"From childhood you have known the sacred writings that are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus." As true for many of us as it was for Timothy.
"... for the Bible tells me so." The secular culture replies, "so what?"
That HAS to have an impact. If not on you, then on your children, or grandchildren...
So let's spend ONE Sunday just on this Word of our God and King
You Can Be Confident in the Bible's Construction
Let me tell you the story of the New Testament...
Sharing the Stories of Jesus, reading letters from the Apostles
Letters being recognized AS scripture (2 Pet 3:16)
As the Apostles start to pass, the Stories are written down
Matthew, Mark (Peter), Luke (Paul), John
Each local church has their own copies of letters and gospels, each deciding whether they are genuine, with the same Jesus
The earliest list was compiled in AD 170. It included all of the New Testament books except Hebrews, James, and 3 John. Some of them accepted the Apocalypse of Peter, although others "will not allow [it] to be read in church." They rejected the letters claiming to be Paul's letter to the Laodiceans and to the Alexandrians.
Over time, a consensus developed as to what was accepted:
(1) Because the apostles were the eyewitnesses of Jesus, the writing had to be directly connected to an apostle.
(2) The writing had to be "orthodox"; that is, it could not contradict Old Testament or the teachings of the apostles.
(3) The writing had to be accepted in churches throughout the known world, not just one group of believers
In 367, the Festal Letter of Athanasius listed as authoritative the same twenty-seven books that appear in our New Testaments.
In 382 a group of bishops and theologians, including some eastern representatives, met in Rome. The list was discussed, formalized, and published.
Not at all like Dan Brown's claim that " books were compiled and edited by men who possessed "a political agenda... to solidify their own power base."
You Can Be Confident in the Bible's Translation
American Bible Society: "the number of printed English translations and paraphrases of the Bible,... complete or not, is about 900."
Things to remember as an informed consumer:
Modern translations have better sources than older translations
All translations come from a particular time, place, and people, which effects the translation choices
: NIV "the man of God" vs NRSV "everyone who belongs to God" in verse 17
Paraphrases translate idea-for-idea, rather than word-for-word.
“And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks (goads)” (Acts 26:14 KJV). But The Message? "Why do you insist on going against the grain?’"
My personal choice? A more literal translation with study notes to explain the meaning or background of difficult passages...
A good practice: test the translations against one another (easy for you, or your grandkids, to do now); weed out the bad ones
You Can Be Confident in the Bible's Teachings
"I have a problem with..."
v16: "ALL Scripture..."
Things to remember
The letters were, for the most part, written to particular churches with the understanding they would be shared with others. You can expect them to target the particular problems at that church.
The entire NT was written within a first-century context. Sometimes that means we have to step back from the particular practice to look at the principle underlying it before we can apply it to our lives.
Within their context of a small, persecuted religious minority, the status quo was subverted instead of protested
Can you find the letter to Philemon?... A slave is sent home to his master, but the master is told the slave is his brother. How can slavery survive?
The church challenged Rome by rescuing babies from exposure in trash heaps, taking care of the poor, etc.
We are more distant from the first century, but have greater resources than any of the generations that have gone before.
Granted there is a lot of chaff mixed in with the wheat, and a lot of people with agendas, but they usually reveal themselves.
If I could leave you with one thing, it would be a holy excitement for the Word of God, and a desire to spend TIME studying this Word, given by the Creator of the universe, whose message to us is Life and Love.