Why We Can Trust the Bible

November 29, 2019 Preacher: Danie Nel Series: Guest Speakers

Topic: Foundations Scripture: 2 Timothy 3:16–17

The sufficiency of Scripture- why we can trust the Bible

(Why we can let the Lion roar!)                                       29 November 2019


 “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17) (emphasis added)


Today we look at the sufficiency of Scripture and why Christians call the Bible the Word of God. As Christians we have a very high regard of the Bible to the extent that we call it the Word of God. We look at 2 Timothy 3:16 and see that the Bible states it is God breathed.

God is the author. I and many others Christians believe this and as we read and study and apply it, we learn who the Author is and how the Author (God) is speaking to us.

Let’s find out more about the Author

Let’s find out more about the message that God the Author wants to tell us about.

 “The key to understanding the Bible is Jesus Christ.”- J.C. Ryle

 “To talk about the Bible and not clarify exactly who Jesus is, is like going to play a football game with no football.” (Blanchard, 2013: 37).

Why do they say so? Who exactly is Jesus in the context of the Bible?

Let’s see

Part 1: Who is Jesus?                                 


Where do we start when we discuss Jesus? So much has been written about him.

Let’s use the Gospel of John’s introduction to see who Jesus was:

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made". (John 1:1-3)

John then adds in John 1 :14 

"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth". (John 1:14)  (emphasis added)

According to John Jesus was God and He was also human. Let’s use this to see why John says so.

Let’s look at Jesus’ human and divine natures

  • Jesus’ human nature.                              

In the Bible we clearly read about Jesus' human nature.

He was born a baby.

He grew up.

He was hungry, anxious, tired, and so on.

He wept.

However, Jesus also never committed any sin.

  • Jesus’ divine nature

In the Bible we also read about Jesus’ divine nature. Let us look at His divine nature under the following headings:

  1. Claims 

Some very specific claims were made about Jesus

1a. Claims made about Jesus by himself and by others.

Jesus spoke with immense knowledge and authority and people often stood in awe of it. And these disciples would record His message faithfully and truthfully

Jesus proclaimed that He was the answer.

He would boldly state that He was the Way to the Father; that He was the bread of life; the living water; he would state that He was the Good Shepherd; the resurrection and the life.

Religious leaders would say: “This is the way walk in it. Jesus said: ”I am the Way, follow me” This is profound.

"Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it." And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, (Matthew 7:24-28)

Jesus linked himself to prominent prophets of the OT and said, e.g. that Moses wrote about him (John 5:46).

Jesus said that the prophets point to Him and that He was the fulfillment of their prophecies.

And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.  (Luke 24:27) (emphasis added)

He also linked himself to Abraham when he said, Before Abraham was, I AM!”

Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad." So the Jews said to him, "You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?" Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am." So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple. (John 8:56-59a) (emphasis added)

I AM is the name with which God told Moses to introduce Him to the Pharaoh of Egypt. (Exodus 3:14)

On several occasions Jesus predicted his own death and resurrection (Matthew 16:21; Matthew 17:22-23; Mark 8:31; Mark 9:31; Mark 10:32-33; Luke 9:22).

A"nd he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again. And he said this plainly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him." (Mark 8:31-32)

"For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." (Mark 10:45)

Let’s briefly look at claims made about Jesus by other people.

1b. Claims made by Jesus’ friends.        

Mark, who wrote the second Gospel in the NT and recorded the accounts of Peter who was a disciple of Jeus starts his Gospel by clearing claiming that Jesus is God. This is what he wrote in the very first verse of the first chapter of his book,

Mark writes: The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God (Mark 1:1).

John, who wrote the Gospel of John said:

"In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God."

And in verse 14, he writes:

"And the Word became flesh and dwelt amongst us."

When Jesus asked his disciples who they thought he was, Peter answered, “"You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

John the Baptist, a prophet who baptized people who prepared the Way for the Lord Jesus.

He said: Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!

Later in the passage of Scripture, John says, “And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God." (Refer to John 1:29-36)

Paul also made clear claims about Jesus being God

1c. Indirect claims

There are many examples in the Bible where Jesus was worshiped by people.

Jesus accepted this worship. (Matthew 8:2-3; John 9:35-38; Mark 7:25-30; Matthew 14:33)

Notice Jesus’ answer to Peter when Peter called Him the Christ:

"And Jesus answered him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 16:15-17).

Peter and Paul when worshiped made it clear that they were merely men. (Acts 10:25-26)

Jesus forgave the sins of others (Mark 2:3-10)

If someone sins against me, I can forgive that person.

