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MORE UNDERSTANDING THAN MY TEACHERS!

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord's Day Morning, December 7, 2014


Before I read the text I am going to read an e-mail that was sent to me last week by a man who financially supports our Internet ministry. He said,

“I loved your ‘The God-Breathed Book’ Sunday sermon. I have received greater depths of understanding. Thank you....You know, I don't think most people realize that your teachings are ‘college-level’!...I’m certain that in God's kingdom, He considers you a ‘Professor Emeritus.’ I know I do.”

Thank you, sir, for those kind words! I have never thought of myself as a scholar, though.  I have always thought of myself as a preacher and a missionary, not a great thinker.  Now turn with me to Psalm 119.

“I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation... How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way” (Psalm 119:99, 103-104).

The 119th Psalm is the longest chapter in the entire Bible. The subject of this Psalm is the Bible, which the Psalmist calls by various names:  "the word," "the law," "thy testimonies," "thy statutes," and others.  It defends the Bible.  That is its theme. 

Dr. W. A. Criswell was a great scholar and a mighty defender of the Scriptures. He was pastor of the First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas for nearly sixty years. I loved Dr. Criswell! His rich voice and humble faith have inspired me for fifty years! His book, Why I Preach that the Bible is Literally True, has been a constant inspiration and help to me.

And I love the Scriptures. I was not raised in a Christian home. I did not have the privilege of growing up in a Christian family. If it were not for the Bible, I myself would not be a Christian today.

I was told by the Southern Baptists that I had to have a college degree to be a preacher. That was a requirement among the Southern Baptists. But I had no money to go to a Christian college. I had to work all day and go to college at night. I could only afford to attend a secular university, and take the courses after a long eight hours of work each day.

As I studied in that secular school the professors attacked the Bible mercilessly. In class after class they mocked the Scriptures, they ridiculed the Word of God, they did almost everything possible to shake my faith in the Book of God. It was there, in that secular college, that I first took comfort in the words of our text,

“I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation... How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way” (Psalm 119:99, 103-104).

I graduated from that worldly, secular college. Then the Southern Baptists told me, “You have to have a master’s degree from a seminary to be a Southern Baptist pastor.” But I had no money to go to a Bible-believing, conservative seminary. It was too expensive for a poor boy like me. Since I was a member of a Southern Baptist church, I could go to their seminary for only a fraction of what it would cost at Talbot Seminary, or another conservative theological school. It takes three years to earn a master's degree in theology. I asked my pastor if I should go to the liberal Southern Baptist school, Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary. He said, “Go ahead, Bob. You know the Bible. It won’t hurt you.” He was right. It didn’t “hurt” me. But it almost killed me! I mean it!

If it had not been for the grace of God I think I would not be alive today – and I certainly would not be in the ministry! I became so discouraged and heartbroken in that awful school that I actually quit the ministry for a few days. I spent three horrible years there, in that cold, desolate, unbelieving hell-hole! I would never have made it and graduated if it had not been for the Bible. I would go to sleep in my dormitory room with an open Bible in my arms. Almost every day I would read the words of our text,

“I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation... How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way” (Psalm 119:99, 103-104).

I felt like I had fallen into Hell. I thought that I would never get out of that seminary alive. I mean it.

“I cried with my whole heart; hear me, O Lord: I will keep thy statutes. I cried unto thee; save me, and I shall keep thy testimonies” (Psalm 119:145-146).

But it was there, in the fire of affliction, alone in that windswept, cold and lonely place of unbelief, that I learned to love the Bible more than life itself.

The professor of preaching told me I was getting a bad name for defending the Bible in class. He told me I was a good preacher, but I was getting a bad reputation for defending the Bible in class. He said, “You’ll never get a church.” The president of the seminary called me into his office and said the same thing – “You’ll never get a church. They will find out that you caused trouble here.” When I read the words of great Luther, they could have been my own words,

Here I stand, I can do no other. Unless I am convinced of error by the Holy Scriptures, I neither can or dare retract anything; for my conscience is held captive by the Word of God.

That word above all earthly powers, No thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours, Thro’ Him who with us sideth.
Let goods and kindred go, This mortal life also;
The body they may kill, God’s truth abideth still:
His kingdom is forever.
   (“A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” by Martin Luther, 1483-1546).

