Welcome to The Bible for Life!
Welcome to the Bible for Life Podcast with Ken Harrell! In this first episode, Pastor Harrell shares four key things you must lockdown as you read God’s Word.
“Jesus Christ is the central theme of the Bible he longs to be the central theme of your life. Every area of your life. Your social life, your family life, your work life, your private life, your public life. He wants to be the central theme of your life.”
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The Full Transcript
Welcome to the Bible for Life podcast, where we are passionate about leading and equipping people in a growing relationship with Jesus. Today, Senior Pastor Ken Harrell shares with us four key things we must lock down as we read God’s word. We’re so glad you’ve joined us. And now with today’s episode here’s Pastor Ken Harrell.
I want to welcome you today to our very first podcast entitled The Bible for Life. You may wonder why we’ve named it The Bible for Life, let me explain.
I want you to go back with me to March of 1975. I had come to Christ just two months prior to that, and in March, I’m in Wichita, Kansas, I’d been there all week long at a conference where there were a few thousand people and the speaker was just dealing with the principles from God’s word.
It’s a Thursday afternoon and I’m walking down the streets of Wichita by myself, I’ve got my Bible in my hand and all of a sudden God impressed upon me as a new Christian. It was as if God literally spoke to me, but I do know he impressed this upon me. It was that real. And God impressed upon me at that very moment that every issue in my life or anyone’s life, God’s word has the answer.
You see folks the Bible is not a book where we file facts in our head, the Bible was given to us by God to transform our lives. The way we live, the way we respond, the way we think and the way we act. And that’s why I’m calling this podcast the Bible for life. Now the topics will vary from time to time on this podcast but the format will always be the same.
It will be from my heart to you, for my life to you. I’ll be just sharing really what God has taught me over the years. One desire that I have is to go through the 66 books of the Bible individually and just give an overview of each of those books. I’ll give a podcast very soon about the basic fact, just basic facts about the Bible and an overall view of the Bible where I’ll be talking about the major divisions in the Bible and things such as that.
At times the podcast… I’ll be dealing with issues that we’re going to face or we do face in our life, current events, questions, tough questions that were posed with. I’ll be talking at times about doctrine and dealing on our podcast with doctrine, but on this very first podcast I want to talk about four key things and I’ll give them to you in four key words that you’ve just… You got to lock down.
They are absolutely necessary if you’re ever going to have confidence in God’s word, it’s as if if you were to put the Bible on a desk in front of you and say, “Do I have absolute confidence in this book?”
Well, I want to give you four things today, four key things. And I want to encourage you to remember these, lock them down because it’ll make all the difference in whether or not you have confidence in God’s word, because these are four words that are absolutely crucial. You’ve got to understand them.
So let’s get started. Here’s the first word and the word is revelation. I’m not talking about the last book in the Bible, but the word revelation. Revelation is God giving his truth to mankind. It’s the supernatural act of God whereby he communicates his truth to man which we otherwise would never know. So understand that revelation is communicating the truth of God to man, that’s revelation.
Now there are three ways that God communicated his word to us. First of all he spoke it, that’s oral communication. He illustrated it, visible communication, like nature and the mountains. The Bible says the heavens declare the glory of God. And then in written form, he actually wrote his word.
You’ve got the Decalogue, the tablets of stone, the literal writings of God were with his finger. He etched in stone the 10 commandments.
So first of all revelation. Now if revelation is God giving his truth to man then the second word is inspiration. And that is man receiving and recording that truth without air. The Bible that we absolutely hold dear to our heart has forever been a battleground. Our church here at Northwest Bible, we believe the scriptures are the infallible and errant inexhaustible word of God.
There is a verse in the Bible that is really a benchmark when it comes to inspiration. Paul was writing to Timothy and in second Timothy chapter three, verse 16, Paul said this to Timothy, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God.” Now the word inspiration, given by inspiration of God, it comes from the Greek word theopneustos. Aneustos which means breathed out, and Theos which means God. In other words all scriptures… Now understand that all scripture is breathed out by God.
