Month: January 2013

“Christ, the Word of the Lord” by Chris Poblete

The servants of God are not to speak whatever they like, they are commissioned to proclaim Christ. To proclaim Him:

1. IN THE SAVING OF HIS GRACE

“The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.” (1 Timothy 1:15)

We are to proclaim Christ in the saving of His grace. When a fallen world continues to cry out for a Savior, we know that the Savior has already done His work on the cross and is coming back in the fullness of time. This message never gets old, and we should always proclaim the message of this grace.

2. IN THE STRENGTH OF HIS POWER

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes…” (Romans 1:16)

We are to proclaim Christ in the strength of His power. The gospel is the power of God. It is about the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross, His empty tomb, and what these both accomplished. It’s not about man’s message—mine nor yours—it’s about God’s message. It’s about His sovereign grace and might to save undeserving sinners.

3. IN THE CLAIM OF HIS LORDSHIP

“For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.” (2 Corinthians 4:5)

We are to proclaim Christ in the claim of His Lordship. Jesus is more than a buddy or homeboy; He is Lord of all, including you and me.

4. IN THE SUFFICIENCY OF HIS SUBSTITUTION

“And the eunuch said to Philip,’About whom, I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?’ Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus.” (Acts 8:35)

We are to proclaim Christ in the sufficiency of His substitution. When Philip was preaching the gospel to the eunuch, he did not add to its message nor did he take away from it. The message is Jesus and His good news to sinners. This substitutionary act of atonement is sufficient. We cannot add anything to this good news! As Jesus said, “It is finished!”

5. IN THE FORGIVING OF HIS LOVE

“Let it be known to you therefore, brothers, that through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and by him everyone who believes is freed from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses.” (Acts 13:38-39)

We proclaim Christ in the forgiving of His love. It is through the love of God and the obedience of Christ that any man can find forgiveness before a holy God.

6. IN THE POWER OF HIS RESURRECTION

“…they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead.” (Acts 4:2)

We proclaim Christ in the power of His resurrection. As Paul has said, “if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:14)” But indeed, Christ has risen from the dead; thus, our preaching has power from God and our faith is in the one true God.

7. IN THE GLORY OF HIS PERSON

“proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance.” (Acts 28:31)

We proclaim Christ in the glory of His person. There is no glory that can rival the glory of God in Christ. The world and its men will boast of their own glory. Yet all these things will whither and fade, but the word of God will stand—unfading—forever (1 Peter 1:25).

8. IN THE COMING OF HIS KINGDOM

“And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:14)

We proclaim Christ in the coming of His kingdom. Yes, this world groans. But the story is not over—not yet.

What about you? Would you add any thoughts to those above? Or can you think of anything else that we should proclaim of Christ?

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{Almost} Daily Devotions: January 23rd, 2013

“I have exalted one chosen out of the people.” — Psalm 89:19

Why was Christ chosen out of the people? Speak, my heart, for heart‐thoughts are best. Was it not that He might be able to be our brother, in the blest tie of kindred blood? Oh, what relationship there is between Christ and the believer! The believer can say, “I have a Brother in heaven; I may be poor, but I have a Brother who is rich, and is a King, and will He suffer me to want while He is on His throne? Oh, no! He loves me; He is my Brother.” Believer, wear this blessed thought, like a necklace of diamonds, around the neck of thy memory; put it, as a golden ring, on the finger of recollection, and use it as the King’s own seal, stamping the petitions of thy faith with confidence of success. He is a brother born for adversity, treat Him as such.

Christ was also chosen out of the people that He might know our wants and sympathize with us. “He was tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin.” In all our sorrows we have His sympathy. Temptation, pain, disappointment, weakness, weariness, poverty—He knows them all, for He has felt all. Remember this, Christian, and let it comfort thee. However difficult and painful thy road, it is marked by the footsteps of thy Saviour; and even when thou reachest the dark valley of the shadow of death, and the deep waters of the swelling Jordan, thou wilt find His footprints there. In all places whithersoever we go, He has been our forerunner; each burden we have to carry, has once been laid on the shoulders of Immanuel.

