Presentation on theme: "Great Doctrines. Lesson 1 Lesson Text—Psalm 119:89-93 Psalm 119:89-95 89 For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven. 90 Thy faithfulness is unto."— Presentation transcript:
Lesson Text—Psalm 119:89-93 Psalm 119:89-95 89 For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven. 90 Thy faithfulness is unto all generations: thou hast established the earth, and it abideth. 91 They continue this day according to thine ordinances: for all are thy servants.
Lesson Text—Psalm 119:89-93 92 Unless thy law had been my delights, I should then have perished in mine affliction. 93 I will never forget thy precepts: for with them thou hast quickened me. 94 I am thine, save me; for I have sought thy precepts. 95 The wicked have waited for me to destroy me: but I will consider thy testimonies.
Lesson Text—Psalm 119:94-98 Psalm 119:96-98 96 I have seen an end of all perfection: but thy commandment is exceeding broad. 97 O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day. 98 Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me.
Lesson Text—Psalm 119:99-104 Psalm 119:99-104 99 I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation. 100 I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts. 101 I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep thy word.
Lesson Text—Psalm 119:99-104 102 I have not departed from thy judgments: for thou hast taught me. 103 How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth! 104 Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way.
Focus Verse—II Timothy 3:16 II Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.
Focus Thought The Scriptures are God’s inspired and infallible gift to mankind to give him clear instructions for salvation and godly living.
I. Inspiration of Scripture Introduction In his defense of the deity of Christ in Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis wrote these words: “I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: ‘I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.’ That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher.
I. Inspiration of Scripture He would either be a lunatic—on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg—or else he would be the Devil of hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse.... You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come up with any patronising [sic] nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”
C. The Transcendent Word Lewis bases his reasoning on the profession Jesus made as to His own identity. Since He claimed to be the Messiah and identified Himself as one with the Father, there can be no middle ground in assessing His identity. Either He was who He claimed to be, or He was not. If He was not, only two options are available: He was mistaken or He was intentionally deceptive. We accept His testimony and declare Jesus Christ to be both Lord and God.
C. The Transcendent Word Similarly, Scripture makes specific claims as to its origin, nature, and reliability. Since it professes to be the Word of God, we are left with but two choices. The Bible is either what it claims to be, or it is not. If it is not, only two possibilities remain. Either it was written by deluded men who thought they were writing at the behest of God but were deceived, or it was written by dishonest people in a knowing attempt to deceive readers as to the nature of their work.
C. The Transcendent Word The last two options are unreasonable. If the writers were deluded, they could never have produced a work of such splendor, majesty, and consistency. If they were deceivers, they would have been unable to produce a work of such high moral tone.
C. The Transcendent Word In more than four hundred verses, the Old Testament reads, “Thus saith the Lord.” The Bible includes warnings against tampering with the text. (See Deuteronomy 4:2; Proverbs 30:5-6.) The New Testament claims the highest authority for Scripture; it is given by inspiration of God (II Timothy 3:16). Scripture was not of human origin; the holy men who participated in the writing of Scripture were moved to write by the Holy Ghost (II Peter 1:20-21).
C. The Transcendent Word Faith accepts Scripture’s claim to be the very Word of God. It is not merely great human literature. Because of what it claims to be, it cannot be great literature unless it is at the same time divinely inspired literature. Since it is given by inspiration of God, it is inerrant and infallible. (See the Introduction to You Can Understand the Bible: Guidelines for Interpreting Scripture, Daniel L. Segraves.) The Preamble of the Articles of Faith of the United Pentecostal Church International says it well:
C. The Transcendent Word “We believe the Bible to be inspired of God, the infallible Word of God.... The Bible is the only God-given authority which man possesses; therefore, all doctrine, faith, hope, and all instruction for the church must be based upon, and harmonize with, the Bible. It is to be read and studied by all men everywhere, and can only be clearly understood by those who are anointed by the Holy Spirit (I John 2:27).”