In other words, he is the source. I don’t care what book, what chapter, what verse, what word, it was all breathed out by God. He’s the source. So when God first revealed his word to Moses in those first five books of the Bible or to Daniel or David or Paul or Peter, he breathed out his word so that those men, without losing their individual personality or their literary style, those men wrote precisely what God wanted them to write and in the order that God wanted them to write.
And the result is you and I have an inerrant text, Charles Ryrie in his paper on Inerrancy said this, and I quote… Talking about how the manuscripts were written and copied, that’s back when they didn’t have the Xerox machines or the copy machines or a computer or things such as that. Dr Ryrie said this, I quote, “To guard against any error slipping in, the one who was doing the copying carefully counted the number of letters and words on every page to be sure that every letter got in to the new copy. He also counted to the middle letter of each page and each book and then did the same on the new copy to double check the accuracy of the copy in order to assure folks.”
In other words, what Dr. Ryrie was saying, in order to assure that accurate copying of God’s word, that’s what took place. In other words, we have a standard that we can trust folks. There’s another verse that helped me early on as a Christian to understand what inspiration really was.
It’s second Peter chapter one in verse number 21, where the Bible says for prophecy never came by the will of man, but Holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy spirit.
In other words, Jeremiah didn’t sit down one day and say, “Well I got a couple hours, I think I’ll write the fourth chapter of my book.” The apostle Paul, when he was on his way on the ship going to Macedonia, he didn’t say, “Well, I got a lot of time on my hands, I think I’ll go down below deck and write a couple of chapters.”
It wasn’t the act or the will of man, but God said that they were moved by the Holy spirit. And that word moved is crucial to the understanding of inspiration. It means that those men that wrote those books of the Bible, they were moved out of their own power apart from their own power. For instance, they were like a ship that’s at sea but it doesn’t have any sail.
That ship is just at the mercy of the ocean and the current and the waves. What Peter is saying is that men were moved out of their own power, out of their own ingenuity, and they put it down as God said it. And they did it without destroying their personality or their literary style.
So you got the first two words, revelation, that’s God giving his truth to man. And then secondly you’ve got inspiration, and that is man recording, receiving and recording that truth and doing it without air. And that leads me to the third key word that you just… You got to nail down folks. And it’s the word illumination.
Now the word illumination, we don’t get all tight or we don’t get all loose or you don’t get a bunch of goosebumps. No, here’s what illumination is. Illumination is the work of the Holy spirit that enables you and me to grasp the truth of God’s word.
In other words, illumination is the teaching ministry of the Holy spirit. It has to do with us being able to understand. Now what does that mean? In John chapter 16 in verse 13, the Bible says, “However, when he the spirit of truth,” that’s the Holy spirit. When he the spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all truth.
In other words it’s like this. You’re reading a passage and you’ve read it scores of times, and all of a sudden you see something and you go, “I never knew that,” or “But now I understand what God is saying.” That’s illumination. It’s like you’re sitting in a service and the preaching is taking place, and all of a sudden the speaker, the preacher says something and a light comes on and you go, “I get it. I understand it.”
That’s the Holy spirit taking God’s word and illuminating it, helping you to understand. A key passage when it comes to illumination is when Paul wrote to the Corinthians in First Corinthians chapter two, verses nine to 16, read that sometime. Let me just give you a quick paraphrase of that. What Paul is saying is that the spirit of God who knows the mind of God communicates it to human beings.
It’s the spirit of God who knows the mind of God that’s communicating that truth to you and me so that we understand it. So illumination is the work of the Holy Spirit, giving you and me an understanding of the Bible. And that brings me to the fourth word. Let me go back over these. Revelation, look at your Bible. Revelation is God revealing, giving his truth to mankind. Inspiration is man receiving and recording that truth without error.
Now we’ve got that Bible and we open it and we begin to read, and that brings about the third word and that’s illumination. That’s the Holy Spirit enabling you and me to understand what God is saying. But there is a fourth word and the unfortunate things is that most of the time Christians leave this out, and that word is application.
