Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Does God Protect His Word (part 8)?

Acts 17:11, "Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so."

Mormon founder Joseph Smith explained: "I believe the Bible as it read when it came from the pen of the original writers. Ignorant translators, careless transcribers, or designing and corrupt priests have committed many errors" (TPJS, p. 327). And again, "From sundry revelations which had been received, it was apparent that many points touching the salvation of men, had been taken from the Bible, or lost before it was compiled." (TPJS, pp. 9-10).

Paul and Silas had been traveling "giving evidence that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead" (17:3) and the Bereans, instead of casting them into prison, beating them, disputing with them, they instead immediately sat down with their copies of the Old Testament scriptures and put the words of Paul and Silas to the test. "Let's see if they are preaching what has been written already concerning the Christ." What did they investigate from the Old Testament?

The incarnation of Christ.
The obedience of Christ.
The sufferings of Christ.
The death of Christ.
The resurrection of Christ.

Paul and Silas were received by what they read. They heard what they had to say and found it worthy of examination against what was already written before. And they kept up the research. Daily. This leads us to consider:

1) There is proof of truth concerning the claims of Christianity. The Bereans had in their possession an authoritative source.
2) If one wishes to be aligned in truth, the authority must be studied, not questioned. The Bereans kept themselves from error by studying what had been compiled long before.
3) Every preacher must be investigated against God's Word. Every hearer is obliged to investigate, to test the vaporizing words of men against God's. One might say that Paul's preaching made better Bible students of the Bereans.

Matthew Henry (1662-1714) says it so wonderfully, "The doctrine of Christ does not fear a scrutiny. We that are advocates for his cause desire no more than that people will not say, These things are not so, till they have first, without prejudice and partiality, examined whether they be so or no."

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