Due to inclement weather, the 9 a.m. service for Sunday, Jan. 20 has been cancelled. We will have one morning service at 10:45 a.m. as road conditions improve.

God Wrote a Book

by Matt McClay

Many of us have favorite authors who, the moment they publish a new book, we purchase it, often sight unseen, because of the writer’s reputation. In academic circles, researchers who are known to be proficient and authoritative in their field of study have no problem attracting publishers to distribute their latest groundbreaking discoveries and insights. These examples illustrate a fact we all know to be true: A book is only as good as the one who authored it.

If God wrote a book, would you read it? The Bible attests to itself as being “God-breathed” (2 Timothy 3:16).  We will never find an author with such impeccable credentials as God Himself, the very source of life and truth. From the first word in Genesis to the last word in Revelation, we have God’s words in book form. Yes, God wrote a book. In this edition of the Connect Magazine, we will be considering the miracle of the Bible and how we, as believers, can connect with God through His Word on a daily basis. Whether you’re a curious seeker or a seasoned believer, consider these three questions about the relevancy, importance, and reliability of the Bible.

Who Should Read God’s Book?

Servants of God

Do you want to please God? In order for a servant to fulfill his duties, he must know what the Master expects of him. What does God expect from you? What pleases Him? What is His plan for your life? You simply won’t find those answers outside the Bible. If you consider yourself a Christian – a follower of Jesus – you will definitely want to study the Bible and learn how to walk in obedience to the Lord each day.

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

If you love me, keep my commands. (John 14:15)

Uneducated and Unlearned People

Consider the men with whom Jesus spent time while on earth. Were they super-smart college professors? Hardly. Many of Jesus’ followers were not formally educated people. This is not a knock on education – you should learn all you can. However, it’s easy to be intimidated by the Bible. It was written in three different languages, translated into English, and talks about theological and philosophical concepts that can be difficult to understand right off the bat. However, consider what God told the Israelites in Deuteronomy:

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. (Deuteronomy 6:4-9)

The people of Israel were on a seemingly never-ending road trip during their escape from slavery in Egypt. They didn’t have a library where they could store scholarly books, and most people were illiterate and could not read at the time. But God told them to study His commands, even if it meant using unconventional methods: Talking about them everywhere, tying them as symbols on their hands, wearing them as headbands on their foreheads, and attaching them to the front doors of their houses. Education is great, but you don’t need a college degree to study the Bible. God wrote the Bible for everyone.

Both Believers and Non-Christians

Why was the Bible written? One of God’s principle reasons for giving us His Word was for people to believe in Jesus and receive eternal life. Perhaps you have friends who aren’t Christians and think they have no reason to study the Bible. The truth is, the Bible contains the only message that can transform their minds and lead them to everlasting life in Jesus.

Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. (John 20:30-31)

People Young and Old

There’s no minimum age requirement to study the Bible. Actually, the Bible is full of information that is absolutely essential for kids, teens, and young adults to understand. God tells teens in Psalm 119, “How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word.” (Psalm 119:9)

Why Should I Read God’s Book?

The Bible is God-breathed.

All Scripture is God-breathed… (2 Timothy 3:16)

For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. (2 Peter 1:21)

The Bible is error-free.

Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. (Proverbs 30:5)

Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. (John 17:17)

The Bible is indestructible.

Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. (Mark 13:31)

The Bible tells us how to be saved.

Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the
word planted in you, which can save you. (James 1:21)

From infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. (2 Timothy 3:15)

The Bible is powerful.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. (Romans 1:16)

The Bible is valuable.

The decrees of the LORD are firm, and all of them are righteous. They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb. (Psalm 19:9b-10)

The Bible is spiritual food for growing Christians.

Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good. (1 Peter 2:2-3)

The Bible defends us against Satan’s attacks.

Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Ephesians 6:17)

The Bible gives wisdom for life.

The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. (Psalm 19:7)

The Bible helps believers please God.

How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word. I
seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your
word in my heart that I might not sin against you. (Psalm 119:9-11)

The Bible provides direction.

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. (Psalm 119:105)
The Bible brings joy to the hearts of those who read it.

The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes. (Psalm 19:8)

The Bible alerts readers to danger.

By them your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward. (Psalm 19:11)

The Bible is never a waste of time.

So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. (Isaiah 55:11)

How Can I Trust That What I Have Today Is God’s Book?

The more confidence you have in the reliability of the Bible, the more time you will devote to studying it and sharing it with people. In other words, if the Bible really is the word of God, nothing else matters.

You may ask, “So, how do I know I can trust the Bible? How can I know it’s truly God’s Word?” Whenever you ask yourself that question, think about “M.A.P.S.” This acrostic is a helpful reminder of four good reasons why we find the Bible reliable.

