If someone like one of your children or grandchildren or best friends challenged your belief in the Bible that it's actually the Word of God, would you be able to give them a confident explanation that would really make sense to them? Well, today we're going to help you know why you can have full confidence in the Bible and answer those honest challenges with the winsome and loving attitude that reveals your joy and confidence in God and His Word. Stay with me.
You're going to love it. Thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram. Living on the Edge is an international discipleship ministry focused on helping Christians live like Christians. I'm Dave Prewie, and in this program, Chip continues his series, Why I Believe, by putting the Bible on trial and asking, is the Bible just the book of ancient stories influenced by culture after culture, or is it really the authentic Word of God? Now, last time, Chip shared the first three reasons to believe in the accuracy and authority of the Bible. In just a minute, he'll highlight more compelling reasons. But before we begin, if this is your first time listening to Living on the Edge or you just want to learn more about what we do, go to livingontheedge.org.
There you'll find tons of resources on a wide range of topics and countless programs for you to enjoy. Well, here now is Chip with part two of his message, Why I Believe in the Bible. Everyone trusts someone's word. You are going to trust someone's word about all kind of things in life.
What I'm telling you is the evidence is overwhelming. We can trust God's word. And prophecy is the thing that took me over the edge and helped me to hang on. In fact, let me give you a few examples, just a very small collection of specific prophecies. And you'll see a little bit later, there's a passage that goes with each one, things like it was prophesized in Genesis three. He's going to be born of a woman, and then later he'd be born of a virgin from Isaiah seven. He'd be a descendant of Abraham and of the tribe of Judah, the house of David.
Think of all these things predicted. Where in a little town called Bethlehem that there would be this John the Baptist, a forerunner, that would come before him and he would be described, I mean, very specifically. He'd have an anointing of the Holy Spirit and a preaching ministry and a healing ministry, specific things like his role as a prophet, his role as a priest, the time that he would appear, that he would be betrayed, an exact amount of money. Imagine this, hundreds of years earlier, 30 silver coins predicted, and that's how he would be betrayed. He'd be abandoned by his disciples, silent before his accusers, beaten and spat upon, mocked, his hands and feet pierced.
I mean, think of that. How in the world did the Psalmist know crucifixion was not even invented yet, and it's described in Psalm 22? All I want to tell you is prophecy was one of the most powerful things that helped me hold on to my faith when I had my doubts.
And I want to tell you something. I don't think it's bad, and I don't think it's wrong to doubt. I think there's times where you struggle or someone challenges your faith.
I'm glad that PhD student said what he said. I'm glad that I realized I didn't have confidence. What I want to ask you is, do you have confidence in God's word? Are you unashamed of the gospel? Are you unashamed that, can you say, you know what, I believe the Bible is the word of God, and I'm going to stand on that. I believe that it's true.
But in order to do that, you have to have some facts, and you need to know that it really is trustworthy. And the next question that came to my mind is, if everything I've said so far is true, and I'm telling you, it is, and you can verify it. What about this one really big question? What if all that is true about the Bible that Jesus was talking about, but we had this small little problem of 2,000 years?
And we've all played the game, right? As little kids telephone, this person speaks it to this person, who speaks it to this person, speaks it to this person, and like 20 people later, whatever they said in the beginning is completely different. What about the transmission of the scripture? Now here's what I have to tell you, and this is scholars, both religious scholars who are liberal and conservative. The amazement that they have is the most well-preserved book in all antiquity is the Bible.
Are you ready for this? The transmission of the scripture is nothing less than miraculous. The Bible's purity and perseverance throughout the centuries is nothing less, literally.
It's almost a miracle up there with the resurrection. The meticulous copy of the scribes and the rabbis. I mean, it was copied in such a way where they would count over so many letters, count down so many letters, and every time they would check it when they got done with the page, and if they were one letter off, they destroyed it and started over. The proximity of manuscripts, though, when you're looking at an ancient document, here's what scholars look at. They say, okay, when was it actually written? Okay, got that. So when is our first copy of it, and then how many copies do we have, right?
I mean, that makes sense. So when did this guy say Homer? When did he write this, and when is our first copy that we have of it, and how many copies?
