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Scripture: Ephesians 3:1-7                                                                                                                                                                                          February 2, 2020

Sermon:  “The Birth of the Bible! – Part 1”                                                                                                           Pastor John Young


            We have been studying for the past several weeks the subject of the Bible (the Attacks on it; the reason we Believe it’s true, and its Reliability or authenticity.  Today we continue our study focusing on the Birth of the Bible.

            I read a story the other day about two police officers who ducked into a small grocery store to pick up something cold to drink.  Moments after entering they were approached by a store security guard who asked for their assistance with a suspected shoplifter.  As they approached the suspect (who incidentally didn’t look like a career criminal), the lady began to cry.  When they opened up her bag they discovered all the stolen items were food.  Before they could ask, the lady explained with tears running down her cheeks, “I’m so sorry, but I was hungry and didn’t know what else to do.”  Caught red-handed, the woman no doubt expected to be cuffed and hauled off to jail, but instead, one of the cops blurted out to the security guard, “We’ll pay for her food.”  Other patrons who were witnessing the drama play out came together and asked if they could help too.  Instead of a bag of stolen food, the suspect walked out of that store, after receiving a bunch of hugs, with over $200.00 worth of groceries.  Isn’t that wonderful?  Amen! 

            We often refer to stories like this one as ‘Inspiring;’ however, when we examine this word (‘inspired’) in the Bible, it takes on an entirely different meaning and the difference is very important.   In fact, there are five words whose meaning we should consider because they give birth to the Bible.

[The first of these words is:]

I.         Revelation – vv. 3 & 5

A.  The Bible definition of Revelation is: making known that which was previously unknown.

1.  Notice how clear this definition is given in this passage, verses 3 & 5.  “How that BY REVELATION he made known unto me the mystery: which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now REVEALED unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit.”

2.  Remember this definition:  Making known that which was previously unknown.

B.  In the Bible we distinguish three types of revelation:

1.  General Revelation – this is God revealing or making known His POWER and glory through creation and the human conscience.

a.   Psalms 19:1-3 is one example of this: “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handiwork.  Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge.  There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.”

1)  We are told in these verses that the creation of God “declares” or reveals “the glory” and “handiwork,” or Power of God!

b.   That this was the intent of the psalmist is confirmed by the apostle Paul in his letter to the Roman Christians in Romans 1:19-20.  Here he says – “Because that which may be known of God [I.E. His power and glory] is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them [or, revealed it]. For the invisible things  [the unknown] of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen [There it is – making known that which was previously unknown], being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead: so that they are without excuse.”

c.   Paul takes it even further in the next chapter, 2:15 and identifies where this revelation occurs, when he writes, “…their conscience also bearing witness…”

1)  General revelation is God making known His Power and glory by creation and through the human conscience, but there’s another aspect of revelation too.  We call it:

2.  Full Revelation – this is God revealing His PERSON and Majesty through the incarnation of Jesus Christ.

a.   In Hebrews 1:1-3 we read, “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; who being the brightness of his glory, and the EXPRESS IMAGE of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.”  The full revelation of His Son!  And yet, there is another aspect of revelation.  We call it:

3.  Special Revelation – This is God revealing His PURPOSES and will to His people.  He does this through:

a.   Voice: Genesis 1:28 is the first recorded words given by God to humankind.  God speaks and tells His people what He wants them to do.

b.   Various manifestations: To Moses it was a ‘burning bush.’  To the nation of Israel it was a ‘Pillar of Fire.’  To Balaam it was a ‘talking donkey.’  To Peter it was a ‘sheet from heaven.’  To the apostle Paul it was ‘a divine light’ while traveling on the road to Damascus.  Later, in Galatians 1:12, reflecting on this experience and the message he received, he said, “I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

c.   Visions: Daniel was asked to recall a dream Nebuchadnezzar, the King of Babylon, had and the interpretation of that dream.  In Daniel 2:19 we are told, “Then was the secret revealed unto Daniel in a night vision…”  In verse 22 of this same chapter, Daniel acknowledged it was God who “…revealeth the deep and secret things…” (Notice again the consistency in the definition of the term.   Revelation is: Making know that which was previously unknown!).

[The first important word in the birth of our Bible is – Revelation!  The second is:]

II.  Inspiration – v. 3.

A.  Biblical inspiration has to do with the manner in which the revelation is conveyed to words.  Notice this in v-3, “How that BY revelation he made known to me the mystery: (as I WROTE afore in few words.” 

1.  Clearly, God intended His words to be written!

a.   To Moses, in Exodus 34:1,God said, “Hew thee two tables of stone…and I will write upon these tables the words…”

b.   To Jeremiah, in Jeremiah 30:2, God said, “Write thee all the words that I have spoken unto thee in a book.”

2.  But by what means did God use to insure His words would be written as He spoke or intended?

a.   Paul answers the question in 2 Timothy 3:16.  Here he tells us, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God…”  This is more than an ‘inspirational’ story, like the lady in the grocery store.  Biblical inspiration is much different!

b.   Webster’s Old English Dictionary defines ‘inspiration’ as the infusion of air into the lungs and from this word we get aspirate, respiration and inhalation.  Therefore, many refer to inspiration as “God breathed.”

1)  I.E. By the power of the Holy Spirit, without error or mixture, God actually infused His words into the minds of men.

2)  Peter substitutes the phrase “moved by the Holy Ghost” to describe inspiration.  In 2 Peter 1:21 he states, “…holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”

c.   But ‘inspiration’ is more than just the supernatural infusion of God’s word into the minds of men; it is what makes the Bible more than mere literature!

1)  You may recall in Genesis 2, when God formed Adam from the dust of the ground, it says in v. 7, that God “…breathed into his nostrils the breath of life…”

2)  Inspiration makes the Bible a living book!  And it is alive for sure!  Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is quick [alive], and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, [Now, listen to this!] and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart!”  I.E. It knows what we’re thinking!

3)  It’s alive!  And inspiration is the reason!  God breathed into it the breath of life!

Conclusion: So, we have revelation (making known what was not previously unknown), and inspiration (God’s word breathed into the minds of men giving life to His word and eliminating the possibility of error).  These are two of the five words that gave birth to our Bible and insure us that we have God’s inherent word.  Next week we will examine the last three words.

Let’s Pray