Sunday, September 18, 2016

THE RELIABILITY OF THE BIBLE: Resources for Study

This page is for resources that demonstrate the reliability of the Bible in general terms. For more specific issues related to the Bible's reliability, see "Related Pages on My Blog" below:

VIDEOS
"Bible on Trial: Beyond a Reasonable Doubt" is a 45-minute video by Vision Video produced in a courtroom setting. There is a 4-part Bible study available to go with it. The film features attorney Craig Parton and scholars Dr. Paul Maier of Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Mich.; Dr. Randall Price of Liberty University, Lynchburg, Va.; Dr. Jeff Kloha of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Mo. and Joel Lampe of The Bible Museum, Goodyear, Ariz. 
Watch it for FREE! here.

ARTICLES (& BOOK CHAPTERS)
*Geisler, Norm and Frank Turek. I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist. Chapter 14: "What Did Jesus Teach About the Bible?" Pages 355-376.
*"Reversals of New Testament Criticism" by Merrill C. Tenney

*"Ten Reasons Why I Believe the Bible Is the Word of God" (1891) by R.A. Torrey


BOOKS
*In Defense of the Bible: A Comprehensive Apologetic for the Authority of Scripture edited by Steven Cowan and Terry L. Wilder. A compilation of essays by expert scholars like Paul W. Barnett, Darrell L. Bock, Daniel B. Wallace, Paul Copan,  Walter C. Kaiser, Jr., Charles L. Quarles, and others. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
*The Evidence of Prophecy edited by Robert C. Newman. "One of the most powerful evidences for the truth of biblical Christianity is the fulfillment of predictions made in Scripture. Here, nine authors discuss prophecies made centuries in advance about Israel, her neighbors, and her Messiah. Specific attempts to explain these away as vague, misinterpreted, or written after the event are countered." Currently only $2.99HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
*Scripture and Truth edited by Carson and Woodbridge. Essays by a host of expert scholars. "From a biblical, historical, or theological perspective each essay examines a challenge to belief in the integrity and reliability of Scripture." HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
*"Fundamentalism" and the Word of God by J.I. Packer. A classic. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
*Revelation and the Bible: Contemporary Evangelical Thought. Carl F.H. Henry, editor
Baker Book House. Grand Rapids, Michigan (1958). FREE! 24 essays by leading evangelicals. (401 pages)

*Is the Bible Reliable? by John Piper: a FREE! 13-page booklet
*Can I Really Trust The Bible? by Martin De Hann II: a FREE! 33-page booklet published by RBC Ministries
*The Fundamentals: A Testimony to the Truth. A classic. This large collection of essays by leading evangelical scholars was originally published in a series of 12 volumes between 1910 and 1915. These volumes cover several topics but many of the essays are focused on defending the Scriptures. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! Blue Letter Bible has an introduction and a nicely organized collection of all of the essays ready to read for FREE! online. You can also download the 1917 four-volume edition for FREE! as 4 pdf files: Volume 1 Volume 2 Volume 3 Volume 4. And it is only 99 cents on Kindle (click on title link).


ONLINE COURSES (FREE)
*"Why I Trust My Bible" (3 hours) by Bill Mounce
*"Why We Trust Our Bible" (20 hours) by John Piper, Craig Blomberg and Bill Mounce


BOOKS RELATED TO THE HISTORY OF THE BIBLE'S CRITICS
*The Word of God and the Mind of Man by Ronald Nash. A Nash classic. "The last two centuries of Christian theology are the record of an evolving attack on the role of knowledge in the Christian faith. The purpose of this book is to challenge the major forms of Christian agnosticism and offer an alternative theory that makes human knowledge about God possible. In other words, is there a relationship between the human mind and the divine mind that is sufficient to ground the communication of truth from God to humans?" HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
*Historical Criticism of the Bible by Eta Linnemann"In Historical Criticism of the Bible Eta Linnemann tells how modern Bible scholarship has drifted far from the truth, and why its assumptions are nonetheless so influential and thereby inherently dangerous. In part 1 she analyzes the ideas that have shaped Western thought through four centuries, explaining how secular humanism, the Enlightenment, and German idealism have influenced Western universities in general and biblical scholarship in particular. In part 2 she argues that historical criticism constitutes an ideological system rather than the objective scientific method scholars say they observe—exposing the presuppositions and dangers of the historical-critical system." 
*Biblical Errancy by Norman Geisler
*The Bible in Modern Culture: Theology and Historical-Critical Method from Spinoza to Kasemann by Roy A. Harrisville and Walter Sundberg. Not a light read but very helpful.
*Theology in Turmoil by Alan P.F. Sell
*The Rise of Biblical Criticism in America, 1800-1870: The New England Scholars by Jerry Wayne Brown
*Dictionary of Major Biblical Interpreters edited by Donald K. McKim. An indispensable reference volume for researching the history of the Bible's critics and its defenders and faithful exegetes.


