Thursday, August 10, 2017

Scripture: Clarity

Scripture: Clarity
   Scripture is not difficult to understand. Granted, there are some difficult passages, but overall, the Bible is understandable and can be comprehended. The word of God is clear and unambiguous. Scripture is written in such a way that it can be taught to and understood by ordinary believers, even children.
   The clarity of Scripture is grounded in the being of God. Because of who God is, he is able to clearly communicate to his creatures. He knows our abilities, capabilities, weaknesses, and capacities and is able to make himself known and understood.
   God is in control; he is sovereign. If God intends to communicate to his creatures, then he is in perfect control and this communication will be successful. God cannot fail. An unclear revelation from God would not succeed. So, God reveals his will clearly and intelligibly. God always accomplished his purpose. For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” (Is. 55:10-11)
   God is authoritative. If the word of God is authoritative and to be obeyed, then it follows that it must be clear and evident. The clarity of Scripture must be true in order for believers to understand and unbelievers to be without excuse. “For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.” (Rom. 1:20)
   God is present or near his creation. He is immanent. The presence of God with believers is in and through Christ. Believers meet Christ in the gospel, or the clear words of life. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God... And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (Jn. 1:1, 14) “For Moses writes about the righteousness that is based on the law, that the person who does the commandments shall live by them. But the righteousness based on faith says, 'Do not say in your heart, 'Who will ascend into heaven?'' (that is, to bring Christ down) or 'Who will descend into the abyss?'' (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? 'The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart' (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Rom. 10:5-9)
   The clarity of Scripture is affirmed by the Bible. Deuteronomy 6:6-7 instructs parents to teach their children the commands of God and to discuss them. God's commands must be clear in order for them to be taught and understood by children. “And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”
   Psalm 1:2 addresses one who meditates on God's law day and night. Scripture must be clear to be pondered. “But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.”
   Psalm 19:7 and 119:130 teach that even the simple can understand the word of God. “The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.” “The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple.”
   Jesus referred his listeners back to the Old Testament. This would be fruitless if they were unable to understand it or if the Old Testament was incomprehensible. “ He said to them, 'Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, and those who were with him: how he entered the house of God and ate the bread of the Presence, which it was not lawful for him to eat nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests? Or have you not read in the Law how on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath and are guiltless?'” (Matt. 12:3-6) “And as for the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was said to you by God: 'I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob'? He is not God of the dead, but of the living.'" (Matt. 22:31)
   The New Testament epistles were written to churches and congregations. The idea was that the believers were to read and understand the word of God communicated through his apostles. “To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours.” (1Cor. 1:2) “ Paul, an apostle-not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead- and all the brothers who are with me, To the churches of Galatia.” (Gal. 1:1-2) “James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion.” (Jms. 1:1) “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who are elect exiles of the dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you.” (1Pet. 1:1-2)
   God even declares that his word is plain. “For this commandment that I command you today is not too hard for you, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that you should say, 'Who will ascend to heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?' Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, 'Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?' But the word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it.” (Deut. 30:11-14) “But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God's word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone's conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing.” (2Cor. 4:2-4) “Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith.” (Rom. 16:25-26)
   Adults are commanded, no matter how weak or unlearned, to read and meditate on Scripture in order to be instructed. Again, Scripture is clear. “ You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me...” (Jn. 5:39) “Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.” (Acts 17:11) “I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways.” (Ps. 119:15) “Make me understand the way of your precepts, and I will meditate on your wondrous works.” (Ps. 119:27)
   The understanding of Scripture is a spiritual ability, not intellectual. Indeed, it is supernatural. Natural man can read and understand the words in the Bible. They are, after all, words with definitions that anyone can comprehend. But, to really understand the word of God, to truly comprehend, know, enjoy, believe, apprehend, and grasp it, takes the supernatural work of the Spirit. “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.” (1Cor. 2:14) “But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts.  But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed.” (2Cor. 3:14-16)
Scripture must be clear because it is to be: food (1Pet. 2:2), taught by believers to other believers (Col. 3:16), a light to our path (Ps. 119:105), loved (Ps. 119:140), used as a weapon (Eph. 6:17), a purifier (1Pet. 1:22), proof of Christ's divinity and that life is in his name (Jn. 20:31), an example (1Cor. 10:11), and a source of assurance (1Jn. 5:13).

   The word of God is clear. It is easily understood when read, prayed over, and meditated upon. Also, the Spirit illumines the minds and hearts of believers giving understanding and comprehension. Take up and read the word of God. 

