The Origin and Nature of the Bible

Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 2:13
Date: 04/11/2020 
Lesson: 2
'This week we will look at some foundational aspects of the origin and nature of the Bible that should impact our interpretation and understanding of it.'

God's Free Health Plan - Paper or Digital Download

God's Free Health Plan - Paper or Digital Download
When you post, you agree to the terms and conditions of our comments policy.
If you have a Bible question for Pastor Doug Batchelor or the Amazing Facts Bible answer team, please submit it by clicking here. Due to staff size, we are unable to answer Bible questions posted in the comments.
To help maintain a Christian environment, we closely moderate all comments.

  1. Please be patient. We strive to approve comments the day they are made, but please allow at least 24 hours for your comment to appear. Comments made on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday may not be approved until the following Monday.

  2. Comments that include name-calling, profanity, harassment, ridicule, etc. will be automatically deleted and the invitation to participate revoked.

  3. Comments containing URLs outside the family of Amazing Facts websites will not be approved.

  4. Comments containing telephone numbers or email addresses will not be approved.

  5. Comments off topic may be deleted.

  6. Please do not comment in languages other than English.

Please note: Approved comments do not constitute an endorsement by the ministry of Amazing Facts or by Pastor Doug Batchelor. This website allows dissenting comments and beliefs, but our comment sections are not a forum for ongoing debate.

Jëan Ross: Hello, friends, and welcome to "Sabbath School Study Hour," coming to you here from the Amazing Facts office in Sacramento, California. As you can notice, it's a little different than our regular "Sabbath School Study Hour" time and we will probably get into that in just a few moments. But I do want to tell you about our lesson today. The study is in our new series of studies on the Bible. It's called "How to Interpret the Scripture." That's the title of our quarter. Today, we're looking at lesson number two, which is "The Origin and the Nature of the Bible." So if you have your lesson quarterly, you can open it and study along with us a very important subject that we'll be talking about today.

And before we go any further, we just want to let those of you who are joining us live--I know we have a number of family members who are joining us. If you have young people in your family, there is a live Sabbath School broadcast that'll be starting in the next minute or two and we want to encourage any young people, any youth to join us for that. If you'd like to be a part of that, you just need to go to Instagram. It's Granite Bay SDA Youth on Instagram, and you'll be able to join live the special Sabbath school that's taking place there. Again, that's Granite Bay SDA Youth on Instagram.

Pastor Doug, before we got to our study, maybe we just want to say a few words about why we're here and things look a little different. There's a lot happening as you know.

Doug Batchelor: That's right. Yeah, well, of course right now around the country and different parts of the world, we recognize that churches are being asked not to meet in large groups. In some places, it's no meeting at all. That's the case here in Northern California, and so--but because Amazing Facts is a media entity that operates stations, we're exempt from some of the things that would prevent a gathering of a crew to broadcast. And so we're very thankful we're able to come together in our studios here, broadcast a live Sabbath school.

This is going to be a special Sabbath school. Matter of fact, you want to probably just text and email your friends right now and let them know that we are live, that we are online. They can watch on--of course, you're probably seeing it now on AFTV. It's going to be on the Doug Batchelor Facebook page, the Amazing Facts Facebook page, the Facebook page and Vimeo and YouTube. You might pick up your phone right now. We're going to share some exciting things in the next 2 hours in our Sabbath school and church service. Just text your friend and say, "They're live now. You can go--" You also have an opportunity to send in questions. And so if you've got questions, you can send your questions to the--is it the Amazing Facts Facebook page?

Jëan: Well, it's actually on the Facebook page, yeah.

Doug: Yeah, and then they'll be sending those questions about the lesson, or maybe you've got questions about what in the world is going on right now, if there's any relevance to Bible prophecy. Those will pop up on Pastor Ross's computer. And text your friends. Let them know that. Now, I also want to mention if you want to get some ongoing information during these difficult times when a lot of folks are hunkered down in their homes and they can't travel freely, if you would like to know more, then all you have to do is text us. Text "Online" to 40544. Text the phrase online to 40544 and we'll be giving you updates of new programs that are coming. And--anyway, with that, maybe we should have a word of prayer and we can get into our lesson for today.

Jëan: Absolutely. Let's bow our heads then for a word of prayer. Dear Father, once again we thank you that we're able to gather together, even though the format is a little different than what we're used to, but you're still here and your Spirit is here and you're still guiding in the hearts and lives of those who are joining us for our study this morning. And, Lord, we ask that you would guide us. It's a very important subject that we will be talking about, but it's also a rather interesting time that we are facing in this world's history. So we just ask for your Spirit and pray for guidance, and bless this program in a special way. In Jesus' name, amen.

Now, Pastor Doug, we have a free offer that we like to tell people about at the beginning of every "Sabbath School Study Hour" that we do, and usually our subject is connected to the lesson in some way. But we thought based with everything going on right now in North America and other places around the world, it might be helpful to give you something practical dealing with health. And so our free offer today is one of the Amazing Facts study guides. It's entitled "God's Free Health Plan," and this is what we'll be happy to send to anyone in North America. All you'll need to do is call and ask for it and we'll send it to you there at home. The number is 866-788-3966, and you want to ask for offer number 139. You'll also be able to digitally download a copy of the lesson. Text the code "SH032" to the number 40544. And that, of course, works not only in North America, but around the world. So wherever you might be, you can get a digital copy of "God's Free Health Plan." It got some very practical information on how you can boost your immune system and your overall health. What does the Bible say about health?

And, you know, Pastor Doug, this probably leads into one of the questions that we have that people are asking just based on what's happening here. Here in California, certain orders have come through the state government and I believe it's also in New York where they're not wanting people to gather together in any groups, I believe, larger than 10, which of course definitely impacts churches and impacts our church. One of the questions people have asked is, you know, is this somehow fulfillment of prophecy, forbidding people to gather together to worship? Could this has something to do with maybe even the beast power trying to enforce his influence in America in these last days? How do we respond to that?

