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Will the Real Bible Please Stand Up?

Bimmy continues his correspondence with us, suggesting we investigate other writings that were, allegedly, wrongfully taken out of the Bible. He also poses a series of questions. His original letter is in blue, and our replies are in plain text.

Dear Paul,

Sorry to point out that "this rumor" [that the complete text of the Bible was destroyed] is a bit more than "nonsense". Would you agree that it is up to the reader to review the facts and decide for themselves if this is "nonsense" or maybe - it does make sense? After all you say that "we have at length pointed out that we are NOT preaching a religion" yet you quote from the bible at length and give your opinion, viewpoint, interpretation of the bible. Your own personal interpretation of any information does not make it the Truth. Certainly not God's word or the Gospel?? It is clearly up to the reader to review all the data, facts and decide for themselves what is fact or fiction.

Paul: The notion that the Bible was "retooled" in 300 AD (or approx.) is an effort to substantively change the message of the authentic Scriptures. In this manner it is wishful rumor and nonsense, somewhat akin to many conspiracy theories. The alleged "retooling" is set forth as a conspiracy to prove that the truth was successfully suppressed. In fact there was an ongoing process of rejecting apocryphal literature, which are those writings not inspired of God, and are not, therefore, in harmony with the nature, message, and intent of Scripture.

The purpose of Scripture is to point to the Lord and Savior of all men, Jesus Christ, Who alone has the right to our hearts and obedience. He has the power to save us from our utter inability to live according to God's ways. He is the gateway to enter into life. To make these things known, the Bible was ordained by God as it is, which is completely adequate. Your argument for other writings and esoteric knowledge as the true way, and as needful to correct what you consider to be the wrong one implied by the Scriptures we have, has been an ongoing effort from the beginning to deny the authority of God in Christ. In this, nothing has changed.

You have heard the expression that "truth is stranger than fiction." The rumor that we do not have the authentic Bible is fiction; we do not have the wrong version of the Bible, we have the wrong Christians. The Bible has been misrepresented by those who do not believe it themselves, though they use it to claim authority. And those in the dark do not know the difference, not understanding the Bible either.

Jesus Christ is not a religion; He is life. It is of Him that the Bible testifies. We did not choose for God how He should record the testimony for our sakes, so the responsibility for that is not on our shoulders. Our responsibility is to believe Him, and the record that He has given of Himself.

Victor: How is it that while you give your opinion on what we say, you criticize us for giving opinion? How is it that you think what you are giving is not opinion? How is it that you know the difference between what is true and what is opinion? What are your credentials for judgment, Bimmy? To be honest, you would have to admit that you are resting solely on your own righteousness and "intelligence" to make the judgments you are making of us and of what we declare.

On the other hand, we speak by Truth Himself, as we have plainly declared to you. Because you do not know Him, we tell you that, unlike us, you are quite incapable of recognizing and speaking the truth, and therefore it is impossible for you to know the difference between the Truth of God and man's opinions of Him or of the Truth. One is True, of course, and the other is false.

You continue to point out that it is up to the reader to decide what is true and what is not. We have never said otherwise. We speak the truth to you, and you will decide whether to receive or to reject it. If you receive, it will go well for you. If you reject it, it will not go well for you. If you prefer to walk in the pride of your own ways, it cannot but go ill for you. If you believe what we have to say, you will know life and peace for the first time. That goes for all.

While Paul will answer these questions of yours, I will also do so. You ask:

1. How certain are you that the bible recounts the complete truth, of the life of Jesus and why?

Paul: I hope you have read my testimony by now. If not, please do. (To read Paul's and Victor's testimonies, click here - Our Testimonies.) I did not figure out the Bible by calculation or historical review and analysis. I did not prove spiritual ideas by an innate inner knowledge of hidden things. I came to God because He drew me to Himself, and I asked Him to show me the truth. Jesus said that only those who become as children would enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. He revealed the truth to me in Scripture, which He led me to receive by faith. As a Jew I was not trying to prove that Jesus Christ was God, I assure you! There were not any preconditions set when I asked God to show me the truth. Who am I to tell God the answer to that which I ask of Him?!

