Ask Your Preacher
At work we often have conversations about politics, religion, world events, etc. I’m the only conservative in my department, so you can imagine… it gets lively. Our conversation was on marriage one particular day, and I pulled out my Bible and read what Paul wrote in Ephesians 5: 22-32. It is beautifully written, and I could see it impacted their thinking. However, one of them said, ”Men wrote the Bible, right? Don’t men have their own agenda; are not men fallible?” I did the best I could to answer this question, but I don’t think I did a great job. What is the best way to show that the men who wrote the Bible were inspired by God?
Sincerely, Defending the Faith
Dear Defending the Faith,
The best way to show it is to show the uniqueness of the Bible. The writers of the Bible admit that it is their hands that wrote it (Gal 6:11), but they also explain that God’s Spirit guided those hands (Eph 3:3-4). If that is true (and it is!), then the Bible would show signs that it was written by God and not man. Here are some simple reasons that the Bible is unique from every other book:
- It is 100% scientifically accurate. Isa 40:22 mentions the earth being round. Job 36:27-28 explains the water-vapor cycle. These and other verses mention scientific principles that were not understood until centuries later.
- It never contradicts itself. Over 40 different writers penned the pages of the Bible. They came from different walks of life and different eras, yet no one has ever found a contradiction from Genesis to Revelation.
- It has been perfectly preserved throughout history. The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Septuagint are copies of the Bible written 1,000 years apart, and yet, there is no difference in the text.
- No book is as widely distributed as the Bible. Written in over 2,500 languages and sold by the billions, the Bible is the most published book on the planet. No other book comes even close.
- The Bible is accurate in prophecies. The prophecies of Tyre (Eze 26:3-21) and Babylon (Isa 13:19-22, Isa 14:23) give specific, detailed accounts of the fall of those cities. Those prophecies were written many years before the events took place, and yet they came to pass exactly as the Bible foretold.
These are only short answers to the question ‘Why is the Bible unique?’, but they are a good start when discussing the issue with someone. If you want a more detailed answer, I recommend Evidence That Demands A Verdict by Josh McDowell and Has God Spoken? by A.O. Schnabel as great reference material on this topic.
I know the Holy Spirit was responsible for getting the Bible (Jhn 14:26) to us via gifts of the Spirit (Heb 2:4), and I know He intercedes for us when we pray (Rom 8:26), but what other roles does the Holy Spirit actively play in our lives?
Sincerely, I've Got Spirit, Yes I Do?
Dear I've Got Spirit, Yes I Do?,
Since the Holy Spirit is God (1 Cor 2:11, Gen 1:2) just as much as Jesus and the Father are, He is capable of being involved in our lives in a variety of ways. The Holy Spirit’s primary task was to bring the gospel to mankind. As you mentioned, He is why we have the Bible, and that is how the majority of His impact is made upon mankind. Here are some examples of things that the Holy Spirit does through the Word:
- He shows us God’s love for us (Rom 5:5).
- He teaches us how to be born again (Jhn 3:5).
- He dwells in our hearts (Rom 8:9) as we allow His words to lead us (Rom 8:14).
- He bears witness for the saved before men (Rom 8:16).
- He tells us what is on God’s mind (1 Cor 2:10).
By inspiring the writers of the Bible, testifying of their divine authority by miracles, and preserving their words through all history, the Holy Spirit has made Christ’s sacrifice available to all of mankind.
The Holy Spirit also actively does a few things that don’t directly relate to the Bible.
- He makes sure our prayers are understood (Rom 8:26).
- He intercedes for us with God (Rom 8:27).
- He acts as our guarantee from God of eternal blessings (2 Cor 5:5). One way to think of this is that God sent Him to be with us- sort of like a downpayment on His promise to spend eternity with us in heaven.
- He grieves when we sin (Eph 4:30).
There can be no doubt that the Holy Spirit is actively preserving and distributing God’s Word, watching over our lives with providential care, and intimately caring about how you live and where you will spend eternity.
What is the difference between the story in Matthew 25:14-30 and the story in Luke 19:11-27? I always get them mixed up and was wondering if they have the same meaning or if they mean different things.
Sincerely, Eye For The Details
Dear Eye For The Details,
These two parables are indeed very similar, therefore the distinction between them will be based off of the details. Both the parable of the talents (Matt 25:14-30) and the parable of the ten servants (Lk 19:11-27) teach the same basic concept: God entrusts christians with things in this life, and we must be found working for Him (Jas 1:22). Hearing God isn’t enough; we must devote our lives to His service.
The defining difference between these parables is the emphasis upon the kingdom. The parable of the talents in Matthew only deals with a man and his servants. The relationship is purely confined to dealing with faithful and unfaithful servants standing before their master.