“I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation” (Psalm 119:99).

The Bible is not a textbook on science. But neither is it a textbook on systematic theology. Yet, when the Bible speaks on the subject of theology, what it says is true. And when the Bible speaks on a scientific matter it is also true.

In my third and final year at that seminary, I was elected by my friends and supporters in the student body as the editor of the student paper, The Current. It was then that I really opened up both barrels against the Bible-rejecting liberal professors. In my column, in that paper, I put answers to the attacks on the Bible made in the classrooms. The students would literally run to get The Current when it came out. I overheard one student say, “Nobody ever read it until Hymers became the editor.” One of the things I wrote about was the scientific accuracy of the Bible. When the Bible makes a statement related to science it is always accurate and true. Here are several scientific facts revealed in the Bible, which no one knew when the Bible was written.

I. First, what the Bible says about human blood was unknown when the Scriptures were written.

Please turn to Leviticus 17:11. It’s on page 150 of the Scofield Bible. Please stand and read the first 10 words,

“For the life of the flesh is in the blood” (Leviticus 17:11).

You may be seated. Dr. Henry M. Morris said,

This important verse along with others (Genesis 9:3-6) indicates that the blood circulation is the key factor in physical life (a discovery made in 1616 by William Harvey)...This relatively modern scientific insight merely confirms what God revealed thousands of years ago (Henry M. Morris, Ph.D., The Defender’s Study Bible, World Publishing, 1995, p. 154; note on Leviticus 17:11).

Although William Harvey discovered that the arteries contained blood instead of air in 1616, “almost nothing was known of the life-sustaining work of the blood until modern times” (John R. Rice, D.D., Our God-Breathed Book – The Bible, Sword of the Lord Publishers, 1969, p. 319). When our first president, George Washington became sick, a medical doctor bled him three times. The third time he took more than a quart of blood from Washington. The president died because the doctor did not know what the Bible had revealed centuries earlier, “the life of the flesh is in the blood.” “He foolishly thought that most diseases were caused by too much blood” (Rice, ibid.).

II. Second, what the Bible says about the earth was unknown when the Scriptures were written.

Please turn to Job 26:7. It is page 585 in the Scofield Bible. Please stand and read it aloud,

“He stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing” (Job 26:7).

This was written 1,500 years before Christ. A modern translation puts it like this, “He spreads out the northern skies over empty space; he suspends the earth over nothing” (NIV). The renowned scholar Dr. Charles John Ellicott said of Job 26:7,

...a very remarkable instance [anticipating] the discoveries of science. Here we find Job, more than three thousand years ago, describing in language of scientific accuracy the condition of our globe, and holding it forth as a proof of divine power (Charles John Ellicott, Ph.D., Ellicott’s Commentary on the Whole Bible, Zondervan Publishing House, n.d., volume IV, p. 46; note on Job 26:7).

“He suspends the earth over nothing” (NIV). “And hangeth the earth upon nothing” (KJV). Those words were written in the Bible before Christ, when the Romans believed the world rested on the back of a great god called Atlas, and at a time when the Hindus said the earth was flat and rested on the back of an elephant, who stood on the back of a great turtle, that swam in a cosmic sea! Dr. J. Vernon McGee said, “Remember that this man Job lived back in the age of the patriarchs, and yet this man knew that this earth is hanging out in space. That God suspends the huge ball of earth in space with nothing to support it...is a concept unknown to ancient astronomers” (J. Vernon McGee, Th.D., Thru the Bible, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1982, volume II, p. 632; note on Job 26:7). It was then, more than three thousand years ago, that the Book of Job said that God “hangeth the earth upon nothing,” “Its suspension in empty space,” as Dr. A. R. Fausset put it (Jamieson, Fausset and Brown’s Commentary, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1976 edition, volume II, p. 62; note on Job 26:7).

Now turn to Isaiah 40:22. It's on page 748 of the Scofield Bible. Please stand and read the first eleven words aloud, ending with the word “earth.”

“It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth...” (Isaiah 40:22).

You may be seated.

