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Archive for the month “April, 2011”

Can We Hear the Voice of God? (Part 2)


What is the Bible?

The Bible or Scripture is God speaking to us in human words. The Bible consists of 66 books written over a period of fifteen hundred years by more than 40 human authors on three continents. The Bible of today has two themes. The first or the Old Testament can be viewed as a library of books that reveals the promises of God. In the Old Testament we follow God’s interaction with men. We see how God makes promises to those He interacts with and subsequently fulfills those promises. We learn that God is always to do what He has promised. In studying the Old Testament we see that God may fulfill His promises in the short term and then more fully in the long term and in a way beyond that which we could imagine.

The New Testament can be viewed as the fulfillment of God’s promises and the anticipation of the fulfillment of the remaining promises at Jesus second coming. Over the years, the Bible has evolved into what we have today. In the thirteenth century, the Bible books were divided into chapters to make it easier to see the themes that were emerging. In the sixteenth century, the chapters were further divided into verses in order to make it easier to give an address to the individual thoughts that the Bible contains.

Scripture Introduces Us to Its Hero

The hero of the Bible is God. The pages of Scripture reveal God to us through His word. We are introduced to God in the very first line of Genesis, “In the beginning. God …” In the closing line of the New Testament, we are reminded that the God who is the hero if the Bible is Jesus Christ. Here I will quote the last 2 verses of Revelation. “He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen.

 

Can We Hear the Voice of God? (Part 3)


Scripture Introduces Us to Its Hero

The hero of the Bible is God. The pages of Scripture reveal God to us through His word. We are introduced to God in the very first line of Genesis, “In the beginning. God …” In the closing line of the New Testament, we are reminded that the God who is the hero if the Bible is Jesus Christ. Here I will quote the last 2 verses of Revelation. “He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen.

We find that the written word of God reveals to us the incarnate Word of God, Jesus Christ. Without the written word, we cannot rightly know the incarnate Word. Therefore, defining the central message of the Old Testament is key to our interpretative process, because without a proper understanding of Scripture we do not have access to truly loving and knowing the real Jesus.

Many people prefer the New Testament to the Old Testament because they wrongly believe that only the New Testament is about Jesus. Jesus Himself tells us that the Old Testament was primarily about Him. In John :39-40 we find Jesus chastising the religious leaders and saying, “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is they that bear witness about Me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.”

That is not the only verse. In Matthew 5:17-18 Jesus said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished.” Thus we find that when Scripture is rightly interpreted it is ultimately about Jesus as God.

The Old Testament predicts Jesus coming and the New Testament reflects on the life of Jesus and gives us a pattern for righteousness. The Old Testament uses various means to reveal Jesus including promises, appearances, foreshadowing types and titles. No other world religion can present any prophesy concerning the coming of their prophets. On the Old Testament we find hundreds of fulfilled prophecies extending hundreds, sometimes even thousands of years into the future.

We also see Jesus’ appearances made before His birth. These appearances are called Christophonies. Examples include walking with Abraham, wrestling with Jacob, appearing to Moses and joining Daniel’s friends in the fiery furnace. Other examples include the occasional appearance of “the angel of the Lord” who is sometimes as God. (see Judges 6:11-21 and 13:22)

Throughout Scripture, Old Testament and New Testament, the Bible is about Jesus. To fully understand the New Testament the student of scripture must understand the Old Testament. The amazing thing is that God is continually speaking to us through His written word by the power of the Holy Spirit. The most common error found by not understanding this is moralizing. Moralizing is reading the Bible not to learn about Jesus but to learn principles for how to live a good life. While living a good life is laudable, it is not the key to God’s salvation. Jesus alone is that key.

How Can We Hear the Voice of God?


The following begins a series of posts on how we, in the 21st century can hear the voice of God, get to know Him, and establish a relationship with Him. The following topics will be discussed:

  • How does God reveal himself?
  • What are the Scriptures?
  • Who How is Jesus the Hero of the Bible?
  • Who wrote the Bible?
  • What is the Canon of Scripture?
  • Why were some books not accepted as Scripture?
  • Does Scripture contain errors and/or contradictions?
  • Can I trust that the Bible is God’s word?
  • Why is scripture authoritative?
  • Is the Bible sufficient or all I need for life with God?
  • Why are there different translations of the Bible?
  • How can we best Interpret Scripture?
  • How does our view of Scripture Affect Our Life?

Does God speak internally through my spirit? Does God speak externally through a holy man such as a guru or a prophet? Does God speak through ancient wisdom or collected tradition?

The first thing we learn about God in Genesis is that God reveals Himself in words; no less than 10 times, the opening chapter of Genesis says, “God said.” Despite sin, God initiates a relationship with us by making Himself known.

God reveals Himself to us in two distinct ways. The first way is general revelation. General revelation is the way God reveals Himself to us in a general way. We can see some of the attributes of God by looking at His creation. Psalm 19: 1, 4 says “The heavens declare the glory of God, the sky above declares his handiwork … Their voice goes out through all the earth and their words to the end of the world. Isaiah 6:3 says “The whole earth is full of His glory!” Look at the order in the universe, scientists would have us believe that this order is an accident a completely fortuitous random event. Yet, the order that we see around us is could really only be an anomaly of nature when we consider the law of entropy. Entropy is defined as the inevitable and steady deterioration of a system or society. We see the law of entropy at work every day. Our bodies age, become ill and eventually die. We see the things that we make deteriorate. Metal rusts, wood rots, food spoils. All things that we see around us are in some state of deterioration. We can slow this deterioration through maintenance but a the law of entropy states, this decay in inevitable and steady. Science would have us believe that the universe was created through an accidental big bang (I think the big bang theory implies disorder from the start) and that the order we see around us is a result of natural forces. You may be knowledgeable enough to know that the universe is in a state of decay. Stars are going dark, galaxies are colliding, even the moon is slowly drifting away from the earth. We know that our sun will burn out one day. So where did this initial order come from. It only came from God. It is because of this order that we know the glory of God and that He exists. It is because of this General Revelation that those who do not know Christ will be condemned. Even those that do not know Christ should have been looking for the God whose glory they see around them.

The second way that God reveals Himself is through Special revelation. For us to be saved from the judgment, we must receive and believe God’s special revelation. What is special revelation? This special revelation is the Holy Scriptures. When we read the Old Testament, we see how God spoke to selected people giving them His message which was written down first for them and for us. It was by the power and inspiration of the Holy Spirit that we have the Bible. God provided the Bible to us so that we could know Him.

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