Welcome to the Mountjoy Ministries Blog

This blog was authored by Bryan W. Sheldon, author and Bible teacher. His books are listed below. The studies in the blog are offered in the desire that they may be helpful in directing readers to the truths contained in the Bible.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Christianity Considered 1

Lets Consider the Bible

Christians are a people of one book, and that book is the Bible. They consider it unique - different. It is a book alone, a book apart, a book above all other books. There is none like it and none with it. For the Christian, the Bible (like its author) is all-sufficient. It is an original book.

It is the one book, the only book, that begins in the beginning, and therefore is self-introductory. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”. (Gen. 1:1)

It is designed to be self-explanatory. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.” (John 1:1-3) If you come to any part or passage in the Bible you do not understand, the explanation is somewhere else in the Bible, not somewhere else outside it. The book explains itself. And the book must conclude itself. You cannot write a follow up – you cannot add another chapter – it is complete! It begins, it ends!

The Bible as the Word of God

While they often use the term ‘Bible’, Christians usually use the term, ‘the Word of God’. The book derives its authority from its author. This is not a book about God – this is a book from God. God is not the subject of Scripture – He is its author – this is His Word. It is because He is the author that the book has authority. “Wonderful, wonderful, Word of the Lord”. Christians speak like that, and they speak well – it is God’s Word.
A person’s words should reflect his character. A man who is true should speak the truth. God is the God of truth and the God of truth cannot lie. The Bible is true because it is His Word. It is the Word of Truth. Moreover, it is the Word of Power, and the Word of Holiness (Holy Bible), because it reflects the character of the author.

And you learn theology by studying the Bible. Reading its pages will bring to your heart and mind concepts and thoughts of God that are true to Him. God is love, God is light, God is life. Reading the Bible will give you an accurate and true understanding of the one and only true God. And you will think of Him as He is – in His greatness, in His goodness, in His glory.

The Oracles of God

Another title of the Bible is ‘the oracles of God’ (Rom.3.2). This means that the Bible was first brought to the minds and hearts of people from the mouth of God. There are 416 instances of the phrase, “Thus says the Lord”, which is another way of saying, ‘the Word of the Lord’. Oracle means the spoken word. Such was the honour given to the Old Testament prophets.

The Scriptures

A much more familiar term is ‘Scripture’. Scripture is the written word of God. It is the Word of God in a more permanent and convenient form. The written word can be studied, examined, quoted. God’s Word has been written down – it is firm, it is sure. It has been written on many materials—papyri, clay, cloth, stone, paper. The Old Testament tells of a time when it was written on a rock. The New Testament tells us it can be written on the heart.
What is the Bible about?

Jesus of Nazareth is the main subject of Scripture. ‘In the volume of the book it is written of me’. (Heb.10.7 KJV) Indirectly it is about us, but primarily about Him. There is no part of the Bible that is not concerned with Christ. He is there on the first page, in the beginning, and He is there at the end, on the last page. As all the roads link up, the motorways, the A roads, the B roads, and so on, so does every part of Scripture. He is the beating heart of the Bible, supplying energy and life to every individual page.
Are the Biographies of Jesus accurate?

If the person of Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ of God, is the primary subject of Scripture, the key question must be—do we have an authentic, accurate record of His life and work in the pages of the Bible? If the claim is, that God entered human history in the person of Jesus, to offer himself as a Messiah and Deliverer, and die a sacrificial death to pay for our sins, then we must be sure that we have the facts straight. If His contemporaries say He conquered death and rose from the grave, can we be sure that their testimony has been accurately preserved?
We will consider these questions in the next blog.
Happy Bible Study everyone.