Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith.
To gather evidence, courts take testimony from witnesses. To evaluate the claims of the Bible, let's put it on the stand. As the cross-examination begins, we find a book that claims to speak for God. In fact, it claims God spoke through its authors. Today, more on the claims the Bible makes for itself and what those claims mean for you and me. From the Moody Church in Chicago, this is Running to Win with Dr. Erwin Lutzer, whose clear teaching helps us make it across the finish line. Forty authors over 1,600 years? To be on the same page with no internet, that would take some divine superintending, Pastor.
It really would. And you know, Dave, you've described it perfectly, the fact that there are so many different authors over so many different centuries, and yet they all agree on the witness stand, they do very, very well. I wrote this book because I wanted to inspire people to help them to believe that indeed the Bible is a word from God. Now frequently you hear, well, the writers had different styles. Yes, of course, God allowed them to use those different styles, but as they wrote, they always stayed within the bounds of truth. Ask for the book Seven Reasons Why You Can Trust the Bible. For a gift of any amount, it can be yours.
Go to rtwoffer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337. When you hold the Bible in your hands, you are holding the Word of God. The Bible was written by 40 different authors with a variety of occupations, kings, fishermen, tax collectors, prophets, even a physician. Because when you hold the Bible in your hands, you know, of course, that you are not holding a book only, you are holding a library of 66 different books. And these books were written under different circumstances in different parts of the world. Some were written in Asia, Africa, Europe, Moses, on Mount Sinai. Daniel was written in Babylon. And of course, there's no way to even enumerate all the different cities from which the New Testament books, for example, were written. Despite all of these differences, you have in the Scriptures an incredible interweaving of truth.
So that from beginning to end, you have a consistent storyline. And that storyline basically begins in Genesis where man fell. Chapter 3, verse 15, God says, I will put enmity between thee and the woman, between thy seed and her seed. It is there that Jesus Christ is predicted. And all the way through Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, you begin to see how God is choosing a nation and preparing the coming of Jesus Christ. And in the New Testament, Jesus Christ appears. And the Old Testament is quoted in the New Testament 181 times primarily to show the fulfillment of prophecy.
That does not refer to all of the other times that there are references to the Old Testament characters. Someone has said that the new is in the old concealed. The new is there. It's there when you have the Passover lamb. It is there when you find that Moses is saying that God is going to raise up a prophet like unto me, but he's going to be greater than I am.
It is there. The new is in the old concealed and the old is in the new revealed. Old Testament plants seeds that germinate and bear fruit in the New Testament.
Now, just think about this for a moment. The styles of the writers and the kind of literature that is in the Bible is very diverse. We have history, law, poetry, parables, allegories.
There are also biographies. All of this is found in the Bible. And yet the unity of Jesus Christ from Genesis chapter 3 verse 15 to the book of Revelation at the end where it says, even so come Lord Jesus is all tied in a single theme with a single consistent purpose and teaching. Imagine trying to get 10 men together. And you ask these 10 men to write about topics as diverse as God and his nature, God's relationship to the world, angels, demons, the afterlife such as heaven and hell, their true nature of God's purposes. And you expect all of these 10 men to somehow agree. What we have in the Bible is 40 such men over a period of 1,500 years all agreeing, but not just writing essays on various topics, but interrelating the scriptures in a way that makes the fair-minded reader astounded.
Imagine writing on all those topics and agreeing. You know the Bible has unity of symbolism. Fire always is symbolic of purification and judgment. There is unity of symbolism regarding oil that represents the Holy Spirit.
Levin, evil, it represents it. And then you see books such as the book of Daniel in the Old Testament and its prophecies by the way are accurate and astounding as we shall see in another message. Here you have the book of Daniel in the Old Testament and the book of Revelation in the New Testament and they dovetail like a hand and a glove and you find out that they are talking about the same time periods, the same kind of kingdoms, the same kind of future, and the book of Revelation is only adding more details to what Daniel has already written and it has these visions and these difficult symbols which we do not perhaps fully understand, but nonetheless we see its central teaching and we are astounded at its accuracy and its unity. How do we describe the Bible? The Bible is really like a cathedral. It has different parts, different lighting, different arrangements, architecture within it, but all unified, all unified so that it is a part of a consistent whole and we see it and we say to ourselves, surely men could not have written all of these books. They could not have.
I'd like to just simply draw some conclusions to what we've learned so far today. First of all, the Bible is either entirely true or entirely unreliable and fictitious. It's one of the two. If there's anything that wearies me, it is religious liberals because they say the Bible is not the word of God.
No, no, no, no, no. These men did not write the word of God. There is no word from God, they say, but the Bible is nonetheless a wonderful, beautiful book. It's one from which we preach on on Sundays.
