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The premise of everything I write here is that there is a God, He is knowable, He loves us, He and His thoughts are priority, and we need to be connected with Him. And the last is our first step in this series. There are three ways to do that and we need all three.
The first one I mentioned in the original post for this series (“Connections”) began the requirements list for connecting with God by mentioning the Word. Just about every religion has some form of scripture they consider holy pronouncements from whatever deity they worship. But, except for the Bible, none has any documented consistent historical accuracy.
We hear lots of arguments about the documents used to study and to translate into other languages are too recent to be considered proving the accuracy of Scripture. Yet, we consider documents hundreds of years newer than when Shakespeare wrote as validating Shakespeare’s original works as being faithfully transcribed. You’d think the same standard would apply to both. So, even if some don’t, let’s consider that a document written 100-200 years after the original Scripture is at least as accurate as a Shakespearean document transcribed 500 years after Shakespeare’s time. Consider, too, that the requirements for those being allowed to copy scripture was more stringent than copying Shakespeare. If the copier didn’t meet certain standards, he wasn’t allowed to copy Scripture.
There’s another argument against the Bible that always convinced me that it said more about the disputers than the Bible. Some point out that there are a lot of things in the Bible that are seen in the religious stories of previous societies.
First, not everything is repetition from other sources, particularly some of the things core to Christianity.
Second, if God wants to be sure that some things are communicated, wouldn’t it make sense to communicate them in more than one document?
Third, the example used is multiple documents stating the same or similar things proves that the Bible and other documents are not communication from God. But doesn’t that thought have to be based on a premise that God would not communicate with us and, more likely, there is no God? How do you argue against something correctly if you are arguing from a biased viewpoint? One that is, perhaps, based on trying to avoid having the Bible as a standard of living?
The other interesting anti-Bible argument is that different passages contradict each other, That’s not true. When Paul tells Timothy that the Bible is inerrant, he’s not speaking of any of the translations we normally use. He’s talking about the original Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek Scriptures. And good Bible study requires looking at verses in context of the surrounding verses, in context of other verses on the same subject, and in the cultural/historic context in which it was written. With a few exceptions, God didn’t feel it necessary to include detailed mention of things centuries and millenia in the future. It’s only in specific places that there’s a hint of future technology and prophecy of events to come. When we look at it with that in mind and begin to understand the doctrines that God wants us to understand, the seeming conflicts disappear into nothingness.
We spent much longer than intended on showing the trustworthiness of the Word. But I’m glad we did. This was more general in how it was discussed, but there are books that deal with each of these areas in much more depth. If we’re going to take the Bible as a spiritual foundation of teaching from God, we need to be able to fully trust it. And we have to trust the source of Scripture. In a way, that last part goes in circles. We have to understand and trust that God loves us, in order to fully trust what’s said in the Bible. But we can’t fully do that without delving into His Word.
Since we’ve spent so much time on the veracity of the Word, we’ll get into gleaning from the Word, next time. Along with prayer and a little about being with the right people. In the meantime, take a look at John 1:1-5. And think about what it means in regard to our relationship with God.
Are you prepared to connect with God? And prepared to let Him connect with you?