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Scripture: Authority

Scripture: Authority
   The authority of Scripture is grounded in the very being of God. Because of who God is, he substantiates everything written in the Bible. This includes every doctrine, promise, statement, and command. In other words, the word of God is authoritative because God is its author and it is his communication to his creation. God and his word is definitive and man is subordinate. God is sovereign, man is submissive. This means that God and his word is the standard by which we are to live. If the word of the almighty God is the standard, that means that man is not. Our feelings, thoughts, desires, ambitions, preferences, dreams, goals, etc. are subject to God's word and must be secondary. We must submit to the authoritative word of God. This also means that we as believers do not compare ourselves to others. This is often a temptation, to measure ourselves and our “spirituality” in comparison to another's life, ministry, gifts, sin, etc. No, God and his word is to be our standard.
   Since the Bible is authoritative, it must be believed, obeyed, treasured, taught, preached, read, memorized, trusted, and submitted to. If a person does not submit to the word of God, it is sin and rebellion. Why? Because the Bible is the authoritative word of God. Scripture claims this authority. You read of phrases such as: “Thus says the Lord” (Is. 7:7; Jer. 2:2; Amos 1:3), “It is written” (Matt. 4:4; Jn. 6:45; 1Cor. 9:10), and “Scripture says” along with “According to the scriptures” (Jn. 7:38; Rom. 9:17; 1Cor. 15:4).
   The Lord spoke to the prophets and through them. His words were authoritative and to be obeyed (1Kgs. 14:18; 2Kgs. 9:36; Jer. 37:2; Zech. 7:7). Throughout the New Testament, writings are called “Scripture” or “commands from God” and are therefore, authoritative. Peter equates Paul's writings with Scripture. He wrote, “And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures” (2Pet. 2:15-16).
   Paul quotes the words of Jesus and refers to them as Scripture (this should be obvious since the Lord Jesus is God in the flesh; his words are the words of God and are therefore, Scripture). Paul wrote, “ For the Scripture says, 'You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,' and, 'The laborer deserves his wages.'” This is a reference, in part, to Luke 10:7 where Jesus said, “And remain in the same house, eating and drinking what they provide, for the laborer deserves his wages. Do not go from house to house.”
   And Paul wrote and revealed that what he wrote were commands from the Lord. This appears in 1 Corinthians 14:37 when he wrote, “If anyone thinks that he is a prophet, or spiritual, he should acknowledge that the things I am writing to you are a command of the Lord.”
   The personal experiences of believers testify to the authority of Scripture. We have experienced the Spirit working through the word and in our souls. We have submitted to the word of God, sat under the preaching of the word, prayed the scriptures, sung hymns inspired by the Bible, and have planted the word deep within our hearts. And because of this, because we submit to the authority of the word, we have grown, been blessed, been used by God to minister to others, have proclaimed the gospel, have gone on mission trips, have seen lives transformed, have been forgiven, etc.
   The Bible is replete with examples that testify to its authority:
  • God reveals his truth through the Spirit- “These things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For who knows a person's thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. 'For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?' But we have the mind of Christ.” (1Cor. 2:10-16)
  • Sheep hear the voice of Christ- “ My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” (Jn. 10:27)
  • Faith comes from hearing the word of Christ- “ But what does it say? 'The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart' (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, 'Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.' For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For 'everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.' How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, 'How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!' But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, 'Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?' So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” (Rom. 10:8-17)
  • Sinners are born again through the living word- “Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God. (1Pet. 1:22-23)
  • Believers have hope because of the word- “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” (Rom. 15:4)
  • Believers gain assurance from the word- “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.” (1Jn. 5:13)
  • The Spirit works in the hearts of believers and testifies to the authority of the word- “ He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.” (Jn. 16:14-15)

   The word of God is authoritative. It is authoritative because God is the Supreme Authority. We are mere creatures. God's word is the standard and rule of our lives. Everything must fall into submission to God and his word. There is great joy in this. The Lord has placed it in our hearts to desire him and his word. And not only desire his word, but to obey and submit to it. It gives us great pleasure to honor the Lord and to have our lives governed by his word. We stand in need of his word to correct, convict, challenge, convince, and cleanse us. So, submit to the authoritative word of the almighty God. Trust and obey. Honor and glorify.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Scripture: Sufficiency

Scripture: Sufficiency
   The word of God, the Bible, is sufficient. It is the perfect standard of spiritual truth for life and faith. This is because the Bible is God's exhaled word. It reveals everything necessary for salvation and to glorify God. There is nothing lacking. There is nothing missing. Scripture is sufficient; it is enough. We do not need anything else. Scripture is sufficient for the believer to live and honor God. There is nothing more needed in the church.
   Scripture is sufficient to: feed the sheep, call the lost, sanctify the believer, disciple the follower, heal the wounded, guide the wayward, encourage the disheartened, open the eyes of the blind, satisfy the thirsty, praise the Lord, strengthen the weak, combat the enemy, warn the offender, comfort the anguishing, give hope to the suffering, instruct the listening, and enrapture the faithful. Scripture is sufficient for preaching, teaching, evangelizing, and discipling- the four ministries of the body of Christ.
   In fact, it is when people do not understand or believe that Scripture is sufficient, that trouble comes. What usually happens is that something else is added to the word of God (or key doctrines or teachings are removed or ignored). Someone adds their words or teachings to that of Scripture. Most cults and false teachers do this very thing. The sufficiency of Scripture guards against this tendency.
2 Timothy 3:15-17 teaches the sufficiency of Scripture. [H]ow from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.”
   Scripture is sufficient for salvation- “acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” It is sufficient to be our authority- “All Scripture is breathed out by God.” It is sufficient to profit believers- “and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.” And Scripture is sufficient to equip believers to do good works in order to glorify God- “that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.”
   That is not all. Scripture is sufficient to: sanctify (Jn. 17:17), aid believers in resisting temptations (Matt. 4:4), be blessed (Lk. 11:28), save without supernatural affirmation or miracles (Lk. 16:27-31), penetrate our deepest parts (Heb. 4:12), liberate and fulfill (Jms. 1:25), and cause growth and maturity (1Pet. 2:2). Scripture is sufficient for the discovery of everything a believer ought to think, do, believe, and know.
   The sufficiency of Scripture warns us to never add anything to the Bible or hold other writings as its equal. Since the word of God is sufficient, we are not to believe anything about God or his salvation that is not found within its pages. Again, we have everything we need. We are to trust that the Lord has revealed and given us what is necessary.
   The sufficiency of Scripture teaches us that nothing is sin that is not prohibited in the Bible explicitly by implication or by principle. This guards against legalism or the “I have to” attitude. We as Christians do not “have to” do anything, but we “get to.” We get to read the word, pray, go to church, etc. It is extremely easy to manufacture a list of rules and abide by them. It is also equally easy to measure others according to that list and look down on those who do not measure up to our standards. Often, these man-made lists are viewed as proof of holiness or godliness. Man's lists are not Scripture, nor are they a test of holiness.
   Christians have certain freedoms in Christ. If something is not prohibited in Scripture, than believers can have freedom to enjoy that while exercising wisdom and discernment. For example, cards, movies, bingo, etc. are obviously not mentioned in Scripture. There are no principles within the Bible that teaches that these things are wrong. They can, however, be abused or sinful just like anything else. Notwithstanding, believers are not sinning by going to a movie or playing cards. Godly wisdom and discretion must be used, but Christians have freedom.
   The sufficiency of Scripture also teaches that nothing is required of believers by God that is not found in the Bible explicitly, either by implication or by principle. If the word of God does not command it or suggest it, then believers do not have to do it- regardless of what others may say. The word of God is our sufficient authority, not the words of man.
   Believers are reminded by the doctrine of the sufficiency of Scripture to be content with what God has revealed in his word. Beware of overemphasizing doctrinal or ethical teachings to an unscriptural level. Trust that the Lord has given us exactly what he willed and knew that we needed. We do not need the words or wisdom of man- we posses the very words of God!      

