Sermon by Joshua Chipchase
Preached on June 25, 2017
I was once talking with a fellow soldier about the Bible. Another soldier came up and rebuked me saying I shouldn’t follow the Bible because it was for the people way back then, but does not apply to us now. He said, “Don’t follow the Bible, follow Jesus.”
How would you respond to that? I think that in order to find the answer we must look at what Jesus Himself thought about the Scriptures. Let’s look at 5 points.
Jesus believes that the Scriptures had divine authority. Matthew 15:1-6.
a. Instead of following man-made traditions we need to follow the commandments of God, which are found in the Scriptures.
b. What Scripture says, God says. Compare Matthew 19:5 with Genesis 2:24.
c. Jesus believed that the Scriptures had absolute divine authority, shouldn’t we?
Jesus believes that Scripture has no error. Matthew 5:17-19.
a. When you open up your Bible you can trust that every part of it is applicable today.
b. God’s Word is perfect down to the smallest part of the smallest letter.
c. There are many out there with PhD’s and big libraries who will try to tell you that the Bible contains errors, contradictions, or mistakes. “But the Son of God, the Creator of heaven and earth, the Savior of the world, the Prince of Peace, the Lord of lords, the King of kings, the Messiah–Jesus Christ says that the Bible is perfect, contains no errors, and is 100% trustworthy and reliable. Who do you think you’re going to believe?”
Jesus believes that the Scriptures have the power to save. Luke 16:19-31.
a. Every single one of us is going to spend eternity in either heaven or hell. Once we get there we will not be able to get out.
b. The rich man was saying that the Bible was not enough, but that his brothers needed a miracle.
c. It is not a miracle that saves us, but a message. That message is contained in Moses and the Prophets (i.e. the whole OT).
d. Look at the Pharisees and all the miracles they saw, yet refused to believe.
e. What a comfort for evangelism. I don’t need to be a genius; I just have to speak the Bible!
Jesus believes that the Scriptures have the power to sanctify. John 17:17.
a. You need to immerse yourself in this Book if you want to grow.
b. When your walk with the Lord isn’t going well it is probably because you have been neglecting the sanctifying Word of God.
c. Observe how Jesus quoted the Old Testament to fend off the temptations of satan (Matt. 4:1-11; Luke 4:1-13).
d. Jesus believes that this Book can sanctify and change people. Do you believe that?
Jesus believes that the Scriptures are focused on Christ. Luke 24:25.
a. They should have already known about the Christ and what He was going to do.
b. Not just one book, or even a few, but all of the books in the OT point to Him, even if only implicitly. The Scriptures are Christocentric.
c. Many believe that the main message of the Bible is to help must us into moral people. But if that is the case we are doomed!
So how do you respond to somebody who says, “Don’t follow the Bible, follow Jesus.” Our response should be, “I believe the Bible BECAUSE I follow Jesus. I follow Jesus; THEREFORE I follow the Bible.
There is a famous go-to verse in Second Peter for those trying to say that Paul’s letters are confusing and hard to understand. Peter’s words are frequently taken to mean that we cannot properly interpret many of the theological discourses in Paul. His statement has often been used as a cop-out in (losing) debates over a Pauline text. But is this really what Peter meant? Is he really telling his audience that they should throw in the towel and give up on Pauline exegesis? I encourage you to read the entire context in which the verse is found (see passage below), and then we will get into reasons why we can still understand Paul, and why this verse does not teach that we cannot: Continue reading Are Paul’s Letters Hard to Understand? Rethinking 2 Peter 3:16
In Daniel 2:45, after explaining to king Nebuchadnezzar his dream and its interpretation, Daniel says, “The great God has made known to the king what will take place in the future; so the dream is true and its interpretation is trustworthy” (emphasis mine). In passing it may seem as though the last clause is limited in scope to this account alone. I wish to argue, however, that the truth and trustworthiness mentioned here extends not just to this dream, nor to dreams alone, but to everything that God has revealed. Since all Scripture is breathed out by God (2 Tim. 3:16), I therefore contend that this verse in Daniel is (to some extent) teaching the truth and trustworthiness of the entire Bible (i.e. infallibility). This dream is not the only hidden thing that “God has made known” to men in the past. It would be inconsistent and blasphemous to say that other things He reveals are less true and trustworthy. Continue reading What God Reveals is True: Infallibility in Daniel 2:45
In opposition to the three positions mentioned in Barth, Rome, and Liberals on Inspiration, I will argue in favor of the fourth position, Plenary Verbal inspiration. I will seek to explain the tenets of the position and argue from both a textual and historical standpoint that the position is verifiably the most reasonable among the four and therefore the most accurate position.
