Revelation chapter number 1 the verse that I want to start in is there in verse number 11 where the bible reads, " Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea." The title of my sermon tonight is the writing of the New Testament. This is the third and final installment in the group of sermons that I've preached. I started out with a sermon called, "Where did we get the Bible". We went through and talked about the authorship of the Old Testament books, who wrote them and where did they come from. Then in the 2nd installment we talked about the preservation of the Old Testament.
In this third sermon I want to talk about the New Testament, who wrote the New Testament and how did we get the new testament that we have today? If you would, to start with, just flip open your bible to the table of contents in the front and just take a look at the books of the new testament. I'm just going to kind of give you a quick overview of the books of the new testament. Then we'll go in and talk about each of the books and the authors.
First of all when you look at that list you'll see Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Those first 4 books of the new testament are known as the 4 gospels. Those cover the life of Jesus Christ, his ministry, his preaching, his miracles and of course his death, burial and resurrection. They're written by 4 different men, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John. That's why they're called the gospel according to Matthew, the gospel according to Mark. It's just he story as told from the perspective of these 4 different men.
Then when you get into the book of Acts, the book of Acts picks up right where the 4 gospels left off and continues the story after Jesus Christ ascends into heaven with the acts of the apostles. That's the full name of the book, Acts of the Apostles, their words and spreading the gospel, starting churches and Christianity spreading and thriving and so forth. Acts is actually connected to the book of Luke because the same author who wrote Luke is the same one who wrote the book of Acts but Acts picks up where any of the 4 gospels leave off.
Then after that we get into what's known as the epistles and that starts in Romans and goes all the way through Jude. Those are letters that are written by apostles of the Lord that are sent to various groups of people, whether that be churches or even just to an individual, these epistles are letters that are written unto various people. We'll talk more about that when we get into that.
Then of course we have the book of revelation, which is a prophetic book written by John, the same person who wrote the gospel of John. That prophetic book talks about the future events.
Just to break it down to you in a nutshell, the first 5 books of the new testament tell a story. Then we have the epistles which are more doctrinal books from Romans through Jude. Of course we know all scripture is profitable for doctrine but they are pretty much just purely doctrine, there's not much of a story there in Romans through Jude. Then the book of Revelation is the one just purely prophetic book of the new testament telling about future events and so forth.
Now that we have a basic overview let's just quickly talk about the fact that the new testament was written in Greek. You say, "Well how do we know that Pastor Anderson? How do we know that the new testament was written in Greek?" A lot of people today are challenging this and they're starting to say, "Well maybe it wasn't written in Greek. Maybe it was written in Hebrew because there's this great Hebrew roots movement out there to try to say that the bible has been Hellenized, is the word that they use. Hellenistic meaning having to do with that which is Greek. They say it was originally a Jewish book, a Jewish religion and it has been Hellenized and that there was manuscripts of the new testament in Hebrew that goes back even older. They'll say that the name of our savior is not really Jesus, they'll say that name is actually Yeshua or Yahshua or Yahushua or however they pronounce it and they'll say that's his real name. That's the real name of our savior.
The problem with that is if the new testament is written in Greek then his name would be Jesus because the term Yeshua or Yahushua is never found in the new testament. You won't find that in a Greek new testament. Now let me just say this, this book that I hold in my hand right here is a Greek new testament and it's not just any Greek new testament, this is the exact Greek underlying text of our King James Version. If you wanted to read a Greek new testament that reads exactly like what we have in our English King James Bible, the traditional English bible that we've had for over 400 years, this book represents exactly that. This is a Greek Textus Receptus.
Now when they translated the King James bible, they used 7 different printed editions of the received Greek text. They used various editions of 3 men, Erasmus, Stephanus and Beza. The main one that they use was Beza. They use these 3 men's work where they had put together the Greek text. The reason that they had 7 of them was because when you just rely on one person, often times that one person could have made a mistake. They took the work of these 3 men and they laid it all out and they basically translated from that. There were certain variations between the Greek tests of these 3 men. They're all known as the Textus Receptus, or received text. They were just little, tiny, minute differences, nothing major whatsoever except just in a few places.
This book right here takes those 3 books, Erasmus, Stephanus and Beza and it represents the choices that the King James translators made. This is the exact Greek text underlying the King James version of the new testament. Now there have been people who have questioned that and said, "Well I don't think that that book is accurate." You say, "Well what exact book do you have in your hand?" This is published by the Trinitarian Bible Society and this Greek text has been out for well over 100 years. Over the course of the last 100 and some odd years many people have compared this book to the King James Bible and try to see if they could find discrepancies. Now there are people out there who lie and claim that there are 52 discrepancies between these 2 books. Gail Riplinger is one of them and other people have put out the same list of 52 discrepancies between ... Sometimes they'll say 54 discrepancies.
