2 Timothy 027 – Why Preach the Bible? – Part 2

Andy Woods

Why Preach the Bible?  Part 2

4-17-16      2 Timothy 3:15b-16a      Lesson 27

If we could take our Bibles and open them to the book of 2 Timothy, chapter 3, taking a look today at the second part of verse 15 and into verse 16.  The title of our message this morning is Why Preach the Bible? Part 2.  And those of you that are visiting with us for the very first time we have been moving through the book of 2 Timothy.  Paul, of course, writing this book to encourage a very young man, Timothy, his protégé, not to quit in his calling because of adversity but to continue on in that calling because God, who is in the rewarding business will reward the believer that endures in what God has called them to do.

He’s told Timothy to be faithful in the ministry, chapter 1; chapter 2 he’s described what faithfulness looks like through ten word pictures that we’ve walked through.  And then beginning in chapter 3 he begins to talk about the reason he must be faithful, because the last days will come and once the last days come it will be hard; ministry will become hard or difficult.  And this is a great subject that’s neglected from many pulpits and yet it is a huge subject in the New Testament as we have said, the subject of the apostasy.  Apostasy basically means a departure from known truth.  As the church age continues on the church will have a tendency to depart from truth.  And Timothy, you are to be faithful in the midst of that encroaching apostasy.

So the subject of the apostasy really begins in chapter 3, verse 1 and goes all the way into chapter 4, verse 8.  Paul has described the apostasy, verses 1-7.  He’s given some examples of apostates from Jewish tradition, verses 8 and 9.  And what we have been exploring lately is the antidote to apostasy, not just the anatomy of apostasy but the antidote, what do you do in the midst of it.  You really don’t get the impression that the apostasy can be stopped; what you get the impression of is how we, as individual Christians, react to it.

So Timothy is to react to it in two ways: number 1, he is to pursue Paul’s example that Paul had exhibited to Timothy over a 20 year period.  So Paul, in verses 10-13 has given examples from his ministry, his character, and even in his own difficulties of how he himself endured despite adversity.  Timothy, you’re to do the same thing.

The second thing you are to do, Timothy, as the apostasy swells and grows, almost like a tidal wave, and as the church becomes progressively more disinterested in the Scripture you, on the other hand, are to cling to the Scripture, read the Scripture, devote yourself to the Scripture, and you are to openly preach or proclaim the Scripture.  So we’ve entered into this tremendous section here where we are dealing with the primacy or the priority of the preaching of the Word of God in the local church.  Of all of the messages that the local church today needs to hear I think this would be one because there is so much compromise in this area.  We noted some examples of compromise last week.

But what he does is he gives Timothy here about nine reasons in total, why he against all odds, must continue on with the Scripture, the preaching and teaching and the studying of the Scripture.  The first reason we’ve already covered, number 1, the Scripture had an impact on Paul.  Paul, of course, of all the things to know about him, he was a changed man.  You look at Paul before he was saved and Paul after he was saved… of course when Paul, before he was saved was named Saul, and you look at him after he was saved and as he began to grow you see a totally different man with a totally different mission and totally different purpose.  He describes that change a little bit there in verse 14 and then verse 15 there’s the conjunction “and” the Greek word kai that leads us into verse 15 and so you get the impression that Paul was changed because of the Scripture.  Just as the Scripture changed me, Timothy, it’s going to change you and even though the apostasy will swell it will change other people  under your sphere of influence.

The second reason Timothy is to continue on preaching the Scripture is because of the impact that the Scripture has on the salvation of the soul.  As Richard was reading the verses this morning you might remember him reading verse 15, most of which we covered last week, “and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you wisdom that leads to salvation.”

The fact of the matter is, “faith comes by hearing,” hearing by the what?  The Word of God or the word of Christ.  You cannot have an actual salvation occur independent of the hearing or perhaps reading of the Word of God.  A motivational talk is not something that God uses to alert people to the fact that they need to trust in Christ.  He uses one and only one source to make people aware of their need to trust in Christ and that is His Word.  If you subtract the Word of God from the diet of the local church the opportunities for individual salvation falls dramatically.

And this is why Timothy became a Christian and why he eventually became the man of God that he became, because from infancy he was taught the Scripture by both his grandmother and his mother; he makes a reference to that back in 2 Timothy 1:5.  [2 Timothy 1:5,  For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well.”]