Doug: Well, that's a great question. And it's an ever-growing number of states that are asking people, especially in the cities, that they don't gather in groups and they're asking churches to go to online services, which is why we're doing this. Is that any kind of sacrifice of the Sabbath principle or is this an effort to enforce a certain day of worship? Well, not at this point. It's not just the Sabbath-keeping churches. It doesn't matter if you're a Muslim and you gather on Friday, or Sabbath keepers or Sunday keepers. They're asking any large groups to avoid interaction because they're very concerned about the virility of this plague and the dangers connected to it. So sometimes when a person is sick, they stay home from church and nobody thinks there's any moral dilemma there. Now they're asking people, "Please stay home from church," so people don't get sick for a limited period of time. And so I don't think there's anything wrong with that, and that we're so thankful that we're able to stream to you right now. Matter of fact, I'll ask Santiago, do we have people watching online at this point? And you--if you tell me some of the places that our friends are listening from, I'll just repeat what you say. Santiago is here in the room. We got to maintain our 6 feet distance, and he's going to be telling us--who's watching? We got-- Santiago: We got Holloway watching from Oakdale.

Doug: Oakdale.

Santiago: We got Louis watching from Indiana.

Doug: Indiana.

Santiago: Lynn watching from New Jersey.

Doug: New Jersey, Lynn.

Santiago: Bettina watching from Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Doug: Bettina in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Santiago: We got Ennead watching from the US Virgin Islands.

Doug: Ennead from the US Virgin Islands.

Santiago: Renda from Oregon.

Doug: Renda from Oregon.

Santiago: Doris from Pipersville, Pennsylvania.

Doug: Doris from Pipersville, Pennsylvania. See, we see you're there. Now, he's just giving--he's got these names that are just scrolling by, and so he's just giving a handful. We know there's people all over the world that are tuning in. Once again, you can get online or make a call, whatever you want to do. Tell your friends to tune in. We got some important things to share. But no, it's not a moral dilemma for people to be doing online church.

You know, we said for years--because we're in a building program. Just behind the set that you see here, you can see construction going on. They're completing the Amazing Facts Worship Convention Center and--but we've reminded our people all along the way the church is not the building, and now we know more than ever the church is not the building. It's the people. And we're so glad that this technology is available, that we're able to study God's Word with you that are scattered all over the country. Well, do you want to do--shall we do the lesson title, memory verses?

Jëan: Absolutely, one more question, though, one more that we have, just before we dive into the lesson here, another question that people have, is it a lack of faith for us not to gather together or to try and cocoon ourselves in our homes? Doesn't that show a lack of faith in God's power to heal and protect?

Doug: Well, maybe this is God's way of healing, is for us to use common sense. You know, the Bible tells us that you can also tempt the Lord. You know, the devil told Jesus, "If you got faith, jump off this pinnacle." And he said, "Thou shall not tempt the Lord thy God." If we know that there's a contagious plague going through the land and we can take precautions to limit people being infected, then why would you tempt the Lord if you can stay healthy by just following common sense? So no, I think that--I think it would be foolish to ignore what we know is a way of preventing the disease and to preserve other people's health. Someone might say, "I've got faith and so I'm just going to become a personal breeding ground for the disease because I've got faith." You could spread it to somebody else and that would make you doubly guilty.

Jëan: That's right, all right, well, I think we're ready to go to our lesson for today. As mentioned, it's lesson number two on the subject of the Bible. It's entitled "The Origin and the Nature of the Bible." We do have a memory text. You'll find it in 1 Thessalonians chapter 2 and verse 13, and maybe I'll just read this, Pastor Doug, and then we'll get into it. It says, "For this reason, we also thank God without ceasing because when you receive the Word of God, which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of man but as it is in truth the Word of God, which is also effectively works in you who believe." So there we have Paul commending believers when they received the Word they didn't receive it as the word of man but as the Word of God.

Doug: That's such an important truth when we're talking about the Bible, that this is not just another book. This is not the words of man, and it's hard to really articulate that the Bible is a supernatural message from the Creator. Jesus said, "These words that I speak to you, they are spirit and they are life," and that it is--it's unique, it's special, and that's why we call it holy. It's a book that is set aside. And, you know, it's interesting and providential we're studying this lesson at this time.

A friend of mine who is not a Sabbath keeper sent a message this morning. He's standing out in front of the supermarket. Well, he may be in now. And the line--he took a picture and the line went down the street of all these people lined up with shopping carts waiting for the store to open so they can run in and get their provisions. And I did a video about a week ago called "How to Hoard Food for the Storm" and I actually said it is appropriate to hoard food before a storm with an explanation. You know, the Bible tells us that before the storm Noah stored food, and that's how they survived. God told Joseph a famine was coming, and he said, "I'm telling you in advance so you can store extra to get you through the dry spots."

But really our message is not that people should be hoarding food because, you know, God knows how to supply people. It's good idea for people to be practical and have a little bit to last a little while. But really we're talking about a famine that's coming for the Word of God, talks about in the Book of Amos, and now is the time for us to hoard and store food. "Man doesn't live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God." So, friends, we're hoping that you're going to use these, maybe, unexpected hours of leisure that you have--I see families for the first time are eating meals together. I see families in our neighborhood out walking together, and I hope that people will start reading the Bible, studying the Bible. This morning Karen said, "We've got a friend that wants to study with us and I've just been so busy." And she said, "Well, maybe you could get on the Internet now and do Bible studies with this friend that's in Georgia." I said, "Great idea." So let's be hoarding, storing, feeding, stockpiling the Word of God because we're going to need to say, "It is written, it is written," to defend our beliefs in the days to come.

