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Today Im continuing a Lenten sermon series called Treasure Chest.

The AIM of this

series is to give all of us keys to unlocking the Treasure Chest that we call the Bible. I so want
everyone connected to Chain of Lakes to read the Bible, to understand its principal message, to
be confident in the way we interpret it, and to open it expecting to receive a Word from God for
our lives today.
This series corresponds with the small groups that are meeting in Lent. Each of our
groups is looking at the video series, Making sense of the Bible. This series will be a
continuation of the video from the past week. And each Sunday I will address a question that
was asked in the small groups.
The symbol for this series is the Treasure Chest. This one was lent to us by Dwight and
Paulette Zvorak. Their Treasure Chest was brought over by Dwights great-grandfather
(echeck out). Some of us had ancestors who brought this Treasure Chest over with them when
they came to the United States. The Treasure Chest contained what was most important to their
family. Families would put their letters and diaries, photos and other significant information. If
our house was on fire we would want to make sure we would secure the materials inside of the
Treasure Chest.
Heres the thing about Treasure Chests? How often do we open them? Do we put the
Treasure Chest in a place where others who come to our hosue can see it, but do we get inside of
the Treasure Chest. Do we know how to open the Treasure Chest? This Treasure Chest has a
lock and if our Treasure Chest was locked would we still have the key so that we could get inside
of it. Do we know where the key is? Do we even know how to unlock the Treasure Chest with
our key?

In this series Im sharing with you keys that will help you unlock the Treasure Chest that
is the Bible. Im giving you all sorts of information in this series. I want to invite you to get out
this brochure that is in the bulletin. One way to get into the Treasure Chest that is the Bible is to
read the Bible. We are reading a chapter of Matthew a day throughout the rest of Lent. This past
week we read chapters ___ to ___. This week we will read through chapter ____. If you havent
started reading Matthew, you can get caught up quickly. The devotion in this brochure will give
you a resource to help you with a daily reading plan.
Also in this series, Im sharing questions each Sunday about the Bible. Last Sunday I
shared basic questions about the New Testament. Today Im sharing basic questions about
Finally I want to encourage you to take notes during this sermon. Im going to give you a
lot of content information today about an important idea regarding the Bible that has tragically
separated people into different camps.
Today were looking at the question of inspiration. What does it mean to say that the
bible is inspired? Does the Bible have any mistakes and if so would that diminish the inspiration
of the Bible for me?
First of all I want to share that the Bible is my favorite book in the world. If I was
stranded on a desert island and could only have one book to take with me I would want to have
my NRSV study BibleHarpers Edition. I read the Bible every day. I go to it to receive a
word from the Lord. Ive read through the Bible many times. I really enjoyed reading through
the first seven chapters of Matthew this week. The Bible inspires me.
The Bible inspires us in an unique way. It inspires us like great literature and it inspires
us in a different way than great literature.

Lets look at how the Bible would inspire us like a great piece of literature. For example,
lets take a Shakespeare play. Romeo and Juliet for example. Who has read the story of Romeo
and Juliet? Maybe some of us have seen the movie?
Let me give you the cliff notes version of Romeo and Juliet. There was a feud between
two familiesthe Montagues and the Capulots. They hated each other.

Romeo was a Montaguethis is a picture of Romeo in the move ____. He was


Juliet was a Capulotthis is a picture of Juliet in the movie ____ She was (age)

Romeo and Juliet were young and very emotional. Guess what happened between Romeo and
Juliet. They fell in love. Perhaps some of us learned or memorized the speech or solilioqy by
Romeo, Romeo wherefore art thou Romeo
It was dangerous for a Montague and a Capulot to fall in love with each other.
Lets compare the Bible and Romeo and Juliet in terms of inspiration
Whats the purpose of the Bible. We talked about this last week. I had you talk to your neighbor
about your purposes. I shared three purposes of the Bible
What is the purpose of Romeo and Juliet. I suppose we could ask a Sheakespeare
scholar, but I think one purpose of Romeo and Julie is to go deep into understanding the love
between the two and to understand how that love can transcend and bring together people from
warring families.
Do the Bible and Romeo and Julie each give us eternal truths about life?