Now you’ll notice there in verse 15 it mentions salvation, which the Scripture is instrumental in bringing to pass.  But then it goes on, as you’ll notice the word “salvation,” it goes on and it describes what salvation is.  It describes how salvation is acquired.  And there’s just a little clause there at the very end of verse 15, it’s so simple and it’s so short that we have a tendency to just brush right by it, but I want to draw  that clause to your attention.  It mentions “salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”  Salvation is important.  Well, what is salvation?  It is acquired or it is gained through faith in Christ Jesus.  The Word of God is the book that spells out that plan of salvation for us.

Notice this word “faith.”  The Greek noun for faith is pistis, the noun form is pisteuō, and that word is a word used frequently in the New Testament (and in the Old Testament) it simply means to trust, to rely upon, to depend upon, to have confidence in.  Don’t take my word for it, here’s a quote from a leading Greek dictionary and it defines pisteuō, the Greek verb coming from the noun, pistis, it defines it as to believe.  Well, what does that mean?  To be persuaded of something and hence to place confidence in, to trust, signifies in the sense of the word reliance upon.  Not mere credence, reliance upon.  It is most frequent in the writings of the apostle John, especially his Gospel; he does not use the noun, pistis, but of the writers of the Gospels he uses the verb 99 times.  John, of course, (as we know having spent three years in it at this church, in fact we were in John longer than Jesus had had His earthly ministry) is a book written to the unsaved.  And isn’t it interesting that in this book to the unsaved the verb pisteuō, is used 99 times.  It’s almost as if God is saying don’t mess this one up guys, this is the condition for salvation.

A lot of people, and you’ll notice this definition here, it says not mere credence; a lot of people are confused about this because they think salvation is related to knowing things about Jesus.  Before I was saved  I knew a lot of things about Jesus; I could rattle off facts and figures concerning His birth, the time period that he lived in, who His mother was, and those kind of things, but you see, I was not a Christian at that point in time.  I had information, a mindful of information, but there was not yet the trusting heart.  When a person responds to the information about Jesus Christ with a heart that trusts Him,  and Him alone, for the safekeeping of their soul, that is the moment they become a child of God and a Christian.  Consequently we say over and over again at this church that faith is the single condition which must be exercised by the lost sinner in order to enter into a relationship with the God that made them and also the God that redeemed them.

In fact, this is so clear that the New Testament tells us this 99 times in John’s Gospel, probably about 200 times total in the New Testament—faith alone in Christ alone.  Now on Wednesday nights, our Wednesday night study on Wednesday night we have been doing a study on the doctrine of salvation; we call Soteriology, which is the Greek word for salvation.  In fact, when you look at the word salvation there at the end of verse 15 or towards the middle of verse 15 it is the Greek word soteria, which means salvation; soteriology being the study of the doctrine of salvation. We have spent a lot of time talking about this one condition of salvation which is faith alone.  If you wanted to review that material I would challenge you to review lessons 5-12 where we have gone into depth on this subject.

And one of the things that’s so interesting about this verse is its simplicity.  I mean, the first reaction I had when I read this verse is where’s all the stuff.  You say what stuff?  Well, the stuff that people say you have to do to get saved; I mean, where’s the business about walking an aisle?  It’s not here.  Where is the business about a contrite heart that wreaks and wails before God?  Not that that’s a bad thing in and of itself, but that’s not here either.  It’s just the simple word “faith.”

You say well, aren’t there two kinds of faith, the faith that saves and the faith that doesn’t save?  I don’t see that here at all, it just says “faith.”  And by the way, if you ever buy into this idea that there are two kinds of faith, the faith that saves and the faith that doesn’t save, they call it faith versus saving faith, you spend your whole life as a Christian wondering if you have the right kind of faith.  The Bible knows no such distinction, it simply uses this simple expression “faith.”  There’s nothing here about emotion, nothing here about sorrow, nothing here about walking an aisle, I don’t mean to step on too many toes but there isn’t anything here about turning from your sins, not that turning from your sins is a bad thing to do, but those things are never held out as the simple condition by which a lost sinner receives salvation.

