2 Timothy 3:16-17 – Scott Childs

Introduction: Have you ever had someone ask you, “What does your church believe that is any different from any other church?”  I have, many times.  If someone was to ask you that question, could you give him an answer?  Many of us probably could not.

Today we are beginning a series of messages on Baptist Distinctives (i.e., things that make Baptists distinct from other churches). Many churches including many who use the name “Baptist”, no longer hold all of these beliefs.  Our goal is to learn what we believe as Independent Baptists and why.  I have made this acrostic to help us remember what we will be learning.

Transition: Today we will be focussing our attention on the Bible.

I.    The Bible is God’s Word

A.     God is the Author

1.      God inspired (breathed out) every word of the original writings.

2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

2 Peter 1:20-21 20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. 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.

2.      About 40 men over 1600-2000 years penned the Bible as the Holy Spirit revealed it to them.

B.     The Bible is God’s message to man

1.      Internal evidence

a)     Hundreds of verses call it the Word of God.

b)     Many of its prophecies have been fulfilled.

c)     It is historically accurate.

2.      External evidence

a)     We can observe continuity in the Bible from Genesis to Revelation.

b)     No other book has been so widely published.

c)     The Bible has transformed the lives of millions of people.

II.   The Bible has Survived for Thousands of Years

A.     Original Manuscripts

1.      Original Bible manuscripts are called “autographs”.

a)     Moses began writing the Old Testament about 1400 BC. It was written mostly in Hebrew.

b)     The New Testament was written in the 1st Century.  It was written entirely in Greek.

2.      Men have translated and copied the original text.

a)     Copying the Bible began early in history.

Deuteronomy 17:18 And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites:  (cf. Josh 8:32)

b)     Roughly 200 BC the OT was translated into Greek.  This translation is called the Septuagint.

c)     Massorete scribes carefully copied the Hebrew OT beginning about the 1st Century AD.

d)     Early churches shared and copied New Testament manuscripts.

Colossians 4:16 And when this epistle is read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that ye likewise read the epistle from Laodicea.

e)     Jerome translated the Bible into Latin in 382 A.D. and called it the Vulgate.  Many others translated it too.

B.     Surviving Manuscripts

1.      Only copies exist of the original manuscripts.

The total number of manuscripts of the whole or part of the NT is 5,488 (Kurt and Barbara Aland, quoted by Malcolm H. Watts in “The Lord Gave the Word” www.trinitarianbiblesociety.org/site/articles/lordgaveword.asp)

2.      Surviving copies fall into two major text-types.

a)     The first is the Byzantine Text-type.  The name comes from the Byzantine area (mainly Syria, Turkey, and Greece, where the Apostle Paul ministered).  It is also known as the Majority Text.

(1)    About 90% of all discovered manuscripts support the Byzantine type (about 5000 of the 5488). Christianity had its strongest roots in the Byzantine area.

(2)    The Byzantine text was the commonly used text by godly Christians for centuries.

b)     The second is the Alexandrian Text-type.  Its name comes from Alexandria in Egypt.  It is also called the Critical text or Westcott and Hort text.

(1)    This minority text is based on less than 10% of the discovered manuscripts. Its two chief manuscripts are the Sinaiticus (Aleph) andVaticanus (B).

(2)    Alexandria was notorious for Arian and Gnostic heresies that denied the deity of Christ.

(3)    The Aleph and B disagree with each other more than 3000 times in the Gospels alone.  They differ from the Byzantine in over 6000 places.  They leave out portions of over 200 verses in the NT, 17 are completely missing. (Cf. Mr 11:26, Lu 17:36, Ac 8:37, 24:7)

(4)    In 1881 two Greek scholars, B. F. Westcott and F. J. A. Hort, popularized Aleph and B claiming that they are the oldest surviving manuscripts and therefore the best.  Their age is more likely because they were not used and were kept in the dry climate of Egypt.

C.     From manuscripts to Bibles today.

1.      The Byzantine text was the standard before 1881.

a)     Erasmus compiled a standard Byzantine Greek text in 1516, called the Textus Receptus (TR).

b)     Tyndale’s Bible is credited with being the first English translation to work directly from Hebrew and Greek texts in 1526.

c)     The Coverdale Bible 1535 was the first entire Bible in English from the Greek.  The Great Bible was translated in1539, the Bishop’s Bible in 1568, and the King James in 1611.

2.      Since 1881 the Critical text has become popular.

a)     The ERV 1885, ASV 1901, NASV 1971, NIV 1973, ESV 2001, and nearly all other popular Bibles come from this Critical text.

b)     Most modern translations omit and change hundreds of words because they are based on the Critical text.

D.     Today’s Bibles from the TR

1.      The KJV2000, KJV21, and MKJV are good TR translations, but they are not readily available.

2.      The NKJV is a reasonable TR translation, but the publisher’s footnotes promote the Critical text.

3.      The KJV has been the standard English translation from the TR for 400 years. Though the English of the KJV can be difficult, especially if English is not your first language, it gets easier with use.

4.      If you use a translation from the Critical text, I recommend that you change.

III.  The Bible is to be our Authority Today

A.     It is to be our supreme and ultimate authority.

1.      It is above all other authorities.

Psalms 119:160 Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.

2.      It is our final authority.

Acts 5:29 Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.

B.     It is our authority for doctrine and practice.

1.      God’s Word dictates our beliefs (e.g. salvation from hell by faith in Christ alone).

2.      God’s Word dictates our daily activities. Titus 2 reveals this.

Conclusion: Many churches base their authority on tradition, writings of church fathers, other books, or revelations. Our authority is God’s Word. He has preserved it in its original languages so it can be translated and studied worldwide. It is above all other authorities. It is our final authority. We must love it, learn it, and live by it. Is the Bible your authority?

Because the KJV is based on the most reliable text and because it has proven itself to be a faithful translation, we use it as our Bible.