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The Bible: Big Book, Solid Truth, and Divine Love

The Bible: Big Book, Solid Truth, and Divine Love

I love the Bible. Why? The Bible is the “Word of God,” the history of His dealings with us, the truth He has given us to obey, and evidence of His eternal love.

The Bible is a big book in many ways.

The King James Version has 750,000 words, in Two Testaments, and sixty-six books. It was written over two thousand years by 35 authors in at least three languages, Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek.

The Bible is the most accurate book we have. This is in part because it has been checked and verified countless times. When its text was checked with the famous Dead Sea Scrolls in 1949, its accuracy was remarkable. The fact is it cannot be inaccurate because it comes from God who IS truth and cannot lie.

While God Himself wrote the Ten Commandments on tablets of stone, the rest of its vast test was written on parchment or other perishable material by holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. – 1 Peter 1:21

Ezra* (FL 480-440 BC) edited the text of these holy men about 500 years before Christ and gave us the Old Testament. The question is how do we know no errors have crept in?

These Dead Sea Scrolls were found in caves near the Dead Sea, and scholars agree that these ancient manuscripts -- written shortly before the life of Jesus -- are one of the most significant archaeological finds in modern history.

Many scrolls contain books of the Old Testament and have repeatedly confirmed the accuracy of the texts of our Bibles. Other scrolls show that many people were eagerly looking for the coming of the Messiah.

The Bible’s Solid Truth

I have always taken the Bible as being true in every respect. This was the rule for Western civilization as a whole up until the enlightenment if the 18th – 19th centuries when historians questioned the existence of people and places in the Bible. Modern Archeology has demonstrated the Bible’s accuracy and historical truth:

  • The Bible is filled with people known from history, not myths.

  • It is filled with real geographical places known by people then and now.

  • It records actual events

  • Names of gods and kings and others famous people are recorded.

  • Local laws and customs are accurately recorded

  • Specific works of architecture and engineering

  • Major world empires and leaders appear.

  • Prophesies are given and fulfilled.

  • Christians have another powerful affirmation of the Old Testament’s contents, the affirmation of Jesus who is Himself the Truth.

He specifically talks about:

  • Adam and Eve

  • Cain and Abel

  • Noah and the Flood

  • Abraham and Sarah

  • Job and his attack by Satan

  • Moses and Elijah

  • Naaman and Elisha

  • Daniel and his prophecies.

Overall, the Old Testament is solid history. What we find there is confirmed by Josephus, a Jewish scholar/historian and Roman general active at the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD. The earliest Masoretic Text of Isaiah* was from 980 AD until the Dead Sea Scrolls were found in 1947. When they were compared, there was virtually no difference.

This was because the Masoretes reverenced the text as the Word of God, and “devised a complicated system of counting the verses, words, and letters of the text to safeguard against any scribal slips. Any scroll not measuring up to these rules was buried or burned.”

This solid truth continues more adamantly in the New Testament.

The Bible’s New Testament is Primary Source Material

The men who wrote the Gospels, History, Epistles, and Prophecy of the New Testament were contemporaries of Jesus. All but one knew Him. Two were among His disciples, two His brothers and one an Apostle. They saw Him after the Resurrection and witnessed the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost and were persecuted for His Name’s sake, some were martyred.

So widespread was the distribution of the scriptures in the first 3 centuries that the New Testament could be completely reconstructed from citations from the early church fathers, with the exception of 27 verses, most of which come from the epistles of John.

The final piece of evidence for me is that while other ancient texts, such as Caesar’s Gallic Wars exist in just 250 manuscripts, the earliest one is 900 years after the event. The New Testament survives in nearly 6,000 Greek manuscripts written between 30 and 150 years after the events took place!

The Bible’s Divine Love Flows from Genesis through Revelation

God’s power and personality are on display in every story on every page. of the Bible We see from the very beginning His goodness in creation and his compassion for His people. He created us good, in His likeness and is active on our behalf and defense from the relentless attacks of the devil and the evil he orchestrates against us.

In the Garden of Eden, the serpent seduces Adam* and Eve* to sin and bring death and damnation to God’s perfect creation. But God responds to their disobedience kindly, fatherly, lovingly, sparing their lives and delaying their judgment, and providing a path of forgiveness.

The wicked one and his helpers corrupt every trace of good they can so that the world that then was became so evil that God destroyed it in the Flood. Even then God showed His compassion and love and provided a way of salvation through a deliverer and an ark.

God continues to bless His people, and the devil continues to corrupt.

When Noah'*s descendants repopulated the earth and the nations of the world came to be, God revealed another element of His plan of salvation, the building of a Holy nation, a chosen people who would enjoy His favor and accomplish His purpose. This began with the call of Abraham*, and his story is an epic that spans 469 years.

Within this divine love story of God's plan for the blessing of His people, lie unique pictures of His love, compassion, and kindness for individuals out of the spotlight of history but dear to Him in their humility.

We see this love in the story of Abraham* and Sarah*, a long and lovely romance between a powerful, potent man of agriculture and a very beautiful woman. Their love endured through 30 years and hundreds of miles of travel and was blessed with a child of promise, Isaac.* He too had a love story, inspired by Rebekah, for whom he prayed and to whom the LORD gave two sons, Esau* and Jacob*.

