Lesson 3: Testimonials

Lesson Three: Testimonials

What did the Lord Jesus Christ and His apostles believe about the Bible?  Let's examine what they had to say about the authority and inspiration of the Scriptures.

 

The Testimony of Jesus Christ

A young girl was asked, "Do you believe in the Lord Jesus?"  She replied, "Of course.  If you can't trust Jesus, who can you trust?"

There are those who aren't Christian believers, but they do acknowledge that "Jesus was a great teacher."  Let's see what the greatest of all teachers has to say.

 

From the Blood of Abel

Every Bible student should be acquainted with Luke 11:51, which reads, "From the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah who perished between the altar and the temple...."  What is so significant about this statement?

Our English Old Testament begins with Genesis and ends with Malachi.  However, the Hebrew Bible of Jesus' day was different from ours in that 2 Chronicles was the last book.  This was the Bible that Jesus and the Jews of Israel used.  Now where do we read about "the blood of Abel"?  In the fourth chapter of Genesis, the first book of both Bibles.  What about "the blood of Zechariah"?  The account of Zechariah's death is recorded in the twenty-fourth chapter of 2 Chronicles, the last book of the Hebrew Scriptures.

In this one remark about the blood of Abel and the blood of Zechariah Jesus was endorsing the entire Old Testament.  That's why you should be familiar with Luke 11:51.

 

The Scripture Cannot Be Broken

In John 10:34 Jesus said, "The Scripture cannot be broken."  Jesus believed in the truthfulness of the Scriptures.  The word "Scripture" itself carries with it the connotation that it is a sacred writing.  Jesus made reference to "the Scriptures" on numerous occasions.  See Matthew 21:42; 22:29; 26:56; Mark 12:10, 24; 14:49.

Psalm 34:20 says, "He guards all his bones; Not one of them is broken."  These words are prophetic about Jesus Christ.  None of His bones would be broken.  That's the message.  You can read the fulfillment of this prophecy in John 19:31-36.  Jesus was crucified, and the Jewish leaders didn't want His body to remain on the cross on the Sabbath.  They asked Pilate, the governor, to have Jesus' legs broken that His body might be taken down.  Pilate approved of their request, and ordered Roman soldiers to break His legs.  Here we have a conflict.  One thousand years earlier through the psalmist God said that none of His bones would be broken; Pilate, the leading authority in the land of Israel, commanded the soldiers the opposite.  Military men are trained to carry out the orders of their superiors.  Roman soldiers were not acquainted with the Hebrew Scriptures.  The Bible says, "When they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs."  Unknowingly the soldiers were playing a role in the fulfillment of Bible prophecy.  Jesus' legs could not be broken, because the Scriptures cannot be broken.

 

It is Written

The Sermon on the Mount is believed by many to be Jesus' greatest discourse.  Read Matthew 5-7.  At the end of His presentation "the people were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes."  Matthew 7:28, 29.  He spoke with authority, repeatedly saying, "But I say to you...."  Jesus also often prefaced His words with "most assuredly."  John 3:3, 5.

He supported much of His teaching with the authoritative words, "It is written."  During His 40 days of temptation in the wilderness, He did not sin, but used those words and Old Testament Scriptures on three occasions.  When Jesus drove the money changers from the temple in Jerusalem, He defended His actions by speaking these three words and quoting Isaiah 56:7.  He knew that He would go the way it was written of Him.  See Matthew 11:10 and 26:56.  It was necessary that the Scriptures be fulfilled.  Read Matthew 26:31; Mark 9:12, 13; 14:27, 49; Luke 20:17; John 13:18; 17:12.

Jesus believed the Old Testament account of the creation of man and woman, as recorded in Genesis 1:27.  So much for the theory of evolution.  He also believed in the flood epic in Noah's day.  Read Matthew 24:37-39.  To those who claim that the flood is pure myth Jesus would say, "As the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be."  And what about Jonah?  To some theologians Jonah is nothing more than a fairy tale for children.  What did Jesus say about that?  "For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth."  Read Matthew 12:40.  "As Jonah was...so will the Son of Man be...."

We'll conclude the testimony of Jesus with the following four words.  "Your word is truth."  John 17:17.  Jesus believed in the inspiration of the Scriptures.

 

The Testimony of the Apostles

All of the apostles were Jews who also believed in the inspiration and authority of the Old Testament Scriptures.  Extension of the claim of inspiration to the New Testament is not expressly stated, though it is more than merely implied.  The New Testament contains indications that its content was to be viewed, and was in fact viewed, as no less authoritative than the Old Testament.

Some apostles were used by the Holy Spirit in the writing of the New Testament.  In the apostle Paul's first letter to Timothy he wrote, "For the Scripture says, 'You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out grain,' and 'The laborer is worthy of his wages.'"  1 Timothy 5:18.  In this one verse Paul quotes two "Scripture" verses.  The first verse, Deuteronomy 25:4, is in the Old Testament, and the second verse, Luke 10:7, is found in the New Testament.  Here we have an acknowledgement of New Testament Scripture.  Look up 2 Peter 3:15, 16 and you will find that Peter identifies Paul's "epistles" as "Scripture."

What does the New Testament say about the apostles and the Bible?

 

The Basis Of Their Preaching

A phrase used by the apostle Paul was "according to the Scriptures."  The gospel he preached was based upon the Word of God.  "For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures."  1 Corinthians 15:3, 4.  Paul appealed to the Scriptures as the authority from which he spoke.  Like Jesus, he also said, "It is written."  See Romans 1:17; 3:4, 10; 4:17; 11:26; 14:11; 1 Corinthians 1:19; 2:9; 3:19; 15:45; Galatians 3:10, 13; 4:22, 27.

Apostolic preaching was Bible based.  When we read Peter's sermon in Acts 2:14-39, we find Old Testament Scriptures throughout his message.  One of Paul's sermons is recorded for us in Acts 13:16-41.  He was also a Bible preacher, mentioning the Old Testament history and using appropriate verses to support what he had to say.

The truthfulness of apostolic preaching was put to the test by the Word of God.  When Paul and Silas ministered at Berea, the believers there "received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so."  Acts 17:11.  Preaching today should be put to the same test, the test of the Word of God.

 

The Basis For Christian Living

The apostles believed that we should live according to the Bible.  For example, an emphasis of the book of Leviticus is holiness.  Peter wrote, "But as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, 'Be holy, for I am holy.'"  1 Peter 1:15, 16.  The Lord made this statement in Leviticus 11:44, 45 and 19:2.  A command to holy living is also found in Leviticus 20:7.

Details of Christian living are supported by an appeal to Scripture.  Believers should not avenge themselves.  Why not?  "For it is written, 'Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,' says the Lord."  Compare Deuteronomy 32:35 and Romans 12:19.  Why should Christians love their neighbors?  "If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scriptures, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself,' you do well."  See Leviticus 19:18 and James 2:8.  In Acts 23 Paul called the high priest a "whitewashed wall."  When told that he was speaking to the high priest, he replied, "I did not know, brethren, that he was the high priest; for it is written, 'You shall not speak evil of the ruler of your people.'"

The Scriptures give significance to our every day living.  Paul recognized persecution as an expected Christian experience, based on Psalm 44:22.  See Romans 8:35, 36.  The apostle Paul also alludes to the role of God's Word in 2 Corinthians 4:13, when he quotes Psalm 116:10.  "But since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, 'I believed and therefore I spoke.' we also believe and therefore speak."

The apostles obviously believed that God had given us His Word that we might live accordingly.  The Bible is the basis for Christian living.

 

Lesson 4: Fulfilled Prophecy

 
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