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Through the Bible, August 22

Reading: Luke 10-11

Summary: Jesus sends out the largest contingency of preachers we know of when the 72 are sent.  Thirty-six pairs of preachers go out and return rejoicing over the authority exercised in Jesus’ name.

Today’s reading also includes the famous parable of the Good Samaritan, Luke’s version of “the Lord’s Prayer” as well as Jesus’ woes pronounced on Pharisees and lawyers.

Devotional Thought:

Is The Bible to be Trusted?

It’s incidental, really.  A small thing but its implications are great. It’s certainly worth knowing about and thinking about.

Here it is.  In Jesus’ instructions given to the seventy whom He sent out to preach, He says, “for the laborer deserves his wages” (Luke 10:7).  Later, in Paul’s first letter to Timothy, he quotes this statement of Jesus from Luke (1 Tim. 5:18).  That’s not unusual at all, but notice this; he says, “For the Scriptures say, ‘You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,’ and ‘ The labor deserves his wages.”  Paul calls what is recorded in Luke, “Scripture” and places it on par with a quotation from the Law of Moses in the book of Deuteronomy (Deut. 25:4).

For Bible believing folks that may seem to be no big deal, but it is big—it’s huge.  We know that in the first century the Jews and the Christians recognized the Hebrew Bible—what we call the Old Testament—as Scripture; that is, the very word of God, authoritative and binding.   Now here, Paul, even before the New Testament has been completed is acknowledging the existence of additional Scripture, in this instance the Gospel of Luke.

The reason this matters is because of a predominant and popular theory about the formation of the Bible, especially the New Testament. The idea is that the contents of the New Testament were decided upon by a council of men in the fourth century A.D. who voted, and what’s more, did so with very political and self-serving motives in mind.  This is why it’s not uncommon to hear about “lost” books of the Bible or other “Gospels” that were excluded in that process.  Don’t you believe it!

The reality is that as the New Testament documents were first circulated they began to gain recognition as being of divine origin, they were genuinely Scripture!  And, in the same process, others were rejected as Scripture.  What is more, this started before the end of the first century and prior to the last New Testament books being written.

The bottom line here is that we have every reason to have full confidence that not only is the Bible God’s word, authoritative and binding but that its contents are complete.  Nothing is lacking.