Well, they do that with all, whether it's Shakespeare, whether it's Homer, whether it's Plato, whether it's Socrates. Let me show you a little chart that should blow your mind and give you unbelievable confidence that here's the deal. The book that I hold in my hand is accurate in the same word of 2,000 years ago. You say, well, Chip, how do you know that?
Look at this transmission. Plato lived in 427 to 347. The earliest copy we have of his writing is 900 AD. So from the time he wrote it to the time we get the first copy, are you ready? 1,200 years. And how many copies do we have?
We only have seven. I mean, that's mind-boggling, and yet no one questions did Plato write that. You have the same thing here with Aristotle. You know, you look at the first copy, AD 1100, 1,400 years from when he wrote it, and how many copies?
49. I mean, people talk about Homer and the Iliad and the important book, and wow, 900 BC is when he lived. Our first copy, 400 BC, and you'll hear scholars talk about it's only been 500 years, and look at how many copies, over 600. Now look at the New Testament. AD 40 to 100 is when it was written. Our first copies, AD 125, 25 years. We have 24,643, either full New Testaments or fragments. It is the best preserved document in all of antiquity.
Here's what I know. What I hold in my hands is the Word of God, and in fact, there's one other thing that if you think the transmission blows your mind, there was a little shepherd boy, a Bedouin, and he's got his sheep. It's about 1947, and you know kids, he takes rocks and throws them up in the cave and throws them up in the cave and hears a crash. Well, they discovered the Dead Sea Scrolls. There were jar after jar after jar of these clay pots filled with, I mean, hundreds and hundreds of scrolls, and here's what it did. We ended up having, okay, here's a copy of Old Testament and some New Testament documents, and here's another copy, but it's 1,000 years earlier, and you say to yourself, wow, they copied, they copied, they copied. I bet the telephone game, they're really different. When they took them and put them together, are you ready, less than 5% difference, I mean literally, that which was written 1,000 years earlier.
The only difference is a couple different letters. The word light is spelled a little bit differently in Isaiah 53, but here's what I want you to know. When you look at prophecy, when you look at transmission, when you look at how God has preserved his word, you never have to be ashamed.
In fact, his promises are true, and as you take his word into your life, it's living, it's active, it's sharper than a two-edged sword, it brings life, it changes attitudes, it breaks addictions, it gives direction, it convicts of sin, it gives life and encouragement. In fact, the final reason that I believe in the Bible is the impact that it has, the power that it has to transform lives is overwhelming. As a young Christian like many men and probably many more now with the internet going the way it is, I struggled with one particular sin that no matter how hard I tried, I just could not get over it, to the point that I was ready to give up the Christian life. There were four girls for every guy where I went to college, and I did not grow up as a believer, so my thinking about women and lust and all the rest was pretty well ingrained. And so I had come to know Christ, I began reading the Bible, I made great progress except in this one area. I mean, my behavior began to straighten out, but my thought life was just, or when I saw different girls, my eyes did not go to their eyes.
It went everywhere else, and then my mind started, I felt so guilty and so bad, and I tried and tried and tried and tried, no matter what I did, I just could never break free of lust. And then I had a roommate who was on his way to a sort of a Christian training program, and he had to memorize 60 verses as sort of the preparation. And I was a basketball player, and he was on the wrestling team, and we had this sort of banter and, you know, good competition. So he leaves the room one day, I take all of his verses, I write them on cards, and he's going to do like, you know, two every week.
And I'm thinking, wrestlers, two a week, I'm a basketball player. I'm going to memorize one every day, review it and get these perfect, and then I'm just going to show up in about three or four weeks and just say, oh, by the way, Bob, how you coming? And I'm going to do all 60 of them and nail them. Now, my motivation was terrible, but God's word is powerful. I can still remember day 21. I've memorized 21 verses. I was reviewing them. I mean, literally running to baseball practice with cards, you know, sitting in psychology class while he would drone on.
I'm reviewing cards. Day 21, I'm outside the library and a very beautiful coed who's a very committed Christian who I really liked and actually had little feelings for, and I felt always guilty when I lusted for her. And I remember having a conversation with her, and we got done, and I walked away, and I realized my eyes only met her eyes. And then I went to my room, and I thought, what has happened? I don't get it.
