God’s Infallible Book

God’s Infallible Book

March 20th, 1983 @ 7:30 PM

2 Peter 1:21

For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
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GOD’S INFALLIBLE BOOK

Dr. W. A. Criswell

2 Peter 1:16-21

3-20-83    7:30 p.m.

 

Bless you who are listening to this hour on radio.  This is the pastor of the First Baptist Church in Dallas delivering the message entitled God’s Infallible Book.  It is hard for me to realize that next Sunday night will be the last and concluding message from the epistles of Simon Peter.  As a climax, both in an exegetical, expository presentation, and as a climax to the whole series, the title of the message next Sunday night is The Second Coming of Christ, a presentation of the third chapter of 2 Peter.

We began this series of sermons in January, and as I say, it is hard for me to realize that next Sunday night will conclude three months of preaching through these epistles of Simon.  Let us turn now to the second letter of Peter, the Second Epistle of Peter, and we are going to begin at verse 16 and read to the end of the chapter.  Second Peter 1:16-21, and all of us sharing the Bible and all of us reading out loud, both you who are listening on radio and with us here in the sanctuary; 2 Peter chapter 1, beginning at verse 16.  Now all of us together:

For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty.

For He received from God the Father honor and glory, when there came such a voice to Him from the Excellent Glory, This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with Him in the holy mount.

We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation.

For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.

[2 Peter 1:16-21]

 

And the title of the message, The Infallible Word of God: God’s Infallible Book.

The foundational and fundamental witness to the Christian faith is twofold: one, the eyewitness account which is given to us by Simon Peter in this first chapter, verses 12-18 [2 Peter 1:12-18], and second, the more certain word of prophecy, the testimony of the written Word of God [2 Peter 1:19-21].  The stated purpose of Simon Peter’s letter is found in the twelfth verse of this first chapter: “that we might be established in the truth” [2 Peter 1:12]Stērizō, translated “established,” meaning “to stand immovable,” from the word hístēmi, which means “to make,” “to stand,” “to confirm.”  His avowal is very emphatic in the sixteenth verse of this first chapter: “We have not followed cunningly devised fables” [2 Peter 1:16].

He could not have described modern, liberal theology in a more succinct and pertinent and picturesque way.  “Cunningly devised fables”: sophizō, a perfect passive participle meaning “cleverly imagined,” “artfully devised,” “skillfully invented,” translated here “cunningly devised”; and “fables,” muthos, meaning a “fiction,” a “fable,” a “falsehood.”  When you take the word and put it in English, it spells myth.  And the mythological presentation of the stories and revelation in the Bible is an integral component part of all liberal theology.  Just as we have legends and myths in Greek classical literature, so these liberals say that the Bible is made up of like myths and legends and fables.  So Peter starts off, he’s going to write, he says that “we might be established in the faith [2 Peter 1:12], for we have not followed cunningly devised, artfully imagined myths” [2 Peter 1:16].  Then he says there are two things by which we can know the truth of the revelation of God, and the first is an eyewitness account.  Simon Peter says in verse 16:

We were eyewitnesses … and we saw and we heard when there came a voice to Him from heaven, saying, This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

And this voice which came from heaven we heard—with our own ears—when we were with Him in the holy mount.

[2 Peter 1:16-18]

 

The apostle John, the close friend and fishing partner of Simon Peter, begins his epistle with the same avowal:

That which was from the beginning, which we heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, the Word of life;

(For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father) … That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you.

[1 John 1:1-3]

The first basis of the truth of our faith is found in the eyewitness, in the hearing witness, in the handling witness of the apostles who looked upon the glory of God, incarnate in Christ Jesus [1 John 1:1-3].  That personal witness to the deity of our Lord is found also in the apostle Paul.  Four different times in the Book of Acts, chapter 9—three different times, chapter 9, chapter 22, and chapter 26—three different times in the Book of Acts is the recounting of Paul’s personal confrontation with the risen and resurrected and glorified Lord [Acts 9:3-11, 22:6-11, 26:12-20].  And all through Paul’s epistles he will speak of that personal revelation of the majesty and glory of our Lord to him.  Blinded,” he says, by the wonder, and the majesty, and the brilliance of that sight [Acts 26:13-14].