It is just so easy and so simple it is astounding to me how confused we’ve made it.  And I think the reason we’ve confused this so severely is we just think it’s too good to be true.  I mean, there must be something else in the mix that I have to do, I have to perform, so we have a tendency in our works righteousness to insert things that God never inserted and in the process we become Pharisees.  A Pharisee is someone who elevates their own tradition above and beyond the Word of God.  Jesus had His sharpest conflict with such individuals called the Pharisees in the New Testament.  Pharisees were just people that added to the Scripture.  And I fear many times because we just don’t believe it’s that easy or that simple, we become Pharisaical, not on the basis of the Word of God but on the basis of pride, religious tradition and pride and in the process we add to the Word of God.  Don’t let the simplicity of that little expression escape notice, “and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation” and all it says is “through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”

I’ve used this example before so if you’ve heard it before forgive me, but Charles Blondin used to walk back and forth across a tightrope suspended across Niagara Falls.  And in fact he was so skilled at this crowds would gather on the shores and watch him do this.  And he actually became so adroit, so skilled at this that he actually was able to push a wheel barrow across a tight rope suspended across Niagara Falls.  And the crowds would gather and watch him do this and one day he called out to the audience, he says do you believe that I can do this feat?  And of course they all said yes, we believe, because they had seen him do it over and over again.  And then he asked that chilling question, all right, which of you all wants to get into the wheel barrow?

See, it’s not until a person actually moves from data to trust that they become a Christian.  That’s why I put this definition up here on the screen; it tells you exactly what faith is.  Faith is a synonym for trust.  Well trust in what?  What exactly are we trusting in?  Faith, as  you know is only as good as the object it’s placed in.  I can trust in any number of false ideas but I actually don’t become saved until I trust in a specific object and that object is given there in verse 15, “through faith which is in” who? “Christ Jesus.”  The object of faith is not a church, it’s not a denomination, it’s not a ministry style, it’s not a brand of scholarship, it is faith in Jesus; Jesus is the object of faith.

Now there are a lot of different Jesus’ out there, unfortunately.  The Mormons, not if but when they come to your door, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, not if, but when they come to your door, will talk about Jesus also.  But you see, their Jesus is not the Jesus of the Bible because when you begin to probe what you’ll discover is their Jesus is a created being.  He is not the eternally existent Second Member of the Godhead.  So the Jesus that we are trusting in cannot be a false Jesus, it’s cannot be a fake Jesus, it cannot be a phony Jesus, it has to be the real Jesus as revealed in the pages of Scripture.  And that real Jesus is identified with the expression “Christ.”  Jesus Christ.  Now for many years I used to think Christ was Jesus’ last name.  Mr. Christ I used to think was His name.  But Christ, Christos, simply means the Messiah, the anointed one.

In Hebrew we would use this expression, the Mashiach.  In other words, the Jesus that you are trusting in must be the Jesus revealed in the Scripture because only that Jesus has the power to do what He is promising to do, which is to save the soul.  Over in John 4, the woman at the well, had trusted in the right Jesus because she says this, “The woman said to Him, ‘I know that the Messiah is coming, (He who is called Christ); when He comes, He will declare all things to us.’” [John 4:25]

I know there’s a Jesus coming; I know there’s a Messiah coming, verse 26 of John 4 says this, “Jesus said to her, ‘I who speak to you am He.’”   I AM the Christ, I AM the Messiah, I AM the one who is the eternally existent Second Member of the Godhead, I AM the one who is about to rise from the dead not too long into the future, and therefore I am the only one that has the power to do what I promised to do, which is to save your soul.

So Timothy, what you are to do in your ministry is you are to continue on teaching and preaching the Word of God.  And he’s really given two reasons thus far, number the Word of God changes people, including Saul of Tarsus, verse 14, a man who desperately needed to be changed, like we all do.  And number 2, the Scripture creates an opportunity for the lost sinner to trust in the right Jesus and consequently be saved.  You remove the Scripture from the guide of the local church and those two things that I’ve just mentioned disappear.

But there’s something else, there’s a third reason and we’ll probably not get beyond this one here (in verse 16) this morning.  There is a third reason why you are to continue on with the preaching and teaching of the Word of God and this has to do with number 3, the divine origin of the Scripture, because he starts to talk about this in verse 16 where it says, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness.”  We’re just going to focus this morning on this expression “All Scripture is inspired by God.”

The third reason you are to continue on teaching the Scripture and peaching the Scripture and studying the Scripture is because it’s God’s book.  It’s actually inspired by God.  Now that expression “inspired by God,” is a translation of a Greek word that we call a hapax legomena, which is a fancy way of saying it’s used once and only once in the whole New Testament, right here.  It’s actually a compound word made up of two words.  The Greek word  is theopnuestos, made up of two words, Theos, what does Theos mean? God, and pneustos meaning breath.  So when your English translation says, “All Scripture is inspired by God” what it is saying here when it indicates “inspired by God” is that is simply a translation from a Greek word meaning God-breathed.

