The Christian's Greatest Need
Our greatest necessity as students of the Book boils down to just two fundamental inquiries, two paramount questions. First, were the texts from which the Bible was originally translated inspired by GOD? And then if so, do we have today an accurate representation of those original texts? It all revolves around these two simple points, because if we do not have confidence that the Bible is GOD's testimony of HIS mighty works, then what testimony have we?
Without an inspired Bible which accurately depicts the events surrounding the work of HIS Son, the fabric of our faith dissolves before us. Without the inspired Bible there is no clear picture of who the Savior is, and what He was about. Without something true to believe, there can be no true believer, no true Christian. If we cannot rely on the Bible as our trustworthy source of truth, then there is no true foundation for our salvation; there is nothing sure. Nothing to live for beyond satisfying our daily whims and desires.
Understanding this is the foundation of all our enlightenment, because unless we believe that GOD is able to inspire and preserve the witness of HIS works, then we are blind to the reality the we today possess this witness. This is the whole point upon which everything turns. Did or did not GOD inspire the writing of the Bible, and once written did HE preserve HIS inspiration?
We must come to believe that either the Bible was inspired and preserved by GOD or else accept that it evolved over the ages from the minds of men. If we believe that the Bible was inspired, and more importantly that GOD preserved HIS inspiration, then the entire Book must fit together as one complete whole. Each part must compliment and contribute to the others. If, however, we reject that inspiration and decide that the writing of the Bible was solely dependant upon the traditions of man, that it just developed over time, then we must expect to find many contradictions.
As an example, when one Gospel tells us that two malefactors were crucified with Yeshua while another Gospel reports that two thieves were crucified a short time later, do we think we see a contradiction, or do we search for an explanation (see The Others Crucified)? Then again, when one Gospel tells us that the two Marys came before sunrise late on Saturday to see the tomb, while another Gospel tells us that several women came to the tomb after sunrise on Sunday with spices which they had prepared to anoint His body, do we imagine a discrepancy (see Resurrection Sunday)?
Are the two Gospels contradicting one another or are they complimenting one another? This is the mental fork in the road for each of us! One way reveals to us the ability of GOD to accurately record and preserve the true history of an event, while the other way suggests HIS inability or unwillingness to record and preserve those same events. Which way we think will determine our course in life, either unto spiritual maturity or unto spiritual ineptness.
If those writings are only chance interpretations of the events surrounding the life of GOD's Son, then not much is lost by not believing them. But on the other hand, if those writings are indeed GOD's testimony concerning the life of HIS Son, then all is hopelessly lost for whosoever chooses not to believe them.
Some seem to think that they believe in GOD and that Jesus is their Lord, but they just don't believe the Bible faithfully represents the truth. Doesn't that sound a little absurd? Think! What would we know of GOD and HIS Son without the Bible? If not the Bible, where did GOD preserve the record of all that HIS Son accomplished? Would GOD give HIS only begotten Son to die such an horrendous death and then not preserve some testimony of His life, death and resurrection? Isn't the answer evident? And yet how few acknowledge the scriptures to be inspired, and how fewer still believe them to be accurately written by men of GOD?!
RSV 2 PETER 1:21 ....because no prophecy ever came by the impulse of man, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.
To believe that these scriptures were inspired and faithfully written by men of GOD, is to believe that they are one harmonious whole, from GENESIS to REVELATION. For example, we don't have four evangelist telling four conflicting histories about GOD's Son, but what we have is four different evangelists telling one story from four different perspectives. Each book and each epistle of the Bible offers its own piece of one grand puzzle. No part can contradict another part, for if GOD be the one author, all inspired writers must be in agreement. This is what inspiration is, to be moved by GOD's spirit to initiate a writing, a speaking or action in some way. As Yeshua warned His disciples,
LUKE 12:11-12 And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and unto magistrates, and powers, take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say: for the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say.
If GOD was able to give these disciples thoughts to speak so as to be a witness against these magistrates, then HE most assuredly was able to give other disciples thoughts to write so as to be a witness of HIS mighty works. What other explanation is there for the amazing and wonderful Book we call the Bible? What other book gives us the history and beginnings of our Race? What other book gives us the purpose of the ages? What other book has been preserved for us down through the eons? Where else can one find the wisdom of PROVERBS? Where else can one see the simplistic truth taught in the Sermon on the Mount?
And yet this Book was not written by some really smart philosopher who compiled all the wisdom of the ages into a single volume. No, this Book was written by more than forty different writers over the span of fifteen centuries, hardly ever referencing any other work outside of itself. Moreover, during these ages and since, the forces of evil have relentlessly worked at destroying this Book, by imprisoning, torturing and murdering its writers, its readers and its believers. And yet it prevails. GOD's testimony still speaks to an unbelieving world.
Let us go forward from today holding up as our only rule of faith this Holy Book. Let us attempt to forget all the garbage we have been taught. Let us wipe the slate clean, if we can. Let us reject all of the Professors and Preachers who have led us into this dire place of doubt and unbelief. Let us wrestle free from the chains of religious tradition and measure every concept by HIS revealed truth.
This is the Christian's Greatest Need