I have staked my life on the truth contained in the Bible, not because I trust in the Bible, but because God, Who is the Truth, testified of and by the Bible to me. I do not need archeological or other evidences to prove the Bible is true. The Bible is not about the facts and figures contained therein, but the spiritual Truth illuminated by what is recorded there. His words are spirit, and life. You can have all the proof you want and can even believe the Bible to be 100% fact without faith or regeneration.

Victor: Our declaration is that we know Jesus Christ Himself, and that He gives us to speak. We have "the life of Jesus" in us. We fellowship with Him and He with us. He deciphers whatever the Bible says of Him and of life and truth for us. Knowing Him Who is Truth, we know what is true or false, be it of the Bible or anything else. We know that the Bible, on the whole, is true, that it is God's Word to mankind, and God has revealed the contents to us, for which we are very thankful. There is no other book like it.

2. Why are there 15 or so years of Jesus's life unaccounted for? dissappeared for 15 years?

Paul: Why not? The Bible is not a record of all that Jesus said and did. John concludes that if it were, there would not be enough room in the world for all the books that would have been written (John 21:25). Jesus Christ came to lay down His life, and to take it up again (John 10:17). That is the purpose to which He set Himself, of which He spoke, and which He accomplished, as the Gospels testify. We do not need to learn esoteric knowledge of how to become like Christ, as other false gospels teach. We need to repent of being our own lords and saviors and believe on Him Who is Lord and Savior of all.

Victor: There are more than fifteen years of His life unrecorded, closer to thirty. So what is your point? Who rightfully claims that His entire life should be recorded in Scripture? Is your point that you and others have access to records of the rest of His life that would contradict that which is recorded in the Bible? Upon what do you base your judgment? On the lies of others? Would you rather believe contradictory and self-seeking charlatans than those who willingly laid down their lives so that you could know the truth? Who are you to make judgments that spurious records are true and the Scriptures are false? Bimmy, you stand on nothing but your own, self-proclaimed credentials. Don't you see that?

3-4. How many books in the Bible were written by Jesus himself? After all, if God and Jesus wanted to make certain that there were no mistakes or misinterpretations of the "Gospel" or his teachings, why didn't he write these himself for us to clearly read? In fact aren't all the books of the bible written by someone other than Jesus?

Paul: Why doesn't God dispense with the books altogether, and simply come knock on your door? Why not just tell you in person? Is not that superior to a book? Could you become an acceptable surgeon by simply reading books about anatomy, or would you need personal instruction on a real cadaver? How much more is it necessary that we be taught of God? That is what the Scriptures say will happen.

"It has been written in the Prophets, 'They shall all be taught of God.' So then everyone who hears and learns from the Father comes to Me" (John 6:45).

It does not say they all shall be taught of the Bible, but of God. The Bible is not the end-all, or the focus, or God Himself. Paul was not knocked off his donkey by a giant Bible, but by Christ, Who revealed Himself to Paul. Paul knew the living Lord and had understanding of Scripture by Him. Unless we meet the same Lord, we cannot receive the revelation from Paul or any other writer of Scripture.

Why has God chosen to conceal Himself, though evident in all His creation? Why does He not speak audibly to all humanity at once, to settle things? Why did Christ, Who could heal the sick and raise the dead, tell people to NOT tell others of His miracles? Why did He not prove (though He did) to every Israelite living, by His power and knowledge, that He was God? Why did He speak in parables, so "that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand"? Why did He write the Bible by men, so that those who are wise and prudent in their own sight do not believe it? Believe it, Bimmy, there is good reason for all of these things. It is done with purpose, a very marvelous one, and one that will cause all to glorify God when their eyes are opened to see His judgment and the works He does with the sons of men.

The Savior did not come in full armor on a glorious flying steed; He came meek and lowly on the back of a donkey. Let him that has ears to hear, hear.

