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And yet in the diversity there is an incredible message of unity all the way from Genesis to Revelation.
Unity about God
Unity about man
Unity about how sin has impacted all people
Unity about the only way sinful man can stand before a righteous and holy God
Principle #2 - The Bible has a unique structure Old Testament I. Historical narrative - 17 books Genesis - Ester This represents approximately 1/2 of the Old Testament and is what God did. Biblical Principle - If you want to know what God is doing today, then study what He has done. Because what He has done throughout history He is still doing today. II. Experience - 5 books Job - Song of Solomon III. Prophecy - 17 books Isaiah-Daniel (major prophets) 5 books Hosea-Malachi (minor prophets) 12 books
New Testament I. Historical narrative - 5 books Matthew-Acts This represents approximately 1/2 of the New Testament and this tells us what God did. II. Experience - 21 books Paul's epistles (Romans-Philemon) - 13 books General epistles (Hebrews-Jude) - 8 books III. Prophecy - 1 book Revelation
Principle #3 - The Bible is the AUTHORITATIVE word of God
The Bible is INSPIRED (God-breathed)
The Bible is INFALLIBLE (can't fail)
The Bible is INERRANT (without error)
The Bible is Inspired: ( 2 Timothy 3:16-17)
Let's talk first about the inspiration of Scripture and what that really means.
Inspiration is the act where God superintended the authors of the Bible so that they composed and recorded without error God's message to mankind in the words of the original writings. As the author wrote each of them wrote exactly what God wanted them to write .
Answer - in order to teach us, reproof us, correct us, train us in righteous so that we might be adequately equipped for kingdom work! ( learning correctly in order to live correctly)
This is the "fact" of inspiration . But there is another verse we need to consider.
2 Peter 1:20-21 - "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."
This is the "act" of inspiration .
The Bible is infallible The second category we are dealing with under the authority of Scripture is that of infallibility. Infallible simply means that the Scriptures will never lead us astray in matters of faith and practice. The infallibility of Scripture emphasizes the trustworthiness of the Bible. Psalm 111:7 - The works of His hands are truth and justice; All His precepts are sure. The Bible is inerrant The third category we need to look at under the authority of Scripture is that of inerrancy. This means when all the facts are known the Scriptures in their original autographs and properly understood will be shown to be wholly true in everything that they affirm, whether it be: Doctrine, Morality, Social, Physical, Life Sciences
This is a very critical point that we must look at for a few minutes. The Bible speaks with truth, truth about God, man, sin, Christ, the Spirit and salvation. As you probably know there is much debate today about truth even within the church. Is truth absolute or is it relative? We have 3 main divisions in the evangelical church. This is may be an oversimplification but it will do for the sake of this point regarding the truth of God's word. 1. Orthodox - we at Carmel are considered to be orthodox in our beliefs. We believe as part of the doctrinal statement that the Bible is the word of God. 2. Liberal - in these churches they tend to believe that the Bible contains the word of God. 3. Neo-Orthodox - in these church they tend to believe that the Bible becomes the word of God.
We need to define the following terms and understand them as we study the Scriptures:
Exegesis means to unfold, to pull out or to declare. It considers the question "what does the Scripture say." We could say that exegesis is the process of interpreting the Bible. In John 1:18 - "No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him." In this sentence the word of explained is "exegeomai" and means that Jesus is the exegesis of God to us. Jesus is the revelation to us of God the Father, for us to see and know Jesus is to see and know the Father. In other words Jesus is the interpretation of God to us. When we hear that a preacher exegeted the text, this refers to the process used to pull out or unfold the truth of the Scripture. And hopefully we can see from John 1:18 and other verses that when we pull truth from Scripture correctly we see Jesus revealed or disclosed.
Exegesis (explanation of text) Principles of Bible Study Homiletics (application of text to hearer) Original Text Contemporary Hearers
Interpretation of the Bible is what actually resides with the reader . Most of us naturally think that we understand the things that we read. But whenever we read we bring into our reading all of our life attitudes, beliefs, values, feelings, ideas, education, personality traits and temperaments that impact how we interpret. Therefore when we are dealing with the word interpretation we are focused on what the reader of the Scripture thinks it means. Have you ever participated in a Bible study like this? Someone reads a particular text and then everyone in the room gets to comment on what they think it means. Question - in that particular scenario how many possible interpretations of the Bible can you have? Answer - as many as there are readers.
Meaning is what resides with the author. Or we might say it the following way; "it is what the author intended for us to understand by what he or she wrote." Which brings us to a critical point which I am going to refer to as A CARDINAL RULE FOR PROPER BIBLE STUDY. There is only one accurate interpretation for any one Scripture. This means that the accurate interpretation is equivalent to the what the author meant when he wrote it.
Now think back with me a few weeks ago when we talked about the 3 eras in American history.
1. Agricultural - family totally together. People worked together and had a unified approach to their work.
2. Industrial - the first time the family is divided and goes from farm to city
3. Technological or Informational - the greatest dividing of the family and the promotion of a total consumer mindset. It's not about the family but more about the individual. We have moved from a give for the good of the whole to a receive for the good of me!
Examples from our culture
Burger King - “have it your way”
Visa - “It's everywhere you want to be.”
Daytimer - “it’s all about you”
L'Oréal - "Because I'm worth it."
This whole cultural mindset has filtered right into and through the church. And now when we meet those in the Neo-Orthodox church we hear this kind of language "well that particular Scripture means that to you and that is wonderful but this is what it means to me." Now what we have is the meaning no longer gets to reside with the author but in our culture the meaning gets to reside with the reader. Do you see why this is so very, very dangerous!
Just 30 years ago when there was a debate, the strategy was to convince a person by using a series of logical arguments and to persuade them either to your side or vice versa. There was actually a thought process that truth is absolute to the point that there was a right and a wrong. However in the 21st Century the rules have changed. And now when you get into a debate with someone instead of one person being right and the other person being wrong, guess what? Both parties get to be right! What? Yes, that is exactly where we are in the culture and many churches today are moving into that mindset and thinking when it comes to the very Bible.