Bible Is Authentic and True

Proverbs 2:1-5 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

My son, if you receive my words[1]
and treasure up my commandments with you,
making your ear attentive to wisdom
and inclining your heart to discernment;[2]
For if you cry for discernment[3]
and raise your voice for understanding,
if you seek it like silver
and search for it as for hidden treasures,
then you will understand the fear of Jehovah
and find the knowledge of God.
For Jehovah gives wisdom;
from his mouth come knowledge and understanding;

THE CHRISTIAN APOLOGISTAfter reading verses 1-5 of chapter 2, one can clearly see that it is their responsibility to acquire wisdom. You or your is found eleven times in these first five verses. Each of us is obligated to incline our ear, apply our heart, cry out for, lift our voice, seek, search for wisdom, and then we will understand the fear of Jehovah, the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of God we will find. All of this is found in God’s Word.

What exactly is wisdom though? It is the ability to make sensible decisions and judgments based on knowledge and experience; wisdom is sensibly applied knowledge. The genre of wisdom literature is found all throughout the Bible but especially in the book of Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon. However, Wisdom is found in all of the genres of Scripture, even the life lessons within the narrative accounts. Indeed, we learn a valuable lesson from the account of King David, one of the ancestors of Jesus Christ. He had an extremely close relationship with God, and yet we find him committing adultery with Bathsheba, and then having her husband Uriah murdered. Does this account not teach us that we all are susceptible to stumbling in our walk with God and that, innocent appearing situations, are to be avoided? A mere walk on his rooftop and David sees Bathsheba bathing below, to which he could have turned away, but he continued to look, and entertain inappropriate thoughts. We can learn from every word of Scripture.

Romans 15:4 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

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.

1 Corinthians 10:11 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

11 Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come.

CONVERSATION EVANGELISM

If we are going to truly to become wise, we must understand that even the wisest imperfect man, who ever lived, King Solomon, the man who wrote the book of Proverbs, stumbled in apostasy in the latter parts of his life, by not following his own God inspired counsel. If we are to be wise, we also need to have understanding, the ability to grasp parts of the bigger picture. We also need to acquire discernment, the ability to distinguish those parts one from the others. This would mean that David and his son Solomon would have been able to distinguish right from wrong, and then avoid the obstacle that got in their way. David might have looked over his rooftop that night, where he saw Bathsheba’s beautiful nude body, as he bathed in her tub. Wisely he would have turned from the scene, heart beating, and then he could have spoken out loud, rational self-talk, as he paced his roof, telling himself the possible outcomes to what he may have been thinking. Then, he could have chosen the right course of removing himself from the roof.

Psalm 119:27 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

27 Make me understand the way of your precepts,
so I will meditate on your wondrous works.

119:27 Make me understand. Philip asked the Ethiopian eunuch who was reading Isaiah 53, “Do you understand what you are reading?” (Acts 8:30). The psalmist understood God to be the best source of instruction (cf. vv. 34, 73, 100, 125, 144, 169).[4]

Psalm 119:100 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

100 I understand more than the aged,[5]
for I keep your instructions.[6]

Psalm 119:104 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

104 From your instructions I get understanding;
therefore I hate every false way.

True Christians should undeviatingly proclaim the Kingdom of God by Christ as the one and only hope of mankind, instead of any nation on earth, including the United States. There is nothing wrong with being a patriot but one must realize there is bit one kingdom of God. The governing authorities at present are but a tool used to maintain control until the real King returns.

Psalm 119:130 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

130 The unfolding of your words gives light;
it gives understanding to the simple.

119:130 light . . . understanding. This refers to illumination in comprehending the meaning of Scripture.[7]

THE EVANGELISM HANDBOOK

We want to have a part in the outworking of God’s will and purposes, so we need to pray that he makes us understand his Word, in such a way that we fully grasp it. As we begin to understand things, this means that we will have faith in what we have come to know so we will start to apply what we know. We will actually begin to love the things that he loves and hate what he hates. There are no written works in the history of man, for which we can compare it to the Word of God. Even if we are young, we too can acquire wisdom, understanding, and discernment. Some have sorely misunderstood the role of Holy Spirit as to its role in our understanding Scripture. Some believe that, as they read the Bible, Holy Spirit miraculously gives them understanding. Bible Apologist Norman L. Geisler wrote, “I also believe that the role of the Holy Spirit, at least in His special work on believers related to Scripture, is in illuminating our understanding of the significance (not the meaning) of the text.  The meaning is clear apart from any special work of the Holy Spirit.”

