Some After Thoughts on the Christmas Story

And when they (the wise men) were come into the house, they saw the young child (Jesus) with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.     Matthew 2:11

When the wise men found the Christ Child with His mother, they worshipped Him and presented their gifts to Him.

Are you a wise man?

….let the word of Christ dwell in you richly….

I Am Praying for You

I have a Savior, He’s pleading in glory,
A dear, loving Savior, though earth friends be few;
And now He is watching in tenderness o’er me;
And, oh, that my Savior were your Savior, too.

For you I am praying,
For you I am praying,
For you I am praying,
I’m praying for you.

I have a Father; to me He has given
A hope for eternity, blessed and true;
And soon He will call me to meet Him in heaven,
But, oh, that He’d let me bring you with me, too!

I have a robe; ’tis resplendent in whiteness,
Awaiting in glory my wondering view;
Oh, when I receive it all shining in brightness,
Dear friend, could I see you receiving one, too!

When He has found you, tell others the story,
That my loving Savior is your Savior, too;
Then pray that your Savior may bring them to glory,
And prayer will be answered—’twas answered for you!

Speak of that Savior, that Father in heaven,
That harp, crown, and robe which are waiting for you—
That peace you possess, and that rest to be given,
Still praying that Jesus may save them with you.

I Samuel 12:23; Job 42:8; II Thessalonians 1:11

Samuel O. Cluff – 1860 

Music by Ira Sankey – 1874

Public Domain

Doctrine of the Bible – The What?

The Bible: The Word of God, the sixty-six Books of the Old and New Testaments, verbally[1] inspired in all parts and wholly without error as originally given of God (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21).

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine,                      for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:                              II Timothy 3:16

All Scripture refers to the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments.  For more information on how there came to be sixty-six books and not sixty-seven or eighty-five, please read in this blog the article entitled Which Authority?

How much of the Scripture is inspired?  Verbally inspired refers to the very words of Scripture being God breathed.  This is what the Bible claims for itself, as opposed to being inspired ideas or relevant passages.

The word translated inspiration is from the Greek word theoneustia.  Theo meaning God, neustia meaning breath.  This word carries the idea of God breathing out as to source.  All Scripture is God breathed.  God’s breath is the irresistible outflow of His power, therefore all Scripture is a divine product [2].

The Bible’s integrity is wholly dependent upon God’s character [3].   God, being who He is, perfect in every way and and the perfect manifestation of truth, gave us a book which is wholly without error in its original form.  This living book (Heb. 4:12) reveals who we are, who He is, and His purpose for our being here.

Jesus speaking: Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.  For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled (Matthew 5:17 & 18).  

Christ taught that heaven and earth would not pass away until all Scripture be fulfilled, down to every every jot and tittle.  A jot is the Hebrew letter yodh.  It is the smallest letter in the Hebrew alphabet. A tittle is smaller yet because it is only part of a letter.  By its presence or absence, a tittle can change one word to a totally different word with other meaning [4].

When Christ was tempted by Satan in the wilderness He responded to each of the three temptations by saying; It is written….and then He quoted specific Old Testament passages.  In His response to the first temptation Jesus answered and said; It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4).

The Lord Jesus Christ, who claimed to be God in the flesh and proved it with witnesses and evidence, taught us that the words of Scripture cannot be broken. Even the parts of words (jots and tittles) are God breathed.  All of Scripture is breathed out from God and is completely trustworthy.

All Scripture is God breathed (a divine product), and is profitable (useful) for doctrine (teaching), for reproof (proving and testing), for correction (improvement of life and character), for instruction (training) in righteousness (that which is consistent with God’s own nature and promises/that which conforms to the will of God) [5] (II Timothy 3:16).

Some in professing Christianity will say that the Bible is good for religious material but it is not accurate for other things such as science and history.  What was the Lord’s view concerning the accuracy of Scripture?

Our Lord used historical incidents in the Old Testament in a manner that evinced His total confidence in their factual historicity [6].

He acknowledged that Adam and Eve were created by God, that they were two living human beings, not merely symbols of mankind and womankind, and that they acted in specific ways (Matthew 19:3-5; Mark 10:6-8).

He verified events connected with the flood of Noah’s day; namely, that there was an ark and that the flood destroyed everyone who was not in that ark (Matthew 24:38&39; Luke 17:26&27).