Do the Bible and Romeo and Julie tell us about God

The Bible tells us about God. Romeo and Juliet have references in their play about God,
but I dont think that if someone wanted to learn about God they would read Romeo and Juliet.
Shakespeare certainly had opinions about God, but we wouldnt look at him as an authority to
teach us about God.
Were the Bible and Romeo and Juliet inspired by God?
The writers of the Bible were inspired by Godno question. Was Sheakespear inspired
by God. Wellmaybe. But again we would have to go back to the ___ century and learn more
about Shakespeare and his motivation for writing the novel.
One of the qualities of the Bible that we find so important is that we believe it is inspired.
We learn about God and Jesus from the Bible in ways that we dont learn from anything else.
What give us the right to believe the Bible is inspired.
Some of us might think that this is a foolish question. If a friend of ours came up to us
and asked us if the Bible was inspired by God we probably would say, Of course. Thats a
simple question. Of course the bible is inspired by God. But if our friend asked us why do we
think that we might just say, Its the Bible. Everyone knows that the Bible was inspired by God.
For many people to say the Bible is inspired by God because its the Bible is not a good
enough answer anymore. People want to know why. Why do we believe the Bible was inspired
by God.
The Scriptures teach us that the Bible was inspired. Many people believe that the apostle
Paul wrote a letter that we call 1 Timothy. Some believe that it was pseudograph Lets say
that Paul wrote the letter. When he wrote this letter he was at the end of his life, probably in
prison, in Rome, abandoned by all but a few of his friends, and facing imminent death. When we

read the parts of the New Testament called the Lettersremember from last week that there are
22 letters in the New Testament its important to understand the context of the situation. The
context of this letter is like a last letter. Paul was pouring his final thoughts about life into this
letter to a young person called Timothy. He wrote this:
All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for
correction, and for training in righteousness, so that everyone who belongs to God may be
proficient, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17
The Message written by Eugene Peterson is one of my favorite paraphrases of the
Scripture. Ive taught you before that a paraphrase is the translation of the Bible that reflects the
philosophy of the author. We always approach a paraphrase with a little hesitation. Eugene
Peterson translated this passage like this:
Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or anothershowing us truth,
exposing our febellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live Gods way. Through the
Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us
2 Timothy 3:16-17 Message
One reason we believe that the Scripture is inspired is that it is god breathed. Just as God
breathed life into dust in the creation story in Genesis to create humans, God breathes life into
the words in the Bible to help us experience life. The Spirit of God breathes life into the Bible
and makes it inspired for us.
This Scripture from 2 Timothy has been a lightning rod in the last century in the church
about how we look at the bible. Some people have looked at this Scripture to share that every
word in the Bible is true. The Bible is true and has no mistakes. The Bible is true in science in
history and most definitely in morals, ethics and its teaching about Jesus.
This might sound fine, but what happens when a contradiction in the Bible comes up.
What do we do with that? What is unfortunate is our friends who believe that the Bible is true in
everything are almost adamant that nothing can shake this view. Even if someone shows an

obvious mistake in the Bible, they will just ignore it because the Bible is true. What has
happened is the debate about the Bible becomes whether the Bible is true.
I dont know if youve seen a recent commercial for 5 hour energy.

here is a picture from the commercial. In one of the commericals the person takes

out the bottom part of this triangle and guess what happens. Everything falls down. Some
people look at the Bible int his way. If you can find one mistake in the bible then that mistake
invalidates everything in the bible. Its either all true or we dont take anything for it.
Some folks have used this idea of truth to push an agenda about the bible. In this way of
thinking we dont need to even interpret the Bible because the Bible doesnt need to be
interpreted. Just read the Bible. Have you ever heard this phrase

The Bible says it; I believe it; that settles it.

This might make a good bumper sticker, but what do we do when we read in Levitiucs if

someone blasphemes they should be taken outside the village and stoned to death. Or how do
we handle the fact that Moses was a murderer, David committed adultery and had Uriah killed,
and Paulthe greatest new church development pastor watched as Stephen was killed. Is it
really in the purpose of God for us to kill a class of people or does this mean that we have to kill
someone to become great in the eyes of God. That doesnt make sense.
If you find all of this confusing, Im glad because Im trying to cause you to think about
what makes the Bible the inspired word of God. Its not an easy answer.
A few years ago the Presbyterian church did a survey of peoples view of INSPIRATION
(CHECK THIS OUT). For the purpose of the survey they came up with five different views.
They were this.

