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What are you holding in your hands? Your Bible!

What are you holding in your hands?  Your Bible!

So, when Women of Passion started this morning, I looked around at the women I love, and said, ‘please find the little book of Philemon in your Bibles.’  One woman said, ‘So is that right after Colossians?’  Ha.   ‘Well, yes, it should be—yes, the letters Paul wrote in prison should be together, but you see, your Bible is not ordered chronologically; Paul’s letters should be in the order in which they were written, meaning Philippians, Colossians, Philemon, and Ephesians should be together, but they are not… so, what’s up?  Here’s the thing—while our Bibles are divinely inspired, the order in which the books of the Bible are placed is not. 

Friends, when you hold a Bible in your hands, what do you have?  (If you have read this before, I pray that you will retain something more of it, to share with another)  If clasping your Bible in your hands, your left hand would grasp the Old Testament, and your right hand, the New Testament--The Old Testament spanned more than a thousand years, while the New Testament just 80 – 90 years, with 400 years of silence in between.  

 Old Testament

-It is a written record of the history of Israel, written between 1440 b.c. and about 400 b.c.

  It is important to remember it is not ordered chronologically.

-There are 39 books in the Old Testament which can be classified as:

   The Law of Moses – first five books – the Torah

   The Prophets – Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel +          

         12 minor prophets

   The Writings – Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Song of Solomon, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther, Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah and Chronicles

-The Protestant church accepts identically the same Old Testament books as the Jews had, and as Jesus and the apostles accepted.  The Roman Catholic Church, since the Council of Trent in 1546, includes 14 books of the Apocrypha

New Testament

-finished before 100 A.D. (Knowledge of that is critical to supporting the veracity of Scripture) contained in 27 books:

   The Gospels – the four gospels record the birth, life, death, resurrection of Jesus Christ, and His training of the disciples

   History - the establishment of the early church and its spread through Mediterranean lands

   Letters – After Paul’s conversion on the Damascus Road in Acts 9, we are able to read his letters to the churches—the ‘epistles’

   Apocalypse – the book of Revelation, written by the apostle John when he was on the Isle of Patmos     

The NT was written by the apostles of Jesus Christ, or companions of the apostles.  This means that the authors were either eyewitnesses of the events they described or they recorded eyewitness firsthand accounts  (if interested, take a look at: 2 Peter 1.16; 1 John 1.1-3; 1 Corinthians 15.6-8; John 20.30,31; Acts 10.39-42; 1 Peter 5.1; Acts 1.9; Acts 2.22; Acts 26.24-28)

It is valuable to know that the first three gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke) were written at a time when many were alive who could remember the things Jesus said and did . . . and many would still be alive when the fourth one was written as well.  They would have been refuted and the writers discredited if they recounted or represented falsehoods.

Note to self:  Scripture is defensible.  While the Bible is inspirational and useful for instruction and application to our lives, it can be defended! Remember that—the gospels were written when people who were alive could have refuted them--their claims about Jesus’ life, death, miracles, resurrection—they didn’t, that’s because they were true. 

I think of the psalmist—the ‘man after God’s own heart’-who said, “Your word, O Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens.” Psalm 119.89   Yes, the Bible you hold in your hands is a gift from God . . . it will instruct and inform you all the days of your life.


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