Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path. I have sworn
and I will confirm it, That I will keep Your righteous ordinances. I am
exceedingly afflicted; Revive me, O LORD, according to
Your word. O accept the freewill
offerings of my mouth, O LORD, And teach
me Your ordinances. My life is continually in
my hand, Yet I do not forget Your law. The wicked have laid
a snare for me, Yet I have not gone astray from Your precepts. I have inherited
Your testimonies forever,
For they are the joy of my heart. I have inclined
my heart to perform Your statutes Forever, even to the end.
1 Timothy 4:10-16
For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers. Prescribe and teach
these things. Let
no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech,
conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example
of those who believe.
Until I come, give attention to the public reading of Scripture,
and teaching. Do not neglect
the spiritual gift within you, which was bestowed on you
through prophetic utterance with the laying on of hands by
the presbytery. Take
pains with these things; be absorbed in them, so
that your progress will be evident
to all. Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching;
persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure
salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you.
There are two ways
that non-Christians and Christians alike desecrate and diminish the value of
the Holy Bible. The first way is to refute the accuracy of the textual transmission
down through the last two thousand years. The popular illustration is that of
the childhood game “Telephone”.
is where someone whispers sentence in to the ear of the person next to them.
That person tells the person next to them. By the time it passes through the
mind of a dozen people and gets back to the original person who started the
chain, it sounds very little like what was originally said.
People who have little
or no use for Scriptures use this comparison in the continual copying of
Scriptural manuscripts down through the last two thousand years. In reality
this comparison is simply an ignorant communication of historicity regarding
the transmission of our Biblical text.
The earliest extant
Scriptural manuscripts we have date to the early second century. If someone is
willing to go to the various locations throughout Europe and the Mediterranean
region where these manuscripts are still located, you can actually see that
that the generational copies of our Scriptural text have been copied with a 95%
accuracy rate. The parts of the scriptural texts that vary are almost all
punctuation, spelling or missing words that have absolutely no influence or
effect on the theological message of the collective entire Bible. There is one
story in the Gospels that has been moved around three different times in two
different Gospels. However this process has had no bearing on the message or
theological truth of the story or its position in the particular text it has
shown up in.
There are in existence
over 5000 actual known transcripts of the New Testament Scripture that has
effectually been transmitted between the early second century and the mid 1600s
at the time of the invention of the movable type printing press. Skeptics claim
that there are thousands of errors in these manuscripts. They are correct.
Let’s do the math. If there are 5000 manuscript copies and there are a minimum 100
errors in punctuation spelling and missing words in each manuscript, then there
should be at least 500,000 errors in the text. Regardless of these numbers the
message and theology of the New Testament text remains intact and remains
integral to accepted orthodox Christian beliefs.
The second way people
denigrate Scriptures is to say that certain selected passages of the Bible (Old
and/or New Testaments) are either no longer valid or do not apply to the
current Church or society it exists in today. These selected passages are
almost always connected to our current cultural or sociological issues that ultimately
determine our moral obligations. The easy reply to those who indulge in this
exercise is “Who has the authority to
make those determinations and where does their authority end?” The classic
answer to that question is “the
individual reader” does. If that is indeed the case than the individual
reader has more authority than God who inspired the Bible and ultimately
authored it through the hearts and hands of men.
If someone were to
take a book I have written, change the text to suit their needs or personal
interpretation, and then re-publish it again under my name as the author, there
would be a big problem to resolve between us. I have written the text of my
book to say what I intended it to say, not what some interpreter wants it to
That is exactly what
is happening to the Scriptures. Many people make attempts at either re-writing
part of the Biblical text, or eliminating parts of it to suit their needs,
ideals, preferences or lifestyle. People who take this position regarding the
Bible have only to answer to God. He intended it to say what it says, not what
anyone else wants it to say.
So, why is the Bible
so important to the life of the professing Christian? The Bible reveals God to
us. It is also very historically accurate as it tells us what God has done. It
also tells us how we can know God is present and working in our personal lives.
Not only that, but it is not shy about telling us what we can expect of God in
The Bible also clearly states how God has intended
us to live. We see this most evident in the transforming love of the Gospel message
of Jesus Christ in the New Testament. The life of Jesus Christ in the
Scriptures teach us a Biblical pattern for morality and charity. The Scriptures
also guide us in our personal relationships, showing us the importance of practicing
grace, mercy and forgiveness in dealing with each other on an everyday basis.
The Bible isn’t just
the “Good Book” as many well intended people call it. It is the Book of Books,
because we believe that it is actually authored by God Himself. We believe the
Bible was inspired by God in the hearts of those who actually wrote it down
originally. All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching,
for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so
that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good
also believe in the inerrancy of Scripture (its state of perfection without
error) beyond human comprehension. If God is indeed the author, than it must be
perfect in all ways. The reason I or we may not understand it or be able to
comprehend this quality of Scripture is because we are not “God” – but simply
His creation. From a totally logical philosophical standpoint we can know that
the “creation” is never equal to the “Creator”. We also believe that the
Scriptures are complete as we have them in the 66 book canon. The Bible
contains everything we need to have a personal relationship with God through
His only Son Jesus Christ.
If we truly want to
have a vibrant and healthy relationship with God through Jesus Christ, we need
to spend time reading God’s Word, the Holy Bible. God wants His Word to be
“imbedded” in our lifestyle which is indicated by our personal worldview and
our personal morality.
The Bible should be
“vitally” important to us. “Vitally” means it should be as important as life
itself. It is within the pages of the Bible that we learn of our salvation in
God’s only Son Jesus Christ, and how we can live forever in heaven with God
when we leave this mortal realm. That is ultimately the most important choice
we can ever make!
So, what are we
going to take home with us? First of all, the Bible is God’s Word “to” and
“for” us. God cares for us and loves us so much that He was willing to
communicate His love and plans for us in a very easy format for us to discern. The
Bible is God’s instruction book for successful mortal (and moral) living. We
really don’t need to try and second guess everything in the Scriptures. We just
need to read it to see what God is saying.
For over thirty
years this congregation has struggled off and on with our exact theological and
spiritual identity before God, and also our ministry in this community. I
believe that some of the people here at Trinity Church have made great progress
in understanding and applying the Scriptures to their personal lives. It has
been a great blessing to me to see God working in their hearts!
Whenever a group
of Christians separate from another congregation or whenever a denomination
splits and divides for one reason or another, it generally always boils down to
one thing. There may be a discussion about agendas, governmental structures,
finances or attitudinal differences. In reality those things are only just
symptomatic of the causative agent. The causative agent is always what is
considered to be valuable and important in the Bible and how it applies to the
lives of both parties. The Bible is always the causative agent.
If you just
treat the symptoms when you’re sick, the illness will return worse than it was
originally. However, if you recognize the causative agent and deal with that
you will get healthy and stay healthy.
congregation is collectively willing to read and listen intently to what God is
saying through His Word – the Bible, we will then be able to fully recognize
and/or apply our precise theological identity to the ministry God intends us to
have in our community and around the world. It is then that we will be enabled
to procure the vision that God has for us to accomplish in His Kingdom. I pray
that our hearts will be open to God’s Word and that we will listen and apply it
to our lives it in its entirety and not just discuss the symptomatic