I. Inspiration of Scripture Inspiration of Scripture The New Testament writers used the Greek word graphe twenty-three times, always referring to Scripture. The spelling graphe is in the nominative case (indicating the subject of the sentence or clause). The word also appears in the accusative case (indicating the direct object) four times and in the genitive case (indicating possession) three times. Regardless of the case, the reference is always to Scripture.
C. The Transcendent Word The Greek verb grapho means “write,” but the noun graphe refers to a specific kind of writing: the writing that is inspired by God and that is thus included in the canon of Scripture. When Paul wrote that “all scripture is given by inspiration of God” (II Timothy 3:16), the New Testament was still in the process of being written. It would be a mistake, however, to think that this limits Paul’s reference to the Old Testament. While the Old Testament is described as Scripture, so is the New Testament.
C. The Transcendent Word Peter wrote that in all of Paul’s letters, there “are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction” (II Peter 3:16). Peter considered Paul’s letters to be Scripture. In the same letter, Peter declared, like Paul, that Scripture is the result of the work of the Holy Spirit.
II Peter 1:20-21 “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (II Peter 1:20-21).
C. The Transcendent Word Paul also claimed divine authority for what he wrote.
I Corinthians 14:37 “If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord” (I Corinthians 14:37).
C. The Transcendent Word Even if one were not to attribute the authorship of the Book of Hebrews to Paul, the letters he wrote make up 27 percent of the New Testament—nearly one-third. Thus, according to both Peter and Paul, at least a significant portion of the New Testament is authoritative Scripture. Paul used the word “Scripture” nine times. On one of those occasions, he wrote, “For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward” (I Timothy 5:18).
C. The Transcendent Word The first part of this quote is from Deuteronomy 25:4; the second part is from Luke 10:7. Here, Paul placed the Old Testament and New Testament side by side, declaring both to be Scripture. Luke, who also wrote the Book of Acts, penned 28 percent of the New Testament. When Peter described the purpose of his second letter, he wrote that it was so his readers would “be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour” (II Peter 3:2).
C. The Transcendent Word By referring to the words of the holy prophets and the commandment of the apostles together in this way, Peter affirmed that the words of the apostles are as authoritative as the words of the Hebrew prophets.
C. The Transcendent Word Since he wrote earlier in this letter that the words of the holy men resulted from the moving of the Holy Spirit, and since he wrote later in this letter that Paul’s writings were Scripture, it is clear Peter considered the writings of all the apostles, including his own, to be inspired Scripture, equally authoritative with the Hebrew Scriptures. The apostle John wrote five New Testament books. In the last of them, he made a strong claim for divine authority. There is no indication he thought any less of his other writings.
Revelation 22:18-19 “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: and if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book” (Revelation 22:18-19).
C. The Transcendent Word All twenty-seven books of the New Testament bear the marks of inspiration, including those not included in the previous discussion: Mark, Hebrews, and Jude. The Book of Mark identifies itself as a declaration “of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God” (Mark 1:1), and it is the first of the Gospels to be written. Mark’s cousin was Barnabas, an apostle. (See Colossians 4:10; Acts 14:14.) Mark was so close to Peter that Peter considered him his son (I Peter 5:13).
C. The Transcendent Word Mark apparently was taught by Peter, so that his gospel was received by believers as having apostolic authority. The Book of Hebrews does not identify its author, but its content is in perfect harmony with Paul’s letters. The Book of Hebrews identifies itself as a “word of exhortation” (Hebrews 13:22), and Clement of Rome, who wrote I Clement in about ad 96, quoted from the book as Scripture (I Clement 36:1-6).
C. The Transcendent Word Jude, like James, was the brother of Jesus, and the content of his letter is in remarkable harmony with the content of II Peter. James, Jude’s brother, is specifically identified as an apostle (I Corinthians 15:7).