Timothy, the Scripture is God-breathed, it is the very breath, dare I say the very saliva of God.  Other than the incarnation of Jesus Christ and creation itself it is probably the closest thing you will ever get in this life to God and His direct revelation.  That’s what the Scripture is; it is “God-breathed.”   2 Peter 1:20-21, you might just want to jump over there for a quick second.  2 Peter 1:20-21, holding your place here in 2 Timothy, and it’s sort of interesting to me that Timothy, 2 Timothy is Paul’s last word and testament.  2 Peter is Peter’s last word and testament.  In other words it’s what Paul and Peter wrote at the very end of their lives.  And isn’t it interesting that at the end of their lives both writers make powerful statements about the Word of God and its importance.

Notice 2 Peter 1:20-21, a parallel passage, it says, “But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own private interpretation, [21] for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.”  That is an unpacking, if you will, of the expression “God-breathed” used in 2 Timothy 3:16.  It is a description of something we call inspiration, which deals with the actual penning or recording of God’s message to man.  The message that we have from God has come to us from God because the Holy Spirit moved the writers of Scripture to pen God’s message.

And that’s why the Scripture is not a matter of one’s own private interpretation.  Paul, when he wrote his thoughts they were really not his thoughts; they were God’s thoughts.  Peter, when he wrote his thoughts were really not his thoughts, they were God’s thoughts.  God simply used them as His instrument to pen God’s message to lost man.  “But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own” private “interpretation, [21] for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men” were “moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.”

Now in 2 Peter 1:21 where it translates “moved” it is the Greek verb phero, which is used in the New Testament elsewhere, Acts 27:15 and verse 17 if you want the exact address, it is used elsewhere in the New Testament of wind that fills the sails of a boat.  And as wind fills the sails of a sailboat the sailboat is propelled along.

Acts 27:15 says, “And when the ship was caught in it and could not face the wind we gave way to it and let ourselves be driven along,” that is phero, the same verb used in 2 Peter 1:21.

Acts 27:17 says, “After they had hoisted it up, they used supporting cables in undergirding the ship; and fearing that they might run aground on the shallows of Syrtis, they let down the sea anchor and in this way let themselves be driven along,” again phero.

So what is the point?  The point is simply this: just as the Holy Spirit came upon the writers of Scripture and they ended up penning God’s message, in the exact same way wind comes alongside a sailboat and propels it along.  As the wind is propelling a sailboat in the same way the Holy Spirit propelled, empowered, influenced the writers of the Scripture, both Old Testament and New Testament.  And consequently Peter tells us that the Scripture is not a matter of one’s own private interpretation, the interpreter here being the writer.  It’s very different than false prophets.  False prophets give their own ideas.

The book of Jeremiah, chapter 23 and verse 16 says, “Thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘Do not listen to the words of the prophets who are prophesying to you. They are leading you into futility; They speak a vision of their own imagination, not from the mouth of the LORD.”  A false teacher, a false prophet was speaking vain things, they came out of his or her mind.  Not so the writers of Scripture who were propelled along by the Holy Spirit.   And consequently Scripture is not a matter of one’s own private interpretation.

If you believe this then what you start to believe is that this book is not like reading the editorial of the newspaper.  This is not an opinion piece by some man; this is God’s book.  This is God’s revelation to lost man.  You say well wait a minute pastor, hold the phone, was not the Scripture written by men?  Was not Paul and Peter and others who penned the pages of God’s Word, were they not human beings?  And the answer is they were human beings.  But here’s the deal:  God, when He decided in His sovereignty to use humanity to pen His truth He respected their person­alities, their backgrounds, their life experiences and their temperaments.  He did not, as in the case of a demon possession, you know when a demon possesses somebody in the New Testament he, the demon, subjugates the person they’re possessing.  That’s not how it worked with God in the writing of Scripture.  God did not subjugate these men.  What God did is he ended up using them as writers of the Scripture.  So they were authors of Scripture as well.  God, the ultimate author but He used human writers in the process.

And if you become sensitive to this you’ll start to see their personalities come out, these writers of Scripture.  For example, Peter talks more about water and the flood than any biblical writer.  Why is that?  Because Peter was a fisherman, he liked water.  Matthew 4:18 tells us that Peter was a fisherman.  [Matthew 4:18, “Now as Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon who was called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen.”]  Luke talks more about the pre-natal activities of Jesus and John the Baptist in their mother’s wombs than any other biblical writer.  Why would Luke talk about such a thing?  Because he is a physician, or a doctor, Colossians 4:14 says that.  [Colossians 4:14, “Luke, the beloved physician, sends you his greetings, and also Demas.”]

