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God's words inspire man to a far, far greater degree. They are a transfusion of strength, of peace, of joy, of knowledge about everyday life and eternal life. The Bible is the living and powerful Word of God. It's able to empower us to live lives that are strong and significant and satisfying for God's glory.The God of the Bible is not silent. Unlike the idols that have mouths but do not speak, He speaks, and God has spoken. And He has spoken through His Word and it's inspired and it's inherent and it's authoritative and it's complete and it's breathed out, and it's able to make us wise unto salvation. It's able to make us complete and it's able to equip us unto every good work. The point of the Bible is not to indeed teach us morality. The point of the Bible is to bring us to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. The Bible is about making a wise choice about who Jesus is, and what Jesus did for us. Essentially the Bible is a handbook on salvation, centered on the person and work of Christ. At the heart of the Bible is the story of creation, the fall of man, redemption in Jesus Christ, and consummation at the end of the ages for all the righteous. In the Old Testament, Jesus is predicted. In the Gospels, Jesus is revealed. In the Acts of the Apostles, Jesus has preached. In the letters, Jesus has explained. And in the book of the Revelation, Jesus has expected. The Bible is actually a compilation of 66 books. We call it the Book, but it's really a library of books. It's a compilation of 66 books written by over 40 different authors over a time span of 1500 years. Yet the amazing thing is there's one storyline, there's one unifying theme, there's one subject that holds it all together, and it's the story of God's love for us in Christ. 2 Timothy will address the nexus, nature and necessity of Scripture.
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Philip De Courcy (00:00):
Let’s take our Bibles and turn to 2 Timothy 3: 15-17. We’re really going to focus on 16 and 17, but I want to back up in verse 15. And I’m going to take both this month and next month to cover this passage because this is a seminal passage. This is a foundational passage. This gives us our understanding of God’s Word, the nature of Scripture, and as I studied it, there’s much to be learned, there’s much to be gleaned, and I want us to have a firm footing in terms of our understanding of the Scriptures and the role that they play in each of our lives.
It’s a message I’ve called The Good Book. Let’s read from verse 15, “And that from childhood you have known the Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith, which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction and righteousness, that the man of God may be complete thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
On his 80th birthday, Winston Churchill deflected a compliment that said that he was the lion that defeated Nazi Germany during the Second World War. Speaking to the combined houses of parliament. He said this, “It was a nation, a race dwelling around the globe that had the lion heart. I had the luck to be called upon to give the roar.” Now, if you watched the movie, The Darkest Star, his ability to roar was legendary.
In fact, someone said of Churchill, “He mobilized the English language and sent it into battle. His words helped the British people stay calm and carry on. His words rallied the troops that had come back from Don Kirk. His words struck fear into the heart of Hitler, and his words caused the British people to believe that victory was possible.”
In fact, it was said that when Hitler spoke, he could persuade you he could do anything, but when Churchill spoke, he could persuade you that you could do anything. In fact, in his book The Art of Meditation, Robert Morgan tells the story of a painter by the name of Paul Miers, who was alarmed at the sweep across Europe of German troops. And so he escaped the Bordeaux in France, fled the in England, and settled uneasily in Hampshire. There in a little room, along with the rest of the nation, he would often turn on his radio and listen to the intrepid speeches of Churchill as he rallied the British people and the British empire.
Miers wrote a letter to Churchill and then it would contain these words, “Every word you said was like every drop of blood in a transfusion.” That’s gripping. Churchill’s words were inspiring words. They dripped with life and hope. They give courage to those that listened. And the Bible tells us that “Life and death is in the power of the tongue,” and Churchill is a great example of that in the positive. But as we come to look at 2 Timothy 3: 16-17, we would have to say to ourselves, “What’s true of the inspiring word of man, is much more greatly true of the inspired Word of God.”
Churchill’s words inspired man, but God’s words inspire man to a far, far greater degree. They are a transfusion of strength, of peace, of joy, of knowledge about everyday life and eternal life. The Bible is the living and powerful Word of God. It’s able to empower us to live lives that are strong and significant and satisfying for God’s glory. The inspiring word of a man like Churchill is one thing, the inspired Word of the living God as contained the Bible quite another.