C. The Transcendent Word The word translated “inspiration” in II Timothy 3:16 (theopneustos) means “God-breathed.” The fact God breathed Scripture means that Scripture has divine authority. It is for this reason that all Scripture is “profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (II Timothy 3:16). It is inspiration that causes Scripture to be the means by which “the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (II Timothy 3:17).
II. Purpose and Nature of the Word of God Purpose and Nature of the Word of God Psalm 119 is a celebration of the Word of God. With 176 verses, it is the longest psalm. Only four verses do not refer directly to the Word of God. (See Psalm 119:90, 121, 122, 132.) The rest of the verses use a variety of terms to describe the Word of God: law, testimony(ies), way(s), precepts, statutes, commandment(s), judgment(s), word(s), and ordinances.
C. The Transcendent Word The psalm is an acrostic, with twenty-two sections of eight verses each. In each section, every verse begins with the same letter of the Hebrew alphabet, of which there are twenty-two. The sections are arranged sequentially, beginning with the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, aleph (verses 1-8), and continuing to the last letter of the alphabet, tau (verses 169-176). Today’s lesson is comprised of two sections, the lamed (verses 89-96) and mem (verses 97-104) sections.
C. The Transcendent Word Many Bibles print the name of the section and perhaps even the Hebrew letter above each section. Three psalms are concerned primarily with the Word of God: Psalms 1, 19, and 119. Each is followed by a psalm or section of psalms that point to the coming Messiah: Psalms 2, 20, and 120-134. This follows an ancient Hebrew method of interpretation by attachment, known as samuk (lean, lay, rest, support). The idea is that one piece of literature leans in a supporting, interpretive way against another.
C. The Transcendent Word The relationship between the Torah psalms and the messianic psalms suggests that meditation on the Torah leads to faith in the Messiah. We should not think that the word Torah refers exclusively to the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Old Testament. The word itself means “instruction,” with the kind of instruction being defined by the context in which the word is used. As it is used in the Psalter, Torah refers in the broadest sense to the entirety of Scripture, including the psalms.
A. The Confirmed Word Since all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, with the Holy Spirit moving holy men to write, the same Holy Spirit confirms to believers that the Bible is the Word of God. The confirming work of the Spirit is seen in today’s text.
Psalm 119:93 “I will never forget thy precepts: for with them thou hast quickened me” (Psalm 119:93).
Psalm 119:97 “O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day” (Psalm 119:97).
Psalm 119:103 “How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (Psalm 119:103).
C. The Transcendent Word The phrase “thou has quickened me” in Psalm 119:93 means, “You have given me life.” (See Psalm 119:93, NKJV). It is by means of His precepts that God gives life to us. This confirms that the Bible does not consist of merely human words. Human words may be encouraging, but they are not life giving.
C. The Transcendent Word The ability of the Word of God to draw us into a loving relationship with it—loving it, being willing to meditate on it all day, and comparing the sweetness of its words to the taste of honey—further demonstrates the ability of the Word to confirm itself as something beyond human literature. We may enjoy human literature, but it does not draw us into this kind of spiritual ecstasy.
B. The Revealing Word As we read the Word of God, it acts as a searchlight revealing what needs to change in our lives. Psalm 119 puts it this way:
Psalm 119:101 “I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep thy word” (Psalm 119:101).
Psalm 119:104 “Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way” (Psalm 119:104).
C. The Transcendent Word As we read the Bible, it helps us distinguish between good and evil and true and false, creating within us a desire to avoid the evil and falsehood. James described this function of the Word in an unforgettable way:
James 1:23-25 “For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: for he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed” (James 1:23-25).
C. The Transforming Word The Word of God not only shows us how we should live, it actually has the power to transform our lives. There is something supernatural about the ability of the Word to bring those who read it in faith into conformity with the ideal presented in the Word.
Psalm 119:92 “Unless thy law had been my delights, I should then have perished in mine affliction” (Psalm 119:92).