The second great witness to the truth of our faith in the Lord, Simon Peter says, “is the more sure word of prophecy” [2 Peter 1:19], speaking of the witness of the Bible, to him the Old Testament.  Maybe, maybe sight might deceive us; maybe, maybe hearing might be misunderstood; maybe, maybe our experience might be aberrant; but the Scripture is infallible and inerrant, and Simon Peter says, “However certain our personal eyewitness account might be, there is a more sure and certain word of prophecy, of Scripture, to the deity and the saviorhood of our Lord.”  This is Simon Peter’s high view of Scripture: “Knowing this, that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation.  For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” [2 Peter 1:20-21].

Now we shall take this avowal of Simon Peter and look at it closely.  Speaking of the infallible truth of the Bible: it is inerrant, inspired, infallible both in revelation and in transmission, in inspiration.  It is truth against the attacks of humanistic philosophy and science, falsely so-called.  And it is confirmed by not only experience but by every turning of an archeological spade.  It is true both as to revelation and inspiration.

In 2 Timothy 3:16, the apostle Paul writes, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God,” and that phrase “given by inspiration of God” is a translation of one word, theopneustos.  Theo is the word for God, theós, theo, God.  Pneustos is the word for breathing.  Every word of Scripture, the apostle Paul avows, is God-breathed [2 Timothy 3:16].  That is the image of a flute player: God-breathed.  The flute player is God, and the instrument into which God breathes His truth is the Holy Scripture.

So there are two parts to the Word, to the Holy Scriptures of God, and there are two parts to its meaning.  First, there is God who reveals His truth.  That word “revealer,” revelation, is a Latin word, revelatio, from revelare, meaning “to unveil,” “to uncover,” “to lay bare.”  The Greek of it is apokalupsis.  That’s the first word in the Revelation [Revelation 1:1]: apokalupsis, from apokaluptō, which means the same thing: “to uncover,” “to lay bare,” “to unveil.”  Now it is God who does that.  He is the Revealer; He lays bare, He uncovers, He reveals [Daniel 2:22].

Now, that word “inspiration” is a Latin word also.  The vehicle through which God reveals His truth is the Holy Scripture.  Inspiratio, from inspirare, is the Latin word for “to breathe into.”  Pneuma, “breath”; pneu-, “to breathe” are the exact concomitant Greek words.  In classical Greek, empneó, “to breathe into,” describes a flute player.  God breathes into His Holy Scriptures the breath of truth and life and all of the things that encourage us in the Christian faith [2 Timothy 3:16].  Revelation is the kind of truth that a man could never know in himself.  Revelation is truth beyond the power of man ever to know.  Revelation is truth that can only proceed from God.  A man, by study or by discovery, could never find it out; it has to come from God.  Now inspiration is the supernatural means by which God writes down and transmits His truth, His revelation.  It is the power of God expressed in the genius of the man who is writing, that he writes down the revelation, the truth of God, without error, without mistake.

Now may I illustrate that?  The story of creation [Genesis 1:1-25]—no man was there; the man wasn’t even created.  How then could the man ever write the story of creation?  It had to be revealed from God.  That is revelation.  God uncovers the story of the beginning, how the world was made and how we were placed in it [Genesis 1:26-31].  That is revelation.  Inspiration is that Moses wrote the revelation from God faithfully and correctly and without error.  God revealed the story of creation, and Moses wrote it down without error, without mistake.

Now let’s take the other end of the spectrum: the end of the age, the denouement of all time.  No man can know the future, not even a moment of it.  As I’ve said many times, if you can know the future for a minute, I can tell you how to be a billionaire almost overnight; if you knew the future a minute ahead of time.  No man knows any tomorrow, what it may bring, but God revealed the denouement of all history and the consummation of all time to the apostle John on the Isle of Patmos [Revelation 1:9].  That is revelation; how all history ends, how all the story of mankind reaches its ultimate consummation.  That is revelation, what no man could ever know [Revelation 1:9-22:21].  Now inspiration is that John wrote it down infallibly, correctly, and without mistake [Revelation 1:19]; revelation and inspiration.  Revelation refers to the content; inspiration refers to the transmission.