In fact, there’s this very odd statement that you find in Acts 1:18 and it’s dealing with the suicide of Judas.  And it says this: “(Now this man acquired a field with the price of his wickedness, and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his intestines gushed out.”   Now I read that and I say that’s more information than what I’m interested in.  Why would Luke even talk about that?  Well, intestines, things like that are interesting to him given his background.

Or you take Matthew, Matthew talks more about monetary sums than any other gospel writer.  In fact, it’s in Matthew that we have the parable of the talents; we think a “talent” is an ability, but a “talent” actually biblically is a monetary sum that people are entrusted with.  In fact, Matthew, and this is interesting because we just had April 15th,  is the only Gospel writer that talks about Jesus and Peter going fishing, and they find a fish and inside the fish is a coin.  And Jesus says to Peter, pull that fish out, grab the coin out of its mouth and use that to pay your what?  Taxes, and I wish I could pay my taxes that way.  But only Matthew talks about this particular story.  Now why is that?  Because Matthew was a what?  A tax collector.

So what you have in the Scripture is a miracle of God equivalent to the virgin Mary where God brought forth His Son using a human womb, Mary’s womb.  In the same way God birthed, or brought forth His Word using these human instruments to accomplish His will.  So this is what we refer to as the dual authorship of the Bible.  We have Author, capital A, God who was like the wind that propelled these folks along, and then we have author, little a, where God actually used their skills, backgrounds, temperaments, styles, personalities, life experiences, which by the way God had given to them as well, did He not, and why would He not use those things to fulfill His purposes.

See God is not interested in overriding people.  He’s interested in using people as they are, just like myself, just like  you.  Your gifts are not an accident, your life experience is not an accident, these are all things that God can sovereignly and wants to sovereignly use to further His purposes on the earth.  And so what is being described in 2 Peter 1:20-21, 2 Timothy 3:16, it is a process that we call inspiration dealing with how the Word of God was actually recorded and penned for the benefit of humanity.

Now if you read doctrinal statements, I know you probably don’t stay up late at night reading doctrinal statements, but I’m going to read to you something out of page 3 of our Sugar Land Bible Church statements of faith.  And this is what it says:  “The Scriptures, both the Old and New Testaments, are the verbally inspired and inerrant Word of God. Divine inspiration extends equally and fully to all parts and words of the Bible, so that the whole Bible,” watch, “in the original manuscripts,” oh-oh, “is without error. The Bible is God’s revelation to man and is therefore the final authority for all Christian faith and practice.”  All of that sounds good except for this one little part here where it says inspiration, inerrancy, is only for the original manuscripts of the Bible.  The process of inspiration where God’s message is recorded only applies to the very first manuscripts.

Question:  Can we look at those manuscripts?   The answer is no, we can’t, because we don’t have them any longer.  Now before you hit the panic button I want you to understand something about the sovereignty of God.  What do people do when they think they’re found a splinter in the cross, or the nails of Jesus?  They idolize those things, don’t they?  What would we be doing as lost human beings if we actually had the original manuscripts?  We would turn those things into idols.  And consequently God, in His sovereignty, has not allowed us to keep those original manuscripts.

And beyond that, think about this for a minute.  If there was only one manuscript that Paul wrote, for example, 2 Timothy, and somebody damaged it or stole it what would happen to Christianity?  The Christian cause would be destroyed, wouldn’t it.  So what is sort of shocking to discover is the original manuscripts are things that we don’t actually possess.  Well, then what are we reading here? We are reading copies of the manuscripts because what you have to understand about Christianity is this: Christianity has always been an evangelistic faith.  The goal of Christianity is always to take the things of God and let others in on what God is doing; it’s called evangelism.

So we don’t have the original manuscripts, what we have are not the manuscripts themselves but we have vast, vast copies of the original manuscripts.  Now you say well, then, what good is Christianity, I don’t even have the original manuscripts.  Can these copies that we have really be trusted?  And what I want to communicate to you is we come out smelling like a rose on this issue.  I mean, we come out so far ahead compared to other works of antiquity, I’m not sure if you can read my chart but it’s comparing  the manuscript evidence of the New Testament with other accepted works of antiquity.

For example, Caesar’s works; we have ten manuscripts of that, no original, ten manuscripts.  And how long of a distance is it between the earliest manuscript and the original copy?  1,000 years.

