DO YOU KNOW GOD?
WHAT DO YOU MEAN WHEN YOU SAY, "I KNOW GOD"?
HOW DID YOU COME TO KNOW HIM?
HOW WERE YOU INTRODUCED THE FIRST TIME YOU MET?
Here is a question that I hope makes you really examine yourself. DO YOU NOT ONLY KNOW GOD…..BUT DO YOU KNOW HIM WELL?
If you know Him well, there was a time when you didn't know Him quite so well, or you knew Him only remotely.
WHAT MADE THE DIFFERENCE?
HOW DID YOU TRANSITION FROM JUST KNOWING HIM (OR ABOUT HIM) TO WHERE YOU KNOW HIM INTIMATELY?
IN OTHER WORDS, HOW DOES ONE REALLY GET TO KNOW GOD?
I have listed four ways we can get to know God better than we currently do.
1. You have to spend time with Him.
You can't really get to know someone without being around them. You have to commit yourself to His company and His interests.
2. A dialog between the two of you must exist.
There has to be some level of intimacy to really get to know someone. Without this, your relationship with Him can only be superficial at best. But, be careful that you don't do all the talking.
3. Observe what He does or has done.
a. His creation
b. His miracles
c. His other works.
Also watch how He works in the live of other people.
4. By listening to how others, who know Him well, talk about Him.
They use descriptive words that add to our understanding of God and knowledge of Him. Sometimes these descriptive words are given in such a manner that they become a name or title for God (e.g. 'My Savior' or 'Lord.'). The Bible has over 100 such names for God, each of which accentuate a quality or specific aspect of His character.
We need to get to know God. Not just know about Him, but know Him intimately. We have discussed 4 ways to help us get to know God better.
WHAT OTHER MEANS DO WE HAVE THAT HELPS US KNOW GOD MORE?
The Word of God.
Of all the means whereby we can know God, or about Him, every one gives an incomplete picture, except for the Word of God. This is one reason we have spent these several weeks discussing the reliability of the Bible. The Bible we have is indeed reliable and is the basis of our faith and practice.
I said that except for the Word of God, all others give an incomplete picture of God. By way of example, lets look at a couple of these 4 means of getting to know God.
For instance, Psalm 19:1 says.
1 The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork.
We can look at the things that God has made and to some degree learn some things about God. Things like:
a. The vastness of the size of His creation.
b. The smallest detail has been attended to.
c. The complexities of how the universe functions indicates something of the intelligence of God.
This verse tells us that God's creation conveys to our minds a true impression of the greatness and majesty of God. But while it is true that what the creation teaches us about God is truly accurate and perfect, it is limited in the scope of what it teaches us about Him. It only tells us part of what there is to know about God. The creation "declares the Glory of God." But it tells us nothing about God's mercy and love and compassion.
Let me now ask you a progressive series of questions to think about.
Is there a God?
If so, Is it logical to believe that God knows what is going on down here?
If so, Is it reasonable to believe that He cares about what's going on down here?
If so, Is it reasonable to believe that He cares enough to communicate His concerns to us?
If so, How might He communicate truth to us? Can the Bible demonstrate that it is indeed God's Word.
Our answer to this question will not only determine how we view the Bible and its importance in our lives, but also it will ultimately have an eternal impact on us.
I want to give you 10 reasons I believe the Bible is the, indeed, the Word of God. None of the reasons I give is conclusive by itself. All should be taken as a whole. Additionally, this list is certainly not a complete one - and each could be expanded upon.
1. It contains knowledge beyond human origin
CAN YOU THINK OF SOME THINGS THAT ARE REVEALED IN THE BIBLE WHICH WE WOULD HAVE NOT WAY OF KNOWING IF IT WERE NOT GIVEN TO US BY GOD?
1. Creation of spirit beings.
2. Lucifer's past (origin of sin)
3. Creation of the material world
4. Information concerning the future eternal ages
5. Hundreds of prophecies already fulfilled and many yet unfulfilled
6. The Plan of Salvation
7. How Mary became pregnant with Jesus
Man could never have known about these and other things related to God's plan for man except by direct revelation of them through the Holy Spirit.
In Colossians 1:25-26 (NKJV), we find Paul stating:
25 ...I became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God,
26 the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints.
Colossians 2:3 speaks of God in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
Yes, there are some things we would never know unless they were divinely revealed.
2. Its Unity
HOW DOES THE UNITY OF THE BIBLE WRITINGS PROVE TO BE EVIDENCE FOR ITS DIVINE AUTHORSHIP?
