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Sermon Notes

The Bible (2) - Questions

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2 Timothy 3:16-17

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

What is your favorite book of the Bible? And why?

In Sunday's message, we looked at the compilation and preservation of both the Old Testament and New Testament? Why is it important to know that the Bible was compiled and preserved with great care?

Three key reasons why we know the Old Testament is true are: Its ...

  1. Thematic Unity
  2. Prophetic Fulfillment
  3. Historical Accuracy

How would you describe the overall theme of the Old Testament? What are some prophecies that you know have been fulfilled? Why is it important that Scripture is rooted in history?

Did you grow up in a church tradition that read the Old Testament Apocrypha? Why is there a difference of opinion about the Apocrypha from the various church traditions?

How does it make you feel that there were books circulating at the time of the early church that didn't make it into the New Testament Canon (the word used for the compiled and standardize Bible)? Why is it important that these three benchmarks were met:

  1. Connection to the Apostles
  2. Use by the Churches
  3. Consistency of Teaching

One of the books that didn't make the cut was Infancy Gospel of Thomas. Give the following passages a read. Why don't you think it made the cut?

 1 1 When the boy Jesus was five years old, he was playing at the ford of a rushing stream. And he gathered the disturbed water into pools and made them pure and excellent, commanding them by the character of his word alone and not by means of a deed.
Animation of the Sparrows  2 Then, taking soft clay from the mud, he formed twelve sparrows. It was the Sabbath when he did these things, and many children were with him.
  3 And a certain Jew, seeing the boy Jesus with the other children doing these things, went to his father Joseph and falsely accused the boy Jesus, saying that, on the Sabbath he made clay, which is not lawful, and fashioned twelve sparrows.
  4 And Joseph came and rebuked him, saying, “Why are you doing these things on the Sabbath?” But Jesus, clapping his hands, commanded the birds with a shout in front of everyone and said, “Go, take flight, and remember me, living ones.” And the sparrows, taking flight, went away squawking.
  5 When the Pharisee saw this he was amazed and reported it to all his friends.
  2 1 And the son of Annas the scribe had come with Joseph. And taking a willow twig, he destroyed the pools and drained out the water which Jesus had gathered together. And he dried up their gatherings.
  2 And Jesus, seeing what had happened, said to him, “Your fruit (shall be) without root and your shoot shall be dried up like a branch scorched by a strong wind.”
  3 And instantly that child withered.
  3 1 While he was going from there with his father Joseph, a child running tore into his shoulder. And Jesus said to him, “You shall no longer go our way.” And instantly he died. At once the people, seeing that he was dead, cried out and said, “Where was this boy born that his word becomes a deed?”
  2 When they saw what had happened the parents of the dead boy blamed his father Joseph, saying, “Because you have this boy you cannot live with us in this village. If you wish to be here, teach him to bless and not to curse.”
  4 1 And Joseph said to Jesus, “Why do you say such things? They suffer and hate us.” And the boy said to Joseph, “If the words of my Father were not wise, he would not know how to instruct children.” And again he said, “If these were children of the bridal chamber, they would not receive curses. These people shall receive their punishment.” Instantly, the ones accusing him were blinded.
  2 But Joseph became angry and took hold of his ear and pulled hard.
  3 And Jesus said to him, “It is enough for you to seek me and to find me. You have acted foolishly.”

With so many copies and manuscripts of the New Testament (5,800), there were bound to be mistakes from copy to copy and manuscript to manuscript. But at the same time, having so many copies and manuscripts helps us to better figure out the original text. What is your reaction to these two quotes?

Timothy Paul Jones

Spread across millions and millions of words in more than 5,000 manuscripts, the variations represent a small percentage of the total text. According to one scholar, the New Testament is 92.6% stable. In others words, all these differences affect less than 8% of the New Testament text! What’s more, the overwhelming majority of these differences have to do with words that are misspelled or rearranged - differences that have no impact on the translation or meaning of the text. What this means practically is that the text of the New Testament has been sufficiently preserved for us to recover the words that God intended and inspired.
Clark Pinnock
There exists no document from the ancient world witnessed by so excellent a set of textual and historical data on which an intelligent decision may be made. An honest person cannot dismiss a source of this kind. Skepticism regarding the historical credentials of Christianity is based on irrational bias.

We know that the ancient Jews and the early Christians were passionate about the Bible simply by how they treated it. If someone observed your relationship with the Bible (like your kids), what would they conclude about you?

How can we be passionate about the Bible without actually worshipping the Bible? What do Jesus' words in John 5:39 say about this?

John 5:39
You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me!

Do you have any further questions or thoughts from Sunday's sermon?

How's your reading of the Essential 100 going?

Karl House