“His way was much rougher and darker than mine
Did Christ, my Lord, suffer, and shall I repine?”

Take courage! Royal feet have left a blood‐red track upon the road, and consecrated the thorny path for ever.

Daily Devotions: January 18th, 2013

“There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.” — Hebrews 4:9

How different will be the state of the believer in heaven from what it is here! Here he is born to toil and suffer weariness, but in the land of the immortal, fatigue is never known. Anxious to serve his Master, he finds his strength unequal to his zeal: his constant cry is, “Help me to serve Thee, O my God.” If he be thoroughly active, he will have much labour; not too much for his will, but more than enough for his power, so that he will cry out, “I am not wearied of the labour, but I am wearied in it.” Ah! Christian, the hot day of weariness lasts not for ever; the sun is nearing the horizon; it shall rise again with a brighter day than thou hast ever seen upon a land where they serve God day and night, and yet rest from their labours. Here, rest is but partial, there, it is perfect. Here, the Christian is always unsettled; he feels that he has not yet attained. There, all are at rest; they have attained the summit of the mountain; they have ascended to the bosom of their God. Higher they cannot go. Ah, toil‐worn labourer, only think when thou shalt rest for ever! Canst thou conceive it? It is a resteternal; a rest that ’remaineth.” Here, my best joys bear “mortal” on their brow; my fair flowers fade; my dainty cups are drained to dregs; my sweetest birds fall before Death’s arrows; my most pleasant days are shadowed into nights; and the flood‐tides of my bliss subside into ebbs of sorrow; but there, everything is immortal; the harp abides unrusted, the crown unwithered, the eye undimmed, the voice unfaltering, the heart unwavering, and the immortal being is wholly absorbed in infinite delight. Happy day! happy day! when mortality shall be swallowed up of life, and the Eternal Sabbath shall begin.

Daily Devotions: January 17th, 2013

“And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion.” — Revelation 14:1

The apostle John was privileged to look within the gates of heaven, and in describing what he saw, he begins by saying, “I looked, and, lo, a Lamb!” This teaches us that the chief object of contemplation in the heavenly state is “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world.” Nothing else attracted the apostle’s attention so much as the person of that Divine Being, who hath redeemed us by His blood. He is the theme of the songs of all glorified spirits and holy angels. Christian, here is joy for thee; thou hast looked, and thou hast seen the Lamb. Through thy tears thine eyes have seen the Lamb of God taking away thy sins. Rejoice, then. In a little while, when thine eyes shall have been wiped from tears, thou wilt see the same Lamb exalted on His throne. It is the joy of thy heart to hold daily fellowship with Jesus; thou shalt have the same joy to a higher degree in heaven; thou shalt enjoy the constant vision of His presence; thou shalt dwell with Him for ever. “I looked, and, lo, a Lamb!” Why, that Lamb is heaven itself; for as good Rutherford says, “Heaven and Christ are the same thing;” to be with Christ is to be in heaven, and to be in heaven is to be with Christ. That prisoner of the Lord very sweetly writes in one of his glowing letters—“O my Lord Jesus Christ, if I could be in heaven without thee, it would be a hell; and if I could be in hell, and have thee still, it would be a heaven to me, for thou art all the heaven I want.” It is true, is it not, Christian? Does not thy soul say so?

“Not all the harps above
Can make a heavenly place,
If God His residence remove,
Or but conceal His face.”

All thou needest to make thee blessed, supremely blessed, is “to be with Christ.”

“They Shall Not Escape” by Justin Alfred

Now as to the times and the epochs, brethren, you have no need of anything to be written to you. 2 For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night. 3 While they are saying, ‘Peace and safety!’ then destruction will come upon them suddenly like birth pangs upon a woman with child;and they shall not escape (καὶ οὐ μὴ [ou mē] ἐκφύγωσιν). 4 But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day should overtake you like a thief; 5 for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness; 6 so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober. 7 For those who sleep do their sleeping at night, and those who get drunk get drunk at night. 8 But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation. 9 For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us, that whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with Him. 11 Therefore encourage one another, and build up one another, just as you also are doing.(1 Thessalonians 5:1-11)

This passage is dealing with the rapture and the Second Coming of the Lord some seven years later. Verse 3 is saying this: those who refuse Christ, when the rapture comes and the Great Tribulation begins, these people “will in no way, under any circumstances, escape the hellish consequences that will follow.” As you can see in the quote above, the οὐ μὴ [ou mē] is attached to the English verb “escape,” which is an aorist active subjunctive, thus, this is the subjunctive of emphatic negation, implying that nothing they will do will facilitate an escape from the ensuing tribulation. In other words, it is too late since they rejected Christ.