And then I made the connection. I didn't know Romans 12 to then. I didn't know don't be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
How does that happen? God's word. I didn't know the word of God had power to break addictions. I didn't know that when you were tempted, if you had God's word in your heart, he would protect you.
How can a young man keep his way pure by guarding it according to his word? Your word I've hid in my heart that I might not sin against thee. And then you know what?
I just went nuts. I just realized this is power. I mean, there's power in God's word. So I memorized those 60 verses, and then I memorized a bunch more.
I started taking where are all the problems in my life, and I would find a verse or a promise, and I would write the problem. Then I would memorize the verse. All I can tell you, God transformed my thinking, transformed my life. The word of God is powerful. Jeremiah would say, your word was found, and I ate it, and it became for me a delight and the joy of my heart.
And so as we wrap things up, here's what I want to tell you. God's word is reliable. God's word is credible. What you hold in your hand is the Bible that Jesus used.
What you hold in your hand can stand up to scrutiny anywhere at any time. And here's the question. It's one thing to believe, it's true.
Right? Okay, Chip, I agree with you. That's wonderful evidence.
That is actually pretty amazing. I have a lot more confidence. Here's my last question. That book with all that power that's that credible sitting on your shelf and not getting into your mind and to your heart does absolutely nothing. I've done a fair bit of counseling over the years, and I will tell you there is an amazing correlation between people that have really big problems and really big struggles in relationships and finances and addictions and almost no time at all in God's word. And when I meet Christians that spend time in God's word over time and don't always feel like it but develop the habit of studying and reading and memorizing the scripture, I will tell you what happens is God gives them grace. See, we all believe God has power.
Can I tell you something? He takes the written word and he makes it the living word and as you memorize it and digest it, and this isn't reading little devotionals. I'm glad for all the little devotionals. You and I need to be in the actual word of God ourselves and take it in and learn to study it and then apply it and I will tell you what. The spirit of the living God will take the living word and he will transform your life. Father, I pray, I pray as America like never before and Christians all around the world, as we struggle to be Christians who live like Christians, God would you give us a hunger and a thirst for your word?
Would you help us please to set aside media and Facebook and surfing and TV and hobbies to make first and foremost time with you and time in your word and then enjoy all those other things as time allows? And Lord, might we read it? Might we study it? Might we memorize it?
Might we believe it? And might your life be reproduced inside of us that our thoughts, our words, our actions would literally be the love of Christ exhibited out of our hands, our feet, our words and our life for your glory and for our good and for the testimony of light and salt in all the world. God, we know you want to answer that. I pray for my brothers and sisters. You will make them men, women and students of the living and abiding word of God.
In Jesus' name, amen. Chip will be right back with his application for this message, Why I Believe in the Bible. Let me ask you, how confidently can you answer questions about God and the Bible?
Are you pretty sure of yourself? Or do you feel unprepared, wishing you would have paid a little more attention in Sunday school? Through this six-part series, Chip will help you better understand the bedrock concepts of the Christian faith and how you can communicate that truth in engaging ways to others. Now, if you want to learn more, let me encourage you to check out Chip's book, Why I Believe, or the small group resources.
These are the perfect tools to help you go deeper. For complete details, go to livingontheedge.org, the Chip Ingram app, or call 888-333-6003. Well, Chip's in studio with me now, and Chip, as many of our regular listeners know, our mission is to help Christians really live like Christians. And I understand you have a story that really brings that idea to life. I sure do, Dave.
At some point you wonder, you know, is Living on the Edge really making a difference? And I got a note in the mail that I just have to share. Listen to this.
Dear Chip, we don't have enough words to show our gratitude. At one point, my husband and I both thought things were so bad, they'd never get better. But thankfully, I heard one of your sermons that spoke to our situation. So I started listening on a regular basis.
Now my husband listens too. Through God's transformation in our lives, we've started seeing restoration in our family. Even though we're still a work in progress, we can see God's hand making direct changes in our lives. Recently, we decided to make a monthly donation to help keep your broadcast going. We realized that if your ministry helped us this much, then it can help others too. Thank you for all that you're doing to furthering God's kingdom.
