Roadmap for life!
The Bible – not another book like it. There have been so many situations from the beach to the high school… From gymnasiums to people’s backyards to a boat on the Sea of Galilee… There was the hillside where Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount; there were living rooms, chapels, mortuaries, sanctuaries and then of course, there have been Facebook livestreams from my home and YouTube messages and the latest, a white Ford Raptor truck in a shopping center parking lot. This week - I will be in a park! There was the intimate hall where Pilate tried Jesus - why if those rocks could cry out! There was the Garden of Gethsemane where Christ uttered his final agonizing prayer under the stately canopy of old olives trees ….. the high-ceilinged Upper Room where the Holy Spirit came with tongues of fire, oh and Bethlehem! Looking down from the Shepherd’s Fields, with Jerusalem just across the opposite hillside … I could go on recalling each setting filled with memories of eyes, faces, expressions … all that I have had the privilege of imparting TRUTH from the precious Word of God. a note: before we unpack chapter six and the last chapter of the letter that the apostle Paul wrote to the Ephesians, I thought to encourage our thinking about why reading the Bible is so valuable . . . why it is worth pushing through to understanding parts that are difficult. Simply, it is our roadmap for life. There is no other book like the Bible - with its verifiability through fulfilled prophecy, sixty specific prophecies about the Messiah alone, then fulfilled in one Jesus Christ of Nazareth. [Click to read: https://conta.cc/2EtaAhl]
Then, there is archaeology - (more than 25,000 discoveries just within the region known as the Bible lands). [Click to read: https://conta.cc/36khTFF1 The archaeology piece is especially fascinating because as more excavation is done, there is even greater corroboration of Scripture! Indeed in the past 150 years, archaeologists have been verifying the exact truthfulness of the Bible’s detailed records of various events, customs, persons, cities, nations and geographical locations.2 Visiting Magdala for the first time in February 2018, my eyes feasted on a live dig (pictured above) -- unearthing a first century synagogue, discovered in 2009! Prior to that, skeptics of the Bible scoffed as there was no proof that the gospel accounts were true that Jesus had taught on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee. Amazing! I love walking through the grounds at Magdala . . . as we will do again in February, 2023 - DO YOU WANT TO JOIN ME?? hit 'reply' please. [I extended the deadline to submit a deposit a wee bit until I travel to Oklahoma to teach and invite in the next 10 days] The Bible alone addresses the BIG questions of life, those that can be rife with controversy: HOW DID I GET HERE? why am I here? What happens when I die? Is there even an afterlife--a heaven or a hell? IF there is a heaven, how do I get there? The Bible handles these questions consistently in the 66 different documents, written by 40 different authors in three different languages, and three different continents. The Bible is internally consistent. Then there are the extra biblical writings - dozens of them - that verify people, places, events and details that are discussed in the Bible. Thirty nine sources outside of the Bible within 150 years of Jesus’ life that reveal to us more than a hundred facts about Jesus’ life, teachings, death and resurrection. First century Jewish historian, Flavius Josephus, is one such source, then there is the Jewish Talmud, (Jewish teachings passed down from generation to generation, organized between AD70 and 200). More evidence for the veracity of Scripture is the manuscript evidence; a manuscript is any surviving hand-written copy of an ancient document that predates the invention of the printing press in 1455. There are 25,000 partial and complete, ancient handwritten manuscripts of the New Testament, as well as thousands of copies of the Old Testament--many of them predating the time of Christ. Many of those recovered Old Testament manuscripts that were written before Jesus were unearthed in the Qumran caves in 1947 … the Dead Sea Scrolls. (miraculously preserved) How about the ‘realness’ factor of Scripture—it includes the bad, evil and the ugly along with the good, such as 'good' King David, falling to the temptation of adultery, following it up with murder. How could God then call him a ‘man after his own heart’? The Bible tells it like it was, even though it seems like it would read better if its characters would have been righteous, holy, paragons of virtue. Finally, we will conclude our support for the validity of the written Word of God by stating the fact that no other book in the world has transformed the hearts, minds and lives of people as has Scripture. The writer of Hebrews describes it as living and active;3 oh yes it is! Hmmm, I remember this psalm from my youth, set to a simple melody: “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.”4 I pray that this renews your interest and love for the Bible or perhaps ignites a sincere curiosity, wonder and love that you have never possessed. Take a moment and ask God to give you a love for his Word; I promise you it will radically change your life. A song? Of course: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EqsnGE3_dsg Grace, Christine 1 - www.pastorwoman.net archives hundreds of daily Bible study entries, written and podcast, that can be accessed. Click on Morning Briefings, then Archives, then Bible Teaching. 2 – “Evidence for the Bible” – Charlie Campbell, www.alwaysbeready.com, an excellent resource 3 – Hebrews 4.15 4 – Psalm 19.7--10