Richard G. Mendoza, MPH, PHD
Pr. Richard Mendoza works at the Central Luzon Conference of Seventh-day Adventist. An educator and promoter of health, he complements his advocacies with spiritual and values-oriented insights.
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I can only utter a prayer for our president, upon learning that he mocked the Bible writers and the relevance of what they have written. I hope he just said it in jest, but since his words were preceded by tirades against those whom he called “hypocrites”, he must be serious.
In his speech, President Duterte took swipe at the writers of the Bible, saying what they wrote had little relevance to current times as it was written 3,000 years ago.
“You know ang sumulat ng Bibliya, anak kang. That was 3,000 years ago. Anong pakialam ng mga g****g ‘yun sa ating buhay ngayon?” he said.
(Who wrote the Bible, son of a b****. That was 3,000 years ago. What do those idiots have to do with our lives now?) He added, “Nakapagaral ba ‘yun? Mga UP writer ba yun? Three thousand years ago, tapos ngayon binu-b***s**t tayo.”
(Did they study? Are they UP writers? Three thousand years ago and they’re b***s******g us now.)
While his criticisms against the clerics and the institutions they represent can be looked at positively as a wake up call for the church to reform, his uncalled-for remarks against the Bible writers, who can no longer defend themselves since they already died long time ago, may further affect negatively, his image among Bible-believing Christians.
Let me emphasize again, that the Bible is not just one book, but a whole library of books inside one cover. The Bible contains 66 books written at different times by different authors over a period of 1,600 years. There are 39 books in the Old Testament and 27 books in the New Testament.
Forty-five different men wrote these books, yet we find among them an amazing agreement that can only be explained by the fact that they had a common source. This total agreement resulted even though most of the writers of these books never saw each other. They were from various cultures and occupations.
Some were fishermen, some shepherds, some kings, some government leaders, some farmers, some preachers, some statesmen, and a physician—men from all walks of life. Yet there is perfect unity and harmony between the books they wrote. A miracle, indeed! This agreement can only be explained by acknowledging that God gave this Book to us so that He might be able to communicate His will to us. Peter explains it this way: “For prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” 2 Peter 1:21. The apostle Paul wrote: “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for very good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16, 17
The reason God chose this method of communication—speaking to us in written form—is that the channel between Himself and man had been cut off by sin! When God and man walked and talked together in Eden, there was no need to have a prophet write down what God wanted man to know.
When Adam sinned, he hid from God, for he was fearful and guilty about what he had done. When God asked Adam where he was, Adam replied, “I heard your voice in the garden, and I was afraid … and I hid myself.” Genesis 3:10 No longer could God continue to have face-to-face conversations with His creatures.
God chose to reveal what He wanted them to know through His prophets and later, through His Son. “Surely the Lord God does nothing, unless He reveals His secrets to His servants the prophets.” Amos 3:7. Starting with Moses in the Midian desert, God gave to Moses the Book of Job and the first five books of the Old Testament, which together are called the “Law.” It is interesting to note that alphabetic writing was invented by a Canaanite workman who was working in the mines near Mt. Sinai.
Just when Israel had grown to a mighty nation of several million people and God needed to be able to communicate His will in written form, alphabetic writing was invented. The people would now be able to read the Ten Commandments that God wrote with His own fingers and the Book of the Law that Moses wrote for God.
But the question remains: Is the Bible still accurate and dependable, just as God gave it?
Until the year 1947, the earliest manuscripts we had of the Old Testament were copies from around A.D. 900. Then came the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in a cave overlooking the Dead Sea. The Isaiah scroll found there went back all the way to 125 B.C. It had been copied over a thousand years before the oldest manuscript that had been found up to that time.
It contained the entire Book of Isaiah. Sir Frederic Kenyon, one of the most qualified experts and President of the British School of Archaeology, reported: “In one chapter of 166 words there is only one word (three letters) in question after a thousand years of transmission, and this word does not significantly change the meaning of the message!” (Evidence Demands a Verdict p.58)
Sir Kenyon, put it this way: “The Christian can take the whole Bible in his hand and say without fear or hesitation that he holds in his hands the true Word of God, handed down without essential loss from generation to generation throughout the centuries.” (Ibid). Sir Kenyon made this statement after spending a lifetime examining the evidence of how the Bible was transmitted and what effect that transmission had on the message of the Book.
(To be continued)
January 2019 Health and Lifestyle