Wednesday, November 30, 2011

How Do We Know the Bible is the Inspired Word of God?

Awhile back on a forum for homeschool graduates that I am a part of, there was a discussion about the inspiration of the Bible. It was a little surprising how many did not believe that the Bible was, in its entirety, the inspired, infallible word of God, believing instead that none of it was true, or, that only parts of it were true and others weren’t. There ended up being quite a discussion about it (of which I was a part), and my last post in the thread I thought I would share here as well in the hopes that it may be an encouragement/help to someone . . .

This thread has been a little disheartening to read through and see the various responses that have been given. Much evidence has been shared by others showing the support for the inerrancy of Scripture, yet the evidences given have for the most part, not been examined, but have instead, been overlooked and/or ignored.

If the serious, unbiased seeker of the Lord and of truth would examine the evidences and would truly examine the Bible without presuppositions, they would find that it IS in its entirety, God’s infallible Word.

The Bible itself claims to be the Word of God, but that in and of itself does not prove that it is (as many of you have pointed out.) The Koran and other religious works also make similar claims, and logically, all of these cannot be true.

How, then, is the Bible different from other religions’ books? Simply put, the Bible, and the historical, logical, and archaeological evidences, show clearly that the 66 books of the Bible are the inspired word of God (and what is shared below is just a tiny glimpse into these evidences, and is also not an examination of the canonization of Scripture, though that makes a very fascinating study as well) . . . .

To make a bit of a starting point, try finding ten people in your own town with similar backgrounds and walks of life and ask them to, without talking to one another, write a short paper on a controversial topic, such as: what is man’s purpose in life, and then see if they agree in perfect harmony. I would venture to guess that they would not. :) Consider that, then, in light of this . . .

--The Bible, even with its great length (1196 pages in my Bible), has perfect unity. It was written down by men (as in, the hand of God did not pen it like He did the ten commandments) over a period of 1,500 years by more than 40 different authors with very different education levels, backgrounds, cultures, ages, and more. They wrote in different places – city, wilderness, prison, island. The writings composing the Bible were written on three different continents (Asia, Africa and Europe) and in three different languages (Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic.)

--The Bible is composed of 66 books that deal with a wide variety of topics, many that are controversial, but the central theme that can be found throughout the entire Bible is God’s marvelous plan of salvation for mankind through Jesus Christ. And when considering the above points, that in and of itself is amazing.

--The Bible (and historical evidence) shows the perfect fulfillment of so many of the prophecies given in the Old Testament (Lamentations 2:17. And the prophecies that have not yet been fulfilled are still awaiting their fulfillment.)

--The Bible has no contradictions (and the supposed ‘contradictions’ that have been shared in this thread are not truly contradictions – a thorough examination of these ‘contradictions’ will bring that to light.) To clarify this just a bit, one of the foundational laws of logic is ‘non-contradiction’ - a thing cannot be both ‘a’ and ‘not-a’ at the same time. For example, if the Scriptures said that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, and then in another place said that He was born in Jerusalem, we have a contradiction and this would be a provable error.

This is where discernment and an unbiased examination of the evidence must come into play, however. Just because two statements may differ, it does not mean that they contradict one another. For example (and a rather simple one), I could say that “I went to the store today.” By that statement, someone might infer that I only went to the store today. Whereas I simply did not give the full information by my statement. A later statement (or statements) could give more information without contradicting the first statement. “I went to the park today” or “I went to the store today and yesterday” or “I didn’t go to the store this morning.” These do not contradict the first statement, but they do give a fuller and more complete understanding to what actually took place.

One additional point I would like to make to this is that our translations are not perfectly exact to the original texts (as in, an exact word for word translation – this is understood through even the translation today of one language to another, say, French to Spanish.) This is where it is helpful to have things such as interlinear Bibles, a concordance, lexicons, etc. that help us to understand the original Greek and Hebrew words that were used. Even with this, though, again, the Bible has no contradictions in it.

It basically comes down to the fact that there is irrefutable evidence that the Bible is true (and there is SO much more than the tiny little bit that was shared in this post that is evidence that the Bible is true . . . including in areas that were not even touched on here such as the archaeological, historical, and scientific evidences. There have been whole books written on these evidences, and I’d rather not write another one in this thread :) so this is but a brief glimpse into a part of it.) It is up to each one of us, then, to believe the evidences given, or to disregard them and continue believing that the Bible is false (or that parts of the Bible are false.) Each man has this choice to make . . . and the choice we make will have eternal consequences.

I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book . . . if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book.” Revelation 22:18-19

For myself, I choose to believe and trust the indisputable historical, logical, scientific, and archeological evidences that abound and to take God at His word. Trusting that what He promised and what He has said is true . . . .

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever.” Isaiah 40:8

"So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts. But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but by men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.” 2 Peter 1:19-21

-Posted by Sarah

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Devoted to Prayer

Awhile back, I had shared a post on my As Lilies blog about my Bible memory verse boxes and getting back into trying to memorize a verse a day (except for weekends which were for review – and I do miss days periodically as well). With doing this, I have found in my own heart and life, many blessings being reaped.

So often, the verse (or verses) that I would be working on memorizing, or ones that were memorized earlier, would come to mind throughout the day and I would have the opportunity to meditate on them and look for ways to apply them to my life.

Recently, one particular verse struck a chord in my heart as it is an area I had been convicted to grow in and was also seeing the absolute necessity for it in order to have an active and growing life in Christ. This verse kept coming to mind and gave me a lot of opportunity to think about it and to dig deeper into it . . . .

Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving.” (Colossians 4:2)

Have you ever thought about what it means to be devoted to prayer? To be alert in it? As I repeated this verse over and over while working on memorizing it, those phrases seemed to be standing out in bold and really were convicting to me.