First, it is necessary to begin by defining our terms. The word “inspiration” refers to the act of God by which he speaks through the instrument of a human. This definition will be further unpacked as Scripture references are considered. However, of consideration first is the word “plenary.” The word “plenary” may simply be defined as “all” or “complete.” “All” refers to the entire Bible including its constituent parts: the individual words and letters.
Similarly, what is meant by ‘Verbal’ is the content of the Scriptures in their original manuscripts. While “plenary” refers to the capacity of inspiration, “verbal” describes the object of inspiration: the original autographs of the Greek and Hebrew, i.e. the parchment on which Paul wrote Romans.
Continue reading A Final Look at Inspiration: Four Views on the Bible’s Origin, Pt. 2
From its inception until now, Christianity has hinged upon a certain truth: God is not silent. Churches across the world assemble weekly, colleges and seminaries are erected, and debates echo across the internet because of this truth. God speaks to man by breathing out his words. This formulation is the basis for what is called the doctrine of inspiration, a word which comes from the Latin inspirare, to breathe into. It is the doctrine of how God’s words are communicated to man. But what precisely does it mean to be inspired? What is the object being inspired? To what extent does this inspiration occur? These questions are matters of contention in the theological realm. The doctrine of inspiration is formulated differently among those who would profess Christianity. In light of these differences, I will argue that the Plenary Verbal position is the correct position on the basis of textual evidence and historical support. In this post as well as Part 2, therefore, I will present and explain four prominent positions on the doctrine of inspiration: the Neo-Orthodox position, the Roman Catholic position, the Limited position, and the Plenary Verbal position. I will seek to defend the veracity of the Plenary Verbal position by examining sources pertaining to inspiration which are considered prominent in each of these camps, summarizing each position clearly and faithfully, and finally arguing carefully from a textual and historical perspective that the Plenary Verbal position is the best position among the four while rebutting major objections raised against it. Continue reading Barth, Rome, and Liberals: Four Views on the Bible’s Origin, Pt. 1
I believe in the inerrancy, infallibility, and plenary verbal inspiration of the Bible. On what grounds do I hold such a view? Because the Bible says so. Jesus said that “the Scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35). The apostle Paul, who was commissioned by Jesus, said, “All Scripture is inspired by God” (2 Tim. 3:16). In addition to the beliefs of Jesus Himself and His apostles we could add that, “the words, ‘The Lord said’, ‘The Lord spake’, ‘The word of the Lord came’, and cognate expressions are actually used 3,808 times in the Old Testament alone!” The testimony of the Bible concerning its divine origin is overwhelming, and that is my evidence for inspiration.
However, many will immediately object that this argument is invalid due to circular reasoning. They say we cannot use a source itself to prove its own authenticity. Rather, they say Christians are to look outside the Bible for evidence. That is true in most other cases. That is why we have lawyers, juries, witnesses, and so forth in a court case. If a man says he didn’t commit a murder, but three bystanders saw him do it, then his testimony is invalid. Or if a child says he saw the boogie man in his closet, no parent will believe them if the closet is empty. Continue reading Sanctified Circular Reasoning: The Legitimacy of Believing the Bible Because of the Bible