Well I got out the Greek new testament and the King James bible and I put them side by side and I got that list of 54 so called discrepancies that I looked up every single one of them and tested it. I'll tell you that the majority of it was just an outright lie. There was absolutely no discrepancy. Most of the rest were just misunderstandings or just misconstruing what's being said. I found 2 legitimate differences, 2 basically typos in this book. Here's what they were, at the end of the book of Ephesians the word Amen is missing in this book. Now that was really easy to fix because I just took a pen and I just wrote Amen at the end of Ephesians. That fixed that problem right away. Then the other one was in the book of Acts where instead of saying, "Word of God" it said "Word of the Lord". I mean throw this thing in the trash right because ... Look, it's just a typo folks. They accidentally put Lord instead of God. It really doesn't change any doctrine whether it's the word of God or word of the Lord.
All that to say this, this is a reliable book. This is the traditional Greek text of the New Testament. It has been scrutinized and looked over for well over 100 years. The works of Erasmus, Stephanus, Beza, those were looked over for several hundred years. This is the original Greek New Testament that has been received by us, passed down, preserved, inspired by God. I believe that both of these books are equally authoritative. Why, because they say the same thing whether you're reading it in English or whether you're reading it in Greek it says the same thing. Now this book is not really going to do you a lot of good tonight because you don't speak Greek. This book is everything that you need because you speak English and these books say the same thing?
You say, "Well Pastor Anderson how do we know? How do we know that that's really the original? How do we know that that's really written in Greek? What if there was a Hebrew original?" Here's why that doesn't make any sense. Look at that list in your table of contents and let's look at the names of some of these books. How about that book right there that says the epistle to the Romans? Now if you're writing to the Romans why would you write it in Hebrew? How about this one, 1st and 2nd Corinthians? Well Corinth is in Greece. How about Galatians? That's in what we would consider today northern Greece, Macedonia it was called back then. Whether we're talking about Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1st and 2nd Thessalonians, these are all gentile churches. These are not Jewish groups of people. These are gentiles. In fact if you read these epistles the apostle Paul often makes the point, you're gentiles and he talks about the fact that they're gentiles. There's really no question about that.
If we look at the new testament and we have 27 books, 14 of then are epistles of Paul. 9 of those are specifically written to gentile churches. 4 of them are written to pastors, 2 of those pastors are gentiles. The other pastor Timothy who got 2 epistles, 1st and 2nd Timothy, he was what? Half Greek and half Jewish. We got 2 gentiles and a half gentile that those books are being written to. Then when we add the book of 2nd Peter and 1st Peter. Listen to 1st Peter 1:1. You don't have to turn there but 1st peter 1:1 says, "Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia." Peter is writing to people in Asia. He's writing to people in Pontus, Galatia. These are Greek speaking areas.
Then of course the book of revelation where we started, he said, write the things which you've seen in a book and send that book to the 7 churches which are in Asia. Those are Greek speaking places. When the bible says Asia there it's referring to what we know as Asia Minor or the modern day country of Turkey. All of those cities, Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea, you could go to modern day Turkey today and you could visit those 7 churches. That's where they're all located and that was a Greek speaking place until the Muslims came and so forth, you know the Ottoman Empire and on and on. There is still a considerable Greek population. I believe 20% of those living in Turkey today are still Greek people.
That shows you right there if the book of revelation is sent to a Greek speaking audience virtually all of the epistles are written to a Greek speaking audience except for the epistle to the Hebrews, you could argue, "Well this is written to Jews." Here's the thing, even the Hebrews at that time, 1st century AD were speaking Greek. They were speaking Greek, if not as a first language, as a 2nd language. Most Jews at the time of Christ spoke Aramaic as their 1st language not even Hebrew. Hebrew was already passing away as a living, breathing 1st language that people were born speaking. They had gone to Aramaic and Greek as their main languages of communication.
You say, "Well how do you know that?" Well when Jesus is talking in the gospels every once in a while it tells you exactly what he said, the exact word he said. He'll say for example ephphatha, which is being interpreted be opened. Or he'll say, talita Kumi, which being interpreted is "Damsel I say unto the arise." A lot of times it gives us his exact work in that original language and then it interprets it for us. Those words are Aramaic words. That shows that Jesus is speaking Aramaic, that's how we know that.
They say, "Well Matthew, maybe Matthew was written in Hebrew." Here's the thing about this, there are 5,900 or so Greek manuscripts of the new testament that are in existence that are hand written, ancient manuscripts. Guess how many hand written ancient Hebrew manuscripts there are of the new testament, 0. "I still think it was written in Hebrew", is what these Hebrew roots people say. It doesn't make any sense, does it?
Everything points toward it being Greek. This is just a false Judaising doctrine to try to get people out of Christianity and back to Judaism or into like a hybrid Judeo-Christian type of a thing. It is a fraud, it is a scam. This book right here doesn't say Yeshua, it says Jesus. People would say, "Well but what if Matthew was?" Here's the thing, okay lets just pretend that your fairy tale is few that a few of the books are written in Hebrew like the epistle to the Hebrews or the book of Matthew or whatever. Let's just pretend. Okay, what about the books that we know for sure are written in Greek, which is more than half of the new testament? They all say Jesus. How can that not be the real name? That is the real name and there's no salvation in any other. There's none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.
