I know you believe that the Bible you hold in your hand is the Word of God. I know you have that confidence. And there’s a reason you have that confidence, and it’s not because of me, although I am the one that the Lord has brought to teach you.
And there are many other elders and teachers who have also influenced you. But there is an even more significant reason why you believe the Bible than any human ministry, and that reason is because when the Lord saved you, when the Lord saved you, when you were regenerated. When you were born again, when you were delivered from erred truth and darkness to light, you were given confidence in the Word of God as a heavenly gift. When the Holy Spirit came to dwell in your heart, He not only shed love abroad – love, joy, peace, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, self-control. He not only deposited within you all heavenly blessings, all spiritual blessings in the heavenlies, He not only granted you all that pertains to life and godliness, but He gave you confidence in the Word of God.
You believe the Bible for the same reason that you believe the gospel. You believe the Bible for the same reason that you put your faith in Jesus Christ because God did a sovereign miracle in your mind and in your heart, and you were drawn to the truth, and you were enabled to believe, and you put your trust not only in the person of Christ, but the gospel of Christ and the source of that gospel, the living Word of God. In that sense, you don’t need me to convince you by some mechanisms of the veracity of Scripture. You have that confidence in your heart.
In 1 Corinthians chapter 2, Paul says this: “Your faith doesn’t rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.” That’s a great statement in verse 5, 1 Corinthians 2: “Your faith doesn’t rest on the wisdom of men, it rests on the power of God. We do speak wisdom among those who are mature, those who are redeemed, saved; a wisdom, however, not of this age nor of the rulers of this age who are passing away. We speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory; the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for it they had understood it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written, ‘Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard and which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those that love Him.’”
That is to say we understand everything that God has delivered and prepared for those that love Him. We understand the Scripture. We understand the gospel. We understand Christ. The reason we understand that is not because we’re wiser than anybody else, but by the power of God working in us, awakening our dead hearts, opening our blind eyes.
Paul goes on, “For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words. But a natural man, an unconverted man, does not accept the things of the Spirit of God. They are foolishness to him. He cannot understand them because they are spiritually appraised.”
We’re very different. He ends that chapter by saying this: “We have the mind of Christ.” We think the way Christ thinks.
How can that happen? That is a divine miracle. From the day that you were regenerated and born again, you were given by the Holy Spirit a confidence in the Word of God. That confidence has grown, and flourished, and developed, and become stronger and richer, as you have exposed your mind and your heart to the teaching of the Word of God. It was there to start with, but it has flourished, and it flourishes in an environment where the Word of God dominates your life.
I go back in my own life to a time when I was a very young boy and I was not very intellectual. I was much more athletic than I was intellectual by far. But from the day that the Lord awakened my dead heart and gave me life in Christ, I had a clear conviction that the Bible was true, that the Bible was true.
In the long years since then of studying the Word of God, that clear conviction is a stronger conviction than it has ever been. The Word of God has stood every possible test of scrutiny that I could apply to it at the level of every word, and every verse, and every line; year, after year, after year, after year; book after book; commentary after commentary; all through the study of the study Bible and writing all the notes. It has merely been an affirmation of what the Spirit of God gave me, a conviction about the truthfulness of the Word of God that has stood every test.
I’ve read the Bible consistently. I’ve read the critics who attacked the Bible. I’ve read everything the cults have to throw at the Bible. Nothing had diminished my confidence in Scripture. Everything I have done in my life from the time that I first awakened to the truth, everything in my life has been directed at understanding the Bible. And I can honestly say to you that all the years of studying, the Bible has not been so much to preach as to know. It meets a hunger in my heart. I’m thankful that I’ve been able to preach it, and share it, and proclaim it. That’s a great blessing and great joy to me.
But what drives me is my love for the truth, my trust in the truth. No critics have been able to topple that trust. No cults have been able to topple that trust: No attacks on Scriptures; no calling things into question; no debates that I’ve have with people in private, in public, in the media. Nothing has been able to diminish my confidence in the Word of God.
And when somebody says to me, “Well, I don’t believe the Bible,” my sort of initial reaction is to say, “Wow, you must have studied it for decades to come to that conclusion. You must have literally poured over every aspect of Scripture. You must have chased down every truth and compared scripture with scripture to come to such a massive conclusion against the grain of what millions of people believe.” And you watch people go, “Well, not really.” “Oh, you just don’t believe it ignorantly.” There’s no virtue in that.