RELATED PAGES ON MY BLOG

*Historical Reliability of the Old Testament
*Archaeological Confirmation of the Old Testament
*New Testament Reliability
*Archaeological Confirmation of the New Testament
*Undesigned Coincidences as Evidence for the Historicity of the Bible
*Are the Gospels Based on Eyewitness Accounts?: An Outline of the Evidence & Resources for Study....(This will be a major labor of love....hopefully coming soon)
*Contradictions in the Bible?....Interpreting Scripture


STILL LOOKING?.....

*Check out the great resources on the Bible's reliability at bethinking


Wednesday, August 31, 2016

HOW TO WITNESS TO "JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES": An Article & Resource List

I first formed a passion for witnessing to Jehovah's Witnesses nearly 40 years ago, because I had a classmate who was a JW and also some neighbors down the road. And over the years I have had many conversations with JW's who came to my door. But I never have felt that I have been successful in witnessing to them. I have been good at shutting them up but not at bringing them to a place where they receive "the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ" (2 Corinthians 4:6, NASB).

I have always blamed that on the hardness of their hearts or that they were just not ready and I was just planting a seed (and that may in fact be the case), but in recent years I have begun to examine my own approach and consider the reality that that is probably just as much to blame.

A few years ago, someone emailed me asking me how to respond to a Jehovah's Witness. That is when I began to rethink my approach. (Most of it is still based on a study of the Scriptures that I did clear back in high school, but the way of presenting these Scriptures has changed.) At any rate, when I returned their email, I wrote them something very similar to what follows. And lately I added Step #1.

So the following is a suggested approach for witnessing to Jehovah's Witnesses and may also be used as an outline for a presentation. In the context of a presentation, you might start off by asking the group how they respond to Jehovah's Witnesses and then discuss how we should see their coming as an opportunity to witness to them in the grace and power of Jesus Christ (even though they expect just the opposite).

Also, note: This approach can really be used with any cult member, because all cults deny the deity of Jesus (or any unbeliever at all who is already open to the idea that the Bible is the Word of God). The only section of this outline that will vary will be related to their answer concerning who they think Jesus is (#2-4). It can also be used with those who are persuaded that the deity of Christ is an invention of the Church in the 2nd, 3rd or 4th Centuries (as this study clearly shows that the deity of Christ is woven throughout the fabric of the New Testament).

**************************************

STEP 1

I recently started asking Jehovah's Witnesses questions like the following that will hopefully get them thinking about whether their devotion is to God or to an organization (the Watchtower or the Jehovah's Witnesses church): "Are you committed to God or to the Watchtower?"...."Could you go to any church that taught what the Scriptures teach?" (Invite them to yours!)....OR "If you came to realize that what the Bible teaches is different than what the Watchtower teaches, would you leave and join a church that does?"

The response that I have gotten so far is that they are committed to God and not a manmade institution. So I merely affirm that it is good that they are seeking to be faithful to God and not to an organization. And l I am hopeful that this will keep them thinking about which it really is and whether they can continue to be committed to the Watchtower as their eyes become opened to the fact that the Watchtower teaches a different Jesus and a different gospel (2 Corinthians 11:2-4).




STEP 2
They will likely try to talk to you about one of their slanted views on a more trivial issue. But don't let them. Tell them that these things all have their place but it seems that there is a far more important issue that must be answered first: Who is Jesus?

*John 5:39: "You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me,"

*John 8:24: "I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins."


STEP 3
Ask them: "Who do you believe Jesus is?"

What the Jehovah's Witnesses teach about Jesus: Jesus was Michael the archangel who became a man, Jehovah's first creation was his 'only-begotten Son' and was used by Jehovah in creating all other things. (This statement is found in the following three Jehovah's Witnesses' publications: Aid to Bible Understanding, pp. 390-391. "The Watchtower," May 15, 1963, p. 307; The New Word, p. 284; as cited at Blue Letter Bible's "Jehovah's Witness at Your Door - A Quick Reference Guide"
.)


STEP 4
Ask them where they find this in the Bible. (They will not be able to show you.)


