The Origins of the Bible

This week we wanted to cover the Origins of the Bible. The main questions I wanted to answer were the following, 

What does it mean to believe that the Bible is a divine word to God’s people? 

What Fascinates me about the Bible

  • Over 2,000 times in the Old Testament alone there are clauses such as “And God spoke to Moses,” “the word of the Lord came unto Jonah,” and “God said.” Moreover, the Bible claims to be a record of the words and deeds of God, thus the Bible views itself as God’s Word.

  • The mere fact that the Bible claims to be the Word of God does not prove that it is such, for there are other books that make similar claims. The difference is that the Scriptures contain indisputable evidence as being the Word of God.

  • One reason that the Bible is different from other books is its unity. Although this book was composed by men, its unity betrays the hand of the Almighty. The Bible was written over a period of about 1,500 years by more than forty different human authors. These authors came from a variety of backgrounds, including Joshua (a military general), Daniel (a prime minister), Peter (a fisherman), and Nehemiah (a cupbearer).

  • The authors of the various books wrote in different places, such as the wilderness (Moses), prison (Paul), and Patmos exile (John). The biblical writings were composed on three different continents (Africa, Asia, and Europe), and in three different languages (Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek)

  • The contents of the Bible deal with many controversial subjects. Yet, the Bible is a unity. From beginning to end, there’s one unfolding story of God’s plan of salvation for mankind. This salvation is through the person of Jesus Christ (John 14:6). Jesus Himself testified that He was the theme of the entire Bible in John 5:39, 46, 47 ( Taken from Josh McDowell and Don Douglas Stewart, Answers to Tough Questions (Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers, 1993).

Question  1 :  Where is the first place the writing of the Bible is mentioned?

Read  Exodus 17:14

  • What's happening in this text? Read it in context Vs. 8-16 then familiarize yourself with the Book of Exodus :

  •  What is Moses writing down?: Moses is writing the story down of how God saved them and delivered them. What we know is that this is not the first time God has rescued them.

  • For what purpose is he to write it down? : The purpose is for them to remember. The truth is that we are prone to forget. Up to this time we know also that they have the passover as a meal of remembering deliverance from Egypt. Moses is writing the story. The message of God’s character and His commitment to his people. 

  • He we see clearly that God speaks to the people through the words Moses wrote. 

  • what are your thoughts

Question 2 : Where is the second mention of the writing of the Bible? 

Read Exodus 19 and 20 

Summary: God establishes a covenant with his people and describes that their calling is to be set apart: a kingdom of priests. They are to reflect him to the whole world and so he gives them written laws on how they should live. The terms of the covenant are going to include how they form community, how they do business, how they practice sexuality, their relation to money and their neighbors. They are to be a contrast community to the nations because of the covenant,. The people agree to do everything God has commanded. 

  • This is the second time Moses is writing, commands or terms of the covenant. 

  • what are your thoughts?

In both instances we see the origins of the Bible and also the heart of the meaning of the Bible. 

  • The bible's main purpose is to tell a story about a gracious God who has rescued and redeemed his people. 

  • The bible's purpose is that God wants to invite those redeemed people into a covenant relationship and asks his people to come under his guidance and to be faithful so that they can become a people who will mirror God’s justice and character to the world.

  • Every instance the book is found there is Revival in Israel eg. 2 Kings 22-23, Nehemiah 8

  • The rest of the Bible is God sending Moses- like figures called the prophets they speak on God’s behalf and call the people back to the covenant. 

Question 3: What is Jesus’s relation to the story?

  •     Jesus is a Moses like figure who brings the story of redemption to culmination. 

Key thought: The Bible is a covenant document, telling the story of how has rescued and redeemed a people, invited them into a covenant relationship, and given them the terms of the covenant relationship. That story all leads to Jesus and the family he invites all humans to join.

Read Mathew 26:26-28 

  • What is Jesus and his disciples doing? 

  • Jesus explains the meaning of his life and death and resurrection. They were having a passover meal which is a symbolic meal. 

  • Jesus is inaugurating another exodus another act of rescue. 

    1. This is rescue from sin, the enemy is evil. 

    2. Do you have a favorite verse that tells of what Christ did on the Cross? 

Read Mathew 28:18

  • After resurrection Jesus having all authority in heaven and earth now comes to his disciples and gives them commands towards the new covenant family that is formed as a result of salvation by grace through faith.

  • He tells them to teach the community 

    1. Our allegiance is not to a book but to a person of Jesus Christ who has all authority. 

    2. He tells them to observe everything that he has commanded 

      1. Baptism: Like the children of Israel we also pass through the waters into the new covenant 

      2. Communion: This is a meal of remembrance/ a covenant meal instituted by Jesus. 

    3. All the writings of the apostles fall under the guidance of Jesus and the Holy Spirit written down to help people to tell a story of God, invite people into this gracious covenant with God and give them instructions to live by. 

  • what are you thoughts so far?

Process through these :

  1. What does it mean to believe that the Bible is a divine Word to God’s people? Does it require a belief that the book fell from heaven or that its origins are less than human?

  2. What’s your motivation in reading the Bible? Is it Jesus?