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Scripture: Infallibility

Scripture: Infallibility
   The infallibility of Scripture simply means that the word of God cannot err. Not only is Scripture inerrant- does not contain errors or contradictions- but it cannot and is incapable of failing to communicate God's predetermined truth. In other words, the Bible will not fail in its purpose to reveal the One True God and his amazing plan of salvation to undeserving sinners. The word of God is indefectible. The Bible will not deceive or mislead anyone who trusts the God who both declared its words and had them written and preserved.
   This is a very important doctrine. After all, Scripture is at the center of the Christian life. We are saved by hearing the word of God, the gospel, proclaimed and the Spirit making God's words effectual in our souls.  We are sanctified by studying and hearing the word of God and the Spirit convicting and conforming us more into the image of Christ our Lord. We are comforted by the words of God. We pray the words of God. We sing the word of God. We feed upon the word of God. It is the word of God that guides, sustains, encourages, satisfies, reveals, heals, shepherds, warns, protects, and teaches. What kind of God gives us a word that cannot be trusted? Can't God preserve his word? Would God allow errors within his holy, inspired, inerrant word? Of course not! God is completely trustworthy. His word can be trusted and obeyed. The doctrines of Scripture cannot be divorced from one another. They build upon each other. Because Scripture is inspired, it is inerrant. Since Scripture is inerrant, it is also infallible. You do not have one without the others. If one of these truths is removed, the entire structure crumbles- the word of God could not be trusted. But, praise God! The Bible is inspired, inerrant, and infallible.
   The word of God cannot err for two reasons. First, God cannot lie. If the Bible is the word of God and God cannot lie, then it follows that the Bible will not contain any errors, misinform, or misdirect. “God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?” (Num. 23:19) “Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God's elect and their knowledge of the truth, which accords with godliness, in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began...” (Tit. 1:1-2) “ So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us.” (Heb. 6:17-18)
    Second, God is not ignorant of anything. Errors come from imperfections and ignorance. God is perfect and not encumbered by any of these. God knows all things perfectly. Hence, his word can be trusted because it cannot err. “Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure.” (Ps. 147:5) “And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” (Heb. 4:13) “God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything.” (1Jn. 3:20)
   The word of God is true because God is truth. Truth is without errors and mistakes. God does not make mistakes. His word is exactly what he desires mankind to have.
   God is true. “ By no means! Let God be true though every one were a liar, as it is written, 'That you may be justified in your words, and prevail when you are judged.'” (Rom. 3:4) “Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment.” (Ps. 51:4) “And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” (Jn. 17:3)
   God's word is the word of truth. “And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth, for my hope is in your rules.” (Ps. 119:43) “The sum of your word is truth, and every one of your righteous rules endures forever.” (Ps. 119:160) “ Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.” (Jn. 17:17)
God's law is truth. “Your righteousness is righteous forever, and your law is true.” (Ps. 119:142) “But you are near, O LORD, and all your commandments are true.” (Ps. 119:151) “The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the LORD are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.” (Ps. 19:7-11)