When we talk about that verse, that there's none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved, that verse is found in Acts 4:12. The book of Acts we know to be written in Greek. It's written to a man by the name of Theophilus, which is a Greek name. Not only that but at the beginning of Luke there are 4 verses ... If you would flip over to Luke. We're going to start talking about the gospels, who the authors of the 4 gospels are. Who are Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, we're going to talk about that next.
Flip over to the book of Luke quickly and I want to show you this little intro to the book of Luke. There's a little intro in verses 1 through 4 to the book of Luke that stands out from the rest of the book. It says, "Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us, even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word; It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus, that thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed."
Hey you might notice that those 1st 4 verses are written in a pretty fancy style aren't they? I mean when we write a letter to a friend we normally wouldn't call him most excellent Theophilus. It's written in a very fancy style in the beginning. In fact, when you read this in the Greek new testament the first 4 verses are written in a classical Greek style, the fancy, educated scholarly classical language, whereas the rest of the new testament is all written in what's known as koine Greek or common Greek, meaning the language of the common man, what your average person spoke.
Again, this is clearly a Greek document that's written to a Greek guy named Theophilus. Acts is a continuation of this because Acts 1:1 says the former treatise have I made unto the, O excellent Theophilus. He picks up where he left off in Acts. Acts is the sequel to Luke and it's also addressed to Theophilus, who is clearly not Jewish. He is clearly a Greek. People will tell all kinds of lies. "Oh virtually all the early Christians were Jews", but in the book of Acts it's gentiles who keep getting saved. You know the Jews get saved in the early chapters but then the Jews keep resisting the truth and it's more and more gentiles that are getting saved. That's why when they go to pick deacons all 7 deacons were Greek and they were there specifically to serve the Greek part of the congregation because it was the Greek part of the congregation that was complaining.
All that to say this, in Christ there is neither Jew nor gentile. There is neither bond nor free. It doesn't matter whether we're Jew or gentile but what does matter is that the new testament was written in Greek and the reason that that matters is because this King James bible is translated from a Greek new testament. If this is wrong, then that would make this wrong. If this is right, that makes this right. That's why that's such a key doctrine, very important, because this is what we base everything we believe on. The new testament in English that we read, that God has saved. Anybody who's here that's saved, you got saved because you heard the word preached out of this book right here, the word of God in English in your native tongue, unless of course you're from some other part of the world you might have heard it in Spanish or some other language. I'm speaking primarily to Americans here tonight.
Let's talk about the authors here. Who were these men, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John? Matthew we don't know a whole lot about him except we know that Matthew was one of the 12 disciples. The one thing that it tells us about Matthew is that ... If you would flip over to Matthew chapter 9, you could see this for yourself. One thing that we know about him is that he was a publican, he was a tax collector. He was a man of humble beginnings. He was a man that was despised of the people around him in those days. It says in verse number 9 of chapter 9 in the book of Matthew, "And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom". He's receiving taxes, he's receiving custom. "And he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him."
You say, what is custom mean? Well think about it when you go to the airport and you come from another country you go through what? Customs. What is that about? Importing goods. Why is that? Many times you have to pay taxes on that which you are importing. That is what he means by the receipt of custom. Matthew is 1 of the 12 disciples.
John, who wrote the gospel of John is also 1 of the 12 disciples. Throughout the book of John ... If you would flip over to John chapter 21. Throughout the book of John he refers to himself as the other disciple, that other disciple or another disciple. Toward the end of the book he refers to himself as the disciple whom Jesus loved. He does not refer to himself by name. He just refers to himself as that other disciple, someone else. Then at the very end he reveals his identity to the reader. After 21 chapters of stories that include himself he reveals himself to the reader. Beginning in verse number ... Find my place here.
Verse 20 the bible says, "Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved", that's one of those references we were talking about, "following; which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee? Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do? Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me. Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?" Again, he just keeps referring to himself as that disciple, the disciple whom Jesus loved.
Then in verse 24, "This is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things". At the very end of the book he says, hey this unknown disciple that I keep referring to is actually me. I'm the author of the book. "And we know that his testimony is true. And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen." Here we see that it's John. You say well how do you know it's John. If we compare stories about that other disciple or the disciple whom Jesus loved with the other gospels he is named as John in those other gospels. That's how we know that John wrote the book of John.
Now there's this Atheist theologian. This is a bible scholar, bible expert, but he's an atheist. Okay he's anti-bible. He basically has a ministry of trying to destroy people's faith in God's word. His name is Bart Ehrman. This guy Bart Ehrman is lifted up and exalted as being, "Oh he's so smart. Oh he's such an expert." Look, I have listened to that guy talk and every time you listen to him talk he makes so many mistakes, he doesn't know the bible. He mixes up kings with people that were living hundreds of years. You know he's talking about the old testament and he doesn't know Amos from Amon. He doesn't know Josiah from Joash. He's mixing things up.
