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828. The Inspiration and Inerrancy of the Bible

The Daily Platform / Bob Jones University
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September 30, 2020 7:00 pm

828. The Inspiration and Inerrancy of the Bible

The Daily Platform / Bob Jones University

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September 30, 2020 7:00 pm

Dr. Dan Olinger of the BJU Seminary continues a doctrinal series entitled, “God’s Word in Our Hands” and his scripture passage is John 10.

The post 828. The Inspiration and Inerrancy of the Bible appeared first on THE DAILY PLATFORM.

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Welcome to The Daily Platform from Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina.

The school was founded in 1927 by the evangelist Dr. Bob Jones, Sr. His intent was to make a school where Christ would be the center of everything so he established daily chapel services. Today, that tradition continues with fervent biblical preaching from the University Chapel platform. Let's now listen to a sermon preached by Dr. Dan Olinger of the Bob Jones University Seminary. John chapter 10, please. John chapter 10. Jesus is in an animated discussion with the unbelieving Jews.

I don't think he considers them his enemies, but they consider themselves, they consider him their enemy. And so they cast themselves as enemies, and they stand in opposition to him, and a conversation takes place that results in these Jews picking up stones, verse 31, to stone him. And Jesus says, I've done many good things. Which of these good things are you about to stone me for? And they say, we're not stoning you for a good work. We're stoning you for blasphemy because you have made yourself equal with God. So Jesus is arguing for his life here.

Not that he values his life. He came to give it, but he came to give it in the Father's good time. So this is not the time.

The time has not yet come. And so he's arguing for his life, and he says, you know, your scripture says something. It says, ye are gods. And in the context, he's talking about human beings. So what's the problem with my calling myself God?

And I wonder whether there was a little twinkle in his eye as he said that. And then he says in verse 35, if he called them gods unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken, and then he goes on to make the rest of his argument. As you know, they don't kill him at that point. They kill him later in the timing and plan of God. But Jesus makes this almost offhanded statement as though everybody knows this is true. The scripture cannot be broken. You know, we talk about the Bible a lot around here.

I don't know if you've noticed that. We treat it as the standard for all that we think and say and do. And we don't always execute perfectly, but we want to.

We try to. We say that this book is the word of God. So are we right?

Are we? Well, I'll note for starters that the Bible seems to have that impression about itself. It claims to be the word of God. And I'm going to run very quickly through some verses that most of you probably already know.

This is just getting us to our main point this morning. The Bible says of itself that it is God-breathed. It says it's given by inspiration of God. And that word inspiration, theopneustos, means God-breathed. That is, God breathed out the words that are in the Bible.

He spoke them. The Bible contains the words that God has to say. It goes on to say that the authors, the human authors of this book, didn't think these things up on their own. And so Peter says in 2 Peter chapter 1 that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. That is to say, these guys just didn't think it up.

It's not just their opinion. And the very next verse says that holy men of old spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. And you've probably heard that that word moved is the same word that's used in Acts 27 of the windstorm driving Paul's ship across the Mediterranean and eventually it was going to shipwreck it on the island of Malta. And we know that these were seasoned sailors and they were at the mercy of that storm. And there's a little pun going on there because you probably know.

When are you going to tell us something we don't know? Bear with me. You probably know that in Greek, the language of the New Testament, the word wind and the word spirit are the same word, pneuma. And so there's a little pun going on there. The authors were blown along by the Holy Wind, the Holy Spirit. So they're under the direction, under the driving influence of God himself as they write. And it's very interesting to me that there's evidence in the scripture that they were aware of that.

They knew this just wasn't just their own ideas. Paul says to the Thessalonians in chapter 4, this we say unto you by the word of the Lord. Now he's about to give that little paragraph about the rapture and the voice of the archangel and the trump of God and the dead in Christ shall rise first and so on. But he is aware as he gives the Thessalonian believers that information that he's writing the word of God.

He is self-conscious of that. And some writers of scripture are aware that other writers of scripture are writing the words of God. So turn over to 1 Timothy chapter 5 if you would. 1 Timothy chapter 5 and verse 18. Let me start reading verse 17.

Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor, that is of double pay, especially they who labor in the word and doctrine. For the scripture saith, thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And the scripture saith, the laborer is worthy of his reward. Now, thou shalt not muzzle the ox, where does that come from? That comes from Deuteronomy, from the books of Moses, the Torah, the law, something that every Jew would recognize as the scripture. Even the Sadducees who had issues with their view of their own scripture, even the Sadducees accepted the law of Moses as the word of God.

Where does the line, the laborer is worthy of his reward come from? It comes from the gospel of Luke. Luke, of all people.

Why is that so interesting? Well, first of all, Luke is a close friend of Paul. They traveled together. He was part of Paul's retinue. There's some suspicion that he may have been Paul's personal physician.

We know he was a physician. That means that Paul knew that Luke snored. He knew that Luke had bad breath. Now, I don't know if Luke snored or had bad breath or not.

That's not my point. My point is Paul knew Luke. He knew that he didn't have a halo shining over his head. He knew all of Luke's foibles, whatever they were. And yet he recognized Luke's gospel as the word of God. He put it on a parallel with the law of Moses. And it's also interesting to me that the ink on the gospel of Luke was barely dry when Paul wrote this.

It was brand new work. And yet Paul was aware that his friend had written a gospel that was the word of God. Peter famously says that Paul's writings are scripture. And when you consider that Paul dressed down Peter one day in front of everybody and he was right, that's a remarkable statement. So this is what the Bible says about itself. And we started in John chapter 10 with Jesus' routine observation. Of course you know the scripture can't be broken. Jesus apparently thought that too. Now, there's an elephant in the room.

I don't know if you can see him, but I suspect that you've thought of him. This is an extraordinary claim. This book, unlike all other books, is the very words of God. Is this book written by liars?

Is it written by people who thought they were telling the truth but were just out of their minds, deluded? How do we know? Are we just supposed to accept that? I hope you have asked that question at some point in your walk with God.

Because if you're not asking those questions, you're not doing due diligence with the truth. Look, anybody can write thus saith the Lord on a piece of papyrus and that doesn't make it so, does it? There are other books in this world, both ancient and modern, that make similar claims. Islam has the Quran and the Hadith. The Mormons have the Book of Mormon.

Christian scientists have Science and Health with the Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Glover Patterson Eddy. Followers of the Baha'i faith have the writings of Baha'u'llah. Buddhists have the Mahayan Sutras. The Egyptians had the Book of the Dead. Hindus have the Vedas and the Upanishads. Zoroastrians have the Avestas. And more recently, Rastafarians hold the writings of the late emperor of Ethiopia, Haile Selassie, to be sacred.

Well, that and marijuana, but. Scientologists take very seriously the writings of L. Ron Hubbard, most especially Dianetics. And members of the Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity, otherwise known as the Unification Church, take very seriously the writings of the late Sun Myung Moon, especially his work, The Divine Principle. And we don't accept any of them. On what grounds do we say, this book is different? This one is from God. You have to believe this one. Isn't it reasonable? Isn't it reasonable to expect that such an extraordinary claim would be greeted with a polite request for evidence?

Thus saith the Lord. Really? Got any evidence for that? Let me make some observations about that question. First of all, the sovereign God and creator of the universe doesn't really owe us any evidence. Now you think I'm setting up a cop out. I'm not.

But I just make that observation. He doesn't owe us any evidence. He has been good to us. He has given us everything we need for free.

We have air and water and food and light and warmth and relationships. And God has been abundantly generous to us. And when somebody has been kind to you, the reasonable response is to trust him. But you know, what we're facing here is not really the question of whether we're going to trust God. The question is whether God has actually written this book. And the very God who is so kind to us has not called us to be naive or to be stupid. God is an intellectual being. He's a thinker. And we are made in his image. And he has called us to exercise that image by our reason. He's aware that his book makes an extraordinary claim. And he invites us to examine it. If the claim is true that this is the word of God, we would expect that there would be some evidence for that fact.