But only God can forgive sins committed against God

Jesus did

  1. The miracles of Jesus.
  1. a) He performed miracles over Nature

He walked on water, calmed storms,

Multiplied fish and loaves of bread for people to eat;

Let the disciples catch huge numbers of fish.

  1. b) Jesus healed many people.

He healed the blind and deaf, those who could not walk. He healed lepers.

These are but a few examples.

  1. c) Jesus cast out evil spirits from people who were plagued by them
  1. d) Jesus made people rise from the dead (on at least 3 occasions).

Then the ultimate miracle: Jesus himself rose from the dead.

    Jesus was crucified and died on the cross.

  • Jesus predicted His own death and resurrection
  • Jesus would have stopped his disciples proclaiming Him as the risen Lord and Saviour if He was not crucified and had not risen from the dead. He encouraged them
  • Jesus was heard speaking on the cross. He spoke to His mother, John, the thief crucified next to Him; He was heard praying to God the Father. “Father, forgive them for they don’t know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34)
  • Jesus was flogged severely and was so weak that He could not carry His cross (Simon of Cyrene)
  • Jesus died. This was confirmed by:
  • The Centurion on duty
  • Water and blood that came out of His side when a spear was thrust into His side. (medical condition)
  • History shows that the Romans were experts at killing people via crucifixion.

Jesus was buried in the tomb of a well known person, Joseph of Arimathea, member of the Jewish Sanhedrin

  • Significant because the location of Jesus’ body was known.
  • There could be no confusion and claims that he was not found amongst the bodies of other people buried in mass graves.
  • A few days later the grave was empty
    • All the theories that try to show it was stolen or moved are refuted. If it was stolen or moved, why and by whom?
    • Why would the disciples move Jesus’ body and claim Him as Lord and Saviour and be martyred?
    • On the other hand, why would the religious leaders who were trying to disprove the resurrection move the body and keep quiet about it?

Jesus appeared to several people in different settings

  • Could the people who saw Jesus have been hallucinating? No.
  • Hallucinations are individual occurrences. Jesus appeared to groups of people on at least four occasions.
  • Hallucinations are often mental projections of what people hope for.
  • The women did not expect a risen Jesus when they went to the grave to embalm him.
  • Mary thought the gardener had “stolen” Jesus.
  • The disciples thought they saw a ghost
  • Thomas refused to hallucinate. When Jesus appeared to the disciples the first time, Thomas was not there. He then basically stated that he refused to hallucinate. Jesus then invited him to put his finger into Jesus’ side.
  • Paul was not stricken with grief when he met the risen Jesus. Paul wanted to kill all Christians. He was not longing or hoping to see Jesus on his way to Damascus.
  • Hallucinations don’t explain the empty tomb.

What was the nature of Jesus’ risen body?

  1. i) He was able to do supernatural things

Jesus appeared in rooms (and was therefore able to move through walls)

  1. ii) However, Jesus’ body was not a ghost or a spiritual being alone.

Jesus invited the disciples to touch him. He ate with them.Ghosts don’t eat fish. What a miracle!

  1. The prophecies that Jesus fulfilled

 Prophecies about Jesus’ ministry.

  • God had also spoken about a great prophet that He would send one day (Deuteronomy 18:15-19), saying, “I will put my words in his mouth” (v. 18 NIV). Jesus stated, “I have given to them the words which You [God] have given Me” (John 17:8 NKJV). Jesus was this prophet.

Prophecies about Jesus’ death and resurrection.

  • Difficult to read Isaiah 53 and not link it directly to Jesus. Written 700 BC
  • This is confirmed by Philip in the book of Acts (Acts 8:26-35)
  • Confirmed by Jesus himself in Luke 22:37

Let’s briefly look at Prophecies about Jesus’ family tree:

  • Born of a woman
  • Born of a virgin
  • From the family line of Abraham
  • From Isaac (Could only be: one of Isaac or Ishmael)
  • From Jacob (Jacob and Esau)
  • From tribe of Judah (1 in 12 tribes)
  • From Jesse
  • From David (Jesse head several sons)
  • Bethlehem

Just before Jesus’ birth, Mary was in Nazareth 80 miles away.

God’s plan kicked in. The Romans called for a census. Joseph and Mary had to go to Bethlehem (birthplace)

Probability of 1 man fulfilling 8 prophecies is 1 in 1017

Like filling the state of Texas two feet deep with coins and marking one.

Blindfold a person and let the person pick one coin.

Impossible. God’s plan.

