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Our God-Breathed Bible

Grace To You / John MacArthur
The Truth Network Radio
September 2, 2022 4:00 am

Our God-Breathed Bible

Grace To You / John MacArthur

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September 2, 2022 4:00 am

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We not only have the Word of God, but we have the Word of God which can fully equip us for every good work. I mean, it would be one thing if we just had a nice Word from God, but we have a life-changing Word from God. Welcome to Grace to You with John MacArthur.

I'm your host, Phil Johnson. If you've spent much time in church, you've likely heard that the Bible is inspired, that it is the Word of God. But what does that actually mean? And how does the Bible stack up against the claims of science and history?

Can you trust its accuracy? John MacArthur answers those questions today in a lesson called Our God-Breathed Bible. It's part of a unique series titled The New Testament, Beginning to End, a collection of influential sermons from John's five-plus decades of pulpit ministry.

And now here's John with the lesson. Let's talk a little bit about what it means that all Scripture, or every Scripture, is inspired by God. Just what is inherent in that thought? The content of the Bible is revelation. The process by which God gave us that revelation is inspiration, and inspiration was God putting His revelation in, as it were, the hands of men to be written down, first to be spoken and proclaimed, and then written down as they were energized, carried along by the Holy Spirit. There are some people who say, well, the Bible is inspired, but only concepts, not the real words. And I have tried to deal with that through the years, people who think that they were inspired by God with great religious thoughts and they wrote it in their own words. So we don't really have the words of God, so don't get bogged down in the words, just kind of grab the concepts and kind of go with the ideas and the flow.

Don't worry about the words, that's just details that get in the way. Here people say, well, the Spirit gives life, the letter kills, and that kind of thing. Well, I would like to ask somebody how you communicate ideas without words. I'm not sure I understand that. How in the world could you communicate if you were God to somebody an idea without words?

Doesn't make any sense. And when Moses wanted to excuse himself from speaking for the Lord because he wasn't eloquent, God didn't say, I will be with your mind and teach you what to think. He said, I will be with your what?

Your mouth and teach you what to say. Isaiah said, I heard the voice of the Lord saying, and he said, go and tell this people. Jeremiah said, the word of the Lord came unto me saying. Ezekiel said, He said unto me, Son of man, I send thee to the children of Israel, all my words that I shall speak unto thee, receive in thy heart and hear with thine ears and go and speak to them.

It was words, not thoughts, without words, whatever they are. Amos said, I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet's son, but I was a herdsman and a dresser of sycamore trees. And Jehovah took me from following the flock and Jehovah said to me, Go prophesy unto my people Israel.

Jehovah said to me. Paul's marvelous conversion experience, he was confronted by Ananias. He records it in Acts 22, the God of our fathers hath appointed thee to know His will and to see the righteous one and to see the righteous one and to hear a voice from His mouth. God appointed Paul to listen to him and speak what he was told. John said, I was in the spirit on the Lord's day and I heard behind me a great voice saying, what you see right in a book, write therefore the things which you saw, the things which are, the things which shall come to pass hereafter. Even Christ, the Word made flesh, said that He received His message from His Father. Isaiah said of Christ, Jehovah has made Him a mouth like a sharp sword and the Lord Jehovah has given me, he said, the tongue of them that are taught.

He even taught Christ what to say. You can't have thoughts without words. That kind of concept is foolish. You might as well talk about a tune without notes or music without a melody. You might as well talk about a sun without light or a sun without figures or geology without rocks or anthropology without men as thoughts without words.

Quite the contrary. Look at 1 Peter for a moment, show you an interesting thing, 1 Peter 1, 10 and 11. This illustrates a principle. Peter is writing with reference to the Old Testament prophets as they recorded truth regarding the Messiah. He says, as to this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that would come to you made careful search and inquiry, seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating. In other words, here they were, prophets of the Old Testament, being born along by the Holy Spirit and being born along to speak and write about the Messiah.

And as they were speaking or writing about the Messiah, they were making careful search and inquiry to figure out what they were talking about. The point is this, not only does the Bible not teach that there are thoughts without words, it does teach that sometimes God gave words without thoughts in that sense. I don't mean mindless mechanical dictation, but there were many things that the writers of the Old Testament wrote that they did not fully comprehend. It is not a question of them writing down the distillation of their religious genius. It is a question of them writing the words that God gave them, whether they understood them fully or not. And that's why in Matthew 24, 35 it says, heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words, not my thoughts, shall not pass away. Then somebody else comes along and says, well, but the Bible is inspired when it speaks of sacred things, not when it talks about secular things like science and history and geography and all of that.