Now when I read in the King James Version what Simon Peter says about the inspiration of the Scripture, you don’t get quite what he says.  In the King James Version: “Knowing this, that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation” [2 Peter 1:20]; let me take those three key words and spell them out exactly.  First, the word “private”: idios, idios—our word “idiot” comes from that; a fellow that’s just without any knowledge of anything except in himself—idios, though, is a common Greek word referring to one’s own, so it means “personal, individual, private,” idios.  Now “interpretation,” epilusis; epilusis means an “unloosing,” so a disclosure, a releasing; and “is,” ginetai, “comes into being.”  Now let me put those three words together exactly as they mean: “No prophecy ever comes into being out of one’s own personal, private disclosure, releasing, but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” [2 Peter 1:20-21].

The Scriptures did not come out of a man’s own imagining, or a man’s own creating, or a man’s own disclosing, or a man’s own releasing, but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.  Now, that is what Simon Peter speaks in definition of the Word of God; it did not come from man, it came from the Spirit of God Himself, and the man wrote, moved by the Holy and infallible Spirit of the Lord [2 Peter 1:20-21].

Well, when we take this truth of the Holy Scripture and we look at it against modern, humanistic philosophy and science, falsely so-called, we come into an interesting word.  The apostle Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 6:20-21: “O Timothy … avoid opposition of science falsely so called:  which some professing have erred concerning the truth.”  Now, that “science falsely so called” is a translation of these words: pseudónumos—pseudo is the Greek word for “false,” and we’ve just taken it bodily into the English language, “pseudo”; numos is the word for “name”; and gnosis, of course, is the word for “knowledge.”  So he says, “You look out for and avoid the opposition of pseudónumos gnosis; science falsely so called” [1 Timothy 6:20]: not true science, not true knowledge, but science warped to prove a man’s bias against God and against the Bible.

Then he uses another word here, astocheō, which means, it is translated here, “which men opposing the Bible have erred,” astocheō [1 Timothy 6:21].  That means to miss the mark, to miss the aim; they haven’t seen the thing, and they haven’t looked at it correctly, and they don’t interpret it rightly.  Now we’re going to take an illustration of these men who oppose the Word of God, and instead of accepting what the Lord says, they substitute their own aberrated ideas.

So let’s take an instance: on the thirty-first day of October in 1939, the following notice appeared in the Herald Tribune in New York City, quote:

Reverend Harry Rimmer speaks nightly this week and Sunday at the Central Baptist Church, 92nd Street in Amsterdam Avenue, on The Harmony of Science and Scripture.  He offers $1,000 for a scientific error in the Bible.

Now that was the notice that appeared in the New York daily paper.  Now a Mr. William Floyd read this and demanded the money, alleging a number of scientific errors in the Bible.  He could not prove those scientific errors to the satisfaction of the preacher and the church, so he entered suit in the courts of New York against both the evangelist and the Central Baptist Church.  The trial was held on the fifteenth day of February in 1940 in New York City, and Mr. William Floyd—the plaintiff, the man who demanded the money because he had found scientific errors in the Bible—brought in four chief witnesses to establish his case.

The first one was Rabbi Baruch Bronstein of an ultraliberal Hebrew synagogue.  The second was the famous, world-famous Reverend John Haynes Holmes, pastor of the First Community Church.  And the third one was the Reverend Charles Francis Potter, pastor of the First Humanist Church.  And the fourth was Mr. Woolsey Teller, vice president of the American Association for the Advancement of Atheism.