Plato, we all revere Plato, seven copies, 1200 year distance.  Thucydides, 8 copies, 1300 year distance.  Tacitus, 20 copies, 1,000 year distance.  Suetonius, ever done your devotional life on Suetonius?  Probably not, 8 manuscripts , 800 years distance.  Homer’s The Iliad, 643 copies, 500 year distance between the earliest copy and the original.  Look at the Bible in comparison.  24,000 copies, would you say that’s a lot in comparison to everybody else?  And look at the time distance between when the New Testament was written and the earliest manuscript, 25-50 years.

So if you, if people, if the history channel is going to sit in judgment on the Bible because we don’t have the original manuscripts then you have to throw out every other major work of antiquity.  Nobody challenges… you know, Dan Rather doesn’t run specials challenging Plato, or Thucydides, they’re only challenging the Bible.  And yet compared to Plato, Thucydides, what we have in the New Testament  is a vast number of manuscript copies and a very, very short distance between when the New Testament was written and the earliest available manuscripts.

My point is simply this: it is true that the doctrine of inspiration applies only to the original writings; it is true that we do not have the original writings, but what you have in the Scripture are as close as you could humanly get in terms of reliability.  The Bible is not the actual writings of Paul or Peter, they’re copies but the copies, compared to any other work of antiquity are highly, highly, HIGHLY! [Exclamation point] reliable.

Now do these 24,000 copies, do they agree with each other on every point?  The answer would be no.  Yes, they agree with each other 99% of the time; no, they don’t agree with each other 1% of the time.  Now before that bothers you too much let me say this: that 1% never relates to a major doctrinal issue.  They agree on, obviously far more than they disagree on, but you’ll notice, for example as you’re looking at different Bible versions you’re studying the woman caught in adultery, John 8, if you’re reading out of the New American Standard Bible there’s this strange little mark that says “This story is not found in the earliest manuscripts.”  If you’re reading out of the New King James Bible what you’ll discover is that little mark is not there.  So what is happening here?  Some of the manuscripts contain the story, some of them don’t  And that is an example of the 1% disagreement amongst these manuscripts.  And the goal of text criticism, since we do not have the original, is which of these manuscripts that deviate from each other, ever so slightly, which one is accurate?  And people devote their entire lives to this.  It’s a science called Text criticism.

The New King James Bible, the King James Bible, basically says if the story is found in the majority of the manuscripts it’s authentic.  The New American Standard Bible says no, the story must be found in the earliest manuscripts.  And so scholars debate which one is accurate; is it the majority or is it the earliest?  And there’s a healthy knock-out, drag-out debate amongst people on the same team over that issue.  And this is a little introduction, if I can give this to you, on what we call text criticism.  But what you have to understand is these areas of disagreement represent 1%, probably less than 1% of all the areas these manuscripts agree on.

What can we be sure of?  We can be sure that what we are reading out of the Scripture, with the exception of the one percent disagreement amongst Bible translators and text critics, is reliable, highly reliable, in fact, we’re so far ahead in compared to other works of antiquity, highly reliable copy.   So this promise of God-breathed the breath of God, the saliva of God, this does not apply to the copies that we have, it only applies to the originals that once existed, and yet these copies that we have are astoundingly… astoundingly accurate, far, far ahead of all of these other works of antiquity that I’ve referenced.

This view of the inspiration of the Bible, the Bible being God-breathed in its original manuscripts, is not something that Paul thought up.  It is not something that Peter thought up.  This was the thoughts of God and the mind of God and it was actually a viewpoint that Jesus Himself had when He walked the earth.  You see, because when Jesus walked the earth there was no New Testament yet.  The only thing you had is what we call the Old Testament, we refer to it as Hebrew Bible or Tanakh, TNK: Tanakh, T stands for Torah, that would be the first five books of the Bible, the Law of God.  N stands for Neviim, meaning prophets.  K stands for Ketuvim, like the Psalms, referring to writings.

That is how the Jews organized their Scripture, by Tanakh, T–Torah; N–Nevi’im—K, Ketuvim.  So when Jesus walked the earth the only thing that He had was Tanakh.  When Jesus looked at Tanakh what did he see?  He saw exactly what Paul is talking about here and Peter, he saw the very breath of God in its original manuscripts and the very saliva of God.  In fact, let me give you some quotes of Christ.  Notice, if you can, Matthew 22:43-44.  This is Jesus making a statement about Psalm 110, written a thousand years before Christ walked the earth.  And there’s a lot of nuances in this quote that I don’t want to get into, I just want to show you one thing.   “‘He said to them, ‘Then how does David in the Spirit call Him ‘Lord,’ saying, [44] ‘THE LORD SAID TO MY LORD, “SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND, UNTIL I PUT YOUR ENEMIES BENEATH YOUR FEET ‘?”

