This is a Football

  • This is a football (always brings us back to the basics) 2 Tim 3:16
  • The Bible has been central to my faith since I was a young man. 
  • Back in those days we memorized scripture. We had to, or carry a bible because you had to know where a verse was if you were going to witness or talk bible. 
  • My experience was probably not unlike the early readers of the scriptures from the from the first century- it changed my life. It connected me with God. It grounded me. It was life. 
  • But there’s a lot of misinformation about the Bible and not a lot of knowledge about it. 
  • I don’t tell you anything about the Bible you couldn’t find yourself if you did enough research. 
  • I want to teach you some truths about the Bible because I want you to understand the Bible better so you can apply it to your life. Knowing its history shows its value and application to you
  • You must understand the the role of the Bible in the spiritual life of the church and your life. 
  • What does it say, what does it mean, what does it mean to me? Why can I trust it?
  • You might know some of this stuff, you may not- But its important- new converts here. 
  1. Why does the history and implementation of the Bible Matter
  • It helps you better understand God  Psalm 18:30 As for God, His way is perfect; The word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him.
  • It helps you to understand your relationship with him Jeremiah 9:24 But let him who glories glory in this, That he understands and knows Me, That I am the Lord, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight,” says the Lord.
  • It helps you to understand your purpose with him Ecc 12:13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man’s all.
  • It helps you to live for him in this day and age. How to have a family. Raise kids. Worship God. Run Church. Live a moral life. Make it to Heaven. Exorcise demons. Daily walk with Him. Tons. 
  • But if you don’t know a little bit about the history, you can get off track really quick if you don’t know what you’re reading. Who it is being written to. What was the intent. What does it mean to you? How do you apply it to yourself? Can I trust my life with it? OUT OF CONTEXT BELIEF
  • History knowledge keeps you from believing wrong things. Following wrong people. Not being led astray. It gives you good doctrine. Good theology. It makes God bigger and you smaller. It connects you to the Church and it keeps you in fellowship. It grows you as a follower of Jesus. 
  1. The canonization of Scripture
  • What is canon? Its written texts that a spiritual body considers sacred and inspired and used for doctrine and practice of its faith. It becomes the central texts of the faith
  • There are also- Non canonical works from Hebrew and Christian authors with their own thoughts and ideas about what the scripture means. From 1st century until now. Not canon. 
  • Both the OT and the NT share the same path of canonization- 
  • The spiritual body itself decided what was inspired and sacred for instruction over time
  • Oral  and LIVED tradition and practice was more prominent than written tradition (not a manual
  • No one was ‘creating a religion’ when scripture written, born out of the experience of faith that was happening in real time and people trying to record and share it (no paper @fvc at beginning
  • Many were written to a certain person at a certain time for a certain purpose
  • Most if not all had no intention of their writings becoming canon or part of what we call “Bible”
  • The printing press and Martin Luther changed it all. So did the Internet. We live in dif time. 
  • Early believers believed that God inspired men to write down what they had saw, what they heard, the prophecies they received, the instructions they had to be held for posterity
  • None of it was written with American Christians in the 21st Century in mind. None of it was written to you specifically or with you specifically in mind, reading it on your phone or Bible. 
  • Some of it God made very clear, and some was not very clear. He could have done it differently
  1. Some History of the OT
  • I’m trying to give you a four year degree in 45 minutes, so this is from 20,000 feet. 
  • The Old Testament,39 books written over a period of more than 1,000 years, from around 1500 BC to 400 BC. Various authors. Written in Hebrew (not your language)
  • three main sections: the Torah (the first five books of the Old Testament), the Prophets, and the Writings. often known among Jews as TaNaKh, an acronym derived from the names of its three divisions: Torah (Instruction, or Law, also called the Pentateuch), Neviʾim (Prophets), and Ketuvim (Writings).
  • Canonization of the Hebrew Scriptures: began in the 5 BC compl 2nd century AD. 
  • Jewish community recognized the authority of these books and accepted them as scripture.
  • The final Jewish canon was established by the Council of Jamnia in AD 90- 39 books of today
  • Few Notable People from the formation of the OT
  • King Josiah 2 kings 22:11-13 probably Torah (Pentateuch) was found
  • Ezra, a Jewish priest and scribe 5th Century BC Ezra 7:10 For Ezra had devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law of the LORD, and to teaching its decrees and laws in Israel
  • King David, Psalm 19:7 “The law of the LORD is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple” 
  • King Solomon, Proverbs 2:10-11.”For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul. Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you”
  • The prophet Isaiah, Isaiah 8:20 To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn” 
  • From the beginning of Judaism (Israelites) Torah was central to the religious experience. 
  • It wasn’t bound. Most people couldn’t read. They went to Temple and Synagogue and someone read and interpreted it for them so they could live according to God’s ways. 

Few Scriptures about the importance of God’s words spoken to Israel. 

