Paganism Eight

(NOTE: Some of the themes of these articles may not be appropriate for young readers. Please keep that in mind when sharing this information).

It is written:

“But he said, “I am not mad, most noble Festus, but speak the words of truth and reason.” (Acts 26:25)

The phrase “truth and reason” used by Paul to describe the Gospel of Christ tells us much about the intellectual and rational nature of Christianity.

“Paul has not lost his mind but speaks “true and prudent words” ( ἀληθείας καὶ σωφροσύνης ῥήματα , alētheias kai sōphrosynēs rhēmata ), or “the sober truth.” The combination of “true” and “prudent” is common in Greek, as is a contrast between “prudent” and “mad” (Lucian, Timon 55; Xenophon, Memorabilia 1.1.16; P.Oxy. 1.33; Plato, Phaedrus 244D; Barrett 1998: 1168). In this context, where Paul has been accused of being crazy, his reply is that his words are truth. He has not lost control of his thoughts; they are quite sober and thought through. “The metaphor of things not being done in a corner refers to no hidden events tucked away somewhere in the corner out of public sight (BAGD 168; BDAG 209; Malherbe 1985–86; Epictetus, Discourses 2.12.17; Plutarch, Moralia 777B; Fitzmyer 1998: 764). The idiom means not doing one’s philosophical reflection in a way that is disengaged from the public. Paul can speak boldly and say that these events were public enough that anyone paying attention could appreciate them. Paul asks the king if he believes the prophets, who declare that such things are possible and a part of God’s plan. The issue Paul wants to focus on is God’s teaching as set forth in the prophets. “Paul is a model witness and evangelist here. Agrippa is capable of understanding and appreciating what Paul claims (Acts 26:2–3).” (Darrell L. Bock, Acts: Baker Exegetical Commentary On The New Testament,17597-17611 (Kindle Edition); Grand Rapids, Michigan; Baker Academic)

One of the evidences which shows that the Bible is the Word of God comes from its’ supernatural unity.

The Bible is actually a Book of 66 Books. It was written by forty different men over a period of some sixteen hundred years. It was written in three languages (Hebrew, Greek, and parts in Aramaic), and its’ writers lived during different eras of history. Some lived in times of peace and prosperity; some in times of war and despair. Some lived under monarchies, enjoying freedom as citizens of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah; some lived as captives to various nations (Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, and Rome). Some received no formal education, while some were scholars; some were fishermen, and some stood as advisors to kings. Some lived during times of famine, others during times of abundance. Some were poor, some were rich; some were married, and some were single. Some lived during times when the people were faithful to God, and others during times of great national apostasy.

You would think that when you join these Books together, they would be one huge mass of contradictions that would make no sense whatsoever. However, what you find instead is that these Books go together and manifest a unity of thought, theme, and character that may only be explained by Divine inspiration! This supernatural unity is manifested from the beginning of Genesis all the way to the end of Revelation.

Now, we are not saying that because a book manifests unity, that it must be supernatural. Not at all! If that were the case, then many Steven King books could be called “inspired.” No, what we are saying is that the unity found in the Bible, despite its’ many diverse characteristics of formation, may only rightly be explained by a Guiding Hand that was involved in its’ creation and completion. Consider the following illustrations:

“The same person, Jesus Christ, is the central theme of the Bible: it is about Him. It builds to His coming, describes it, and interprets what it means. The golden thread is the redemption of sinful man by the grace of God through faith in the shed blood of the Redeemer. Keep in mind that no human publisher commissioned the writing of such a book. No editor set forth a plan; no editorial committee oversaw its development; no one distributed an outline to the different authors. Despite these facts, there is every sort of literature in the Bible, including prose and poetry; history and law; biography and travel; genealogies, theologies, and philosophies. And somehow, all of these elements combine to provide an incredible unity from Genesis to Revelation.1 Suppose that forty different artists were to paint a picture without having any idea what the others might be doing—or that others were doing anything at all. Imagine someone collecting these pieces and arranging them all upon a huge wall, and the result was a perfect picture that displayed all the features of Jesus Christ. Or suppose that forty different sculptors, without any knowledge of what the others were doing, each decided to create a piece of sculpture. And when the pieces were brought together, they formed an exquisite statue of Christ. These outcomes are incomprehensible, yet the Bible is a greater accomplishment by far. No other book in all the world has ever been made in this way. Having written a number of books, I know what publishers and editors and editorial committees do. None of this process was involved in writing the Bible. But we see in this book an incredible unity that testifies that the hand that made this book is divine. Writer James C. Hefley says, “The sixty-six books are a perfect whole, a purposeful revelation, a progressive proof that the Bible is more than the work of fallible men.”2 (D. James Kennedy & Jerry Newcombe, What If The Bible Had Never Been Written? 181-194 (Kindle Edition); Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers)

In our next lessons, we will consider some further examples of this supernatural unity of the Bible as proof of its’ Divine inspiration.

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