M = Manuscripts
A = Archaeology
P = Prophecy
S = Statistics

M = Manuscripts

A manuscript is a written text. If you have ever had to turn in a written report or essay at school, you are handing your teacher a manuscript. If it’s an important assignment, you probably made or saved a copy on your computer or tablet, just in case something happened to the original. The original New Testament manuscripts were written about 2,000 years ago and have long since deteriorated. Since we don’t have the original biblical manuscripts, it’s important to ask, “How good are the copies?”

Students often read classical literature in school, including works by Homer, Plato, and Aristotle. It is universally assumed that these individuals were the actual authors of those works. Yet, despite the fact that the Bible has stronger manuscript support than any other work of classical literature, some doubt it is truly from God.

Scholars focus on two key areas: (1) The time span between when the document was written and the earliest copy we have, and (2) the number of copies available. Having a short time span and many copies is ideal. Homer’s Iliad is considered highly reliable in the world of literature ... but has nearly 5000 (!) fewer copies than the New Testament ... and this represents only the Greek manuscripts. If you added the number of manuscripts written in other languages (such as Latin), the total number would be 24,970! Even skeptical historians have to agree that the New Testament is a remarkable historical document.

A = Archaeology

Archaeological discoveries have consistently affirmed the reliability of the Bible. Some non-Christians have attempted to disprove the truth of the Bible, only to change their opinions in light of the sheer amount of archaeological evidence corresponding with the Bible.

For years, critics dismissed the book of Daniel, partly because there was no evidence that a king named Belshazzar ruled in Babylon. Later archaeological research, however, proved that he did, indeed, rule. One of the most well-known New Testament examples in this area deals with the books of Luke and Acts. A skeptic, Sir William Ramsay, set out to disprove those books but ended up becoming a follower of Jesus, as all of the archaeological evidence overwhelmingly pointed to the truth of God’s Word.

P = Prophecy

Wouldn’t it be amazing if highly specific events of your life were predicted hundreds of years before you were born? You would never have to wonder what happens tomorrow, next week, or five years from now. The Bible is filled with more than 300 references to a coming Messiah, and all of these prophecies were fulfilled in Jesus Christ. These fulfilled prophecies have caused many skeptics to think twice. Listed below are examples of fulfilled Old Testament prophecies about Jesus.

The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers conspire together against the Lord and His Anointed One. (Psalms 2:2)

Even my friend in whom I trusted, one who ate my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.” (Psalms 41:9)

Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered. (Zechariah 13:7)

Then I said to them, ‘If it seems right to you, give me my wages; but if not, keep them.’ So they weighed my wages, 30 pieces of silver. ‘Throw it to the potter,’ the Lord said to me–this magnificent price I was valued by them. So I took the 30 pieces of silver and threw it into the house of the Lord, to the potter.
(Zechariah 11:12, 13)

They are striking the judge of Israel on the cheek with a rod. (Micah 5:1)

I gave My back to those who beat Me, and My cheeks to those who tore out My beard. I did not hide My face from scorn and spitting. (Isaiah 50:6)

My God, my God, why have You forsaken me? (Psalm 22:1)

They pierced my hands and my feet.
(Psalm 22:16)

All of these passages are found in the Old Testament, which was completed some four hundred years before Jesus was born. A well-known pastor, the late Dr. D. James Kennedy, said, “No critic, no atheist, no agnostic has ever once claimed that any one of those writings was written after His birth. In fact, they were translated from Hebrew into Greek in Alexandria some 150 years before He was born. If this [the Bible] is merely a book written by men, would you please explain to me how these words were written?”

S = Statistics

It is virtually impossible that any or all of the Bible’s specific, detailed prophecies could have been fulfilled through random chance, good guessing, or deliberate deceit.

Think about the prophecies related to Jesus Christ that were mentioned earlier: The Old Testament contains over 300 references to the Messiah that were all fulfilled in Jesus. The odds of one man fulfilling just eight of those prophecies is 1 in 10 to the power of 17. What does that number look like?

1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000

If we took the same number of silver dollars and placed them across the state of Texas, it would cover the entire state 2 feet deep. Next, mark one of those silver dollars and stir the entire amount thoroughly throughout the state. Then, blindfold a person and tell him he can travel as far as he wishes, in any direction. At any time, he may bend down and pick up one coin. The odds of that person picking the marked coin are the same odds of Jesus Christ fulfilling just eight of those prophecies!

God Wrote a Book

After reading this brief article, I pray that you have been encouraged to learn that the Bible was written for regular people like you and me, that it’s always worth our time and devotion, and that it has stood the test of time. Yes, God wrote a book! May we cherish, read, live, and share it with others.
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