And you have to deal with that periodically. There are those who say the history of the Bible is in error, the geography of the Bible is in error, the mathematics of the Bible is in error, the scientific statements of the Bible are erroneous. But don't worry, inspiration only guarantees the sacred, not the secular. Which is like saying God is good at religious things, but He really needs help in other areas.

Doesn't do well with other data. And there are all kinds of people who want to attack the Bible on that basis. Let me give you a couple of illustrations, kind of curious ones. Well, one that you probably are somewhat familiar with is given, and we won't look it up, in Joshua 10 where it talks about the fact that the battle was going on, Joshua 10, about verse 12 and following, and it says that in the middle of the battle, the sun what? Stood still. And the critics for years, you know, have laughed and mocked that and said the sun stood still.

Now how scientific is that? If there was an unchanging relationship between the earth and the sun, what it meant was the earth stood still. See, that's scientific they say, the Bible is so unscientific. But the fact is, if you were there that day, it would look to you like the sun stood still. And that same critic who wants to despair of what the Bible says would be the first guy in the morning to bounce out of bed, look out the back window of his house and say, what a beautiful sunrise.

That's not a sunrise, by the way. But nobody goes out and says, oh, what a lovely earth revolving. And nobody says that at night either.

And we say things like that all the time. We say people in Australia live down under. Down under what?

That's not any more down under than being here is. But that's a figure of speech. We say, well, we search the four corners of the earth.

What corners? There are some things we speak from human perspective that are not intended to be stated from human perspective, that are not intended to be statements of the technical elements of scientific data. Then there is the record in the book of Kings, 1 Kings chapter 8, the 2 Kings rather, chapter 18, where you have Sennacherib and you have the transaction that's made with Hezekiah and it says there that he gave 30 talents of gold and 300 talents of silver, which doesn't seem like any kind of issue until archeologists discovered the Assyrian records of that transaction between Hezekiah and Sennacherib.

In fact, they have discovered Sennacherib's own record and in Sennacherib's record, he has 800 talents of silver instead of 300 talents. And the critic said, you see, this is the kind of thing the Bible messes up on because it's not careful about little numbers. And then further archeological studies have revealed that the standard of calculating gold was the same in Judea and Syria, but the standard of calculating silver was different and a Judean and Syrian talent were so different that it took 800 Syrian talents to equal 300 Hebrew talents and that's exactly what the Scripture said. Scripture is speaking in the Hebrew and the Sennacherib record in the Syrian. Listen, when the Bible talks about science, when the Bible talks about history, when the Bible talks about mathematics, whatever it is the Bible talks about, it is the Word of God. And God is infallible and His Word is equally infallible.

Critics want to mock the Scripture and yet the Bible is scientifically accurate, contains the basic principles of science. You can take science, for example, in its most basic elements, the most basic elements of science, time, force, action, space, matter, those five things. Herbert Spencer, 1903, died. He reduced everything that is to those categories, time, force, action, space, matter. He said, everything in the universe fits into those. That is the matrix of existence.

So in 1903, he died having been hailed as a great, brilliant man because he discovered that and what he didn't realize was it's in the first verse of the Bible. In the beginning, that's time. God, that's force.

Created, that's action. The heavens, that's space. The earth, that's matter. The matrix of existence was in the first verse. The universe is a continuum of time, force, action, space, matter. And one can't exist without the other, therefore the entire continuum must have existed simultaneously from the beginning. It all had to begin together. Science has to be in that matrix.

No one element of that matrix can be missing or you can't have what we have in existence today. And once the universe had been created, its processes were designed to operate in an orderly fashion. All of energy and matter was sustained by their interplay so that no further creation was needed. Once you generate time, force, action, space and matter, that's it.

That's all you need. And Genesis 2, 2 says, got into the work which God had made. He did it and it was done. He did it all at once, created the whole matrix, that was it. There's never been any creation since then because there doesn't need to be any creation since then. The complete cessation of creative activity has been called the first law of thermodynamics by science, or the law of conservation of mass and energy, which Einstein spent a lot of time on.