We’ve already alluded to the fact that words are witty, “Life and death is in the power of the tongue,” Proverbs 18:21. And if words cut and they do, then the words of the creator cut more than any other, and guys, we need to remind ourselves that the God of the Bible is not silent. Unlike the idols that have mouths but do not speak, He speaks, and God has spoken. And He has spoken through His Word and it’s inspired and it’s inherent and it’s authoritative and it’s complete and it’s breathed out, and it’s able to make us wise unto salvation.
It’s able to make us complete and it’s able to equip us on every good work. And so we want to come and look at this critical passage. The sentiments and statements that we have talked abide are echoed in this passage before us this morning. This is a passage that explains the nature of God’s Word and its ability in the lives of those that read it and believe it.
In fact, Paul is writing to a young minister and he wants him to anchor his preaching and his pastoring to the impregnable and inherent Word of God. If you look at the context of chapter three, you’ll realize that there’s a rising tide of sin in the society and error in the church. So Paul calls Timothy to stand firm and his commitment. Look at verse 14, “But you must continue in the things which you have learned and being assured of knowing from whom you have learned them.”
Timothy must do ministry with a Bible in hand. Timothy must do ministry strictly by the book. Timothy must strive to be a Biblicist, and he must do this because of the threatening trends, versus one through nine, we read of difficult times that are emerging, where man are lovers of themselves, lovers of their own voice and opinions. Yet according to verse 13, they are deceiving themselves and others through their words. Timothy must commit himself to the inherent Word of God because of the threatening trends, because of the example of Paul.
He’s to continue in the things which he had learned and he learned them from Paul, and also from his mother and his grandmother, which would remind us too, he was to commit himself not just because of the threatening trends, not just because of the outstanding example of the Apostle Paul, but also the heritage which he had enjoyed, that from a child, he had known the Scriptures and you know what? He was to continue to believe what his mother had believed. He was to continue to believe about the Bible what does grandmother had taught him.
In fact, in his book on Taking God at His Word, Kevin DeYoung says this, “I remember on a conference panel someone asking John Piper, ‘Why did you conclude an errancy is true?’ The first thing out of his mouth surprised everyone he said, ‘Because my mama told me it’s true.'” Yet that wasn’t a throwaway line or a glib remark crafted for a fact. Piper was capturing something deeply true in many of our lives and deeply biblical. It’s not necessarily a sign of growth to move past the faith of your childhood, and not necessarily a weakness to believe the same thing as your parents throughout your life.
In fact, that’s what Paul is saying to Timothy here. You know what? You’ve commit yourself to pastoring and preaching from the Word of God. You’ve got to do that against the background of a collapsing culture. You’ve got to do that against the foreground of my own example and the heritage that you got from your family, and then you’ve got to do it because of the nature of Scripture itself. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable.
The Word of God will indeed add power and impact to what you are doing. It’s the means by which you will accomplish God’s purposes in your life. And so we come to look at these verses, both the month and next month, and there’s three things that these verses show us concerning the Scripture, concerning The Good Book, number one, the nexus of Scripture. What can nature the Word of God together? Then the nature of Scripture, it’s inspired. And then the necessity of Scripture, it alone is able to bring us to salvation and to grow us in our faith and to complete us in our desires to live a life that glorifies God.
So let’s look at the first two this morning, the nexus of Scripture and the nature of Scripture. As I say the word nexus carries the idea of the means of connection or the point of integration. And so applied to the Word of God, it speaks about the Bible central theme, the nexus of Scripture, it’s central theme, it’s big story, and the subject that connects all the verses, all the chapters, all the books of the Bible is the Lord Jesus Christ.
Look at verse 15, “And that from childhood you have known the holy Scriptures which are able to meek you wise for a salvation through faith, which is in Christ Jesus.” The nexus of Scripture, the integrating center of Scripture is the Lord Jesus Christ and His serving work on behalf of sinners. That’s what Timothy came to see. That’s what his mother and his grandmother taught him as they shared the stories of the Old Testament and the Word of God, Timothy came to see that one had been promised who would come, the Lamb of God, who would take away the sin of the world, and Timothy had come to indeed embrace that truth.
And so according to Paul, “The message of Christ, The Redeemer is the scarlet thread that binds the Bible together.” Listen guys, according to Paul, the purpose of the Bible is not to make us wise. It’s to make us wise unto salvation in Christ Jesus. The point of the Bible is not to indeed teach us morality. The point of the Bible is to bring us to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. The Bible is about making a wise choice about who Jesus is, and what Jesus did for us.