He’s quoting Psalm 110:1 to make a point about Himself.  But what he says, most interestingly in verse 43 is this: “He said to them, ‘Then How does David in the Spirit call Him ‘Lord,”” did you catch that phrase?  “how does David in the Spirit” make this statement in Psalm 110?  In other words, Jesus Himself believed that the Spirit came upon David, a human writer, and as the wind propels the sails in a sailboat and the boat is pushed along, in the same way the Holy Spirit came upon David, respecting David’s gifts, talents, temperament, styles, literary background, but the Spirit of God used those things to pen God’s message in Psalm 110.  Now that’s not the belief of Peter and Paul only, that’s what Jesus thought about Tanakh.

Let me give you another example.  Take a look at John 10:34-35, he is quoting here Psalm 82:6, a Psalm of Asaph.  Watch this.  “Jesus answered them, ‘Has it been written your law, I SAID, YOU ARE GODS’? “  Now let’s not go into that because that would take another three hours to unpack what that means so we won’t deal with that.  At this point He’s simply quoting Psalm 82:6.  Verse 35 says, “If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken),” and he goes on revealing His point, but in the process He says, “If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came,” who wrote Psalm 82:6?  It was Asaph, correct answer.  But God wrote Psalm 82:6 also because God “came upon” Asaph, the writer of Psalm 82, and he ended up penning God’s message.  Dual authorship: Asaph is the author, little “a”, God is the Author, capital “A” in the original manuscripts.

Take a look at Matthew 5:18, Jesus is making another statement about Tanakh, here’s He’s making a statement about the T, Torah.  Actually before we go to Matthew 5:18 look at Matthew 4:4, “But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every” what “word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”  Jesus Himself believed that the words in Tanach, which comprise the sentences, which comprise the paragraphs, which comprise the chapters, which comprise the books, each word was put there by God through inspiration.

Now take a look at 5:18, Jesus says, “‘For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.’”  Jesus let me tell you something else about T in Tanach, the words were put there by God and so were the letters.  And the smallest strokes of the pen, which sort of in Hebrew looks like a little apostrophe, those smallest strokes of the pen were put there by God Himself as he magically and strategically used, miraculously I should say, these writers of Scripture.

You see, when Jesus looked at Tanakh what did He see?   He saw that the strokes of the pen, which make up the letters, which make up the words, which make up the paragraphs, which make up the chapters, which make up the books were there because God put them there.

Why Paul says to Timothy, going back to 2 Timothy 3:16, should you continue on with the Scripture, because “All Scripture is God-breathed” in the original writing.

Now one other quick point, did you catch the adjective “all”?  We’re back in 2 Timothy 3;16 by the way, did you catch the adjective “all?”  “All Scripture is inspired by God.”  What does the Sugar Land Bible Church statement of faith say?  “The Scriptures, both the Old and New Testaments, are the verbally inspired and inerrant Word of God. Divine inspiration extends equally and fully to all parts and words of the Bible, so that the whole Bible, in the original manuscripts, is without error.”

That word “all” is so significant and let me tell you why it’s significant; it does not give me the right as a preacher or a teacher or a reader to pick the things that God said.  The adjective “all” precludes that.  I don’t have the luxury to say this part of the Bible is important over here, but not this part because “all Scripture,” not some, “all” is inspired by God.  You know, if that word “all” was not there you would put so much power into human beings who would then decide what they like and what they don’t like.  But the word “all” precludes that.  The word “all” shapes one’s ministry philosophy.  Unless you understand the word “all” this church and the ministry philosophy of this pulpit won’t make any sense to you.  Why in the world did we pick it up in the middle of verse 15?  Why not just start in verse 16 when we started the sermon?  The answer is we didn’t cover all of verse 15 yet, “all” means all, doesn’t it?  Who am I to leave out or chop out a part of verse 15?

