reasonable to believe that the Bible is the word of God?
Since what you believe is shaping your life and has eternal consequences, perhaps now is an opportune time to ask yourself,
“What do I really believe?” –
“Is what I believe about God the truth?” - Does the Bible have the authority to tell me the truth, and should I believe it?”
The purpose of our time together is to establish that it is
reasonable to accept the Bible as being the truth – the Word of God – and to encourage you to believe its contents.
reasonable to believe that the Bible is the word of God?
1. WHAT YOU BELIEVE DETERMINES YOUR BEHAVIOR
Have you ever considered that what you believe determines all that you do, that it shapes your very life? Simply stated: what you believe determines your behavior!
This provocative, simple, and straightforward premise has far-reaching implications. It leads to the profound conclusion that what you believe better be the truth, especially since it affects every aspect of your behavior and consequently how you choose to live.
Would you like to know the truth – the whole truth – before making decisions? Think of how many difficulties you would have avoided and the opportunities you would have taken advantage of had you known and believed the truth before acting.
Life is a series of choices. At every curve and turn in the day-to-day journey down the road of life one is forced to make decisions. Some are highly significant and greatly impact one’s life, such as choice of spouse, career and where to live.
Others considerably influence your lifestyle – such as the selection of a college to attend, the church where you worship, what and where you eat and drink and how you spend your leisure time.
Less significantly, you choose where to go on vacation, the car you drive, how your home is to be furnished, and so on. You ultimately make these choices based on what you believe at the time. When it is decision-making time, whatever you most strongly believe will determine your choice.
This is also true in the area of wrong-doing. For example, at the moment of stealing, you believe that you should have that which you are stealing, and that you will not be caught, more strongly than you believe that what you are doing is wrong. The same applies to lying, adultery, or acts of revenge. Belief at the moment is the controlling factor for what you do or do not do. Hate, anger, revenge and greed are powerful motivators. However, even these, as powerful as they are, remain contained by the belief that should you commit retaliatory acts of violence, you would suffer unwanted consequences, such as prosecution or imprisonment.
In the ‘70s, Maxwell Maltz’s book
Psycho-Cybernetics, and its companion books, sold thousands of copies. As a plastic surgeon, Maltz had seen amazing changes in people’s lives due to what they believed to be true of themselves. In essence, he said that our brain, being extremely powerful and effective will direct our actions consistent with the information in its “program.” The brain will take what we most strongly believe and direct all our actions in a contributory functional way to accomplish what we believe the ultimate result would be from the onset.
I do not claim to be a proponent of Maltz’s “psycho-cybernetics”; however, his viewpoint speaks to the power of what we believe. Maltz’s point was that the brain is consistently successful in accomplishing its believed-in result. If we truly believe we will succeed in attaining a goal, our brain will direct all that we do in order to accomplish it. Correspondingly, if we believe we will fail in a project, then our brain will direct our behavior to succeed in failing. The brain, like a computer, knows only success in achieving what it believes – the content of the input.
It is impossible to overemphasize the significance and profundity that what you believe determines your behavior. That which you believe determines your life on earth and also after death. Obviously then it follows that we ought to be sure of what we believe!
ince what you believe is shaping your life and has eternal consequences, perhaps now is an opportune time to ask yourself,
“What do I really believe?”
Is what I believe about God the truth?” - “Does the Bible have the authority to tell me the truth, and should I believe it?”>
I grew up in a highly structured, religious culture. I truly believed that the only way to heaven was to earn it. I believed that God was keeping score on my good and bad deeds. That if I died while losing the score, I would have lost the whole ball game and would go to hell, or at least to purgatory.
At one point, when I looked at the scoreboard of my life, I believed losing was inevitable. I could not have been farther from God and I was accelerating out of control.
Every aspect of my life has been, and is being, transformed for the better. The Gospel, which means “God’s good news,” has been good news indeed, so much so that
I sought reassurance that the Bible was in fact the truth – the true, written, revealed Word of God – and that I ought to believe what it says.
I had believed one way and found that to be wrong. Then I believed differently and I wanted to be sure I was not wrong again. I was looking for substantiation and affirmation from reason for what I believed. Previously, while I had an abundance of faith, the object of my faith was not truth. Now I needed to be certain that the object of my belief was, indeed, the truth.