Let’s note the actual verb “escape” in the Greek. Its root is ἐκφεύγω (ekpheugō), and it comes from two Greek words: (1) the Greek preposition ἐκ (ek), which means “out of, from, and away from”; and (2) the Greek verb φεύγω (pfeugō), which means “to seek safety in flight; to become safe from danger by eluding or avoiding it; to keep from doing something by avoiding it because of its potential damage; and to cease being visible.” As you can see, this verb incorporates almost every avenue of escape and avoidance that is available to someone, but in all of them, they shall not escape the coming tribulation and wrath of God that will be poured out!

THE TRAGEDY OF SIN AND SATAN’S LIE

This is indeed the tragic commentary on that part of the human race that is in the bondage of spiritual, mental, and emotional darkness with regard to their sin and its self-destructive consequences. Satan is a liar. And although his lies go back to the fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden, they are still with us today, and it is just as intimidating, abusive, and coercive now as it was then. However, God’s Eternal Truth is a message that is just as real, and the following passages illustrate this. In Genesis 2:15-17, the Lord speaks to Adam concerning the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil”:

15 Then the LORD God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it. 16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; 17 but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die.

This last phrase is one of the most emphatic in the Old Testament, as it is comprised of what is called an infinitive absolute with a finite verb form. Thus, God is emphatically declaring that if Adam eats from this “tree,” then without any equivocation or the remotest doubt, “he will absolutely die.” Then we go to Genesis 3:1-5, and we read the following:

1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?” 2 And the woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; 3 but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, lest you die.’” 4 And the serpent said to the woman, “You surely shall not die! 5 For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
(Genesis 3:1- 5)

In verse 4, we read Satan’s response to the woman, “You surely shall not die,” and this is the exact same grammatical construction as in Genesis 2:17 where the Lord said to Adam, “you shall surely die.” Thus, Satan used the same grammatical emphasis that the Lord used but making the exact opposite statement the Lord said, that if you eat of the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you surely shall not die.” And guess what? This is the exact same lie he is propagating today:

“You will surely not die and spend an eternity in a fabricated hell because there is no life after death, and even if there is, your good intentions and actions based on those intentions will compensate for anything and everything you have done because you are your own god, and you decide what is right and wrong based on your personal proclivities, versus some fabricated law that is supposedly the foundation for all truth throughout human history – you and you alone are your own ‘God,’ and what you determine is right and wrong is all that matters!”

WHAT HAPPENS TO THOSE WITHOUT CHRIST

When I read the above, and I see the tragedy of the lives of those who overtly reject Christ in favor of their own self-deification, my heart breaks, but I am also prompted with an urgency of sharing the Gospel with all whom God brings across my path because I see what will happen to those without Christ as their end and the end draws near:

1 Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and our gathering together to Him, 2 that you may not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. 3 Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, 4 who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God. 5 Do you not remember that while I was still with you, I was telling you these things? 6 And you know what restrains him now, so that in his time he may be revealed. 7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. 8 And then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; 9 that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, 10 and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. 11 And for this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they might believe what is false, 12 in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.
(2 Thessalonians 2:1-12)

In the above passage, we see several things that are important to point out:

1. The meaning of the word “apostasy.”

Some have taught that the word “apostasy” in verse 3 is actually referring to the rapture because of the construction of this word in the Greek. In the Greek, the English word “apostasy” is ἀποστασία (apostasia), and it comes from two Greek words: the Greek preposition ἀπό (apo), which means “from, or away from”; and the Greek noun στάσις(stasis), which means “a condition of being in a certain position or state of affairs; a movement toward a (new) state of affairs; and a lack of agreement respecting policy.” Thus, with reference to the rapture, those who say this is what ἀποστασία (apostasia) is referring to do so because they say the preposition ἀπό (apo) indicates “moving away from one position to another,” which would include “moving away from the earth” to heaven with Jesus when He raptures the church.