Jëan: Absolutely, and as Pastor Doug says, man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word. What's the point of storing up food and the time comes where your food gets bad and you can't use it, or somebody breaks in and steals? But one thing that no one can take, not even the devil, is the Word of God that we store in our minds. So now we want to take advantage of this opportunity, study the Word of God. And really our lesson brings out the point that the Bible isn't just another book. It is a divine revelation from God. Matter of fact, it's called holy--the Holy Scriptures, the Word of God.

We have another verse, Pastor Doug, in 2 Peter chapter 1, verse 19 through 21. And I'm going to read this and I'm sure, Pastor Doug, you got some comments you'd like to make. It says, "And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to take heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns, until the morning star rises in your heart; knowing this first, that no prophecy of the Scripture is for private interpretation." Maybe you can say something about that in a minute. "For prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit."

Doug: You know, this passage in Peter, he is actually referencing a life-changing experience he had with his friends, John and James, where Jesus brought them up, what we call, the Mount of Transfiguration and they heard God the Father say, "This is my beloved Son." Moses appeared, Elijah appeared. Moses is a symbol. He's a real person, but he symbolizes the law. Elijah was the greatest of the prophets. Typically the Jews called the Scriptures the law and the prophets.

You know, when they wrote this, the New Testament wasn't completed yet. And so here they had this experience with the law and the prophets, and Peter said, "We were with him in the holy mountain. We heard the Father say, 'This is my beloved Son in whom I'm well pleased,'" but we have a more sure word of prophecy, even more important than the vision that Peter saw that day. He says, "The words that God has committed, they have been codified, codified. It is permanent, it's eternal. Heavens and earth pass away. My Word does not pass away. The flowers fade. My Word does not change." And so we have the eternal Word of God that tells us what is truth.

Jëan: And then just to add to that, he mentions the Bible is, now the Scriptures, is not for private interpretation. There's a lot of private interpretation taking place with reference especially to prophecy in the Bible. I think this means that or that means this. How are we to understand the Bible? I think a principle we find and we mustn't forget is that the Bible needs to interpret itself. Then it's not a private interpretation if the Bible--if we allow the Scriptures to interpret itself, then it's God interpreting his Word.

Doug: That's right. Jesus said, "In the mouth of two or three witnesses, then let everything be established." And so when we are studying the Bible to know what is truth, if you get an idea from a particular verse, you think, "Well, I think that might mean this." Well, you don't want to just invent your interpretation. You need to back that up by going to other verses in the Bible that reinforce that, and you want at least two or three witnesses. And, you know, you and I do public evangelism. And some people when they hear a truth for the first time, we don't want to give them one verse. We go through the Bible and we show them through sometimes multiple verses, "This is what the Bible really teaches."

Another thing about private interpretation, you not only need the Scriptures. The Bible tells us in the multitude of counselors there's safety. I think one of the dangers when people kind of live in a cave, like I did, and you start reading the Bible by yourself and you don't go to church, you end up coming up with some eccentric interpretations. And you need to be able to study with others and bounce your understanding off, you know, Christians who are reading the same book and say, "Oh yeah, that makes more sense." It really does help sometimes to get the input of others who are reading the same verses, and that's why God has a church. He's got some who have gifts of teaching and preaching and prophecy and so forth.

And I know that when I'm studying sometimes I'll think, "Oh, I think I know what that means." And then I'll go to some of the great commentators of the Bible, who just great giants of Scripture, and I'll read their comments and I'll go, "Oh, I was way off on that. That makes a lot more sense. I'm sure glad I read that." And so you need to avoid coming up with these exotic, eccentric private interpretations. Be in a Bible study group with other people and then compare Scripture with Scripture.

Jëan: You know, the amazing thing about the Bible is that even the writers of the Bible recognized that there was something very special about the writings of the other prophets. They recognized that it's the Holy Scriptures. Now, we don't find the word Bible in the Bible, but we do find the word Scripture. And often when you have your Bible, you'll notice it often says Holy Bible. Well, the holy part is definitely found in Scripture. We find in Romans chapter 1, verse 1, I'll just read this for us, "Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God which he promised beforehand through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures." So there Paul acknowledges that the prophets in the Old Testament, the writings, it's holy. Calls it the Holy Scriptures. And of course we have many times in the Bible where it actually writes and says, "The Lord said," or, "The Lord said to me." I think you did a little bit of an account on that.

Doug: I did, just this morning I was looking, and this is only two of multiple possible phrases. 138 times in the Bible, that's the New King James Version, it says the Lord spoke, 140 times in the Bible it says thus saith the Lord. And so the Bible--and there's many variations of that. And so hundreds of times in the Bible it is saying God is speaking. And, you know, I was going to share something else while we're talking about a quote from 1 Peter in 2 Peter, and this may be somewhere else in our lesson as--I mean, our study guide as we go through other chapters. 2 Peter chapter 3, verse 15, here it says, "And consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation, as also our beloved brother, Paul, according to the wisdom given him has written--"

He's talking about Paul has written, the Apostle Paul. "As in all of his epistles, speaking in them of these things in which are some things that are hard to understand, in which those who are untaught and unstable they twist to their own destruction as they do the rest of Scripture." Meaning, Peter considered what Paul had written under the influence of the Holy Spirit to be Scripture and people twisting it were twisting Scripture. So here's an example of them even recognizing their writings, now New Testament Scripture, were holy.

Jëan: Now, of course, the Bible says in the mouth of two or three witnesses--we have the verse that you just read. We have two New Testament prophets recognizing the inspiration of the others' writing. But in the Old Testament, you have the Prophet Daniel who was studying or reading the writings of the Prophet Jeremiah. That was pretty much a contemporary, at least in the early part of Daniel's life, also recognizing that, that was inspired by God. So it's kind of interesting we have them in the old, we also have that in the new.