Perhaps this illustration will explain. Suppose I decided to go ice skating at the local pond. I believed the ice was two feet thick and more than adequate to support me. Actually the ice was only paper thin. So as soon as my skates hit the ice, I went straight through into the freezing water. My faith was not lacking; the object of my faith was. The next time I would go ice skating I would want to be sure that the ice would be thick enough to support me.
n this illustration I had acted in accord with what I believed; however, what I believed was not the truth.
Therefore, I wanted to be certain that the object of my belief was the truth. What I learned, confirmed from reason, was that the Bible, in its entirety, ought to be accepted as what it represents itself to be – the true Word of God.
The purpose of our time together is to establish that it is reasonable to accept the Bible as being the truth – the Word of God – and to encourage you to believe its contents.
If you presently accept this, then this writing will fortify your conviction, a reassurance every believer needs.
“Because if there is any place where Satanic temptation comes to us everyday it’s at the level of our trust in the integrity and the truthfulness – the veracity – of the Word of God.” (R.C.Sproul)
f you do not accept the Bible as being the truth, you will find my reasoning straightforward, interesting, and perhaps enlightening.
I ask only that listen with an open mind to my own search for substantiation. It does require a step of faith to believe the contents of the Bible. However, to accept the genuineness of the Bible does not require faith beyond that of believing in Caesar’s Gallic War, or Roman history as taught by scholarly historians.
So why is it then that it is so easy to believe Roman history and yet so difficult and unnatural to believe the contents of the Bible? Even those who believe the Bible to be the Word of God often take exception and will not believe some of its contents. And those who do not see it as being revelation from God often think we who do are a little weird or a bit of a freak. Why? What is there about the Bible that believing it evokes such provocative and rebellious reactions? What is your answer? I will give you mine later.
2. WHY DO YOU BELIEVE THE WAY YOU DO?
Have you ever given thought as to why you believe the way you do? I raise the question for an extremely important reason. The ability of your beliefs to withstand and reject subtle and misleading influences is directly related to the solidness and firmness of their foundation.
If you know the Biblical principles of life are true, then you can believe in them with powerful conviction, and your entire life can be shaped in accord with them.
Knowing and believing – as opposed to feeling and believing – makes a significant difference. Knowing can build your confidence and allay your doubts and fears. Feelings lack that ability.
So if you believe the Bible is the Word of God because you “feel” it is, that seems much too shaky a premise on which to stake possible eternal consequences.
Consider some of the important decisions you have made in the past. You may have “felt” very comfortable and good about them at the time but some turned out the opposite of what you had anticipated. What you believed at the initiating moment of decision may have been strongly based upon your feelings. Had you known certain information which later came to light, you might never have made the same decision.
Feelings are not solid. Feelings change. Feelings are subjective. It is commendable, for one to believe the Bible to be God’s revealed Word. However, one’s beliefs might be swayed or incorrectly influenced if they are based on feelings alone.
It is also of concern when someone says the reason they believe the Bible to be God’s Word is because it says it is. If I claimed that what I wrote was the Word of God, would you believe it? The mere assertion of such a claim proves absolutely nothing until we know that it is God who is making the assertion.
In A.D. 571 Mohammed claimed that the Angel Gabriel dictated to him the contents of the Muslim Bible, which is called the Koran. Mohammed claimed that the Koran contains all former religious principles decreed by God through His revelations to all prophets. Mohammed claimed he was God’s messenger, just as Jesus was a prophet. Even to this day, Muslims hold that the Koran is God’s truly inspired word.
It is not possible for everything in the Bible and everything in the Koran to be the Word of God since they contradict each other. One very, very significant discrepancy is Jesus’ true identity. The Bible holds that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of God, God incarnate (having human form and substance). The Koran holds that Jesus is not God but only a prophet. It is a contradiction for any two statements to be both simultaneously opposing and simultaneously true. Therefore, both the Koran and the Bible cannot be the Word of God.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (the Mormon Church) holds that the Book of Mormon is equal with the Bible, and is, in fact, the true Word of God.