  • Deut 6:6-9 – “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. Deut 31:9-13 – and they shall read it in the hearing of all Israel…that they may hear and learn to fear the Lord your God and carefully observe all the words of this law. Joshua 1:8 – “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. Joshua 8:32-35 – and he read all the words of the law, the blessings and the cursings, according to all that is written in the Book of the Law. There was not a word of all that Moses had commanded which Joshua did not read before all the assembly of Israel 1 Kings 2:3 – “And keep the charge of the Lord your God: to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, His commandments, His judgments, and His testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn.”
  • The Bible was written in the ancient age- a strong emphasis on tradition, religion, and authority. The idea of questioning or challenging the status quo was often seen as dangerous or heretical. Jesus did this. But now- you’re not reading the Bible through the lens it was written. You’ve been programmed by your secular education since the reformation. 
  • The OT was written moving from Oral to written, nomadic to settled. Disorder v ordered. Commerce v trading. Mixed cultures v separate. Warring v Peace. 
  1. The Arrival of Jesus
  • Jesus quoted the OT about 180 times during the four gospels. Jesus spoke Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, and Latin. He quoted and probably used the Greek Septuagint (1-3 Cent BC)
  • What is important is that Jesus quoting and using the OT scriptures shows a few things
  • One- He knew and preached the importance of the OT scriptures. 
  • Luke 24:44 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.” 45 And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures.
  • Jesus pushed his disciples towards the scriptures to see him, believe in Him and God
  • Jesus used the terms “it is written” and “every jot and tittle of the law” etc to make points
  • Jesus read scripture in the synagogue. Jesus knew and used scripture in his ministry
  • The fact That Jesus didn’t discredit the scriptures, their writing and use while he was God in the flesh gives a great understanding that we can trust the OT scriptures as inspired. 
  • The corrections he made on religious people was not on the text, but on their oral traditions that they treated as though they were on par with the written word of God. 
  • People take scriptures and take it different directions for their religious practice (4 dif jews)
  1. Formation of the New Testament:
  • None of the writings of the New Testament were written with the stated intent of becoming the canon for the New Testament Church- but that’s eventually what they became. 
  • Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John. Acts. Pauline Epistles (letters) to Churches and Pastors. Other authors, Peter, James, John and Jude. Written to Churches and Individuals to provide guidance, encouragement, and correction.
  • The use of the writings of the NT were immediate, the canonization was gradual. 
  • First list- Athanasius AD 367. Hippo (393) and Carthage (397) also. Finalized 1550s Catholics
  • Early Church (1st Century was already using these texts) declared them to be inspired by God and to be useful for the early Church as the Truth about Jesus spread
  • Clement of Rome (1st century): “Take up the epistle of the blessed Apostle Paul. What did he first write to you at the beginning of his preaching? (1 Clement 47:1). Irenaeus of Lyons (2nd century): “We have learned from none others the plan of our salvation, than from those through whom the Gospel has come down to us, which they did at one time proclaim in public, and, at a later period, by the will of God, handed down to us in the Scriptures, to be the ground and pillar of our faith” (Against Heresies 3:1:1). Tertullian of Carthage (2nd-3rd century): “We lay it down as our first position, that the evangelical dispensation has definitely prescribed for us a twofold instrument of righteousness, in the Law and in the Gospel” (Against Marcion 1:20:2). Athanasius of Alexandria (4th century): “For it is not possible to express in words the knowledge of the Scriptures which a man acquires by pure and simple faith…for it is one thing to read the Scriptures, and another to know their meaning” (Letter to Marcellinus 2:4).
  • These theologians recognized the importance of scripture in guiding the beliefs and practices of Christians. They believed that the scriptures were divinely inspired and passed down from the apostles, and were essential for understanding the will of God and living a righteous life. 
  • Andy Stanley- Current modern Day heretic, told people to unhitch their faith from the OT and now is telling people that we don’t need the Bible to understand the Cross. 
  • At the council of Carthage they said this about the scriptures “We have also thought it right that the Holy Scriptures, namely, the canonical books of the Old and New Testaments, be read in the Church, under the direction of the bishops, and that nothing be read that is outside of these books.” (Canon 36) 397 AD
  • Read Luke 1:1-4 
  • All these were referencing the importance of Tanakh- The Law and prophets
  • 2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God,  Romans 15:4 For whatever things were written before were written for our learning,. Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword,. 2 Peter 1:20 that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, 21 for prophecy never came by the will of man Mark 12:24 Jesus answered and said to them, “Are you not therefore mistaken, because you do not know the Scriptures nor the power of God?
  • There is a NT Reference from  2 Peter 3:15-16 and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation—as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, 16 as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.
  • Central to understanding the NT and OT is through the lens of John 1:1- The “Logos” 
  • Jesus made flesh. Jesus teachings in Gospels. Jesus inspiring the Letters. Jesus establishing relationship with humans and revealing God’s nature and character. 
  • Logos- God communicated with humanity- Through Jesus and the Apostles. HS Spoke through them and the Church affirms they are authoritative and trustworthy. 
  • Logos- Framework for understanding God and humanity, the OT/NT salvation
  • How did they decide what books to include?
  • It was the church and your church fathers that gave you the New Testament
  • Apostolic authorship: its connection to an apostle or a close associate of an apostle. 
  • Orthodox content: teachings were in line with the broader teachings of the Church and did not contain any heresy or false teaching.
  • Use in worship and teaching: What was already being used/practiced by the church since Jesus
  • Circulation and acceptance: What was accepted among the community of Christians broadly
  • Spiritual change and witness: Were peoples lives being changed when read and implemented?
  1. What does that mean to me
  • You can trust your Bible because it has been trusted for thousands of years by billions of Christians for faith and practice. If they are all wrong, we are all wrong and we’re all sunk
  • Your Faith is based on what is revealed in the Bible to you, not in the Bible itself. 
  • Your faith is Faith in Jesus Christ as the atoning sacrifice for your sin, not on your ability to explain every last thing there is to know about the Bible. You will not figure it all out
  • You should keep the Bible central to your faith to understand where we have come from, where we are at and where we are going as a people of God
  • You should understand that What you hold in your hands is a specific historical record of the people of our Faith and how God moved within them. None of them were looking for social media cred. You will live a better spiritual life PRIMARILY reading the Bible, staying in community and walking it out than aligning yourself with certain theologians, movements, and isms
  • Knowing and understanding your bible will create mystery and humbleness. Faith and wonder. Assurance and trust. He will increase, and you will decrease. It is a mirror to your soul. 
  • Finally, it belongs to the church. It was not canonized or collected for you to go and live for yourself, away from the church. It was to keep you in the Church and close to God. 

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