So the Bible is indeed a special book, a powerful book. The Bible also has practical purposes, especially when it comes to theology. It guides us. 2 Timothy chapter 3, verse 16 says, "All Scripture is given by the inspiration of God." The word the inspiration is God-breathed. "It's profitable for doctrine," that would be our teaching; "for reproof," when we're doing something wrong the Bible can bring us back; "correction," tells us how we get back in a right connection with God; "and for instruction in righteousness that the man of God might be complete, thoroughly equipped into all good work." So another work of the Bible is to make us complete in our understanding of truth, in our relationship with God, giving us purpose and meaning in life. It leads to righteousness.

Doug: It is amazing when you think about it, the broad spectrum of themes in life that are covered by the Bible. There's no book like it. You know, the Bible talks about love, talks about war. It talks about agriculture. It talks about marriage. It talks about health. It talks about government. It talks about weather. There's scarcely talks about clothing, talks about modesty. I mean, the Bible really covers the spectrum of life. Now, some people say, "Well, the Bible doesn't say I shouldn't smoke." Well, they didn't have cigarettes back then. So you're right, the Bible doesn't talk about that, but it talks about drugs. It talks about don't destroy the temple. And so the principles are there that really apply in every age to ever--almost every dimension of life that you can think of.

Jëan: So not only the Bible holy, not only is the Bible purposeful, gives us guidance. Thirdly, the Bible reveals the future, and this particular interesting area. Here's a verse that I've often quoted in Bible studies and evangelistic series. Amos chapter 3, verse 7 says, "Surely the Lord God will do nothing unless he reveals his secrets to his servants, the prophets." So some people might be looking at what's happening in our world today with this pandemic just sweeping across the globe and they wonder, you know, "What is the future have in store? Does this somehow tie in with Bible prophecy?" Well, the Bible does reveal to us how things will end. Is this the end? No, but it could be a sign that we're nearing the end. Matter of fact, the Bible says there will be an increase in natural disasters and pestilence before Jesus comes.

Doug: You know, I started a list last night, I'm not quite ready to go through it all, of what the current crisis is teaching us about prophecy in the Bible. And I'm up to about five or six different points right now. But a couple of things that you can't miss, how quickly an economy can turn. In Revelation 18, it describes in the end Babylon when it finally falls, it says, behold how in one hour all our riches are come to nothing, and that's of course a paraphrase. No, I'm not saying this is the fulfillment of that, but what we are learning from what's happening is how quickly you can go from a booming economy to one that's paralyzed.

We can also see how quickly government power can be increased, telling people to stay home. I mean, you're in the freest country in the world and yet now the government is saying--and I understand the reasons. They're good reasons. "Don't go anywhere." And so freedoms can be lost almost overnight. And so there's a lot of things we're learning about, you know, prophecy. Some of what's happening, it feels like we're living in a piece of Revelation. I don't know what chapter, but it feels like Revelation.

Jëan: It's amazing. We've never been in this type of position before, at least not on a global scale. So it is unique. Well, then that probably brings us to our Monday's study, and it's talking about the process of inspiration. How did the Bible writers get the messages that they wrote down? There's one verse in particular that I like to look at with reference to the steps involved in Bible prophecy. It's one of my favorite books, Revelation chapter 1. And if you look at Revelation 1, verse 1 and 2, you get a sequence of how the message was given. It says, "The revelation of Jesus Christ--"

So first of all, all of Scripture is a revelation of Jesus. And then it goes on to say, "Which God gave him," that's God the Father, "to show unto His servants," that would be the prophets, "things that must shortly take place," while the Bible reveals the future. And then it says, "And he sent and signified by His angel to His servant John, who bore witness of the Word of God, the testimony of Jesus, and everything that he saw." So I think of this verse as God being the fountainhead of all truth. This truth about Jesus is sent by an angel to His servant, the Prophet John. And what does John do? He writes down everything that he sees in vision, the things he hears in vision, and that which the Spirit of God reveals to him, known as the testimony of Jesus. So Revelation as well as all of the Bible, to me, it is an eye, ear account of what the prophet sees in vision. It's a direct message sent from God, recorded by the prophet.

Doug: Yeah, amen. It's amazing how that first chapter tells the flow, how you've got a message coming. It mentions God, Jesus, John, the churches. I left out the angel, sorry. God, Jesus, the angel, John, the churches. And sometimes it's through the Holy Spirit that God speaks to the prophets, that it might be disseminated among the people. And then the church is to the world, you could say, from there.

Jëan: Another thing the Bible--that the lesson brings out, which is interesting, is there are passages or documents that are not included in the Bible, but we do have some of the Bible writers actually referring to documents that we don't necessarily have today. For example, you find in Joshua chapter 10, verse 13 a reference to the Book of Jasher. Now I think there is a book out there, the Book of Jasher, but here we find one of the Bible writers referring to that. That doesn't mean the entire book is inspired, but they are bringing out maybe a historical accuracy or historical point, and that is what they use. Also, we find Luke in the writing of the gospel, it says that he spoke to those who are eyewitnesses of Christ. He recorded different things that they had said. All of this, of course, under the guidance and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

Doug: Yeah, and you can even see in the Scriptures that there's one theme through the whole Bible, and the theme of course is Christ. And just to give you an example of how that works, if you look in Revelation chapter 3--this is the first prophecy in the Bible. Verse 15, "So the Lord said to the serpent, 'Because you've done this, you are cursed more than all cattle and more than every beast of the field. On your belly you shall go, and you will eat dust all the days of your life. And I will put enmity between you and the woman, between your seed and her seed. He will bruise your hand, and you shall bruise his heel.'" So here you've got a prophecy that involves or talks about God, talks about the woman, talks about the serpent, talks about the seed of the woman, and that there is a war that rages enmity between the two.