STEP 5
Show them that Hebrews explicitly states that Jesus is not an angel: Hebrews 1:1-13


STEP 6
Show them that the Bible explicitly declares that Jesus is God:
*
John 1:1: The New World Translation (the JW Bible) mistranslates this verse as: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god." Their argument is that in the Greek, the word God does not have a definite article. But this is a misunderstanding of how the Greek language works. Most of the distortions in the New World Translation are pretty straightforward, but this one is a little more difficult to discern. For a brief but helpful discussion, listen to Michael Kruger's lecture on John 1:1-18. The part of the lecture pertinent to this issue starts at the 25-minute mark. Section IV.1. of Bruce Metzger's article on Jehovah's Witnesses addresses it fairly succinctly. Or see this excellent 16-minute video by expert apologist Robert Porter. TowerWatch Ministries also has a helpful step-by-step approach for dealing with this passage with a JW. For a much more technical discussion related to an ancient Coptic translation, see this article at CRI
*John 1:18
*John 5:18
*John 10:33
*Philippians 2:5-6
*Colossians 2:9
*Titus 2:13
*2 Peter 1:1.


STEP 7
Show them that the New Testament writers frequently take Old Testament passages that are speaking of Jehovah and apply them to Jesus. 

*Note: Use the name "Jehovah", which is the pronunciation they use when speaking of God. It is trivial and unimportant to point out that it should be pronounced Yahweh. It is a lot like saying that the New Testament writers should have used the Hebrew Yeshua instead of the Greek Iesous for Jesus. Obviously, the Holy Spirit did not think this was an issue when he inspired them to write it.

a. Jesus is called "Lord" and "the Lord" throughout the New Testament. For a Jew, this was the Greek equivalent of Jehovah, which is why in the Old Testament you will find "LORD" in all caps. Translators have used this designation wherever the original Hebrew has the name Jehovah (which the ancient Jews replaced with the Greek word kurios or "Lord").
b. John 12:39-41
says: "For this reason they could not believe, because, as Isaiah says elsewhere: 'He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, so they can neither see with their eyes, nor understand with their hearts, nor turn—and I would heal them.” Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus’ glory and spoke about him." Where did Isaiah say that God would blind some peoples' eyes lest they see, turn and be healed? In Isaiah 6:10. Whose glory did Isaiah see in Isaiah 6? He saw the LORD (Jehovah) high and lifted up and the seraphim declaring that the whole earth is full of his glory! (Isaiah 6:1-5)
c. Malachi 3:1 says: "“Behold, I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; and the messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, He is coming,” says the LORD [Jehovah] of hosts." And Isaiah 40:3-5: "A voice is calling,“Clear the way for the LORD [Jehovah] in the wilderness; Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God...." (v.3) The Gospels clearly apply these verses to John the Baptist preparing the way for Jesus (Mark 1:1-3; Matthew 3:3; Luke 1:76; 3:4-6; John 1:23).
d. In Matthew, chapters 26 & 27, we are told that the Jewish leaders paid 30 pieces of silver to Judas for his betrayal of Jesus. When Judas returned the money, it was used to buy a potter's field (Matthew 27:3-7). The Old Testament prophecy in Zechariah 11:12-13 says this: "So they paid me thirty pieces of silver. And the LORD [Jehovah] said to me, 'Throw it to the potter—the handsome price at which they valued me!'"
e. Palms 68:18 says: "When you ascended on high, you took many captives; you received gifts from people, even from the rebellious— that you, LORD [Jehovah] God, might dwell there." Paul paraphrases this verse and applies it to Jesus (Ephesians 4:7-11).
f. Isaiah 8:13-14 says: "The LORD [Jehovah] Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy, he is the one you are to fear, he is the one you are to dread. He will be a holy place; for both Israel and Judah he will be a stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall. And for the people of Jerusalem he will be a trap and a snare." Peter says that this stone who causes people to stumble is the same stone that is laid in Zion, and the same stone that was rejected by the builders but became the Cornerstone (1 Peter 2:6-8; compare with Acts 4:11; also Matthew 21:42-45; Mark 12:10-12; and Luke 20:17-19).
g. Zechariah 12:1, 10 says: "....The LORD [Jehovah], who stretches out the heavens, who lays the foundation of the earth, and who forms the human spirit within a person, declares:....They will look on me, the one they have pierced,...." This is applied to Jesus in John 19:36-37.
h. Jeremiah 9:24 says: "....but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the LORD [Jehovah]...." Paul applies this to Jesus in 1 Corinthians 1:31-2:2.
i. Isaiah 44:6 says: “This is what the LORD [Jehovah] says—Israel’s King and Redeemer, the LORD Almighty: I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God." In Revelation 1:17-18 , Jesus says "I am the first and the last." Also see Revelation 2:8 and Isaiah 48:12.
j. Joel 2:32 says: "And everyone who calls on the name of the LORD [Jehovah] will be saved...." Paul applies this to Jesus in Romans 10:9-13: "If you declare with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. As Scripture says, 'Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.' For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, 'Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.'"


