Now Is the Time2 Corinthians 5:1 – 6:2Theme: The urgency of the Gospel.This week’s lessons remind us that we are not guaranteed a tomorrow.
LessonBasing our knowledge on Scripture often leads to criticism. Some people say, “That really is something you can’t support because, after all, why should you regard the Bible in particular as God’s revelation? Certainly, there are other revelations or at least there are other books that claim to reveal God.” We can answer those criticisms by saying, “We believe that the Bible is the Word of God because the Lord Jesus Christ taught that the Bible is the Word of God; we can trust what he says about the Bible.”
Some people see that as circular reasoning: the Bible supports Jesus; Jesus supports the Bible. Therefore, such reasoning is invalid. However, when we speak about revelation in Scripture, we are able to base our reasoning on its historical reliability. We ask, “Is it genuinely reliable? Is this the kind of book that seems to bear witness to true events?” And the answer is yes. Even Time magazine, a publication with a decidedly secular slant, concluded some years ago that the Bible is an extremely reliable book.
What is the main topic found in the Bible? It is Jesus Christ. The Old Testament looks forward to him. The Gospels present him. The epistles and those books that follow look back and interpret what he did. All through the Bible the focus is on Jesus Christ. That leads us to ask: who is Jesus Christ? Jesus came making extraordinary claims. He claimed to be God. Making such a claim was a capital offense in his day, so Jesus often instructed his followers not to reveal his claim to others until after his death and resurrection. Nevertheless, he made those claims. Jesus said, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). And when Thomas fell down before him and said, “My Lord and my God,” Jesus received the worship, which was another way of making his claim. So, we approach the Bible by saying, “We have Jesus Christ who has revealed himself as the Son of God, and, therefore, as an infallible authority.”
We find that Jesus Christ not only taught that the Bible is God’s Word and can be trusted, but the Lord Jesus Christ himself, the very Son of God, patterned his own life upon the Bible. He explained to his disciples that he would have to go to the cross and die because that is what the Old Testament had written about him. Jesus, the very Son of God, so depended upon the Bible and trusted the Bible that he said, “Every single word must be fulfilled.”
So if that is true, if the Bible presents Christ, and Christ is who he said he is, then his view about the Bible must be our view. We approach this Book not with circular reasoning, but with a sound approach. So we say to ourselves and to the world, “This is what God has to say to people today.” We make it our task to persuade men of these truths.
That is what Paul was talking about in 2 Corinthians. He begins by discussing the knowledge that concerned himself and his aspirations. In the last chapter, chapter 4, Paul reviewed the difficulties he had gone through. But as he got to the end of that section, he said that in all of those hardships, he and the other apostles had not despaired. They had persevered because their eyes were fixed on things that are eternal. That is what matters in the long run. That is what is going to be left when all of the heavens and earth pass away. What God does in the lives of people remains.
How do we know that the Bible is truly God’s Word?
What is the main theme of Scripture – from Genesis to Revelation?
Further StudyReview the difficulties Paul experienced by carefully rereading 2 Corinthians 4.
Key PointJesus’ view about the Bible must be our view.