Monday, April 20, 2020

The Word of God, Session 3

Today we continue our study on how the Word of God came to us by looking at some proofs of inspiration.

Teaching Notes
Proofs of Inspiration
There are several proofs as to the inspiration of the Bible. These include the Bible itself, its indestructibility, its transmission, fulfilled prophecy, scientific accuracy, history and the lives that have been transformed because of it.

1. The Bible Itself
The first proof offered is the Bible itself. Paul said in 2Ti 3:16 that "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness." As a matter of fact, the term "thus says the Lord" is found over 3800 times in the Bible.

2. Indestructibility
Second, the inspiration of the Bible is seen in its indestructibility. It has survived throughout the centuries in spite of all events to the contrary. For example, the Roman emperor, Diocletian, made a decree that all Bibles were to be destroyed in 303 A.D. His reasoning was simply that if Christians were "people of the Book"; once the book was removed, Christians would cease to exist. He even went so far as to raise a pillar to his "success" that said, "Extincto Nomene Christianorum" which means "the name Christian is extinguished." Ironically, only 25 years later, the new Roman Emperor, Constantine, commissioned 50 copies of the Bible to be prepared at government expense.

Voltaire, the French infidel, once said "that in one hundred years from his time that "Christianity would be a thing of the past and that the only Bible left on earth would be in a museum." As a God-hater who greatly despised the Bible, he was sorely mistaken in that statement. The Bible today is still the number one bestseller of all time! 

Josh McDowell refers to these things as "historic irony". He made a quote that "We might as well put our shoulder to the burning wheel of the sun, and try to stop it on its flaming course, as an attempt to stop the circulation of the Bible.

The Bible itself speaks of its own indestructibility. Isaiah 40:8 says "The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever." Also, in Matthew 24:35, Jesus said: "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away." Other references include 
Isa 55:11; 59:21; Matthew 5:18 and Luke 16:17. 

3. Transmission
Another proof of the inspiration of the Bible is in the way in which it has been passed down through the centuries through the copying of the autographs or what is known as transmission. It's obvious that God has preserved His Word by the hands of dedicated copyists. The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947 revealed that the copies of the Scripture that we hold in our hands today are incredibly accurate when compared to the oldest known copies. However, with this discovery came even older extant copies that date back to the first century B.C.

The scribes and the scholars who did most of the copying over the centuries took surprising steps to ensure accuracy. For example, copies of the Pentateuch which were meant to be read in the synagogues were written on skins. These rolls were to be sewn together with string made from clean animals and prepared only by a Jew. Everyone was to contain a certain number of columns and they were not to be shorter than forty-eight lines and not more than sixty lines and the breadth was not to be more than thirty letters. It was to also be written in only black ink. 

They were so careful with the process that in order for a copy to be considered authentic and worthy to be read in the synagogue, there could not be even one deviation from the original codex. Also, "no word or letter, not even a yot, must be written from memory, the scribe not having looked at the codex before him."

Furthermore, it was stated that the copyist "must also sit in full Jewish dress throughout the entire process, wash his whole body, and to also not begin the name of God with a pen newly dipped in ink, and should a king address him while writing that name he must take no notice of him." The rolls that failed to meet the above criterion were condemned to be buried, burned or banished to the schools to be used as reading-books. This method of copying continued until the invention of the "movable-type printing press by Johann Gutenberg in Germany in the 15th century. As a matter of fact, the first major book to be printed for distribution was the Bible! It was known as the Gutenberg Bible.

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