Pastor Gene kicks off our series "The Rest of the Story: The Bible Unredacted." Today we walk through an introduction into the series and ask: do we know the Bible, or just what we've been told about it?
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good morning welcome if you're new here among us my name is gene and i serve here at c3 church as your lead pastor if you're tuning in from somewhere else welcome to somewhere else so is your tree still up have you taken the christmas tree down yet yesterday some honest people here i had the idea years ago i'm just getting a fake one leaving it up all year and just changing the decorations right so now we'd be putting hearts on the tree then some american flags on the tree and some pumpkins maybe some turkeys later and then we'd be right back around to christmas again sounds like a good idea who's gonna try it it's kind of crazy it's now a little over a month since christmas seems like yesterday doesn't it maybe just to me time is flying i heard a story about a boy on christmas was opening his presence but this year instead of the little name taggy things the two from things there were cards on the presents more than usual because a lot of his family members weren't traveling now so in lieu of their presence they were leaving cards on the presents surprisingly before tearing into the gift he was actually opening them he'd open up the envelope but he did something strange with the cards pulled the card out flicked it threw it over his shoulder that's peculiar did this about two or three times before the parents chimed in and said whoa don't you want to know who the gift is from don't you want to read the card the boy ignored it kept going open up the card flick it throw it over the shoulder finally he opened up one of the cards flicked it and some money came out boy was quick to pick up the money point to the portrait it was ben franklin he was doing well point the picture on the money and say this is who the present's from now i know that there are some christians who do not celebrate christmas the way we do traditionally here in america and that's okay we don't divide over that we're going to talk about what it is to be non-denominational today and not dividing over things like that so if you want to celebrate christmas go ahead if you want to not celebrate christmas you can ba humbug it it's fine with me i actually did this with a beloved christmas carol on christmas i told you about we three kings i humbugged it i don't like it and it's not just because you all sound like sam eagle when you're singing it from the muppet show it's kind of pompous and that's annoying but aside from that it's biblically incorrect it's not right i told you this story there's one king and he's a really bad guy king herod he wants to kill jesus then you have well we don't know how many magi maggie means magicians plural and greek they're kind of like astronomers following a star have no clue and then there's three gifts gold frankincense and myrrh they worship jesus but we just don't know how many of them there are and they're not kings so what's the big deal gene what's the problem well not really a big deal with carol but it paints an incorrect picture of a biblical narrative for us and simply just not a good habit but i'll give you another example in case you're totally new today there's something i always have to remind myself of there could be new people here or people on the verse a day read the bible in 67 years plan so i'm going to assume that you might need another example is where we're going with the series if you went to school here in america you can probably finish this little rhyme and i don't have to give you too much of it in 1492 pretty good we have to practice that because you guys were all over the place but you got it so in school grade school i guess been a long time you kind of probably learned something like or you were taught that christopher columbus discovered america then maybe you learned that back then they thought the earth was flat so he was going to risk sailing over the edge of it kind of worried about chris but then maybe later you got to like high school and if you were unlike me and you were paying attention you might have learned that they really didn't think the earth was flat back then if you were educated anyway the ancient greeks about a thousand years before this knew the earth was round they knew about that also you might have learned that he didn't land in naples florida bahamas he made like three trips i think haiti cuba and then the east coast of what we call south america today hmm then maybe you learned a little bit more and you learned that christopher columbus was not such a nice dude he was not nice to the people and the places he landed and so for that reason he was chained up brought back to spain who had commissioned him and stripped of his titles that's the rest of the story regarding columbus so much like the history on columbus most christians have some of the basic points about the bible down maybe but they're missing the rest of the story now believing the wrong thing about columbus probably not going to have much of an impact on your life but what if we believe the wrong thing about the bible what does that change i'd say it might be important to fact check what we hear about the bible read it for ourselves to get the rest of the story do we believe what we've been told about it or what we've read in it have we fact checked it so it brings me to this series i'm very excited about it we've been working on it for a little while compiling some of the ideas i've been going through my bible a lot for it and looking at all the different parts of it that people might not have ever read bouncing ideas off of actually long time christians some people at a pastoral level and there are stories that even they don't know and even at that level there are things within the story that they think