Joseph Smith claimed to have had a series of heavenly visitations, beginning with the appearance of God in Jesus Christ in 1820, at which time he was informed that all existing churches were in error, and that the true gospel would be revealed to him. He was led to an angel to discover golden plates written by ancient prophets. These allegedly were records of ancient inhabitants of America which contained the true Word of God.
According to the Mormons; America was originally settled by the Jeredites, one of the groups dispersed during the confusion of tongues at the Tower of Babel; the American Indians were direct descendants of the Hebrews who came from Jerusalem in 60 B.C.; and Jesus Himself visited what is now the North American continent after His resurrection. Smith translated the hieroglyphics on the golden plates into the “Book of Mormon” and held it to be equal with and supporting, but note supplanting, the Bible.
The Book of Mormon contains numerous contradictions to the Bible. Therefore, both cannot simultaneously be the Word of God. If the Judaeo-Christian Bible is the entire written Word of God, full truth cannot be found in the Muslim Koran or the Book of Mormon since both disagree with elements of the Bible.
Those are examples from just two religions which claim to have a book which is the Word of God. So the mere fact that Mohammed, Joseph Smith, Mary Baker Eddy (Christian Science) or I might claim that what we have written is God’s Word does not make it so.
I must respectively say the same of Jesus, Peter, Paul, and the writers of the Bible. Their claims that Scripture is God’s revealed Word only have credibility
when we know that God Himself sent them with authority to speak for Him,
endorsing them and their claims.
Once we know that the writers of the Bible penned it by divine inspiration and divine authority, then we can reasonably believe its claims about itself.
So how can we know the Bible is the Word of God? We must establish solid, reasonable ground for it.
HOW DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOU DO?
Would you agree that everything you know is determined because:
- You have personally
- You have personally
witnessed it, or
- Because of the authority of
evidence for it?
When we look at history we weigh the evidence for everything; we test the facts. We examine whether or not there is reasonable basis to know and subsequently believe various things. For example, I never saw Caesar or witnessed any battles in the Gallic War. However, the historical evidence attesting to him and the reality of those events makes them reasonable to believe and unreasonable to deny.
If there is a solid evidence for the historical events recorded in the Bible, would it be reasonable to grant it the same accord? Of course it would be.
3. EVIDENCE FOR BELIEVING SCRIPTURE
One can know about ancient historical events from documents written by historians of that time. For example, the Encyclopedia Britannica (1974) states this of four ancient historians:
Lyvi (59 B.C.–A.D. 17): “Ranks as one of the three great Roman historians.”
Tactitus (A.D. 56-120): “Achieved lasting fame with the historical writings of his later years”.
Thucydides (460-400 B.C.): “Was the greatest of Greek historians”.
Herodotus (484-425 B.C.): “Wrote a history of Greco-Persian Wars that stands as the first great narrative and critical history in the ancient world.”
Let us examine the documentary evidence supporting the writing of these four men all of whom lived and recorded events before or during the period the writers of the New Testament were doing the same.
|Caesar’s Gallic War
||59 B.C–A.D. 17
||Less than 20
||9th -11th Century
“The evidence for our New Testament writings is ever so much greater than the evidence for many writings of the above classical authors, the authenticity of which no-one dreams of questioning. And if the New Testament was a collection of secular writings, its authenticity would generally be regarded as beyond all doubt.” 1 F.F. Bruce
The New Testament also records many historical events. It was written by eight writers during a fifty year period. It is hard to imagine anyone would deny the acceptability of the writings of the five historical writers mentioned above. To grant the New Testament the same accord with the following overwhelming greater documentary evidence certainly seems reasonable.
F.F. Bruce. The New Testament Documents :Are They reliable?; IV Press. ISBN 0-8028-1025-X. Pages 15-17.
This documentary evidence
1 establishes solid ground for the New Testament as a historical document. That is highly significant and we ought to take seriously the historical events it records.
In recent centuries researchers and skeptics have spent a great deal of time examining archeological finds in a search for historical evidence. Using the newest scientific methods, they tested documents and artifacts in an attempt to prove the Bible not a true record of historical events. Instead, they came up with more proof substantiating its veracity. No historical document has faced the intense scrutiny that the New Testament has, not even close.