You go to Revelation, the last book in the Bible. "And the dragon," it says in the same chapter he's also the serpent, "was enraged with the woman and he goes to make war with the rest of her offspring," it's her seed, "that keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ." So you got a theme. It's going all the way from Genesis. The whole Bible is about this battle for redemption and it comes through the seed of the woman, which is Christ. And so this is common theme that you can find in all the prophets.

Jëan: Now, sometimes people might say, "Well, you know, I can understand that the New Testament might be relevant for us today. It gives us some good instruction. But the Old Testament is just filled with stories. Is that really relevant? All the history that we find in the Bible, how does that relate to me today?" Well, the Bible does tell us that there's a reason for all of these stories in the Bible. Of course, it reveals different aspects of God's dealing with people throughout history. But Romans chapter 15, verse 4 makes the point for us. It says, "For whatsoever things are written beforehand were written for our learning, that we through the patience and the comforts of the Scriptures might have hope." So there is hope found in reading how that God brought peoples through some very difficult situations in the Old Testament, and even in the new, it brings us comfort, brings us hope.

Doug: That's very helpful today. Folks are--some folks are afraid when they're looking at what's going on in the world out there. And it says, "Hope comes through the Scriptures and through the study of God's Word." Let me share something here, and this is from the book, "The Great Controversy," page 7, talking about the process of how inspiration flows from God to us and that God uses the unique personalities maybe of some of the inspired men that wrote. "The Bible points to God as its author, yet it is written by human hands. And in the varied style of its different books, it presents the characteristics of several writers. The truths revealed are all given by the inspiration of God, yet they are expressed in the words of men." And so, you know, when you're reading Paul--well, Paul had a different vocabulary than Peter. Paul was more highly educated.

But I really appreciate Peter and James, who--they were very succinct in what they said and is sometimes hard to understand. And so the different personalities of the writers are in it. David was a shepherd, but under the inspiration he says, "The Lord is my shepherd." And so you can often see him using the language of a shepherd. And Jesus says to Peter and John, "You're fishing for men," you know. And so God took into account the personal experience of the different Bible writers, and I think he deliberately chose people from all different backgrounds so it would appeal to people from all different backgrounds.

Jëan: Now, Pastor Doug, can a person approach the Bible the way you would approach maybe a history book or maybe a textbook from a scientific sort of critical perspective? There are people that will try and pull the Bible apart and look at it as just any other book. And in essence, what they are doing is they're opening the door to doubt. If somebody is looking for a reason to doubt the Bible, the inspiration of the Bible, can they find it?

Doug: Oh, yeah, you know, they say--I think Mark Twain said, "A person convinced against his will is of the same opinion still." If a person is cynical and they don't believe the Bible and they don't have the Holy Spirit, spiritually--things are spiritually discerned. And if we're not praying for the Spirit of the Author to help us understand this book, then they're bound to come to wrong conclusions and they'll probably look for--they'll look for flaws and they'll look for fault. The devil will try to provide something to hang that on in their minds.

Jëan: Of course, you quoted a verse a little earlier where Peter is saying that people twist the Scriptures to their own destruction, and that can still happen today. Like what Jesus said. If you're willing to know the truth, know the doctrine or do the doctrine, then you will know the truth." They need to be a willingness to seek for truth. Our ultimate goal is to find salvation and peace in Christ. If we're willing to do what God asks us to do, we will be affirmed in the Scriptures. Our faith will grow.

Doug: You know, there are some places in the Scripture where there are a few difficult passages where it seems like there's a contradiction. Let me just give you an example. I don't think we should ever be afraid of these. When you look in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, at the sign that is above the head of Jesus when he's crucified, in one place it says, "This is the king of the Jews, Jesus Christ the king of the Jews. He said he was the king of the Jews." I don't remember the exact wording, but they--all four of them are a little bit different. Not much, but a little different and people say, "Aha, look at the inconsistency in the Bible. It can't be trusted."

What they fail to recognize is that it tells us that it was written in three languages: Hebrew, Greek, and Latin. And so it depends on what language. The translator said, "Well, you know, in Latin, this is what it said, in Hebrew, this is what it said, in Greek, this is what it said." They were a little different. I mean, these are Roman soldiers that are just painting something up on a board above a cross. It probably wasn't, you know, the finest print job. And so once you understand--" Oh, that makes sense."

So when you run into an apparent inconsistency in the Bible--in studying you'll often find there are reasons where you can reconcile that. That's what I really appreciated some of the great commentators. I'll run into something and I'll say, "How come these dates seem different in these two places? And then you go in the commentators. They'll say, "Oh well, that's because this one is starting from this point, this one was starting from this point, and you want to understand that they both match up perfectly." I would just say, if you're going to make a mistake of believing too little of the Bible and thinking that maybe it's a flawed book, or believing too much and think it's the Holy Word of God, make the second mistake. Believe too much of it.

I find as soon as people start thinking that they can judge the Bible and pick it apart and say, "I'm going to believe this part and not this part," the whole thing--it's like poking a hole in a bucket. The whole thing starts to lose its power. Believe it's--every word is inspired. Read it and study it intelligently, but don't doubt it, have faith in the Bible.

Jëan: You know, another point just add to that, Pastor Doug, sometimes you'll be reading the parables or even the teachings of Jesus and you read it in one gospel and it might be a little different than if you read it in another gospel. And you think, "Well, how could there be such a difference between the parables or between the teaching?" What we need to understand is that Jesus traveled to many towns and villages, and it's quite possible that he told the same parable in different areas and one of the apostles might have remembered a particular parable the way it was worded in one place and he recorded it that way. Whereas the other might have heard it or remembered it spoken in another place.