STEP 8
Ask them to describe who Jehovah is. Then show them that all these things are true of Jesus. The following are some of the most essential attributes of God's character and the Bible makes it clear that all of these things that we so rightly attribute to be true only of God are indeed true of Jesus.

a. He is the Creator of all things: John 1:3
1 Corinthians 8:6Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 3:1-4; 1:21:8-10
b. He created all things for himself (and not someone else): Colossians 1:16. Jesus is the purpose for everything and he owns it all!
c. He controls all things: Hebrews 1:3; Colossians 1:17
d. He is eternal: Colossians 1:17; Micah 5:2 with Matthew 2:1-6John 8:58Note the importance of the "I am" statements in John and that Jesus says "before Abraham was born I am "--and not "I was."

e. He is unchanging: Hebrews 13:8; 1:8-12
f. He is Omnipresent. He fills everything in every way. He fills the Universe: Ephesians 1:23; 4:10 (compare with Jeremiah 23:23-24); Colossians 3:11.
g. He is wiser than Solomon (Matthew) and the source of all wisdom and knowledge: Matthew 12:42; Luke 11:31Colosians 2:3).
h. He forgives people of all their sins: Mark 2:5-7; Luke 5:20-21; 7:48-49
i. He himself is sinless: 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 2:22; 1 John 3:5; etc.
j. He is "Lord of all": Acts 10:36; Romans 10:12; 1 Corinthians 8:6Philippians 2:11 (compare with Isaiah 45:23).

k. He is Lord of the Sabbath (Matthew 12:8). When Jesus declared that he was Lord of the Sabbath, it was no trivial matter. The Sabbath was instituted by God at creation (Genesis 2:2-3), written on stone tablets by God's own finger (Exodus 20:1-17; especially verses 9-11; Deuteronomy 10:4), and an everlasting sign between Jehovah and his people Israel (Exodus 31:12-17). Only Jehovah can be Lord of the Sabbath.
l. He is "Lord of lords": Note how this title is used in the Scripture to declare that God is above all others and then in Revelation 17:14 it is clearly used to speak of Jesus, the Lamb who was slain.
*Deuteronomy 10:17: "For the LORD [Jehovah] your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who is not partial and takes no bribe."
*Psalm 136:3: "Give thanks to the Lord of lords, for his steadfast love endures forever."
*1Timothy 6:15: "....which he will display at the proper time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords,...."
*Revelation 17:14: "They will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful.”
m. He is the Judge of all the earth: Matthew 16:27; 25:31-46; 2 Corinthians 5:10; etc.

n. He is greater than the temple of God: Matthew 12:6. This is not a trivial claim. The temple represented the place of God's Presence. Speaking against the temple was the first charge brought against Jesus at his trial (Matthew 26:61 and Mark 14:58; compare with Matthew 27:40 and Mark 15:29). And it was the primary charge brought against Stephen when the Sanhedrin stoned him (Acts 6:13-14).
o. He is worshiped and is worthy of all honor, glory and praise: Matthew 2:11; 14:33; 28:928:16-17; Luke 24:51-52John 9:35-3920:28; Hebrews 1:6; Revelation 5:6-14


*CONCLUSION: Ask them: "If Jesus is all of these things but still not God, what is the difference between Jesus and God?"


These things can only be said of God and no one else. God is the Creator of all things (Genesis 1; Isaiah 45:18; 44:24); and all things are for him. Only God controls all things. Only God is eternal and omnipresent (Jeremiah 23:23-24). Only God is Lord of all, Judge of all the earth (Genesis 18:25; etc.) and worthy to be worshiped (Revelation 19:9-10; Luke 4:8; Exodus 34:14; Isaiah 42:8). Jesus is all of these. The message of Scripture is clear: Jesus is God.


STEP 9
What difference does it make? Ask them if they are married and if it would make a difference if they thought of their spouse as an insect....or a cat....or a robot....or a child? Of course it makes a great deal of difference. Who Jesus is makes all the difference in our relationship with him and the glory that we give to him. It makes a great deal of difference in how we respond to him, how we love him and worship him, and how we realize the greatness of his love in becoming one of us and dying for us.


STEP 10
Invite them to follow Jesus Christ as the Almighty Eternal Creator of all things who rightfully demands the highest worship and who gave his life for them: Galatians 2:20.


RESOURCE LIST....
WEBSITES
*Witnesses in Transition at Institute for Religious Research. My #1 recommendation for learning more about witnessing to JW's....or for recovering JW's.
*ApologeticsIndex has a nicely organized list of resources for researching Jehovah's Witnesses.
*Christian Research Institute (Hank Hanegraaff) has lots of articles on JW's.
*Always Be Ready has numerous articles, audio, books & DVDs about JW's.
*Watchman Fellowship has many articles on JW's. Other resources.
*TowerWatch Ministries
*True Free Thinker has a nice series of articles on JW's.
*Jehovah's Witnesses and Biblical Discussion Group on Facebook is a great place to ask questions and find support.