Victor: Your "opinion" is that God wanted to make certain there were no mistakes or misinterpretations in the Scriptures. You make a false assumption. Both the deceiver and the deceived are His. As it is written:

"He who acts unjustly, let him act unjustly still; and the filthy, let him be filthy still; and the righteous, let him do righteousness still; and the holy, let him be sanctified still" (Revelation 22:11).

He knew that people would twist the true meanings of Scriptures:

"...and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation--just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, wrote to you, as also in all his letters, speaking in them about these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the unlearned and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures" (2 Peter 3:15-16).

Nothing says Jesus would make it easy or even possible for men; quite the contrary. It is a sifting process, Bimmy. He is the One Who calls and chooses, and not men who decide for themselves. If you receive the grace to believe, you will know it is Jesus Christ Who gave it to you to believe. True faith is a gift, and not something man comes up with. "With men, these things are impossible," He declared.

5. Why were the texts of the bible written 40+ years after the death of Jesus?

Paul: Were they? Do you have proof of this? Did you know that there is physical evidence of some fragments of the gospels that date back to closer to 30 years after the ascension? That is only what has been found. It is entirely reasonable to believe that the first and earliest manuscripts are lost. Do we have the first copy of Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, or any other ancient book? Let us be reasonable. Furthermore, there is very good evidence, which is logical and hard to refute, which indicates a far earlier date for the writing of the Gospels and "New Testament" than what is commonly taught by men who have hopes of discounting or diluting the authority of the Gospels. (We have a condensed presentation of facts for those interested. Ask us.) The fact remains that the texts you refer to are faithful eyewitness accounts, given by men that were willing to, and did, give their lives for their testimony. Are you willing to do the same for yours?

Victor: Is that fact, or the opinion of someone who "guesstimated" time frames? On what grounds and by what sure evidence do you, and they, choose what to believe? So what if all information was not included? All information was never intended to be included. Simple reason and logic should establish that simple truth for you. However, what information was included is substantial, and does not contradict itself in terms of its essence.

6. Could there be some information was lost/forgotten during that time? I don't know about you, but I don't remember what I had for lunch Thursday before last. No reason to think that all disciples of Jesus had super memories in their middle age!!!!!

Paul: There is a huge difference between what I had for lunch last week, and spiritual truth. Lunch is physical. It goes through the digestive tract and is eliminated. The spiritual life and truths only came to the fore in us as we partake of life in Christ, and become His expression. The disciples and apostles came to know and understand Jesus Christ and all that happened to them after His ascension, not before. After He ascended He filled them with His Spirit, and brought to mind all things that He had taught them. The truths they recorded were not so much from memory, as they were from having their understanding illuminated and being at one with the Lord, though memory played a part.

"Jesus answered and said to him, You do not know what I do now, but you shall know hereafter" (John 13:7).

"Jesus said to him, Have I been with you such a long time and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father. And how do you say, Show us the Father?" (John 14:9)

"I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of Truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth. For He shall not speak of Himself, but whatever He hears, He shall speak. And He will announce to you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will receive of Mine and will announce it to you" (John 16:12-14).

These were no mundane events, but Life itself Who was among them, and Who was with them after the resurrection, with power over death from within. The expression of the apostles IS Jesus Christ, the living Word of God.

"That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of Life, (for the Life was revealed, and we have seen It and bear witness, and show to you the everlasting Life, Who was with the Father and was revealed to us), that which we have seen and heard we declare unto you, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ" (1 John 1:1-3).

Victor: Because you have yet to repent of your sin, and therefore have never known the Spirit of God, you will not understand that God is above memory and intelligence, and as He was capable of creating you, so is He capable of causing one to "remember" anything that is necessary or that He wills. If He can raise the dead, don't you think He is rather capable of stimulating someone's memory? He can even make it that one has never forgotten anything, if He so chooses. As it is written:

"The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the LORD hath made even both of them" (Proverbs 20:12).