Essentially the Bible is a handbook on salvation, centered on the person and work of Christ. You just need to hear that. That might seem like theology 101 for some of you, but it might come with a certain freshness to others. The Bible is not a handbook on how to have a sizzling marriage, how to spice up your sex life, how to climb the ladder of success, how to love better, how to beat the blues, how to have health and wealth. I’m not saying the Bible doesn’t address those issues, but that’s the byproduct. That’s the inference of something far more important.
Rather, at the heart of the Bible is the story of creation, the fall of man, redemption in Jesus Christ, and consummation at the end of the ages for all the righteous. And so since the Bible is a book concerning salvation, and since salvation comes by means of faith alone in Christ alone, the Bible by necessity focuses its attention on Christ. Think about it this way, in the Old Testament, He is coming. In the Gospels, in the Acts, in the Epistles, He has come, and that is explained to us. In the Acts, Epistles and Revelation, He is coming again. The Bible is all about the Lord Jesus Christ, and He’s coming to indeed surrender up His life and death for our sin.
In fact, D.A Carson says something very telling, think about this. “The entire Bible pivots on one weekend in Jerusalem about 2000 years ago.” It’s true. Now, let me put it another way. In the Old Testament, Jesus is predicted. In the Gospels, Jesus is revealed. In the Acts of the Apostles, Jesus has preached. In the letters, Jesus has explained. And in the book of the Revelation, Jesus has expected. That’s the nexus of Scripture.
Timothy, you know this, that from a childhood you have known the Scriptures and they have indeed made you wise and the salvation through faith and the Lord Jesus Christ. Let’s think some more about this. Guys, do you realize that the Bible is actually a compilation of 66 books. We call it The Book, but it’s really a library of books. It’s a compilation of 66 books written by over 40 different authors over a time span of 1500 years. Yet the amazing thing is there’s one storyline, there’s one unifying theme, there’s one subject that holds it all together, and it’s the story of God’s love for us in Christ.
If you miss that, you haven’t understood your Bible. In fact, this is Jesus theology, isn’t it? This is Jesus’ theory of the Bible. If you go to John 5:39, he’s engaged in a conversation with the thinkers and theologians of His day, and I want you to notice what He says in John 5:39. “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life and these, that as the Scriptures, they testify of me.” I’m the nexus of Scripture. You know that in [inaudible 00:15:30] with the two discouraged disciples on the road to a Emmaus over in Luke chapter 24, and as He engages them, He hasn’t yet disclosed Himself, but He will and as He does, He brings them to see that what has just happened in Jerusalem was indeed foretold in the Scriptures.
Look at Luke 24:25. Then He said to them, “O foolish ones slow of heart to believe all that the Prophets have spoken. Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and entered into His glory? And beginning at Moses, the pent that took and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures, the things concerning Himself.” He’ll go on in verse 44, He said to them, “These are the words which were spoken to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets, and the Psalms concerning me, and He opened their understanding that they might comprehend the Scriptures.”
It couldn’t be plainer guys from the mouth of the Lord Jesus. He’s telling us that when Moses wrote, when David [inaudible 00:16:46] wrote, when Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel wrote, When Micah wrote, when Zechariah wrote, they were writing about Him, the one who was promised, the one who would come. That’s why in 1 Corinthians 15: 3-4, we read that “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures. And on the third day, he rose according to the Scriptures.”
Guys, the Bible is about Christ. It’s about your need of Him. It’s about man being made in God’s image, man disobeying God’s commands, man walking away from God, living under the judgment of God. The world is cursed, but the story is that God had a solution before the problem, that Jesus Christ would come as God’s Son and die for our sin on a knob of a hell, outside the city of Jerusalem, and dare pay for our sins so that we indeed can could back into a relationship with the God after whose image we were made and for whose purposes we were created.
You know what? The work of Jesus Christ hasn’t finished because when it’s all said and done, He’s going to restore this old world back to a time and a condition prior to the fall of man. That’s what the Bible’s all about. That’s why Michael Horton is right when he says, “If one is looking primarily for a book of stories designed to teach a moral lesson, the Bible may not be as good as Aesop’s Fables.” All of the Bible heroes represent sinfulness, disobedience, halfheartedness, and pride, as well as faith and obedience. The real hero is God who remains faithful to His promise, in spite of human sin.