In other words, we are blessed by Holy Spirit, by diving into the Spirit inspired Word, by way of Bible Study. The more you wish to understand, the deeper things of God, the deeper you dig. However, merely acquiring head knowledge will not be enough. We need to ponder deeply the information that we take in, to get it down to our heart, the seat of motivation. Yes, we need to consider meditatively how we can use the information that we are discovering through our studies. We need to consider real life situation, where we might use what we know. Every word of the Bible can be used to:

  • build up our faith or the faith of another,
  • defend the truth or the Word of God,
  • save ourselves or another that has begun to doubt,
  • help us or another pass by something that may have been foolish,
  • help us or another to take the right course, and on and on.

We Need Solid Food

However, once you understand the “knowledge of God,” you must then apply that knowledge in a correct and balanced manner. Paul said Jesus “became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him.” However, take note those words: “to all who obey him.” How can you obey if you do not have a correct understanding of Scripture? What did Paul say to young Timothy? He said, “From childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” (2 Timothy 3:15)

The faith that Timothy possessed was grounded in truths, reason, understanding, and trust. It is based on “the knowledge of God.” Timothy came to know and understand why Jesus had to offer himself as a ransom, and what it resulted in, as all of humanity now has an opportunity at eternal life. Knowledge of God’s Word applied, results in faith in the things heard. The Bible is the Book that will build this faith, as it is “living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)

YOUR GUIDE FOR DEFENDING THE BIBLE_Third Edition

Now, here comes the question that has some confused. If the Bible is so powerful, why are there 41,000 different Christian denominations? Why is there so much division? Why are so many Christians suffering spiritual shipwreck?  It is because of biblical illiteracy. Over 90 percent of Christianity is biblically illiterate. Many pastors do not know how to turn this around because they are actually the ones dumbing the members of the church down. What I am about to say will hurt the feelings of some, and anger others, but it must be said.

Christians, true Christians, love Christ and will do what is expected of them. We are not looking for imitation Christians, and the churches are full of them, ones looking for a social club to be a part of, but are not committed to obeying the Word of God to the greatest extent possible. There is no real Bible education in the churches, as most Bible study classes are studying out of a feel good booklet, written on a sixth-grade level. The church members are not educated in the Bible, about the Bible, nor the doctrine of the faith. They are not trained evangelist because most churches believe that its members are not intelligent enough, nor will they buy out the time.

However, the truth is, the Christians that we are looking for, are those who will, like Jesus and the apostles, and other first century Christians, will take in knowledge of God’s Word, as well as buy out time to understand its true meaning. Then, they will apply that Word as they are taught to be evangelists in their own communities, taking the great commission as serious as the pastor does. (Matt 28:19-20) They will transform their lives as they correctly apply God’s Word. Yes, they are ‘transformed by the renewal of their mind, that by testing they may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.’ (Rom 12:2) These one’s faith would grow strong, their course would be wise, and if they actual had the knowledge of God, and acted on it correctly, as they would be ‘doing the will of God and abiding forever.’ (1 John 2:17) Such faith and knowledge are being withheld from these true Christians, as pastors have low expectations, because, they are so busy trying to please the world, and imitation Christians, that they are keeping the core flock as spiritual babes.

Warning Against Immaturity

 Hebrews 5:11-6:1 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

11 Concerning whom we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing.[8] 12 For in view of the time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you from the beginning the elementary things of the sayings[9] of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. 13 For everyone who partakes of milk is unacquainted with the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. 14 But solid food belongs to the mature, to those who through practice have their discernment trained to distinguish between good and evil.

Therefore, leaving behind the elementary doctrine about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and faith in God,

True faith and knowledge come from God’s Word. We simply need our pastors to preach and teach, raising the bar of expectations so the true Christians can remain, while the imitation Christians can be sifted out. True, some Christians will be sifted out because they will not loyally submit to God’s Word, nor God’s pastor (Heb. 13:17) if the bar of expectation is raised. However, many true Christians will prove obedient to God’s Word and be submissive to the pastor taking the lead in the congregation.