Your problem, Bimmy, is that you rely on yourself, and on those who have only their finite memories, to make judgments. We rely on, yea, live by, the One Who never forgets. As it is written by one who understands, and who was instrumental in teaching us:

"But he that is spiritual discerns all things, yet he himself is discerned by no man. For 'Who has known the mind of the LORD, that he may instruct Him?' But we have the mind of Christ" (1 Corinthians 2:15-16).

You are going to be upset with me, Bimmy, but I tell you the truth. I should be angry with you, because you do not tell me the truth. Better I should be angry against the opinions of man, than that you should be angry against the truth of God, don't you think? Yet, while I am forthright with you, I am not angry. Nevertheless, you need to believe the truth, for your life.

7. Could it be possible as described in the "Lost Books of the Bible" that the church deliberately took information out? After all it is Men of the Church who compiled the modern bible we find today right?

Paul: Most definitely some books were taken out, and justifiably so. Apocryphal books are by definition, false. That is, they are not inspired. They do not belong with the inspired texts. It was already established by the original apostles and disciples which writings were authentic. Above all, the will of God prevailed to provide us with the record He ordained us to have. Do men prevail over God? If they do, then we are speaking of another god, and not one to be feared or worshipped. But we know the living God, Who has delivered His record, and we are thankful to have it. Above all, we are thankful we are not dependent on the letter. We have the living Word within, Who sustains us, and causes us to know Him and His ways.

Which gives God more glory, that He delivers His written Word through friend and foe, or that He delivers it through His friends only? But if that written Word judges both friend and foe, it is the glory of God to publish it all over the earth by both the rebellious and righteous.

Victor: Again, it is God Who determines what man does and what he does not. God, the Creator and Governor of His creation, rules, and not His creatures. Does that not make sense to you, Bimmy? If not, where is your intelligence? Imagine some mere speck of His creation determining all things, or anything for that matter! How absurd! Does your car or your horse take you where it pleases?

As to "lost books," I have read several of them. Some are evidently foolish nonsense, and some have genuine sayings of truth that could be readily received as having been spoken by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, even by Jesus Himself. I very much appreciate some of the things said in the "Gospel of Philip" and the "Gospel of Thomas," for examples. Nevertheless, there is nothing to say that ALL should be included in the Bible as God chose it to be. As for the Apocrypha, while some books may have accurate historical information and some truth, without contradiction, they were not inspired of the Holy Spirit at all.

It is not about volume; it is not about including everything; it is not even about including all that is inspired of God. It is about what God chose to compose the Bible. That which He chose is true. Those that know Him know so. We have determined these things not by our own understanding, but by His Spirit. That is the only way one can rightfully and effectively do so.

8. Is there new and valuable information that we can learn from the "Nag Hammadi Library"?

Paul: I do not find anything in these writings that authenticate any changes from the Gospel we preach. What are you finding that is contrary to the Word of God? What is the reader supposed to decide against, of that which is recorded in Scripture?

Why not tell us yourself what it is that you believe? You are only telling us you do not believe. We tell you Whom we believe. We do not need the Bible to tell you the truth. It most certainly helps, though, that the truth we preach is confirmed by the record of God from the beginning. What is your truth? And how and where is it confirmed or authenticated? Please quote us chapter and verse from these writings you hold up as gospel truth.

Victor: When one has ALL, which is God within, one needs no longer look to externals for sustenance. God is all. Furthermore, if there is more information, there of course will be both false and true. We know the difference by Him Who dwells within. Whether there is or is not more in the "Nag Hammadi Library" is a moot point. We (those who are in Christ) have it all now.