Thursday, June 22, 2017

Scripture: Inerrancy

Scripture: Inerrancy
    Inerrancy means that the Bible does not contain errors or contradictions. This applies only to the original autographs. Put simply, when God moved authors to write, they wrote what God willed them to write, and since the Lord is perfect and cannot ere, what was written originally was without error. The word of God is always true. The Bible is never false in anything it affirms, whether it be doctrine, ethics, or science (such as social, physical, or life science).
    Inerrancy extends only to the original manuscripts. Copies and copies of copies may contain errors because they were copied by fallible humans who make mistakes. These errors or inaccuracies are always minor. They are usually copying errors and do not change or affect doctrine or anything of importance. Other errors may be in translations. Words or phrases may be interpreted or translated incorrectly (the Latin Vulgate is an example of this).
    However, God in his providence has overseen thousands of copies and their transmission. What we have today, since the originals have been lost to time, is what God desires his church and children to possess. When manuscripts are compared to older manuscripts (which have less copyist errors because they are older and have been copied from copies closer to the original source), errors can be detected and corrected. It is believed that the copies of Scripture we possess today are 99% accurate in comparison to the originals. The more copies that are compared, the more errors are discovered. The more errors that are discovered, the more errors that can be fixed in order to get that much closer to the original manuscript.
    The Bible itself argues for inerrancy. In fact, inspiration requires inerrancy (2Tim. 3:16). If the word of God is breathed out by God, then it follows that since God is indeed perfect, his word is without mistakes or errors. Divine messages are absolutely true and trustworthy. But, what is false fails. God explained this through Moses in Deuteronomy.
    “If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or wonder that he tells you comes to pass, and if he says, 'Let us go after other gods,' which you have not known, 'and let us serve them,' you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams. For the LORD your God is testing you, to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall walk after the LORD your God and fear him and keep his commandments and obey his voice, and you shall serve him and hold fast to him. But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has taught rebellion against the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you out of the house of slavery, to make you leave the way in which the LORD your God commanded you to walk. So you shall purge the evil from your midst.” (Deut. 13:1-5)
    “But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name that I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die.' And if you say in your heart, 'How may we know the word that the LORD has not spoken?'- when a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him.” (Deut. 18:20-22)
    If what was said happened, it was from God. If the words failed, the prophet was false. The main thing to see is that God gave his people a way to test the message and messengers. This would not be possible if the words of God contained errors. Since they were given criteria to distinguish the true from the false, it follows that God's word is always true.
   The Bible is also authoritative which requires inerrancy. Matthew 5:17-20 and John 10:34-35 demonstrate that the law's authority hinges on the fact that it must be fulfilled. “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 5:17-20)
    “Jesus answered them, 'Is it not written in your Law, 'I said, you are gods'? If he called them gods to whom the word of God came-and Scripture cannot be broken...'” (Jn. 10:34-35)
    Scripture cannot be broken and is, therefore, binding and authoritative. In order for something to be absolutely authoritative it cannot contain errors. The trustworthiness and inerrancy of Scripture derives from the character of God. God cannot lie, make mistakes, or communicate errors (Num. 23:19; 1Sam. 15:29; Tit. 1:2; Heb. 6:18). He is perfect.
    What cements the inerrancy of the word of God is 2 Timothy 3:16-17. “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” As was already discussed, the Scripture is exhaled or breathed out by a perfect God. He has given the church his word in order to equip her for good works that result in God being glorified. Also, the word of God is central to the life of the church. God's words are profitable. They teach, reprove, correct, and train. This would be impossible, however, if the word of God contained errors.
    Remember, God gave his church his word. It is to grow and glorify God by following his word. How would this be possible if his word contained errors? If it misled? If it taught something that was wrong? If it could not be trusted? The word of God is inspired, and as a result, the word of God is inerrant. Scripture can be trusted because our great God is trustworthy and able to communicate truthfully and accurately his will to his church.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Scripture: Inspiration

Scripture: Inspiration
     The word “inspiration” literally means “breathed out” or “exhaled.” The word of God, the Bible, is breathed out or exhaled by God. The inspiration of Scripture, therefore, is the supernatural influence by the Holy Spirit which resulted in the biblical writer's writings being trustworthy, authoritative, inerrant, and the very words of God. God is the author of Scripture. Scripture is the creation of God's creative breath. Yet mysteriously, he used fallen human beings to communicate and record his words.
     There are several theories of inspiration. The last of these is the classical view and is the most accurate and biblically sound. First, some believe that the Bible is not inspired as we have defined above, but only inspirational. The Bible is just like other books in that it inspires people. Second, some teach that the Bible is only partially inspired. The theological parts of Scripture are inspired, but not the scientific or historical. The Bible, then, is only a record of God's saving acts. It contains the words of God but is not the word of God. Obviously, this is flawed for many reasons. To mention only a few, if this was the case, who determines what is inspired and what is not? Can we even trust the Bible? Can we trust the God of this Bible if he cannot even give us an inspired word? Who determines what is the word of God from the words of man?
     A third theory is that the Bible is inspired without the use of human authors. This view is explained by insisting that the writers only wrote what was dictated to them. This is often called the mechanical dictation theory. This fails because the Bible is clearly written in the styles of the authors. The Spirit “carried along” the authors and used their backgrounds, words, experiences, gifts, and own styles to accurately record the word of God (2Pet. 1:21). There is no evidence of dictation; Scripture is the word of God written by living personalities, and those personalities come out and shine throughout Scripture. This is why the word of God is so amazing- God used sinful men to pen his word to sinful men!
     The fourth theory, and the most logical and biblical, is that the Bible is the divinely inspired word of God because he concurrently acted on and with human agents to produce the written words he desired. The authors were not mere robots or secretaries recording dictation. God sovereignly acted upon, guided, and carried along the authors in such a way that they wrote what God wanted them to write, but it was from them- their minds, hearts, personalities, etc. What this means is that God used men to pen his words, but because God is sovereign and providentially guides all history to his desired end, the authors wrote exactly what God wanted and only what God wanted. Yet, they were not infringed upon. God orchestrated this in such a way, that the authors were driven to write but they desired to write because their hearts overflowed with the glory of God, and hearts as these naturally obey and do the works of God because of his supernatural work within them.
     Is this indeed scriptural? Two passages will be quoted and briefly commented on to demonstrate the biblical teaching of inspiration. “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness...” (2Tim. 3:16). This passage teaches that all Scripture is breathed out by God. Scripture, then, is inspired and is the very words of God. This means much more than the idea that the Bible inspires readers or the fact that the authors of Scripture were inspired. This verse shows that Scripture is inspired, Scripture is the word of God- all of it. The Bible is what God desires for man to possess. It is his word of redemption to fallen humanity.
     “For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, 'This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,' we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. And we have something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone's own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2Pet. 1:17-21).
    These verses teach that humans were instruments used by the Spirit to communicate God's word, but the origin of Scripture is God himself. Men were carried along by the Spirit. This means more than merely guiding and directing. The Spirit determined, constrained, and influenced the writers. The Spirit achieved this by using the human agent, as well as his style, personality, abilities, experiences, vocabulary, strengths, weaknesses, etc. The end result was the actualization of the divine initiative- the inspired word of God.
     The words of Scripture are God's words. Old Testament passages identify the Law and the messages of the prophets as God's words (1Kng. 22:8-16; Neh. 8; Ps. 119; Jer. 25:1-13, 36). The New Testament views the Old Testament as the very oracles of God, prophetic, and written by men carried along by the Spirit (Rom. 3:2, 16:26; 2Pet. 1:21). Christ and the Apostles quoted Old Testament passages not merely as what men said, but as what God said (Mk. 7:6, 12:36; Rom. 10:5, 20, 11:9; Acts 4:25, 28:25). And, Old Testament statements that were not made directly by God are quoted in the New Testament as God's words (Matt. 19:4; Heb. 3:7; Acts 13:34, citing Gen. 2:24; Ps. 95:7; Is. 55:2).
     Scripture, therefore, is the inspired word of God. As such, it is profitable. Believers need to hear the word of God proclaimed and taught, read it themselves, know it, memorize it, treasure it, pray it, believe it, follow it, and praise God for it. It is the word of God that sanctifies us, equips us to do the works of God, convicts us when we sin, guides us, soothes us, comforts us, corrects us, and penetrates our souls with the very words of our great God. God gave us his word. We have the privilege of reading of his glory and grace, his salvation, his plan of redemption, but most of all- Him. We get to read about God!