On two different occasions, He authenticated God’s destruction of Sodom, and the historicity of Lot and his wife (Matthew 10:15; Luke 17:28&29).

He accepted as true the story of Jonah and the great fish (Matthew 12:40).

He acknowledged the historicity of Isaiah (Matthew 12:17), Elijah (Matthew 17:11&12), Daniel (Matthew 24:15), Abel (Matthew 23:35), Zechariah (Matthew 23:35), Abiathar (Mark 2:26), David (Matthew 22:45), Moses and his writings (Matthew 8:4; John 8:46), Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Matthew 8:11; John 8:39) [7].

The following conclusions must be drawn from this:

 Christ did not merely allude to these accounts, but He also authenticated the events in them as factual history to be completely trusted.

Those events include many of the controversial passages of the Old Testament – creation, the Flood, the major miracles including Jonah and the fish [8].

Are you a follower of Jesus Christ?  If so, are you abiding in His doctrine?

Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine (teaching) of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.  If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God       speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.                      II John 1:9-11

It makes no sense and defies logic to call oneself a Christian while denying the Messiah’s teaching (doctrine).

…let the word of Christ dwell in you richly…

Note:  Reason and logic are not ruled out in the interpretation of Scripture.  For example, the word for the trinity is not found in Scripture, but the elements of the trinity are all there as one God in three persons.  God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, three persons, each one wholly God but one in essence, equals The Trinity.

When however, reason and logic lead us to a place where our conclusions violate the clear teaching and statements of Scripture, we then find ourselves in the company of heretics.  Scripture commands us to warn heretics and then to mark and avoid them if they refuse the warning.  The strong self-willed opinions of a heretic make God a liar by contradicting His Word.

For study and teaching, a Bible believer must have a reliable translation to work from.  I use the New King James Version MacArthur Study Bible.  The NKJV is an updated version of the old English KJV and is a reliable translation.   The MacArthur Study Bible version contains many helpful study notes.  Don’t be side tracked by the popular teaching today that the KJV is without error as are the original manuscripts, and that the KJV should be used to check all other translations.  This view of the KJV is a twisted interpretation of the doctrine of inspiration.

Every translation that we have available today will contain some sort of scribal error, perhaps a missed letter, jot, or tittle.  The amount of this sort of omission is minimal and has no effect on the basic doctrine of Scripture.  One should not doubt for a second that we have in our possession ninety-five per cent and more of the original writings.  Studies and research from the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in the last century confirm this.

I use the King James version almost exclusively for quoting Scripture in this blog because I like the old King James English.  The NASB is also a reliable translation that can be used for comparative studies.   Although very popular, the NIV is not a true translation.  It is often referred to as a dynamic equivalent.

Do not use a paraphrase!  Paraphrases are not accurate and usually express someone’s opinion about what the Scripture says.  I have seen a paraphrase that inserts baptism into certain passages on salvation where it is not found in the original language.  Other paraphrases omit key words that teach sound doctrine.  This is adding to and taking away from Scripture.  God’s Word warns of judgment for such deception (Proverbs 30:5&6; Revelation 22:18&19).  Use a reliable translation!  We want to know what God says, not someone’s opinion of what He might have said.

[1] Verbal – the very words of Scripture.

[2] The Inspiration and Authority of the Bible – B.B. Warfield, pg 133 – Copyright 1948 – The Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., Phillipsburg, NJ.

[3] What You Should Know About Inerrancy – Charles C. Ryrie, pg 40 & 41 – Copyright 1981 – Moody Bible Institute of Chicago.

[4] (Ibid., 59 & 60).

[5] Definitions – W.E. Vines Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words – Copyright 1984, 1996, Thomas Nelson, Inc., Nashville, TN.

[6&7] What You Should Know About Inerrancy – Charles C. Ryrie, pg  77 & 78 –  Copyright 1981 – Moody Bible Institute of Chicago.

[8] (Ibid., 78)

Lectures in Systematic Theology – Part II Bibliology, pg 43 – 71, Henry C. Thiessen, Revised by Vernon D. Doerksen – Copyright 1979 – Wm B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Charles Hodge’s Systematic Theology – Vol 1, Chapter VI, pg 151 – 172,  Reprinted May 1977 – Wm B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, Michigan.

The Inspiration and Authority of Scripture – Rene’ Pache – Copyright 1969, The Moody Bible Institute of Chicago.