That reminds me of when I was going to a Bible school in 1974. The enormity of the quantity of all the available books in the world overwhelmed me, and the doctrines taught. I would need a thousand lifetimes to scratch the surface to make sure I had sifted through everything, and covered all my bases. What is true? What is not? Then, on January 1, 1975, I received the Spirit of God, and that was it; the problem was solved. I knew the Truth and could judge all things by the Spirit of God within. What a relief! The Bible came alive! As it is written:

"For the people shall dwell in Zion at Jerusalem; you shall weep no more; He will be very gracious to you at the voice of your cry. When He hears it, He will answer you. And Jehovah gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction; yet your teachers shall not be removed into a corner any more, but your eyes shall see your teachers. And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, This is the way, walk in it, when you turn to the right hand and when you turn to the left" (Isaiah 30:19-21).

Paul: Bimmy, you write in reference to the web sites you posted:

(Information contained here is a lot more than 'nonsense.' It makes perfect sense to me and it is up to the reader to decide, if it does to them or not.)

Paul: Perfect sense how? The story given (in The Lost Books of the Bible) of Mary makes perfect sense to you? What do you mean? What are you learning from this gospel? Are you telling me you idolize and worship Mary? And what does that do for you? Can you distill the essence of these writings and tell us what it adds to the authentic Gospels, or how it changes them? What crucial new factor(s) do you find in these writings? What is the reader supposed to decide on there? Where are the Scriptures wrong?

Victor: We never said that all books outside the Bible are nonsense. Some are true, some are not, and some are worse than nonsense. I have already addressed that point in question number 7. (You should not rely on your intelligence, Bimmy. How can you rely on something that makes "perfect sense" to you when you don't understand what one is telling you? Your assumptions lead you astray.) Let readers decide what they will. We know the substance and veracity, or lack thereof, in these things. Let those who have ears to hear, hear. Lest we be accused of duplicity or cover-up with bias, the sites you gave are:

For more information on this, go to The Lost Books of the Bible:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/0517277956/ref=sib_dp_ln/103-2142337-9419819#reader-link

And: Nag Hammadi Library:

http://www.gnosis.org/naghamm/nhl.html

Any individual who is really after universal truths needs to review ALL facts at their disposal, and decide for him/herself, what is fact, truth vs. opinion, innuendo, interpretation and yes sometimes nonsense, naivety and ignorance.

Victor: If you were speaking of carnal matters, or matters in an earthly court of law, for example, you would be right, to a limited degree. However, you are dead wrong here, because you speak of "universal truths." Tell me: What human is capable of "reviewing ALL facts at their disposal"? Is that not as impossible as catching a hurricane in one's fist? Are you not utterly presumptuous and arrogant to think you can do something like that? How can you say such a thing, and suggest to lay such an enormous and impossible burden upon anyone when you yourself have not begun to, nor could ever, carry it yourself? As Jesus said to the Pharisees:

"And He said, Woe to you also, lawyers! For you load men with burdens grievous to be carried, and you yourselves do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers" (Luke 11:46).

Shall man contain God? He is Universal Truth. Do you presume, by your finite, relative, infinitely submicroscopic mind, to judge and analyze the Creator Himself in all His Infinity? How absurd! But that, my friend, is the vanity of sin, that disposition of rebellion against God, that says, "I can be like God, by my own power and right." Bimmy, you can't even add one inch to your height, and you are going to investigate and determine all universal truths? I don't think so.

Paul: We are thankful to have opportunity to preach the Truth, the Creator of the universe, God of "universal truths," Very Truth Himself, Who is the answer and antidote to all darkness and falsehood.

"This then is the message which we have heard of Him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all" (1 John 1:5).

All you have stated here for the benefit of anyone who is interested in knowing the truth, (universal truths), is Paul's & Victors opinions and interpretations. It certainly does not pass the litmus test of an intelligent, rational, critical thinker, a gift that is given to us by our creator which should be used to separate fact from fiction.

Victor: I think we have established that the shoe is quite on the other foot, Bimmy. You need to humble yourself, repent of your sins, and listen to what we have to say, if you will have life.

To the carnal man, we write in apparent arrogance, but to the spiritual man, we soundly contend for the faith once delivered to the saints.

Paul: "But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men" (1 Corinthians 1:23-25).

 

 

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