On the other hand, verse 1 is clearly referring to the rapture when it says, “Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and our gathering together to Him,” and so what we would have if ἀποστασία (apostasia) is referring to the rapture would be something like this: “Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and our gathering together (i.e., being raptured) to Him, 2that you may not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord (i.e., our being raptured) has come. 3 Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come (i.e., our being raptured) unless the apostasy (i.e., our being raptured) comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction.” So, according to those who say thatἀποστασία (apostasia) is referring to the rapture, based on the above passage, before the rapture occurs, we will be raptured! Now there is no way anyone can look at this passage and honestly say that is objective, honest, correct, and accurate exegesis of this passage. However, when we look at the word ἀποστασία (apostasia) and its use throughout Scripture, we see a quite different use of this word in the following passages:

(a) Joshua 22:22: “The Mighty One, God, the LORD, the Mighty One, God, the LORD! He knows, and may Israel itself know. If it was in rebellion (ἀποστασία – apostasia), or if in an unfaithful act against the LORD do not Thou save us this day! ”

(b) II Chronicles 22:19: “Moreover, all the utensils which King Ahaz had discarded during his reign in his unfaithfulness (ἀποστασία – apostasia), we have prepared and consecrated; and behold, they are before the altar of the LORD.” (LXX)

(c) Jeremiah 21:19: “Your apostasy (ἀποστασία – apostasia) shall correct you, and your wickedness shall reprove you: know then, and see, that you forsaking me has been bitter to you, saith the Lord your God; and I have taken no pleasure in thee, saith the Lord thy God.” (this verse is taken directly from the LXX, and the Hebrew MT has “apostasies,” which is obviously plural and is referring to many acts of “rebellion and unfaithfulness”)

(d) I Maccabees 2:15: “In the mean while the king’s officers, such as compelled the people to revolt (ἀποστασία – apostasia), came into the city Modin, to make them sacrifice.”

As we look at the above examples, we see is a clear act of “rebellion” and a “turning away” from that which is “truth” to that which is a “lie” – thus, the idea contained in στάσις(stasis), which means “a condition of being in a certain position or state of affairs; a movement toward a (new) state of affairs; and a lack of agreement respecting policy,” is consistently used with reference to a position of truth throughout the Scripture, as well as in Maccabees, and when ἀπό (apo) is attached, which indicates “moving away from one position to another,” that position that it one is moving “away from” with the use of (ἀποστασία – apostasia) is unequivocally, as just stated, the position of truth that the Scripture is emphasizing to a position of lies, contrary to biblical truth.

Consequently, the word ἀποστασία (apostasia) as used in 2 Thessalonians has absolutely nothing to do with the rapture, but rather it is talking about people who once had a “professed belief in Jesus,” but were persuaded by lies and false doctrines and eventually deserted Jesus, the Church, the Bible, and everything related to Christianity. After this occurs, at some point then the rapture will occur and the Anti-Christ will make his appearance.

2. The Anti-Christ will make his appearance.

As verse 3 indicates, The Anti-Christ will appear and proceed to proclaim his self-deification before the whole world: “3 Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, 4 who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.”

3. Verses 6-8 describe the rapture and the emergence of the Anti-Christ:

6 And you know what restrains him now, so that in his time he may be revealed. 7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. 8 And then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming.”

4. Verses 9-10 describe the tremendous deception that will spread over the earth through Satanic power and those who will be engulfed by it:

9 that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, 10 and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved.”

