Here’s the audio for “How Can I Trust the Bible?” (January 10, 2010)
On Sunday, January 10, we launched our “You Asked For It” series with the first of eight questions: How can I trust the Bible? The purpose of this post is to give you resources for further study and conversation as you explore this question more deeply on your own. The message notes from Sunday’s sermon are also available.
Two great web resources that give an overview of the Doctrine on the Bible
A good message that establishes the “Authority of the Bible” by Mark Dever (Senior Pastor, Capitol Hill Baptist Church, Washington, D.C.)
We covered 6 topics during the message. And under each topic is the highlight of that topic with some further discussion, links to great articles on each topic, as well as book suggestions for further reading.
God’s self-disclosure of Himself, His character, His will, and His plan of salvation.
“Inspiration is that supernatural influence of the Holy Spirit whereby the sacred writers were divinely supervised in their production of Scripture, being restrained from error and guided in the choice of words they used, consistently with their disparate personalities and stylistic peculiarities” (Carl Henry, “The Authority and Inspiration of the Bible” in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, 1:25)
Here’s a good definition of inspiration with inerrancy
“The inspiration of Scripture is the supernatural operation of the Holy Spirit who, through the different personalities and literary styles of the chosen human authors, invested the very words of the original books of holy Scripture, alone and in their entirety, as the very Word of God without error in all that they teach and is thereby the infallible rule and final authority for the faith and practice of all believers. In all literally means all, which includes history and science” (Ed Hinson and Ergun Caner, Popular Encyclopedia of Apologetics, 104, emphasis mine).
The term “transmission” describes the ancient process of copying the Hebrew and Greek manuscripts to preserve them for future generations and to distribute them for greater use. The 39 books of the OT were written between 1450 – 400 BC, and the 27 books of the NT were written between AD 40 – AD 90. So let’s talk about how we get from the original documents that the Holy Spirit and the biblical authors wrote to the Hebrew and Greeks texts that we use today to translate our English Bibles
The word “canon” means a measuring rod, much like a ruler. So when we use this word to explain how the books of the Bible were recognized as part of God’s Word, there was a rule and a standard that the books had to meet to be recognized as Scripture. Note that I say “recognized” and not “decided upon.” Semantics are very important here… the early church councils did not decide which books got in and which books didn’t. They recognized which biblical books were already recognized affirmed within the community of faith. Here are the standards and criteria that biblical books had to meet to be recognized as part of the Bible:
1. Authoritative. Were they written by a prophet, king, judge or scribe of God in the OT or an apostle or based upon the eyewitness testimony to the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ in the NT.
2. Consistent. Is the book consistent with truth about God presented within the context of what the rest of Scripture teaches?
3. Dynamic. Has the book demonstrated God’s dynamic life-changing power in the lives of His people?
4. Received. Has the book been universally received and accepted by the people of God as Holy Scripture?
If you’re wondering why our Protestant Bible does not include the Apocrypha (which the Catholic Bible includes), read this article:
Your English Bible has been directly translated from the Hebrew and Greek texts, which once again, we believe to be very accurate renderings of the original, inspired and inerrant documents.
Here are the different types of translations:
1. Word for word translations makes a special effort to carefully interpret each word from the original Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek. The NASB, KJV, NKJV, ESV are word for word translations
2. Thought for thought translations attempts to convey the full nuance and idea of each passage while not paying specific attention to the word for word translation. The NIV is the best thought for thought English translation.
3. Paraphrase translations pay even less attention to specific word meanings in an attempt to capture the poetic or narrative essence of a passage. The Living Bible and The Message are good examples of paraphrase translations.