As a literary composition, the Bible is the most remarkable book ever compiled. It is a divine library of 66 segments. Some of the segments are of considerable size - others no larger than a small pamphlet. The writers wrote in various lands, from Italy in the west to Mesopotamia and possibly Persia in the east. These writers themselves were a heterogeneous array of people, not only separated from each other by hundreds of years and hundreds of miles, but belonging to the most diverse walks of life.
In their ranks we have: kings, herdsmen, soldiers, legislators, fishermen, statesmen, priests, prophets, a tent-making rabbi, and a gentile physician, not to speak of others of whom we know little apart from the writing they have left us.
The writings themselves belong to a great variety of literary types. They include:
o law (criminal, civil, ethical, ritual, sanitary laws)
o religious poetry
o lyric poetry
o parable and allegory
o personal correspondence
...as well as the distinctively biblical types of prophecy and apocalyptic literature.
And yet, for all that, there is an amazing unity that binds the whole together. Nowhere in the whole real of literature is there such a book, showing such diversity, and yet, there is still a central theme running from cover to cover. That is, Jesus Christ, our Redeemer, the Messiah, the Son of God.
We can read from Genesis to Revelation and find no disjointed scenario, put together by happenstance. We can pass from one style of literature to another as easily as though we were reading a story written by one hand and produced by one life. And, INDEED, we do have a story produces by one MIND, though not written by one hand.
3. Its internal claims
Some might object to using the words of the Bible itself as evidence for its own authenticity. The fact that the Bible claims to be the Word of God is not enough to authenticate the claim. Any book can make such a claim. But the fact that the claim is made is still significant indeed.
Even in a court of law, a defendant can take the stand on his or her own behalf. And it if cannot be shown that their testimony is false or that they have perjured themselves, their words are used as evidence in the minds of the jury as much as any other. The same is true when the Bible provides evidence in its own defense.
The Bible consistently affirms that it is the Word of God. The phrase, "God said," is found over 2,700 times in the Bible. The phrase, "Thus saith the Lord," is found 1,904 times. The Bible testifies to its own integrity - in that it claims to be:
o the Word of Life - Philippians 2:16
o the Word of Truth - Ephesians 1:13
o the Word of Salvation - Acts 13:26
o the Word of Reconciliation - 2 Corinthians 5:19
Many times in Scripture, we find one Book referring to the writing of another Book as being the Word of God. Take Daniel 9:1-2 (NKJV) as an example:
1 In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the lineage of the Medes, who was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans (Babylonians) -
2 in the first year of his reign I, Daniel, understood by the books the number of the years specified by the word of the LORD through Jeremiah the prophet, that He would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.
Daniel refers to the prophecy of Jeremiah as "the Word of the Lord."
In Revelation 1:1, the apostle John says what he writes is, the revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him.
Over and over again the writers made it perfectly clear that they were speaking on behalf of God, who gave them what to say. And repeatedly, writers of Scripture accepted the parts of the Bible they had as being the Word of the Lord.
4. The Claims of Jesus
Perhaps the most sweeping endorsement of all of the Old Testament comes from Christ Himself.
Luke 24:44 NKJV
44 Then He said to them, "These are the words which I spoke 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."
The Bible and my Lord stand or fall together. If the Bible is not the Word of God, then Christ is not the Son of God. To all Christians, Jesus Christ is God and the final and supreme authority in all things. We have provided, in an earlier lesson, the evidence showing that Jesus is indeed Divine. And that evidence was not only taken from the Scriptures, but from history and others. I mention this only to put to rest any objection concerning circular reasoning, where we would use only the Word of God to prove the divinity of Jesus, then use the words of Jesus to prove the divine origin of the Bible. If Jesus is God - and I believe that He is, then His opinion with regard to the inerrancy of Scripture must be accounted as truth.
SO WHAT DID JESUS THINK OF THE SCRIPTURES?
HOW DID HE USE THEM?
Jesus believed and taught that the Hebrew Bible was inerrant, not only in matters of faith and practice, but in its prophetic, historical, geographical and scientific data as well. He stated emphatically:
"For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished" (Matthew 5:18).
He quoted Scripture as final authority, often introducing the statement with the phrase, "It is written," such as when He was tempted by Satan in the wilderness. At other times he spoke of himself and of events surrounding his life as being the fulfillments of the Scripture (Matthew 26:54, 56). Perhaps His most sweeping endorsement and acceptance of the Old Testament was when he declared with finality, "Scripture cannot be broken" (John 10:35).