Now Mr. William Floyd, the plaintiff, was the first witness, and a large part of his case was an elaborate argument that the Bible makes absurd statements on the number of quail referred to in Numbers 11:31-32.  So I read: “And there went forth a wind from the Lord, and brought quails from the sea, and let them fall by the camp, as it were a day’s journey on this side, and as it were a day’s journey on the other side, round about the camp, and as it were two cubits high upon the face of the earth.”  Now, that was the Scripture he read from Numbers 11:31.  Now this man Floyd figured that this means a deposit of quail about four feet deep covering all of the surface of the earth for three thousand one hundred and thirty-six square miles.  And in that brief of the court, item F of this part of the complaint reads, I quote:

The cubical contents of this mass of quails would be approximately 305,258,552,448 cubic feet of quails, estimating that each quail pressed into mass would occupy three inches by three inches of space, thus displacing some 27 cubic inches of space per quail in the pile.  The total number of quails therefore in this mass or mess of quails would be 19,538,467,356,672 quails presented to the eye of the fundamentalist faith.

And that’s what he said in the court.  Now the plain answer, of course, to that is very evident.  Just too bad God didn’t write His Book in English; He wrote it in Hebrew, and what the Hebrew says is that these quail were blown across the Red Sea from Egypt—when the people lusted after flesh; they were tired of this manna they were eating—and over there in the Sinaitic Peninsula, in the desert there, they were confused and lost, and they were flying, the Hebrews says, above the face of the earth about two cubits [Numbers 11:31].  Each cubit is about eighteen inches; about thirty-six inches, they were flying above the face of the earth about thirty-six inches, so much so that they were easily knocked down with a stick, or they were caught by hand, and the people were able easily to capture them, and they had quail for dinner.  That’s all the Bible says, but to this nut, this is an impossible delineation of something like nineteen trillion quail pressed together like a bunch of sardines, all dressed and all prepared and all packaged just for the people to absorb.  That’s idiocy!

Now Rabbi Bronstein was the second witness.  He alleged that the Bible contradicts itself as to the animals in the ark, saying there were two of each kind in one place and seven of each kind in another place.  Now, when the council for the defense, the Honorable James E. Bennet, cross-examined him, he changed his testimony when asked to read Genesis 7:1-2: “Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of the beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female” [Genesis 7:2].  And so Rabbi Bronstein declared that he was very positive that the Bible was true because he had found the truth in reading it, and he turned out to be a witness for the defense.

Now the third witness is this famous John Haynes Holmes.  When I was a boy growing up, I read about that fellow, world without end, the pastor of the Community Church.  He was the third witness, and he admitted that he was not qualified to speak as an expert in any branch of science.  His ideas concerning the biblical account of creation were merely his own opinions, and he could not qualify to speak for anybody else, and all this did not contradict legal evidence, so he was dismissed.

Now the fourth witness was Reverend Charles Francis Potter.  He stated his case: namely, that there was no flood as described in Genesis.  The judge then asked him if he was there, and if not, where did he get his information?  He said he got it from reading and studying and finally admitted his opinions were merely his own.  Then the Reverend James A. Bennett, the council for the defense, cross-examined him, and the pastor of the First Humanist Church admitted he did not know whether or not there is a God since he was an agnostic and ignorant on that subject.  He admitted that he never prayed and thought that God was just an idea.  That’s a typical liberal!

Then the next day was Friday, February 16—the vice president of the American Association for the Advancement of Atheism, Woolsey Teller; he was very positive in the court and competent in repeating the atheistic slurs and insults against the Bible made familiar by the long line of atheists from Celsus, back yonder in the second century, to Voltaire and to Ingersoll.

He claimed to be an accredited scientist but admitted he had never been graduated from any college and was entirely self-educated by reading books and newspapers and magazines, presumably majoring on the literature published by atheists.  When the council for the defense, the Honorable James E. Bennett, cross-examined the atheist, he made him admit that he had misunderstood and misread Darwin; compelled him to admit that he knew nothing of Hebrew or Greek or Latin; then also compelled him to admit that scientists make mistakes, and he used one of his scientific authorities to illustrate the point.

And I want you to listen to this, because you read in practically every daily newspaper of the world some inanity like this.  Doctor—the great scientist who is cited as authority—Dr. Henry Fairfield Osborn was America’s greatest paleontologist, the man who studies ancient things, and he was head of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.  Now, along with other American and worldwide anthropologists, Dr. Osborn had identified a tooth, discovered by a Mr. Harold Cook in Nebraska, as belonging to a man who lived on this continent over one million years ago.