they know that they don't know so we're going to look at the rest of the story and i'm excited about it so for today an introduction is absolutely necessary because there are some things about the bible itself that most christians don't know and i want to explain that to you about how depending on what denomination you're in you might have a different bible i want to explain that to you so if you're new here today it's going to be a little bit more teachy than preachy but i think you'll survive so i want to invite you guys to the bible study wednesday nights 6 p.m we worship at 5 30 if you can make it that early for about a half hour or so and then bible study is at 6 00 and we feed you pizza too so it's kind of cool we're going to take a look at more of the things here i'm not going to use a lot of visuals today we'll be doing that on wednesday we'll be doing show and tell so to speak we usually believe the picture that has been painted for us there's what we've been told it says then there's what it actually says like we three kings for example which in that case is really not a big deal but it's a really bad habit and when this habit is applied to the bible it often is we get what we think the bible says but it's not actually what the bible says all the time here at c3 we say we're a bible believing church so today i want to take some time to help everybody understand what that really means first i'm going to pretend that everyone here is new and that you don't know the basics i'm going to really zoom out and make it simple for you guys today what is the bible if i had to boil it down into like a short elevator speech the bible is really about god's relationship with humanity with people then boiling down to a specific people group you would know them as the jewish people or israelites early on in the bible then it boils down to a specific person from that people group jesus here in the flesh so in the old testament we have prophecies pointing to him the new testament is all about him biographies about him his church and his second coming what's going to happen prophecy now you may know that there's some prophets that point to him in the old testament so there's like two sections generally speaking but you might not know that even people we don't think of as prophets prophesied about jesus david moses abraham jesus says this himself it all points to him you might know even if you've never been in church you're new here that jesus was crucified died buried rose from the dead and when he came back he had interactions with people i told you in the past he kind of scared his disciples i think jesus was funny but that's an opinion you don't have to believe that it doesn't say it in the bible necessarily at least i'm honest about it he's walking along on a road and he runs into some people here's what he says luke 24 25 then jesus said to them you foolish people you find it so hard to believe all that the prophets wrote in the scriptures wasn't it clearly predicted that the messiah would have to suffer all these things before entering his glory then jesus took them through the writings of moses and all the prophets explaining from the scriptures that's the old testament the way we think of it concerning himself today so when we read this i think most of us know that the original wasn't written in english do we know that okay i'm glad you do the rest of these people i don't know what we're gonna do jesus wasn't speaking english at this time maybe aramaic fewer people spoke hebrew back then but definitely people spoke greek this is written in greek so i want you to understand this very important when we approach the bible that you have to put it in the language and the culture that it was written in so greek could be thought of like englishes today i know many people have many friends who speak english as a second language their primary language is spanish especially here in southwest florida but the trade language of the area right we do business in write in is english so we just have to think of greek that way no matter what anyone was speaking back then latin aramaic hebrew pretty much i could say hyperbolically that everybody spoke greek that's why the bible is written in greek now something might surprise you even if you've been educated in christian ministry even some pastors don't exactly know this that the whole bible was written in greek in the early church both new and old testament it makes a difference too it's the language of the day it's not hebrew the old testament of the christian church when you look at the oldest manuscripts that we have of the christian bible the bible of the early church it's all in greek all of it the oldest complete copies that we have are in greek and that brings me to the story of the septuagint some of you might have heard about it and i'm going to explain how this works because when we look at the bible the way the church looked at the bible we see it rightly it starts to open some things up for us the story of the septuagint goes something like this about 250 bc so about 250 years-ish before jesus god in the flesh came here on earth king ptolemy of egypt wanted a greek version because it's a greek speaking world of the hebrew or jewish the way we think of it scriptures that is the old testament i want a copy of it in greek for his library so he commissioned 72 elders or scribes to make this copy and the story goes kind of like this they went their own ways they did the translations and when they came back together all of them were exactly the same it was a miracle now the way the early church i'll show you some quotes on wednesday thought about this was that it was a miracle it was a holy spirit inspired divinely inspired version of the bible their scriptures to point to jesus in fact when you look at the hebrew manuscripts it's missing some things like the virgin birth it's not in the hebrew version interesting the crucifixion prophesied