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Saturday, November 22, 2014


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The Truth About God And The Bible
By Robert Roberts



We ask what Christ thought about the Old Testament scriptures -- the part of the Bible that existed in his day. What he thought must be the truth, for he proclaimed himself "the way, the truth, and the life," and proved his assertion by the miracles he wrought, and finally by the resurrection of which he was the subject after crucifixion.

First of all, he expressly said to people who imagined he was come to set up a new religion, "Think not that I am come to destroy the law and the prophets, I am not come to destroy but to FULFIL" (Matt. 5:17). The law and the prophets (another way of describing what we know as the Old Testament) teem with assertions of divine authorship. Nearly two thousand times the phrase occurs, "Thus saith the Lord." Hundreds of times in the law the statement occurs, "And the Lord spake unto Moses,"If this allegation so constantly made be true, we can understand there being something in Moses and the prophets for Christ to "fulfil," for when God speaks, He not only utters commandments, but shows things to come: saying, as by Isaiah (46:10), "I shew the end from the beginning."

But if the writings of Moses and the prophets were the mere product of human thought and impression, how could there be any thing for Christ to fulfil? Man cannot lay down plans for God to follow: man cannot foretell the future. But the prophets do foretell the future. And they especially lay down plans in connection with Christ (Dan. 9; Isa. 53; and many other places).

How Christ regarded these utterances is shown by the use he made of them in his intercourse with the disciples. See what we read in Luke 24 -- that after his resurrection, he expounded to them in all the scriptures of Moses and the prophets, "the things concerning himself." Referring to his death, from the standpoint of his resurrection, he said, "These are the words which I spake unto you while I was yet with you that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the law of Moses and in the prophets CONCERNING ME" (verse 44).

This proves Christ's recognition of the divine character of the scriptures. It was shown more expressly when he quoted from the Psalms in his argument with the Pharisees, and said "The scripture cannot be broken" (Jno. 10:35). If the scripture were human, it certainly could be broken, for nothing is more upsettable than the word or appointment of mortal fallible man. If it cannot be broken, it must be of God. This was Christ's view.

He advised the people on one occasion to "Search the scriptures" (Jno. 5:35). "They," said he, "are they that testify of me." The scriptures which Jesus was referring to (for there were no New Testament scriptures at the time Jesus spoke) were written hundreds of years before Christ appeared. How could they testify of a teacher to appear hundreds of years afterwards if they were merely human writings? The did so testify, and their word was fulfilled. What conclusion remains but that they were divine and not human writings?

This conclusion is expressly affirmed by the apostles, who were inspired to declare the truth (Jno. 16:13), and concerning whom Jesus said, "He that heareth you, heareth Me." First Peter said, "No prophecy of the scripture is of private interpretation (or origination), for holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit " (2 Peter 1:21). This is in harmony with what Paul declares concerning the knowledge of God. He says a man can only know the things of man, "but the things of God KNOWETH no man, BUT THE SPIRIT OF GOD" (1 Cor. 2:11). Now, the scriptures of the Old Testament declare the things of God. Consequently, they must on the principle defined by Paul be the product of the Holy spirit, which Paul expressly alleges, saving, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for correction and reproof and instruction in righteousness."

Thus the doctrine of Christ and the doctrine of the apostles concerning the Scriptures are one. It is a different teaching from the doctrine which is becoming so fashionable through the influence of what are called "the higher critics." The choice we are called upon to make is a choice between the doctrine of Christ and the apostles, who were divinely illuminated, and the speculative opinions of men who do not know, but guess, and whose guesses are being continually upset by the progress of discovery, as in the case of the inscribed tablets of Tel-Amarna. Before these tablets were discovered, the critics used to contend that the art of writing was not known in the days of Moses, and that therefore Moses could not have written the first five books of the Bible. They have ceased that contention now that these ancient written tablets have been discovered.

The view enunciated by Christ and his disciples -- that the Scriptures are of divine origin and authorship -- is borne out by all the tests it is in our power to apply. Chief among those may be said to be the quality of the book. A divine book ought to differ from a human book as much as divine ways differ from human ways. And it is so. The Bible differs from human literature in its style of diction, and in the nature of its sentiment. It depreciates man: It exalts God, as no human book does. Then look at its unsparing candour of narrative; its forecasts of the future.

It differs from human books also in this, that though written in an age when the world was sunk in gross ignorance of all natural things, as well as in the deepest immorality of practice, it enunciates the noblest and purest principles of action, and even the grandest discovery of scientific investigation.

CHAPTER 6: The Bible And Science