The word “devote” is one that I have studied before, so I had a pretty good idea of what it meant. Yet when doing a bit of further study, I was surprised to discover what the Greek word itself means that was translated as this “devote.”

I looked it up in our concordance and found that the Greek word is proskartereo which means “to attend constantly.” As I read that, it was kind of like a ‘wow’ moment . . . one of those times where I just had to stop and think about the deep implications that that one word holds. It is so much more than I would have ever thought . . . so much further reaching, so very much a part of who we should be. To think the Lord has called us to constantly attend to prayer! How convicting this is!

Looking further, it was found that the phrase “keeping alert” simply means “to be awake, to watch.” This being devoted to prayer and keeping alert in it, then, seems to be a heart so close to the Lord, so intimate in fellowship, and so ready to, all throughout the day, go to the Lord in prayer for wisdom, strength, help, provision, and so much more, with whatever circumstances come our way during the day. Just like abiding in Christ becomes an integral part of our life, so should prayer become a constant aspect of our life in Christ.

For myself, there is a particular area that, as I thought about this “devoted to prayer” over the past weeks, especially hit home to me. It is related to speaking a word for Christ to others (such as people I meet in town, extended family, friends, acquaintances, etc.) and pointing hearts to Christ.

This is something that is very important to me, but so often, opportunities come up to say something, and I miss them because I do not think about it until after the fact. This has happened so many times the past months when after having a conversation with someone, I would look back and see many ways where I could have turned the conversation to spiritual things, turned it to sharing the gospel, offered a word of encouragement, and more.

But then when I memorized this verse, I realized that if my heart was alert to prayer and if I had that constant, open communication with the Lord and turned to Him immediately asking for His Spirit’s guidance as soon as these types of conversations would come up, then I would know how to respond. But in order to be ready for these situations (and others as well), I need to be cultivating that heart now.

And this is just one tiny aspect of life that can be so affected through prayer! And that should be brought to the Lord in prayer. I am reminded of the verse in 1 Thessalonians “Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; emphasis added.)

It is God’s will for us to pray to Him always with joy and thanksgiving. Should it not be our great delight to do so? Just think, prayer is communication with the Lord God! Not only the all-knowing and all-wise Creator of all, but our Lord and Savior! Our Redeemer and Friend.

Just thinking of this beautiful relationship and the special avenue of communication that we fallible, yet redeemed, people have with Him fills my heart with awe and thankfulness to the Lord. That He has such care for us and love for us, that His ear is always open to our prayer. That even His Son, Jesus Christ, is our intercessor and mediator! With just knowing these beautiful truths, what a joy it should be to us, and how eager we should be, to indeed, be devoted, to be constantly attending, to prayer.

For me personally, this heart that is devoted to prayer is closely tied with having my mind set on things above, resting and abiding in Christ, and having my regular times with the Lord in His Word. It is like fabric on a loom where each strand is woven together to form the beauty of the whole.

Yet if some of the threads are broken or missing, the strength of the fabric suffers and its beauty will be lacking. Oh, to remember to cultivate the strength of each of the threads in my spiritual life! Including having and cultivating this beautiful heart that is so close to the Lord that it is devoted to prayer to Him and alert in it with all thanksgiving.

-Posted by Sarah

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Every once in awhile, I stumble across a gem of a book, and right now I am reading through one that is thus far, one of the most spiritually encouraging books that I have read. It is titled Kept for the Master's Use and was written by Frances Ridley Havergal in the late 1800's. She was also the author of the well-known hymn Take My Life and Let It Be. This book is actually based upon this hymn that she had written, and it shares about full consecration to the Lord in all areas of our lives.

I had begun the book awhile back and was about halfway through when I decided to start it over so I could take notes while I read. There were just so many convicting and encouraging portions of it that I wanted to be able to easily find later on!

This past Sunday evening while we were all gathered in the living room doing various things, I read through chapter one again and copied down several excerpts. One touched my heart so much that I shared it with my family after copying it down, and I thought I would share it here as well. (And to help keep it in context, remember that the title of the book is Kept for the Master's Use) . . . .

"We want our lives kept, not that we may feel happy, and be saved the distress consequent on wandering, and get the power with God and man and all the other privileges linked with it. We shall have all this, because the lower is included in the higher; but our true aim, if the love of Christ constraineth us, will be far beyond this. Not for "me" at all, but "for Jesus"; not for my safety, but for His glory; not for my comfort, but for His joy . . . Yes, for Him I want to be kept. Kept for His sake; kept for His use; kept to be His witness; kept for His joy! kept for Him, that in me He may show forth some tiny sparkle of His light and beauty; kept to do His will and His work in His own way; kept, it may be, to suffer for His sake; kept for Him, that He may do just what seemeth good with me; kept so that no other lord shall have any more dominion over me, but that Jesus shall have all there is to have - little enough, indeed, but not divided or diminished by any other claim. Is not this, O you who love the Lord - is not this worth living for, worth asking for, worth trusting for? This is consecration . . . ." (Kept for the Master's Use; pg. 22-23.)

Oh, to have such a heart as this! Each time I read through this, I find my heart so convicted and hungering after this kind of life and heart. Yes, the aim is high, and it may seem in our human minds difficult, if not impossible, to reach, but as the author shared just a bit earlier in the chapter:

"Consecration is not so much a step as a course; not so much an act, as a position to which a course of action inseparably belongs." (Kept for the Master's Use; pg. 14)

So I journey on . . . desiring and seeking to bring each aspect of my life into this full consecration to the Lord. And as I continue reading in this book, I am sure more portions of it will be shared here!

"Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect" (Romans 12:1-2.)

-Posted by Sarah