The center note “g” in The Scofield Study Bible says, “A remarkable reference to the sphericity [roundness] of the earth.” Dr. W. A. Criswell said, “Isaiah, writing some seven hundred years before Christ, already knows about the spherical shape of the earth. This is a remarkable insight, given by inspiration of God” (The Criswell Study Bible, Thomas Nelson Publishers; note on Isaiah 40:22). Dr. Henry M. Morris said that the Hebrew word translated “circle” is “khug,” and “clearly refers to the sphericity [roundness] of the earth” (The Defender’s Study Bible, ibid.; note on Isaiah 40:22).

So, the Bible teaches that the earth is round and hangs in space on nothing! Dr. John R. Rice said, “...this was written thousands of years before Galileo, Columbus and Magellan learned that the earth is round” (Rice, ibid., p. 320).

III. Third, what Jesus knew about the roundness and rotation of the earth was unknown by the world when the Scriptures were written.

The Greeks theorized that the earth was round, but they did not know that it rotates. The average man thought the earth was flat. To this very day a group exists called “The Flat Earth Society.” But the Lord Jesus Christ knew that the earth was round, and that it is continually rotating. He knew that over 1,400 years before Magellan sailed around the world. Turn in your Bible to Luke 17:34-36. It’s on page 1100 of the Scofield Bible. Please stand and read Luke 17:34 to 36.

“I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left. Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left” (Luke 17:34-36).

You may be seated. Jesus said that, when He comes in the rapture, two men shall be in bed, two women shall be grinding meal, and two men shall be in the field. Dr. Henry M. Morris said,

When the Lord comes, it will be at night when men are in bed. But it will also be early morning when women are grinding meal, and mid-day when men are working in the field. This is possible since the world is round and rotating daily on its axis (Henry M. Morris, Ph.D., ibid., p. 1116; note on Luke 17:34).

Christ will come “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye” (I Corinthians 15:52). So in one moment of time it will be night in one part of the earth, daybreak in another part, and the middle of the day in another place. Dr. John R. Rice said, “The Lord Jesus knew...this scientific fact about the revolution of the earth which makes night and day on opposite sides of the earth at the same time” (Rice, ibid., p. 321).

These four passages plainly show that, when the Bible speaks on a scientific matter, it is always correct. Even when no man on earth knew the facts, the Bible was always correct on these matters of science. We will see three more of these next Sunday.

I put simple facts like these in the student paper, when I was the editor, in that liberal Bible-rejecting Southern Baptist seminary. Some yelled at me. Others laughed at me. The president of the seminary threatened to expel me, but he couldn’t since I had been an A student for more than two years. They said I would never get a Southern Baptist church. But I didn’t need to “get” a church! I started one from scratch about two miles from that seminary. It is still there today! It is a Southern Baptist church. And forty churches, all over the world, have come out of that church. Strangely, I preached in the auditorium of Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary two years ago, on the fortieth anniversary of the church I started in Mill Valley, California! Every one of the liberal, Bible-rejecting professors were gone – and I was there preaching! Praise the name of Jesus! And I can still say, with all humility, because it was only by the grace of God,

“I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation... How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way” (Psalm 119:99, 103-104).

I hope you will never be ashamed to trust the Bible. Jesus said,

“For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels” (Luke 9:26).

Come to Jesus by faith. Trust Him and be cleansed from your sin by His Blood! He has risen from the dead! Look up to Heaven and trust Him!

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
   Look full in His wonderful face;
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
   In the light of His glory and grace.
(“Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus” by Helen H. Lemmel, 1863-1961).

(END OF SERMON)
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These sermon manuscripts are not copyrighted. You may use them without Dr. Hymers’
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Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Mr. Abel Prudhomme: Psalm 119:97-104.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith: Psalm 19:7-10.


THE OUTLINE OF

MORE UNDERSTANDING THAN MY TEACHERS!

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation... How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way” (Psalm 119:99, 103-104).

(Psalm 119:145-146)

I.   First, what the Bible says about human blood was unknown when
the Scriptures were written, Leviticus 17:11;

II.  Second, what the Bible says about the earth was unknown when the
Scriptures were written, Job 26:7; Isaiah 40:22.

III. Third, what Jesus knew about the roundness and rotation of the
earth was unknown by the world when the Scriptures were
written, Luke 17:34-36; I Corinthians 15:52; Luke 9:26.