How Do I Know the Bible is True?

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How Do I Know the Bible is True? 2 Peter 1:16-21; 2 Timothy 3:14-17 • 01/06/2019

Main Point The Bible is God’s revealed Word to mankind and is true, reliable, and authoritative for our lives today.

Introduction As your group time begins, use this section to introduce the topic of discussion. What is your favorite book and why? Who is the author? How did your favorite books come to be? How does that process compare with the way the Bible came to be? What are some of the things the world believes about the Bible? The Bible was the first book ever printed. It also holds the distinction of being the best-selling book of all time. According to Barna’s Annual State of the Bible Survey (2017), 87% of American households own at least one copy of the Bible. Yet, 19% of Americans are “skeptical” of the Bible, believing, at best, that it’s just another book of teachings written by men, and at worst, that the Bible was written by men to manipulate and control other people. So, what is true about the Bible? Is the Bible God’s authoritative Word for our lives today or does it deserve a place on the fiction shelf? The evidence for the reliability of the Bible is overwhelming. Christians can confidently trust that the Bible is God’s Word given to us.

Understanding Unpack the biblical text to discover what the Scripture says or means about a particular topic.

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Have volunteers read 2 Peter 1:16-21. In this passage, Peter refuted a false teaching infiltrating the church. Based on verses 16-18, what might this have been? In what way do we face similar “false teachings” today? What must we understand about the way Scripture came to be (verses 20-21)? Why is this important? How does this passage help us understand “divine inspiration?” Peter clearly presented that God’s written word (“Scripture” in verse 20) did not originate in the mind or will of man. The gospel is not some cleverly invented story. While the written Word of God came through men, utilizing each one’s experiences and personalities, God was its Source and Author. The Greek word translated as “moved” or “carried along” in verse 21 means “to carry or move by force or speed, to move the mind, to be moved inwardly, prompted.” The same Greek word is used in Acts 27:15 and 17 to describe the way wind propels a ship. God “filled the sails” of the prophets, apostles, and other biblical writers, inwardly prompting them to speak and record His words. The Bible was written over a period of about 1,500 years by over forty different human authors in three different languages. Yet the consistent thread that runs through the Bible’s 66 books testifies to its miraculous production. The glorious story of the one, true God and His love and redemption for mankind flows from Genesis to Revelation tying the holy Scriptures together in one cohesive whole. No original manuscripts of the Bible exist today. Just like other ancient documents, written on perishable materials, the Bible has been preserved over the centuries through transmission or copies. However, amazing evidence reveals that the Bible has been wonderfully and miraculously preserved.

Have a volunteer read 2 Timothy 3:14-17. What was Paul’s spiritual admonishment for Timothy? The Greek word translated “continue” in verse 14 in the NIV, ESV, and KJV is the same Greek word translated as “remain” or “abide” in John 15. Why did Paul want Timothy to continuously stay in the Scriptures? Why did Paul trust the Scripture and expect such great spiritual change? Read John 17:17, Titus 1:2, and 1 John 1:5. If the Bible was given to us by God Himself, how do these verses help us trust the Bible?

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Paul believed the Scriptures to be God’s revealed Word. He also knew Timothy, could not carry out his God-given call without allowing God’s Word to do its work in him. So, Paul reminded Timothy of the Source and the power of Scripture. The Greek word Paul used to describe “all Scripture” is theopneustos. Theos means “God” and pneustos means “to breathe.” All Scripture has been breathed out by God Himself. If the Bible is truly God’s Word, then to accept or reject the Bible, is to accept or reject God. While we may not fully understand the process by which God inspired His Word, our lack of understanding does not change the result. Second Timothy 3:16 is just one of many passages in the Bible that build the foundation for the doctrine of the “inerrancy of Scripture.” “Inerrant” means to be without error or falsehood, to be true. If we believe that God cannot lie (Titus 1:2), if we believe that God is utterly holy without sin or fault (1 John 1:5), and if we believe that the Bible is God’s inspired Word (2 Timothy 3:16), then there is only one conclusion. The Bible is God’s true, inerrant Word.

Application Help your group identify how the truths from the Scripture passage apply directly to their lives. If believers come to the Bible with the presupposition that it is true, faithful, and reliable, how then could we handle specific instances of apparent contradictions or errors? What might be some explanations for these? If the Bible is the true, inerrant Word of God, what kind of authority should it have in our lives? What should it look like in our daily lives to “abide” or “remain” in the Bible like Paul instructed Timothy? Take time to talk about our RHCC Daily Step Bible Reading Plan. This year we will be reading the New Testament, Pslams, and Proverbs. Have everyone download the RH app and pull up the Daily Step plan.

Pray Lord, thank you for revealing Yourself to us through the Bible. We trust Your Word because we know You to be true, holy, and all-powerful. As we commit to remain in Your Word, use it as a tool of spiritual refinement in our lives. Use Your Word to thoroughly equip us for Your every good work. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Commentary 3 of 4

2 Peter 1:16-21

1:16-18 Peter’s words were not based on cleverly contrived myths. He emphasized that he had been an eyewitness of Jesus’ transfiguration (Mt 17:1-7; Mk 9:2-9; Lk 9:28-36). 1:19-21 Peter argued that the prophetic Scriptures affirmed the apostolic witness. In essence he was saying, “If you don’t believe me, go to the Scriptures.” The metaphor of the prophetic Scriptures as a lamp shining in a dismal place means that they act as a torch that shines in this dark world, exposing the dirt and defilement of sin and making it possible to get rid of it. Believers live by Scripture’s torchlight until the day dawns and the morning star rises, which seems to refer to Christ’s return. In your hearts may refer to the glowing hope that occurs in believers’ hearts when they see clear signs of the Lord’s return. Peter further explained that Scripture is trustworthy because it has a divine origin; men moved by the Holy Spirit wrote the prophetic statements of the OT.

2 Timothy 3:14-17

3:14 The phrase those who taught you probably refers to Timothy’s mother and grandmother (1:5), especially since verse 15 mentions the teaching he received in childhood. 3:15 The phrase give you wisdom for salvation means that Scripture could lead Timothy to the “knowledge of the truth” (2:25; 1Tim 2:4). Scripture has the power to bring people to faith. 3:16-17 Inspired means “breathed out by God” (see textual footnote on 3:16). Because Scripture comes from God Himself, it is profitable in many ways, ultimately leading us to righteousness, maturity, and service. All Scripture refers to the OT, but by implication to the writings of the NT as well (1Tim 5:18; 2Pe 3:15-16).

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