They named this human anthropoid Hesperopithecus—“the Western apeman”—haroldcookii, after the man that found the tooth.  The scientist built up a vast literature about this “Nebraska man”—pictures, descriptions, males, females, habitats, habits—a whole race who inhabited this country over one million years ago.  I went through the field museum one time in Chicago, and I was dumbfounded!  There was display after display and aisle after aisle presenting these prehistoric half-ape, half-men in their homes; in their children, in their habits of eating and hunting—the whole thing there, all built upon a tooth, a tooth!

At the Scopes evolution trial in Dayton, Tennessee, William Jennings Bryan was confronted by Clarence Darrow with this evidence, and the great scientist Doctor Fairfield Osborn, this expert, was one of the authorities quoted to prove the antiquity of this million-year-old Nebraska man.  Now, Williams Jennings Bryan had no reply, didn’t know what to say, except to say that he thought the evidence too scanty to build such a far-reaching conclusion upon it and pleaded for more time and more data.  But they laughed in his face!  Had not the great Doctor Fairfield Osborn—the greatest paleontologist that America had ever produced, along with other anthropologists—dated the Nebraska man, Hesperopithecus, over one million years?

Now in these years since the Scopes trial, the skeleton of the entire animal to which that tooth belonged has been discovered, and that tooth belonged to a peccary, a species of a pig now extinct in the United States, but at one time found all over the continent at large.  The tooth of a pig, and they built upon it a whole race of anthropoids!  With this, the judge threw the case out of court; closed the trial.  Doctor Samuel A. Elder, research physicist at Johns Hopkins University, said, and I quote, “If you have intellectual problems about the Bible, or about the person of Jesus Christ, the chances are it is because you know too little of God’s Word and not because you know too much science.”

The man who asseverates contradiction between true science and the Bible has a difficult time, believe me; he always will.  But the man who recognizes the corroborating truth between science, true science, and the Bible has an easy task.  Truth, sort of, is easy to remember and is always easy to defend.  I’m going to take just a moment longer.  I want to point out the scientific accuracy of the Bible.

In astronomy:  in Job 26:7, “God hangeth the world on nothing.”  Why, my brother, that was centuries, and centuries, and hundreds, and hundreds, and hundreds of years before men came to see that the earth swings in an orbit around the sun.  The Egyptians said, in their finest science, that the earth is sustained on five pillars, one in each corner and one in the middle.  The Hindus said the earth is balanced on the back of a giant elephant, which is standing on the back of a giant turtle, which is swimming in a cosmic sea, and they explained earthquakes that when the turtle kind of shook, why, it shook the earth.  There’s not a schoolboy but that knows that the ancient Greeks said the earth was balanced on the back of a great giant named Atlas.  Every schoolboy knows that.  But God said in His Word the earth hangs upon nothing, it swings upon nothing.  Look again in Isaiah 40:22: “He that sits above the circle of the earth”—the circle of the earth, round!  That’s what God says; men thought the earth was flat and square until these last few modern centuries, but God said thousands of years before, “It is a circle; it is round” [Isaiah 40:22].

In physics:  Job 28:25, he speaks of the weight of the air.  My brother, they had no idea that air had weight until 1643.  There was an Italian by the name Evangelista Torricelli who went to Florence to visit Galileo, and he became Galileo’s amanuensis.  And in the latter part of Galileo’s life, this Torricelli invented a barometer, and every day you hear of “barometric pressure,” that is, the weight of the air on this earth.  God said that thousands of years before Torricelli invented the barometer and found that air had weight.

In cytology, the study of cell structure:  in 1 Corinthians 15:39, Paul writes, “All flesh is not the same flesh: there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beast, another of fishes, and another of birds.”  Man, that was hundreds and centuries before men discovered that the cell structure—the chromosomes, the protoplasm—differ in each species.  Today a chemist, a man who studies cells, a cytologist, can take a little piece of bone, or a piece of flesh, or a piece of skin, or a piece of hair, and he can identify the species to which that belongs.  But God said that through the apostle Paul hundreds and hundreds of years before men ever discovered such a thing.