Look at 2 Timothy 4:2, next chapter to the right, “preach the” what? “preach the word; be ready in season and out of season…” and so forth.   Watch this: “All Scripture is God-breathed,” 2 Timothy 3:16.  “Preach the Word,” verse 2 of chapter 4, next chapter, that means what part of the Bible must be preached?  All of it.  I don’t have the luxury of saying well, I don’t think this part over here is relevant, or this part over here is applicable.  All means all, and hence you see why we move slowly, gradually, methodically through books of the Bible.  As we are moving through books of the Bible I am not in control.  I don’t really want to be in control.  I want God to be in control.  And the only way to keep God in control of content and diet is to move through all of His Word right down to little clauses, commas, and things of that nature.

After all, what did Jesus say, quoting the book of Deuteronomy?  “Man shall not live on bread alone but on” what? “every word,” not some words, “every word.”  Topical studies don’t cut it, folks, I’m not against topical studies from time to time but  you will not get an intake of all of the Word of God through topical studies.  What did Paul say in the book Acts, chapter 20, verses 26 and 27?  “Therefore, I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. [27] For I did not shrink from declaring to you the” what?  “whole purpose of God.”  Why would Paul be into the “whole purpose of God?  It’s because of what he would write to Timothy here in 2 Timothy 3:16, “All Scripture is God-breathed.”

Not only is it God-breathed, it doesn’t have any errors in it.  Jesus said in John 17:17, “Sanctify them in the truth, Your Word is” what? “truth.”  You say well, don’t you believe that the Bible is true related to spiritual things but when it comes to history, archeology, science, geology it can have mistakes in it?  No I don’t believe that, not in the original manuscripts do I believe that at all.  If the Bible has mistakes in it related to things you can see and validate and verify, like history, archeology, geology and things of that nature, if it’s got mistakes in it from that angle how in the world can you trust it on things you can’t see: angels, demons, heaven, hell, redemption, forgiveness, and things of that nature.

You see, the philosophy of ministry at Sugar Land Bible Church is the entire Word of God as we read these highly reliable copies is inspired by God through dual authorship.  When God inspired these people to write they weren’t writing books primarily about science, or archeology, or history, yet the doctrine of inspiration and inerrancy guarantees that when these men brushed on those subjects, which they did every once in a while, they are accurate in what they say.

 

So what we believe in is total inerrancy.  All of the Scripture being inspired by God, therefore necessitating that all of the Scripture be taught.  Timothy, you have to stick with the Bible in the midst of the apostasy.  Why is that?  Because this is God’s book; this is not your book.  Paul says this is not my book.  This is God’s book, this is God’s truth, all of it is God’s truth.  The Bible doesn’t merely contain the Word of God, the Bible doesn’t become the Word of God.  The Bible IS the Word of God.  It’s not an editorial, not an opinion from a man, although God did use human beings to record His Word.  It is the only book on planet earth that you have that records God’s message to man as guaranteed through full inspiration and full inerrancy.

So Timothy, you must make a straight path through the Word of God in  your preaching and your teaching ministry.  You must imitate what you saw me do where Paul says I have given you the whole counsel of the Word of God.   See folks, there is a lot of error being propagated today, not based on what people say, listen to me very carefully, we’re close to wrapping up, not based on what people say but based on what people omit.  There is a sin of commission; there is a sin of omission.  God is not going to evaluate pastors and preachers and teachers, and by the way, as you know he says the teachers incur the stricter judgment, He is not going to evaluate pastors and teachers simply based on what they say; He is going to evaluate them based on what they omitted.

Now I have a personality that’s sort of a people pleasing personality, believe it or not.  And if I was really in charge of this process I would duck subjects for fear of offense.  Yet, if you believe that “All Scripture is inspired by God” and “God breathed,” if you are committed to moving through the entire Scripture and expounding it, ducking subjects is not a possibility.

But let me tell you something, on that kind of ministry the blessing of God rests.  I have been doing this for enough years to know this much: God honors His Word. I don’t have all of the catchy cool answers to problems that people have today.  I don’t know a lot about managing a church.  I don’t know an awful lot about managing interpersonal conflicts among people.  Those of you that have come to me for counseling know that I’m probably not the best marriage counselor or counselor at all.  But  I know this much: God wants His Word taught.  God honors His Word when it’s taught.  When it’s not neglected, negated, chipped, chiseled, cut to ribbons He honors His Word and he honors ministries that will make the full counsel of the Word of God a priority.  Shall we pray.

Father, we are grateful for this statement on God-breathed, God inspired.  Help us, Father, to use these things to inform us, not only on how we conduct a ministry but how we live our personal lives.  We will be careful to give You all the praise and the glory.  We ask these things in Jesus’ name.  And God’s people said….