Biblos: Word of the living God

It is November and I could already feel like Christmas is here. My yearly Christmas ritual is to sit, eat mince pies and pigs in blanket, and watching any old film. I am a big Disney movie fan. Visiting Disney World is one of my things to-do in my wish list. Thinking about films, The Lion King is like many, is my favorite film of all time. The scene where Rafiki learns Simba is alive, still brings tears to my eyes.

The assurance of knowing someone you love is alive and around us, gives us immense satisfaction and pleasure. Being alive is something to be celebrated. I was reading one quote and it says, “Take every breath as an event”. As someone who is born in Pakistan, I have seen violence and persecution very closely. According to Open Door USA, Pakistan ranks on number five in the world for religious persecution – Christian Persecution. To follow faith in fragile countries like Pakistan is difficult, but as Christians we find peace in our God – Living God ! In Jeremiah chapter 10, bible tells us:

But the Lord is the true God; he is the living God, the eternal King.

– Jeremiah 10:10

When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples about him. Peter replied in following words.

You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.

– Matthew 16:16

All religions are based on a founder who died and did not come back to life. Christians know and serve a living Savior. In Revelation 1:18, John tells us that Jesus is alive. He died, but death could not hold Him. He arose and is alive forevermore. The truth of the resurrection is unique to Christianity.

Don’t be afraid. I am the First and the Last, and the Living One. I was dead, but look—I am alive forever and ever.

– Revelation 1:17-18

The Greek noun biblos means “sacred writing,” “book or “scroll”. It is a new testament word. It is used in Mark, Matthew, Luke and three other books. According to Hebrews 4:12, ‘the word of God is living and active‘. The Word of God here is the written or spoken Word, not the Logos of John chapter 1. The Bible is unlike other books, whatever emotional or social effects they may produce, in that it brings about lasting, supernatural change within a person. My life has been transformed when I started meditating on the Word. I saw the living Word of God in action in the pages of the Bible. The God who is alive works in this world through His living Word in conjunction with the Holy Spirit. The living Word is active in the lives of those who receive it and it reveals mysteries every time you read it. According to the psalmist, the person who meditates on and delights in the Word will be “like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither”. Amen !

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit..

– Hebrews 4:12

I believe in Biblical inerrancy with textual criticism. The doctrine of sola Scriptura, which the Protestant Reformers embraced in order to correct errors that said other authorities such as post-biblical church tradition are equivalent to Scripture as a rule of faith. Doctrine of biblical infallibility, says that the Bible cannot teach error. As the Bible is incapable of teaching error, Scripture is actually free from error. The Word of God does not affirm anything that is false, and I refer to this as Biblical inerrancy. John Calvin writes in one of his texts, “The word of God is pure, and without any mixture of fraud and deceit, like silver which is well refined and purified from all its dross“. Importantly, when I refer of biblical inerrancy, I am speaking of the original text of Scripture, not its manuscript copies. This is not a problem, however, for the Bible is preserved better than any other ancient book, and we are able to reconstruct the original text that the Apostles and prophets wrote. In John 17:17, the Word of God is referred to as the truth. Timothy refers all scriptures are ‘God-breathed‘.

Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.

– John 17:17

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

– 2 Timothy 3:16-17

Muslims claim that both the Old and New Testament have been changed, and that the Bible is no longer trustworthy. They conclude that it was necessary for Allah to give another book, Qur’an, in its place. This is a complete lie !

How can Muslims make such claims in the face of all the evidence to the contrary? To begin with, they will usually claim that the Qur’an itself states that the Bible has been corrupted. There are indeed a few passages which accuse the Jews of Medina in Muhammad’s day of “corrupting” their Scriptures, although Muslim commentators themselves are not agreed as to what is meant by this. Many earlier commentators held that all that is meant is that they misquoted, not altered, the text. In any case, one may safely say that these verses are not the real reason for the claim. Allah refers back to old scripture to authenticate Quran. In one verse of Quran, it says:

“ He has revealed to you the Book with the truth, confirming the scriptures which preceded it; for He has already revealed the Tawrat and the Injil for the guidance of men, and the distinction between right and wrong.” – Quran 3:3-4.

In another verse, it also advises people who doubt Quran to consult the previous scriptures;

“ If you doubt what We have revealed to you, ask those that have read the Scriptures before you.” – Quran 10:95.

Muslims have neither studied the manuscript evidence for the text of the Old and New Testaments, nor the principles of textual criticism. Manuscripts of the Old and New Testaments dating back to several hundred years before the rise of Islam are displayed in well-known museums across the world (including London). Anyone can compare the Bible we have today with these manuscripts and see that it has not been corrupted. These all confirm the integrity of the text Christians use to this day.

We pray to Father, to guide all souls from darkness to light in Jesus name. Amen !

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