We love the readings of the Sermon on the Mount. It is a very valuable book. I wish I'd have brought some quotes with me. I could have, but I have in my library some who've written things like that. In fact, there's one author who says, once we realize that the Bible did not originate in the mind of God, then it's real human beauty comes to us. My dear friend, listen to this carefully. If the Bible did not originate with God, we know at the beginning that it's got at least 1,500 errors.
That's just for starters. Because if it's wrong regarding its origin, it most assuredly cannot be trusted in any other doctrine, that's for sure. Could you imagine a biography of Churchill? The author continually refers to Churchill and says, you know, we had this conversation and Churchill told me, and the word of Churchill came to me and he said this. And then you discover that the man never met Churchill.
You discover that there's no evidence that they had any kind of a meeting, that the man was just making it all up. Now, mind you, he was a sincere man. That's what liberals always like to say about the writers of the Bible. They were wrong, but oh, they were very sincere. And so we say, well, you know, this biographer was very sincere.
He actually thought that he was in contact with Churchill. Give him some credit. Would you say now, oh, what a wonderful biography this is. Isn't this ever a helpful biography?
Doesn't it shed a lot of light as to what was happening in Britain during those days? Nonsense. It's unworthy of the fire, but that's where you throw it in. Now, listen, there's some of you who are on the fence today, okay? Some of you are convinced the Bible is the word of God, but there are some of you who are unbelievers. Or maybe you say you believe, but you can't quite handle the fact that the Bible is the word of God. At least have the courage of your convictions. Come out of the closet.
Don't hide. If you do not accept what the writers of Scripture have said about the origin of their words, then at least be very clear that the Bible has no value whatever, except there may be bits and pieces of poetry that are interesting, but as some kind of a revelation or a guidebook, it is a deep, deep, bitter deception. Just admit it. Either it is a good book or it is a perverse book. Either it is a reliable book or it is indeed a deception. Either it is the word of God or it is the word of foolish, deceived, silly men. And we must make up our minds. Let me give you a second conclusion. If the claims of the Bible are true that it is the word of God, then of course we must believe that it comes to us without error in the original manuscripts that were written. I mean, that only makes sense. If God breathed and out of that breathing came the words of God, are you really telling me that along with the truth that he gave us, he also mixed in with it some mistakes and some errors?
Is that what you're telling me? Are you telling me that God who is truth inspired men of God to write the Holy Scriptures so that he could say that these are the words of God and then we discover that there are parts of it that are unreliable? People say today, well, you know, God was not up on his history and so he made a few mistakes. The Bible was written before all of the advances of science. God was unaware of what these men were someday going to uncover. So he slipped in some mistakes along the way.
He didn't know better. My dear friends, the Bible says this, the words of the Lord are pure words as silver tried in a fire seven times, seven times. Every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God is accurate and never misleading, never. We may argue about its interpretation.
We may debate as to what God meant. We may not always agree on exactly what the message was in some points, but one thing is sure, that if we understood it the way God intended it to be understood, knowing full well the context of human language and all the rest, we would know that what God said is reliable and dependable. Jesus said heaven and earth shall pass away.
My word shall not pass away. He says that not one jot or one tittle shall pass from the law until everything is fulfilled. And he also said that the scripture cannot be broken.
It is an accurate word from God. Now you say, well, aren't there a whole lot of contradictions in the Bible? Let me simply say this, that throughout the centuries books have been written about the contradictions in the Bible and scholars have pursued these so-called contradictions. And they've discovered that in virtually in almost every case the contradiction can be resolved, that it isn't a contradiction at all, that it is possible to believe everything that is in the Bible without fear of having to believe that two plus two is equal to five because nobody, nobody would ever require you to put your head in the sand to become a believer in the Bible. There are some contradictions which perhaps have not yet quite been resolved where perhaps we don't know the context or exactly the meaning that was intended, but those are very minor and very few. And in light of the fact that so many things that the liberals said about the Bible for years were wrong have now been disproven, that is to say the theories have been disproven and the Bible has proven to be right, we have every reason to believe that as we have more information and more knowledge that we will eventually conclude that there is no contradiction in the Bible. God cannot contradict himself. He cannot contradict himself. If the Bible is the word of God and you say, well, how do you know we have all the right books?
Well, all that you need to do in addition to doing some studying is to make sure that you come to all of these messages because we're going to be dealing with issues like that. But the books that have been given to us claiming to be God's word, if they are, we have in our hands a reliable love letter from Almighty God. And there's a third conclusion and that is this. The good news is if the Bible is true, if the Bible is true, we have a savior. We have a savior. The scripture says that Jesus Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures.
He was crucified and buried and was raised again according to the scriptures. And so what we have in our hands is a message from God. It's a message from God.