It is the most basic, universal, certain of all scientific principles. And it's right there in the Word of God. He ceased from doing what He'd done. It was over.

He did it all at once and that was it. And it would conserve itself by its very nature. The second law of thermodynamics is the law of increasing disorder, that all of that system in that matrix is running down, disintegrating and will eventually come up dead.

And that we're seeing in no uncertain terms. The whole creation, Romans 8 says, is groaning and groaning and groaning and waiting for the curse to be reversed. Science cannot explain...are you ready for this?...the second law of thermodynamics. They don't know why everything is decreasing into disorder, all running down, heading toward deadness. The Bible is the only place you can go for an explanation and the explanation is a little three-letter word that says sin...sin. The Bible is accurate on everything it talks about, whether you're talking about geology, geodesy, meteorology, physiology, biology, anthropology, astronomy, hydrology. I don't care what you're talking about, when the Bible speaks it's accurate.

And then you look at things in the Bible like prophecy. Look at Ezekiel chapter 28 and I'll just give you this one insight which is so great to show you the accuracy of Scripture historically. Ezekiel 26 to 28, we'll go back 26. Here comes the prophecy to Ezekiel about the destruction of the city of Tyre. Tyre was a Phoenician stronghold.

Tyre was a fairly significant city, large city on the coast of Phoenicia, now known as Palestine. And the word of the Lord came to Ezekiel in verse 2 of chapter 26, telling about the destruction of the place. Son of man, because Tyre has said concerning Jerusalem, Aha, the gateway of the peoples is broken, it is open to me, I shall be filled now that she has laid waste. In other words, because Tyre mocked Jerusalem, therefore thus says the Lord God, Behold, I'm against you, O Tyre, I'll bring upon you many nations against you as the sea brings up its waves. They will destroy the walls of Tyre, break down her towers, I will scrape her debris from her, make her a bare rock. She will be a place for the spreading of nets in the midst of the sea, for I have spoken, declares the Lord God, and she will become spoil for the nations. Also her daughters who are on the mainland will be slain by the sword and they will know that I am the Lord.

For thus says the Lord God, Behold, I will bring upon Tyre from the north Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, king of kings and horses, chariots, cavalry and a great army. He will slay your daughters on the mainland with the sword. He will make siege walls against you, cast up a mound against you and raise up a large shield against you. On the blow of his battering rams, he will direct against your walls and with his axes he will break down your towers.

Because of the multitude of his horses, the dust raised by them will cover you. Your walls will shake at the noise of cavalry and wagons and chariots when he enters your gates as men enter a city that is breached. With the hooves of his horses, he will trample all your streets, he will slay your people with the sword and your strong pillars will come down to the ground. Also they will make a spoil of your riches and a prey of your merchandise, break down your walls and destroy your pleasant houses and throw your stones and your timbers and your debris into the water. So I will silence the sound of your songs and the sound of your harps will be heard no more. I'll make you a bare rock. You will be a place for the spreading of nets. You will be built no more, for I the Lord have spoken, declares the Lord God. Thus says the Lord God to Tyre." Now that's pretty detailed stuff, folks. I mean, that is not some kind of general prophecy.

Very specific. This is a great Phoenician city. From the seventh century B.C., it controlled Phoenicia. It had strong walls. About 150 feet high was the wall.

That's very high, 15 feet thick. Hyrum I was its king. He helped David build the palace. He helped Solomon build the temple. Three years after this prophecy was given, Nebuchadnezzar came and laid a thirteen-year siege on that city. See, they were walled cities, so all you had to do is if you couldn't get in the city, you just cut off anything coming into the city and they eventually starved.

It took him 13 years, from 585 to 573. Finally the city surrendered because they were all dying. And Nebuchadnezzar broke down the walls and the towers, destroyed every single thing Ezekiel said he would do. And, of course, he wasn't reading Ezekiel when he did it.

He got in the city. He didn't find the spoils. He thought he was going to find spoils, but they had used their fleet to take the spoils out. They took all the spoils to a half mile away island off the coast. And, of course, in chapter 29 Ezekiel said, you'll gain no plunder. You'll gain no plunder.

