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The Inerrant Word
(From A Threefold Cord by R. B. Wallace)
We have a divine revelation from God that is complete and perfect. Knowledge demands it; reason approves it; universal experience corroborates it. The medium of this revelation is His written Word, the Bible (He Biblos--The Books), infallibly inspired, God-breathed. Any omissions or interpolations on the part of copyists have long since been discovered and corrected, so that with this we can confidently say that in our good King James version, supplemented by four or five later good translations, and supported by valuable biblical research, we have in our hands the inerrant Word, the revealed mind of God.
Aside from this, whatever may be the status of translations committed to the responsibility of man, the criteria ---the grand originals, remain the same. They are unchanged in the slightest jot. We believe that God has given us not only this immutable standard of knowledge and moral judgment, but that He has also "kept by the power of God" the human vessels, the translators. Plenary inspiration is insufficient to meet the case, the Lord Himself affirms the Scriptures to be the ipsissima verba (the very words themselves) of the Deity, the Godhead. Our Lord quoted freely from the Septuagint version without criticism or hesitation. This version is still extant. I am bound, therefore, to believe the whole Bible as a unit, and not as the arrogant, presumptuous Modernist, select what I shall believe and what I shall not. If I essay to criticize the Bible, I flatter myself that I am wiser than the matter it contains. I must believe it in toto. I must believe every miracle, however unreasonable, for as one has well remarked: "There are no reasonable miracles".
The canon of Scripture is absolutely closed with the sixty-six books as we have them. There is no other writing bearing the divine imprimatur. Human writings change, are revised, enlarged and made adaptable to changing thought with the march of time. Conspicuously in evidence is the "revised" Key, and the ever-changing vade mecum of modern cults. Not so the Bible! It is our only and unvarying standard of moral judgment. Truth is eternal. It is not subject to development. We are constantly re-called to it. It is, per se, that which meets the need of every human heart, of every age. I may not judge it. It judges me. It is a "discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart" (Heb.4:12).
DO YOU HAVE QUESTIONS, AND/OR WOULD YOU LIKE TO HAVE A BIBLE STUDY OR MINISTRY ON A SUBJECT?
A. Send an e-mail to the Site Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org and include at least a first name or nickname (no names will be published);
B. Give an e-mail address for return, which will be held in confidence.
C. State the question or concern clearly; and if a Bible Study is desired, the WOTS is a good general study about Scripture in general.
D. The reply given will be a studied response intended to be fully in accord with "all the counsel of God" as the Bible shows, which does not mean it is a final word on the matter; and further inquiries or comments are gladly received here. - Robert DeWitt: e-mail - email@example.com
- The Numerical Miracle -
All students of Scripture know the significance of the complete and perfect number "seven", as constantly used throughout the Bible. We excerpt the following from a well-known scholar, Ivan Panin, writing in the "New York World": Note! Text cited----Greek edition of the New Testament, Westcott and Hort.
"The first seventeen verses of the New Testament contain the genealogy of Jesus Christ. The genealogy consists of two parts. Verses 1-11 contain the genealogy of Abraham, the father of the Jewish people, to the captivity, when the Jews ceased to be an independent people. Verses 12-17 contain the genealogy from the captivity to Christ. Let us examine the first part of this genealogy.
"Its vocabulary has 49 words, or 7 sevens, of which 42, or 6 sevens, are nouns; and 7 are not nouns. Of the 42 nouns, 35, or 5 sevens, are proper names, and 7 are common nouns. Of the 35 proper names, 28, or 4 sevens, are male ancestors of Jesus, and 7 are not.
"The 49 words of the vocabulary are distributed alphabetically thus: Words under the first five letters of the Greek alphabet are 21 in number, or 3 sevens; under the second five letters, 14, or 2 sevens; under the next eleven letters, also 14, or 2 sevens. Again: These words have 266 letters, or 38 sevens, and these also are distributed alphabetically, not at random, but by sevens; thus words under the first three letters have 84 letters, 12 sevens; under the fourth letter, 7; under the fifth and sixth, 21, or 3 sevens; under the eighth, 70, or 10 sevens; under the tenth, eleventh and twelfth, 21, or 3 sevens; under the thirteenth, 7; under the fifteenth to the twenty-first, 49, or 7 sevens; under the twenty-second, 7. It is thus clear that this part of the genealogy is constructed on an elaborate design of seven.