ARTICLES
*"Jehovah's Witness at Your Door - A Quick Reference Guide" at Blue Letter Bible
*"Redi-Answers on Jehovah's Witnesses Doctrine" by Erich & Jean Grieshaber

*"How to Witness to a Jehovah's Witness" by Ray Comfort
*"Sharing the Gospel with Jehovah's Witnesses" by Neil Shenvi
*"Jehovah's Witnesses: Witnessing to the Witnesses" by Patrick Zukeran


ARTICLES ABOUT The New World Translation (the Jehovah's Witness Bible)...
*"Is the New World Translation a Valid Version of the Bible?" at GotQuestions?
*"Should John 1:1 Read 'a god'?" by Lenny Esposito of Come Reason Ministries
*"Why Do the Jehovah's Witnesses Use the New World Translation? And Should We?": an 11-page PDF file booklet at Ratio Christi

BOOKS
*Can I Get a Witness? How to Understand and Set Free Jehovah's Witnesses by Brian Garcia. Currently only $2.99 on Kindle.
*Winning the Witnesses by Daniel Rodriguez
*30 Years A Watchtower Slave: The Confessions of a Converted Jehovah's Witness by William J. Schnell
*Jehovah's Witnesses Answered Verse by Verse by Daniel A. Reed
*Kingdom of the Cults by Walter Martin. FREE! to read online and accompanied by audio lectures. Scroll down to the section on Jehovah's Witnesses.


RELATED PAGES FROM MY BLOG
*Jesus' Deity: Resources for Study




THE DEITY OF JESUS: An Article & Resources

"I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic—on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg—or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronising nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to. . . . Now it seems to me obvious that He was neither a lunatic nor a fiend: and consequently, however strange or terrifying or unlikely it may seem, I have to accept the view that He was and is God. 

-C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, pages 55-56
**************************************************

Perhaps the most important thing that we can learn from the Scripture is that Jesus is God. If you don't understand that, you will not understand what it means to have a relationship with Christ and to serve him as Lord. Nor will you understand the greatness of his love that he created us and then after we rejected him and caused immeasurable pain to him and his creation, he himself came and died for us.

It seems to me that it is because Satan does not want Christ to be worshiped, served and loved in this way that every cult denies that Jesus is God. Therefore, having a clear understanding of how the Scriptures reveal this truth is of utmost importance for those who seek to reach those lost in the cults.

The study that follows here will also be of help to those who have been led to believe that the idea that Jesus is God was invented in the 2nd, 3rd or 4th Centuries. It is clearly woven in to the very fabric of the New Testament. The following is an extensive list of ways in which that is revealed in the New Testament, but much more could be said.

What follows has been adapted from my article: "How to Witness to 'Jehovah's Witnesses'":

Note: Scripture links will take you to the New International Version (NIV) at Blue Letter Bible.

JESUS IS GOD
The Bible explicitly declares that Jesus is God. The following verses are a few of the most explicit references: John 1:1 & 185:18; 10:33Philippians 2:5-6Colossians 2:9Titus 2:13and 2 Peter 1:1.


JESUS IS YAHWEH
Perhaps even more significant is the way in which the New Testament writers frequently take Old Testament passages that are speaking of Yahweh and apply them to Jesus. This makes it very clear that when the say that Jesus is God they mean Yahweh: the personal God of the Old Testament, who created the universe and revealed himself through the prophets of Israel. Below are several very clear examples:

a. Jesus is called "Lord" and "the Lord" throughout the New Testament. For a Jew, this was the Greek equivalent of Yahweh, which is why in the Old Testament you will find "LORD" in all caps. Translators have used this designation wherever the original Hebrew has the name Yahweh (which the ancient Jews replaced with the Greek word kurios or "Lord").
b. John 12:39-41 
says: "For this reason they could not believe, because, as Isaiah says elsewhere: 'He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, so they can neither see with their eyes, nor understand with their hearts, nor turn—and I would heal them.” Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus’ glory and spoke about him." Where did Isaiah say that God would blind some peoples' eyes lest they see, turn and be healed? In Isaiah 6:10. Whose glory did Isaiah see in Isaiah 6? He saw the LORD (Yahweh) high and lifted up and the seraphim declaring that the whole earth is full of his glory! (Isaiah 6:1-5)
c. Malachi 3:1 says: "“Behold, I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; and the messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, He is coming,” says the LORD [Yahweh] of hosts." And Isaiah 40:3-5: "A voice is calling,“Clear the way for the LORD [Yahweh]in the wilderness; Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God...." (v.3) The Gospels clearly apply these verses to John the Baptist preparing the way for Jesus (Mark 1:1-3Matthew 3:3Luke 1:763:4-6John 1:23).
d. In Matthew, chapters 26 & 27, we are told that the Jewish leaders paid 30 pieces of silver to Judas for his betrayal of Jesus. When Judas returned the money, it was used to buy a potter's field (Matthew 27:3-7). The Old Testament prophecy in Zechariah 11:12-13 says this: "So they paid me thirty pieces of silver. And the LORD [Yahweh] said to me, 'Throw it to the potter—the handsome price at which they valued me!'"
e. Palms 68:18 says: "When you ascended on high, you took many captives; you received gifts from people, even from the rebellious— that you, LORD [Yahweh] God, might dwell there." Paul paraphrases this verse and applies it to Jesus (Ephesians 4:7-11).
f. Isaiah 8:13-14 says: "The LORD [Yahweh] Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy, he is the one you are to fear, he is the one you are to dread. He will be a holy place; for both Israel and Judah he will be a stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall. And for the people of Jerusalem he will be a trap and a snare." Peter says that this stone who causes people to stumble is the same stone that is laid in Zion, and the same stone that was rejected by the builders but became the Cornerstone (1 Peter 2:6-8; compare with Acts 4:11also Matthew 21:42-45Mark 12:10-12and Luke 20:17-19).
g. Zechariah 12:1, 10 says: "....The LORD [Yahweh], who stretches out the heavens, who lays the foundation of the earth, and who forms the human spirit within a person, declares:....They will look on me, the one they have pierced,...." This is applied to Jesus in John 19:36-37.
h. Jeremiah 9:24 says: "....but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the LORD [Yahweh]...." Paul applies this to Jesus in 1 Corinthians 1:31-2:2.
i. Isaiah 44:6 says: “This is what the LORD [Yahweh] says—Israel’s King and Redeemer, the LORD Almighty: I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God." In Revelation 1:17-18 , Jesus says "I am the first and the last." Also see Revelation 2:8 and Isaiah 48:12.
j. Joel 2:32 says: "And everyone who calls on the name of the LORD [Yahweh] will be saved...." Paul applies this to Jesus in Romans 10:9-13: "If you declare with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. As Scripture says, 'Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.' For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, 'Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.'"


JESUS HAS ALL THE ATTRIBUTES OF GOD

The following are some of the most essential attributes of God's character and the Bible makes it clear that all of these things that we so rightly attribute to be true only of God are indeed true of Jesus.

a. He is the Creator of all thingsJohn 1:3
1 Corinthians 8:6Colossians 1:16Hebrews 3:1-41:21:8-10
b. He created all things for himself (and not someone else): Colossians 1:16Jesus is the purpose for everything and he owns it all!
c. He controls all things: Hebrews 1:3Colossians 1:17
d. He is eternal: Colossians 1:17Micah 5:2 with Matthew 2:1-6John 8:58Note the importance of the "I am" statements in John and that Jesus says "before Abraham was born I am "--and not "I was."

e. He is unchanging: Hebrews 13:81:8-12
f. He is Omnipresent. He fills everything in every way. He fills the Universe: Ephesians 1:234:10 (compare with Jeremiah 23:23-24); Colossians 3:11.
g. He is wiser than Solomon (Matthew) and the source of all wisdom and knowledge: Matthew 12:42Luke 11:31Colosians 2:3).
h. He forgives people of all their sins: Mark 2:5-7Luke 5:20-217:48-49
i. He himself is sinless: 2 Corinthians 5:211 Peter 2:221 John 3:5; etc.
j. He is "Lord of all": Acts 10:36Romans 10:121 Corinthians 8:6Philippians 2:11 (compare with Isaiah 45:23).

k. He is Lord of the Sabbath (Matthew 12:8). When Jesus declared that he was Lord of the Sabbath, it was no trivial matter. The Sabbath was instituted by God at creation (Genesis 2:2-3), written on stone tablets by God's own finger (Exodus 20:1-17; especially verses 9-11; Deuteronomy 10:4), and an everlasting sign between Yahweh and his people Israel (Exodus 31:12-17). Only Jehovah can be Lord of the Sabbath.
l. He is "Lord of lords": Note how this title is used in the Scripture to declare that God is above all others and then in Revelation 17:14 it is clearly used to speak of Jesus, the Lamb who was slain.
*Deuteronomy 10:17: "For the LORD [Yahweh] your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who is not partial and takes no bribe."
*Psalm 136:3: "Give thanks to the Lord of lords, for his steadfast love endures forever."
*1Timothy 6:15: "....which he will display at the proper time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords,...."
*Revelation 17:14: "They will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful.”
m. He is the Judge of all the earth: Matthew 16:2725:31-462 Corinthians 5:10etc.