When it comes to discerning the truth of God, popular opinion plays no role, critical theory plays no role, human insight plays no role, human experience plays no role, pseudo-scholarship plays no role. Even tradition in and of itself plays no role. All I want to know is, “What does the Bible say?” and the meaning of the Scripture is the Scripture. You can have a Bible, but if you don’t know the meaning, you don’t have the message. The revelation has to be understood accurately.
And the Bible is not difficult; it is not difficult. I hope you understand that. It is not difficult. It is impossible for an unbeliever, but it is not difficult for a believer because you have an anointing from God, 1 John 2:20 and 27, “the Holy Spirit so that you don’t depend on human teachers.”
You have the mind of Christ. You can think the way God thinks; you can think the way Christ thinks. The more I study the Bible, the more unshakable is the conviction that it is the living, inerrant, authoritative Word of God. We could never know God if He didn’t speak.
In Acts 17, Paul says to the philosophers on Mars Hill, “You know there’s a God, that’s why you have an altar ‘TO THE UNKNOWN GOD.’ And in that God you live and move and have your being.”
And he says to them, “He’s not far from you. But on your own, you can’t touch Him. You know He’s there. He’s revealed Himself,” Paul says in Acts 17, “through His creation. He made the heavens and the earth and everything that is in it, and you have reason, and reason takes you from an effect to a cause. And you know this didn’t happen by accident. Nobody times nothing doesn’t equal everything; you know that. So you know there is a God and He’s all around you, and it’s in Him you live and move and have your being. And He’s not far, but you can’t find Him, but you know He’s there.”
“And you even know something about Him,” Paul told the Romans. “You know about His nature, His eternal power, His divinity,” Romans 1. “In fact, you know enough about Him to be without excuse if you don’t believe in Him. You know plenty about Him.”
Romans 2, Paul says, “You not only know about His power and His nature by looking at the creation around you, but you know about His morality and His righteousness and His laws because they’re written in your heart. In the heart of every pagan that there is a definitive law that comes into every creature as a part of the Imago Dei, the image of God, so you know about God. He’s not far away. You know there’s a Creator, you know there’s a Lawgiver and a Judge because you not only are a physical being, but you’re a moral being, and you know that. You have a conscience that either accuses or excuses you based upon your violations of that moral law written in your heart.”
And then Paul says in Romans 1, “That is enough to give you adequate knowledge to be condemned. That’s enough to damn you.”
John even goes so far as to say, “Christ is the light that lights every man that comes into the world.” There’s a path to God through reason and through morality, through human judgment. Through common sense thinking, there’s a path back to God.
Atheists are the fools the Bible says. You have to be a fool to believe this came from nothing. That is the most foolish concept in existence. Why is anybody an atheist? Not because of any intellectual reason. That’s intellectual suicide. Why is anybody an atheist? Because they don’t want a judge. They don’t want a lawgiver. They don’t want anyone out there to whom they are responsible to live morally and who would make them face consequences if they don’t.
There’s no such thing as an intellectual atheist, there are only immoral atheists who want to get God out of their world so they can live any way they like. So we can know enough about God humanly to know something of His power, something of His massive nature. And by the way, the longer people are on earth and the more we advance scientifically, the bigger God becomes.
You go back a few hundred years and they were still counting the stars, and somebody decided there were 1,024. There aren’t. They’re countless; incalculable. So the longer man lives and the more scientifically advanced he becomes, the more it becomes clearer that God is far bigger than anything we can even imagine. And He’s powerful; and He’s characterized by design, and order, and consistency.
And He’s also moral; and we understand love and hate, and justice and injustice, and right and wrong. But that’s only enough to condemn us; Romans 1, “So that we are without excuse; without excuse.” If we want enough to save us, not just condemn us, we need this book. We have to have this book.
Paul said to the philosophers of Mars Hill, “You know enough to know that you live and move in the realm of God. You don’t know who that is. He is the Creator of everything. But what you need to know is that God is now commanding all of you to repent and turn in faith to the One whom He has raised from the dead. Your only hope is not in some broad knowledge that God exists, some broad knowledge of His nature and His morality. Your only hope of escaping judgment is a specific knowledge about His Son, and His death and resurrection, and the gospel.” For that, you have to have Scripture; you have to have Scripture.