Just exactly that happened. When he got there, they had taken all the valuables off to the island. Nebuchadnezzar had no naval force to go off and get it.

The island then became the new city and it flourished for 250 years out on that island. Only part of the prophecy was fulfilled. The part about Nebuchadnezzar, the part about destroying the walls, smashing it down, slaughtering the people, not getting the spoil, but not all of it was yet complete. The ruins were still on the old site.

The rubble was still there. After 250 years, a 24-year-old guy came by the name of Alexander the Great. He had 33,000 infantrymen. He had 15,000 cavalry.

He had just defeated the Persians and he was on his way to Egypt. He needed supplies. So he came by the now island city of Tyre and he sent word, I want you to supply all of my men and all of my horses and all of my army. And they said, you don't have a navy and we're on an island, we're not going to help you at all. And he didn't like that.

And it wasn't good to get Alexander mad. He didn't have a fleet, so he decided he had to get a way to go to that island. So he did what Ezekiel the prophet said would be done. It said that the place would be scraped bare as a rock and all the rubble would be thrown into the sea. Well what conqueror in his right mind would ever do that? Why waste your time once you've conquered the place picking up everything and throwing it in the ocean?

All the stone and all the rest of it. But that's exactly what had to happen, so Alexander did it. He took all the debris and built a 2,000 foot long, 200 foot wide causeway all the way to the island with all the debris. Now the island had fortified itself as well with powerful walls that reached right down to the edge of the sea. And as Alexander got closer he realized he was going to have to get over those walls. So in order to pull it off, he built these massive towers called Heliopolis, 160 feet high according to the record, 20 stories high. And they held artillery and they held a drop bridge and just pushed the towers out the causeway, shot at the people from them. When they got to the wall, dropped the bridges down and walked right in. In the process, of course, all the way along the people are throwing things and shooting things off the wall and they invented what were called tortoises, big shells that they held over the workers who were building the causeway. It took him seven months. He went in and murdered 8,000 people, over a period of a few months executed 7,000 more and sold 30,000 into slavery and fulfilled every single detail of the prophecy. And though the city of Jerusalem has been rebuilt 17 times, Tyre has never been rebuilt.

And that's exactly what God said, you will be built no more. And you know what they do? Go there today, you'll find out what they do. They drive fishnets there, just what it said. What's the probability of that?

About one in 75 million happening by chance. By the way, a sister city by the name of Sidon also received a prophecy. Verse 22 of Ezekiel 28, thus says the Lord God, I'm against you, O Sidon, they'll be glorified in your midst. Then they will know that I am the Lord when I execute judgments in her and I'll manifest my holiness in her for I'll send pestilence, blood to her streets, the wounded will fall in her midst, by the sword upon her on every side, then they will know that I am the Lord.

Hmm, it will make it a bloody mess. It's the center of Baal worship, by the way, about twenty miles north of Tyre. Prophecy said, blood in the streets, swords everywhere, but no prophecy of ultimate destruction.

That's what happened. Blood everywhere, swords everywhere, that poor city was beleaguered and besieged again and again and again and again. But it's still a city and today it's called Saida and it's still there.

In 351 B.C., it was ruled by Persia. There was a seizure of that city and the revolution then. All hope of saving the city was gone. The people being attacked by the Persians, 40,000 of them chose to die rather than submit to Persian violence, so they set themselves on fire and burned themselves up with their own houses.

Blood flowed in the streets over and over again. That city, Sidon or Saida, was taken three times by the Crusaders, three times by the Moslems. In 1840, it was bombarded by the combined forces of England, France and Turkey, but it's still there because God didn't say it would be destroyed, it's still there. You can study the Bible and it will predict things historically that are absolutely accurate. Ezekiel 30 predicted the destruction of Egypt. Nahum 1, the destruction of Nineveh. Isaiah 13, the destruction of Babylon. Hosea 13, the destruction of Samaria. Ezekiel 25, the destruction of Moab and Ammon.

One mathematician by the name of Peter Stoner took eleven of the prophecies with all their detail and calculated the probability of that occurring by chance, one in 5.76 times 10 to the 59th power. So what does that mean? I don't know.

I can't even think like that. How do you calculate that? I mean, how do you understand that? Well he estimated it this way, that if the whole universe contained two trillion galaxies and each galaxy of two trillion had a hundred billion stars, we could make all the stars in all those galaxies two times ten to the fifth power out of silver dollars. Incredible number.