No moral instruction comes easily to us, but the gospel is not in us by nature, it must be revealed from heaven. This is chiefly why we have the Word of God to preach the Bible as the handbook for life or as the answer to every question, rather than as a revelation of Christ, is to turn the Bible into an entirely different book. This is how the Pharisees approached the Scripture. However, as we can see clearly from the questions they ask Jesus, all of them mounting to something akin to trivial pursuits.
[NEW_PARAGRAPH]”What happens if a person divorces and remarries? Why do you disciples pick green on the Sabbath? Who sinned, this man or his parents that he was born blind?” For the Pharisees, the Scriptures were a source of trivia for life’s dilemmas. To be sure, Scripture provides God’s centered, divinely revealed wisdom for life, but if this were its primary objective, Christianity would be a religion of self-improvement by following examples and exhalations, not a religion of the cross, and so you and I need to grasp that. The nexus of Scripture.
There’s a great story in the book Himself by A.B Simpson, where he once saw a picture of the Constitution of the United States. It was skillfully engraved in a copper plate, so that when you looked at it closely, it was nothing more than a piece of writing, but when you stood back, it was the face of George Washington. The face shone out in the shading of the letters at a little distance, you could see a person, not the words, not the ideas.
And A.B Simpson reflected on that experience, and this is what he said. “This is the way to look at the Scriptures and understand the thoughts of God, to see them, and then, the face of love shining through and through, not ideas, not doctrines, but Jesus Himself as the life and source and sustaining presence of all of life. It’s true. You know what? You look at the Scriptures, you read the words, the thoughts, the ideas, but you need to step back and understand that from Genesis to Revelation, fundamentally and foremost, there is a story concerning a person, who come into the world to save sinners. That’s the nexus of the Scripture.
Now, before I move on, if I was to apply that just for a couple of minutes, I wrote three ideas down. If Jesus Christ is the subject of the Bible, then number one, I should seek beyond my reading of the Bible, an experiential knowledge of Christ. We love the Word of God because the Word of God points us to the one who can capture all our love. That’s why the hymn writer said, “Beyond the sacred page, I seek the Lord.” We are to read the Word of God with the intention of striking up a conversation with the living Christ who lives in us.
We want our knowledge of Him in the head to percolate dine to an experience of Him in the heart, and so be careful in reading the Scriptures, not to miss Christ. And so if Jesus is the nexus of Scripture, I must seek an experiential knowledge of Him. Number two, in studying the Scripture, I must look for the redemptive trajectory of the text. What I mean by that is while not every Scripture, especially in the Old Testament addresses the gospel of Jesus Christ directly, the book or the direction of that book will by its trajectory point towards the one who is coming because that’s what the Old Testament is about.
And so when you’re reading about King David, you might want to think about the greater David that’s coming. When you think about Solomon, you want to think about the greater Solomon that’s coming. When you read about the sacrifices and the lambs that were slaughtered in the temple, and the tabernacle, you might want to think about the Lamb of God that indeed takes away the sin of the world. Wherever you are, especially in the Old Testament, remember that Moses wrote, and the Psalms are written, and the Prophets spoke with Jesus in mind. So you read with Jesus in mind. Now you need to be careful not to find Him where He isn’t.
But as I was under the teaching of Walter Kaiser at Trinity Theological School, he used this free as redemptive trajectory. That every book in the Old Testament is moving in some manner the story of Jesus forward, or the story towards Jesus forward. That’s why when you are reading a text, especially in the Old Testament, you want to both snorkel and ski. I stole this idea from Tony Merida in his book, Faithful Preaching. He says, [inaudible 00:23:57], we want to snorkel. Those of us who are committed to expository preaching, we want to go into the depths of the text, want to take our time, we want to squeeze its meaning out, and its context and its surrounding context, so we snorkel.
We don’t come up for earth for a while until we’ve engaged our mind and heart with the original intent of the author within the context of the time, and place. But Tony Merida says, “You’ve not only got to snorkel, you’ve got the ski.” You’ve got to go into the depths of the word of God like a snorkeler in the ocean, but you’ve got to ski across the surface of the Scriptures like a skier and get to Jesus Christ because that’s where the Word of God is going. And so I think that’s helpful. Think that out, the balance of both snorkeling and skiing, especially in the Old Testament, understand the Old Testament as they would’ve originally understood it.