n. He is greater than the temple of God: Matthew 12:6This is not a trivial claim. The temple represented the place of God's Presence. Speaking against the temple was the first charge brought against Jesus at his trial (Matthew 26:61 and Mark 14:58; compare with Matthew 27:40 and Mark 15:29). And it was the primary charge brought against Stephen when the Sanhedrin stoned him (Acts 6:13-14).
o. He is worshiped and is worthy of all honor, glory and praise: Matthew 2:1114:3328:928:16-17Luke 24:51-52John 9:35-3920:28Hebrews 1:6Revelation 5:6-14


*CONCLUSION: If Jesus is all of these things but still not God, what is the difference between Jesus and God?


These things can only be said of God and no one else. God is the Creator of all things (Genesis 1Isaiah 45:1844:24); and all things are for him. Only God controls all things. Only God is eternal and omnipresent (Jeremiah 23:23-24). Only God is Lord of all, Judge of all the earth (Genesis 18:25; etc.) and worthy to be worshiped (Revelation 19:9-10Luke 4:8Exodus 34:14Isaiah 42:8). Jesus is all of these. 

The message of Scripture is clear: Jesus is God. And that makes all the difference in the world.


RESOURCES FOR FURTHER STUDY
ARTICLES (& BOOK CHAPTERS)
*DuPond, Christopher. "The Deity of Jesus: A Defense" (a 6-part series). 
    -Part 1:  "Introduction"
    -Part 2: "Jesus Receives Honors Only Due to God"
    -Part 3: "Jesus Shares the Attributes of God"
    -Part 4: "Jesus Shares the Names of God"
    -Part 5: "Jesus Shares the Deeds of God"
    -Part 6: "Jesus Shares the Seat of God"
*"The Deity of Jesus Christ" by R.A.Torrey
*"The Deity of Christ" by B.B. Warfield. This is an essay excerpted from The Fundamentals, edited by R.A. Torrey--a classic 4-volume defense of the faith published between 1910 and 1916.
*"What Is the Deity of Christ?" by J. Gresham Machen
*Geisler & Turek. I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist. Chapter 13
*Theopedia. "Deity of Jesus"

BOOKS
*Bowman, Robert and J. Ed Komoszewski. Putting Jesus in His Place: The Case for the Deity of Christ.
*Bird, Michael, Craig Evans, Simon Gathercole, Charles Hill and Chris Tilling. How God Became Jesus: A Response to Bart Ehrman.
*Hurtado, Larry. Lord Jesus Christ: Devotion to Jesus in Earliest Christianity.



Maiestas Domini (975 AD)
Image Source: Wiki Art (public domain)

Friday, August 12, 2016

AVALANCHE OF AUDIO FOR APOLOGETICS & BIBLE STUDY

OUTLINE OF RESOURCES BELOW:
1. BIBLES (FREE)
2. AUDIOBOOKS
    A. FREE
    B. PAID
3. ONLINE COURSES (FREE)
4. PODCASTS (FREE)
5. PREACHING, TEACHING, ETC. (FREE)


There is an amazing array of audio resources available today for studying the Bible and apologetics. And this is extremely helpful for our busy lifestyles, making it possible to learn while commuting, doing yard work, projects around the house, washing dishes, shopping, taking a walk, etc., etc. I encourage you to take advantage of these resources and make the most of your time.

1. BIBLES....ALL FREE!
My #1 pick for listening to the Bible on a phone or tablet.
*YouVersion: If I listen to the Bible it is usually using my phone. Nice assortment of Bible plans for reading through the Bible. Get free app at Google Play. 

Top 2 picks for listening to the Bible on a computer:
*Bible Gateway: Lots of versions to choose from.
*Blue Letter Bible: Fewer versions to choose from than Bible Gateway, but it has the best assortment of study tools of any site that also has audio files for the Bible (as far as  I know).

Other sources:
*Free MP3 downloads of the New International Version (NIV) of the Bible.
*Many more sources for audio Bibles.


2. AUDIOBOOKS
Audiobooks are a great way to access the exploding number of books available. I especially like to find books that I can access both in audio and ebook. I listen to the audiobooks; and if I want to look at something more closely or copy and paste a quote into my notes, I can do so easily.