The guy is a fool but amongst atheists he's looked at as, "Oh this guy really knows what he's talking about." Of course these are the same people who love Michio Kaku and Stephen Hawking and all these other kind of people. The point is this guy Bart Ehrman, you go to Barnes & Noble in the Christian section or the morality section or the religion section and there are a whole bunch of books by Bart Ehrman. Now I mean this guys books are in every book store in america. Here's what he said repeatedly. He said, "We don't even know who wrote the 4 gospels. Who is to say that Matthew wrote Matthew? None of the 4 gospels never makes any claim to it's authorship, none of them."
Let me ask you this, is that true when we look at John 21 here that none of the 4 gospels even claims to be written by the guy that we attribute it to? No because this book is clearly claiming to be written by John, isn't it? Now you say, "Okay pastor Anderson, John is written by John. We see that, it's clear. What about Matthew, Mark and Luke? Ehrman was right." No Ehrman wasn't right because Ehrman said that none of the gospels claims that. Here's one that does number 1.
Number 2 you say well how do we know that Matthew, Mark and Luke actually wrote those books? Here's the answer to that, we don't really know that. There's no evidence of that. There's nothing in the book of Matthew that says it was written by Matthew or in Mark that says it was written by Mark or in Luke that says it's written by Luke. Here's the thing with Luke though, in Acts there's clear evidence that Luke is writing just because he starts using the pronoun we once Luke is traveling with Paul, "We went here, we went there". All of the sudden it switches to that. Since you can clearly connect Acts with Luke, there you go. Luke and John are nailed down at that point by cross referencing with Acts.
As far as Matthew and Mark being written by them, that's what has been passed down to us. That's what has been received by us and we just accept it by faith that Matthew wrote the book of Matthew and Mark wrote the book of Mark. Frankly I don't think it's really that important who wrote them because of the fact that it's inspired by God. No human being could write these books. There have been some cheap imitations out there, the gospel of Bartholomew, the gospel of Thomas. You say well how do you know that these books are not legitimate. Well I read them for a few seconds and realized that they were trash. All you have to do is open these books and start reading them and you're going to be face palming within seconds. Just, whoa this is junk.
How do we know that he 27 books that we have of the new testament are the right books, because all 27 books are filled with power. All 27 books are the greatest scriptures ever written in the history of mankind. When you read 1st Corinthians 13, you know it's scripture. When you read the book of James you know it's scripture, when you read Jude, when you read Revelation there's power on every page. That's how we know. Here's the thing, who exactly Mark was is not really the most important issue because we know that the book of Mark is an amazing book, powerful book, perfect book. That's how we know it's scripture.
Let's talk about the Mark of the bible. We know who Matthew and John are don't we? Matthew and John are 2 of the original 12 disciples which it makes perfect sense that they would write the story of the gospel because they were right there with Jesus seeing things first hand. They were at the baptism of John the Baptist. They were following Jesus, they went through the whole process with him so that makes perfect sense. What about Mark and Luke? Let's look at all the scriptures in the Bible that mention Mark.
Go if you would to Acts chapter 12. We're going to look at the scriptures that mention Mark just to understand who Mark is, the author of the book of Mark, the presumed author of the book of Mark, which I believe that he's the author of the book of Mark. I believe that God has provided this book for us today in 2016. I believe that he has preserved it and passed it down unto us. I believe that God has delivered it to us in the form that it's in right now and so I believe that Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are the titles of these books.
Let's look at who Mark is biblically. The bible says ... We're going to look at every verse in the bible that mentions Mark. Look if you would at Acts chapter 12 verse 12, " And when he had considered the thing, he came to the house of Mary the mother of John, whose surname was Mark". Now surname just means last name. My surname is Anderson. His name was John Mark. It says they "came to the house of Mary the mother of John, whose surname was Mark; where many were gathered together praying." Jump down to verse 25. "And Barnabas and Saul", and Saul is who? Paul. He's going to be renamed Paul shortly after this. "And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem, when they had fulfilled their ministry, and took with them John, whose surname was Mark."
Now go to chapter 15. In chapter 12 we find that John Mark is a guy who's mother's name is Mary and he is someone who traveled with Paul and Barnabas on their missionary journeys. Go to chapter 15 verse 36. "And some days after Paul said unto Barnabas, Let us go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they do. And Barnabas determined to take with them John, whose surname was Mark. But Paul thought not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work. And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus; And Paul chose Silas, and departed, being recommended by the brethren unto the grace of God. And he went through Syria and Cilicia, confirming the churches."
If you would flip over to Colossians. What we see here is that this guy John Mark is traveling with Paul and Barnabas on their missionary journeys. On the 1st journey that he goes with them he bails at some point, for whatever reason, he gets homesick, he gets burned out, he gets worn out, but for some reason he bails. When they go to take the next journey Barnabas is determined to bring him along but Paul says I don't want to bring him because he's a quitter. He bailed on us, we need somebody we can rely on. They had a very sharp contention. They're human beings. Paul and Barnabas, they got angry, they're mad. Barnabas is defending Mark, Paul is saying I don't want to bring him. It's such a sharp contention that this great team of Paul and Barnabas is broken up and we end up having Paul and Silas go one way and then Barnabas and Mark go the other way.