5. Verses 11-12 describe God’s judgment upon those who have rejected Christ and the Eternal Truth of God in Him:

11 And for this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they might believe what is false, 12 in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.” This last portion of Scripture is in line withRomans 1:18-32 with regard to God “giving people over” to their lusts and rebellion after rejecting Him on a consistent basis:

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 20For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. 21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks; but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four- footed animals and crawling creatures. 24 Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, that their bodies might be dishonored among them. 25 For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. 26 For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, 27 and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. 28 And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; 32 and, although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.
(Romans 1:18-32)

Therefore, it is imperative for us who are Jesus’ followers to be the evangelists He has called us to be in Acts 1:6-8:

6 And so when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, ‘Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?’ 7 He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; 8 but you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” There is no greater calling for us than to be Jesus’ “witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth,” and I want, therefore, to challenge all of you who read and respond to this Blog to begin being a witness to the world around you, versus simply embracing this or any other computer generated means of communication as your main source of communication with the world. As believers in Jesus, we need to the “salt and light” in a decaying and darkened world around us, proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ to those who have clothed themselves in the Bad News of this dying world. I would like to challenge all of you who read this Blog, therefore, to begin praying and asking the Lord to lead you every day to share the Gospel with someone who needs Jesus in their lives. You will be surprised to see what the Lord does in opening doors for you to share, but that is what He has promised to do for us as we go forth in faith and trust in Him to share with those who we either know that do not know the Lord, or with those whom we have never met, but who also desperately need the Lord.

Let’s resolve to spread the good news to those around us!

 

“The Incomparable Uniqueness of Scripture” by C. Poblete

The Bible has a unique makeup, indeed. It is one of a kind, like no other book that has ever been written. There is nothing like it and it has no equal. This can be seen in a number of ways.

1. It Was Fifteen Hundred Years In The Making

From the composition of the first biblical book until the last, a period of fifteen hundred years elapsed. The Old Testament was written between 1400 and 400 B.C. The first book composed was either the Book of Genesis or the Book of Job. The books of the New Testament were written from approximately A.D. 40 to A.D. 80.

2. The Bible Was Written By Many Authors With Many Occupations

Over forty different human authors wrote the books of the Bible. These writers came from a variety of backgrounds and occupations. They included shepherds (Hosea and Amos) fishermen (Peter and John), a tax collector (Matthew), a doctor (Luke), and a military general (Joshua). At least four of the writers lived in the royal household: the kings (David and Solomon), a prime minister (Daniel) and a cupbearer (Nehemiah). Only a few of them, such as Paul, Luke, and Moses, received the finest education of their time.

3. Scripture Was Written In Different Literary Forms

The Bible consists of a number of different literary forms. It is a collection of letters, sermons, law, poetic descriptions, narratives of historical events, prayer, praise, practical sayings, and the warnings of the prophets. The sixty-six books also contain a wide array of writing styles which express the entire range of human emotions.

4. It Was Written Upon Three Continents

The books of the Bible were composed upon three different continents – Africa, Asia, and Europe. For example, the writings of Ezekiel were composed in Babylon (Asia); Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible in the Sinai desert (Africa); and the Apostle Paul wrote the letter to Philippi while in Rome (Europe).

5. Scripture Was Composed In Different Circumstances

There were a variety of circumstances in which the Biblical books were composed. Moses, for example, wrote while leading the children of Israel through the wilderness. Jeremiah penned his book while in a dungeon in Israel. Ezekiel composed his book while a captive in Babylon. The Apostle Paul wrote several of his works while in a Roman prison. John the evangelist wrote the Book of Revelation while banished to the island of Patmos. Obviously there was not a particular place or instance in which all of the biblical books were composed.

Though many other religions had a certain place where the divine word was revealed, this is not the case with the Bible. The God of the Bible was able to reveal Himself in many different places over an extended period of time. The writer to the Hebrews noted.

In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe
(Hebrews 1:1,2)

6. Three Different Languages Were Employed In Scripture

The Bible was written in three different languages. The Old Testament was written mostly in Hebrew with some parts being composed in Aramaic – a language similar to Hebrew. The New Testament was originally written in Greek.

7. There Are Many Different Subjects Covered In The Bible

The Bible also covers a variety of subjects. These include the existence and nature of God, the creation of the universe, the meaning of human existence, the purpose of our existence, and the final destiny of humankind and the planet earth.

8. Most Authors Did Not Know One Another

Because the Bible was written over a period of fifteen hundred years most of the writers did not personally know the other writers of Scripture. In addition, the Old Testament authors would have been unfamiliar with the New Testament writings.

