A WORD ABOUT THE WORD

by Glen Penton

Since beginning to serve the Lord on the Internet, I have been surprised to find a number of Messianics who haven't yet clearly understood that the Bible is really God's Word to us, and that its message is both true and authoritative, because God is true, and because He is Lord. This is a matter that needs to be resolved as a part of every believer's basic discipleship: that the Bible is God's Word. It is not up for our judgments about whether or not it is right. It is right. We are wrong.

The "Original" Language of the Renewed Covenant Scriptures

This is an important issue that the Messianic Community needs to address unitedly, decisively, and as soon as possible.

Watch out for the Charlatans

For Messianics, the Bible is the entire basis of our faith and unity. If it is not reliable, then we know absolutely nothing about Yeshua and not much about God or the universe around us, and certainly no good reason to be Messianic or Jewish. Yet some Messianics are being attracted to teachers who deny the reliability of the Bible because it does not confirm their preconceptions.

For the most glaring current example, Bivin, Blizzard, and the rest of the so-called "Jerusalem School" claim some kind of deep, scholarly knowledge of the Renewed Covenant Scriptures based on their "insight" into rabbinics. They are frauds, not reputable scholars. Nor are they Bible-believers. They claim to be both, so that they can get the Christians' $$$$. The seek to "correct" God's Word to make it square with their own opinions. But we need to see through that kind of scam and not be taken in. Likewise, some of the extremists of the "Holy Name" persuasion criticize Scripture for not supporting some of their opinions.

Smokescreens

Sometimes ignorant or dishonest people raise pseudo-issues to persuade you to doubt God's Word. Let's briefly consider four of them:

"The Bible has mistakes."

No it doesn't. People make mistakes in how we copy, translate, interpret or apply Scripture. But the Holy Spirit wrote the Bible through well-prepared human instruments. In doing so He gave us God's message accurately. He did not always undertake to keep His writers and copyists from non-standard grammatical usages and non-standard spellings of words. That sort of thing was far less important to the ancients than it is to educated Westerners today.

Having conceded that, I suspect that when it's all said and done, we may find that many of the phrases that look like poor grammar to 20th century scholars, will turn out to be idioms.

"The manuscripts disagree with each other."

Yes, but the differences are nearly all small and technical, mostly involving the spelling of some Greek or Hebrew word. Besides, God has seen to the preservation of thousands of very old copies of the Bible, many times more copies than for any other documents written before the invention of the printing press. So in the very few places where there is a more significant disagreement (such as some manuscripts lacking a particular sentence or paragraph), it is not too difficult for intellectually honest scholars to compare the manuscripts and retrieve all of God's Message for us.

"We don't have the original copy."

If it ever existed, who needs it? The Bible that the Holy Spirit has preserved for us is the Bible God has given us to believe and follow. In practical terms, that's the Massoretic text of the Hebrew Scriptures, which our rabbis have always used, and the so-called Byzantine/Majority Text of the Renewed Covenant Scriptures, which the Greek-speaking Christians have been reading and memorizing in their churches every week since the end of the first century.

"The Bible is not all of God's Word."

Certainly not! God has been around a very long time, and has said very many things. He has let people hear some of them. The Bible is just the part of His Message that He wanted to preserve for all people of every generation and every place. Nothing He has ever said or ever will say disagrees with it. Every other purported revelation may be judged by the standard of Scripture. Nothing true will ever be in disagreement with it. When people put extra books into His Bible during the dark ages, the extra books were soon shown up for what they were: good literature, perhaps messages from God, but not a part of His Bible.
He has preserved His Book for you.
Hasatan wants you to ignore and disbelieve it.
God wants you to read, study, believe and obey it.
It will protect you from hasatan's lies.
Trust God. Trust His Bible.

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