And what we have is the assurance that we have a Christ who is actually able to save us, to forgive our sins and take us to God. Yesterday, somebody was telling me that when they were in Geneva, Switzerland, and you know, Geneva is a very beautiful city situated in the mountains. They said that they came across a house with its shutters closed toward the mountains. I don't know who's living there, but I do know that knowing my wife's love of mountains and my own appreciation for the grandeur of mountains, that if we lived there, we'd keep those shutters open, it seems to me. But you know, there are people who have their shutters closed in the presence of the mountain. The Bible says that the entrance of thy word gives light.
It gives understanding to the simple. And if you're here today and you have your doubts and you've dismissed the Bible long ago as a bunch of fairy tales, if that's who you are, I have a challenge for you. Why don't you open the shutter, have the courage to, most people don't. Why don't you open the shutter and begin to say, I am going to begin reading the New Testament, reading about Christ with an honest heart and an honest mind, and I will not quit until I've read every word of the New Testament. And even if I don't believe in God, praying to God and saying, God, I don't think you're there, but if you are, show me that this is the truth.
That's a challenge for you. Open the shutter, let some light in, and you will discover that the Bible contains within it an awesome power to authenticate even itself. And you, I believe, will come to the conclusion that we do not have a book full of lies and 1,500 mistakes regarding its origin, but we have in our hands the very word of the living God, the word of the living God.
Friends, this book, this book is the word of God and not the words of man. And if you've never trusted Christ as your savior, I mentioned a moment ago, we have a savior. Why don't you just acknowledge your need as a sinner and believe in a Christ who died that you might be reconciled to God forever? Give up all attempts to please him and yourself.
It's hopeless anyway. Give up all faith in your own rituals and come to Christ in humility and say, Lord, save me, and he will let us pray. Our Father, we thank you today that your word is true. We thank you, Father, for the fact that the word of God comes to us today through the scriptures and that we can say beyond the sacred page, I see the Lord, my spirit pants for thee, O living word. Help us to develop confidence, we pray, in your book, in Jesus' name. Amen.
Amen. Well, this is Pastor Luther. You know, it's been my observation that many people who deny that the Bible is the word of God have never seriously read it. Those who read it with an open mind discover that it has indeed an innate sense of authority and an innate sense of power. As I like to emphasize, we are converted by the word of God and by the spirit of God, and the spirit and the word work together to effect the new birth. What a remarkable book God has given us.
He could have chosen to not reveal himself, but he chose to reveal himself in language in a way that we can understand him. That's why I've written a book entitled Seven Reasons Why You Can Trust the Bible. This book is written for the common Christian who is looking for opportunities to witness, yes, but also who has the need to be assured once again that we have not believed fables, we have believed God's book.
For a gift of any amount, this book can be yours. Here's what you do. Go to RTWOffer.com. That's RTWOffer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337. If you listen regularly to Running to Win, you know that we are committed to the Scriptures, we are committed to the exaltation of Jesus Christ, and getting the gospel of Jesus Christ to as many people as we possibly can.
I want to thank you in advance for helping us. If you want the resource we are making available, go to RTWOffer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337. Ask for the book Seven Reasons Why You Can Trust the Bible. Time now for another chance for you to ask Pastor Lutzer a question about the Bible or the Christian life.
Here's a quick question from a Running to Win listener, Dr. Lutzer. Is there a difference between the resurrected body of Jesus, as seen in the last part of the gospel accounts, and the ascended body he has in the book of Revelation? This is an excellent question, and I think that the answer is yes, but there of course is a difference. You know, if you read Revelation chapter 1, that awesome, awesome vision that John has of the resurrected Christ, it takes your breath away, just thinking about it and trying to visualize it. So yes, I think that the body that Jesus had when he left this earth is the same body that he has in heaven today. But what we see in the book of Revelation is that body glorified in a way that it wasn't even when Jesus was here on earth.
Same body. I believe that someday we will see the nail prints in his hands, but at the same time Jesus will be glorified in a way that he was not glorified when he was here on earth. And that makes sense. You see, because even after he was crucified and was raised from the dead, his disciples interacted with him. Mary didn't even recognize him at the beginning.
It had to be that way. He couldn't be glorified as he is in heaven today, because no one would be able to grasp it, no one would be able to even look upon him. So, same body, I believe, but glorification makes the difference. Thank you, Dr. Lutzer. If you'd like to hear your question answered, you can. Just go to our website at rtwoffer.com and click on Ask Pastor Lutzer. Or call us at 1-888-218-9337.
That's 1-888-218-9337. You can write to us at Running to Win, 1635 N. LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, IL 60614. Running to Win comes to you from the Moody Church in Chicago. Again and again, when archaeologists dig, what they find confirms the Bible record. Next time, reason number two why you can trust it, the reliability of the Bible. For Pastor Erwin Lutzer, this is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
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