I know we do a lot of evangelistic meetings and often we will preach in different places. We'll preach, in essence, the same sermon. We might even tell the same illustration, but it might be a little different from place to place. You try to contextualize it for your audience, and I think that's what Jesus was doing in a lot of his teaching when he traveled from these different towns. So that shouldn't discourage us. Just recognize that Jesus is telling the same story, but he's bringing out a different point for a different audience.

Doug: Yep, absolutely. So probably we ought to move on here a little bit. I see that we've got 14 minutes left for this part of the study. Under the written Word--so in the beginning--you know, you don't really find the Bible being started until the time of Moses. And he lived what? About 1,500 years before Christ. That means that there were nearly 2,000 years when there was no written Word of God as we have it today. Does that mean that God did not have inspired truth before that time? I believe he did. The Ten Commandments, for example, were always there. They were not written down until you get--you know, God of course has them written in heaven, but they weren't written down for the people until you get to Exodus chapter 19. But you can read where God told Cain, you know, murder was a sin. God told Joseph adultery was a sin. They knew stealing was a sin. So they knew what the truth of God was, but it was passed on back then orally.

Now, you might be thinking, "Well, how could they remember all of that?" Well, you look--you know, Abraham lived 175, Isaac 180, Moses 120. Think about how good their memories must have been back then. I've met a few people that have just about photographic memories. Here at Amazing Facts we carry a series--now we're not selling. This is free. We carry a series by an evangelist, Byron Spears. He's passed away. He lived to 100. He was still giving Bible studies at 100. They call him the walking Bible. If you're interested in that, just jot this down. Don't leave the station and go listen to it right now, but jot down "The Trumpet of the Lord," Evangelist Byron Spears. And he does over 30 evangelistic series, 90-minute sermons. They're only audio. But just keep in mind as you're listening, he's giving 50 verses in every presentation, at least long passages. He never opens his Bible. There's no screen for him to read it from. It is all from memory. Now, if someone in this generation could do that, he lived to 100, imagine how good people's memories were when they lived 300 years.

So the Word of God was all passed on very accurately--they had photographic memories back then. But with the erosion of sin, I think man lost that ability. There was a danger that the Word of God would get altered or corrupted. You go around the world, you listen to the different stories of the flood. And all these nations have stories of the flood, but they're all kind of different. You know, you go to Hawaii and they say he had a big canoe. His name was Noe, and he had a pig and a dog and his family in this canoe and the whole world was flooded because of their wickedness. And so there's a lot of similarities, but it got changed over time. And you can go--the Babylonians had the "Epic of Gilgamesh," very similar story of the flood, but it was corrupted because by that time people started passing it on and making little adjustments. So God needed to codify it and write it down.

Jëan: One of the things we forget is that you have Noah who lived before the flood and of course lived after the flood, his son Shem lived before the flood and after the flood. And he was alive as an old man, but he was alive at the time of Abraham, when Abraham was born. So you can understand how these things were passed on from father to son and then grandson. And so there wasn't really a need to write this down until we get closer to the time of Moses.

Doug: So Abraham could have talked to somebody that talked to Methuselah, who talked to Adam. Think about that. So they had a pretty straight line so that the truth was not corrupted back then. By the time of Moses, lifespan's shorter. They needed--God says, "You need to write it down."

Jëan: Well, the next section that we have is Wayne's Day, and this is just a very important part. We want to take a few moments to talk about this. It talks about the parallels between Christ and the Scriptures, and this is just incredible to me. Here's something to think about. Jesus was conceived of the Holy Spirit, we know that, yet he was born of a woman. He became a man. The Scripture is given or conceived, if you like, by the Holy Spirit, but it is communicated through human beings. So you see a parallel between Christ, he's God divine, and yet he's revealed in humanity. You have the Word of God, the Bible truth revealed in human language. So you see that connection. That's why Jesus is sometimes referred to as the Word of God, and you can see a couple of verses on this. In Matthew chapter 1, verse 20, the angel is talking to Joseph and he says, "Don't be afraid to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived of her is of the Holy Spirit."

And then in 2 Peter chapter 1, verse 21 it says, "The prophecy didn't come by the will of man. Holy men of God were moved by the Holy Spirit." So you see the Holy Spirit working through human agents or human means. It's still the truth. Christ is 100% divine. He's 100% human. The Word of God is 100% divine. It was inspired by the Holy Spirit, but it was also brought to us through human language, through human beings.

Doug: Amen, that's rich, you know, I was thinking as you were sharing we said earlier in the program if folks have questions on this study or something else--is anything popping up for you?

Jëan: I haven't got anything other than the ones we had at the beginning, Pastor Doug. We might be getting some more coming in, or we might have some connectivity challenges. So if you have questions, keep typing it in and we'll be able to try and get it. Again, we'll probably be doing this next week, Pastor Doug. So you can also be asking your questions next week on Facebook as we go through.

Doug: That's right, you know, I thought I'd read something since we're talking about parallels between Christ and the Bible. Many people out there have heard or read Charles Spurgeon, a great Christian pastor. He wrote a book called "Morning and Evening." It's one of the most famous devotionals in the world. And under his morning reading for June 10, he has a section. It's called "These Are They That Testify of Me," talking about Scriptures and the inspiration of the Scripture. It says, "Jesus Christ is the Alpha and Omega of the Bible. He is the constant theme of its sacred pages. From the first to the last, they testify of him. At creation we had once discerned him as the sacred Trinity--in the sacred Trinity. We catch a glimpse of him in the promise of the woman's seed. We see him typified in the ark of Noah. We walk with Abraham as he sees Messiah's day. We dwell in the tents of Isaac and Jacob, feeding upon the gracious promise. We hear venerable Israel talking about Shiloh, and in the numerous types in the law we find the redeemer abundantly foreshadowed. Prophets and kings, priests and preachers all look one way. They all stand as the cherubim over the ark, desiring to look within to read the mystery of God's great appropriation.