Time Magazine, surely a secular, reasonably objective source, assessed the results of probing both by religious scholars and those determined to disprove the Bible’s authenticity in their Christmas issue of 1974. Time’s editorial conclusion is as follows:
“… After more than two centuries of facing the heaviest scientific
guns that could be brought to bear, the Bible has survived and is,
perhaps, even better for the siege. Even on the critics’ own terms,
historical fact, the Scriptures seem more acceptable now than they
did when the rationalists began the attack.”
In fact, as a historical document, the Bible is so authoritative that the burden of proof has shifted to those who attack it. They must disprove its veracity instead of the Bible having to prove itself.
The New Testament writers, in particular Matthew and John, said they were eyewitnesses to Jesus’ three year, public ministry. Mark, although a young boy at the time, later recorded his book as a scribe for Peter, who was well known to be close to Jesus. It is a fact that Jesus lived and did the things these men recorded. He is not a mythical character. He walked the earth nearly two thousand years ago. Here is what John testified to in his writings:
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched – this we proclaim concerning the Word of life (Jesus). The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ.” (1 John 1:1-3)
Luke, a physician, and the only gentile writer of any part of the New Testament, did not personally observe the events of Jesus’ life. However his careful research of the accounts of many who did is corroborated by sterling quality and historical accuracy of his writings. Luke is regarded as a historian’s historian due to his thorough research and documentation in writing the books of Luke and Acts of the Apostles. Luke clearly stated the purpose of his writings:
“Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus.” (Luke 1:1-3)
“In my former book (meaning the Gospel of Luke),
Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach until the day He was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles He had chosen. After His suffering, He showed Himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that He was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.” (Acts 1:1-3)
And Luke recorded what Peter said to the people about how they all had witnessed what Jesus did. Said Peter:
We are witnesses of everything He did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed Him by hanging Him on a tree, but God raised Him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. He was not seen by all the people, but eyewitnesses whom God had already chosen – by us – who ate and drank with Him after He rose from the dead. He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that He is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead.” (Acts 10:39-42)
This evidence supports the genuineness of the New Testament as a historically reliable document. Its believability, then, returns to the credibility of the eye-witness reports.
4. THE ESTABILSHMENT OF JESUS’ AUTHORITY
SIGNS AND MIRACLES
I am now going to proceed into the contents of the Bible and focus on events recorded in it. Even though these are straightforward, recorded, real, historical events, somewhere along the way it will require a faith response from you to believe them. Just where that point is varies from person to person.
Among the recorded acts of Jesus are miracles. We know from reliable historical documents that He healed the sick, gave sight to the blind, cured the lame, gave the deaf hearing and the dumb voice, cured lepers, walked on water, multiplied food, and even raised the dead to life! (There is a complete list of miracles performed by Jesus and recorded in the Bible in the
Appendix, Chart 1.) Here is what John wrote concerning these miracles:
“Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name.” (John 20:30-31)
It was through miraculous signs that Jesus revealed His supernatural nature. John confirmed this as he wrote concerning the miracle converting water into wine at the wedding feast:
“This, the first of His miraculous signs, Jesus performed in Cana of Galilee. He thus revealed His glory, and His disciples put their faith in Him.”
On one occasion in the presence of the Pharisees and teachers of the law, who were scrupulous religious leaders, Jesus forgave the sins of a paralytic. The Pharisees were enraged and accused Him of blasphemy. They said,
“Who can forgive sins but God alone?” Then to prove His divine authority, Jesus cured the paralytic in their presence. Scripture says
“everyone was amazed” but it does not say whether they took a step of faith and believed Him.
However, by these miracles which He performed, it is obvious that He was no mere man. The power to perform miracles is supernatural, not a capability of man. It must have been given to Him by God, as it is beyond human power. First century witnesses of these miracles, wonders and signs attested to this, as can be seen by Luke’s record of Peter’s words.
“Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a Man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through Him, as you yourselves know.” (Acts 2:22)
THE ULTIMATE MIRACLE
One miracle stands out beyond all others recorded before or after its occurrence. On it all the claims of Christianity stand or fall. It is probably the most researched event in history, by critic and advocate, by historian and theologian. It stands as the ultimate miracle and attests to the reasonableness of accepting the veracity of Jesus.
The ultimate miracle was one which was prophesied in the Old Testament and also by Jesus himself. The ultimate miracle was His being raised from the dead. Mark recorded what Jesus taught His disciples;
“He then began to teach them that the Son of Man (Jesus)
must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that He must be killed and after three days rise again.” (Mark 8:31)
Later, Jesus again told His disciples that He would be betrayed and killed but three days later He would be raised from the dead. As with you and me, the disciples found this hard to understand. However, it is without doubt, a clearly established, recorded, real historical event. Jesus said of Himself:
“The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men. They will kill Him and after three days He will rise. But they did not understand what He meant and were afraid to ask Him about it.” (Mark 9:31, 32)
A third time Mark recorded that while Jesus was en route to Jerusalem, He took aside His twelve Apostles and told them again that He
“will be betrayed to the chief priests and teachers of the law. They will condemn Him to death and will hand Him over to the Gentiles, who will mock Him and spit on Him, flog Him, and kill Him. Three days later He will rise.” (Mark 10:33,34)
Jesus’ resurrection from the dead absolutely confirmed His credibility and showed that He has the credentials of God. His resurrection emphatically and uniquely established His veracity. Had He not been raised back to life then death would have had power over Him and He would not be God but simply a good and holy man who walked the earth two thousand years ago. Paul even said,
“If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.” (I Cor. 15:14)
So, when this divinely certified Individual says He speaks in the name of God, you know you can believe it. Whatever He proposes must be true as He speaks with the authority of God. Jesus said:
“The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in Me, Who is doing His work. Believe Me when I say I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves.”
(John 14:10, 11)
Luke records a story told by Jesus that contrasted the eternal fates of a bad, rich man who was buried in hell, and a virtuous poor man, Lazarus, carried to Abraham’s side in heaven. The story tells that the rich man called to Abraham and asked him to send Lazarus back to earth to warn his father and five brothers,
“so they will not also come to this place of torment.” Abraham replied that they have the Scriptures.
“Let them listen to them.” Knowing his family would not believe the Scriptures, the rich man again pleaded that,
“someone from the dead go to them.” Abraham told him that if they do not believe the Scriptures then,
“They will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.” (Ref. Luke 16:19-31)
And so it is to this day, even though Jesus clearly has been raised from the dead and has given us His message in the Bible, some do believe, and some do not believe.
5. AUTHORITY HAVING BEEN ESTABLISHED
JESUS CONFIRMS HIS AUTHORITY
The forgoing has established that the miracles, wonders, and signs performed by Jesus accredited Him as One ordained by God, and worthy of belief. Here is what He said are the dynamics of believing and trusting Him:
“When a man believes in Me, he does not believe in Me only, but in the One who sent Me. For I did not speak of My own accord, but the Father who sent Me commanded Me what to say and how to say it. I know that His command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told Me to say.” (John 12:44, 49, 50)
Correspondingly, when Jesus sent out His disciples, He made them His ambassadors with authority to represent Him just as God the Father had given Jesus authority. Not to believe those delegated and sent by Jesus to testify on His behalf – which includes all the writers of the New Testament books – is not to believe Jesus or God the Father.
In sending out his disciples, Jesus told them:
“He who listens to you listens to Me; he who rejects you rejects Me; but he who rejects Me rejects Him (God the Father)
Who sent Me.” (Luke 10:16)
FULFILLMENT OF OLD TESTAMENT PROPHECY
Further evidence that Jesus is Who He says He is was established by the fact that the early Christian writers saw in Jesus the fulfillment of many Old Testament prophecies made long before He lived. For your convenience, I have summarized in chart form forty-four prophecies concerning His person and His mission. Each Old Testament citation is matched with the New Testament passage which fulfilled it. This is very meaningful and convincing evidence.
