Thursday, August 25, 2011

How Did We Get The Bible, pt. 3

Two weeks ago, I posed the question as to how we got the Bible? It was posed as how you might answer someone who opposed that the Bible came from God. So, more accurately, the question might be posed like this: "How would you answer someone who claimed that the Bible was not from God?"

Last week, I gave the first part of my answer to that question. I was summarizing 5 points I once heard from James Montgomery Boice as to why the Bible is in fact the Word of God. Last week, I gave the first three points: The teaching of Christ, The Bible itself, and prophesy. Now let me give you the last two points.

4. The Bible's Preservation

Before the printing press, the texts of Scripture were handwritten and preserved for people. And even though the Bible was of extreme hatred by so many people, it endured. In fact, we have more evidence of the texts and portions of the Scriptures than any other manuscripts in the world of any ancient writings.

You might not have heard of these, but here are some popular ancient writers. The plays of Aeschylus are known from only about 50 manuscripts. The works of Sophocles are known from only about 100 manuscripts. There are only a few hundred manuscripts of Euripides, Cicero, Ovid, and Virgil. But when it comes to the New Testament, there are over 5,000 manuscripts in Greek, 8,000 in Latin, and about another 1,000 in other languages.

All of this was preserved even though in times like the Emperor Diocletian, it was a capital offense to even have a portion of the text of the Bible. And yet it was so important that many people possessed them and passed them on (by a side note, I wonder if it was a capital offense today, how many who claim to be Christian would actually keep their Bibles). Diocletian was trying to wipe out the Scriptures from the face of the earth, but only ended up proving the words of Isaiah and Jesus:
"The grass withers, the flower fades, but the Word of our God stands forever." (Isaiah 40:8) 
"Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away." (Matthew 24:35)
It is unthinkable that someone could or would deny the evidence of the preservation of the Bible.

5. The Transformation of Men and Women

To me, this is a very pragmatic argument, but a very good one. The Bible over the history of the world has taken even the worst man or woman and transformed them. Of course, understand when I say that, it is the words of the Bible as they represent God, Jesus, and the gospel that transforms. But the Bible says that it will change people.
"The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple." (Psalm 19:7)
As they have read the Bible, drunkards have been sobered. Prostitutes have been reformed. Proud, arrogant people have been humbled. Dishonest men have become people of integrity. Addicts have been set free. The Bible does such an amazing work on people that it has to be something other than simply a book written by mere men.

Those are the five points. What do you think of them? Next week I will finish with a short post on how the Bible was established. How did we get the 66 books of the Bible and are there more that we should be looking for?

Question: Has Reading The Bible Transformed Your Life?

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