Psalm 19 talks about, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the firmament shows His handiwork.” And the psalmist goes on to talk about how night and day demonstrate essentially what Romans 1 and Acts 17 are saying: “God is there. He’s a great Creator.” And then he turns in the middle of that Psalm – we’re going to look at that Psalm the Sunday before Shepherds’ Conference – and he says, “The law of the Lord; the law of the Lord,” and he turns from creation, general revelation, to specific revelation in the law of the Lord. The law of the Lord is the Scripture, 66 books, promising and proclaiming the one who is to come who comes in the New Testament, and His story is complete.
We can’t be saved without the Bible. There’s no salvation in any other name than Jesus. They have to hear; Romans 10: “They have to hear. Whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. But how will they hear without a, “ what? “A preacher.” “Go into all the world, preach the gospel to every creature.”
There’s no other salvation, no other way of salvation. People cannot get to heaven without Scripture, without the Bible. So understand this: Satan’s greatest attack in history from the beginning has been on Scripture, on God’s Word, God’s revelation, even though Old Testament writers claim that what they wrote was the very word of God, and they make that claim over 3,800 times in the Old Testament. Even though New Testament writers quote the Old Testament as God’s Word over 300 times and refer to the Old Testament 1,000 times; even though New Testament writers claim that they are writing the Word of God; even though Jesus claimed that both the old and the new were Scripture, Satan continues to blast away at the Bible. This is an old, old effort on his part.
Let’s go back to see where it all began back in the third chapter of Genesis; the third chapter of Genesis. This is essentially the issue that crashed the human race. Adam and Eve, of course, have fellowship with God. They have been created in the Paradise of God. Chapter 2 ends that they were man and wife, and naked and not ashamed. God had placed them in a perfect setting and they even communed with God in the cool of the day.
Then the serpent appeared; chapter 3, verse 1, “Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, ‘Indeed, has God said you shall not eat from any tree of the Garden’? Has God said that?”
Well, if you go back to chapter 2, verse 16, the Lord God commanded the man saying, “From any tree of the Garden you may eat freely, but from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.”
That’s pretty straight. “You can eat anything. You can go freely through the Garden, enjoy it all. There’s one tree you’re not to eat, one prohibition, and if you do, in that day, you’ll die.” That’s what God said. So the serpent, this crafty, beastly incarnation of Satan, comes to the woman who is vulnerable because she is not in the presence of her protector, her husband, and he says, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the Garden’?”
Satan’s strategy here is progressively very deceptive. It appears initially as sort of an innocuous question: “Indeed, has God said, has Elohim said”? That’s the first question in the Bible; the first question in the history of the human race; the first question ever. There has never been a dilemma; there’s never been a query; there’s never been confusion; there’s never been a question. And the question is designed to start Eve on the path to doubting the Word of God. This is the essence of Satan’s enterprise.
It could be translated another way. He said to the woman, “So God has said, has He?” But that’s not innocuous. For the first time, the most deadly spiritual force has covertly been smuggled into the world. And what is that deadly force? The assumption that what God has said is subject to human judgment.
“Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the Garden’?” He turns it, by the way, from a positive – which it was back in chapter 2, verse 16: “From any tree of the Garden you may eat freely with just one limitation.” He flips that over and emphasizes the negative, “You shall not eat from any tree of the Garden,” perverting-inverting the emphasis from God saying, “You may eat all except one,” to, “Did God say you’re not supposed to eat something?”
Press the issue of prohibition. Make the woman feel like God is needlessly putting restrictions on her. This is a setup for the main assault. “You have a right to sit in judgment on God’s Word because God’s Word contains unnecessary prohibitions. God is cramping your freedom.” That’s the implication.
“God’s Word can be, should be questioned. It should be judged because it appears to be restrictive, doesn’t it? It appears to be narrow; it appears to be limiting. And if that’s the case, then something’s wrong with God. Something’s really wrong if He wants to restrain your free will, your pleasure, your joy, your satisfaction, your fulfillment. Is God wanting to take away your free choices? Is God wanting to put limits on you and remove rights? Why would He do that? Is He uncaring; is he cruel? Can you really trust Him?” Subtly, Satan suggests that he is more devoted to Eve’s freedom than God is, okay.
Are you hearing contemporary views of the Bible in this whole discussion? I mean this is how people come to the Scripture today. “What kind of God would be against all these things that we freely want to do?” So Satan has set in her mind the idea that the one prohibition is evidence of some kind of divine character flaw, casting suspicion on God’s goodness. And if there’s any suspicion about God’s goodness, if God for some strange reason wants to limit your freedom, there must be a flaw in His character and you ought to find that flaw. Not quite ready to cave in yet.
