Ask Father Paul ...0618

Father Paul Massey's picture

Pastors get some of the most interesting questions from people they meet and people in their congregations. Here are a few questions that I've gotten during my years of ministry and via email for this column.

DEAR FATHER PAUL: What proofs are there that the Bible is, in fact, inspired by God? Helen.

DEAR HELEN: Great question. The Bible is part of the foundation of the Christian faith. If the foundation of a building is cracked or in some way has lost its strength, then the whole building is unsound and called into question. So it is with the Bible as a foundation. For centuries non-believers have attempted to call into question not just whether the Bible is true, but whether or not it is inspired by God. Again, if the foundation can be undermined, then the whole structure falls. They have consistantly failed.

Others have, while not directly attacking the Bible, said that the Bible is indeed a "good book" full of wisdom, poetry, history and advise on how to live, but it is "natural" in authorship, not "supernatural." I disagree. I believe that the Bible is, indeed, supernatural...i.e. that it was written under the inspiration of God himself. Here are just a few reasons why I think that way.

First of all, the Bible proclaims itself to be the inspired word of God. In II Timothy 3:16 the Bible says this, "All scripture is God-breathed, and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness." Now that's a pretty tall claim. The question for every person on planet earth this claim true or not? If it is not true, then the Bible can remain on our book shelf perhaps gathering dust and rarely opened. But if it is true, then it behooves every one of us to read it, study it and meditate on it for it is a personal message to humankind directly from the God who created the Universe.

There are lots and lots of proofs of the authenticity of the Bible, but my space here is limited. One of the best and easiest to verify is fulfilled prophecy. Much of the Bible is prophetic...announcing things that God is going to do in the future. In fact, there are 1,000's of prophecies in the Bible. Many 100's of these prophecies came to pass exactly as God said they would in the Bible before the final books of the Bible were completed. Others have come to pass in the aproximately 2,000 years since the close of the Bible and still others are being fulfilled today, in our lifetime.

One of the best examples of this are the aproximately 300 Old Testament prophecies on the birth, life and death of Jesus, the Messiah. That is not a typo. There are somewhere around 300 prophecies about the coming of Jesus in the Bible. Everything from where he'd be born...Bethleham, to who would be his mother...a virgin, to how he would die...on a tree. Every single one of these prophecies concerning Jesus were fulfulled exactly as the Bible predicted. Applying the laws of statistics to just this one area of Bible prophecy reveals that there is no "natural" explanation for this. As I said, some Bible prophecies are being fulfilled today, in our lifetimes. As an example, the Bible prophecied the destruction...and the re-establishment of the nation of Israel. It was destroyed in 70 A.D. just as the Bible said it would be...and re-established in May, 1948 as the Bible prophecied.

Another area that "proves" the Bible's supernatural "God-breathed" nature is the unfailing unity and consistancy of the Bible. Think about it. The Bible was written by some 40 authors over a period of 1,600 years. Its authors were very diverse. Moses was a political leader; Joshua a general; David a shepherd; Amos a herdsman and fruit grower; Daniel, a prime minister; Matthew, a tax collector; Luke, a medical doctor; Paul, a rabbi and Peter, a fisherman to name just a few. It was written under all kinds of circumstances...during war and peace as-well-as famine and plenty...and was written on three different continents, Europe, Asia and Africa. And yet, the basic, major themes of the Bible continue as an unbroken thread without variance throughout the Bible from beginning to end. This total unity would be simply imposible if the Bible were a mere "natural" book as its critics claim.

Again, space here is limited. But, consider the incontrovertable fact that places, events and people mentioned in the Bible have proven to be correct and accurate time and time again by later historical and archaeological study. Just last month archaeologists announced that they had uncovered the Pool of Bethsaida in Jerusalem mentioned in John 5. And, I love this one. Up until around 1,500 A.D. everyone believed that the earth was flat. And yet, around 2,300 years earlier, the prophet Isaiah wrote about God and the earth in Isaiah 40:22 that God "sits enthroned above the circle of the earth."

DEAR FATHER PAUL: Is it allowable to use candles in connection with Christian worship? Brian.

DEAR BRIAN: There is no Biblical reason why we can't use candles while we pray, worship or do anything else se long as we clearly understand that they are symbols and not objects of worship. Symbols can be very powerful. Indeed, can you imagine a wedding ceremony without rings and candles...both symbols, but powerful non-the-less. Jesus used symbols extensively in his teaching. We call the symbols Jesus used "parables." His parables were essentially stories in which he used simple, common things (symbols) that people were familiar with, to teach a deeper meaning.

At Church of the Holy Cross we have two large candles burning on the altar (one on the left, one on the right) during our worship services. Not only do the candles remind us that "Jesus is the light of the world" but, even deeper, the candle on one side reminds us that Jesus is fully God while the candle on the other side reminds us that Jesus is fully man. Again, candles used in worship are innocent. The danger comes when candles (or any other objects) are ascribed a power that they do not have.

DEAR FATHER PAUL: My husband is a world class procrastinator. His motto is, "never do taday what you can put off until tomorrwo." Last fall he "forgot" to renew our car tags. He didn't get stopped, I did. It cost me $100!! I've nagged, begged and threatened but nothing works. He almost lost his job last year because he didn't complete a major project on time. He is a believer and regular church goer. What can I do? No Name.

DEAR NO NAME: Procrastination is the act of willfully delaying the doing of something which should be done. Its a huge problem for lots and lots of and women, teens and even kids. Some experts say that procrastinators are somehow "wired differently" than non-procrastinators. They just don't see it as a problem. Like those who are habitually late, procrastinators feel like "if I get it done within a day or two of when it's due, then it is on time and big deal" As I say it is usually habitual and we know that habits are not easily changed.

You say that your husband is a believer. That can help. Lovingly and respectfully remind him that procrastination is a poor witness for a believer and thus, not pleasing to God. Further, share with him this verse in Colossians 3:23 "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart. as working for the Lord, not for men." If all of us will put our hearts into whatever we are called upon to do as if we were being asked by God, then we will probably find it more difficult to procrastinate too much.

Got a question for the column? Email me at or call me at (678) 457-3050.

Do you need someone to pray for a need you have? Email me and I will pray for your need. I do not need to know your name.

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