How many years have we been serving God? What has been our spiritual growth over those years? Are we still drinking the milk (basic truths), or have we moved onto the meat (the deeper things)? Are we able to use the Bible, logic, and reasoning to defend the Word of God? What about the faith, can we defend it? Can we use Scripture to someone, who has begun to doubt? Are we proficient in the use of Scripture to evangelist to workmates, family, friends, and our community?

Paul said, “solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.” In other words, if we are regularly taking in biblical knowledge, and in turn, we also regularly use that knowledge to make decisions between good and bad, our discerning abilities will be trained to the point of being mature in the faith. We will have the natural inclination to make everyday life decisions based on our biblical worldview, our mind of Christ. (1 Cor. 2:16) We will be able to see what is healthy and what is hurtful morally, spiritually, not to mention physically. By regularly taking in the Word of God and applying that word correctly, they will no longer be “unskilled in the word of righteousness.”

Regularly Feeding on God’s Word

If we have truly given ourselves over to God, we should be moved to take in knowledge of his Word. As we draw closer, our love should move us to want to be better acquainted with the deeper things found in the Bible, helping us better understand him, as well as his will and purposes. This involves deep study and reflection. (Ps.1:1-2; 119:97) Our motivation should not be based on what we can gain from our relationship with God, but rather our “searching the Scriptures” should be driven by love for him and our love of neighbor. (John 5:39-42; Psalm 143:10; Matthew 27:37-40)

Spiritual Health

1. Proper incentive: Improve our desire to so as to be better acquainted with God and his Word

2. Regular Bible Study: Take advantage of the hundreds of thousands of study tools that we are provided.

3. Correct Application: Use the Bible knowledge to help others, such as evangelizing in our own community.

interpreting-the-bible

It would be near impossible to share the amount of spiritual food is available to the Christian today. Bible scholarship has covered every conceivable subject one could want to understand better. We should take advantage of the banquet that has been sat before us. We need to find some time to study each day of the week. We should offer a word of caution here though as not all books are created equal. As conservative Christians, who care deeply about the inerrancy of Scripture, the trustworthiness of the Bible and the authority of Scripture, we need to look at the Bible scholars credentials before buying his books. We have liberal scholarship out there publishing books as well. Once we have added a name that can be trusted, we know any book he pens can be trusted.

Three things will help us to grow and maintain our spirituality: (1) proper incentive, (2) regular Bible study, (3) and correct application. These three points will help us to see the need for considering the deeper things of God’s Word. It will also help us appreciate the need for having a regular study schedule.

Enjoy You Study

 We all love to relax with a good novel, one that is a page-turner. When we get our hands on a good one, hours can pass without our even noticing it. When we come to the point where, we begin a Bible study session, and time moves by without our noticing it, it has then become joy. Yes, it is true, productive Bible study requires effort on our part. However, as the saying goes, ‘love what you do, and you will never work a day in your life.’ If our studies are satisfying and rewarding, they will bring us unimaginable joy and pleasure. Let me offer two examples.

First, there will come a time, when we will be witnessing to someone informally, and as we talk, they ask question, we give answers straight from the Scriptures, we will see the lights going off in their head (they suddenly understand), and the smile on their face, this will warm our heart. This will be a motivating factor like no other. Second, there will come a time, when we will be witnessing to a skeptic, and we find ourselves quite easily overcoming his argument, overturning his false reasoning. This too will prove to be a great motivator.

If we are going to accomplish tasks, like the two above and even more, we must be willing to invest the time needed. The word “study” suggests continued focused attentiveness. When we set down to study, are we actually studying, or do we find ourselves skimming through the study material? If this is the case, we need to allow sufficient time, to consider our material in a more thorough way. (Eph. 5:15-17) We might have to take time away from other activities, such as television, movies, social media, and the like. Another surprise that will await us is improving how we study. Once we find a rhythm and effective way of going about our studies, we will accomplish in one hour what might have taken three before. Lastly, prayer is paramount. We need to open and close our studies with meaningful prayer, asking that our minds and heart be receptive to the material that we are about to cover. (James 1:5-7)

Deeper Studies

Proverbs 2:4-5 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

if you seek it like silver
and search for it as for hidden treasures,
then you will understand the fear of Jehovah
and find the knowledge of God.