Eve responds weakly in verse 2: “The woman said to the serpent, ‘From the fruit of the trees in the Garden we may eat.’” Oh, now she’s hooked. She should have defended God. She knew God. She knew God was true, and pure, and good, and righteous. She knew the perfections of God that had been revealed to her sinless mind. She had a clear command. If nothing else, she should have been suspicious of a talking snake.
So she says, “From the fruit of the trees of the Garden we may eat. But from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the Garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.’” God didn’t say that. God didn’t say you can’t touch it. That’s not back in verse 16 or 17.
Instead of an emphatic defense of the character of God, the goodness of God, her reply is a partial answer to Satan. And here is the entrance of sin. As soon as one does not completely and wholeheartedly and unreservedly trust in the Word of God as true and the source of our highest good, sin has a foothold in the human heart. And then she adds, “Or touch it.” And that means she is now showing personal distain for the prohibition and she’s adding to it.
The process is very effective. She accepts the unnecessary restriction as a fact and embellishes it. Now she’s bought into this unnecessary restriction. God’s Word now has been judged by her unacceptable.
“The serpent said to the woman,” in verse 4, “You surely will not die. God’s a liar. You won’t die. God lies.” She opened the door to that by believing for a moment that God was unnecessarily restrictive, and therefore not good, crowding her life and choices, freedoms. God is unnecessarily restrictive because of some flaw in His character.
Here’s the flaw: “God’s a liar. You won’t die. God isn’t telling you the truth. His Word can’t be trusted.” And as Eve believes the liar, Satan moves in for the kill. She believes ever so slightly that God is flawed, deceptive, needlessly taking away freedoms, cramping our joy, and she just wants to hear, “You don’t have to obey that. It’s not true. You won’t die.”
Satan’s telling that lie to everybody who sins right down the path of death, right? “You won’t die. There’s no hell. Be free from restrictive words of God. Be free from offensive words from God. It’s your life, do what you want with it – no limits, no narrowness, no judgment, no consequences. A God like that, something’s wrong with Him. He’s not loving; He’s not kind or He wouldn’t be restrictive. He’s law, He’s not love. Why would He be like that?”
Well, verse 5, Satan says, “God knows that in the day you eat from it, your eyes will be open and you’ll be like God knowing good and evil.” This is just unbelievable. How can you move so fast? How could Satan move her mind this fast?
“He lies,” God does, “He lies to you. He tell you you’re going to die when you’re not. He tries to restrict your freedoms when He has no legitimate reason for doing it. And the reason He lies is because He knows that if you eat that you’re going to be like Him and He hates rivals. God is selfish, self-centered, proud. The truth is do what you want. Eat that fruit and you’ll be like God. You’ll be as free as God, as unrestricted as God.” So the father of lies brought down the entire human race on the premise that God’s Word could not be trusted as revealed – tampered with, added to, and then called an outright lie.
If you follow the Scripture from there, it is the revelation of the history of Satan’s constant attacks on the Word of God through an endless array of false prophets, false teachers, liars, false apostles, deceivers, all the way from Genesis to the end of the book of Revelation. The attack has always been there. The battle for biblical truth is always raged. The battle for the Bible has gone on through the whole of human history.
In spite of everything done to defend the truth of Scripture, to defend the character of God as revealed in Scripture, we have to fight the battle over again. It’s fought, and it’s fought, and it’s fought, and it’s fought every generation. Every believer, all of us in our relationships with unbelievers, find ourselves fighting for the integrity, authority, inerrancy, inspiration, and truthfulness of Scripture.
Where do the attacks come from? Well, they come from Satan who is a liar and a murderer. The truth of the matter was she did die. Adam did die. The whole human race was cursed with death. It was so much worse than she would ever have imagined.
Any of us who are in ministry find ourselves on the one hand teaching the Word of God like we do to you, and on the backside of our lives we fight for the truth in just about every imaginable setting. Attacks against the Bible come from critics who call themselves scholars who attack the veracity of Scripture. They come from cults who twist and pervert Scripture and supersede Scripture with other books authored by men and devils. Attacks on the Bible come from charismatics who equate their visions, dreams, experiences with the Bible.