Friday, June 9, 2017

Scripture: Why Preach the Bible?

Scripture: Why Preach the Bible?
    The Bible is at the center of Christianity. Indeed, it should be at the center of the Christian life. Believers ought to immerse themselves in word of God. After all, it is just that, the very words of the living God! We should read it, know it, believe it, live it, sing it, memorize it, trust it, meditate on it, preach it, teach it, hear it, and obey it. In a word, Christians need to feast on the scriptures. The Bible is our food, light, guide, and drink. The Bible reveals to us our great God, his amazing salvation, the Son, the Spirit, the work of the Trinity, the glory of God, and a myriad of other life-shattering and eternal truths.
    The word of God is to be preached. Why? Because of the examples of teaching that have come before us. Here are many examples of preaching and proclamation throughout Scripture.
  1. God preached (Ex. 33:19, 34:5; Is. 62:11)
  2. Moses preached (Deut. 31-33)
  3. Joshua preached (Josh. 23:2-16, 24:2-27)
  4. David preached, proclaimed the message of God in his Psalms (8, 9, 16, 22, 24, 34, 68, 75, 89, 93, 105, 110, 119, 136, 145, 1, 23, 32, 37, 40, 46, 50, 66, 78, 92, 100, 104, 106, 118, 128, 150)
  5. Solomon preached (Prov. 1:2-3; 2 Chron. 6:1-42; Ecc. 1:1, 1:12-13, 12:9-10)
  6. Prophets proclaimed the word of God (Is. 1:2-31, 6; Dan. 9; 1 Sam. 12:23; Is. 30:9; Jer. 32:33; Mal. 2:9)
  7. Kings preached (2 Kin. 22-23; Ecc. 1:1)
  8. John the Baptist preached (Matt. 3:1; Jn. 1, 3:22-30; Mk. 1:4; Jn. 1:15, 29)
  9. Christ preached (Mk. 1:14-15; Matt. 5-7; Lk. 4:16-30; Matt. 9:35)
  10. Disciples preached (Mk. 16:20; Lk. 9:6; Acts 2:14-36, 15:14-21)
  11. Paul preached (Acts 17:16-31, 28:31; 1 Cor. 1:23, 2:1-2, 15:1-3; Col. 1:28)
  12. Scripture preached (Gal. 3:8)
  13. Preachers are to preach (1 Tim. 4:13, 6:2; 2 Tim. 4:2-5)
    The next question is, what do I preach? Well, you preach the word of God. To begin, preach Christ. Christ is at the heart of the Bible and the Bible's message of God's great works of creation, providence, and redemption. Proclaim Christ. After all, there are many examples in the New Testament of this very thing...
  1. Jesus preached himself (Matt. 7:21-23, 11:28-30; Lk. 4:16-21, 24:27, 24:44-47; Jn. 3:14-15, 3:16-18, 6:35-40, 8:12, 8:31-36, 10:9, 10:11, 11:25-26, 14:6, 15:1, 17:3)
  2. Apostles preached Christ (Acts 8:5, 8:35, 9:20, 10:36, 17:3)
  3. Paul preached Christ (1 Cor. 1:23, 2:2, 15:1-5; 2 Cor. 4:5; Eph. 3:8; Col. 1:28)
  4. Author of Hebrews preached Christ (Heb. 1:1-13, 4:14-16, 9:11-14, 10:12-14, 12:2, 13:12-15)
  5. James proclaimed Christ (Jms. 1:1, 2:1)
  6. Peter preached Christ (1 Pet. 1:3, 1:19-21, 2:5-8, 2:21-25, 3:18; 2 Pet. 1:8-11, 1:16-17, 3:18)
  7. John preached Christ (1 Jn. 1:1-3, 1:7, 2:1-2, 3:16, 5:1, 5:20; Rev. 1:5-8, 5:9-14)
  8. Jude proclaimed Christ (5, 14-15, 21, 24-25)
    Preachers ought to proclaim the truth. We preach truth because Jesus is truth (Jn. 14:6). Failure to love and preach the truth results in disaster (2Thess. 2:10). Salvation depends on the proclamation of the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ (2Thess. 2:13). Also, Christian living is grounded in the truth of God's word (Rom. 6:1-16; Jms. 4:4). With this being said, preachers, then, must preach the word of God to the minds and hearts of their people (Rom. 12:1-2; Eph. 4:23; Col. 3:10; Acts 2:37; Rom. 10:9-10).
     Preaching should have goals. What are the goal preachers should have in mind when proclaiming the word? They are...
  1. The glory of God (Rom. 9:17, 11:33-36; 1 Cor. 1:18, 21, 31; 2 Cor. 4:1-6; Col. 1:27-28; 1 Pet. 2:9)
  2. Christlikeness (2 Cor. 3:15-18; Col. 1:28)
  3. Conversion (Mk. 1:14-15; Acts 3:17-21, 10:42-43, 11:20-21, 20:21; 1 Cor. 15:14; 2 Cor. 5:16-21)
  4. Edification (Eph. 4:11-16; 2 Tim. 3:17)
  5. Instruction (Acts 20:27; Eph. 4:11-14; Col. 1:28)
  6. Application (Lk. 3:3-14; Matt. 5-7; Acts 2:37-39; Rom. 15:4; 2 Tim. 3:16-17)
    Did you know that preaching is worship? Believers are to worship God alone. Christians learn about God in Scripture. Believers also hear from God through the Bible when it is read, taught, and preached. It follows that, believers who know God and are known by God naturally desire to worship God. Scripture, then is to be at the center of worship (private and corporate worship). Scriptures are to be read, expounded, taught, sung, preached, prayed, discussed, understood, memorized, known, loved, searched, devoured, applied, lived out, cherished, contemplated, desired, and heard. How can a believer possibly worship apart from the Bible? It is impossible. It is only in the Bible that we find what God desires of his people, how he is to be approached, the ordinances, sacred duties, how a believer is to live to the glory of God, and the good news of Christ.
   The scriptures are to be preached and heard. The best way to achieve this is to preach expositionally. This means that the message has Scripture as its sole source. The message is taken from Scripture through careful study and exegesis. Preparation includes correctly interpreting the passage in its normal sense and in its context. Good exegesis explains the original, God-intended message. Then, the passage is to be applied to the current context of believers. This is preaching. This is the proclamation of God's word.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Scripture: Why Teach the Bible?

