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The Identity of God's Word

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A.      The Content of Scripture

  1. The 66 books of the Old and New Testaments
  2. Not the Apocrypha

a.       Apocrypha is the name for 14 books written between about 200BC and AD100.

b.       Apocrypha, meaning “hidden” or “secret”, refers to the mysterious nature of their origin.  Neither their authors nor the circumstances of their writings are known.

c.       Neither the Jews nor the early Christians accepted them as inspired scripture.

d.       The books themselves do not claim inspiration.  There are no “Thus saith the Lord’s”.

e.       Although the New Testament has 263 direct quotations from and 370 allusions to the Old Testament, there is not a single reference to the books of the Apocrypha.

f.         It was at the Council of Trent, on April 8th, 1546, that the pope declared tradition and the Apocrypha to be canonical and authoritative.

g.       These books teach several false doctrines and contain many inaccurate historical facts.

h.       The fourteen Apocryphal books are:

(1)      I Esdras (9 chapters) History of Israel from Josiah to the return from captivity.

(2)      II Esdras (16 chapters) A book of seven prophetic visions supposedly written by Ezra (5:1-10; 7:26-32; 15:33-36).

(3)      Tobit (14 chapters) A religious fantasy where Tobit’s son Tobias marries a widow who was married seven times yet was still a virgin having all her husbands killed by the demon Asmodeas (3:7-10).  Tobias dispels the demon through an exorcism (6:1-7; 8:1-3).

(4)      Judith (16 chapters) Jewish widow disguises herself as a traitor to her people, gets an Assyrian general drunk and saves her people by chopping off his head and hanging it on the city wall.

(5)      Additions to Esther (7 chapters) Visions, letters and prayers meant to bring the mention of God to the book of Esther (10:4).

(6)      Wisdom of Solomon (19 chapters) A book of ethics commending wisdom.

(7)      Ecclesiasticus (51 chapters) A work of general morality and practical godliness modeled after Proverbs.

(8)      Baruch (6 chapters) Prayers and confessions of the Jews in exile.

(9)      Song of the Three Holy Children (1 chapter) An addition to Daniel 3.

(10)  History of Susanna (1 chapter) Added as the 13th chapter of Daniel.  In it, Daniel uses his wisdom to free a woman falsely accused of adultery.

(11)  Bel and the Dragon (1 chapter) Another addition to Daniel telling how Daniel destroys two Babylonian idols.

(12)  The Prayer of Manasseh (1 chapter) Supposed prayer of 2Chronicles 33:18-19.

(13)  I Maccabees (16 chapters) Credible history covering 40 years (175-135BC) from the accession of Antiochus Epiphanes to the death of Simon Maccabees.

(14)  II Maccabees (15 chapters) Fanciful history covering same period as I Maccabees (2:1-6; 3:23-27; 5:1-4). 

  1. Not the Lost Books

a.                   Books named in scripture but no longer in existence.

b.                   If they were meant to be scripture, God would have preserved them.

c.                   They are: 

(1)      The Book of the Wars of the Lord (Numbers 21:14)

(2)      The Book of Jasher (Joshua 10:13; 2Samuel 1:18)

(3)      The Book of the Acts of Solomon (2Kings 11:41)

(4)      The Book of Nathan the Prophet (1Chronicles 29:29)

(5)      The Book of Gad the Seer (1Chronicles 29:29)

(6)      The Prophecy of Ahijah the Shilonite (2Chronicles 9:29)

(7)      The Visions of Iddo the Seer (2Chronicles 9:29

  1. Not the Pseudographia

a.       Means “false writings”

b.       Refers to all the books claiming to be scripture but never accepted by Jews or Christians.

c.       Includes books like: 

(1)      The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles

(2)      The Epistle of Barnabas

(3)      The Shepherd of Hermas

(4)      The Apocalypse of Peter

(5)      The Gospel of Nicodemus

(6)      The Gospel of the Nativity of Mary

(7)      The Gospel of the Savior’s Infancy 

B.      The Titles of Scripture 

  1. The Volume of the Book (Psalm 40:7; Hebrews 10:7).  Bible, though unused in the text of scripture, means “the books” or “collection of books”.
  2. Scripture

a.       Means “the writings”

b.       Only one Old Testament mention – the “scripture of truth” (Daniel 10:21)

c.       New Testament references 

(1)      Scripture (31 times)

(2)      Scriptures (21 times)

(3)      See Matthew 22:29; Mark 14:49; Luke 24:27,32,45; John 5:39; 10:35; Acts 8:35; 17:11; Romans 1:2; 15:4; 16:26; 1Corinthians 15:3-4; Galatians 3:8,22; 2Timothy 3:15-16; 1Peter 2:6; 2Peter 1:20; 3:16