Their understanding of Jesus would’ve been limited and the story of Jesus unfolding in the Old Testament progressive, but do remember that the story is moving in a direction towards a fulfillment in the new covenant, and then the gospel, and then finally share the gospel message with others. I mean, as you read your Bible and you read it properly, you’re going to come to understand God’s love for you in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you need to take what you have read about Jesus Christ, and share it with those who haven’t read about Jesus Christ, and take that story of Him and the glory of it and share it with those who are still without Him in the knowledge of God’s love for their souls. That’s the nexus of Scripture.
Secondly, the nature of Scripture. Now, when we speak about the nature of Scripture, what we’re dealing with here is its essence, its character, its quality, its distinction. The Bible claims that the words that it’s various authors wrote were not original to them. Look at verse 16 of 2 Timothy, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” The argument is, listen carefully, that the words that they wrote down were words that God breathed out.
The words of the Bible are not simply the words of dead man written on the skins of dead animals. Not according to this text and other texts, these words written on the skins of these dead animals are words infused with the energy of God, living and eternal words, words that God spoke, words that were written down under the supervision and superintendents of the Holy Spirit.
That’s what’s been taught here in 2 Timothy 3:16. You need to understand this guys, the claim of the Bible is what we have in the Bible is God’s own word, a revolution of God’s mind, heart, and will. Plainly, objectively, communicated in human language within history. A unique, perfect sufficient record and revelation of God’s mind and heart. Find nowhere else, and certainly not in any other book. That’s what’s being claimed here. That’s what’s being taught here. This is what Timothy is being asked to commit himself to.
Timothy, you understand the nexus of Scripture because from a child you’ve come to understand that the Bible, the Scriptures are there to make us wise under salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. And Timothy, you need to commit yourself to this, that what you have in the Scriptures is God breathed. This term given by inspiration can be translated, breathed out by God.
Now, for the time we have left, you need to keep your thinking cap on because you need to grasp this. You may be able to articulate this. You need to be able to defend this. Listen to what I’m about to say. If the Scriptures are breathed out by God, you and I need to remember and distinguish between this. God did not breathe into human authors, inspiring them. God breathed out His inspired a Word to them, and by means of the superintendents of the Holy Spirit, they wrote that Word without error out of their own vocabulary.
Supernaturally and simultaneously their words were God’s words, not in a nutshell as the doctrine of inspiration. The words of the biblical writers, the words that they spoke and recorded were not, according to Paul, “Words which came from man’s wisdom, but were words taught by the Holy Spirit,” 2 Corinthians 2:13. In fact, if you read the Word of God, you’ll realize that the writers of Scripture were very much aware that the words that they were writing had been spoken by God.
Let me give you a couple of examples. In 2 Samuel 23:2, we read concerning David, “The spirit of the Lord spoke by me, and His Word was on my tongue. The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spoke to me. He who rules over a men must be just, ruling in the fear of God, and He shall be the light of the morning when the sun rises, a morning without clouds like the tender grass springing out of the earth.” David was conscious that what he spoke had been spoken to him by God Himself.
If you go to Jeremiah 36:2, Jeremiah articulates a similar thought. In fact, if you back up in verse 1, “Now it came to pass in the fourth year of Jehoiakim, the son of Josiah, king of Judah, that this word came to Jeremiah from the Lord saying ‘Take a scroll of a book and write on it all the words that I have spoken to you against Israel, against Judah, and against all the nations.'”
If you go to Acts 1:16, the New Testament writers acknowledge that indeed those who wrote the Old Testament were guided by the Spirit of God. Listen to what Peter says, “Men and brethren, this Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke before by the might of David concerning Judas.” In fact, Peter in his own Epistle in 1 Peter 1:11 makes this abundantly clear. He’s again especially speaking of the Old Testament of this salvation, the Prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesy of the grace that would come to you.” See the nexus of Scripture is the grace that’s coming in the appearing of Jesus Christ.