Psalm 119:94 “I am thine, save me; for I have sought thy precepts” (Psalm 119:94).
Psalm 119:102 “I have not departed from thy judgments: for thou hast taught me” (Psalm 119:102).
C. The Transcendent Word By delighting in the Word of God we avoid perishing. Even affliction is good for us if we allow it to turn us to the Word of God. (See Psalm 119:67, 71.) If we seek the divine precepts, we will be saved. When God teaches us by means of His Word, He creates a desire within us to be true to His judgments.
D. The Divine Word Those who read the Bible in faith discover it is no ordinary book. It is something far greater than classical human literature. The confirming work of the Holy Spirit, the ability of the Word to reveal the need for change in our lives, and the miraculous power of the Word to transform us into what we should be all demonstrate that the Word of God is of divine origin.
C. The Transcendent Word Human literature may be positive, uplifting, and motivating, but only Scripture provides a penetrating gaze into our innermost being, a gaze that causes us to recognize its divine origin and to surrender to its benign influence.
Hebrews 4:12-13 “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do” (Hebrews 4:12-13).
III. Authority of the Word Authority of the Word The authoritative nature of Scripture is connected with the fact that it is given by inspiration of God. If the Bible were merely human thoughts about God or spiritual experiences, it would bear no authority. But the internal witness of Scripture—what it says about itself—carries with it an inherent claim to authority.
C. The Transcendent Word For example, Paul’s statement that Scripture is profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness implies that any attempt to construct doctrine, to reprove, to correct, or to instruct apart from Scripture is, at best, incomplete.
C. The Transcendent Word General revelation—what can be known of God from creation and conscience—communicates truth, but not in a comprehensive or complete way. (See Psalm 19:1-6; Romans 1:19-20; 2:14-16.) Likewise, the fact that it is Scripture that enables the man of God to be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works (II Timothy 3:17) indicates such perfection is unavailable outside of Scripture.
A. The Directing Word The Bible is directive in that it guides believers in the content and expression of their faith. In other words, Scripture determines what they believe and what they do about their beliefs. This is evident in the believer’s response to his enemies.
Psalm 119:95 “The wicked have waited for me to destroy me: but I will consider thy testimonies” (Psalm 119:95).
Psalm 119:98 “Thou through thy commandments has made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me” (Psalm 119:98).
C. The Transcendent Word Apart from Scripture, the natural response toward one’s enemies is to reciprocate, to treat others as one is treated. But this is not the direction of Scripture. Rather than to respond in kind, the Bible directs us to turn away from revenge and to contemplate the words of Scripture. If we do this, we will be wiser than our enemies. We will be able to make decisions they do not anticipate. Our responses will tend to defuse potentially destructive situations.
C. The Transcendent Word Although we may be able to learn a great deal from human teachers and from ancient wisdom, the direction given by Scripture is superior.
Psalm 119:99-100 “I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts” (Psalm 119:99-100).
C. The Transcendent Word Although it is common to look to human teachers— experts in their field—for direction in life, their guidance will be inferior if it is not based on the Word of God.
B. The Measuring Word Scripture should measure, test, and, where necessary, correct and enlarge all our ideas about God. Although it is possible to have some knowledge of God apart from Scripture, this knowledge always stands in need of correction and enlargement from the Bible. (See Romans 1:18-21.)
Psalm 119:96 “I have seen an end of all perfection: but thy commandment is exceeding broad” (Psalm 119:96).
C. The Transcendent Word The idea expressed in Psalm 119:96 is that everything in the created realm is finite, but the Word of God is infinite. (See Charles Caldwell Ryrie, The Ryrie Study Bible.) Only that which is beyond measure can measure all else. If anything exceeded Scripture in scope and authority, it would be superior to the Word of God. It would be able to measure the limitations of Scripture. But Scripture measures all human ideas, testing them and discovering their shortcomings or their excesses.