Still, more manifestly in the New Testament we find our Lord the one pervading subject. It's not an ignite here and there or dust of gold thinly scattered, but here you stand upon a solid floor of gold for the whole substance of the New Testament is Jesus crucified, even its closing sentences bejeweled with the redeemer's name. We should always read Scripture in this light. We should consider the Word to be a mirror in which Christ looks down from heaven, and then we looking into it see his face reflected. As a glass darkly it is true, but still in such a way as to be a blessed preparation for seeing him as we shall see him face to face. This volume," the Bible, "contains Jesus Christ's letters to us perfumed by his love. These pages are the garments of our king. They all smell of myrrh and aloes and cassia.

Scripture is the royal chariot in which Jesus rides. It is paved with love from the daughters of Jerusalem. The Scriptures are the swaddling bands of the holy child, Jesus. Unroll them and you find your Savior. The quintessence of the Word of God is Christ." That last statement is the best. The quintessence. You know, we talked about the basic elements of life. You have water and fire and so forth. The quintessence, that final missing element that is the mystery of all of the Bible is Christ. The whole thing it's really telling us, he is the Word, he is the rock, he is the stone, he is the light. You look at the different allegories of the Bible, they're all talking about Jesus.

Jëan: Right, you know, they often write biographies of people, and some of them are pretty thick, usually written by one person. An author does some research. Maybe two or three, they do some historical research. But when it came to--if you like the biography of Jesus, it took over 1,600 years, 36 different authors, 3 different languages on 3 continents. No other person's experience. He's dealing with history. His teachings, his life has been so fully revealed as we find in the Bible.

Doug: And, you know, that in itself is one of the reasons that you know that the Bible is inspired, is because that prophecy Jesus said, "These things that I say--heaven and earth will pass away, but my teachings will not pass away." And that is such an audacious, outrageous statement for a carpenter to make. But his prophecy--who can deny that prophecy came true? He predicted, "My teachings are going to go into all the world," and that his teachings would be the cause--he says, "My words are going to be a sword. There'll be wars that will be fought over my teachings." And it happened. And now history is dated from his birth. You know, it's sad that there's people that think the Bible is a common book, but they don't read it. Because God, he's wanting to communicate with us and he says, "I've got a blessed communication for you."

Jëan: You know, Pastor Doug, you got in your notes here a parallel. Maybe you want to read this, a parallel between Christ and the Scriptures. I was just looking at it now. I think this is just fantastic. Why don't you read that for us?

Doug: Well, it says a person can be like a book. Jesus is called a light, the Bible is called the light. Jesus is called truth, the Bible is called truth. Jesus is called bread, the Bible is called bread. Jesus is called the Word, the Bible is called the Word. Jesus is called eternal, the Bible is called eternal. And as I mentioned, Jesus is called the rock. The Bible is called the rock. And this is only a few of the metaphors that are used in the Bible.

Jëan: There is a quote that we find from the "Great Controversy," page 8 that I think it's important for us to remember. It says, "The Bible, whether it's God-given truths expressed in the language of men, present a union of the divine and the human. Such a human exists in the nature of Christ, who was the Son of God and the Son of man. Thus said it is true of the Bible as it was with Christ that the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us." So the mystery of the divine and the human combining in Christ, that mystery is also found in the Word of God, the Bible.

Doug: Amen. Now, the Bible being a spiritual book--we pray for the Holy Spirit when we read the Bible, and he will bring--and this should happen not once, but every day. When we read the Bible, we should ask God's Spirit to give us understanding as we read, and he will reveal truths to us that will just be so exciting that it just brightens our life and our mind.

You know, sometimes words spoken can change a whole person's attitude. You can speak words that can make a person salivate because they're hungry. You can start describing something delicious. It'll have a physiological effect on their body. You can speak words that are discouraging that'll--just the words going through the--that will depress a person. You can speak words and say, "You know, I got good news. There's $1,000 just deposited in your bank." Those are words. But if they believe those words, they're suddenly so excited all their troubles are over, they think. So the Bible is a book to be read combined with faith. Faith changes everything.

Jëan: Now, of course the Bible tells us that. In Hebrews chapter 11, verse 6 it says, "But without faith, it is impossible to please God, for he who comes to God must believe that He is," meaning that He is a God of love, that He's concerned about us and our well-being and our salvation. "Believe that God is and that is a rewarder of those that diligently seek Him." So if we come searching the Word of God, seeking to know His will, we need to have faith that God will reveal it to us.

Doug: Amen, and this, of course, is part of our last section where it talks about understanding the Bible in faith. As we pray and we approach the Word of God, believing it is the Word of God, just that belief unpacks it by itself. Hebrews 11, verse 3, "By faith, we understand that the worlds were framed by the Word of God so the things that are now seen are not made of things which are visible." That God from His Word can take things that are not seen or known, things that are invisible and make them real. You know, we just have a minute or two, and I wonder if we could remind people of what the special offer is and then encourage them. We're going to be coming back. We're just taking a little 10-minute break. We're going to have a special video we'll roll in just a few moments that I think you're going to find inspiring. And following that, we'll come back with our church service. But before that—

Jëan: Our free offer, again, as we mentioned earlier is "God's Free Health Plan." I think it's important that we look at what the Bible says about our health. The number is 866-788-3966, and you can just simply ask for offer number 139. As long as the postal service is still delivering mail, we're going to try and get this out to you. So call and ask. We'll be happy to send it to you. You can also get a digital download of the study guide by texting the code "SH032" to the number 40544. And, Pastor Doug, it's probably a good time for us to remind our friends if they want to stay in contact with us and we can give you announcements of things that we are doing here, you can simply text the word online, the word online to the number that we gave you—

Doug: 40544.

