The Bible

Why start here?

The simple answer is that the Bible claims to be God speaking to us. When it comes to deciding what is true we are confused by many competing claims and so we begin to doubt that there is such a thing as 'truth' - 'Isn't it all a matter of opinion,' we say.

In deciding what's true you can:

Trust your 'mind' or the scholar's mind.
Trust how people have thought or acted in the past.
Trust how you feel, what you experience.
Or a mixture of the three

The alternative is that the truth can be revealed to you by God.

How does God reveal himself?

One view is that God can reveal himself directly via your mind or emotions. Another is that God can reveal himself via words written down for us. In this study I want to look at what the Bible claims about itself and why we should accept those claims as God revealing himself to us.

Look up: 2 Timothy 3:16

'All Scripture is God-breathed.'

As we think about this claim, the Bible is 66 separate books written by many different human authors, over a period of about 1500 years. Its story line is as follows:

God made the world good. The first couple of people disobeyed God and misery and death came into the world because of this sin. God promised to send a deliverer and the rest of the Old Testament develops this promise via God's agreement with his chosen people Israel.

The New Testament describes the deliverer's life (the Gospels) and the effects of his teaching (Acts and the Letters). The final book deals with God's ultimate judgement and victory over evil. When Christ returns, the final state is a new heaven and new earth, where Christ reigns and lives forever with those who have been saved by him.

If the Bible is what it claims to be, God's Word, it must be true. The reasoning is this: God is the person who made us; he does not lie. He has spoken to us via the Bible. Therefore it must be true. If the Bible claims to be God's word but isn't, then it is lying and isn't worth studying.

Look up the claims of the Bible writers:

In the Old Testament (O.T.):

Exodus 34:27; Isaiah 8:1,5 [Psalm 33:4; Psalm18:30; Psalm 19:7-11]

In the New Testament (N.T.):

2 Timothy 3:16 [2 Peter 1:19-21; Revelation 1:1-3]

Why should we believe the Bible's claims - don't other books claim the same?

The central pillar is the view of Jesus Christ concerning the Old Testament and the New.

Look up: John 14:6

He claimed to be the truth, so his view of Scripture, the Bible, is very important.

Matthew 19:4; Matthew 5:17-18; John 17:12-17; Isaiah 61:1-2 with Luke 4:18-20 [See how he uses Scripture: Matthew 4:1-11; Luke 20:27-40; John 10:35]

Jesus gave these promises concerning the New Testament:

Look up: John 14:26; John 16:14

Jesus saw the O.T. as God's word and said the Holy Spirit would lead the N.T. writers into all truth. The N.T. writers saw themselves as writing God's word.

Look at Peter's view:

2 Peter 1:19-21

2 Peter 3:15-16

Paul's view:

2 Timothy 3:15-16;

1 Thessalonians 2:13

the writer of the book called Hebrews:

Hebrews 1:1-3

[For the way N.T writers use the O.T. see Hebrews 1:5; Hebrews 3:7 (see Psalm 95).]

Questions to think about:

Are the words important? Galatians 3:16 Application: an accurate translation is important.
Is Scripture complete? 2 Timothy 3:15-16; Revelation 22:18-19; Psalm 119:105 & 130; Deuteronomy 12:32
How was it written? 2 Peter 1:19-21


Other evidence given to support its claims:

(a) Fulfilled prophecy, e.g. Isaiah 53; Psalm 22

(b) It speaks as one book. Its story line is consistent.

(c) It actually does what it claims (makes people wise for salvation.

If the Bible is God's word, what should our attitude be?

John 10:27; John 8:31-32; Psalm 119:9-16; Psalm 119:18