Now I believe that the Lord probably could have allowed this contention to happen simply just to double the efforts. Maybe Paul and Barnabas were better off going 2 different directions, get twice as much work done, take some new silent partners and go out and do the soul winning and the confirmation that God called them to do. They go their separate ways and that's the last we hear of Mark. Now let's look at some mentions of him later on in the epistles.
Colossians chapter 4 verse 10 says, "Aristarchus my fellowprisoner saluteth you, and Marcus, sister's son to Barnabas, (touching whom ye received commandments: if he come unto you, receive him;)." Here we see that Marcus is with Paul when he's writing Colossians because he says, hey I'm sending you greetings from Marcus. It tells us something about Marcus that he is sister's son to Barnabas. What's your sister's son called? Your nephew. Doesn't it make sense now why Barnabas was so serious about defending Mark, because he's family. Because Mark is Barnabas' nephew, that's why he so vehemently saying we got to bring this kid, we're bringing him. I say kid, I'm sure he was a grown man, I'm just kidding. We got to bring him.
That fits in that this is the same guy that we're talking about and the fact that he is talking about the fact that he might go see them and they should receive him when he comes. Now flip over to 2nd Timothy chapter 4, just a few pages to the right in your bible. 2nd Timothy chapter 4 and verse 11. This verse is encouraging because the last time we saw Mark in Acts it was a little bit of a negative mention, especially Paul had negative feelings toward Mark. Here we see in 2nd Timothy chapter 4, which is by the way the last book that the apostle Paul wrote chronologically. How do we know that because in 2nd Timothy 4 he talks about the fact that he's about to die, that he's reached the end of his life, that he's finished his course.
At the very end of his life here's what he says in verse 11. "Only Luke is with me." Luke is that author of Luke and author of Acts. He says, "Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry." We see here that Paul has forgiven Mark for bailing on him and now he says bring him to me he's profitable to me for the ministry. This is an interesting verse also because Mark and Luke are mentioned in the same verse here.
Now if you would go to Philemon quickly. We'll just quickly touch down in Philemon and then we're going to go to 1st Peter chapter 5, the final mention. Philemon verse 24 says, "Marcus, Aristarchus, Demas, Lucas, my fellowlabourers." Here again Mark is just listed as one of Paul's fellowlabourers and he's mentioned in the same breath with Luke once again. Then once we get to 1st Peter chapter number 5 verse 13, this is of course Peter writing this epistle. Here's what Peter says in 1st Peter 5:13, " The church that is at Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you; and so doth Marcus my son." Whether he's referring to Marcus here as being his literal son, that Mark was the son of Peter, which makes sense because we know that Peter was married and had children. Whether it's his literal son or whether it's more like his son in the faith like Timothy and Titus were Paul's sons in the faith. It doesn't say son in the faith, it says my son. It's very likely that he could have been the son of Peter.
He says the church at Babylon. You say is that the literal Babylon. Probably not the literal Babylon, probably being written from Rome, which was the new Babylon. Of course I've talked about in other sermons how that torch was passed from Babylon to Persia to Greece to Rome. It's likely that this is being written from Rome. Could it be written from the literal Babylon, it is possible but unlikely. Again, that's nothing to do with the sermon.
Right here we see that Mark in all these mentions is someone who is serving God very closely with Paul, very closely with Luke and these other men. Now flip over to Luke chapter 1 again where we were a little bit ago and then I'll quickly get off the gospels because I want to get into the epistles. Now you say, and this is what people have brought up, "How in the world does this guy Mark, how does he know about the life of Christ? He's not one of the 12 disciples." I've heard of people that said, and this is again coming out of the Hebrew roots movement usually, saying, "Well the gospel of Matthew and the gospel of John are legitimate but Mark and Luke, who are these guys. They weren't there." Here's the thing, I believe that they were there during the life of Christ.
Here's why I believe that they were there because if you look at Luke chapter 1 it says in verse 3, " It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first". Now just because we don't hear about Luke until the book of Acts where he's traveling around with Paul, does that mean that he wasn't one of the many people baptized by John the Baptist? Does that mean that he wasn't one of the 120 people in that early church? Of course not. Luke here is clearly claiming to have had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, meaning that he was there at the beginning of the story at the baptism of John. That makes perfect sense because flip over to Acts chapter 1.
It's clear that Luke was baptized by John. It's clear that he was there throughout the ministry of Christ. Was he one of the 12, no but he was still part of that ministry. You know Jesus had more than 12 people following him? Jesus had great multitudes following him. In fact, Jesus didn't just have 12 apostles, he ordained 70 other apostles also. First he sent out 12 apostles and those were the 12 that were with him at the last supper and those were the closest 12 but it says he ordained 70 other also. He gave them power, he sent them out to do the exact job and they were apostles also. The bible calls Barnabas an apostle. Was he one of the 12? No.
A lot of times people just think of Paul as being, well it's the apostle Paul and then it's 12. No, there were many apostles. There were 70 plus 12, that's 82. At least 82 apostles that the bible tells us about. Look what it says in Acts chapter 1 when they're replacing Judas Iscariot to be one of the 12, look what it says in verse 21. "Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection." The criteria for choosing an apostle to replace Judas and one that would be a witness with them of the resurrection is hey we want this to be somebody who went all the way back to the baptism of John.