Signed, D.R. And I just remind you, you know, we're all so personally focused and we're human that, you know, over a million people this week will hear what you're hearing. And not only that, but then the broadcast and the teaching and the small groups will go to China, to the Middle East and places all around the world because people pray and because people partner financially. And so if you're one of those partners, can I just tell you thank you very, very much? If you're one of those partners that kind of gives now and then and would ever consider prayerfully to say, you know, I bet I could give just a little a month. Boy, those monthly partners really help us understand what we can project and making budgets. It's a huge help. And if you have never partnered with us financially, would you just today say, Lord, is this something you want me to do?
And if he nudges you and says yes, follow that good prompting. Well, if joining the Living on the Edge team is an idea that makes sense to you, we'd love to have you partner with us. Your support multiplies our efforts and resources in ways that only God can do.
So if you'd like to be a part of that, let me encourage you to become a monthly partner. Now, you can easily set up a recurring donation at livingontheedge.org or through the Chip Ingram app. Or if it's easier, text the word donate to 74141. That's donate to 74141. Thanks for helping others benefit from the work of this ministry.
Well, here again is Chip to share his application for today's message. As we close our time together, this is really, really important. I want you to really perk your ears up and really open your heart. You know, the Bible, if indeed it is the Word of God, has huge implications. But it has huge implications for three very different groups.
And I want to briefly speak to each one of these groups. Number one, I want to speak to you who are skeptics. I have been there.
I have lived that. I used to laugh at the Bible. I laughed at people who believed in the Bible. And here's what I want to challenge you to do. I want to challenge you to read through the New Testament once in a pretty easy-to-read translation for yourself. And I want you to read it with this one prayer prior to opening it up. I mean, you're an intellectual person or you wouldn't call yourself a skeptic.
You have real questions. Well, stop believing what everyone else says about the Bible and about Jesus if you've never checked it out for yourself. So here's what you do. The most important and central figure in all history is Jesus. You owe it to yourself to open the New Testament with this prayer. Dear God, if there is a God and if you exist, reveal yourself to me. I'm going to read this with an open mind. And if you reveal yourself to me in a way that I can understand and really make sense, I will follow you. And then just read right through the New Testament.
I challenge you to do that. Don't reject what you know only secondhand. The second group I want to talk to is what maybe someone would call a cultural Christian. You intellectually believe in the Bible, but candidly, you don't read the Bible currently. You don't study the Bible.
You're not looking for promises from the Bible about big issues in your life. But as I was speaking, as I was talking about the reality and the revelation of how God works in our life and that it's alive and active and sharper than a two-edged sword and that it's dynamic and that the personal God of the universe would speak to you, something was happening inside, and part of you said, I would like to get to know God like that. And your next thought was, I've tried to read the Bible before and I don't get it. It's a closed book to me.
It's super confusing. Here's what I want you to know. Go to our website, livingontheedge.org, that's livingontheedge.org, and we've developed an online video course called How to Hear God's Voice in Scripture. I'm actually going to teach you how to study the Bible in a simple way that you can actually understand. It's a very short, five-part series, and even more than know how to study the Bible and begin to understand it, and it makes sense, which is super important, you'll actually begin to hear God's voice. He'll actually speak to you because that's what the Bible is really all about. And finally, I want to say a word to a committed follower that you're just sort of saying, yeah, Chip, go for it. I love His Word. I'm in His Word. I study it. I read it.
I've memorized it. God has changed my life. Here's what I want to ask you. Are you passing it on? Are you making disciples? Who are you taking through what you've learned? How are you helping your kids, your grandkids, maybe some people at church? Here's the goal. Would you be willing to join with me and Living on the Edge and take this study, Why I Believe, and do it with a group of high school kids, a group of university students, maybe a handful of men or a handful of women, or say, this is what we ought to do for our couple study, or, hey, Sunday school class, let's do this study, learn what we believe and why, and then learn how to transmit this truth to the next generation in the way they can engage and really understand it.
Let's go for it together. Thanks, Chip. Well, you know, a great way to get plugged in with those resources Chip just mentioned is through the Chip Ingram app. There you can listen to past series, sign up for daily discipleship, download the message notes, and much more. Let us help you experience God in a new personal way, starting today with the Chip Ingram app. Well, join us next time as Chip continues his series, Why I Believe. Until then, this is Dave Druey saying thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge. .
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