"Let us now turn to the genealogy as a whole. I will not weary readers with recounting all the numerical phenomena displayed therein. Pages alone would exhaust them. I will point out only one feature. The Greeks had no figures, but used instead the letters of their alphabet. Their first letter stood for 1; their second for 2, etc. Every Greek word is thus an arithmetical sum obtained by adding the value of its letters. The vocabulary of the entire genealogy contains 72 words. If we write its numerical value against each of these 72 words, and add them, we obtain for their value sum 42,364, or 6,052 sevens; and these 6,052 sevens are distributed alphabetically, not at random, but by sevens.
"It is thus clear that not only are the first eleven verses of this genealogy constructed on an elaborate design of sevens, but the entire genealogy is also thus constructed. One other feature: The 72 vocabulary words of this genealogy occur in 90 forms. If we add the numerical values of these 90 forms we get 54,075, or 7,725 sevens, with corresponding distribution into 7 alphabetical groups of seven.
"There is not, however, a single paragraph out of the hundreds in Matthew that is not constructed on exactly the same plan, only with each additional paragraph the difficulty of constructing it increases, not in arithmetical, but in geometrical progression. For He contrives to write His paragraphs so as to develop constantly fixed numeric relations to what has gone before and what follows.
["Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth" - II Tim.2:15 (KJV); "Heaven and earth shall pass a- way, but My Words shall not pass away" - Matt.24:35 (KJV); "The Word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged 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" - Heb. 4:12 (KJV).]
The Holy Bible is a name given to that holy collection of books recording the Word Of Truth. It is one contin-uous testimony, or unfolding of truth to man by God from the beginning to the end (with the sections there-in properly discerned). Let us pray for the leading by the Holy Spirit to teach us and keep us in the truth.
- R. L. DeWitt, '05; rev. 08/17
A. A Way To Study The Bible
In the first place, if we don't study we will likely end up following after many voices to our confusion. A good way to study the Bible is to have a system. For the beginner, one might better begin by reading John 1, John 3, John 14 for an overview and then pray for God’s leading and teaching.
1. Cultivate a desire to hear God speaking to you, and
desire to know His message for your life. This comes from
"all the counsel of God" (Acts 20:27), not just interpretations
of one verse. There are no contradictions. One needs to see the harmony of scripture, and the Holy Spirit will apply the truth of it. Do you really want to know what God thinks?
Begin by prayer to Him.
2. Set a time daily or weekly; otherwise study won't
happen. A chapter a day is advised for daily food.
3. Decide on the method and course, and prepare.
Without a sound method, one will wander and misapply
scripture. Studies should always discern between the Old Testament and New Testament, and beginning with the New Testament is very important, then one can study the OT to learn of creation, history, God's dealing with man and His covenant people of Israel ---as a forerunner of the Christian era.
a) A general study of the foundation truths for the Christian life includes deity; the trinity; creation; overview of the OT.; an overview of the NT; the Person, birth, & work of Christ; redemption; church truth; spiritual life; the end times (prophecy); judgment; blessing; and eternal destiny.
b) A study of topics or subjects that are essential to the believer's pathway---e.g. holiness, worship, devotion, service, trials, marriage & practical choices, etc. Choose a subject of special interest and learn about it, rather than just reason over it. Good ministry is available from the sources below.
c) A study of each Book and chapter in a progressive way through the NT and then OT is good. One can read a chapter, pray over it, and then read some sound ministry on it from a reliable source, such as the Concise Bible Dictionary from Bible Truth Publishers. Some suggest a chapter a day, but a chapter per week with outside reading may be better. One has said: We ought to do as a cow -- "eat, then pause and chew on it awhile". It is important to see that there are no contradictions in the Word of God, and verses ought to be understood first in their context.
4. Have a concordance available, and a good Bible dictionary. The CONCISE BIBLE DICTIONARY is an excellent aide; also, have paper to take notes for questions and further inquiry. A good source of ministry books is found at the BTP site: www.bibletruthpublishers.com; and one can contact sound Bible teachers there.