A. FREE! SOURCES
*TOP 10 FREE Classic, Must-Read Apologetics Books in Ebook & Audio: Includes links and info for Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis, Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton, The Person of Christ by Philip Schaff, Pensees by Blaise Pascal, Eusebius' Church History, Commentary on Galatians by Martin Luther, First Apology of Justin Martyr, The Bridge of History Over the Gulf of Time by Thomas Cooper, and Christianity and Liberalism by J. Gresham Machen.
*"The Early Christian Research Library online": Includes The Septuagint Bible Online, The Complete Works of Flavius Josephus, The Writings of Philo Judaeus of Alexandria, The Book of Jubilees, The Book of Jasher, New Testament Apocrypha (called the "Lost Books of the Bible" though they were never really lost), Old Testament Pseudepigrapha (sensationally called "Forgotten Books of Eden" though nevery actually forgotten), The Books of Enoch, and the Apostolic Fathers (works written by those who knew the apostles). 
*Librivox: A massive selection of public domain books available in audio. If you are looking for a classic work that is in the public domain, there is a good chance you will find it here. Or choose the genre/subject category you are interested in and browse the titles. FREE app at Google Play.
*Sermon Audio


B. PAID SOURCES
*Christian Audio: ONE FREE! AUDIOBOOK EVERY MONTH.
*Audible: 30-day FREE TRIAL. Audible is an excellent source for audio books of all kinds. Get the nice FREE app from Google Play. Also, if you buy a Kindle version of a book, you can get the Audible version for a reduced price (usually only $3.99). So if you see a Kindle book on sale, grab it and get the Audible version cheap. :) Here are the Christian Theology books available in both Kindle and Audible.


3. ONLINE COURSES (FREE)
My top 2 picks:
*Biblical eLearningAn impressive array of excellent courses on the Bible, Biblical background, Biblical languages, and Church history by top scholars. Among them are lectures on Matthew, Acts and Romans by Craig Keener. The first lecture on Matthew is a defense of the historicity of the Gospels. Lectures 2 & 3 are a defense of miracles and exorcisms in the Gospels. Keener is perhaps the greatest living scholar on Acts and has recently published a massive commentary with more than 45,000 references to ancient extrabiblical literature. He has also published 3 commentaries on Matthew, the Zondervan Biblical Background Commentary on the New Testament, and a massive 2-volume work on miracles. Having nearly completed the course on Matthew, I cannot recommed it highly enough.
*Biblical Training: A well-rounded curriculum. And the classes are all of very high quality. Some are by foremost scholars for the area being taught. There are many Bible courses at Biblical Training. I do highly recommend the course on Romans taught by Douglas Moo, whose Romans commentary is generally considered to be the best available. The courses that are explicitly about apologetics are listed below. There are also courses on philosophy: "Essentials of Christian Apologetics" by Ronald Nash (2 hours 20 minutes); "Christian Apologetics" by Ronald Nash (14 hours 35 minutes). Four courses by Dr. Nash that are related to worldview analysis and thought. See my "Worldviews" bibliography here. Dr. Nash is witty, brilliant and easy to understand. I highly recommend his courses and books.

More....
*"How to Get a Theological Education Through iTunes U": iTunes has a vast array of audio resources and this article is an excellent guide to finding them.
*See "FREE ONLINE CLASSES FOR STUDYING THE BIBLE & APOLOGETICS" for much much more.



4. PODCASTS (FREE)

*Deeper Waters Ministries with Nick Peters. Lots of interviews with top scholars on various topics related to apologetics (and occasionally other topics).
*Unbelievable? with Justin Brierely. Justin hosts informal debates between 2 scholars on opposite sides of an issue.
*The 16 Best Apologetics Podcasts rated by Brian Auten of Apologetics315
*Apologetics Podcasts Worth Your Time at Apologetics315
*Apologetics for Your iPod at Apologetics315
*Audio Debates at Apologetics315
*Interviews with Apologists at Apologetics315
*Top Ten Podcasts for the Christian Thinker at Sententias (Max Andrews)
*The Big LIst of Christian Podcasts at Reasonable Theology. Topically arranged and "Apologetics" is the first topic.
*The Ultimate List of Christian Apologetics Podcasts at Credo Courses. A very long list that is arranged alphabetically.



5. PREACHING, TEACHING, ETC. (FREE)
*SermonAudio: Not just sermons....Well over a million audio files in multiple genres: audio book, Bible study, debates, broadcasts, teaching, devotionals, etc. Includes Multiple ways to search for what you want: browse categories, sermon topics, search engine. Includes audio from R.C. Sproul, C.H. Spurgeon, John MacArthur, Paul Washer, and many many more. FREE app available at Google Play.
*Monergism: Lots of resources, topically arranged.
*SermonIndex has a nicely organized and extensive list.



STILL LOOKING?....
*Check out "The Ultimate Apologetics MP3 Audio Page" at Apologetics 315
*Audio and MP3 Apologetics links at Christian CADRE