Knowing the Bible for Yourself (Pt. 8)
It seems an absurd question to ask, how one should read historical narrative since we do it intuitively all the time. In picking up a biography to read or a story in the newspaper, we are naturally handling material that would rightly be defined as historical narrative and yet we do it effortlessly without thinking. We pay close attention to the facts and the details - the dates and names, the places and characters. We all know the difference between facts and fiction and handle both accordingly. No one for a minute would take a novel like Alice and Wonderland and read it as they would a WW2 journal. One is fact and one is fiction. Whilst we can be inspired and entertained by fiction - learning very many valuable lessons - it is still at the end of the day fiction – it’s made-up, it’s not a faithful representation of historical fact but instead concerns itself with imaginary people and imaginary events. I’m sad to say, there are some, most notably those in liberal circles, who approach the Bible in this way. God creating the earth in six days! A global flood! Noah and the Ark! Jonah and a great fish! Virgin birth! Resurrection from the dead! Miracles and healings! Far from being taken as fact, at best these are embellishments to enhance the narrative and at worst fanciful stories (myths and legends) made up by the imaginations of men.
In this teaching, we look at the historicity of the Bible. Rather than giving a definitive how-to, we seek to give some cautionary pointers in approaching the historical narratives contained in the Bible and to clearly set out what these narratives are and are not. It is my hope that in doing this, it will help guard against the misuse of these passages and set a firm foundation upon which we may learn from the history recorded in the Bible so as to serve the Lord better in our day.
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The great predicament of man, is his pride and rebellion; stubbornness is what keeps Him from serving God—He can have it no other way than his own. Simply put, He refuses to have a God that will meddle with His affairs, and until that man is first broken, he will rise in newness of life. You know, the Church today has lost sight of the first and only ever presents to man the last. Come to Christ and see what He will do for you!! Yet, they do not tell them that entrance into this Kingdom is through a door of brokenness! “And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder” (Mt. 21:44). Tell me dear soul, have you known it on this wise? Do you know what it is to fall on that rock? May we indeed fall upon that rock that in falling we might rise again in newness of life.
Any true sportsman knows fully well that there’s more to winning than merely turning up! Turning up is the easy part; it’s the parts that the cheering fans don’t see that differentiates the winners from the losers. Persistent and relentless discipline; those countless hours spent in training. When those of their peers were free to do as they please—eating what they will and going where they would—the future champion in the making is not! Burdened with a fervent passion to succeed, against all odds and at all costs, he pushes his natural man to limits, exacting from his mortal body seeming impossibilities so as to win the prize.
With the self-same analogy, the Church of Jesus Christ must everywhere be given, not only to prayer but persistent prayer! If we would see the power of God in our day at work, let us give ourselves to this end and see what the Almighty will do!