Who do they pull out? People that you've never heard of. Right? Joseph, who was surnamed Justus and Matthais. Who are these people? We don't know. What I'm saying is Mark and Luke, I believe, were in the same category as this guy Joseph, as this guy Matthais. They were part of that group of people that were following John the baptist, that were following Christ, that had been specifically chosen by God. They were apostles. Were they of the 12, no but they were apostles of the Lord.
That gives you a little bit of an understanding of who wrote Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts and then also the book of Revelation was written by the same John.
Now let's talk about the epistles. Now you say, "Well pastor Anderson, how do we know that the epistles are really scripture? How do we know that they're not just letters that people wrote and they're not really to be seen as authoritative as scripture?" Well look if you would at 2nd Peter chapter number 3. 2 peter chapter number 3 and let me also just mention to you that the apostle Paul said in Corinthians that if any man among you think himself to be spiritual let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of God, he said. The apostle Paul said that the things he was writing were the commandments of God. Not only that but in 1st Corinthians chapter 7 when he gives his own opinion, he specifically says, "Now here's what the Lord commands" and then he says, "here is what I believe", he's giving his opinion. He says this is not from the Lord. This is just my opinion. The rest of it is given as authoritative as coming from the Lord.
Now look at 2nd Peter chapter number 3 and look at verse 15. It says, " And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles,", so we get that term epistles, "speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest,", wrest means twist, "as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction." Notice he refers to the epistles of Paul and he says they do the same twisting of them as they do to the other what? The other scriptures.
He is calling the epistles of Paul scriptures. Now look at verse 2 of the same chapter. "That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour". Notice the apostles are put in the same category as the prophets. Just as much as Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel are scripture, and Jesus quoted them as scripture, the words of Peter and Paul and John are also scripture because they are apostles writing scripture just like the old testament prophets wrote scripture.
Look at Ephesians chapter number 2. It's also important to note that it's Peter who is validating Paul's epistles as scripture. This makes absolutely no sense for the Hebrew roots crowd that would say, "Paul and Mark and Luke are a fraud. We only follow the original disciples, Peter, James and John." Well wait a minute, Peter says Paul's writings are scripture. If you're going to throw out Paul, you'd have to throw out Peter. It doesn't make any sense.
Look if you would at Ephesians chapter 2. It says in verse 19, "Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone". Notice the apostles and the prophets are the foundation. What is that? That's old and new testament. God who [inaudible 00:41:37] time passed under the father's by the prophets had in these last days spoken to us by his son, whom he appointed heir of all things, by him also he made the world. We have the prophets and the apostles as the foundation that we are built on. What is that ... The old testament and the new testament.
Look if you would at chapter 3 of the same book. Ephesians 3:1, "For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit." Notice, the Holy Spirit is giving divine inspiration and divine revelation unto the apostles.
These apostles wrote epistles. Okay now these words are spelled differently. Apostle, a-p-o-s-t-l-e, epistle, I-p-I-s-t-l-e. Hold on. These words are related of course. It's not a coincidence that they sound almost exactly the same, apostle, epistle. Why, because they both come from the same root word as our word post office. Postle, pistle. You say, "What's a T doing in there?" You know some people get really frustrated with the way we spell things in English. What in the world, where are these spellings coming from. Actually the spellings in English make perfect sense. In fact what you have with all these silent letters that you hate is actually clues to what the word means. The spellings of words in English actually tells you a little bit about what they mean.
If you were to take the T out of epistle or the T out of apostle, even though it's silent, you wouldn't really see right away that post root. Apostle, post like posting something means to send it. The post office, you send a letter. The apostle is the messenger and the epistle is the message, the epistle is the letter that's being sent by post. That's a way to remember what those words mean.
Now you say, "Okay pastor Anderson. I understand who wrote the 4 gospels. I understand who wrote Acts. Okay the epistles of Paul, they're scripture. That takes us from Romans all the way to Hebrews." Some people try to say Paul didn't write Hebrews, I think it's clear that he did. I think there's a lot of internal evidence that he did. By the way if you get a 16, 11 King James version replica like we have in the back it says, "The epistle of Paul to the Hebrews" in the King James Bible.
You say, "well who is James?" James is known as the brother of the Lord. Jude is the brother of James. Those guys appear to be the half brothers of Jesus. James and Jude, those are epistles toward the end. These are guys who did not believe on Jesus Christ while he was walking on this earth but after he rose from the dead they believed on him. They wrote the books of James and Jude. You say, "Well how can we trust these guys? They didn't even believe in him till late in the game." Here's the thing about these guys, all you got to do is pick up the book of James and read it and you'll see it's an amazing book. There's the evidence.
"What about he book of Mormon, it's another testament." Pick it up and read it, it's a piece of junk. The proof is in the pudding my friend. James and Jude are 2 of the coolest books in the new testament. I mean they're 2 of the most powerful books filled with great preaching, beloved books that everyone reads and realizes this is from the Lord, this is from God. Why, because the bible says my sheep hear my voice. A stranger will they flee from. They know not the voice of strangers. Jesus' voice is known of his sheep and when we read the books of James and Jude we hear the voice of the shepherd.
