Book, Chapter, and Verse
for Book, Chapter, and Verse
By Patrick Donahue
In his article, "Attacking the Basics," in the July, 1988 issue of Faith and Facts Quarterly, Ronny Milliner CORRECTLY pointed out some people's decreasing regard for God's word as their authority, by quoting one as saying, "'There is no book, chapter and verse for book, chapter and verse!'" What about that? Is there really book, chapter, and verse for book, chapter, and verse? Does the Bible actually teach that we have to always back up what we preach with our finger on a verse?
The answer is a resounding yes! The Bible says that Apollos "mightily convinced the Jews, and that publicly, shewing by the scriptures that Jesus was Christ" (Acts 18:28). Wouldn't the example of Acts 18:28 be just as binding as the example of Acts 20:7? Paul didn't just assert that things were so, he proved it (Acts 9:22). How can a listener "prove" (I Thessalonians 5:21), or test a sermon, if the speaker doesn't prove what he says by the scriptures? Unless verses are given, how would the listener know if the teaching was from heaven, or from men (Matthew 21:25)?
Notice in Acts 8:35 that Philip "began at the same scripture, and preached unto him (the eunuch) Jesus." Acts 28:23 says that Paul persuaded men "concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening." Acts 17:2 shows that Paul "reasoned" with those in the synagogue "out of the scriptures."
Have you ever wondered why some preachers read a verse and then proceed to talk about everything else under the sun except the passage read? Notice in Nehemiah 8:8 that the sense of the passages read was given, not a great explanation for the different experiences in the preacher's past life. Romans 1:16 tells us that the gospel is God's power to salvation, not "good words (or good ideas of men) and fair speeches" (Romans 16:18). If the scripture itself is not read and taught, where does that leave God's power? True faith only comes from hearing God's word (Romans 10:17). The scriptures themselves are the only thing profitable for doctrine (II Timothy 3:16). How could we say a man is speaking "as the oracles of God" (I Peter 4:11) when he delivers a forty minute sermon and only refers to an oracle of God once or twice?
Read Acts 2:14-36 and Acts 7:2-53 and notice how often inspired preachers made reference to the scriptures in their sermons. I count eleven out of the twenty-three verses recorded of the sermon in Acts 2:14-36 as being quotes from the Old Testament scriptures. If men, whose very speeches became scriptures, saw fit to quote the Bible so often, how much more should the uninspired Christians of today use the actual texts of the Bible in their lessons. Some might say, "But what about Jesus' parables and Paul's sermon in Acts 17:22-31? These lessons dont have much, if any, quoting of scriptures in them." The answer is simple. God tells us to "preach the word" (II Timothy 4:2) not our own stories and jokes. Inspired men didn't have to quote scripture to preach the word (although most of the time they did). Their very words were God's words (I Corinthians 2:13). Jesus spoke by His own authority (Matthew 7:29), He didn't have to speak by the authority of the Old Testament. We are not inspired. Our words are not God's words. To preach God's word, we must use His words to back up (prove) anything we say.
Yes, there is "book, chapter and verse for book, chapter and verse." Paul's speech and "preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power." He "came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom," but instead declared "the testimony of God," that the hearer's "faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God" (I Corinthians 2:1-5).
[Editors Note: Thanks to Pat Donahue for the article! He may be reached at: Pat.Donahue@MSFC.NASA.GOV, 4607 Old Railroad Bed Road, Harvest, AL 35749, (256) 721-0726.]
Email the Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org
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