Believe the Bible for its Power, Purpose and Preservation
In the artistic rendering portion of the video this week, we see Jesus’ three-fold temptation in the desert. The way that Jesus confronted temptation was that He used Scripture to defeat the devil … and we should too!
The Power of Scripture. Our memory verse, 2 Timothy 3:16-17, says that Scripture is God-inspired, all of it! Jesus knew the power of God’s Word in battling temptation. The three temptations of the flesh, fame and fortune (turning stones to bread, putting God to test, worshipping Satan to possess all kingdoms) remind us of Eve’s temptation of flesh (“good for food”), fame (“to make one wise”), and fortune (“pleasant to the eyes”). 1 John 2:16 also sees this unholy trinity of “the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life,” which wars against our body, soul and spirit.
Jesus’ temptation found in Matt. 4:1-11 was against his body (bread), soul (testing God), and spirit (worshipping Satan, not God). Many even see parallels in Scripture to Satan’s downfall was also found in body/flesh (beauty, Ezek. 28:17a), soul/fame/mind & heart & will (corrupted wisdom, Ezek. 28:17b), and spirit/pride/idolatry (Isa. 14:14).
The Purpose of Scripture. BELIEVE this week also speaks to the “why?” of the Bible. God’s Word is not only powerful and authoritative, but there is a reason for it. Isa. 55:6-13 says it will not return void, but accomplishes His purpose. Too often people use God’s word for their purposes, misquoting or manipulating it. That’s why I like the lengthy passages in Believe; it shows the context of the text to prevent pretexts (say that three times fast). Hebrews 4:12-13 says the Bible penetrates our soul, spirit and joints and marrow (body). Why do we have a Bible? To teach, rebuke, correct and train.
Think of those irritating GPS voices. They tell us the direction. When we get off course, the voice will rebuke us (“recalculating”), correct our course, and then once we are back on course, those voices tell us we are on the fastest route (training). It is a poor analogy, I know, but maybe the Navigators drawing shows it better (using the King James version).
The Preservation of Scripture. Randy Frazee speaks about the revelation, inspiration, transmission and translation of Scripture. He says that out of the 24,000 copies of the New Testament (compared to only 643 ancient copies of Homer’s The Iliad, a distance second place finisher in extant copies) only 400 words (out of 138,200 total Greek words) carry any question to what they meant in the original penning, and none of those relate to actual doctrine. That’s a 99.71 agreement or if it were a college Grade Point Average, it would be a 3.99 GPA!
Benjamin B Warfield said, “…not only is the New Testament unrivalled among ancient writings in the purity of its text as actually transmitted and kept in use, but also in the abundance of testimony which has come down to us…” Frazee concludes “It is clear … that God himself oversaw the handling and care of his Word in a meticulous manner. Factor in the numerous attempts at literary genocide of the Bible, and our confidence in it only rises.” (Think, Act, Be Like Jesus, by Randy Frazee, page 52).
No truer words were ever spoken than these: “The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.” (Isa. 40:8)