So here's the million dollar question. Is there any evidence? And I'm talking about concrete, measurable, falsifiable, scientific level evidence. That the Bible is an extraordinary book. That it's not like the other books. As I sometimes say, there's something going on with this book.

I'd like to suggest that there are such evidences, and I'm going to give you a couple. I'm going to mention one fairly briefly, and then I'm going to spend the rest of our time focusing on the second one. I observe, and I noticed this because before I was a teacher here, I was working for a publisher, BJU Press, for 19 years. I was involved up to my eyeballs, which granted is not very deep, in the publishing industry, and I was involved in manuscript development, putting books together. Books by single authors, not books by married authors, and books by groups of authors. The Bible, as you know, is not by a single author in the human sense. It's by a group of authors. About 40, we suspect, over a period of about 1,500 years, and even the critics would acknowledge that the Bible is written over many centuries.

So we're not that far apart on this issue. And most of the authors never met most of the other authors. Now you would not expect a document developed under those circumstances to be coherent, to have literary unity. I actually preached on this idea a year ago here, in connection with our series on Christ in the Old Testament, and I noted that the three sections of the Hebrew Scriptures, the Law and the Prophets and the Writings, all fit together perfectly. The Law presents the need for a perfect priest, and the Prophets present the need for a perfect prophet, and the Writings present the need for a perfect king. And the New Testament, when you turn the page, introduces us to Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham, who is a perfect prophet. He reveals God clearly and accurately. He is a perfect priest. He offers a sacrifice that puts an end to all of the other sacrifices. And in the book of Revelation at the end of the New Testament, he is presented to us as the perfect king who reigns in righteousness.

So what's the phenomenon I'm so impressed with here? Well, the Bible is a complex book, but it tells one story, and it tells it coherently, and it tells it without contradiction. That's astonishing to anybody who's ever had any experience with publishing. Now, I don't have time to go into the contradiction question. That's a large question, and it's one that deserves attention, but I don't have time for here. Let me just give you one statement and a couple of resources for that question, if you have legitimate questions about it. I've studied that issue for a long time, and it is my studied opinion that most, the great majority, more than 90%, more than 95% of the allegations of contradiction in the Bible are just silly.

They're just silly. They don't rise to the level of scholarly inquiry, and I don't have time to give examples, but I could if you want me to, and come see me in my office. I'll be glad to talk to you about that. If you'd like more information on that, let me recommend a couple of works, Walter Kaiser's Hard Sayings of the Bible and Norman Geisler's When Critics Ask. Lots of good information in there. So that's my first measurable, verifiable, objective evidence. The Bible is literarily coherent. It does not contradict itself. It develops its literary themes coherently over the centuries and across multiple authors, most of whom never met most of the others. And let me suggest that the critic, who is the one insisting on approaching these matters scientifically and naturalistically, needs the burden of proof, I would suggest, is on him to explain how the data came to be naturalistically.

I don't think he can do it. The second major evidence that I'd like to present this morning is Fulfilled Prophecy. The fact is that the Bible makes predictions that are verifiable, and you can evaluate whether those predictions were accurately fulfilled or not. There are lots and lots of examples of that. I'm going to give you just a couple. First, because they're clear. Second, because I like them. And third, they'll be easy to remember because they both involve the number 70. Okay? Jeremiah, in his book of prophecy, predicts that Israel is going to be in captivity in Babylon for 70 years.

That's measurable. Let me run down the very quickly, I don't want to bore you with dates, but historical dates are not nearly as interesting as present day ones. But, for the sake of the numbers, let me run down this list. In 606 BC, Nebuchadnezzar shows up, deports a bunch of people from Jerusalem, including Daniel. Almost 10 years later in 597, he shows up again, deports a bunch more people including the king, Jeconiah, who is under a divine curse. 586 is the big one, that's the third and final deportation, and that's the time when the temple is destroyed. Almost 50 years later, Babylon falls, Belshazzar's feast, you remember that? And Cyrus the Persian captures the city of Babylon and establishes the Medo-Persian empire. Cyrus is enlightened, and he realizes that if the people in your empire are happy, they're less likely to rebel. So one of the first things he does is he says that all of the peoples in the empire who have been displaced by the previous administration can go back to their homelands.

