Three weary travelers on the brink of exhaustion and starvation trudged across the desert in search of an oasis. They stood in amazement as two riders appeared over the distant horizon. As the strangers were encountered they told the travelers that in one day’s journey they would cross a dry riverbed with many curious stones. They told the famished men, “Fill your backpacks with stones when you get to the riverbed and in just one more day’s journey when you come to the city you’ll be both happy and sad.”
With this perplexing instruction and no apparent explanation, off the strangers rode. At the conclusion of one day’s ride the riverbed appeared just as promised. One rider scoffed at the stones in the riverbed. A second rider, weak and weary from the journey, picked up two stones and placed them in his pack. The third rider, in faith, filled his backpack with all it would hold. By sunset the next day they arrived in the promised city. Upon opening their backpacks, they discovered that the stones were pure gold. Alas! They were both happy and sad; happy for what they picked up and sad that they hadn’t picked up more.
So it is with the pure gold from God’s Word in both the Old and New Testaments. At the end of each day, and surely at the end of our life on this earth, we’ll be happy for what we took of it and sad we didn’t take more.
How do we know the Bible is God’s Word?
1) The Bible says so. 2,700 times the Bible claims to be the authentic, intentional Word of God.
2) People say so. Nine billion Bibles have been published in the last 50 years in 2,303 languages on all seven continents.
3) Continuity says so. Imagine one book written over a time span of 1600 years with 66 books inside itself penned by 40 different scholars. These authors were farmers, peasants, fishermen and even kings from three continents telling one continuous, congruent story from the first word in Genesis to the last word in Revelation. It is as if one person had written the entire book in one sitting!! Thus, the divinely inspired continuity of the Bible is the gift from God we have in our possession today.
4) Archeology says so. One of thousands of archaeological documentations of the Bible’s historicity came in 1991 when a team of archaeologists found a stone in the ancient city of Dan. The stone was from the 9th Century B.C. and read “King of Israel” and “House of David” ending a long held skeptics criticism that “King David” was only a mythical Jewish story and not an historical King. (US News, Oct. 7, 1991) Astute archaeology and Scripture have never been in conflict.
5) Manuscript reliability says so. The New Testament has over 25,000 original manuscripts (5366 Greek, 10,000 Latin and 9,284 in other languages) in our museums today. One manuscript dates back to as little as 50 years from the original writing. The writings of Plato have only 9 manuscripts with a gap of 1300 years between the original and first copy we have in our libraries today. The New Testament has greater manuscript reliability than any Top Ten pieces of classical literature combined.
6) Accuracy says so. The Old Testament book of Isaiah was written in the time frame of 600-700 BC. In 1948 in the Qumran desert, approximately fifteen miles from Jerusalem, a group of sealed clay pots were discovered in a cave by a shepherd boy, and contained Biblical manuscripts that were written between 100 BC and 100 AD. In one of the clay pots, a manuscript of the book of Isaiah was found. It was identical to the book of Isaiah that is in our Bible today. In the entire book, only twelve very minor variances were found. (US News, September 5, 1991)
7) Prophecy says so. Every prophecy; 61 individual prophecies with over 300 prophetic details made in the Old Testament about Christ’s first coming came true. (The New Evidence that Demands a Verdict, Josh McDowell) There are literally hundreds of prophecies of Christ’s second coming that are coming true today with incredible candor and accuracy.
Paul, the apostle, writes to the Colossians in Chapter 3 verse 16 and he writes to us today, “Let the Word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”
As you walk through this discipleship training and dig deeply into God’s Word you’ll be digging into Ft. Knox gold. The riches of wisdom, the courage to fight the battle, the conviction to live by God’s standards, and the grace to overcome our life’s failures will all be yours in abundance.
This is God’s Word we are holding in our hands. (Got room in your backpack for a nugget as you travel today?)
Understanding God’s Word
Mark these Key Words: God word
Old Testament Viewpoint
Psalms 119:105; Psalms 119:9-16; Psalms 119:33-37
Psalms 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
Psalms 119:9-16 How can a young man keep his way pure?
By keeping it according to Your word.
With all my heart I have sought You;
Do not let me wander from Your commandments.
Your word I have treasured in my heart,
That I may not sin against You.
Blessed are You, O LORD;
Teach me Your statutes.
With my lips I have told of
All the ordinances of Your mouth.
I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies,
As much as in all riches.
I will meditate on Your precepts
And regard Your ways.
I shall delight in Your statutes;
I shall not forget Your word.
Psalms, 119: 33-37 Teach me, O LORD, to follow Your decrees;
then I will keep them to the end.
Give me understanding, and I will keep Your law
and obey it with all my heart.
Direct me in the path of Your commands,
for there I find delight.
Turn my heart toward Your statutes
and not toward selfish gain.
Turn my eyes away from worthless things;
preserve my life according to Your word.
New Testament Viewpoint
1 Peter 2:2; Hebrews 4:12; James 1:22; Matthew 7:24; John 8:31-32
1 Peter 2:2 Like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation.
Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
James 1:22 But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.
Matthew 7:24 Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock.
John 8:31-32 So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”
What is God saying?
1) Describe the importance of the “Word” in the life of a believer.
2) What are three attitudes that a true believer should have towards the “Word”?
3) What are 3 things/responses that a true believer should have towards the “Word”?
4) What three metaphors do these passages use for the “Word”? What truth does each metaphor teach?
What else of significance do you see God saying in this passage?
How does this passage relate to me today? What changes does it bring to my life?
PAUL/TIMOTHY DIGGING DEEPER:
Who are the three-five most important relationships in your life right now, and how are things going with them?
Memory Verse: 2 Timothy 3:16-17
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.
A Adoration: Father, today I praise You for…
C Confession: Father, please forgive me for…
T Thanksgiving: Father, today I’m thankful for…
S Supplication: Father, the people & things that I wish to pray for today are…