9. We Would Expect Chaos To Result From These Diverse Circumstances

Hence, the Bible was written over a period of fifteen hundred years, by forty different human authors from various backgrounds who wrote in different languages, upon different continents, in different circumstances, upon different subjects, and in different literary forms. These authors, for the most part, did not know each other. With all these contrasts one would expect something chaotic and disjointed when their writings were assembled into one book.

10. There Is One Unfolding Story In The Bible

Yet the Bible is a unity, one unfolding account from beginning to end in complete harmony and continuity. The Old Testament is incomplete without the New Testament and yet the New Testament does not make sense without the Old. Together the two testaments give a harmonious account of the dealings of God with humanity without any contradiction.

11. God Is The Source Of Scripture

Therefore one of the remarkable features of the Bible is its magnificent continuity. This is because God Himself is the source of the Bible. Moses declared:

The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law
(Deuteronomy 29:29).

The Holy Spirit is the divine author of Scripture. Peter wrote.

Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of humans, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit
(2 Peter 1:20,21).

Summary

The Bible has a unique makeup. It is different from any other book that has ever been composed. Over forty different authors wrote it over a period of fifteen hundred years. These authors came from all walks of life. They include fishermen, shepherds, a doctor, and a tax collector. The biblical authors lived on three different continents – Africa, Asia, and Europe. They also wrote under a number of different circumstances – including persecution and prison. The authors of Scripture wrote in three different languages – Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. The Bible was written in a number of different literary forms such as narrative, poetry, and law. The writers of the various books cover many different topics such as the existence of God, the creation and purpose of humankind, the explanation for the origin of evil and the coming of the Savior.

Although most of the writers did not personally know the other writers, they all speak on these topics with complete harmony and continuity. This marvelous feature of Scripture is a testimony to it being the Word of God – exactly what it claims to be.

Daily Devotions: January 15th, 2013

“Do as thou hast said.” — 2 Samuel 7:25

God’s promises were never meant to be thrown aside as waste paper; He intended that they should be used. God’s gold is not miser’s money, but is minted to be traded with. Nothing pleases our Lord better than to see His promises put in circulation; He loves to see His children bring them up to Him, and say, “Lord, do as Thou hast said.” We glorify God when we plead His promises. Do you think that God will be any the poorer for giving you the riches He has promised? Do you dream that He will be any the less holy for giving holiness to you? Do you imagine He will be any the less pure for washing you from your sins? He has said “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” Faith lays hold upon the promise of pardon, and it does not delay, saying, “This is a precious promise, I wonder if it be true?” but it goes straight to the throne with it, and pleads, “Lord, here is the promise, ‘Do as Thou hast said.’” Our Lord replies, “Be it unto thee even as thou wilt.” When a Christian grasps a promise, if he does not take it to God, he dishonours Him; but when he hastens to the throne of grace, and cries, “Lord, I have nothing to recommend me but this, ‘Thou hast said it;’” then his desire shall be granted. Our heavenly Banker delights to cash His own notes. Never let the promise rust. Draw the word of promise out of its scabbard, and use it with holy violence. Think not that God will be troubled by your importunately reminding Him of His promises. He loves to hear the loud outcries of needy souls. It is His delight to bestow favours. He is more ready to hear than you are to ask. The sun is not weary of shining, nor the fountain of flowing. It is God’s nature to keep His promises; therefore go at once to the throne with “Do as Thou hast said.”