Attacks come from cultural compromisers who think that we don’t need to pay attention to the Bible; we need to pay attention to the culture if we’re going to win them. And in a post-modern world, people don’t like absolute truth. And in a post-modern world, we need to be pragmatic and give them what they want; hence, we’re watching, for example, the evangelical church cave in to homosexual marriage. There are well-established churches with familiar names that you know that now have homosexual couples on their church staff.
The Bible is attacked not only by the critics, the cults, the charismatic, the culture of compromisers, it’s attacked by the capricious, the flippant. Many preachers, and certainly lots of people who just go across the surface of the Bible, popping across the surface, sucking up whatever appeals to them and turning it into some little sermonette for Christianettes, and never bury themselves in the depth and richness and continuity of this divine book. There are even carnal attacks on the Bible where men’s will trumps God.
One of the latest attacks on the Bible – and we’ve dealt with many of them – was on its sufficiency. I wrote a book some years ago called Our Sufficiency in Christ because the sufficiency of the Bible was under attack by psychologists. And then there came the sort of emerging movement, which is still around in some forms, and it attacks the Bible by saying the Bible is ambiguous. There was so much written on this that we can’t really understand the Bible; we can’t know what it means; it’s beyond us.
The Roman Catholic church was sort of the architect of the ambiguity of Scripture, and the Roman Catholic church says, “We don’t want any laymen looking at a Bible.”
If you don’t think they were serious about that, then ask why they murdered William Tyndale. What did William Tyndale do; what was his crime? He translated the Bible into English so people could read it, and the whole system saw it as a threat.
The church alone was to interpret the Scripture. The church alone was its legitimate interpreter. In evangelicalism, no one would say that. They would say, “Well, we can’t know what it means, so let’s not take it too seriously since it’s an old book. We don’t really know what it means.” That’s the new spirituality. We kind of feel what it means, kind of have an intuitive sense of what it means, but we don’t really know what it means.
The Roman Catholic church said that the Bible is unclear, impossible to interpret; absolutely impossible. And on the 40th anniversary of Vatican II in honor of Verbum Dei, a group of Catholic leaders issuing an edict saying that not all of the Bible is true. Oh.
They’ll tell us, by the way, which is. And I would remind you that when you take the truth out of a system, you put in symbols; and the more symbols, the less truth. Symbols are effective and useful only in direct proportion to the obscurity of doctrine. You come in here you don’t see symbols, you get sound doctrine. Where there’s no sound doctrine, you need symbols. People need to wear funny clothes and wave things, parade around.
There’s a lot of evangelicals who think the doctrine is divisive, doctrine is arrogant saying you know what you believe is a kind of intolerance. One man that I used to preach with when I was young said, “Certitude is idolatrous. I’ve given up certitude.” Really? “If there’s a foundation in Christian theology, he writes, “it’s not found in Scripture. Theology must be a humble, human attempt to hear God, never about rational approaches to texts.” What? Whatever that means.
Another writer says, “Clarity is overrated. Shock and ambiguity often stimulate more than clarity.” Shock and ambiguity? Another writer: “The gospel is not a matter of certainties.” Another writer: “I’m too humble to say I know what the Bible means by what it says.” This gives some measure of license to people who wouldn’t say that, but they feel they can play with the Scripture in a cavalier way.
As I was saying a minute ago, “Not penetrate its context down deep into the Scripture.” Scripture is not ambiguous. “These things I write unto you that your joy may be full. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.” This is revelation, not obfuscation.
And by the way, the sinner is responsible for Scripture. The ignorance, the blindness of sinners dead in their trespasses is not compounded by God giving an obscure revelation. This is not allegory, this is not myth, this is not Kabbalah, this is not Gnosticism, this isn’t mysticism. You say, “Well, why would people even come up with that?” Because they don’t like what it says.
Back to John 7:7, “The world hates me because I testify that its deeds are evil.” The people that reject the Bible reject the Bible because they don’t like what it says about their sin. Scripture is plain. Scripture is clear. Scripture is lucid. In fact, even to come into the kingdom you have to become like a what? Like a child.
We believe in the perspicuity of Scripture. That’s a great old doctrine; it means “clarity.” Even the Old Testament is so clear that Jesus held people accountable. He says to the Jews over and over again, in Matthew half a dozen times, “Have you not read; have you not read; have you not read; have you not read?” Then He says, “Search the Scriptures; search the Scriptures. Have you never read in the Scriptures? You are wrong,” He said, Matthew 22, “because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God.”