and the psalms not in the hebrew version it doesn't read that way but it reads that way in the greek so the early church thought that the holy spirit inspired these guys to write it so that it pointed to the christ in a greek speaking world many people don't understand this but it's the way they thought about it back then it's all about jesus now you might be surprised to find out that this has been in front of your face if you own a bible the whole time interesting i told you guys you need to read your bibles from the beginning and before you say genesis 1. no you need to read the introduction because the translators tell you exactly how they did it and if you read the introduction in most modern bibles it'll talk about the septuagint or the 70 72 to be exact and i'll say something like this usually unless you're reading like a orthodox bible if you're reading a protestant bible they'll say something like when translations were difficult we used the septuagint yeah you had to otherwise you don't get a lot of the prophecies kind of interesting now if you're really paying attention and you looked in most modern bibles at the bottom you would see l x x if you know your latin you know that means 70. 72 to be exact what they're talking about is the septuagint and when it happens in the new testament it's extremely significant we talked about this in the hebrew series the authors of the new testament quote the old testament constantly about 33 percent of the new testament is just old testament paraphrase and every time the lxx is there and it points to the scripture they're quoting what they're saying is they're quoting the greek version of the old testament not the hebrew version in fact most of the quotes of the old testament are the greek version they're a little different kind of interesting it makes sense though if they're writing in greek why would they be reading any other version of the old testament but a greek one so we have to understand is that greek is the language of the early christian church which is why i am so passionate about learning greek so i can read what the disciples of jesus were reading and writing just as it was back then unaltered and unredacted i've been studying this for years and as i look closely at the bible of the early church i noticed something else that they were up to 14 more books in that bible than we have in ours today that was kind of interesting what i was holding in my hand at the time was a protestant bible that is a bible put together by protestant denominations but the bible of the early church was different interesting but i began to discover that all bibles up until the mid-1800s or so included more old testament books than the most popular modern versions do this was a mind-blowing discovery for me so i started thinking i want to read what the early church read in fact wouldn't it be a good idea to read what the early church read for oh i don't know the first 1 800 years of its existence i discovered that the cancel culture has been around for a while indeed we live at a time when people want to delete history not always realizing that it's already been done even in christian history and even to our bibles so i'd like to take a few minutes and talk about what these extra books are this is not what the whole series is going to be about okay so don't fret but i have to intro them for you because a lot of people don't know what they are so these books are called deuterocanonical it's fun to say a second canon they're not primary but secondary these are old testament books which were originally originally contained within and throughout the old testament not as their own section but then later parsed out by some denominations as their own section and then these denominations call them apocrypha or hidden ironic because in some cases that's exactly what they've done to them yet these books are affirmed from the very earliest times in the church and again at the council of rome 382 a.d approximately 700 years before any significant denominational split before the great schism in 1054 this is the orthodox and catholic split and then from the catholic branch you get all the protestants a lot of people don't understand that that they're just reformed catholics it's way before that i like to study early history way before it so this is not a catholic thing some of you may know about it you might have learned about the apocrypha thing we probably taught something like those are the catholic books if you read them your eyes are going to light on fire you know like don't look at them you've probably heard something like that but it's wrong that's not the correct history it is not a catholic thing it's a christian thing in fact they are contained in martin luther's german bible as well if you're new martin luther was an early reformer in the 1500s luther's bible published the apocryphal books in the old testament in 1534 again affirming their usefulness and belonging in the bible here's a quote about the apocrypha martin luther said these books are not held equal to scriptures it's his belief but are useful and good to read these deuterocanonical or apocryphal books are also included in the king james bible as well all the way up until the mid-1800s again we'll be doing some show-and-tell at bible study so if you wanna see these things in their unaltered form i'll be showing them to you on the screens undisturbed by cancel culture you might be surprised that the apocryphal books are included in lutheran and methodist lectionaries go up on the pulpit in the methodist church and ask if you can see it they're also in the liturgical calendar these readings so they're saying you should be reading these things throughout the year over 60 percent of christians read from them so it's safe to say that the majority of christians read from these books today and furthermore think about it just a little over a hundred years ago all christians were reading