We hear the Koran, it's the voice of a stranger. We read the Apocrypha, it's the voice of a stranger. We read in the book of Mormon or any of these other, it's a voice of a stranger. Gospel of Thomas, it's the voice of a lunatic. We know that these books are not legit.
that explains who wrote each of these books and kind of gives an understanding of who wrote them but ultimately who really wrote them? God. It's God's word, the apostles were writing through the Spirit just like the prophets spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost, the apostles spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. You say, "Okay I know that the bible promised to preserve the old testament because Jesus said that one jot or one tittle would in no wise pass from the law till all was fulfilled. Isaiah talked about in chapter 59 verse 21 how his words will be preserved to all generations and we have that in Psalms. Do we have a promise like that for the new testament? Well we have Jesus who said heaven and earth shall pass away but my words shall not pass away. That's how we know that what we have today is still the same as when it was originally given because it was promised 3 times in Matthew, Mark and Luke. Heaven and earth shall pass away but my words shall not pass away.
I believe it's significant that it was repeated 3 times because for example when the dream was doubled unto Pharaoh he said it's doubled unto Pharaoh because it's certainly going to come to pass. God emphasized it by giving it to us 3 identical verses in the new testament. Heaven and earth shall pass away but my words shall not pass away. We know that it is preserved.
Go to 2nd Peter chapter 1 and we'll close on this. 2nd Peter chapter 1. And the reason that I'm preaching this tonight and the reason I preached the other 2 previous message is just to confirm you on what you believe. Also that you'll know the certainty of what you believe and also so that you will not be led astray by people who are trying to deceive you, whether that's the so called unbelieving side which is Bart Ehrman, who is clearly an unbeliever of course, or the so called believing attack from a guy like James White who says, "Oh I believe in Christ." Inwardly he's a ravening wolf who tells you, "Oh I believe the bible is the word of God. Of course the one that you're reading is filled with mistakes. Only I can tell you what it really is." You try to ask him to present you with a perfect English bible he can't do it. He'll tell you, "Oh you got to go back to the original language, which I happen to be able to do for you."
Look do you really think that God expects us to learn foreign languages in order to just walk with him or in order to be an effective preacher or pastor or to be an effective mother or father or soul winner? No, God wants the word to be translated into all tongues. He doesn't expect us to all learn Greek or all learn Hebrew. Look, if he really wanted us to learn the original language he could have made it easy and gave us the whole thing in one language. Instead he did it in Hebrew and Greek and then he throw in some Aramaic into the bargain just to make these guys really have to work if they want to try to read it in the original language.
The point it that these people like James White, they're liars. They want to destroy your faith in the word of God. They don't believe in the preservation so what they'll try to say is, "Well we got to dig up something older. What we have is close but no cigar so we're going to go dig up something older." Here's what I'm saying is that if God preserved it we don't have to dig it up we already have it. If they dug up something in the late 1800's that said something different then what was passed down, that tells me that what they dug up was a fraud. If they dug up something in the 20th century that was different, it's a fraud. Why, because we know that that which we haVe received is correct because of God's promise to preserve his word unto us.
Plus let's look at the fruit of this book right here. This book in my hand has been translated. This text, this Greek text or one almost identical to it in the King James version identical to it, was translated into Spanish, translated into all these other languages at the time. It's been translated into French, German. It has born fruit all over the world. Look at the last 400 years of human history and tell me which language has probably been used to preach the gospel to more people than any other language. What language is that? English. All these tribes in Africa where they translated the bible directly from English into the language of that tribe, people who didn't even know Greek and Hebrew.
Now obviously ideally you translate directly from the Greek and the Hebrew into a language with 54 trained scholars. Yeah, that sounds great. When you're just a missionary in Africa and you're just trying to get the gospel to people and you're being a pioneer, what do you do? You grab a King James you learn the click language or whatever. You know what I mean. You learn whatever weird language that they speak and you translate the thing and you get people saved and you win souls. Look this book has been used to win more souls than any book in the history of mankind and I'm holding an English King James Bible. This book has been used to win more souls than this book.
Now that's not to be down on this book because this book wouldn't be possible without this book. This is just a translation of this book. This book is the book that has been used to send more missionaries, to see more people saved ... By the way I'm saved ... Who's saved as a result of this book? This was the book that got you saved, right. Well that's why we have such faith in this book. People like James White don't seem to understand that so they want to go digging and digging and digging and find something older and better. You can't get any better than this. He digs up something older and better and then they translate a new translation and then not only that but they translate it in such a way where it's ugly.
King James has so much beautiful pros and beautiful language whereas these new versions sound like they came out of Google translate or something. It just sounds like they just threw it into Google translate and ... I mean it's so wooden. It sounds so robotic and weird. I'm just thinking to myself these guys who did this must have just been total dweebs. They must just be the biggest nerdy, geeky, dorky, dweeby types that just ... Look there are people like that. Here's the thing, the great thing about the King James Bible is that it's translated around the time of the Renaissance.