B. What Is Bible Truth?
Bible truth is more than just reading the Word of God and
trying to follow it. I believe it is also: "all the counsel of God" (Acts 20:27); and "rightly dividing the Word of Truth"
(2 Tim.2:15). It is important to know who is speaking, to whom is he speaking, what is he speaking, where is he speaking, when is he speaking, why is he speaking (who, what, where, when, why). This will greatly help in under-standing the truth of what we are reading.
There is essential truth (that which the church must not
compromise), and there is non-essential truth, which is important for spiritual growth, understandings, and in faith-fulness to God for those who want to obey and conform to Him; and there is conscience, which speaks of personal understandings not proven or disproved in the Word ---which should not be pressed on others.
One should understand there are three major groups of
people in the Bible: Israelites (called Jews today, since the
tribes are scattered); Gentiles (non-Israelites--the gender of
mankind); and the church of God (the redeemed bride of
Christ). The ancient worthies of Adam, Noah, Abraham, etc.
who pre-dated Israel were God's chosen vessels for His works. The O.T. saints and the nation of Israel had a dif-ferent relationship with God than does the Church (the bride of Christ) in the N.T.
There is instruction in the Bible for Israel, and instruction for
the church today, and there is a difference. Christians don't
take their instruction (essential truth) from the Old Testa-
ment, but can find much information about the ways and
mind of God there, and principles for the Christian life today.
We should not expect to find a verse in the Bible for every
question we have, but there are principles for our learning.
One might make a spiritual application of what they read for
their own life, but should know if that application is consis-
tent with all of the Word.
.THE WORD OF TRUTH
WHAT IS BIBLE TRUTH? (see the Letter "B" below)
"It happens, however, to be an additional fact that Luke's gospel contains exactly the same phenomena as those of Matthew and Mark; and so does John, and so does James, and Peter and Jude and Paul.
"The phenomena are there, and there is no human way of explaining them. But this means literal verbal inspiration of every jot and tittle of the New Testament. There remains only to be added that by precisely the same kind of evidence the Hebrew Old Testament is proved to be equally inspired."
The writer has proved to his entire satisfaction the first thirteen steps in the above "numerical" test. As one proceeds the process becomes more and more involved and more difficult to follow, but we doubt not the facts are all as stated.
Before passing from this strange phenomena, the "numerical miracle", it may be of interest to know that nine noted rationalists were invited to disprove the above unique facts. Among those chosen were three university presidents, two theological professors of the liberal school, three so-called divines representing three different denominations, and the editor of a secular magazine. These men all retired abashed and bewildered, owning the phenomena were present and acknowledging their inability to refute such strange facts.
These miraculous phenomena applied to test the Apocrypha, proved it to be a hopeless jumble. No other writings can be produced to show any such design.
- Prophetic Names -
Let us now note a remarkable instance confirming inspiration as to two fundamental doctrines of Scripture, viz.; the fall, and the atonement. The following peculiar combination is pointed out by the famous biblical encyclopedist, Dr. Kitto: "In speaking of the meaning of prophetic names, however, the most extraordinary example, perhaps, that can be produced from any book, either ancient or modern, is the following, which is to be found in the fifth chapter of Genesis: The names of the ten antediluvian patriarchs, from Adam to Noah inclusive, are there given; and when these ten names are literally translated and placed in the order in which they occur, they form altogether the following very remarkable sentence in English: 'man, appointed, miserable, lamenting, the God of glory, shall descend, to instruct, His death sends, to the afflicted, consolation." What shall we answer to the prophetic evidence? "Whoso is wise, and will observe these things, even they shall understand the loving kindness of the Lord" (Psa.107: 43).
[For the book: A Threefold Cord, write to Bible Truth Publishers, P.O. Box 649, Addison, IL 60101; E-mail address: BTPorders@cs.com]
A Bible study might be a progressive reading of each book of the Bible for factual knowledge of people, activities, and historical events; and it might be a subject study: e.g. worship, and all verses bearing on it; but these might well be supplemented by ministry of principles to apply all of the Word, to see the purposes of God and what is pleasing to Him by precepts. A principle is a collection of verses that displays truth, rather than one or two verses which might be misapplied. This is something of what we mean by a Bible truth study.
C. Bible Study Beginning
See the note at the top of this page about help to begin a personal study at home; and a free Bible Study outline can be sent to learn: Bible General; Redemption Way; Church Truth; and Spiritual Life - called WOTS. If you are ready, ask for this Bible study at firstname.lastname@example.org