from them most people don't know this history and it's kind of sad most people also don't know that the writers of the new testament were reading referencing and quoted directly from these extra books so you're reading it if you're reading the new testament whether you want to or not we'll look at it that bible study more closely and even if you don't think as luther did that these books are scripture they're not well don't you want to know what they're talking about in the new testament if they're referencing them how can we say we understand god's word unless we understand what they're talking about in a lot of cases we don't jude's a good example when you go home a little homework nobody's gonna do read jude come back and tell me if you understand a couple of the things he's referencing if you haven't read the apocryphal books you can't you won't get it so are these books scripture that's what you're waiting for isn't it i'm going to read you the c3 doctrinal statement regarding the bible what we think we believe the bible is holy and that it reveals everything necessary for our salvation it is to be received through the holy spirit as the true rule and guide for faith in life whatever is not revealed in or established by the bible is not to be made an article of faith nor is it to be taught as essential to salvation we believe that the 39 old testament books and the 27 new testament books of the traditional protestant canon are inspired and authoritative scripture while we believe that the apocryphal or deuterocanonical books of the old testament may not be inspired scripture we nevertheless hold these books to be of great value in so much as they are often quoted in the bible and were in fact included in all english bibles up until the mid 1800s so the point like christmas we here at c3 don't divide over it at a non-denominational church we believe in letting the believer decide instead of a denomination making a decision for you so here's where we're going take a little turn and talk a little bit about what it is to be a non-denominational church now i might offend some people but i've often said i want to put on the website we are not your church back home that is any pastor in southwest florida this is what we complain about at lunch because everybody wants to make us something we're not right so they come in and they say i want to join a non-denominational church and what i want to say to 99 of them is no you don't you want to join a baptist church that took the name baptist off the side but didn't change any of the belief system underneath it we're a non-denominational church so i want to talk to you guys about what that means very important especially walking into this series i want you guys to help me with it if people come in that are new and have questions so let's start here remember that martin luther quote about the apocrypha that they were good to read these books he also had some things to say about some other books both new and old testament easy to find too surprisingly from wikipedia luther had a low view of the old testament book of esther scripture and the new testament books of hebrews james jude and the revelation of john what he called the letter of james an epistle of straw finding little in it that pointed to christ and his saving work he also had harsh words for the revelation of john saying that he could in no way detect that the holy spirit produced it he's talking about the word of god there can you imagine a pastor today getting up here and saying that about the word of god what like columbus the rest of luther's story is not known to many people and i'd say it should be this is what martin luther went on to say about the new testament book of james scripture he said not me we should throw the epistle of james out of this school is where he taught take it tear it out of your bible and throw it away for it doesn't amount to much it contains not a syllable about christ not once does it mention christ wrong except at the beginning i maintained that some jew wrote it who probably heard about christian people but never encountered any since he heard that christians placed great weight on faith in christ he thought wait a moment i'll oppose them and urge works alone this he did no he didn't false in many ways you should find that offensive anti-semitic as well james is some jew jesus is brother and yeah for that reason he probably met a christian this stuff is out there it's easy to find martin luther definitely had some opinions that should shock most christians and for good reason so this should teach us that we should not always listen implicitly to the opinions of men just because they may have gotten some things right or have a denomination named after them a lot of denominations have done christians a great disservice by hiding things from them we believe in your freedom to choose outside the primary gospel issues remember we're a non-denominational church the domination is a group of christians that have separated themselves based on secondary that is non-primary gospel issues beliefs or opinions this is the idea of developing a faction a group of people who follow a person or opinion now this if you're very familiar with the new testament could be said is one of the apostle pauls or paul as he would refer to himself an apostle and slave of jesus christ one of his worst nightmares if you know your new testament really well you know that this is a reason for writing romans unity lack of division then between the gentiles and the jews this is the reason for reading or writing ephesians same kind of issue going on if you know your bible well you know that there are other secondary issues they're arguing about and you know what paul says in romans 14 don't divide over it right you want to do those things fine but don't divide over it it's not necessary it's not gospel this is a big thing in first corinthians again don't divide over it your