If, then, we accept Jesus as Savior and Lord, it would be a contradiction of terms, and strangely inconsistent, if we rejected the Scriptures as the Word of God. We would be in disagreement with the very One whom we acknowledge to be the eternal God, the Creator of the universe and all in it. If the church submits to the authority of Christ, then it must regard His view of Scripture as being authoritative as well.
One additional statement concerning Christ's endorsement of Scripture must be made. In John 16, Jesus also predicted the writing of the New Testament under the power of the Holy Spirit, therefore putting a stamp-of-approval on its inerrancy even before it was penned.
5. Fulfilled Prophecy
Next to accepting what Jesus says about the Scripture, perhaps the strongest objective argument for the validity of its writings comes from fulfilled Bible prophecy. No other writing of any major world religion has fulfilled prophecy in its pages. This is a phenomena unique to the Bible. And all of history has consistently taken the stand as a reliable and authentic witness to the accuracy of Bible prophecy.
Isaiah shows us why God considers prophecy to be very important. He tells us how prophecy demonstrates the uniqueness of God, and that there is none like unto Him. Let's look at three Passages in the Book of Isaiah.
Isaiah 46:9-10 NKJV
9 Remember the former things of old, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me,
10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying, 'My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure,'
Isaiah 42:9 NKJV
9 Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things I declare; Before they spring forth I tell you of them."
Isaiah 48:5 NKJV
5 Even from the beginning I have declared it to you; Before it came to pass I proclaimed it to you, lest you should say, 'My idol has done them, and my carved image and my molded image have commanded them.'
The above Scriptures tell us that God is unique in that He alone knows the end from the beginning. He says, in effect - "You have seen things come to pass as I had told you beforehand. This proves that I am God." Then He goes on to tell us that, because former things have come to pass as He had said, then we should also believe Him when he tells us new things about the future. Prophecy points to the foreknowledge of God, for they are not spoken in vague and insignificant terms. These are not the vague prophecies we find in Edgar Cayce or Nostradamus. They are frilled with intricate details.
Biblical prophecy declares the events of the future with accuracy which is beyond the capability of human wisdom or anticipation. Despite astronomical odds, hundreds of biblical prophecies have come true, and they make a very strong argument for the divine origin of the Bible.
6. Its preservation through the ages
HOW IS THIS EVIDENCE FOR THE AUTHENTICITY OF THE BIBLE?
No other book has been so persistently attacked by its enemies. Yet, the Bible has always remained victorious. The Bible has withstood vicious attacks of its enemies as not other book. Many have tried to burn it, ban it and outlaw it from the days of Roman emperors to present-day atheistic countries.
Voltaire, the noted French infidel who died in 1778, said that, "…in one hundred years from his time Christianity would be swept from existence and passed into history." Here's what actually happened. Voltaire has passed into history, while circulation of the Bible continues to increase in almost all parts of the world.
As one has said correctly, "We might as well put our shoulder to the burning wheel of the sun, and try to stop it on its flaming course, as attempt to stop the circulation of the Bible."
Now, back to the boast of Voltaire on the extinction of Christianity in 100 years. Only 50 years after his death, the Geneva Bible Society used his former press and house to print and distribute stacks of Bible to the world. Like Moses' rod which turned into a serpent, the Bible devours all competitors. If this book had not been the Book of God, men would have destroyed it long ago. Emperors, kings, princes and rulers have all tired their hand at it, and whereas they have died, the Book still lives.
Bernard Ramm adds that:
"A thousand times over, the death knell of the Bible has been sounded, the funeral procession formed, the inscription cut on the tombstone, and the committal read. But somehow the corpse never stays put."
This Book stands as no other.
7. Its depth and lofty ideals
The teachings of the Bible are immeasurably superior to those of any, and all, other books. Let me put it this way: The Bible is universal in its appeal,
o reasonable in its teachings,
o reliable in its promises,
o everlasting in its usefulness,
o indispensable to human civilization,
o indisputable in its authority,
o interesting in its histories,
o colorful in its biographies,
o accurate in its prophecies,
o individual in its messages,
o far-reaching in its vision,
o complete in its laws.
o comprehensive in its knowledge,
o infinite in its detail,
o unselfish in its purpose,
o simple in its application,
o just in its demands,
o righteous in its judgments,
o and masterful in its wisdom.
Jesus of Nazareth shed more light on things human and divine than all the philosophers combined. He spoke such words of life as were never spoken before or since, and produced effects which lie beyond the reach of orator or poet. Without writing a single line, He set more pens in motion, and furnished more themes for more sermons, orations, discussions, works of art, and songs of praise than the whole army of great men of ancient and modern times.