Scripture: Why Teach the Bible?
     The Bible is at the center of Christianity. Indeed, it should be at the center of the Christian life. Believers ought to immerse themselves in word of God. After all, it is just that, the word of God! We should read it, know it, believe it, live it, sing it, memorize it, trust it, meditate on it, preach it, teach it, hear it, and obey it. In a word, Christians need to feast on the scriptures. The Bible is our food, light, guide, and drink. The Bible reveals to us our great God, his amazing salvation, the Son, the Spirit, the work of the Trinity, the glory of God, and a myriad of other life-shattering and eternal truths.
The word of God is to be taught. Why? Because of the examples of teaching that have come before us. Here are many examples of teaching throughout Scripture.
  1. God taught (Ex. 3:15; Deut. 4:36; Ps. 25:12, 32:8; Is. 2:3)
  2. Christ taught (Matt. 5:2, 7:28-29; Lk. 24:27, 44-49; Eph. 4:21)
  3. Holy Spirit teaches (Neh. 9:20; Lk. 12:12; 1 Cor. 2:13; 1 Jn. 2:27)
  4. Creation teaches (Ps. 19:1-6; Rom. 1:20)
  5. Old Testament priests taught (Lev. 10:11; Deut. 24:8, 33:8-10; 2 Kin. 17:27-28; Ez. 7:10; Neh. 8:7)
  6. Kings taught (Ps. 34:11, 51:13; Prov. 1:1-7; 1 Kin. 4:32-34; Ecc. 12:9)
  7. Prophets taught (1 Sam. 9:27, 12:23; 2 Chron. 17:7; Mic. 5:2)
  8. Parents are to teach their children (Deut. 4:10, 6:7; Prov. 22:6; Eph. 6:4; 2 Tim. 3:15)
  9. Disciples taught (Matt. 28:19-20; Acts 2:42, 4:2, 6:2-4)
  10. Paul taught (Acts 11:26, 20:20; Col. 1:28; 1 Tim. 2:7)
  11. The church and its teachers are to teach (Col. 3:16; Acts 13:1; 1 Cor. 12:28; Eph. 4:11; Tit. 1:5, 9)
  12. Pastors are to teach (1 Tim. 3:2, 4:11; 2 Tim. 2:24, 4:13; Tit. 2:1)
  13. Older women are to teach younger women (Tit. 2:3-4)
     Teaching, as we can see, is essential. Teaching is ministry. But, what is to be taught. Obviously, the word of God, but what does one teach?
     First, teach Christ. He is at the center of the Bible. Teach Christ to the lost (Acts 8:35, 17:3, 18:25-28, 28:23-24). Teach Christ to believers (Acts 5:42, 15:35, 28:31). The lost and found alike both need to hear about Christ.
     Second, teach spirituality. Teach what the Bible teaches on any number of subjects. Christians need to know what God expects of them- how they are to live, grow, and most importantly, how to honor and glorify God. Teach...
  1. To the immature (1 Cor. 3:1-3, 14:20; Heb. 5:13-14)
  2. To the mature (1 Pet. 2:2; 2 Pet. 3:18; 1 Jn. 2:14)
  3. Read Scripture (Acts 17:10-11; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; Col. 3:16)
  4. Follow Christ (Col. 3:1-2; Heb. 12:2)
  5. Prayer (Lk. 18:1-8; Eph. 6:18; Phil. 4:6; Col. 4:2; 1 Thess. 5:1)
  6. Self-control (Rom. 6:12; 1 Cor. 9:24-25; Gal. 5:23; Tit. 2:2; 2 Pet. 1:6)
  7. Holiness (Lev. 11:45; 2 Cor. 7:1; Eph. 4:24; 1 Pet. 1:16; 2 Pet. 3:11)
  8. Patience (Rom. 12:12; Gal. 5:22; Col. 3:12; 2 Tim. 2:24; Jms. 5:7)
  9. Love (Jn. 15:12; Rom. 12:10; 1 Cor. 13:1-13; Eph. 5:2; Col. 3:14; Heb. 13:1)
  10. Perseverance (Matt. 10:22; Jn. 8:31-32; Gal. 6:9; Eph. 6:18; Col. 1:22-23; Heb. 3:14; 12:1)
  11. Joy (Rom. 5:2-3, 11, 14:7; Gal. 5:22; Phil. 3:1, 4:4; 1 Pet. 1:8)