Verses 1-3 shows that it is us, who must seek out God’s words, “commandments, “wisdom,” “understanding,” and “insight.” If we have watched an old western movie, we know that to search for treasures was no easy task. It called for much digging with a pickaxe and a shovel. The same is true for the Word of God if we are to find “the knowledge of God.” We must dig into the Word of God, to discover the gems of truth lying deep beneath word studies, Bible backgrounds, grammar and syntax, historical setting, and the like. We will not find the big nuggets of truth by just skimming the surface of the gold mine.

The Psalmist wrote, “How great are your works, O Lord! Your thoughts are very deep!” (Ps. 92:5) The apostle Paul wrote, “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!” (Rom. 11:33) He was not suggesting that it was impossible to discover truths about God, but it will take effort on our part. Paul also wrote, “These things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.” (1 Cor. 2:10) Keep in mind that the Bible is inspired (literally, “God-breathed”), and those who penned it was moved along by Holy Spirit. The apostle Peter had this to say about Paul’s letters, “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.” (2 Pet. 3:15-16) We should be truly grateful for all the study tools that we have which make digging in the Word of God, so much easier.

your-word-is-truth

Why do We Study?

We do not acquire the knowledge of God in order to feel superior to those who do not have it. We do not use our knowledge to beat others down or to win a biblical fight. Paul’s words remind us to be cautious, “‘knowledge’ puffs up, but love builds up.” (1 Cor. 8:1) We want to use our knowledge to draw closer to God, to proclaim the Word to other, teaching them, to making disciples. We also want to defend the Word of God against attacks from the enemy and defend the faith. Moreover, we want to use our knowledge to save those who have begun to doubt. We want to use our understanding of Scripture to offer comfort to our neighbors, and especially to our brothers and sisters in the faith.

Ephesians 4:13-16 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the accurate knowledge[10] of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. 14 So that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of teaching, by the trickery of men, by craftiness with regard to the scheming of deceit; 15 but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into him who is the head, Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined together and held together by every supporting ligament, according to the working by measure of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.

4:13. Diverse gifts create and build up one body in unity. This unity is in faith and knowledge of Christ. Christ does not try to build up superstars in his kingdom with superior faith or superior knowledge. He tries to build up a church unified in its faith and knowledge, each member being built up to maturity. All are to reach the fullness of Christ. The church’s goal is that each member and thus the entire church will show to the world all the attributes and qualities of Christ. Then the church will truly be the one body of Christ.

4:14–16. The result of these spiritually gifted people’s equipping the saints is that believers are not to be like children, easily persuaded and confused, jumping from one opinion or belief to the next, like waves on the sea being driven by gusting winds of false teaching. Rather, the believers are to speaking the truth in love. Speaking the truth in love is a mark of maturity, which will enable us to grow up spiritually. Immature people often fall into one of two opposite errors. They speak the truth, but without love, or they love without speaking the truth. When we do the first, we often brutalize others, pounding them with truth but doing it in an unloving way. When we do the second, we don’t tell others the truth, thinking that by shielding them from the truth we are sparing them from pain. We are not, however. All we are doing is delaying their maturation. To share the truth with our fellow believers is a mark of maturity, but to do it with love, with understanding, with compassion. From Christ the whole body is gifted, and as each one uses his gift for the benefit of others, the whole body matures. We must recognize that we belong to one another, we need one another, no matter how insignificant we think our contribution is. There are no little people in the kingdom of God, as Francis Shaeffer used to say, and there are no little jobs. Just as a physical body needs red corpuscles and livers more than it needs a handsome face or beautiful hair, so we all belong; we are all necessary. We all can contribute, and when we do, we all grow to maturity in Christ.

4:14. The Ephesian church, as most of the churches Paul wrote, faced teachers with opposing viewpoints. They divided the church body into factions, each opposing the others. Their presence required the type of spiritual maturity and church unity Paul had described. Without such unity the church would act like a group of babies, each crying out because of his own pains and needs, each inconsistently saying one thing and then another, each at the mercy of cunning, deceitful teachers. To avoid infantile behavior, the church must mature into unity of the faith and of knowledge of Christ.