Inerrancy simply means that the Bible contains truthful information revealed through normal methods of communications, and that what it relates is completely without error. This applies not only to spiritual truths, such as salvation through Jesus Christ, but to historical, geological, scientific and geographical matters.
Over the past 100 years, scores of so-called problem passages have been resolved in favor of the Bible as supporting evidence came to light. Passages that a hundred years ago many scholars thought contained historical and scientific errors, are now proven to be true.
For example, archaeology has validated many historical claims in Scripture. Civilizations, nations, kings, wars, customs, geological facts, and fulfilled prophecy, which at one time were thought to be false or even mythical due to there being no record of them other than the Bible, have now been shown to be factual precisely as the Bible stated.
Proverbs 30:5 NIV
5 Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.
The Bible is not a scientific textbook, but when it makes a statement touching on scientific issues, they are absolutely accurate. They are infallible because their author, God is infallible. Only God is error-free in everything He says and does.
If the Bible were written by mere men, covering such subjects as it does, it would be full of errors and discrepancies and contradictions. The Bible has been proven to be truthful in all areas in which it can be investigated. The New Testament agrees with the Old in calling God a God of truth. Examples of such statements include:
John 3:33 "God is truthful."
John 17:3 "That they may know you the only true God."
1 John 5:20 "He is the true God."
To make sure that we don't overlook the importance of God's truthfulness, three times the Scripture stresses that God cannot lie (Num. 23:19; Titus 1:2; Heb. 6:18).
9. Its Influence
One reason I believe the Bible is true is that it gives the experience it claims it will give us. For example, the Bible says that God will forgive our sins - 1 John 1:9. I believe that, and I can truly say that I have a sense of freedom from guilt. The Bible, empowered by the Holy Spirit, changes lives. The Bible can put lives back together. Millions of people around the world are proof that this is true - from great heads of state to brilliant educators - from philosophers and writers to generals and historians. They can all attest to the fact that the Bible has changes their lives.
The Bible's effectiveness is a very powerful claim for its infallibility.
Isaiah 55:10-11 NKJV
10 For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
11 So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.
10. It meets every human need
The Bible touches every area of life.
You want to know about relationships? It touches that.
You want to know about marriage? It touches that.
You want to know about work ethics? It touches that.
Do you want to know about the factors of the human mind? Do you want to know about motives? Do you know why you do what you do and how to do it better? Do you want to know what you're to live for? It's all there. The matters of skill in daily living are all there.
It tells you about attitudes, reactions, responses, how to teat people, how you're to be treated by people, how to cultivate virtue in your life. Every aspect of living is covered in the pages of the Bible. It can take a person with no understanding and make him skilled in the matter of daily living.
Now you know why I believe the Bible is the Word of God. It is God's written revelation of His will to mankind. Behind and beneath this book - above and beyond this book - is the God of the Book. For the Bible is all about God, and especially it is about God's Son, Jesus Christ.
Our faith in God is not dependent upon human knowledge or scientific advances, but on the unmistakable message of the Word of God. The Bible is old, yet it is ever new. It is always up-to-date.
So, what is your response to the Bible? How you respond determines the course of your life and your eternal destiny.
1 Corinthians 2:9 NKJV
9 But as it is written: "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him."
The Bible is the source of everything you need to know about life on earth and the life to come. You can trust the Bible It, indeed, is God's living Word. If the Bible is truly God's Word, then we should cherish it, study it, obey it, and ultimately put our trust in what it says. If the Bible is God's Word, then to dismiss it is to dismiss God Himself. The fact that God gave us the Bible is an evidence and an illustration of His love for us.
Let me make a few comments in closing. The whole Bible is built around the story of Christ and His promise of life everlasting to men. It was written only that we might believe and understand, know and love, and follow Him.
The Bible is the only book that reveals the mind of God,
- the state of man,
- the way of salvation,
- the doom of sinners,
- and the happiness of believers.
Its doctrines are holy,
- its precepts binding,
- its histories true,
- and its decisions immutable.
It contains light to direct,
- spiritual food to sustain,
- and comfort to cheer.
Man should read it to be wise,
- believe it to be safe,
- and practice it to be holy.
He should read it that it might fill his memory,
- rule his heart,
- and guide his feet in righteousness and true holiness
He should read it slowly, frequently, prayerfully, meditatively, searchingly, devotionally, and study it constantly, perseveringly, and industriously, through and through until it becomes a part of his being, generating faith that will move mountains.