On the other hand, the parable of the ten servants in Luke includes an entire nation. A ruler goes away, and the nation hates him. When he returns, the unfaithful servants are rebuked, and the rebellious nation that wouldn’t serve him was also punished. This parable isn’t just about unfaithful servants (i.e. unfaithful christians)… but about an entire nation that wouldn’t accept their king (i.e. the Israelites rejecting Christ). The parable in Luke is a condemnation of all that would not serve Christ, while the parable in Matthew restricts the application to christians that will not bear fruit for their Master.
With the new law trying to be passed to make doctors unable to turn down someone that wants an abortion, what are you to do if the situation comes up?
Sincerely, Doing No Harm
Dear Doing No Harm,
Do what is right in God’s eyes and forsake man’s laws (Acts 4:19-20). It is a sad fact that our modern culture does not value life. The deaths of unborn children skyrockets every year, exemplifying our ever more selfish culture that refuses to care for its weakest and most innocent members. Who are we to decide what is and isn’t life? As a society degenerates, God’s people are more and more often persecuted for their beliefs.
- Lot lost everything to flee from Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen 19:29-30).
- Joseph was thrown in jail for fleeing fornication (Gen 39:12-20).
- Elijah was almost murdered by Jezebel (1 Kgs 19:1-2).
- Christ lost his life for doing good (Acts 3:14-15).
- Paul was stoned and left for dead (Acts 14:19).
If a doctor is asked to kill a child by the United States legal system, he must refuse. He serves a greater law than America, and his treasures are stored in another place (Matt 6:20).
I have a question about a man having more than one wife. I know that in our culture it is something that is looked upon with disdain, but in other cultures it is an accepted practice. I don’t want to add anything or take anything away from the Word of God, but how much of this issue is cultural, and how much is biblical? I know that in the Old Testament, God speaks to Adam and Eve and says the two shall become one flesh, but all throughout the Old Testament there are cases of a man having more than one wife. For example, David had many wives, and he was a man after God’s own heart. If monogamous marriage was a commandment, all those people in the Old Testament sinned by having more than one wife. I just don’t see God giving a commandment and then just letting man break it. In the New Testament, the qualification for elders is used to show that a man can’t have more than one wife; however, that is specifically for a man who is in that position, and there are qualifications listed that don’t apply to a non-elder Christian (like having believing children). Also, I am sure there were first century conversions of men who have more than one wife, and if it is a commandment, then they would have had to divorce all but their first wife. I know that because it is viewed as wrong by our culture that, even if we can do it, we shouldn’t have more than one wife. I also know that a guy would have to be crazy to want to deal with more than one wife and the conflict between the wives. All I am concerned with is if it is a biblical commandment or a cultural restraint.
Sincerely, Vowing To Learn
Dear Vowing To Learn,
Polygamy is never expressly condemned in the Bible. It is also never treated as the standard... but as the exception. There are scores of examples of monogamy being God’s preference for man:
- Adam & Eve were designed monogamously (Gen. 2:24)
- No polygamy existed until 7 generations after Adam (Gen 4:19)
- Noah, the last righteous man of his day, had only one wife (Gen 7:13)
- Qualification for an elder (Tit 1:6)
- Qualification for a deacon (1 Tim 3:12)
- Qualification for a worthy widow (1 Tim 5:9)
- Every New Testament command for a husband or wife assumes monogamy in the commandments. (Mk 10:12, 1 Cor 7:3, Eph 5:33, etc.)
- The comparison of Christ and the church to a husband and wife relies on a monogamous design for marriage (Eph 5:22-23)
- God clearly states it as His design for marriage in the New Testament (1 Cor 7:2)
On the same hand, there are multiple examples of the pitfalls of polygamy:
- Sarah and Hagar fought (Gen 16:4)
- Rachel and Leah fought over Jacob (Gen 29:30-31)
- Hannah and Penninah’s rivalry (1 Sam 1:2-6)
- Solomon’s idolatrous wives (1 Kings 11:4)
Our problem is that God never specifically condemns these men for their polygamy. It is that silence on this particular issue that gives us the greatest consternation. However, we must remember that silence on a particular issue is not the same as God’s approval of the behavior. Everyone can agree that the Scriptures overwhelmingly approve of and allow monogamy while the evidence for polygamy is suspect at best.
We now enter into the issue of opinion, and anything we say must be left in that realm. My opinion is that if a man had multiple wives before obeying the gospel, he would not be required to divorce any of them. However, once someone becomes a christian, they are commanded by God to only seek out one spouse for a lifetime (1 Cor 7:2).