4:15. Such maturity involves teaching the truth in love. False teachers showed no love or care for the members; they simply wanted to get their own way. Mature believers search for the truth as a united body, loving and caring for the needs of each member. Such loving, caring search for truth allows them to grow as members of the body whose head is Christ, for Christ is the truth.

4:16. The head allows each part of the body to mature and grow, not concentrating on special knowledge and growth for a favored few. Each of the parts of the body is needed to hold the whole body together in unity. The body is truly a maturing, loving body only as each part is encouraged to grow and do its part of the work.[11]

Hebrews 6:1 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

Therefore, leaving behind the elementary doctrine about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and faith in God,

We need to continue in our diligent study of God’s Word; assured that by God’s loving kindness we can continue to grow in our Christian maturity. Achieving Christian maturity does not necessarily take many years. It is true that we should buy out the time spent in study, we need to make sure that the knowledge contributes to our depth of heart devotion to God and appreciation for his “word of righteousness.” We need to be humble, teachable, and anxious to make progress.

Review Questions

  • Where can we find the true source of happiness? Explain.
  • What did the apostle Paul say about some Christians in Corinth and Judea?
  • What do we find to be true of some Christians today?
  • What has been the case with some Christians, who have been in the faith for years? What advice does Paul offer for them?
  • Look at Hebrews 5:14, for who is “sold food” for, and how can a Christian become such?
  • What happens if a Christian simply stays on a “milk” diet, when it comes to Bible study?
  • What should motivate us to want to study the deeper things, and increase our Bible knowledge?
  • What questions should we ask ourselves, when it comes to our sitting down to study God’s Word?
  • What is the difference between reading the Bible or a book, and studying the Bible or a book?
  • What can we do to find more joy in our personal study?
  • What three things do we need in order to achieve spiritual health?
  • Who must seek out God’s words, “commandments, “wisdom,” “understanding,” and “insight”?
  • Why do we study?

Why should we be cautious as we grow in knowledge?

[1]2:1 my words. Solomon has embraced God’s law and made it his own by faith and obedience, as well as teaching. The wisdom of these words is available to those who, first of all, understand the rich value (“treasure”) that wisdom possesses. Appropriating wisdom begins when a person values it above all else.” – MacArthur, John (2005-05-09). The MacArthur Bible Commentary (Kindle Locations 24768-24770). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

[2] The Hebrew word rendered here as “discernment” (tevunah) is related to the word binah, translated “understanding.” Both appear at Proverbs 2:3.

[3] See 2.2 ftn.

[4] MacArthur, John (2005-05-09). The MacArthur Bible Commentary (Kindle Locations 23993-23995). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

[5] IBID., 119:98–100 The wisdom of God always far surpasses the wisdom of man.

[6] Instructions: (Heb. piqquḏim) This Hebrew noun means instructions, precepts, directions, procedures, regulation, i.e., a principle or rule concerning the personal conduct that is to be obeyed within a community.– Ps 19:9; 103:18; 111:7; 119:4, 15, 27, 40, 45, 56, 63, 69, 78, 87, 93-94, 100, 104, 110, 128, 134, 141, 159, 168, 173+

[7] MacArthur, John (2005-05-09). The MacArthur Bible Commentary (Kindle Locations 24026-24027). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

[8] Hearing, Dull of: (Gr. Nōthros tais akoais) This is an idiom, which literally means that one has ‘lazy ears.’ In other words, they are slow to learn, to understand, to react, lacking intellectual perception, with the implication that this is so because they are lazy. Have we become lethargic in the truth, to the point of having lazy ears? Are we slow to learn, to understand, to react, lacking intellectual perception?–Heb. 5:11.

[9] Sayings: (Gr. logia, on [only in the plural]) A saying or message, usually short, especially divine, gathered into a collection.–Acts 7:38; Romans 3:2; Hebrews 5:12; 1 Peter 4:11.

[10] Epignosis is a strengthened or intensified form of gnosis (epi, meaning “additional”), meaning, “true,” “real,” “full,” “complete” or “accurate,” depending upon the context. Paul and Peter alone use epignosis.

[11] Max Anders, Galatians-Colossians, vol. 8, Holman New Testament Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1999), 152–153.