Daily Devotions: January 14th, 2013

“Mighty to save.” — Isaiah 63:1

By the words “to save” we understand the whole of the great work of salvation, from the first holy desire onward to complete sanctification. The words are multum in parro: indeed, here is all mercy in one word. Christ is not only “mighty to save” those who repent, but He is able to make men repent. He will carry those to heaven who believe; but He is, moreover, mighty to give men new hearts and to work faith in them. He is mighty to make the man who hates holiness love it, and to constrain the despiser of His name to bend the knee before Him. Nay, this is not all the meaning, for the divine power is equally seen in the after‐work. The life of a believer is a series of miracles wrought by “the Mighty God.” The bush burns, but is not consumed. He is mighty to keep His people holy after He has made them so, and to preserve them in his fear and love until He consummates their spiritual existence in heaven. Christ’s might doth not lie in making a believer and then leaving him to shift for himself; but He who begins the good work carries it on; He who imparts the first germ of life in the dead soul, prolongs the divine existence, and strengthens it until it bursts asunder every bond of sin, and the soul leaps from earth, perfected in glory. Believer, here is encouragement. Art thou praying for some beloved one? Oh, give not up thy prayers, for Christ is “mighty to save.” You are powerless to reclaim the rebel, but your Lord is Almighty. Lay hold on that mighty arm, and rouse it to put forth its strength. Does your own case trouble you? Fear not, for His strength is sufficient for you. Whether to begin with others, or to carry on the work in you, Jesus is “mighty to save”; the best proof of which lies in the fact that He has savedyou. What a thousand mercies that you have not found Him mighty to destroy!

“What does it mean to say that the Bible is ‘inspired’?” by C. Poblete

Today, when we use the word “inspire” or “inspiration,” it has the idea of somethingchallenging to the human heart. We speak of a person giving an “inspiring performance” or someone looking for “inspiration” to begin a new project.

Yet when we talk of the Bible being inspired, we are speaking of an entirely different matter. Though millions of books have been written through the ages, and many of them have inspired the human heart, there was only one book that has been written by divineinspiration or with divine authority: the Bible. In this sense of the term, “inspiration” means divinely given or divinely guided.

IT IS A GOD-BREATHED WORK

We use the English word “inspiration” in the since of “divinely given” because of a verse in Second Timothy. The King James Version translates this verse.

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness .
(2 Timothy 3:16)

“Inspiration” is a translation of the Greek word theopneustos. Theopneustos literally means “God-breathed.” This translation was derived from the Latin Vulgate Bible where the word inspiro is used in 2 Timothy 3:16 to translate the word theopneustos. The emphasis is that Scripture has been breathed out by God.

INSPIRATION MAY NOT BE THE BEST TERM

The term “inspiration” is an unfortunate term to use when talking about the Bible’s authority. The modern meaning of the word does not convey the idea of God’s divine authority.

The problem is that the term inspiration has taken upon itself a specific meaning in Christian circles based upon its continued usage for the last hundred years.

As we have noted, the proper English term is “God-breathed,” not inspiration. Because the word “inspiration” has been used for a long time to refer to the authority of Scripture we will still employ it, when necessary. However, we will put the word “divine” in front of it to emphasize that we are not speaking about inspiration in the normal sense of the term. At the same time we acknowledge that it is not the best term to use. It is much more proper to speak of the Bible’s divine authority the Bible being authoritative, the Bible being “God-breathed, or the Bible being, “God’s Words.”

HOW GOD GUIDED THE WRITING OF SCRIPTURE

God guided the writing of Scripture through the inward working of the Holy Spirit in the lives of people whom He chose to infallibly write the books of the Bible. This guaranteed that the final result would be exactly what God intended. Thus, the Bible is the written Word of God to humanity, and, when originally written, was without error. It is the final authority for all matters of faith and practice.

There are several elements that need to be expanded upon.

1. Divine Inspiration Started With God

The divine inspiration of Scripture starts with God. The words of the Bible were not self-initiated by the writers. Peter wrote:

Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow
(1 Peter 1:10-11).

Sometimes the writers of Scripture did not understand all that God told them to write.

2. God Guided The Entire Process

God guided with the human authors of Scripture in the various things that they wrote or the sources that they used. The author was guided to go where God wanted him to go, not where he wanted to go. Thus the Spirit of God guaranteed the accuracy of every thing that was written. This process extended until the time the document was written. The divine author of Scripture is God the Holy Spirit. Exactly how this process worked is a mystery. Scripture asserts that this did happen without explaining exactly how it happened.

In addition, the Lord divinely selected the writers of Scripture – there was no volunteering for the job.