The Old Testament Scripture was so clear that you remember in the book of Acts when we began how immediately after the coming of the Holy Spirit, even before the Holy Spirit came after the resurrection, after the Road to Emmaus, all the apostles understood the Old Testament when Jesus explained it to them. Certainly, the Old Testament Scripture is made clear by the New Testament; that’s what makes it clear. But it is clear now that we have the New Testament.
We went through that, didn’t we, in our series Finding Christ in the Old Testament? You can’t find Him there unless you know what He looks like. So you start in the New Testament. You get a perfect picture of Jesus Christ. Take that perfect picture into the Old Testament and you’ll find Him everywhere He appears. And by the way, most of the New Testament epistles were not written to church leaders, they were written to congregations, and congregations of people who were baby Christians.
First Corinthians 1:2, “To the church of God at Corinth.” Galatians 1:2, “To the churches of Galatia.” Philippians 1:1, “To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi.” Paul assumes they’re going to understand the New Testament, and these are Gentiles. And he even throws in quotes after quotes of the Old Testament. He writes the book of Romans loaded with quotes from the Old Testament and illustrations from the life of Abraham.
Colossians: “The instruction is when this letter has been read among you, have it read also in the church of the Laodiceans and see that you read also the letter from Laodicea.” All those letters passed to Gentile congregations and they understood, and they understood not only what they were reading which was New Testament, but what was drawn out of the Old Testament. Paul even says, “The things that happened in the Old Testament happened as examples unto us on whom the end of the age has come.” Gentile Christians, with no Old Testament background, could understand both the new and the old. These attacks fall to the ground. None are successful. They can all be withstood.
I wanted to begin tonight with just kind of surveying that for you a little bit. Then I want to turn – and I’ll do that now for a few minutes – to the affirmation side of this. God has sworn in the Bible that He has spoken the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. The Bible alone is the true Word of God. All other – listen – all other supposed revelations, all other supposed revelations from God, I don’t care what they are, from the Quran, to the writings of the cult leaders, to the false prophets, the religious gurus, frauds, are not the Word of God.
There’s only one book. God has spoken in one book, the Bible. Does that sound simple enough? Just one book. Sixty-six books make up one book. If it isn’t from one of those sixty-six books, it is not the Word of God. There may be things in other books that are right and accurate representations of the Word of God, or commentary on the Word of God, or reiteration of the Word of God. But only this book is the Word of God, and only what agrees with this book is then in agreement with the Word of God. God wrote one book, two sections, with over 40 writers put together in a period of about 1,500 years; and the Holy Spirit protected it, brought it all together into this one book called the Bible. It is the sole divine authority from God. In it, God has spoken and said everything He intends to say.
In fact, the book ends – this big book called the Bible – with a warning. In Revelation 22, the last chapter, “If you add anything to this book or take anything away from it, it shall be added to you the plagues that are written in it.”
It is then the singular duty and responsibility of man to hear what is said in this book. Yes, he can know there is God because his reason tells him that when he looks at creation. He can know that God is a moral God, that God has a sense of right and wrong because that’s in his own heart, the law written in his heart. He has a conscience that accuses or excuses him. God is not far from him, but He’s too far for salvation, He’s just not too far for judgment. If you are a Christian you believe the Bible unless someone has tampered with that in a destructive fashion; and there are many who do that.
In John 8:47 we read this: “He who is of God hears the words of God. He who is of God hears the words of God. For this reason, you do not hear them,” Jesus says to the Jewish leaders. “For this reason, you do not hear them because you’re not of God.” If you’re not a believer in God, if you don’t belong to God, of course you don’t hear Scripture. The natural man understands not these things. They’re foolishness to him. But if you’re of God, you hear the words of God.
That’s why I started the way I started tonight to just start what we have to start with a presuppositional confidence in the Bible. And what is our precept position? That it is true; that it is true. I didn’t come to believe in the truth of the Bible because of my intellect, because I studied evidentialism, because I studied rational things. Those things support the Bible. I believe what I believe about the Bible because there is a massive presuppositional reality, and that is God has awakened my blind eyes and given life to my dead heart.
You know, one of the interesting things today is I see efforts to eliminate heresy, and you say, “Wow, that’s great.” Yeah, there are lots of efforts to eliminate heresy, to eliminate doctrinal error, to eliminate wrong interpretations. And by the way, I go back again: The meaning of the Scripture is the Scripture; and if you don’t get the meaning right, you don’t have the revelation.
