How We Got The Holy BibleWritten by Stephen Kingery
Have you ever stopped to consider what Bible really is. For sure, it is word of God. But it is more than that. It is history, poetry, proverbs, parables, allegories, biography, correspondence, diaries, prophecy, and apocalyptic literature. But it is still more. From Genesis 1:1 all way through to last verse of Revelation there is a plan by which man can receive salvation and promise of God for eternal life with Jesus Christ. This plan is like a scarlet cord which runs all way through Old and New Testaments. But still, it is more. The Bible is God's love letter to mankind.
The Bible is most wonderful book in world, for it is truly Word of God. If I could only have one book, it would be Bible.
Throughout centuries many critics have tried to destroy Bible and its relevance to man. However, with God's protection it has withstood attacks of these unbelievers and remains world's best seller.
The Bible was written by forty different authors all inspired by God. These authors lived over a span of more than 1500 years, in thirteen different countries and three continents (Asia, Europe, and Africa). The original texts were written in three different languages: Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. And these authors were called by God from a variety of different occupations: doctors, farmers, fishermen, kings, tax collectors, shepherds, and tent makers.
Even though Bible was actually written by so many individuals, over such a long period of time, in three languages and on three continents, it does not contain even one proven contradiction. On other hand, its historical accuracy has been confirmed time and time again by archaeological finds. These same archaeological discoveries have yet to prove one aspect of Bible incorrect. These facts point to infallibility of Bible and confirmation that it was inspired by God.
The Bible contains sixty-six books; thirty-nine in Old Testament and twenty-seven in New Testament. The Old Testament contains five books of law, twelve books of history, five books of poetry, and seventeen books of prophecy. The New Testament contains four biography books, one book of history, twenty-one epistles (or books of instruction on Christian living), and one book of prophecy.
Our first reaction may be one of amazement that this could actually be true. But when we stop to consider that it was God who orchestrated writing of His word, we should not be amazed that it has been preserved for us by Him. Remember, with God all things are possible.
So, how was Bible handed down to our generation? The men through whom God spoke to His people, did so in word and writing. God directed Moses to go to Mt. Sinai to receive law. Moses also learned of early history of world, creation, and nation of Israel. All these things Moses put in writing.
Later, such men as Joshua, Samuel, and Ezra would write history of Israel. They were guided by Holy Spirit so that their writings would be free from error. Also various prophets were called by God to preach to people of Israel. They preserved their messages in writing as directed by God. "Now it came to pass in fourth year of Jehoiakim son of Josiah, king of Judah, that this word came to Jeremiah from Lord, saying: 'Take a scroll of a book and write on it all words that I have spoken to you against Israel, against Judah, and against all nations, from day I spoke to you, from days of Josiah even to this day.'" (Jeremiah 36:1,2)
These books (or scrolls) were kept by people and used as instruction from God. If not during time they were written, then later after deaths of various writers. This is proven again in book of Jeremiah, chapter 26 as elders quoted from book of Micah to show that Jeremiah was correct. This was more than a century after Micah lived.
We know by reading New Testament that during time that Jesus was on earth Jews considered all of what we know as Old Testament to be authoritative. Jesus quoted from Psalms 118 and called it Scripture. (See Mark 12:10,11) Jesus also quoted many times from Prophets and Law.
The Jews had tremendous respect for manuscripts of Old Testament. When a manuscript became too old or fragile to use, with respect, Jews would burn manuscript. Because of this, for centuries oldest Old Testament manuscript was dated ninth century A.D. Many skeptics used this in an attempt to discredit Old Testament texts. They said with so many transcriptions over centuries, text would most certainly have to be filled with error. Then in 1947 Dead Sea Scrolls were found. These scrolls contained almost all texts of Old Testament. The scrolls were dated second century B.C., or about 1100 years before earliest manuscript of that time.
HolinessWritten by Stephen Kingery
A subject which seem to have been all but forgotten in America today is Holiness. As a matter of fact, in some circles it has almost taken on a negative connotation. I'm sure you have heard phrase "holier than thou" used before to speak of someone. Perhaps that person was really trying to have holiness in his/her life. But because of negative thoughts and attitudes of others, it was perceived as an undesirable trait rather than an admirable one.
What is holiness? Is it something that we as Christians should strive for, or is it something that a humble person would not want to be considered?
In scriptures, when something was referred to as "holy" it was set apart for service of God. These things were dedicated and used exclusively for God's glory. For example, temple was holy because it was place which was set apart exclusively for worship of God. We read of beauty of Solomon's Temple and we can see devotion which nation of Israel had (at that time) for temple as a holy place.
"Then he said to them, 'This is what LORD has said: "Tomorrow is a Sabbath rest, a holy Sabbath to LORD. . ."'" (Exodus 16:23) There were days or seasons which were also holy. The Sabbath was a holy day because it was set apart as a memorial of God's creation. God had created universe in six days, and rested on seventh. He therefore established that seventh day as Sabbath and a day of rest for nation of Israel as well as a day to remember that God was our Creator.
"And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation..." (Exodus 19:6) The priests which conducted various functions in temple and tabernacle were also set apart for service of Lord. They were holy.
"And you shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother, for glory and for beauty." (Exodus 28:2) Objects were holy. Garments, anointing oil and other objects used in temple were set apart for service of worshiping Lord.
The nation of Israel was also holy. It was nation of Israel which God had determined would be nation through which He would bring His Son into world as our savior.
So, is it then possible for us as Christians to be holy? Can we be set apart to glorify God? Let's see what Bible has to say about Christians and being holy.
"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service." (Romans 12:1) We are certainly expected to be a holy people. Paul admonishes us to do those things which will make us acceptable to God as being set apart for His service. We are to live our lives as "a living sacrifice" or in other words to conduct ourselves in such a manner that we could be considered a living sacrifice. When we consider that we are to make our bodies a living sacrifice to God we understand that our physical being is to be dedicated to live a life which will bring glory and honor to god. This means rejecting all those things which do not bring glory to God: obscene, vulgar, immoral and profane behavior as examples.
"If anyone defiles temple of God, God will destroy him. For temple of God is holy, which temple you are." (1 Corinthians 3:17) "Or do you not know that your body is temple of Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?" (1 Corinthians 6:19) We see here command from God to keep our bodies as a holy temple of God for indeed Holy Spirit indwells each Christian. This is further evidence that we are to consider our bodies as holy or set apart for service of and glory to God. As a matter of fact, we as individual Christians are a part of church which is also described in Bible as dwelling place of God. (Ephesians 2:19-22)
We have seen in previous paragraph that we are to keep our bodies as a holy temple to God, but what about our actions? Can and should they also be holy? "Therefore, as elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is bond of perfection." (Colossians 3:12-14) We can, indeed we must, have conduct which is holy if we are to truly serve God. How can we be a Christian and not have those qualities which this Scripture talks about? Tender mercies, kindness, meekness, patience and love is what a Christian has in their lives. You simply cannot be a Christian and not have these qualities. You can claim to be a Christian, go to church, say all right things, do all right things, go to all right places; but without truly having these qualities manifested in your life, you are not a Christian.