3. The Writers Composed The Text

While all Scripture is God-breathed, it is proper to say that the Bible is a book that is both human and divine. Its ultimate source is God the Holy Spirit, yet God used human instruments to compose the books. When one reads the Scriptures, it immediately becomes apparent that the various authors employed different writing styles and different vocabularies. This gives evidence of the human side of Scripture.

The writers of the Old and New Testament were not merely stenographers who mindlessly wrote what God dictated to them. Their own experiences and personalities were involved when the various books were being composed. Ultimately, however, the final result was supernaturally guided by God.

The Bible has all the features of a book written by human beings. However it also has features like no other book.

Therefore, it is proper to say that the divine inspiration of the Bible has its source in God but that human instruments were used in writing and recording God’s Word. This is the biblical teaching on the subject.

4. The Text Is Without Error

The Bible itself claims to be true regarding every thing that it records. Jesus said, “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth” (John 17:17).

The psalmist wrote, “The sum of Your word is truth; and every one of your righteous ordinances is everlasting” (Psalm 119:160).

The result of divine inspiration is that the Bible is the very Word of God. This includes the works, the ideas, and the specific vocabulary of Scripture. Therefore everything written in Scripture is correct—there are no errors of any kind since the ultimate source is God. This means that there are no errors of fact.

5. Only The Original Manuscripts Are Error-Free

The authority of Scripture only extends to the original manuscripts of the Old and New Testaments—it does not extend to any translations or any manuscript copies. Having said that, good translations of Scripture are, for all intents and purposes, the authoritative Word of God since they faithfully represent what the text says and means. The point here is that if an error is found in copying, or in some mistranslation in a particular version, it does not mean that the original was in error.

INSPIRATION IS NOW LIMITED TO WRITTEN SCRIPTURE

While divine Inspiration was both written and unwritten, today we only have the written part available to us. Scripture is that portion of divine revelation that God intended to be permanent and authoritative.

SUMMARY

When the word “inspiration” is used in reference to the Bible it means more than “the Bible is inspiring literature.” It has the idea of God-breathed Scripture. This is the claim of Scripture itself; it is not something that humans have invented.

When we speak of the Bible being authoritative, it means that it is God’s accurate revelation of Himself to humanity. Though humans composed the various books of Scripture, the result was an error-free work in the original manuscripts. This is because all Scripture was God-breathed. God had His hand on the production in such a way that we can accept the entire Scripture as being trustworthy. Consequently, the Bible cannot be categorized with other literature that causes the human heart to be challenged or inspired.

It is much more than that. Scripture is God’s divine Word to humanity.

Daily Devotions: January 13th, 2013

“Jehoshaphat made ships of Tharshish to go to Ophir for gold: but they went not; for the ships were broken at Ezion‚geber.” — 1 Kings 22:48

Solomon’s ships had returned in safety, but Jehoshaphat’s vessels never reached the land of gold. Providence prospers one, and frustrates the desires of another, in the same business and at the same spot, yet the Great Ruler is as good and wise at one time as another. May we have grace today, in the remembrance of this text, to bless the Lord for ships broken at Ezion‐geber, as well as for vessels freighted with temporal blessings; let us not envy the more successful, nor murmur at our losses as though we were singularly and specially tried. Like Jehoshaphat, we may be precious in the Lord’s sight, although our schemes end in disappointment.

The secret cause of Jehoshaphat’s loss is well worthy of notice, for it is the root of very much of the suffering of the Lord’s people; it was his alliance with a sinful family, his fellowship with sinners. In 2 Chron. 20:37, we are told that the Lord sent a prophet to declare, “Because thou hast joined thyself with Ahaziah, the Lord hath broken thy works.” This was a fatherly chastisement, which appears to have been blest to him; for in the verse which succeeds our morning’s text we find him refusing to allow his servants to sail in the same vessels with those of the wicked king. Would to God that Jehoshaphat’s experience might be a warning to the rest of the Lord’s people, to avoid being unequally yoked together with unbelievers! A life of misery is usually the lot of those who are united in marriage, or in any other way of their own choosing, with the men of the world. O for such love to Jesus that, like Him, we may be holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners; for if it be not so with us, we may expect to hear it often said, “The Lord hath broken thy works.”