If you investigate the passages in your own Bible, it may amaze you to see the diversity of these prophecies. They were made over a long period of time and by various prophets. Incredibly, they were fulfilled in thirty-three years by one person. You will find this summary in the
Appendix, Chart 2
JESUS’ VIEW OF SCRIPTURE
His authority clearly and reasonably established, it is significant to see that Jesus held a very high view of Scripture and affirmed that it is the Word of God – both the Old Testament which was and the New Testament which was still to be written. He said:
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets (Old Testament).
I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, no the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. (Matthew 5:17, 18)1
Jesus claimed to fulfill the Old Testament Scripture. Therefore, the fulfillment (New Testament) must have at least as great authority as that which it fulfills. Since the New Testament views the Old as the Word of God, the New and the Old must be equally the Word of God.
JESUS QUOTED THE OLD TESTAMENT
Frequently in His three-year public ministry, Jesus referred to Old Testament passages in His teachings and rebuttals to devious questioning intended to discredit Him. Jesus cited portions of the Law, Prophets and Psalms. In so doing, He used and thereby confirmed the authority of Scripture as the Word of God. In the
Appendix, Chart 3 links forty-four such quotations of Jesus with the Old Testament passages to which they refer. These clearly establish the link between the New Testament and the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament), and thereby the whole of Scripture.
NEW TESTAMENT WRITERS QUOTED THE OLD TESTAMENT
As Jesus did, and taught others to do, the New Testament writers frequently quoted the Old Testament as the authority for their teachings and writings. Usually these quotations were prefaced with a statement such as,
“It is written,” or something similar. In the
Appendix, Chart 4 lists fifty examples (there are many more) of such occasions. These confirm the accepted authority of the Old Testament as being the Word of God. This also further establishes the link between, and the continuity of, the Old and New Testaments, which together comprise the Bible.
6. THE NEW TESTAMENT
As is recorded in the Gospels and Acts of the Apostles, Jesus announced that there was more Word of God and more truth to come. He said the Holy Spirit would inspire those chosen by God to record it. This inspiration was granted only to those confirmed by the Apostles in the first century of the church. Here is what Jesus said:
“But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My Name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you”
John wrote that Jesus told His disciples the Holy Spirit would inspire them in the truth which they recorded. These divinely-inspired books comprise the New Testament. Jesus said:
“I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when He, the Spirit of Truth, comes, He will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on His own; He will speak only what he hears. He will tell you what is yet to come.”
(John 16 12,13)
After His resurrect6ion from the dead and just prior to His ascension, He told His Apostles:
“You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witness in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
THE APOSTLES CONFIRMED SCRIPTURE
Paul and Peter confirmed in their writings that Scripture was generated by the Holy Spirit, not by human wisdom. In his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul wrote:
“God has revealed it to us by His Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way, no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit Who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in the words taught by Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Cor. 2:10-14)
Peter confirmed that the manuscripts of the Bible, although written by men, originated from God:
“Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”
(2 Peter 1:20,21)
Peter also confirmed Paul’s letters as being Scripture:
“Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures to their own destruction.” (2 Peter 3:15,16)
Here are two examples of how the New Testament writers referred to each others’ writings:
In his first letter to Timothy (5:18), Paul quoted Luke’s writing (10:7) and when referring to it said
“Scripture says…” thereby confirming its authenticity.
And Jude (17,18) quoted Peter (2 Peter 3:2).
The writings of the apostles also indicate a collection process. In his letter to the Colossians, Paul wrote:
“After this letter has been read to you, see that it is also read to the church of the Laodiceans and that you in turn read the letter from Laodicea.” (Colossians 4:16)24
SCRIPTURE SAYS IT IS THE WORD OF GOD
Based upon the foregoing evidence, we now know God Himself gave Jesus, Peter, Paul and the writers of the New Testament the inspiration and authority to speak for Him.
Credibility has been established for their claims, including that Scripture is God’s own revealed Word.
“…from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Tim 3:15-17)25
SCRIPTURE: THE BENCHMARK
Many have claimed through the centuries that they were inspired to pen messages from God. Their writings can be readily tested by comparing them with documents which the first and second century church clearly accepted as Scripture.
By the law of contradiction, we know that
two opposing statements cannot be true simultaneously, God will never contradict Himself. That is why it is so very important to test the truth of anything by comparing it to the Bible.
