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37. The authority of God's word

The Master's Instructions about the Bible. (Matthew 7:24-27).


The parable Jesus told in Matthew 7:24-27 shows that the foundation for any Christian’s life lies in the words of Jesus. God’s word will make him or her firm in his convictions and faithful in his conduct. God’s word will not fail him.


God’s word in a human life is dynamite!

  • It is able to overcome temptation (Psalm 119:11; Matthew 4:3-4).

  • It is able to quicken the conscience (James 1:22-25).

  • It is able to condemn sin (Galatians 3:21-25).

  • It is able to feed the soul (Psalm 1:1-3; 1 Peter 2:2-3).

  • It is able to break opposition (Ephesians 6:17).

The Bible is a miracle of God.

The original Scriptures involved many human authors inspired by God the

Holy Spirit. They included Moses, Joshua, David, Solomon and others.

The Jewish priests made heavy work of copying them out, letter by

letter, onto clay and papyrus parchments. The ink used could have been a

mixture of soot, lamp-black and gum. The original languages included

Babylonian, Syrian, Aramaic and some Arabic, but mainly Hebrew in the

Old Testament, and Greek in the New Testament.


The Bible as we have it now was brought together and generally accepted

during the fourth century. It was not until 1380-82 that the whole Bible

was available in English. As a reward for his hard work, incidentally, John

Wycliffe was banished from England, the reading of his Bible was banned,

and further his very bones were exhumed and burned in 1428! William

Tyndale’s was the first translation into English from the original Hebrew

and Greek. He printed the New Testament in 1525. Tyndale also

suffered great opposition and hardship. He was shipwrecked. He lost

many manuscripts. He was pursued by secret agents, betrayed by his

friends, and eventually other people copied, published, and financially

profited from his work before he did!


In 1607-11 King James’ Authorised version was published. It took at

least fifty years to be widely accepted, which means that popularity of

some modern versions has a fair way to go yet. There are still many

languages of the world which have no complete Bible, in spite of valiant

efforts by translators.


The wonder of God’s word! He designed and purposed it. He provided it.

He has protected it. The seed he has planted still continues to grow.


(For an overview of how the Bible came to Sudan, see my

'Christian Theology in a Sudanese Context').


Never forget that

  • a Christian lives spiritually by the word of God (Matthew 4:4).

  • A Christian learns about God and His will from His word (Acts 17:10-11).

  • A Christian genuinely loves God’s word (Psalm 119:127).

In chapter 38, (the Value of God’s word, Psalm 119), there are

outlines of Bible books suggesting how they are broken down into a

chronological order of events, and what sort of literature they are. To

get a little more from your Bible reading it is helpful to have some

background information on each book. Various commentaries and

dictionaries are available to help you, but never let them take the place of

the Bible. As one of our Bible College lecturers in Old Testament

Synthesis used to say at the end of every lesson: ‘Do read the Bible, won’t

you.’


Discussion guide for ‘The authority of God’s word’

Read the parable in Matthew 7:24-29, and answer the first five questions

using just one word:


1. What should we do with the words of Jesus?

2. What will they become in our lives?

3. What did outsiders recognise in Jesus’ words?

4. What were the disciples told to do with the words of Jesus, in

Matthew 28:20?

5. Who was going to help them, John 14:26?


Look at what the Bible’s words can do for you (second paragraph

above). Using the references in the paragraph, along with your own

experiences, describe and explain how you think this works:


1. How does the Bible help to stop you sinning?


2. How does the Bible quicken your conscience?


3. How does the Bible condemn sin and point you to Christ?


4. How does the Bible feed your soul?


5. How is the Bible able to break your opposition?


6. Explain your understanding of “Man does not live on bread alone,

but on every word that comes from the mouth of God”,

Matthew 4:4, Deuteronomy 8:3.


7. How can a Believer ensure he or she uses “every word” from God?


8. What are the dangers in only using your own favourite parts of the

Bible?


Types of literature found in the Bible:


Old Testament History OT Poetical books OT Prophecy

Genesis – law Job Isaiah

Exodus – law Psalms Jeremiah

Leviticus – law Proverbs Lamentations

Numbers – law Ecclesiastes Ezekiel

Deuteronomy – law Song of Solomon Daniel

Joshua Hosea

Judges Joel

Ruth Amos

1 & 2 Samuel Obadiah

1 & 2 Kings Jonah

1 & 2 Chronicles Micah

Ezra Nahum

Nehemiah Habakkuk

Esther Zephaniah

Haggai

Zechariah

Malachi


New Testament History NT Letters NT Prophecy


Matthew Romans Revelation

Mark 1 & 2 Corinthians

Luke Galatians

John Ephesians

Acts Philippians

Colossians

1 & 2 Thessalonians

1 & 2 Timothy

Titus

Philemon

Hebrews

James

1 & 2 Peter

1, 2 & 3 John

Jude


A suggested chronological order:


Old Testament (read down column 1, then 2, then 3)

Genesis 1 Kings 5-22 Habakkuk

Job 2 Kings 1-14:20 2 Kings 22-25

Exodus Joel Obadiah

Leviticus 2 Kings 14:21-25 Jeremiah

Numbers Jonah Lamentations

Deuteronomy 2 Kings 14:26-29 1 & 2 Chronicles

Joshua Amos Ezekiel

Judges 2 Kings 15-17 Daniel

Ruth Hosea Esther

1 & 2 Samuel 2 Kings 18-19 Ezra 1-4

Psalms Isaiah Haggai

1 Kings 1-4 Micah Zechariah

Proverbs Nahum Ezra 5-10

Ecclesiastes 2 Kings 20-21 Nehemiah

Song of Songs Zephaniah Malachi


New Testament (read down column 1, then 2)


Matthew Romans

Mark Acts 20:3-28

Luke Ephesians

John Philippians

Acts 1-14 Colossians

James Hebrews

Galatians Philemon

Acts 15-18:11 1 & 2 Peter

1 & 2 Thessalonians 1 Timothy

Acts 18:12-19:10 Titus

1 Corinthians 2 Timothy

Acts 19:11-20:1 1, 2 & 3 John

2 Corinthians Jude

Acts 20:2 Revelation


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