  12. Peace (Rom. 5:1, 8:6; Gal. 5:22; Col. 3:15; 1 Thess. 5:13; 2 Thess. 5:16)
  13. Faithfulness (2 Cor. 5:7; Gal. 5:22; 1 Jn. 5:4)
  14. Put away sin (1 Cor. 5:7; Eph. 4:26; Col. 3:5; 1 Thess. 5:22; Heb. 12:1)
  15. Forgiveness (Matt. 5:39-41; Rom. 12:20; 1 Cor. 6:7; Col. 3:13)
     Third, teach ethics. The word of God is replete with instruction on ethical issues. Believers need to know how to live in this world. Teach...
  1. Faithfulness (1 Cor. 4:2; Rom. 14:12)
  2. Holiness (Lev. 19:2; 1 Pet. 1:16)
  3. Love God and neighbor (Matt. 22:37-39)
  4. Golden Rule (Matt. 7:12)
  5. Forgive (Matt. 6:12-15, 18:21-35; Lk. 12:13-34)
  6. Submit to God's law (Rom. 8:7)
  7. Submit to government (Rom.13:1-5; Tit. 3:1)
  8. Submit to leaders (1 Cor. 16:16)
  9. Gossip and busybodies (2 Thess. 3:11; 1 Tim. 5:13; 1 Pet. 4:15)
  10. Murder (Ex. 20:13; 1 Jn. 3:15)
  11. Divorce (Matt. 5:31-32; 1 Cor. 7:27)
  12. Homosexuality (Rom. 1:26-27; 1 Cor. 6:9-11)
  13. Miscellaneous (Matt. 5:21-6:4; Eph. 5:3-5; Col. 3:5-14; Heb. 13:4-5)
     Fourth, teach the word. This sounds so easy, in fact, everything that has been said thus far has to do with the word. It must go beyond that. Teaching cannot and must not remain on the surface- it has to be taught in order for the word of God to penetrate the minds and hearts of God's people in order to change their wills and desires.
  1. Teach doctrine (Eph. 4:11-16; 1 Tim. 1:3-5; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; Tit. 1:9, 2:1)
  2. Contains the promise of the gospel (Lk. 24:27, 44-47; Rom. 1:2, 3:21; 1 Cor. 15:1-4; Tit. 1:2)
  3. Testifies of Christ (Jn. 5:39; Acts 10:43, 18:28)
  4. Guide (Prov. 6:23; Ps. 119: 105; 2 Pet. 1:19)
  5. Make wise unto salvation (2 Tim. 3:15; Jms. 1:21)
  6. Profitable for doctrine and practice (2 Tim. 3:16-17)
  7. Living and powerful (Heb. 4:12)
  8. Perfect, pure, and true (Ps. 19:7, 12:6, 119:140, 119:160; Jn. 17:17)
  9. Written for the believer's instruction (Rom. 15:4)
  10. Regenerates (Jms. 1:18; 1 Pet. 1:23)
  11. Illuminates (Ps. 119:130)
  12. Revives the soul, makes the simple wise, brings joy to the heart, enlightens the eyes, warns (Ps. 19:7-11)
  13. Sanctifies (Jn. 17:17; Eph. 5:26)
  14. Produces faith, hope, and obedience (Jn. 20:31; Ps. 119:49; Rom. 15:4; Deut. 17:19-20)
  15. Promotes growth (1 Pet. 2:2)
  16. Builds up, admonishes, and comforts (Acts 20:32; Ps. 19:11; 1 Cor. 10:11; Ps. 119:82; Rom. 15:4)
  17. Works effectually in believers (1 Thess. 2:13)
    The Bible, the very words of God, ought to be at the center of our lives as believers. Our lives ought to conform to God's standard. In order for this to be achieved, the Bible has to be taught. Scripture should be...
  1. Standard of teaching (1 Pet. 4:11)
  2. Believed (Jn. 2:22)
  3. Read (Deut. 17:19; Is. 34:16)
  4. Read publicly (Deut. 31:11-13; Neh. 8:3; Acts 13:15)
  5. Searched (Jn. 5:39, 7:52; Acts 17:11)
  6. Heard and obeyed (Matt. 7:24; Lk. 11:28; Jms. 1:22)
  7. Loved and delighted in (Ps. 119:97, 113, 159, 167; Ps. 1:2)
  8. Meditated on (Ps. 1:2, 119:99, 48)
  9. Memorized (Ps. 119:11; Matt. 4:1-11; Col. 3:16)
  10. Trusted and obeyed (Ps. 119:42, 67; Lk. 8:21; Jn. 17:6)