[NEW_PARAGRAPH]1 Peter 1:11, “Searching what or what manner of time this spirit of Christ who was in them, was indicating when He testified before the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow.” It was the spirit of God testifying about the son of God within the Prophets of God, that brought a bite the writing of Scripture. Guys, the exact manner in which this was done eludes our understanding. It’s supernatural, it’s miracle. Like every miracle, it’s hard to explain, but the means by which it was done is explain by Peter. If you go to 2 Peter 1:20, we read “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation.” That is, Scripture wasn’t spoken or written unaided.
This isn’t written by man. This is written by the Holy Spirit, “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but by holy man of God as they spoke, moved by the Holy Spirit.” Now we can’t understand it, but the means by which the Word of God was written was that the Holy Spirit supervised and superintended the process. In fact, it’s interesting, [inaudible 00:32:56] is moved by the Holy Spirit is a Word that is used in Acts 27:15, of a ship that was carried by the wind.
In Acts 27:15, reading of Paul’s ship rack. The ship was caught by the storm and could not head into the wind. So we give way to it and were driven along. That’s the image. Just as the wind catches the seal and drives the ship, so the Holy Spirit mastered and controlled and moved the writers of Scripture to write. Yes, out of their own vocabulary within their own day, reflecting their own personality, but He didn’t breathe into them the Word of God. God breathed out His Word and they wrote under the control and supervision and superintendents of the Holy Spirit. So that what we have in their words are the very words of God, inspired inerrant, authoritative.
Let’s dig a little deeper. I want you to notice that all Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction and instruction in righteousness. Two words stand out there, we’ll take them one at a time, Scripture and all. You need to understand that it is Scripture that is inspired. The Greek word graphḗ, gives us our words writing. So the writings are inspired, the writings are breathed out. Important to understand that the writers were not inspired.
God didn’t breathe into the writers His inspired Word. God breathed out His inspired word, and under the supervision and superintendents of the Holy Spirit, they wrote out of their vocabulary, that which God wanted to say. But it’s important that you note that the writings are inspired, not the writers. Digging into the text some more notice the extent of the inspiration, all the writings. The secret writings as a whole are God breathed, inspired by God.
Now while in the immediate context, that would speak directly to the Old Testament because the New Testament was still being written and gathered when Paul wrote to Timothy, So when we read in verse 15 about the Holy Scriptures that led Him to faith in Jesus Christ, it was the Old Testament. The Old Testaments are by Jesus, and that which was promised was fulfilled in the New Testament. So Paul is speaking to the Old Testament being inspired by God, but let’s be honest, ultimately it will extend to and embrace the New Testament.
I think one verse or two will help you with that, would be Hebrews 1: 1-2, and then 2:3. “God spoke, in times past and in various ways through the Prophets,” but it didn’t stop there, “In these last days, He has spoken by His Son.” I mean you go to 2:3, that which Jesus spoke in the life that He lived and the death that He died, it was attested by the apostles who wrote God’s word.
And so while in the immediate context directly, Paul is addressing the Old Testament as inspired and breathed out, that which was written by the Prophets, by extension, we would embrace the words of Jesus Christ, the greatest revolution of the mind and heart of God, and the record of His life and death and gospel through His apostles. Maybe one other example would be in 1 Timothy 5:18, Paul talks about Scripture. He talks about how the workman’s worthy of His heart and not muzzling the ox.
And when he talks about Scripture, he’s combining a quotation from Deuteronomy 25:4 and from Luke 10:17. Also in 2 Peter 3:16, Peter clearly regards Paul’s letters as Scripture, in referring to them. He calls the Old Testament the other Scriptures. So all Scripture is inspired by God. Immediately we’re talking about the Old Testament, but ultimately we’re talking about the New Testament. It’s important that you and I grasp that the Bible is breathed out by God.
The Holy Spirit is the agent and the means by which this miracle takes place. He moves the writers of the Bible, both the Prophets and the apostles and God’s own Son. He governs the product. And what we have is indeed God’s Word, inherent, pure, authoritative, inspired, profitable. For anybody that’s a budding theologian, what we’re talking about here is our belief as Protestants, in the verbal plenary inspiration of Scripture. What do we mean by that? That every word of Scripture is God breathed, verbal, the word plenary complete.
We believe in the verbal plenary inspiration of Scripture, which leads us to conclude that the Bible is the final authority in all matters of faith and practice. And usually when you affirm something, you deny something in theological terms. If you look at old theologies and catechisms, they’ll affirm something and they’ll deny it. They’ll deny something in the light of what they just affirmed. Then when we affirm verbal plenary inspiration, we are denying natural inspiration.