They had love stories of their own. Jacob loved Rachel so much that he worked for her father for seven years that seemed like nothing to him because he loved her so much! Jacob also married Leah, Rachel's older sister, whom he did not love so much, and God saw this. The LORD blessed this unloved woman with many sons, and Jacob grew to love her so much that he chose to be buried with her when he died

These were the parents of the children of Israel loved and blessed by God and their father and given birthrights and heritage in the Promised Land of Canaan and the kingdom of God. These glimpses of personal love are eclipsed by the generations of bondage God's people endured in Egypt, a cruel and punishing furnace of fashioning a people. but within that overwhelming time of difficulty, we see a family of Levites, Amram, Joacebed, Miriam*, Aaron,* and Moses* living in love with and for one another for their people, and for the LORD.

God used this family to bring His people out of bondage and bring them to the place He had promised Abraham 430 years before. He did this personally, appearing to them, speaking to them, and giving them His Word.

Again we see beneath His directive hand in the exodus the underlying love in the lives of women and the men they loved to build God's. family, people, and kingdom. Rahab the harlot is the first loving figure we see. We know God loves His people on a macro level. In Joshua we see Him leading the children of Israel into Canaan and destroying the city of Jericho.

Within that big story is a little one, of His love for a woman of Jericho, the wicked city they annihilated, a wicked woman herself, a prostitute. She feared Him, and that is the beginning of wisdom. She hid his spies and for this, the LORD promised her salvation for herself and her family. In an illustration of His love and prophetic symbol of Jesus'* sacrifice on Calvary, they were saved by the scarlet line Rahab used to lower the spies to safety.

As always, God's love expresses itself in ways far beyond our expectations. Rahab and her family were not only saved from death when Jericho was destroyed, She married into the royal line of Israel and the lineage of David* and Jesus. How great is God's love and how merciful. Her sins (and ours) have been washed away by Jesus' blood, and are remembered no more. Praise God!

Sin is overcome by the love of God, and so is lack of connection to Israel. We see this immediately after Rahab's salvation. The story of Naomi in the book of Ruth* is a love story between an old man and a young woman, a Moabite, forbidden to enter the congregation for ten generations! These were people St. Pau*l called aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:"- Ephesians 2:12

This Redemption story of Naomi, Ruth, and Boaz expands the scope of redemption stepping toward the inclusion of the Gentiles and preparing the path for the birth of the son of David to be the Chief Cornerstone. A prelude to the life of that Cornerstone was the life of David, a man "after God's own heart," who loved the LORD with all His heart and was loved and blessed by Him like no one else.

David too advanced God's kingdom and purpose via another love story, his romance with Bathsheba. She was a beautiful and godly woman, much younger than David who lusted after her, committed adultery with her, and had her husband murdered, a good and noble man who was fighting for the king when he was betrayed and slain.

Only God could bring good from such corruption and sin. He used Nathan the prophet to call the sin out and deliver a painful judgment. The child conceived in adultery died, but David and Bathsheba's love united them and blessed them with another child, Solomon whom the LORD loved and appeared to twice.

This child built that Temple that would welcome Jesus and serve as a pulpit and center for His ministry. All of this is because God loved two sinners and sanctified their repentance and love for one another. Lest there be any doubt about their forgiveness, Matthew writes this in Jesus' genealogy: and David the king begat Solomon of her that had been the wife of Urias; - Matthew 1:6

Matthew goes on to tell us half of the greatest romance in the New Testament from Joseph'*s view. Like David, his descendant Joseph was an older man engaged to a younger woman. Unlike the earlier story, there was no lust involved, and Mary* was a virgin.

Luke tells us none of the details we'd like to know about the maiden in this love story/romance but he records what is more essential: what she was in God's eyes: highly favored, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.  - Luke 1:28

Her humility is revealed in her reaction to seeing the angel and his salutation. She was "troubled" and wondered why this should be. When he told her she was to bear the Messiah, the son of David, she asked "How can this be, seeing I know not a man? " - Luke 1:34

The angel explained that the Holy Ghost would come upon her and the power of the Highest would overshadow her and "that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God."

We see why God chose her in her words of humility and faith:  

Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. -Luke 1:38

Joseph too had an angelic visitor because he too was a just and godly man like David. But Joseph acted righteously and protectively from the beginning, and this pure love made him value her as his own flesh.

Lust played no part, in this love story. The beautiful and holy desire to be one flesh was restrained until Jesus was born. After that God blessed the husband and wife with four other sons and daughters as well.

Too little has been said about the love Joseph had for Mary. How he loved her! I can think of no other husband who comes close to his example of loving his wife as Christ loved the church, and gave himself for her. -Ephesians 5:25

Joseph indeed laid down his own life for Mary, leaving his home and protecting her and the holy child from the death Herod tried to inflict. He shepherd them down to Egypt then back to Jerusalem and Nazareth where he oversaw the family and raised them and trained this Child that was not his to be a carpenter and taught Him how to be a man.

We see this love Joseph taught Jesus in His directions to John* from the cross:

When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! 

Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home. - John 19:26-27

This love changed John, the "son of thunder" who wanted to call down fire from heaven into the disciple of love. And Jesus' love filled all His disciples and became the greatest of His gifts as St. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 13:13:

So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. 

This love fills the Bible, this big Book, on every page, and highlights the Truth and the Way Jesus identifies as Himself.

John, the Apostle of love, gives the final word and exhortation to us:

:Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 

Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. -1 John 4:7-8

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