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Why Followers of Jesus Believe the Bible…

A few weeks ago I was out to dinner with three other pastors, and we got to talking about how Jesus proves that there is life after death. The Lord was arguing with the Sadducees (who said there isn’t a resurrection), and Jesus brought them to that moment where Moses was at the burning bush, and God said, “I am the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” Then Jesus said, “He is not the God of the dead, but of the living.” In other words, God didn’t say, “I was the God of Abraham…” (read all about in Mark 12)

And like theological nerds, we were delighting and laughing together about how Jesus hangs the entire argument for the resurrection on a Hebrew verb tense. Not “I was” but “I am”.

To paraphrase the Lord: “There, dummies, that proves it – people are still alive after they die,”

Pastor Tim Keller beautifully sums up what this means…

Tim Keller on why followers of Christ must believe the Bible is true…

“When you pricked Jesus Christ, when you stabbed Jesus Christ, he literally bled Scripture. He knew the Scripture so well, he thought about the Scripture so pervasively, it so saturated and permeated his whole being and his imagination and his feelings and his will and his knowledge that it shaped him instinctively. The Scripture shaped every part of him. It was who he was, and that’s how he was able. He didn’t have to sit and think, ‘Well, now how should I act?’ His nobility, his courage, his peace, his faith all happened because he was just saturated with the Scripture.

“I have people constantly saying to me, ‘Well, I have problems with the Bible. You can’t take the Bible literally here.’ Some of you might know I just went to a number of college campuses over the last few days, and I had Question and Answer times on all these campuses about Christianity. That came up all the time. ‘How can you believe when the Bible says this? Aren’t there legends in the Bible? Aren’t there things you can’t take literally? Aren’t there regressive things in the Bible that really offend you now?’

“What I always want to say to people is, ‘Do you believe Jesus is the Son of God? Do you believe Jesus was Lord of heaven come to earth? Do you believe he was raised from the dead? Figure that out, would you? You decide whether he’s the Son of God. You decide whether he was Lord from heaven. You decide whether he was bodily raised from the dead, because if he is, there is absolutely no way to follow Christ, to admit he’s the Son of God, without accepting the authority of the Bible. Jesus Christ submitted to the Scripture. He loved the Scripture. He knew the Scripture. He bowed to the authority of it at every point. If he is the Son of God, so are you going to have to.’

“Anybody who says, ‘Well, I believe in Jesus. I love Jesus, but I have trouble with these parts of the Bible,’ then you don’t believe in Jesus. You don’t love Jesus. You don’t know who he is. You’ve created a figment of your imagination. If he’s the Son of God, you have to deal with the authority of the Scripture, or you can’t follow him. If you love the Son of God, you have to love the Scripture, because he loved the Scripture. It’s what he was made of.

“On the other hand, if he wasn’t the Son of God and he wasn’t raised from the dead, who cares whether you can take the Bible literally? Be offended all you want. Why are you struggling with it? The authority of the Scripture rises and falls with the person of Jesus Christ. If he is who he said he is and if he needed the Scripture to face everything in life, how much more do you need it?”

– Keller, T. J. (2013). The Timothy Keller Sermon Archive. New York City: Redeemer Presbyterian Church. (Keller’s sermon on John 19:28-37)

Jesus said to them, “Is this not the reason you are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God? Mark 12:24 (ESV)

 
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Posted by on March 23, 2018 in Bible, Uncategorized

 

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A Highly Motivating and Not-Often Considered Reason to Read and Meditate on Scripture Regularly

IMG_0234There are so many reasons to read and meditate on the Bible, but one that I had not much considered came clear to me some years ago when I was reading a book of essays called, Renewing Your Mind in a Secular World, edited by John Woodbridge.

The chapter in the book which grabbed my attention was written by the noted Psychiatrist Paul Meier and entitled Spiritual and Mental Health in the Balance.

As a budding psychiatrist, Meier was interested in the question of what makes someone mentally healthy. In other words, from a scientific point of view, what is it that contributes to emotional maturity, joy and peace, or, in other words, low levels of anxiety, bitterness and depression? To answer his questions, Meier did a research study of seminary students using a well-known psychological test called the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) and an extensive spiritual life questionnaire.

From the MMPI, Meier could tell who was mentally and emotionally healthy, and he divided them into three groups:

Group A: Those with exceptionally good mental health and a high level of maturity

Group B: Those with apparently normal mental health and maturity

Group C: Those with statistically significant psychological conflict and emotional pain

After this, he did statistical analyses with the spiritual life questionnaire. He describes his findings:

“When the results came in, initially I was surprised and disappointed. Those seminary students who had been Christians for many years were only slightly healthier and happier than those who had accepted Christ in the past one or two years. The difference was not even statistically significant. However, my disappointment turned to joy. I learned one of the most valuable lessons of my life when I found the factor that made the difference. That factor was Scripture meditation. Students who practiced almost daily Scripture meditation for three years or longer were significantly healthier and happier than students who did not meditate on Scripture daily. Also, they were significantly healthier and happier than students who had meditated on Scripture daily for less than three years.”

He summarizes what the research taught him:

  1. Even though trusting Christ is all that is needed to obtain eternal life, experiencing the abundant life Christ promised (John 10:10) and experiencing the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace) rather than bitterness, depression and anxiety are dependent upon a renewing of the mind.
  2. Renewing of the mind can come from various sources, such as confrontation by loving friends about personal blind-spots, therapy with a Christian professional counselor, conviction from the Holy Spirit, confrontation with scriptural principles in sermons or seminars, and daily meditation on Scripture.
  3. Renewing of the mind is a continual process, a progressive sanctification requiring continual, preferably daily, input from God’s Word.
  4. Daily meditation on Scripture, with personal application, is the most effective means of obtaining personal joy, peace, and emotional maturity.
  5. On the average, it takes about three years of daily Scripture meditation to bring about enough change in a person’s thought patterns and behavior to produce statistically superior mental health and happiness.
  6. None of the students in Group C (those with statistically significant psychological conflicts) were presently meditating on Scripture daily, although some were reading their Bibles regularly as a textbook for their classes.
  7. All of the students who had meditated on Scripture daily, or almost daily, for three years or longer were in Group A or Group B, with most being in Group A (superior in mental health, happiness, and maturity).

I guess all this shouldn’t be a surprise, as Psalm 1 and Joshua 1 tell us of the blessings that come on the person who meditates on the Word of God, but I hope a little science will also move you to give yourself to regular meditation on the Book of books.  In fact, consider joining us at Edgewood Community Church as we read through the New Testament in 2015.  We start in Matthew and will read a chapter each weekday (260 chapters in the New Testament, 261 weekdays in 2015) I’ll be posting a devotional of the chapter we’re reading each day, and I hope you’ll both read the chapter of the day and stop by the blog to meditate a little further.

Happy New Year everyone!

 

 

 
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Posted by on December 30, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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