We’re denying the idea that the Bible is an inspired book in the sense that men were brought to a place where they excelled and exceeded themselves and wrote something that was special. But like we talk about, Handel was inspired to write the Messiah. It’s a piece of music that stands, outs a category all of its own. It was natural, but it was exceptional. And some people have the idea, that’s what the Bible is. It is a book written by men, but we agree it’s exceptional. It’s inspiring and inspired in that sense.
Well, that’s not how we understand the sense. The word inspired means breathed out, not breathed into. It’s the writing that was inspired, not the writers. So that’s what we affirm and that’s what we deny. We also deny what’s known as partial or conceptual inspiration. This is a theology that liberals use to say, “We agree that the Bible’s inspired and it’s theology and it’s doctrine and in its theological ideas, but it’s not very scientific. It’s not true historically. So we can’t trust the Bible when it comes to science and history, but we can embrace its theology.” That’s faith. That’s what W.A Chriswell calls “The leopard theology of inspiration,” that the Bible is inspired in spots, but that’s just not true.
All passe, all, every bit of it, the whole of it is God breathed. I like what one writer says, “Some people want to believe that parts of the Bible are inspired and other parts are not. So they can choose which parts they believe are true. But if you believe part of the Bible and reject part of the Bible, it’s not the Bible you believe, it’s yourself.” And when we affirm this, we’re denying not only natural inspiration and partial inspiration, we’re denying mechanical inspiration or dictation inspiration. The idea that the writers were kind of brain dead, were neutral to the process and basically just acted as a stenograph for God.
Now, there are times that God just directly tells the biblical writer to write down what He says. But you can read the Bible and you can see the personality of each author. You can see that Luke, the doctor, uses particular Greek words out of the medical field. And so our doctrine of inspiration isn’t a doctrine that believes that the Bible was just mechanically written down. These man wrote of their own vocabulary, in their own day reflecting their own culture. But as they wrote, they were moved in a mysterious, miraculous, supernatural way to record God’s own word, which He breathed out and they communicated.
Okay, time’s gone. But let me run a couple of things by you by way of application just for a few moments because some of that was heady. I understand that. But we’ll maybe pick this up next month and extrapolate on it a little bit. But as I thought about it, it implies certain things. First thing would be this, that the Bible is a different kind of book. That’s just the first thing you got to think about is you leave this morning, the Bible is a different kind of book. The Bible is divine in origin. It is God’s breathed out word.
It’s a Word from the creator to the creation. God speaks generally and indirectly through the creation. But God has spoken specifically and directly through His Word. You can look at Psalm 19 and see that how the creation speaks day and night about the invisible attributes of God, His power, His order, His vastness, but then the law of the Lord is perfect.
God has revealed himself specifically directly in Scripture through the words of the law and the Prophets and the Psalms about Christ. And so the Bible is a different kind of book and therefore you and I should desire it more than gold. Psalm 19:10. We should consider it more necessarily than our next meal. Job, 23:12, where Job says, “I steam Your Word more than my necessary food.” The Bible is the only book we cannot disagree with.
You can retain the right to disagree with any book you hold in your hand except the Bible, because by deduction, by inference, by implication, if this is the breathed out Word of God, if this is a different book, a Word from the creator about His Son, then you cannot afford not to listen. You cannot afford not to read, and you cannot afford to disagree because this book is invested with the authority of the King of kings and the Lord of lords.
It’s the supreme court of the Christian faith. It has the right because God has the right. And this is His word, to define what you believe and to tell you what you must commit yourself to, and how you want to conduct your affairs. Great example would be the mother of the Lord Jesus Himself, Mary, when she was told about the miracle of the virgin birth said and a wonderful expression of submission. “Be it unto me according to your Word.” And then later on, remember at the marriage in Keenan, when they run out of wine and Jesus tells them to go and get pot of water. She says in John 2, “Whatever he says do.”
That’s the heart of the true follower of Jesus Christ, and the worshiper of God, has come to see that God has revealed himself through a word contained in the Scripture, which means that the Bible is a different kind of book, which means that the Bible is the only book you cannot disagree with. And finally, it would mean that the Bible is the book we must read first and foremost. Given that it is the inherent, sufficient, authoritative, revolution of the wisdom plan, love of God, it ought to be at the top of our reading list.