And in archeology: to me this is the greatest miracle of modern times.  For hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of years, men have been digging over there, and still are, in the Mesopotamian world and in the Holy Land, and there has never yet been one spade of archeological dirt that is turned that has ever failed to corroborate the Holy Word of God.  Every time an artifact is discovered, every time any kind of archeological evidence is dug up, it confirms the Word of God.  Why, I can illustrate that world without end.  I’ll just take a moment or two.  The Bible says, “Moses wrote,” but all these infidels laughed and scoffed and said, “Why, that’s impossible, for writing was not known in the days of Moses,” say, fourteen hundred years before Christ.  Then they discovered the Tell el-Amarna tablets, and they discovered all those tablets at Ebla, and we know now know that men were writing thousands of years before Moses.

I can remember when they scoffed at the idea of the Hittites; all through the Bible you’ll find Hittites referred to.  “There were no such people as Hittites,” said the scoffers and the infidels.  Then they began to dig in those archeological remains, and we now know there was a great empire of the Hittites that preceded the Egyptian and the Babylonian and the Assyrian empires.  There were Hittites by the millions!

Belshazzar: until just recently, the whole liberal world scoffed and laughed at Daniel and his Belshazzar [Daniel 5:1]; “There’s no such thing as a Belshazzar!”  They had a cylinder made by Cyrus with all the kings of Babylon: “No, sir, and there’s no Belshazzar on it—figment of the imagination.  It’s a fiction,” they said about the Book of Daniel, “Belshazzar.”  Well, bless your heart, they began digging there in the ruins of Babylon.  Belshazzar had fallen out of human history.  Herodotus visited Babylon seventy years after Cyrus took it, and he never heard of any Belshazzar.  But they began digging in the ruins of Babylon, and, my brother, I can write you a biography about Belshazzar.  His father was not interested in the kingdom, and he went off into the Arabian desert by himself, and he left his son Belshazzar there to rule the kingdom.  I could write you a biography about him.  And it’s just recently that the confirmation of Daniel has been discovered.

May I just cite one other?  Gospel of John:  when I went to school there were liberals, world without end, that said it was impossible for the son of Zebedee, the disciple of Jesus, John, to have written the Gospel of John, because they said it would take two hundred and fifty years at least to develop the theology that you find in the Gospel of John.  Then, while those infidels were mouthing those scalding remarks concerning the authorship of the Fourth Gospel, they discovered a papyrus in Egypt quoting the eighteenth chapter of the Gospel of John, which shows that the Gospel must have been written before 100 AD.  It goes on forever; there is no end to the confirmation of the Word of God by the archeological spade.

Now I conclude.  I recognize, as you do, as anybody who loves Jesus does, I recognize that I don’t look upon that Holy Book as a textbook on physics, or a textbook on chemistry, or a textbook on astronomy.  It never occurs to me that God wrote this Book that we might use it as a textbook in a class of science; never enters my mind.  God wrote His Book infallibly, without error [John 10:35], that we might know how to die, that we might know how to live, and that we might go to heaven and be with Him someday [John 14:3].  As such, I never heard of a man lying on his deathbed, saying, “Bring me my book of physics,” or “Place in my hand, as I die, my textbook on chemistry,” or “I’m about to face my Maker; where is that great authority on astronomy?”  I never heard of that, not in my life, but world without end have I heard of godly men and women who, facing the great and final day of the Lord, said, “Would you read to me out of the Book, out of the Bible?”

In my early ministry, and a thousand times since, in a knob country way in the backwoods, there was a girl about sixteen years old who lay dying.  She’s a member of my little rural church, little village church, and I went to see her.  She was in a deep coma, dying.  We aroused her, “The young pastor is here,” and she came back to consciousness and said to me, “Would you read to me out of the Bible?”  And I read to her the twenty-third Psalm and the first verses of the fourteenth chapter of John.

Then she said to me, “Would you sing me a song?”

And I sang for that girl, “In the Sweet By and By.”

She then said, “Would you pray for me?”

And I knelt down by the bed and prayed, and when I ended the prayer, she fell back into that deep coma, and died.  That is what the Bible is about.  It’s to strengthen us, and to comfort us, and to guide us, and to open for us the doors of heaven.  It uncovers, it apokalupsis, it reveals to us our blessed Savior in all of His faithfulness and glory:

“Bring me the Book,” said the dying sage,

“Read me the old, old story.”

