of the scriptures. Two very important points we can draw from this text are 1.) the Bible is a God-Breathed book that's what the word inspiration means and 2.) the Bible is all the believer needs in order to grow and walk with God. We don't need some sort of additional information or additional revelation, no we need God's Spirit to help us understand and apply this God-Breathed book!

Having said this, it seems every time you turn around you see some book called "The Lost Books Of The Bible" or a National Geographic program on "The Gospel of Judas". Perhaps you've heard of "The Gospel of Thomas" or "The Gospel Of The Egyptians" or "The Gospel Of Mary". There were approximately 85 books claiming to be Gospel accounts of either the life or words of Christ. Several of these books focus on the early childhood of Christ and they are referred to as "infancy gospels" and the Gospel Of Thomas would be in this group.

The people that promote these books would have you to believe that there was a conspiracy in the early church to censor certain writings from the Bible. Is this true? Was there some intricate cover up? Or can you trust the Bible you have? I'm going to point out some things that some how fail to get included in most secular presentations on this subject.

I. Consider The DATES Of The Writings
The thing that distinguishes the books of the N.T. from all of the other supposed "lost books of the Bible" is that the books of the N.T. actually date back to the eyewitnesses of the events of the N.T.

No one actually believes that Thomas wrote the Gospel of Thomas, because even its proponents know that the book was not written during the lifetime of Thomas, unless of course you believe Thomas lived to be almost 200 years old. The Gospel of Judas never even claims to have been written by Judas Iscariot or by anyone who would have known him; this is even conceded by the Gnostic defenders of this book. All of the pseudo gospels were not written early enough to have been written by the people whose names are on the books. You may ask, "Do you mean that people actually forged books and falsely claimed they were written by the apostles? Absolutely! Even in the 1st century people were passing around forged epistles claiming that Paul wrote them. It was for this reason that Paul always authenticated his epistles. 2 Thessalonians 3:17, 18 "The salutation of Paul with mine own hand, which is the token in every epistle: so I write. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.” Paul said that he always penned the salutation (the contents of vs.18) in his own hand as a token (sign, indication) that this was an authentic epistle from him. (See also 1 Corinthians 16:21, 23 and Galatians 6:11, 18) None of the false writings can be connected with an apostle, a companion of an apostle, or to a person who would have known Jesus. This is one of the reasons why the early church rejected these writings because they had no connection with the people or events of the N.T.

Now contrast this with the books of the N.T. Four of the authors were apostles: Matthew, John, Peter, and Paul. Apostles were eyewitnesses and earwitnesses of the life, teachings and resurrection of Christ. Matthew in Matthew 9 records his own conversion; John and Peter weigh in as well as to the veracity of their accounts. 1 John 1:1-3, 2 Peter 1:16-18 Paul's testimony is recorded more than any other individual's in the Bible and he claimed to have both seen and been personally taught by Christ. The other N.T. writers were men who had a connection either with an apostle or with Christ Himself or with both. These include: John Mark, Luke, James, and Jude. John Mark was a companion of the disciples during the ministry of Christ, the nephew of Barnabas who is identified as an apostle in Acts 14:14, and a companion of the apostle Paul. Luke was a Greek doctor who was a companion of Paul and his gospel account is essentially a dissertation on the teaching and ministry of Christ. James and Jude were both the half brothers of Jesus, enough said.

II. Consider The DOCTRINE Of The Writings
Another problem with the false writings is that they are not doctrinally compatible with the N.T. books. Many are admittedly Gnostic writings such as the Apocryphon (secret book) of John. Gnostics predate Christianity and tried to highjack the early church with their Greek philosophy. They believed that all matter was inherently evil and therefore Christ could not have actually taken on flesh, which John dealt with this heresy in 1 John 4:1-3. They also believed that in order to truly arrive spiritually you had to be a recipient of the secret gnosis (knowledge), so that's why they were big on the "secret books". Remember what Paul told Timothy? 2 Timothy 3:16, 17 "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works." We don't need secret knowledge from some sort of secret source or some secret hidden code, God is in the revelation business and the Bible is His revelation of Himself to mankind!

The false writings are rampant with all kinds of teachings not consistent with the teachings of the N.T. “A book known as the Gospel of Thomas records an incident when a child threw a stone at the boy Jesus. Jesus said, “Thou shalt not finish thy course,” and the child fell down dead. This account does not match what we know about Jesus from the four gospels; so the Gospel of Thomas was rejected as a false book by the early church[1]” A careful reading of Luke 9:51-56 demonstrates that this is not consistent with the character of Jesus. The gospel of Judas portrays Judas as a hero who only betrayed Christ because Christ instructed him to do so. Does this square with the N.T.? Luke 22:3; John 13:27 Both of these scripture teach that the betrayal of Christ was motivated by Satan not Jesus. In Matthew 26:24 Jesus said that it would have been better for Judas if he had not been born. In John 17:12 Jesus referred to Judas as the “…son of perdition…” a name ascribed to only Judas and the Anti-Christ. These teachings that are perpetuated by these writings are not consistent with the teachings of the apostles and therefore, should be rejected. Galatians 1:8 “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.”

Conclusion: We know that the preservation of the message is really a work of God rather than man. Psalm 12:6,7 And we should not allow ourselves to be adversely affected by any “new” discoveries, because we can have absolute confidence in the Bible and its message.

[1]Youngblood, R. F., Bruce, F. F., Harrison, R. K., & Thomas Nelson Publishers. 1995. Nelson's new illustrated Bible dictionary. Rev. ed. of: Nelson's illustrated Bible dictionary.; Includes index. T. Nelson: Nashville
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1 Comments:

Blogger url|00 said...

Wow...
Very helpful thanks for taking the time to post it!

August 7, 2008 at 9:22 AM  

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