Summary of part 1: Jesus is God

When we look at the entire picture, at all the pieces of the puzzle, we can only come to one conclusion.

When we listen to the claims made about Jesus, the miracles he performed, the prophecies He fulfilled, we see that Jesus is God.

He is the 2nd person in the Trinity; God in the flesh

Part 2: Jesus and the Bible                       

When we come to this conclusion that Jesus is God, we would be wise to look and listen what Jesus says about the Bible.

  1. Jesus and the OT

The Bible that Jesus read was the OT. It was the Jewish Bible:

Jesus declares the reliability of the OT

Does this in several ways.

  1. a) Jesus said that the prophets wrote about him.

 “Then he said to them, "These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled." (Luke 24:44) (emphasis added)

"You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me," (John 5:39) (emphasis added)

"Jesus said that “everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished.” "(Luke 18:31-34). The Son of Man was a title Jesus called Himself to link Himself with the Messianic Figure prophesied in Daniel 7.

He repeatedly quoted and taught from it and referred to verses from the Old Testament as the Word of God or the Scriptures.

He cited from every major section of the Old Testament (the Law and the Prophets as well as the writings).

Jesus never contradicted it.

He never corrected it.

He was merely correcting people’s misconceptions and their wrong interpretations that they had about some passages (Matthew 5-7).

The Gospels record direct quotations by Jesus from at least 36 different passages in the Old Testament taken from at least 13 Old Testament books.

In addition, there are many more occasions when Jesus referred to the Old Testament but did not quote the actual words.

Jesus used the Old Testament to fight temptation (Matthew 4:1-10; Luke 4:1-12). Jesus did not say, “Be away Satan, it is I Jesus.”

No- Jesus quoted the Scriptures.

Jesus referred to the Bible when He was teaching (Matthew 5:5, 8; cf. Psalm 73:1; 37:11)

Or when his religious opponents tried to catch Him out (Matthew 19:3-6).

Jesus also references many Old Testament figures such as Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Jonah, Elisha, Elijah, Moses, Daniel, David, Solomon, Isaiah.

These were all very prominent people in the Old Testament.

Perhaps Jesus’ most sweeping endorsement and acceptance of the Old Testament was when he declared with finality, “The Scriptures cannot be broken” (John 10:35) (emphasis added) (Little, 2000:81).

But this is what Jesus said. How do we know we have the Bible (specifically the OT) that Jesus read

Especially if we consider that the copy we had was from AD 900. People said that this was a huge time span; That the OT could have been changed.

The Dead Sea Scrolls confirms the accuracy of the copying process

In 1947, a shepherd boy went looking for lost sheep. He threw a stone into a cave and heard a sound like jars crushing. He investigated and found jars with scrolls in them

Long story short, 12 caves revealed the DS scrolls. What are they and what were they about? Who copied these scrolls?

Group of dedicated Jews lived at a place near the Dead Sea called Qumran from about 150 BC to AD 70.

Studying and copying the Scriptures. Romans were coming to invade their community. They hid the scrolls in jars in caves along the cliff. The providence of God, the scrolls survived undisturbed until the shepherd boy found them.

The find was significant. It contained copies of all OT books except the book of Esther. These scrolls confirmed the accuracy of one thousand years of copying. The OT is the same as the one that Jesus read.

Robert Plummer said it as follows (Cooper, 2014:49-51):

“For Christians accepting the 39 book Old Testament canon is relatively easy. One might say, Jesus and His apostles affirmed the Jewish canon of the Hebrew Scriptures in their day. As a follower of Jesus, I affirm the same.”

  1. Jesus and the New Testament 

The NT did not exist while Jesus was on Earth.

However, the Jesus did say some very important things related to the NT.

  1. a) Speaking as the Word of God became flesh, Jesus commissioned the New Testament.

Let’s read Matthew 28:18-20

"And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." (Matthew 28:18-20)

Jesus also said:

“Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me.” (Matthew 10:40) (emphasis added)

And Jesus promised them the Holy Spirit. In this way He would be with them to the end of the age!

  1. b) Jesus promised to send his disciples the Holy Spirit (who would be their ‘Helper’)

Let’s read what the Bible says:

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. (John 14:26) (emphasis added)

When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth… (John 16:13a)

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

 So, Jesus had all authority; He gave a mandate to His disciples and promised them the Holy Spirit who would guide them in all truth.

And the disciples were faithful in teaching the Gospel of Jesus as we see in examples

“For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 4:2) (emphasis added)

For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. (2 Peter 1:16) (emphasis added)

“Once the last eyewitnesses passed away, no more writings were received as authoritative because no more testimonies could come from Christ commissioned witnesses of the resurrection” (Jones, 2015:79).