Jëan: There it is, 40544, and we'll be able to stay in contact.

Doug: Yeah, thank you very much, friends. We're not going away. We're coming back with a special message. It's going to be a worship service message for you. We're not going to have everything we might normally have in a group setting, but we know right now out there, there are thousands that are worshipping. You are a church. Want to give a special greeting also to the Granite Bay members that are out there, and we know there's folks that are all over the world tuning in. Stand by. We'll have a special program for you. And in the interval is a little video clip that I think you'll find encouraging and inspiring.

Announcer: Don't forget to request today's life-changing free resource. Not only can you receive this free gift in the mail, you can download a digital copy straight to your computer or mobile device. To get your digital copy of today's free gift, simply text the keyword on your screen to 40544 or visit the web address shown on your screen and be sure to select the digital download option on the request page. It's now easier than ever for you to study God's Word with Amazing Facts wherever and whenever you want, and most important to share it with others.

Announcer: Amazing Facts Changed Lives.

Wendell: When I was a little boy, I grew up in a typical Christian family. We had the American dream, but I began to realize that something was not quite right. I wanted to be with the girls. I wanted to do girl things. I would pretend to be one person, but yet feel like I was trapped. Like this girl was trapped inside my body. You know, my parents would go to the mall or we'd be at a store and I would sneak off to, you know, the girls department. I was living this double life.

So as I started to attend college, on one hand I would be going to school; and on the other hand, I would be starting to dress up and something was working in my mind and in my heart to tell me that this is not right. And so I joined an on-campus Christian group. We took several trips to overseas to Taiwan. And after I graduated from the university, I got my ticket and I--it was a one-way ticket and I was planning on staying in Taiwan for a while. And there I met my wife. We finally came back to America and I thought, "Well, maybe marriage, you know, would be the right answer."

It was only a couple of years into our marriage and the desires to be a woman started to come back up again. I would get airline tickets and I would fly to get away from here so that I could live my lifestyle, you know, for 24-hour periods, for 1-week periods. Go shopping, just spending inordinate amount of--amounts of money because I felt like I had missed so much and I was trying to be that person that I thought I was on the inside. And so I started to live my life full-time. I started wearing women's clothes. I started to grow my hair out real long, and I just didn't see any way around it.

So finally I had made my transition and I had realized fully who I thought I was supposed to be, but there was still something missing. Like, I was feel--I felt empty inside. I started to search online. I stumbled upon Amazing Facts and I started to watch one and then I had watched the entire seminar series, and I started to see who God was and who I was, and that God loved me so much that I just can't live this life anymore. He says to me, "I'll work with you on this. I love you, and you can change."

Going through the Central Study Hour Sabbath School lessons on the Amazing Facts website, I decided to finally change into male attire for the first time in a couple of years. I still have my long hair, but, you know, I'm going to go to church, and I attended the “AFCOE To Go” series. It was just an amazing experience. My life was totally different.

That love that God showed me started to work in my life to where I wanted to do exactly the same for others. I started to want to give more, to give more of my time and give more of my energy. God continued to gradually change me. The desires to be that person finally they went away and I finally felt free at last. And I can say with a big smile on my face that God has completely healed me through the process. I just thank God for giving me a second chance. I'm Wendell and God has used [inaudible] to change my life.

Doug: Today's smartphones are a virtual universe of information that fits in the palm of your hand. It's good thing we have opposable thumbs. With it, you can buy your groceries, take care of your exercise regime, watch a video, listen to music. You can surf the international World Wide Web, which may not always be a good thing. And, you know, there is more computer processing technology and power in a little smartphone today than was used by NASA to put a man on the moon. And I almost forgot. You can also use these to make a phone call, but who does that anymore? Today communication is not in complete sentences. It's all about short message servicing, or SMS texting. That's right. There are about 2.5 billion people in the world today that are communicating with their fellow humans in short bytes called texting. That's more data that is being used than those who are surfing the web or even playing video games. And, friends, nowhere is this more true than right here in the Philippines. Even though the Philippines has about 100 million people, they are responsible for the largest number of text messages of anywhere in the world. They're the 12th largest country, but they send 400 million text messages every day, wow. That's a lot of finger fatigue.

Even though the greatest number of texters is here in the Philippines, the record for the fastest texter in the world is from Brazil, a young man by the name of Marcel Fernandes Filho. He was able to text 25 very complicated words in a little more than 18 seconds, wow. It takes me longer than that to just say I love you to my wife and press send. All thumbs. One of the neat things about texting is you can text just about anywhere. If you're surrounded with people, you want to send a personal message, you text. You're in a crowded subway or an airport, you can text. If you're surrounded by noise or nosy people, you can text. Just don't text while you're driving.

That's what's so wonderful, friends. You can always text God a message of prayer from your heart. When you're wondering, "What school do I go to, what job do I take, who am I supposed to date that may be a future life partner?" Your prayers don't have to be long. The shortest prayer in the Bible is three words when Peter prayed, "Lord, save me," and Jesus answered his prayer. And it doesn't matter how fast you can text when you're talking to God. He'll know what you're asking for and hear your prayer before you have a chance to say amen and press the send button. In fact, friends, you'll bring joy to God when you send Him regular messages from your heart to His. So why don't you talk to Him right now?

Share a Prayer Request
Ask a Bible Question



Prayer Request:

Share a Prayer Request


Bible Question:

Ask a Bible Question