opinions first corinthians 8 through 10 that's the context no matter what else he's talking about in there that's the main issue in the beginning i told you about this recently they're doing what i would call pastor worship they're following after one teacher or another teacher putting them up on a pedestal putting paul down apollo he's such a wonderful and eloquent speaker is he preaching this sunday i'll go if paul's preaching not so much right that's what's going on here and this is what paul says pay attention in this context first corinthians 1 10 i appeal to you dear brothers and sisters by the authority of our lord jesus christ important to live in harmony with each other let there be no divisions in the church rather be of one mind united in thought and purpose for some member of chloe's household have told me about your quarrels my dear brothers and sisters some of you are saying i'm a follower of paul others are saying i follow apollos or i follow peter or i follow only christ has christ been divided into factions yes sadly it has 44 000 of them it has been said that there are sadly 44 000 christian denominations what would paul say to that today some may say i follow luther here we say i follow only christ i don't think a lot of christians understand that a truly bible-believing church should be looking for unity like paul was encouraging its members not to follow people but christ and christ alone that's it so we here at c3 are a non-denominational church we welcome and respect all christians in fact everyone that's what the bible teaches regardless of what they believe especially if they're members outside of the centrality of the gospel i hear way too many i talked about this at bible study christians admittedly especially from protestant denominations who say if i'm being real with you guys today stupid things about people from other denominations because they don't understand it so bad that i had to put the catholic statement of faith up on the screen because so many protestants will say stupid things about catholics it's not good and the bible teaches us not to do that do they believe that jesus is lord and savior have they confessed that do they believe that in their mind and their hearts yes then they're saved protestants also too do a lot of stupid extra things that aren't about the gospel but it does not unsave you that's the bottom line imagine that imagine if we could be unsaved by something by someone we prayed to or someone we put up too high maybe our spouse do we worship ourselves think about it i hope that can't unsave me i don't think so we need to keep the main thing the main thing this is jesus and the truths about him everything else is secondary i said in the past where bible believing church this means we hold the word of god in very high regard not the opinions of people no matter how hip or famous they are we can see if you're reading the news how much trouble that gets us into doesn't it even ones we think are really really smart i've seen them fall too i will respectfully consider anyone's opinion i'll listen but i will not implicitly listen to a pope a pastor a priest or a professor only the prince of peace that's it jesus and as we saw even some people we consider heroes of the faith had had some pretty bad opinions about the word of god which is why my only hero is jesus that's it we're a christ-centered church that is what c3 stands for now it's been said that the water is purest at the source so this is why we study the word so deeply important and early church history see what they thought about it and as we study that history we see that the truth is that these extra books that i was talking about before weren't all copies of the bible in the early church regardless of what anyone's opinions is of them today or are again non-denomination means we're not going to keep these things hidden from you it means that you have the freedom to decide based on the facts and that's all i'm presenting again bible study i'll show you some of this stuff it's interesting i'll be giving you more facts letting you decide some extra resources because your primary question is well how do i read these things so i'll be showing you where you can read some of these things for yourself letting you formulate your own opinions about them and as i said before it's not just the apocryphal books that we'll be looking at the majority of this series will not be about the deuterocanonical books i'm surprised i said that four times now without messing up it is just that we required an introduction here and i do want to give you an invitation to the bible study on that note my vision is that it will become more than just a bible study i want to make it wednesday worship which is why we worship from 5 30 to 6. so i'd like to see the room eventually as full as it is right now on wednesday night so not just those books but we got to take a peek at them let you guys decide but here's the deal there's a large majority of those scriptural 66 books a lot of christians don't know a whole lot about a majority which is why this series is going to be kind of long and we're going to have to take a few breaks in the middle of it you'll get sick of the video i won't i really love it thank you dustin poor poor guy we get we get to a new series i'm like can you can you do it okay he's like oh no can you make this he actually makes them so aren't they good yes he's pretty awesome but anyway driving nuts it's been said that the bible is god's love letter to us do we believe that if so we may have received the gift from god but have we read the card like kids on christmas we're pretty quick to accept the gifts tear right into it or do we but have we read god's love letter to us what do we love more the gift or the giver in this series we'll be reading god's love letter to us where everything points to jesus we'll be looking at the bible unredacted you'll be hearing the rest of the story