Luke recorded that the people of Berea, who were of noble character reconfirmed what Paul taught by comparing it to Scripture. We must do the same.
“They received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.”
Jesus verified the truthfulness of the teachings of the Sadducees by comparing it to Scripture. When the two did not agree, He told them:
“You are in error because you do note know the Scriptures or the power of God.”
In like manner, we are to ascertain the truthfulness of sayings, teachings, philosophies, preachings (including those from the pulpits of our churches) and opinions by comparing them to what God says in the Bible.
Truth is not subjective. The Bible contains truth. Therefore, whatever is in contradiction to the truth cannot be the truth. The truth contained in the Bible is the benchmark. It follows then, if you want to know the truth and must know what the Bible says. Contrary to widely held opinion, the Bible contains good news, which is in itself good news.
That’s the truth!
LOGICAL CONCLUSION: it is
reasonable to believe that the Bible is the word of God!
UNREASONABLE TO NOT.
CHART I - Miracles Of Jesus
|Water made wine
|Heals the nobleman’s son.
|First miraculous draught of fishes
|Demoniac in the synagogue healed
|Heals Simon’s wife’s mother
|Heals diseases in Galilee
|Miracles at Jerusalem
|Cleanses the leper
|Heals the paralytic
|Heals the impotent man
|Restores the withered hand
|Heals multitudes from Judah, Jerusalem
and coasts of Tyre and Sidon
|Heals the centurion’s servant
|Raises the widow’s son
|Heals in Galilee
|Heals a demoniac
|Stills the tempest
|Healing of the diseases in the land of Genesaret
|The demoniacs in Gadara healed
|Raises Jairus’ daughter
Mark 5:22-24, 35-43
|Heals the woman with the issue of blood
|Open the eyes of two blind men in the house
|A devil cast out and a dumb man cured
|Five thousand fed
|Heals sick in Galilee
|Walking on the sea
|The daughter of the Syrophenician healed
|Healing of lame, blind, dumb, and maimed, near the Sea of Galilee
|Four thousand fed
|One deaf and dumb cured
|One blind cured
|Lunatic child healed
|Piece of money in the fish’s mouth
|The ten lepers cured
|Opening the eyes of one born blind
|Raising of Lazarus
|Woman with the spirit of infirmity cured
|The dropsy cured
|Two blind men cured near Jericho
|The fig tree blighted
Mark 11:12-14, 20-24
|Healing of Malchus’ ear
|Second draught of fishes
CHART 2 - Old Testament Prophecies Fulfilled in Jesus
||Old Testament Quote
||New Testament Quote
|Seed of a Woman
|Descendent of Abraham
|Descendant of Isaac
|Descendant of Jacob
|From tribe of Judah
|Heir to David’s throne
|Anointed and eternal
|Born in Bethlehem
||Luke 2:4, 5, 7
|Time of Birth
|Born of a virgin
|Slaughter of Children
|Flight to Egypt
|The way prepared
|Preceded by a Forerunner
|Preceded by Elijah
|Declared the Son of God
|Speaks in parables
|To bind the Brokenhearted
|Rejected by the Jews
|Adored by children
|Betrayed by close friend
|Betrayed for thirty pieces of silver
|False witnesses accused Him
|Silent to accusations
|Spat on and struck
|Hated without reason
|Crucified with Transgressors
|Hands and feet pierced
|Sneered and mocked
|Prayed for His enemies
|Soldiers gambled for clothing
|Forsaken by God
|No bones broken
||John 19:32, 33,36
|Buried with the rich
|Ascended to God’s right hand
1 Cor. 15:4
CHART 3 - Kesus Quoting The Old Testament
|New Testament Quote
||Old Testament Passage
|Matthew 5:43,19:19, 22-39
Mark 12:31; Luke 10:27
|Matthew 22:44; Mark 12:36
|Matthew 9:13, 12:7
CHART 4 - New Testament Writers Quoting the Old Testament
New Testament Quote
Old Testament Passages
Gen. 3:15; 12:3
Deut. 17:6; 19:5
Ps. 35:19, 69:4
|Ps. 59:25; 109:8
2 Sam. 22:50