Christian Worldviews 101: The Bible

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Most of our understanding of God comes through the Bible

The Bible itself indicates that nature shows God’s presence (Psalm 8:3-4, Romans 1:19-20)

God’s trademark shows in nature’s beauty and sophistication

  • Irreducible Complexity Theory indicates that nature’s components can’t form without an intelligent designer
  • e.g., a heart and a body can’t live without each other

God made the universe but isn’t a part of it (1 Kings 19:11-12)

  • God’s presence in nature removes any excuse we have of rejecting Him

Without the Bible, we can’t personally discover God

  • We can understand God’s power and attributes, but not His essence
  • Our human condition interferes with the ability to discern perfect justice

The Bible is a 66-book compilation

The Bible is inspired by God through people and not through personal or political bias (2 Peter 1:20-21)

  • 27 authors wrote the Bible over 2,000 years

The Bible is composed of the Hebrew Tanakh and the Apostles’ letters

Old Testament (Tanakh, 39 books) – written in Hebrew

  • Torah
    • Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy
  • Nevi’im
    • Former Prophets – Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel
    • The 12 Minor Prophets – Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi
  • Ketuvim
    • Poetic Books – Psalms, Proverbs, Job
    • Five Scrolls – Song of Songs, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther
    • Others – Daniel, Ezra/Nehemiah, Chronicles

New Testament (Letters, 27 books) – written in Greek except for Acts

  • Gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke, John
  • Acts of the Apostles (written in Aramaic)
  • Epistles
    • General Epistles – James, 1st of Peter, 2nd of Peter, 1st of John, 2nd of John, 3rd of John, Jude
    • Paul’s Epistles to various churches: Romans, Corinthians (1st and 2nd time), Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Thessalonians (1st & 2nd times)
    • Hebrews, written to Jews
    • Pastor’s training epistles to specific people – Timothy (1st and 2nd time), Titus, Philemon
  • The Apocalypse of John, or the Book of Revelation

The Council of Trent in 1546 added other apocryphal works

Apocryphal books added to the Old Testament but weren’t part of the Hebrew Bible

  • They’re sometimes inconsistent with the truths the primary 66 books provide

Only a few apocryphal works have survived

  • Wisdom of Solomon, Sirach, Baruch Tobit, Judith, 1st and 2nd Maccabees
  • Additions to Esther and Daniel

Compilers couldn’t canonize other possible candidates into the Bible for profoundly apparent reasons

Other ancient Jewish texts are potentially God-inspired, but never canonized into the Bible

  • Enoch and Jubilees have historical and theological significance, but various analytical and consistency reasons kept them out of the Bible
  • Whether the books are God’s word or not are subject to debate, but the 66 canonized books are universally consistent

Some ancient documents are uninspired by God

  • The apostles died long before others wrote Gnostic books inconsistent with the rest of the Bible (e.g., Gospel of Peter, Gospel of Judas)

Believing in the Bible’s authenticity is a logical conclusion

The Jews, as God’s chosen people (Deuteronomy 7:6-8), have been extremely meticulous in the transcription of the Old Testament

The books finally canonized in the Council of Nicea (325 AD) had hundreds of identical copies

  • The copies were spread across the known world and stayed consistent across language barriers
  • Non-canonized works, on the other hand, weren’t nearly as widespread or prevalent

The authoritative Bibles of each language have always had few to no translation errors

  • Every marked discrepancy between translations maintain the general idea or central concept of the original
  • Translation sits on a spectrum ranging from literal word-for-word to only capturing ideas, but they all retain the thoughts of the original Greek and Hebrew
  • Bibles that have changed its general ideas create irreconcilable contradictions (e.g., New World Translation)

The Bible’s authenticity has been continuously attacked throughout history but continues distributing openly and unchanged

  • Beyond surviving, the Bible thrived with numerous copies against persecution, banning, burning, and political opposition

The Bible’s ideas are consistent with each other even with its books written in multiple ancient empires

Every supposed Bible contradiction works against a few realities

The Bible expresses cultural traditions and practices, even obscure or forgotten ones, the archaeological world can verify

Many supposed chronological or event contradictions can occur multiple times or simultaneously

Different accounts of the same experience (i.e., the Gospels) come from different eyewitness perspectives

  • In fact, since colluded lies provide the same details, it can’t have been a conspiracy

Archaeological evidence consistently and frequently proves the Bible’s authenticity

  • Some elements the Bible captured were forgotten after its writing in as little as 50 years later

History has already fulfilled many Bible prophecies

Many passages predicted Israel would lose its land by being conquered twice, have no official government, then return later in one day (Deuteronomy 29, Hosea 3:4-5, Hosea 6:1, Ezekiel 20:34, Isaiah 11:11-13, Isaiah 43:5-21, Isaiah 66:8, Jeremiah 25:11, Jeremiah 32:44, Luke 21:23-24)

  • One man would rebuild Jericho and lose his oldest son when starting construction and his youngest son when completing it (Joshua 6:26, 1 Kings 16:33-34)
  • Israel would regain its agriculture and ecosystem (Isaiah 26:6, Isaiah 35:1-2)
  • Israel would form again with a pure language (Zephaniah 3:8-10)
  • Israel would adopt the shekel as currency again (Ezekiel 45:12-16)
  • All ancient names and settlements would return (Ezekiel 36:11, Ezekiel 36:24)
    • Israel’s nine suburbs would rebuild in specific locations and specific chronological order (Jeremiah 31:38-40)
  • Three cities would remain in ruins (Matthew 11:21-23)
  • Though Edom (now a part of Jordan) was once a fertile area, it would become a barren wasteland (Jeremiah 49:15-20, Ezekiel 25:12-14)

The Bible predicted Babylon’s fall even though the city was considered impenetrable at the time (Isaiah 13:17-22, Jeremiah 51:26,43)

  • Isaiah predicted that Cyrus would overtake Babylon and liberate the Jews exiled at the time (Isaiah 44:28, Isaiah 45:1,13)

The coming Messiah has hundreds more, but more on that later

Take the Bible for what it is, not what you want it to be

Adding or removing parts of the Bible is a significant transgression of God’s word (Deuteronomy 12:32, Revelation 22:18)

Many people have modified the Bible with varying degrees of success, but they never seem to overtake the primary translations

Next: Who God Is