These kinds of probabilities just don't happen. So that when you see the Bible speak scientifically, geographically, historically, or whatever it is, it's accurate. This is the Word of God. And what is the benefit of it? Second Timothy 3.

What's the benefit of it? All Scripture is inspired by God, profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness. That the man of God may be adequate, fully equipped for every good work. What a tremendous thing. We not only have the Word of God, but we have the Word of God which can fully equip us for every good work.

I mean, it would be one thing if we just had a nice Word from God, but we have a life-changing Word from God. And what should be our response? Believe it, first of all. Believe it.

Secondly, study it. Thirdly, fear it. God is exalted above His name.

Love it. Oh, how I love Thy law, David said in Psalm 119.97. Obey it. Do what it commands.

Fight for it. Jude 3, earnestly contend for the faith and preach it. Second Timothy 4, 2, preach the Word. Let's pray together. Father, how thrilled we are to know that that's what our Bible is, words that have proceeded out of the mouth of God, that God who not only knows history, but writes it, who not only understands science, but created it, who not only understands the spiritual dimension, but is that reality. Oh God, what a treasure. Meet every need of every heart in Christ's name.

Amen. It's John MacArthur, Chancellor of the Masters University and Seminary, and the Bible teacher on Grace to You. Today's lesson, titled Our God-Breathed Bible, is part of a study featuring landmark sermons from John's five-plus decades of ministry.

It's titled The New Testament, Beginning to End. Now, John, in today's message, you stressed the fact that God's Word is accurate. It's precise.

It's without error. And I know you would also say that the Bible is for today. It's relevant.

It's always relevant. It's a trustworthy guide for all of life in 2022. Well, Jesus said, Heaven and earth would pass away, but my word will not pass away. This entire universe will pass away. That's clear and be replaced by a new heaven and a new earth. Even then, the Word of God will never be altered.

Heaven and earth pass away. My word never, ever changes. So it's eternally relevant. I want to mention a booklet to you called You Can Trust the Bible. Look, this is the foundation of everything. What is your authority? What is your authority? If you have any authority for truth other than the Bible, you have the wrong authority. The Bible is the revealed Word of God.

It is true because God is true, and it is the singular authority in terms of understanding the creation, both in its material sense and its immaterial and spiritual sense. The booklet You Can Trust the Bible deals with the Scripture as inerrant, infallible, complete, authoritative, sufficient. It examines miracles, prophecies, science, human experience and how they demonstrate the authenticity of Scripture. Everything really depends on trusting the Bible. And if you're not trusting the Bible as God's Word, His perfect Word, you need to be able to do that. This booklet will help you to be able to trust the Word of God. You should trust it based on its own merits, but we'll give you a little boost with the book You Can Trust the Bible. You have no greater gift in your life than to trust the Bible, because then you understand everything, God's view of everything.

Here's the good news. You Can Trust the Bible we'll send free to anyone who requests it. We want to help you deepen your trust in God's Word.

If you would like us to do that, you just need to let us know. You want a free copy of the booklet You Can Trust the Bible. Yes, friend, if you have doubts about whether the Bible is trustworthy, sufficient and perfect, this booklet can help you settle those doubts and show you just how powerful Scripture is. To get your free copy of You Can Trust the Bible, contact us today. Call our toll-free number 800-55-GRACE or go to our website, John's booklet on Why You Can Trust the Bible would be a great resource to go through with a new believer or perhaps someone you're discipling.

Again, You Can Trust the Bible. It's our gift to you. Just call 800-55-GRACE or go to our website, And when you get in touch, I would encourage you to let us know how you're benefiting from this ministry. Your feedback is more important than you may think. So make sure to let us know how you hear this broadcast, whether it's online through the Grace To You app or simply on this radio station.

Email us at letters at or send your letter to Box 4000, Panorama City, California 91412. Now for John MacArthur and the entire staff, I'm Phil Johnson encouraging you to tune into Grace To You television this Sunday. Then be here next week when John looks at the importance of forgiveness, how to deal with trials and much more. It's another half hour of unleashing God's truth one verse at a time, starting Monday on Grace To You.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-03 06:01:15 / 2023-03-03 06:12:26 / 11

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