“Sur, sous, dans, devant
Sur, sous, dans, devant
À côté de!”
In case any of you is wondering ‘what in the world kind of song is that?’ Well, it’s a song that I learned in my grade three French class.
The thing I found so interesting about this song that compelled me to share it with you today was that I learned it over 25 years ago! I don’t practice it. Nor do I have occasion or reason to sing it, yet there it is, somehow perfectly preserved in my memory over such a long period of time.
We didnt sing the song often even in school from what I recall. Nor were we challenged in any way to memorize the lyrics. It just seems that with hearing it the few times that I did repeatedly, it just stuck.
But through this example, I think we can begin to see something spectacular about using mere men in the preservation and inerrancy of Scripture.
In ancient times, Jewish boys were actually ‘taught and trained’ to memorize and recite the entire Torah, from seven – and sometimes even as young as five – years old, in preparation for their Bar Mitzvah (boy) or Bat Mitzvah (girl). The Bar or Bat Mitzvah is a ceremony which in Judaism now pronounces you a man or woman in the religious sense. And it usually takes place at their 12th or 13th birthday.
That means that if every copy of the Torah were somehow changed or altered or even destroyed, a Jewish child at the age of thirteen years old was competent to recite the entire document by memory for it to be recreated from scratch.
But even though they were capable of doing so, it would still be considered ‘amateur’ when compared to the high standards that the ancient Scribes had to meet in order to make a copy of these ancient manuscripts to ensure their accuracy.
In fact, tradition tells us that when making a copy of the manuscripts of the Torah, the scribes had to stop every so often, select the same word in both copies, and count from the beginning of the document to that word.
If they were even one number off, they would destroy the entire document and have to start again. And that was in an era when resources were not nearly as abundant as they are today. Needless to say, the copying of the Word of God was held in very high esteem.
And if that wasnt enough, since they passed down their teachings in a community in oral tradition, this meant that an entire community would be involved in receiving God’s Word so that they could all verify the facts of it if there was ever a dispute concerning it. This left very little place for error.
And just to completely obliterate any final foolish contentions one may still try to make against the preservation of Scripture, we also know that the Pharisees and Sadducees – who were considered the top ranking Jewish authority of those days – each had either their arm, forehead, or both wrapped with something called the “Teffilin” or “phylacteries,” each containing scrolls of parchment inscribed with verses from the Torah. This means that members of the community were ‘physically’ carrying around the Scriptures with them daily.
As you can see, this community was very serious about their preservation of God’s Word.
This is why although you may hear it often said in the unbelieving world that “the Scriptures have been changed” or “the Bible has been altered,” those comments usually come from the uninformed public who are completely oblivious to the history and ancient Jewish customs and therefore vocalizing meaningless noise with their tongues; men of corrupt minds and deprived of the truth, they only seek to lead many astray.
No one who has actually searched these things out for themselves could ever come to such a conclusion, and it’s also why I can submit to you today with all certainty that the Bible is the *inerrant* Word of God!
The Apostle Paul wrote to his young protège Timothy to encourage him knowing firsthand that even if you have the truth, people will still find some way to deny it. In the same Spirit this morning, let us receive encouragement this morning to continue to press into our labours, knowing with certainty that our labours are not in vain!
For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and of a sound mind. So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God. He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher. That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day.
What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.
2 Timothy 1:7-14
Trust ♔ Jesus!