  1. Word (Psalm 119:11,89,105,133,140,160)

a.       Word of the Lord (Psalm 18:30; 33:4,6)

b.       Word of God (Proverbs 30:5; 1Thessalonians 2:13; 2Timothy 2:9; Hebrews 4:12)

c.       Word of truth (Psalm 119:43; Ephesians 1:13; 2Timothy 2:15)

d.       Word of this salvation (Acts 13:26)

e.       Word of the gospel (Acts 15:7)

f.         Word of His grace (Acts 10:32)

g.       Word of promise (Romans 9:9)

h.       Word of faith (Romans 10:8)

i.         Word of reconciliation (2Corinthians 5:19)

j.         Word of life (Philippians 2:16)

k.       Word of Christ (Colossians 3:16)

l.         The faithful word (Titus 1:9)

m.     Word of His power (Hebrews 1:3)

n.       Word of righteousness (Hebrews 5:13)

o.       Word of exhortation (Hebrews 13:22)

p.       The engrafted word (James 1:21

C.      The Types of Scripture 

  1. Food (Job 23:12)
  2. Gold (Psalm 19:10; Proverbs 3:13-15)
  3. Honey (Psalm 19:10)
  4. Lamp (Psalm 119:105)
  5. Goad (Ecclesiastes 12:10-11)
  6. Nail (Ecclesiastes 12:10-11)
  7. Fire (Jeremiah 23:29)
  8. Hammer (Jeremiah 23:29)
  9. Seed (Luke 8:11)
  10. Water (Ephesians 5:29)
  11. Sword (Ephesians 6:17)
  12. Mirror (James 1:22-25)
  13. Milk (1Corinthians 3:2; Hebrews 5:12-13)
  14. Bread (Deuteronomy 8:3; Isaiah 55:10)
  15. Meat (1Corinthians 3:2; Hebrews 5:12-14)
  16. Rain & Snow (Isaiah 55:10-11)

D.      The Living and Written Word

  1. Both are expressions of the mind of God (Hebrews 1:3; Hosea 8:12 with 1Corinthians 2:16)
  2. Both have eternal existence (Hebrews 13:8; 1Peter 1:23)
  3. Both come to bless the world (Acts 3:26; Luke 11:28)
  4. Both partake of the human and the divine (1Timothy 3:16; 2Peter 1:21)
  5. Both are faultless (1John 3:5; Proverbs 30:5)
  6. Both are sources of life (John 14:6; Hebrews 4:12)
  7. Both are light (John 8:12; Proverbs 6:23)
  8. Both are truth (John 14:6; 17:17)
  9. Both are food for the soul (John 6:35; Deuteronomy 8:3)
  10. Both must be received to be saved (John 1:12; James 1:21)
  11. The rejection of either condemns to hell (John 8:24; Luke 16:31)
  12. Both are despised and rejected by men (Isaiah 53:3; Mark 7:9)
  13. Both will judge us at the last (Acts 17:31; Revelation 20:12)

E.      Scripture Identified With God

  1. Scripture speaks

            a.       In Romans 9:17, the scripture speaks to Pharaoh

b.       In Exodus 9:1,8,13,16, the Lord is the One Who speaks to Pharaoh

c.       The scripture is identified with God 

  1. Scripture preaches

a.       In Galatians 3:8, the scripture preaches to Abraham

b.       In Genesis 12:1; 18:18; 22:18, God is the One Who preaches to Abraham

c.       The scripture is identified with God 

  1. Scripture sees

a.       In Hebrews 4:12, the word of God is quick and powerful

b.       In Hebrews 4:13, no creature is manifest in his sight

c.       The antecedent for the pronoun, his, is the word of God in verse 12

d.       The scripture is identified with God 

  1. Conclusion

a.       All scripture is given by inspiration of God

b.       All scripture carries the complete authority of God

c.       No distinction may be made between what the scripture says and what God says

d.       Warning: do not identify any single copy of scripture (like the Bible you hold in your hand) with God Himself.  Remember that the word of God is forever settled in heaven and is therefore indestructible (Psalm 119:89). 

F.      The Power of Scripture 

  1. To testify of Christ (John 5:39)
  2. To save the lost (Psalm 9:7; 2Timothy 3:15; James 1:18-21, 1Peter 1:23)
  3. To produce faith (Romans 10:17)
  4. To discern (Hebrews 4:12)
  5. To convince (Titus 1:9)
  6. To sanctify (Psalm 119:9,11; John 15:3; 17:17; Ephesians 5:26)
  7. To teach (Psalm 119:130; Romans 15:4; 2Timothy 3:16-17)
  8. To guide (Psalm 119:105; Proverbs 6:23)
  9. To encourage (Psalm 119:49; Romans 15:4)
  10. To strengthen (Acts 20:32)
  11. To rejoice (Psalm 19:8; 119:111)
  12. To accomplish (Isaiah 55:10-11; 1Thessalonians 2:13)


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