C. The Transcendent Word As Jesus said, “Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled” (Matthew 5:18). The jot (jod [see Psalm 119:73]) is the smallest of all Hebrew letters. It looks something like an apostrophe. The tittle is a small protrusion on some Hebrew letters that helps distinguish them from other similar letters. Jesus’ statement means that although everything in the created realm will pass away (II Peter 3:10- 12), the smallest letter of Scripture, and even the tiniest portion of a letter, will endure.
C. The Transcendent Word The Word of God is transcendent in that its authority is not limited by time and space. It is not merely an ancient book for ancient people. It is an ancient book with fresh relevance for every generation and culture.
Psalm 119:96 “For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven. Thy faithfulness is unto all generations: thou hast established the earth, and it abideth. They continue this day according to thine ordinances: for all are thy servants” (Psalm 119:89-91).
C. The Transcendent Word Contrary to theologies that accept Scripture as authoritative alongside equally authoritative traditions, the Bible claims exclusive authority. Jesus rejected human traditions, even though those traditions had grown up around Scripture as “fences” to guard against the transgression of the biblical text. (See Matthew 15:3- 9 and Mishnah, Aboth 1:1.) Paul warned of the danger of being spoiled by the tradition of men, extrabiblical traditions that added prohibitions not included in Scripture.
C. The Transcendent Word Rather than being biblical teachings, these were “the commandments and doctrines of men.” (See Colossians 2:8, 20-23.) Unlike Scripture, human traditions are not settled forever in heaven. Some theologians reject the idea that the text of Scripture is inspired in any inerrant, infallible, and authoritative sense.
C. The Transcendent Word Rather, by making use of a discipline known as historical criticism, they attempt to get behind the text of Scripture in order to discover the origin of the text, including the events that theoretically led to the development of Scripture as it is now known. For them, whatever authority Scripture possesses is not in the words of the text as we now have it, but in reconstructed history behind the text.
C. The Transcendent Word This is not, however, the claim of Scripture itself. It is Scripture that is given by inspiration of God, not historical events experienced by those who wrote the text. In order to discover inspired truth, we need look no further than the pages of Scripture.
C. The Transcendent Word The thirty-nine books of the Old Testament, which made up the Hebrew canon in the first century, and the twenty-seven books of the New Testament, which were accepted as authoritative by the earliest Christians, form the written Word of God that is capable of providing all we have need of for doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness. The Bible, and the Bible alone, is able to bring a person of faith to completion, thoroughly equipping that person for every good work. (See II Timothy 3:17, NKJV.)
C. The Transcendent Word Conclusion The Bible claims to be the Word of God. We must either accept this claim or reject it. If we reject it, only two conclusions are possible: either it was written by those who thought they were directed by the Holy Spirit but were not, in which case they were deluded, or it was written by those who knew they were not directed by the Holy Spirit but claimed to be, in which case they were liars. These are the only choices possible.
C. The Transcendent Word Delusion and deceit do not lead to a work of such high standard as Scripture. The only rational choice is to believe that the Bible is what it claims to be. Although this is the choice we make by faith, it is also a logical choice. Scripture is unique because it is God-breathed. Divine inspiration puts the Bible in a category by itself. The same Holy Spirit that was involved in the giving of Scripture is also involved in confirming to us that the Bible is the Word of God.
C. The Transcendent Word This Word reveals to us those areas of life where we need to experience change, and it transforms us into the biblical ideal. The profound self- confirming, revealing, and transforming power of Scripture testifies to its divine origin. Because Scripture originates with God, it is authoritative. It directs our steps, measures all of our ideas, and transcends time and culture. The Bible is as authoritative today as it was when the various books were first written.
C. The Transcendent Word It stands alone as the final authority, surpassing and—where necessary—nullifying all human tradition, even religious tradition that claims to explicate and support Scripture. The sixty-six books of the Bible form one book breathed by God, an inspired, infallible, inerrant book that is God’s gift to human beings to give them instructions for salvation and godly living.