But there are a lot of efforts to eliminate heresy. And there’s been some success in eliminating heresy. But the strange twist is this: The contemporary effort to eliminate heresy is not to eliminate it by overpowering it by the truth, but rather to eliminate the idea of heresy as if it didn’t exist, as if you could believe anything you wanted, as if you could make any verse mean what you wanted it to mean. In a post-modern world that hates absolute truth in a pragmatic orientation in so many churches that doesn’t want to offend anybody, we’ve got to get rid of the things that offend. So essentially we eliminate heresy by eliminating truth, and if there’s no absolute truth that there can’t be any deviation.
Turn on your Christian TV and listen to the drivel that comes across there where people interpret Scripture any way they want. There’s a movement to eradicate heresy and truth at the same time. It’s really tragic. So all of this is part of the corruption that Satan sent into motion when he first caused Eve to think she had a right to question what God said. And whether the Bible is attacked by rationalism, liberalism, pluralism, mysticism, pragmatism, inclusivism, political correctness, tolerance or any other thing, the Bible is still true. It is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. That is what it claims. Let me close by giving you some of its claims.
It claims to be infallible. That is, God has so inspired His revelation that it is true, sure, safe, reliable, unchanging. Psalm 19:7, “The law of the Lord is,” what? “Perfect.”
Psalm 18:30, “As for God, His way is perfect.” Psalm 119, “Your Word is very pure. Your law is truth. All Your commandments are truth. The sum of Your Word is truth. Every one of Your righteous ordinances endures forever, for all Your counsels are righteous.”
Psalm 111:7, “All His precepts are sure.” Romans 7:12, “God’s Word is holy, righteous, and good.” And Jesus said in John 10:35, “Scripture cannot be broken.” That was a fascinating text.
Remember when we went through John 10 where Jesus takes one word out of an obscure psalm, the word “gods,” that one little word, and builds an argument for His deity on that one word in an obscure psalm? And He reaches back, pulls that one little word out to defend His own deity, and then He says, “Scripture cannot be broken.” That is to say, “You can’t even go into that psalm and pull out one word.” What is the word “broken” in the Greek? It’s luō which means “released” or “loosed” or “dismissed.” You can’t dismiss a word.
I talked to the seminary guys on Tuesday about Jesus’ statement to the Sadducees when they were arguing about the resurrection, and he quoted from Exodus 3 and he said this: “I am the God of Abraham, I am the God of Isaac. I am the God of Jacob.” And Jesus said He is not the God of the dead, He is the God of the living.
What is that about? All three of them were already dead when in Exodus 3 God said that. He was saying, “I am the God of Abraham; I am the God of Isaac; I am the God of Jacob,” which means, “I am their God and they worship Me,” which means they’re alive, which was proving the resurrection to the Sadducees who didn’t believe in a resurrection from the tense of the verb. He didn’t say, “I was the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,” but, “I am.” Whether you’re talking about one word “gods” in a psalm that’s obscure or one tense in Exodus, Scripture can’t be broken. It cannot be broken.
In total, that’s what we call it, “infallible; without error.” And then go down to the parts: “It is inerrant in every word.” Every word is true. Every word is free from error, falsehood, mistake, inaccuracy. Every word safeguards the truth. The Bible is nothing but the truth.
Proverbs 30:5-6, “Every word of God is pure.” Psalm 12:6, “The words of the Lord are pure; words as silver tested in a furnace, refined seven times.” Psalm 119:140, “Your word is very pure; very pure.”
In Isaiah 65:16, the Lord calls Himself the God of truth. Jeremiah 10:10, the prophet writes, “The Lord is the true God.” John 3:33, “God is truthful.” John 17:3, Jesus prays, “That they may know You, the only true God.” First John 5:20, “He is the true God.”
To make sure we don’t overlook the importance of God’s truthfulness, three times the Scripture says, “God cannot lie,” Numbers, Titus, and Hebrews. Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5, “Do not think that I am come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I haven’t come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell the truth: Until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen will by any means disappear from the law until everything is accomplished.” Talk about a jot and a tittle which is like crossing a T and dotting an I; not even those things can be tampered with. It is true.
The New Testament writers believed the Old Testament was true and they called it Scripture over and over again. I’m not going to take time to go through all of that.
