Why is the preaching and teaching of the Bible so central to the life of BCF? This is the question asked in Sunday's sermon. Here is the outline of those notes and a few quotations...
Key passage: “...the church of the living God [is] a pillar and buttress of the truth. ...devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching.” (1 Timothy 3:15; 4:13 ESV)
Here's a walk-through of the ministry of the Word in biblical history...
• In creation. (Gen. 1:3, 5; Ps. 147:15-18; Rev. 21:5)
• To Israel. (Deut. 4:10-12, 33-36; Josh. 1:8; Ezra 7:10)
• In OT worship. (Ps 1; 19; 119)
• In the prophets. (Isa. 8:16-20; 40:8; 55:10-11; 66:2; Jer. 23:28-29)
• By the Lord Jesus (The Word in flesh!) (Matt. 5:17-19; 26:13; 28:19; Mark 13:31; Jn. 8:31-32; 17:14-17)
• In the early church. (Acts 2:42; 6:4; 20:20, 27, 32)
• By the Apostle Paul. (Rom. 15:4; 1 Tim. 3:15; 4:13; 2 Tim. 2:2; 3:16-17; 4:1-2)
• The rest of the NT. (Heb. 4:12; 2 Pet. 1:19-21; Rev. 22:18-19)
Our God is a God who reveals himself to his creation, who gives life through his words, communicating his will and his promises, and preserving his words in the written Scriptures, so that we may know, trust, and obey him. This is why the Bible is central and vital to the ministry of the local church.
As to its reliability, the Bible (Biblia, book) is a collection of writings by some 35 authors written over 1500 years with a coherent story-line of God’s salvation preparing for, leading up to, and describing the salvation given to us in the promised Messiah, the Lord Jesus. It is not a "western" document, but mid-eastern, originating at the crossroads of the east and west, at the intersection of three continents (Africa, Asia, Europe). We find its testimony reliable, based upon its self-claims, historical accuracy, the fulfillment of hundreds of prophecies, eye-witness testimonies, early manuscript attestation, faithful transmission, and the consistency of its message. Inwardly, we have felt its power and authority and have come to believe there is indeed a divine Author behind the many human authors.
Some historical quotes...
Justin Martyr, First Apology, Sec. 67 (ca AD 150)... "And on the day called Sunday there is a meeting in one place of those who live in cities or the country, and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read as long as time permits. When the reader has finished, the leader in a discourse urges and invites us to the imitation of these noble things. Then we all stand up together and offer prayers.”
Westminster Shorter Catechism (1647), Question #2. What rule has God given to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him? Answer. The Word of God, which is contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, is the only rule to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him.
Quote. “I am a creature of a day, passing through life as an arrow through the air. I am a spirit come from God, and returning to God: just hovering over the great gulf; till, a few moments hence, I am no more seen; I drop into an unchangeable eternity! I want to know one thing, the way to heaven; how to land safe on that happy shore. God Himself has condescended to teach the way; for this end He came from heaven. He has written it down in a book. Give me that book! At any price give me the Book of God!” (John Wesley, 1703—1791)
Quote. "Since it is your privilege, O my soul, to pray to your covenant God, and to praise him for covenant mercies, then you will highly prize the Holy Scriptures; because without them you cannot know what to pray for, nor what is indeed a mercy. Your faith has nothing to stand upon but the word of God, and nothing to praise him for but mercies therein promised, and by believing received." ~ William Romaine, The Life, Walk, and Triumph of Faith (1796)
You can stream or download the sermon here.