BIBLE BLAMED, BLOCKED, BANNED, BURNED AND BOUND?
Have you ever wondered if the Bible is losing ground – losing traction? Has the balance of power already shifted or are we at least, nearing the tipping point of the Bible beginning a downward slide and decline? Are you pessimistic as we go into 2015? Is the enemy winning the battle?
The Apostle Paul never so much as even hinted at being discouraged over the possible derailment of God’s work and the advancement of the Gospel due to his incarceration. He had absolute confidence in the power and triumph of the Word of God.
Paul was saying – “I am in jail but the Bible isn’t and never will be.” No kingdom and no enemy can ever silence the Word of God. They’ve tried in the past and they are still feverishly working on it. Big billboards, signs on buses, legislation, social media saturation, and bold, belittling, blistering rants at rallies against the Word of God. “But the Word of God is not bound.”
More Bibles in more languages than at any other time in the history of the human race! Is the Word of God bound? Is it destructible? Is it failing? Is it losing ground?
Digitally the Bible is going places where hard copies may never reach. Here’s one example: the YouVersion Bible App on devices and phones has been downloaded 162 million times in 377 languages. And the users of this one app have spent 23.6 billion hours reading the Bible. Users of this one app shared 68+ million Bible verses in 2014 alone, on Twitter, FaceBook, text messages and in emails. (1) Now add to these impressive numbers, the reach of a host of other Bible apps in use. Those stats were just based on one app!
But the Bible in hard copy is no less popular. The Gideon Bible society, for instance, gives a Bible away every second of every day of the year. Did you know that the Bible is now available to earth-dwellers in whole or in part in 2,508 languages, representing 95+ percent of the world’s population? Amazing and thrilling!
The attacks on the Bible are intense but dear child of God remember Paul’s words: “the word of God is not bound!” The Bible isn’t going away.
The Word of God could not be bound in Paul’s day and it won’t be in ours.
2015 New Year’s Challenge!
The Bible is unique in many ways. If your friend asked you to defend the uniqueness and reliability of the Bible and it’s non-humanlike qualities that point to God as the Author, what facts would you be able to share? Below are ten memorisable facts pulled together from a number of sources that all of us should commit to memory.
1. Stronger manuscript support than any other work of classical literature including Homer, Plato, Aristotle, Caesar and Tacitus. 5600+ Greek manuscripts of the NT exist today that were copied less than 100 years of from their original, with an amazing 99.5% textual consistency and accuracy. In contrast, otherancient classical works fully accepted by academics today were copied between 500 –1300 years after the original. The total supporting New Testament manuscript base is over 24,000, more than all major ancient works combined!
2. Eye Witness Writers: Both the OT and NT have human writers who were actual eye witnesses of the events they wrote about. They didn’t just record orally transmitted stories.
3. Historical Accuracy: Secular, non-Christian historians including Josephus (before A.D.100), the Roman Tacitus (around A.D. 120), the Roman Suetonius (A.D. 110) and the Roman governor Pliny the Younger (A.D. 110) confirm in their ancient writings the many events, places, people and customs that are mentioned in NT. Even sceptics who have studied history are amazed at the historical accuracy of the New Testament.
4. Archaeological finds affirm the reliability of the Bible. No archaeological discovery has ever contradicted anything in the Bible.
5. Predictions Fulfilled: The Bible records predictions of events that could not be known or predicted by chance or by the accumulation of knowledge. Of striking relevance are the many prophecies regarding the coming of Jesus Christ into the world. Where He would be born (Micah 5:2); who He would die with (Isaiah 53:12); a graphic description written c.1000BC of how He would die including the piercing of His hands and feet (Psalm 22:16); that the soldiers would gamble for His clothing (Psalm 22:18); that His side would be pierced and none of His bones would be broken (Zechariah 12:10; Psalm 34:20). Jesus even predicted how He would die as well as His resurrection (John 2:19-22).
Many sceptics have been silenced by these fulfilled prophecies. 300+ prophecies fulfilled – too many to be coincidental. Too many to ignore.
6. The statistical probability of the development of such a book must be considered. Forty different writers, over 1600 years, in three different languages on three continents, wrote on hundreds of subjects. Few, if any of these writers ever had an opportunity to get together and to conspire to write a consistent, non-contradictory theme about a coming Saviour and the redemption of mankind. But such a theme is developed and woven throughout the entire Bible.
7. Non-humanlike disclosure of failures of God’s main and exemplary characters.
8. Redemptive Story of Grace that wouldn’t have been conceived by humans. Grace does not come naturally to humans. It originated with the God of all grace.
9. Survival / Thrival: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy were written 500 years before the earliest Hindu writings; Moses wrote Genesis 2000 years before Mohammed penned Koran. Of course, the Mormons’ Book of Mormon is of recent penmanship – the 1800’s in the United States.
10. Remarkable Brevity:Have you ever seen a multiple-volume encyclopaedia or a detailed account of a World War I? Very thick books indeed! Given the thousands of years covered by the Bible and the significance of the topics, the Bible is remarkably brief! Another non-humanlike feature.
Finally, remember “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable…” 2 Timothy 3:16
Make sure 2015 is a year when you will make an even greater effort to mine the gold found in the Word of God. Commit to a systematic daily reading of the Bible.There are a variety of reading plans and schedules available. Click here. To make it even easier, download a good Bible app for your phone.
May you and your family experience God in a rich way throughout 2015.
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