And lots of them do, and some Jews do. In 536, Zerubbabel leads a group of Jews back to Jerusalem in the first return. 16 years later, the prophets Haggai and Zechariah exhort the Jews in Jerusalem to rebuild the temple, which is still in ruins. They get to work, and it takes them four years to finish, and in 516, the second temple is dedicated. Now, what's the meaning of all those dates?

Well, do you see any patterns in there? From 606, which is the first deportation, to 536, which is the first return, is exactly 70 years. Watch this. From 586, which is the destruction of the temple, to 516, to the reconstruction and dedication of the temple, is exactly 70 years. You know what that means? That rascal Jeremiah was right twice with the same prophecy. Isn't that remarkable?

Shouldn't you say, whoa, something's going on with this book? Now, unless you think that I'm just cherry picking my numbers, how else would you measure an exile from the first deportation to the first return? If the destruction of the temple is a defining event in the exile, then from the destruction to the rededication. Those are the measurements you'd take, and both of them are 70 years.

Let me give you one more. Daniel chapter 9, he has a very famous prophecy about 70 weeks. He says, from the going forth of the commandment to establish and rebuild Jerusalem unto Messiah the prince, and specifically the cutting off of Messiah the prince, will be 69 weeks. Now, prophecy can be hard to interpret, but I think this is a careful and reasonable reading of that prophecy. Artaxerxes issues a letter, an order, a command, to rebuild the city of Jerusalem in 457 BC. You can read that letter in Ezra chapter 11.

If each of Daniel's weeks is a period of seven years, and pretty much everybody agrees on that, then that's 483 years from 457 BC. Now, I said interpreting prophecy is hard. There are all kinds of specific views and variations on this reading. I have seen papers that argue that the 69th week was fulfilled at 3 p.m. on Passover at the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. That would be awesome, but I've examined the guy's theory, and I'm not sure he really establishes that.

There are some assumptions in there. There's the question of the Jews used the lunar year, and we use a solar year of five and a quarter more days, and so you got that to deal with. All I'll say, in order to be conservative and not presumptuous, all I'll say is that takes you right into the region of AD 30, when Messiah in fact died. Critics like to say that Daniel was written late, because he predicts the early death of Alexander the Great and the division of the Greek Empire into four quarters, and they say nobody could call it that accurately, so Daniel must have been written after the death of Alexander the Great. Well, that doesn't solve their problem, does it?

Because Daniel, we know, was not written after the death of Jesus Christ, and Daniel prophesies the year, at least the year of his death. So, where do we go from here? We are faced with a simple fact that the book claims to be the word of God. There's no question about that. There is solid evidence, objective, verifiable, measurable evidence that it is in fact extraordinary.

So, what are we going to do about it? You can choose to live under the burden of doubt and fear and worry and eat yourself up from the inside, or you can choose to receive the word, to grasp its power and to live out its promises. This is an extraordinary book. You can trust it. It'll rebuke you, it'll challenge you, it'll convict you, but I promise you, it will never let you down.

It will never disappoint you. Let's pray. Father, we thank you for this remarkable word. We thank you that you have spoken, and you have spoken to us, and you have spoken to us on paper where we can read and study and meditate and carry your word. I pray for those, your word says that it is a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces. It also says that it is a gentle rain like showers upon the grass. I pray for those who are in need of a shower today, showers upon the grass.

They are tired and dirty and weak and worried, and they just need refreshment. Will you make your word a refreshment to them this day? I pray for those whose hearts are rocks that are in need of a hammer and brokenness. Would your word crush their arrogance and their apathy and their resistance today? Would your spirit draw them to the Father? Would He open their eyes to understand the scripture? Would He convict them of their gross sinfulness?

And would He create life in them? We pray in Jesus' name. Amen. You've been listening to a sermon preached by Dr. Dan Olinger, seminary professor at Bob Jones University. Thanks again for listening, and we look forward to the next time as we study God's Word together on The Daily Platform.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-25 13:58:25 / 2024-02-25 14:07:16 / 9

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