Paul calls Moses’ writings – in 1 Timothy 5 he calls Moses’ writings Scripture, and then he calls Luke’s gospel Scripture. He quotes the Scripture, one from Deuteronomy and one from Luke. In 2 Peter 3, Peter calls Paul’s writings Scripture. In Jude 17 and 18, Jude calls Peter’s writing Scripture. John calls his writings Scripture: “To the letters to the churches, hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” And to the very end of the book of Revelation, John is still declaring that what he is writing is absolutely Scripture.
Just a couple of references, the 19th chapter of Revelation, verse 9: Then he said to me, “Write, ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.” Chapter 21, verse 5: “Write, ‘For these words are faithful and true.’” Chapter 22, verse 6: “These words are faithful and true.”
The apostle Paul says that what the gospel writers wrote was Scripture. Peter says what Paul wrote was Scripture. Jude says what Peter wrote was Scripture. John says what he wrote is Scripture. This is the internal testimony.
I want to close with one final perspective. What did Jesus think about it? Jesus said, John 10:35, “Scripture can’t be broken.” You can’t pull one word out. You can’t loosen one word. As I just told you, you used a word from an obscure psalm and a tense of a verb from Exodus; one, to prove His deity; two, to prove the resurrection.
Listen to what Jesus said about Scripture: “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life. It is they that bear witness to Me.” Not only did Christ teach that He was the theme of all Scripture. But He also said He came to fulfill all Scripture. “I didn’t come to destroy the Law or the Prophets, I came to fulfill.”
In Matthew 26:24, He looked at His cross and said, “The Son of Man goes as it is written of Him.” And a few verses later, He told Peter He didn’t need the protection of his sword, for if He wished, He could call down thousands of angels for assistance.
“But how then,” He said, Matthew 26:54, “would Scripture be fulfilled?” His view of Scripture was that it was all about Him and He had to fulfill every detail. He saw Judas prophesied in the Old Testament. When He was on the cross, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” was the fulfillment of the Old Testament.
In Matthew 27, we see Him on the cross, and that’s where He says, “My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?” He takes it out of Psalm 22. John 19 has Him say, “I thirst.” That also comes out of Psalm 22.
Jesus believed in every word of the Old Testament. He corroborated the great truths of the Old Testament. He corroborated the creation of Adam and Eve. He corroborated the story of Jonah.
He said in Matthew 19:4, “Have you not read that He which made them at the beginning made them male and female and said, ‘For this cause shall a man leave father and mother and cleave to his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.’” Jesus believed in Adam and Eve; He believed in the Genesis creation account.
Jesus knew the Scripture was without error, and in Mark 12 He condemned the leaders of Israel. He said this to them: “You err because you don’t know the Scripture.”
So choose one to sum up the testimony of Jesus. We have to accept one of three possibilities. First is, there are no errors in the Scripture as Jesus taught; or second, there are errors, but He didn’t know about them; or third, there are errors and He did know about them, but He lied.
You’ve only got one option: There are no errors. If you believe in the deity of Christ, you must believe in the inspiration, infallibility, inerrancy of Scripture. And that’s enough for tonight. Let’s pray.
According to Psalm 138, verse 2, Lord, You have exalted Your Word equal to Your name. We come together to exalt You. We come together to worship You, and honor You, and lift You up. And we cannot do that faithfully without lifting up Your Word. And so we have endeavored to do that even tonight.
What can we say, Lord? Thank You. Thank You for saving us, giving us life, and giving us confidence in this Word, which confidence we had at the time of our salvation. And so we were driven to Scripture even though we knew so little; and the more we feast on its truths, the more our confidence is strengthened. Thank You that Your Word stands triumphantly through every test.
Thank You, Lord, for years and years and years of examination of this glorious, heavenly book: Yes, poured through human authors, but who were inspired by the Holy Spirit so that the message was superintended and guarded, and every word came from You. We thank You for the miracle of inspiration that brought the revelation to us. And then we thank You for the work of the Holy Spirit in illumination to help us understand it.
This is our greatest treasure, and in it we find our greatest pleasure, our greatest protection, our greatest reward. May we, as the psalmist said, meditate on it; meditate on it all the time. And as we read in Joshua, as the book of the law doesn’t depart from our minds and our lips, it will make our way prosperous, spiritually prosperous, and we will have a kind of supernatural success. Thank You for this treasure. We ask these things in the name of Christ. Amen.