And the books in the NT were preserved faithfully and passed down from generation to generation if we study the history of the early church.

Until the list was established in the 4th century when it was safe to do so.

To conclude part 2: Do you get it?

Jesus said the OT pointed to Him. He also affirmed the OT in several ways. Jesus told the NT authors to teach all nations what he commanded them. He would send them the Holy Spirit to help them remember what he had said to them

Jesus was God!

Part 3: The message of the Bible  

One more thing to clarify

How can we call the Bible the Word of God, if humans wrote the Bible?

Let’s see.

66 books in the Bible

55 generations

on 3 continents (i.e. Asia, Africa and Europe),

in 3 languages (Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek),

over a period of approximately 1,500 years

by as many as 40 authors

from a vast number of occupations (incl. judges, kings, priests, prophets, shepherds, physicians, tax collectors, and fishermen) and covering a vast number of subjects (including histories, population statistics, prophecy, family trees, poetry, law, letters) to name a few in different settings.

Parts were written in times of imminent danger and others during times of joy. Through all this diversity, the Bible has a unified message that centres on Jesus Christ.

Never, through all its history, does any part of the Bible contradict another part. Yet, the central and consistent storyline unfolds to reveal the salvation of God’s people through the ultimate Saviour found in Jesus Christ (Broocks, 2013:176).

Looking at the diversity mentioned:

How is this possible?

It clearly points to divine direction influence; to God’s fingerprint.

But how did God guide the process? He did He ensure that a unified message- all about Jesus- came to us?

Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son… (Hebrews 1:1-2) (emphasis added)

  1. a) God spoke through the Often the prophets would quote God.

The Bible shows this with phrases like

  • “Thus says the Lord,”
  • “The word of the Lord came to me,”

And we know by now that these prophets were all pointing towards Jesus!

  1. b) We also read in these verses that God spoke through Jesus

And Jesus promised the Holy Spirit would guide His disciples who would bring into remembrance what He had said and done.


  1. c) The Holy Spirit guided the authors of the Bible

This is what Paul said.

And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.  (1 Corinthians 2:13) (emphasis added)

As we read the Bible we see several authors affirming this. Amazing!

McDowell and McDowell (2012:151, 152) use a beautiful analogy to explain the unity within the diversity of all the human authors

It is as if: God was composing a musical masterpiece using a 40-piece orchestra.

There are drums, trumpets, violins, cellos, and flutes.

The composer has designed the music so that a beautiful symphony will be heard in spite of there being so many music instruments.

It is as if a commanding officer has a message that he wants to send to troops at the battle front. A commanding officer will make sure that his (and nobody else’s message reaches the battle front.

He will seal it, for example, in an envelope.

But, the manner in which this message is given to the troops may vary depending on the personality of the messenger.

So what is this message, this symphony masterpiece?

What is the message of the Bible?

  1. God is sovereign, almighty and holy.

God created man.

  1. But Man sinned and turned his back on God.

Sin separates us from a holy God.

The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23)

Throughout the OT we see man trying to save himself, but cannot. 

God takes the initiative.

  1. He sends us Jesus, the God-man.

And when Jesus died on the cross and victoriously rose from the grave,

Jesus took our punishment.

God’s justice was satisfied

And we were not doomed.

Jesus took the punishment for us because God loves us. (John 3:16)

  1. Our response?

Our response is to follow Him, put our faith in Him as Saviour and make Him Lord and Saviour of our entire life.

And as we do good deeds, it is not because we have stopped sinning or because we want to earn points but because by becoming his children we become God’s poetry.

And we grow closer in our relationship to Jesus.


By talking to Him through prayer and

Listening to His voice.

Where do we hear His voice?

In the Bible.

Can you see how we can rightly call the Bible the Word of God?


The Bible is all about Jesus

We know that Jesus is God

Jesus shows us that the OT is reliable and that it points to Him.

Jesus has all authority and commissioned the NT authors to teach all the nations about Him and that they would have the HS to help them.


Embrace the Bible

Study it, get to know the Author by reading it.

You will see that it is:

“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12) (emphasis added) 

“And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.” (1 Thessalonians 2:13) (emphasis added)

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16a-17) (emphasis added)

Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. (Matthew 24:35) (emphasis added)

“We need to read our Bibles like men digging for hidden treasure.” J.C. Ryle

 “Let us read the Bible reverently and diligently—with an honest determination to believe and practice all we find in it.” J.C. Ryle

Closing prayer:                                             



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