Who has ever heard what it means to be a renaissance man? What does it mean to be a renaissance man? Somebody tell me. Yeah it's somebody who does a variety of things. They're not just specialized in just one thing. They actually do a variety of things. They're skilled in working with their hands, they're a scholar they're an athlete, they are into science, they know history, they know math. This is known as a renaissance man. Why, because people of that time period. Many of the scholars and authors and people of that time period, philosophers were known as people who knew about a broad scope of subjects.
In order to be a great bible translator you can't just be some pencil neck dweeb that sits in some seminary all day in some ivory tower somewhere just studying all your Greek participles and then you produce this total crap from a literary standpoint because you're not an artist. You know what, God used people in the bible to create the temple and to create the tabernacle who he specifically endued with artistic skill through the power of the Holy Spirit. Read the bible. Bezaleel the son of Uri, God gave him skill to make cunning works of art so that the temple would be a beautiful place, so that the tabernacle would be a beautiful place, so that things that were created for God's house would look good.
Here's the thing, the man who gave us the King James bible, the 54 scholars that were used, not only were they very intelligent linguists but they were also men who were skilled in the art of language and writing. They were able to give us something beautiful. Look I have read many secular books about the English language that have nothing to do with religion, nothing to do with spiritual things and they said new versions are junk and that the King James is a great work of art. I mean I could show you books just about English where they said ... They compared passages. These are written by unbelieving authors, just worldly people who are just analyzing this. They said here's a passage from the King James, here's a passage from the NIV. Doesn't that just sound like garbage? They're not even saved.
They're just like what are these ... Look you pick up the NIV and start reading it, you know that that's true. It's just not even skillful. It's poor workmanship. I've actually worked as a professional translator before and if you sent in that kind of work it would be sent back to you as, "No, this doesn't sound natural. This doesn't sound like it's in that native language." When you read the bible ... People like James White and that bible correcting crowd, they make fun of fundamental baptists or they make fun of Christians in America for thinking that Jesus spoke English. Yeah okay it's silly to think that Jesus spoke English right because he's not exactly in England and that language didn't even exist. Our modern English didn't exist at the time of Christ.
You know what I think when I hear about small children or maybe unlearned people thinking that Jesus spoke English and that the bible was originally written in English, you know what that tells me, that this is one awesome translation because you know how you can tell a good translation, when you think, "Wow, that's the original." The fact that people are mixing this up for the original just goes to show you how great it is.
Have you ever looked at something and you're like, "This is a translation"? I remember I opened up some medicine and it said, "Pregnancy forbidden". Now you're looking at that and you're saying, "Okay this is a bad translation." What they're trying to say is don't take this when you're pregnant but it sounds like they're forbidding you to even be pregnant. Pregnancy forbidden. You know how when you buy something at Ikea and you start reading the instructions and you're like, "This wasn't written in English." Here's the thing if it was a really good translation there would be no way to tell whether it was originally written in English because the translation is so good. That's how the King James bible is.
What an amazing gift that God has given to us as English speaking people. I'm so glad that I was born in an English speaking country so I could have this beautiful, accurate, complete translation of the word of God in my language. I'm sick of people trying to cast doubt on it and I'm sick of them coming at me with this excrement that they pass off as newer and better because it really just gives the bible a bad name. Then people hear it and they're like, "Whoa that sounds stupid." Whenever you hear something that sounds stupid they're never quoting the King James, it's always the NIV or the New American Standard or whatever. I want to confirm you tonight. I want to strengthen your faith and I want you to be inspired to read this book. I want you to read therein all the days of your life.
That's why I'm preaching these sermons to try to lift up the word of God and exalt the word of God and to try to confirm you in your faith. I'll tell you this right now and I'll close on this thought, when I realized that what I had in my hand in the English King James version of the bible was the word of God totally accurate, totally preserved word for word without error, I was much more interested in reading it than before I believed that. When I was a child and a teenager I wasn't taught that.
When I was a child and a teenager my impression was, "Well this is a translation of and it's close enough". That's what I grew up thinking. It's a translation of the Greek and Hebrew but it's not exactly what he said but it's pretty much what he said though. All the doctrine is there. I remember is was an epiphany for me when I realized like, "Wow, this is exactly what God said." That made me read it like I'd never read it before. I hope that through the course of these sermons you've come to that point where you've realized, "yes this is God's word. This is divinely inspired, it's preserved, it has been passed down unto us. We know where it came from. We know why it's God's word and it testifies of itself that it's the word of God through it's own power."
Let's bow our heads and have a word of prayer. Father we thank you so much for both the old and the new testament. Lord I pray that we would stand firm on these foundations, Lord, the foundations of the prophets and the apostles. Help us to read therein all the days of our life and help us not to go with the shifting sands of this world of, "Hey we dug up a new manuscript." Lord help us to just stick with the old, the tried and the true, the traditional text of the bible that has been passed down unto us, that is born fruit for centuries, Lord. Please just help every single person who's here to read this book, Lord, like they've never read it before. In Jesus' name we pray, Amen.