And the winged Word that can never fade,

Wafted his soul to glory.

[author and source unknown]

 

There’s just one Book.  May we stand together?

Our Lord in heaven, if our guide to Thee was full of error and mistake, how lost and uncertain, how miserable and unhappy would we be.  If God’s Book failed in its truth and the men who wrote it were men who wrote down error, O Lord, how unhappy and unfortunate would we be!  But with what deep and everlasting assurance do we open this sacred volume and read what God says—faithfully, infallibly, inerrantly written down by men who were moved by the Holy Spirit [2 Peter 1:20-21; 2 Timothy 3:16].  O Lord, we praise Thee for the truth, the infallible Word!  God be praised that His plan of salvation and His road map to glory is without error; it never deviates, it never leads us astray, it points us directly to God [2 Peter 3:9].

And in this moment when our people pray, and wait, and sing the song of appeal, a somebody you, “Pastor, I open my heart to the truth of God, and I receive the Lord Jesus in all of the truth and glory He is presented on the sacred page.  I accept Jesus as the Savior of my soul and as the friend of my life, to forgive my sins [1 John 1:7, 9], to write my name in the Book of Life [Revelation 20:12, 15, 21:27; Luke 10:20].  I am coming” [Romans 10:9-10].  A family you: “Pastor, we have decided to put our lives in this dear church and we’re all coming.”  A couple you, a single you, as God shall press the appeal to your heart, make the decision now, and when we sing this song, on the first note of the first stanza, that first step will be the most meaningful you will ever make in your life.  Come, down this stairway from the balcony, down one of these aisles in the throng on this lower floor: “Pastor we have decided for God and here we come.”  And our Lord bless those the Holy Spirit moves to Thee and to us tonight, a family of God, in Thy precious and saving name, amen.  A thousand times welcome, while we sing, while we sing.

GOD’S INFALLIBLE BOOK

Dr. W. A. Criswell

2 Peter 1:16-21

3-20-83

I.          Introduction

A.  The fundamental witness to the Christian witness is twofold

1.  The eye-witness account of Christ (2 Peter 1:12-18)

2.  The more certain Holy Spirit witness of Holy Scripture (2 Peter 1:19-21)

B.  The stated purpose of Peter’s writing (2 Peter 1:12)

1.  We have not followed cunningly devised fables(2 Peter 1:16)

a. Modern liberal theology

C.  Eye-witness account(2 Peter 1:16-18, 1 John 1:1-3, Acts 9:3-8, 22:4-11, 26:12-18)

D.  The more sure word of prophecy (2 Peter 1:19)

1. Our sight, hearing, experience may deceive us; but Scripture infallible

2. Peter’s high view of Scripture(2 Peter 1:20-21)

II.         The infallible truth of the Bible (2 Peter 1:20-21)

A.  Both as to revelation and inspiration

1.  Every word of Scripture is God-breathed(2 Timothy 3:16)

2. Two parts to the Word – God the Revealer; Scripture the instrument

3. Two parts to its meaning

a. Revelation – the kind of truth beyond the power of man to discover; can only proceed from God

b. Inspiration – the supernatural means God used to record His revelation and keep it free from error

4. Story of creation – God revealed it, Moses wrote it down

5. The end of the age – God revealed it, John wrote it down

6.  Scriptures did not come out of a man’s own imagining

B.  The truth of Scripture as against humanistic philosophy and science falsely so-called(1 Timothy 6:20-21)

1.  New York trial concerning scriptural accuracy

2. Man who asseverates contradiction between true science and the Bible has a difficult time

III.        The accuracy of the Bible

A.  In astronomy

1. The world hangs on nothing (Job 26:7)

2. The circle of the earth (Isaiah 40:22)

B. In physics – the weight of the air (Job 28:25)

C. In cytology(1 Corinthians 15:39)

D.  In archaeology

E.  God wrote His Book infallibly, that we might know how to die, how to live, and that we might go to heaven someday