View 1
The Bible, though written by individuals, has been so
controlled by the Holy Spirit that it is without error in all that it teaches in matters of science and
history, as well as in theology
View 2
The Bible, though written by individuals and reflecting
their personalities has been so controlled by the Holy Spirit that it is trustworthy in all that it
teaches in matters of theology and ethics, but not necessarily in matters of science and history
View 3
All of the Bible is both the inspired Word of God and at the
same time a thoroughly human document
View 4
Portions of the Bible, including some of its theological and
ethical positions, may not be the inspired Word of God
View 5
The Bible is merely a record of the moral and religious
experiences of Hebrews and Christians.
One of the purposes of this series is to get you to think about what you believe about the
Bible. We had conversation last week about the purpose of the Bible. I would like to have some
conversation about this question. I would like to take two minutes and have you talk to your
neighbor about which view of the Bible most reflects your view.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------As Presbyterians we are not a Subscriptionist church. What I mean is people dont have
to subscribe to a certain set of views to be connected to the church. I would imagine that we
have folks who represent each of these views. You dont have to subscribe to a particular one of
these views to be connected here. But what is important is you have to be able to live and do
ministry with someone who has a different view of the Bible than you. I think our strength
happens in our diversity. Who knowsmaybe a person who has a different view will persuade
you to change your mind.
For what its worth Im a mixture of view 2 and view 3. I have a very high view of
Scripture. I believe that the Bible was inspired by God as it was written from the perspective of
humans. And I believe that the Holy Spirit breathes life into the Scriptures.

An impediment for many in going deeper into the Bible is the issue of whether the Bible
has mistakes. The Bible does has mistakes. In Deuteronomy we read that Moses built the ark
that carried the Ten Commandments. In Exodus we read that Bezalel is the builder. If we read
the four accounts of the resurrection we will discover the details are different in each. In
Matthew there was an earthquake, in Mark there was no earthquake, but the disciples ran away
afraid and saying nothing to anyone, in Luke there were two angels mentioned at the tomb, while
in John there were no angels mentioned. You would think that the most important story in the
history of Christian faith would have the details right. And in other places the details would not
contradict each other. If these are mistakes and God is perfect and we believe the Bible is
inspired by God, then how can we trust the Bible? In the small group I led on Wednesday
eveningand did I mention that this is an awesome small groupwe talked about the relevance
of the Scriptures for our life.
To go deeper we go back into Jesus. Despite what some of our friends say, Jesus never
said that he came into the world so the written record about him would be in error. Jesus never
said Come unto me all you that believe every word in the Bible is perfect and can be verified.
When Jesus was asked a question about what is most important about the Scriptures of his day,
he didnt say that the ancient words were important because they were without mistake.
Instead Jesus said the Scriptures teach us to love God with all of our heart and soul and
mind and love our neighbor as ourselves. Whats ironic is the people he was most critical of
were people who knew the Scriptures. Despite that they knew these ancient texts their hearts
were far from God.
I believe that the Bible has mistakes. I believe the Bible is not perfect in matters of
history and science. However for me the Bible is my favorite book; the Bible is the inspired

record of Jesus Christ; the Bible contains the wisdom of life. You might ask, how can you say
this if it has mistakes.
I dont like to answer a question with a question. But let me ask some questions.
Do we believe that the Bible gives an adequate description of God?
Do we believe that the Bible gives an adequate description of Jesus?
Do we believe that the Bible teaches us how to love God and to love our neighbor as
Do we believe that the Bible teaches us how to be in community with each other?
My response to each of these questions is yes, yes, yes, and yes.
I dont need the Bible to be perfect. I do need it to teach me about God, humanity,
myself, the church and how to love. On these issues I give it an A.
One final point about inspiration. Have we ever learned about God or how to love
through another person. How many of us have learned about love or how to love through
another person? I would guess that all of us have. Heres the thing. That person is not perfect.
That person has sinned and made mistakes. God can communicate the divine message through
vessels that are not perfect. To think that we cannot learn from the Bible because it has mistakes
is to question Gods power.

This trunk was commonly called a dome top, camel back top, or steamer trunk.
The top on this trunk curves both directions.
This design was first made in the early 1800s in Europe.
The top was designed to prevent other luggage from being stacked atop them when used
in traveling by ship to America, only the most elite people could afford to buy a camel
back top trunk. The design was continued in America because when the dome top was
covered with tin it shed water well when traveling by stagecoach.
This particular one is covered in herringbone embossed zinc, accented with scalloped
sheet steel trim along the corners. Most of the original trunks were mostly constructed
of tin, in an effort to make them light weight for travel. Oak slats were steamed and
formed in a mold to fit over the top. Cast iron rollers, flip latches and an ornate brass
lock compliment the design. Put together with simple slat covers and clinched trunk nails