Guys, as we begin 2018, we must read it from cover to cover. You must make time for that. I must make time for that. This is the breathed out Word of the living God. The God who existed before we existed, then brought us into existence. The God who loves us despite our sin. The God who has sent his Son to die for our sin. The God has conquered death in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The God who has a plan that will move inexorably to a conclusion. The God who knows the end from the beginning. He wants you to know His mind.
He wants you to know His will. Why does this book remain closed sitting on your coffee table or in your locker at work? If you and I grasp the doctrine of inspiration, there’s not an hour in the day when we are not thinking, when can I get to the book? Or there’s not an hour in the day where we’re not bringing consciously it to our mind and meditating on it because it is the Word of the creator and it addresses all matters of life and godliness. We need to meditate ton it, day on night, Psalm 1: 1-2. Every other book must be read in the light of its truth. Every other book will go out of print, but the Word of the Lord endures forever.
This book is a different book because it’s breathe and if it’s God breathed, it is invested with the authority of God Himself, therefore it’s the only book you cannot disagree with. And if it is God’s Word, and heaven and earth will pass away, but it won’t pass away. Can you let a day pass without getting to it, and allowing it to get in you, instructing you in righteousness, correcting and reproving you, showing you the great and exceeding promises of God?
Finish with this guys. Since I was a young Christian, I’ve enjoyed the writings of Harry Ironside, former pastor at Moody Church in Chicago. He was a man of the people. There was an earthiness to his writing and his preaching. There was an accessibility to his exposition. He was a man of the people and he was a man of the book. I’ve got many of his commentaries. His ministry was one of Bible exposition. He was encouraged by his mother to memorize many parts of the Bible starting at the age of three. By the age of 14, he had read through his Bible 14 times. How you doing?
In fact, it is said that during the rest of his life he read the Bible through at least once a year. Asked one morning by a fellow pastor what he had read for his devotions, he replied “The book of Isaiah.” That’s challenging man. And so when [inaudible 00:49:00] his book on Judges shared this story, I was convicted and I think you’ll be convicted. The last time Harry Ironside preached the Dallas Theological Seminary, he was almost blind.
His wife was with him. In fact, he could up and read the text of i Isaiah from which He could preach because he could hardly see the text, and He would expand God’s Word. Now we have just articulated that he was a lifelong student of God’s Word and he was a great avid reader of books on the Bible. And yet it is said that during that final lecture, he held his Bible up in his hand and he said this, “Man, I wish I had read other books less, and this book more.” It’s true because this is a different book.
This is the only book you can’t disagree with. You can read books and disagree with them. You can’t read this book and disagree with it because it’s invested with the authority of God. And in it you’ll find God’s eternal plan for history in God’s particular plan for you. And it all rises and falls in what you’re going to do with the Lord Jesus. You’ve got to make this book first and foremost in your life. That’s what it means to believe in plenary verbal inspiration of Scripture. Let’s pray.
Lord, in our mind’s eye, we can imagine the trembling hand of that old man Harry Ironside, with a voice cracked with age, he says to these young preachers, “Man, I wish I’d read other books less, and read this book more.” Lord we can do the math. This guy probably read through Your word cover to cover over 60 times in a lifetime, mastered it. And yet there’s a sense that he’s only weirded width as deep into the glory of its message and the depths of its truths. Oh God, help us as we leave this morning in the beginning of this year, to commit ourselves to read and treasure and understand the book, to look for Your Son in the sacred page, and then to experience Him through it and beyond it.
By the end dwelling ministry of the Holy Spirit who authored the story. Help us to be serious students of the Bible. Help us to read and comprehend with all the sense the love of God. Help us as Luther did the sheoak, every branch on its tree. O God forgive us for our laziness. Forgive us for watching trashy movies, fictional books, when the Word of God lies closed, gathering dust and our souls are parched and time means more to us than eternity. Well, God, make us man of the book, help us to commit ourselves to it as Paul encourages Timothy to do, for it is profitable, it is useful and it will indeed us wise unto salvation and it will us complete and equipped in every good work, and these things we pray and these things we ask humbly, contritely in Jesus name. Amen.