Thursday, May 11, 2017

The Gospel

The Gospel
    The gospel is important. So important, in fact, souls hang in the balance. It is the message of life. The gospel is important to the lost and Christian alike. The lost need the gospel in order to hear the soul-saving message of Christ. Christian's need the gospel in order to grow, continually repent, praise God, be assured, be filled with joy, and be humbled. The gospel needs to be studied so that it can be appreciated and shared. It needs to be heard and treasured. It humbles and exalts. Humbles the sinner and exalts the Savior.
    I write on the gospel because I love the saving message of Christ. I love the Savior of the gospel. The God of the gospel is astounding. What demonstrates the glory and grace of God more than his plan of redemption? The gospel is glorious, life-changing, God-honoring, breathtakingly complex, yet simple enough for a child to understand. What is the gospel?
Gospel Begins with God
    Lest we over complicate matters, let us keep the gospel simple. The gospel begins with God. God is the righteous Creator who purposed to save fallen sinners by grace through faith in Christ. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1:1). “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God” (Eph. 2:8). God is holy and filled with wrath; he will punish them who do not trust his Son. “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him” (Jn. 3:36).
     Why did God send his Son? Why does man need saving? Because man is sinful; mankind is unholy, ungodly, lost, unrighteous, rebellious, and spiritually dead. “[F]or all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked” (Eph. 2:1).
God Sent His Son
    But God sent his Son. Christ joined himself to the nature of man. He obeyed the law perfectly to satisfy the justice of God because we perfectly disobey. He then died upon the cross, bearing the curse of sin and the wrath of the Father toward that sin. He was buried but rose to life on the third day, thus vindicating himself and testifying to the world that the Father accepted his work. “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law” (Gal. 4:4-5). “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us” (Gal. 3:13).
Repentance and Faith
    Sinful man is now commanded to repent and trust Christ alone for salvation. This is the only response that sinners could have toward God's good gift. “[T]estifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21). “For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death” (2Cor. 7:10)
    Allow me to quote two passages at length which will explain the gospel. The gospel is not neatly packed into a convenient summary, but it is spread throughout the Bible. There are a few very enlightening verses, however, which do explain the gospel very thoroughly. They are Romans 3:19-26 and Ephesians 2:1-10. I will simply reproduce them here. I will not offer commentary or elaborate on them. Read them for what they are- the very words of God that reveal his amazing salvation by grace through faith in Christ for his glory. Read and ponder what has been read. Repent and trust Christ; search out his unsearchable riches.
    “Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. For by the works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it- the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Rom. 3:19-26).
    “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience- among whom we all once lived in the passions of out flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, eve when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ- by grace you have been saved- and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:1-10).

Scripture: Special Revelation

Scripture: Special Revelation
     Special revelation is initiated by God and is about God. It is very specific, as opposed to general revelation. Truths about God are disclosed, as are humanities sinful condition, and God's desire to call a people to himself. The Bible is the word of God- the source of God's special revelation. The Bible identifies God, his will, his mighty works, his plan of redemption, and everything a Christian needs for faith and life. Unlike creation, the Bible is very understandable and particular.
     Special revelation is available to specific people at specific times and in specific places. Not everyone had the word of God revealed or available to them. God revealed himself to certain people and had these encounters preserved in Scripture.
     God chose to reveal himself in a more specific manner than he did previously through creation, providence, and conscience. General revelation unveils truths about God through what can be observed with the senses. Special revelation uses words to communicate more accurately the truths of God. It is a more accurate and faithful mode of informing man what God wants them to know.
     Special revelation was progressive. God did not reveal himself all at once, but through stages. He made his will and truth known slowly over a period of time. The words of God were recorded, preserved, and handed down. They can now be read, studied, taught, proclaimed, and treasured.
     The primary focus of special revelation is God and his redemption. God chose to reveal himself in a direct way to fallen humanity. The truth is, God did not have to make himself known. He is under no obligation. Not to mention, sinful man is undeserving. God does not owe his creation anything. And he especially doesn't owe anything to sinners, except of course his judgment and wrath. But, praise God, he has revealed himself and his amazing salvation. That is grace!
    God spoke and acted in space and time. At certain times and to specific individuals, God revealed himself, taught his ways, thundered his laws, and proclaimed his salvation. The special revelation of God culminated in the sending of the Son, the Word (Jn. 1:1, 14). The special redemptive word of God is that Christ, the Son, took on flesh, came and bore the curse of sin and the wrath of the Father on the cross for all those who would repent of their sin and trust in him alone for salvation. This is the gospel. This is the most special of all God's revelation.
     The incarnation of the Son is the pinnacle of God's special revelation. It is the most complete mode of God's revelation to mankind. God spoke, and still speaks, through the life, actions, miracles, teachings, death, and resurrection of Christ (Heb. 1:1-3). Christ fully reveals God (Col. 1:15-20, 2:9). This was the message of the Old Testament (veiled in prophesies, types, and shadows) and the New Testament (unveiled precisely).
    God's special revelation centers around the person and work of Christ. Thankfully, the Lord saw fit to preserve his message in written form- the Bible. Now, his word, his saving truth, can be known, understood, and trusted. The glorious God of the universe has made himself known.
    In revealing himself in all his glory and grace, God has also revealed the truth about humanity. We are fallen. Broken, corrupted, and dead in sin. We are not like God; the serpent, the devil, lied in the garden (Gen. 3). God is holy, we are unholy. God is truth, we love lies. God is righteous, we are unrighteous. But, thanks be to God, his word contains the message of our salvation. Christ is the Savior. Man is now commanded to repent and believe on Christ for deliverance from the just punishment due their sin (Acts 17:30-31, 20:21). This is the message of the Bible. This is God's special revelation.