And that’s the ability to apply the scriptures into our daily living. The Bible says a lot about this, James in his book, James says, “It’s possible to grow old in the Lord and yet never to grow up in him.” It’s possible to be saved for 25 years and really you’ve just grown old in the Lord, you’ve never grown up. You can go through the Bible multiple times and have very little of the Bible go through you. And my goal in this podcast, my goal when I preach is the practical application of God’s word to give you handles that will impact your life.
That’s why we call this podcast the Bible for Life. When Paul was writing to the Corinthians in First Corinthians chapter three, he’s saying, “You’ve grown, you’ve grown older but you’ve not grown up.” By this time Paul said, “Your senses should have been exercised to discern between good and evil.” But in that third chapter it’s really an indictment of the Church at Corinth. And here’s what he says, just listen to these verses.
First Corinthians chapter three, verses one to three. He says, “And I brethren could not speak to you as to spiritual people, but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. I fed you with milk and that was solid food, for until now you are not able to receive it. And even now you’re still not able, for you’re still carnal. For where there are envy, strife and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?”
You know what the problem was? They were reading the Bible, they just weren’t applying God’s word. Don’t miss what I’m about to say. God didn’t give us his word to satisfy our idle curiosity. One of the problems back there at the Church at Corinth, some of the people were following Paul, some Appolus. Listen, you follow God’s word.
Paul said, “You guys, the problem is you’re carnal.” God didn’t give us his word to satisfy idle curiosity, he didn’t give us his word so that we can just fill our minds with a lot of facts and be able to debate. God gives us his truth to change our lives. Let me end by giving you a true account that illustrates how the Bible can not only change a life but it can change an entire lifestyle. You probably have heard or read about the mutiny on the Bounty, and yet few people understand that the Bible played a vital part.
The Bounty was a British ship, and in 1787 it set sail in the South Seas to the islands there in order to transplant food-bearing trees. Well after 10 months they arrived safely to destination and they were there for a period of months. And after six months they did what the government had sent them there to do. And the order came for them to embark and head back to London, the problem was the sailors rebelled.
Yeah, they really… They liked the native girls, they really liked the climate, and the result, there was mutiny on the Bounty. Captain Bligh and a few others were placed to drift in an open boat. Captain Bligh fortunately survived and he was rescued and taken to London where he told his story and the government sent an expedition to punish.
14 people were captured when they got there, 14 men, and they paid the penalty under British law. Now listen very carefully. Nine of the men had gone to a distant island and there they formed a colony that perhaps… There had never been a more degraded and debauched social life in human history. They learned to distill whiskey from native plants and that whiskey and other habits led to their ruin. Disease had set in, people were murdering one another.
In fact all of the native men and all but one of the other men that had come on the Bounty, they’d been killed, except for one man who had come in the Bounty, his name was Alexander Smith.
He found himself on an island surrounded by women and children. Alexander Smith found a Bible among the possessions of a dead sailor, it was a book that was new to him, he had never read it before. But Alexander Smith sat down and read it through and he believed it and he began to apply it. He wanted others to share in the benefits of this book, and so he began to teach classes to the women and to the children.
It was 20 years before a ship found that island, and when it did what was discovered was a miniature utopia. People were living in decency, prosperity, harmony, peace. There wasn’t any crime, no disease, no immorality, no insanity. How did this happen? By the reading, believing and applying the truth of God.
Folks our problem is not that we don’t have truth, we’re up to our shoulders in truth. Our problem is not applying the truth to our life. And as I close I want to say this, just as Jesus Christ is the central theme of the Bible He longs to be the central theme of your life. Every area of your life. Your social life, your family life, your work life, your private life, your public life. He wants to be the central theme of your life.
That’s why I’m calling this The Bible for Life.
Thanks again for listening. If you’d like to know more about Northwest Bible Church, visit us at nwbible.org. Until next time, remember for the issues of life, for the rest of your life, it’s the Bible for Life.