Tagged: true

Sound reasons to trust the Scriptures (part 9)

  

This is the final installment of a nine-part series of articles offering sound reasons to believe the Bible is the Word of God.

In Systematic Theology (Vol. I), Dr. Norman Geisler presents many lines of evidence supporting claims for the Bible as the Word of God. In unique fashion, he labels each line of evidence with a word beginning with the letter “S,” making his arguments relatively easy to follow and remember. This article borrows his headings and then incorporates some of Geisler’s research with numerous other sources, which are cited.

Reason 9: The testimony of the saved

  • The Bible’s life-changing power is widely known through the testimony of those who have come to know Christ. The apostle Paul, once known as a Christ-hating persecutor, declared, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is God’s power for salvation to everyone who believes, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek” (Rom. 1:16).
  • The writer of Hebrews declares: “For the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating as far as to divide soul, spirit, joints, and marrow; it is a judge of the ideas and thoughts of the heart” (Heb. 4:12).
  • Peter added, “… you have been born again – not of perishable seed but of imperishable – through the living and enduring word of God” (1 Peter 1:23).
  • The celebrated British archaeologist Sir William Ramsay, who began his studies as a skeptic, became a Christian after exploring the sites of Paul’s journeys firsthand and comparing them with the testimony of Acts (“The Historical Reliability of the New Testament,” Craig L. Blomberg, Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics,  p. 220).
  • Testimonies throughout the centuries and in this day speak emphatically and gloriously of the power of God’s Word to bring about a conviction of sin and forgiveness of that sin by faith in Jesus Christ.

Summary

Geisler concludes, “The Bible is the only known book in the world that both claims to be and proves to be the Word of God…. The testimony of science that demonstrates it, of the scrolls that transmit it, the scribes who wrote it, the supernatural that confirms it, the structure that manifests it, the stones that support it, the Savior who verified it, the Spirit that witnesses to it, and the saved who have been transformed by it. These combined testimonies confirm that the Bible is what it claims to be – the divinely inspired, infallible, and inerrant Word of God” (Systematic Theology, Vol. I, p. 561).

Sound reasons to trust the Scriptures (part 7)

This is the seventh in a nine-part series of articles offering sound reasons to believe the Bible is the Word of God.

In Systematic Theology (Vol. I), Dr. Norman Geisler presents many lines of evidence supporting claims for the Bible as the Word of God. In unique fashion, he labels each line of evidence with a word beginning with the letter “S,” making his arguments relatively easy to follow and remember. This article borrows his headings and then incorporates some of Geisler’s research with numerous other sources, which are cited.

Reason 7: The testimony of the Savior

  • Jesus claimed to be the Messiah / Christ, the divine Son of God and the divine Son of Man (Matt. 16:16-18; 26:63-64; John 8:58). He was confirmed by acts of God (John 3:2; Acts 2:22), and declared that He had been given all authority in heaven and earth to rule and to judge (Matt. 28:18; John 5:22). Therefore, His views on the Bible are extremely important. What did He have to say?
  • Geisler writes, “Jesus declared that the Old Testament was divinely authoritative (Matt. 4:4, 7, 10); imperishable (Matt. 5:17-18); infallible (John 10:35); inerrant (Matt. 22:29; John 17:17); historically reliable (Matt. 12:40; 24:37-38); scientifically accurate (Matt. 19:4-5; John 3:12); and ultimately supreme (Matt. 15:3, 6)” (Systematic Theology, Vol. 1, p. 559).
  • Jesus also personally affirmed many things that Bible critics deny, for example: 1) God created a literal Adam and Eve (Matt. 19:4); Jonah was actually swallowed by a great fish (Matt. 12:40); the whole world was destroyed by a flood in Noah’s day (Matt. 24:39); and there was one prophet Isaiah (not two or three) who wrote all of Isaiah (Mark 7:6-7; Luke 4:17-20).
  • Jesus called the Old Testament “the word of God” (Matt. 15:6; Mark 7:13; John 10:35). He introduced Biblical quotes with “It is written,” the standard Jewish introduction to Scripture. In Matt. 22:43, he referred to David’s words in Psalm 110:1 as spoken by the Holy Spirit. He also promised that the Spirit would bring more truth, referring to the New Testament (John 14:25-26; 16:13).
  • Jesus promised that the New Testament would be God’s Word. He told the apostles that the Holy Spirit would teach them “all things” and lead them into “all truth” (John 14:26; 16:13). The apostles later claimed this divine authority for their words (John 20:31; 1 John 1:1; 4:1, 5-6). Peter acknowledged Paul’s writing as “Scripture” (2 Peter 3:15-16).

Next – Reason 8: The testimony of the Spirit

Sound reasons to trust the Scriptures (part 5)

This is the fifth in a nine-part series of articles offering sound reasons to believe the Bible is the Word of God.

In Systematic Theology (Vol. I), Dr. Norman Geisler presents many lines of evidence supporting claims for the Bible as the Word of God. In unique fashion, he labels each line of evidence with a word beginning with the letter “S,” making his arguments relatively easy to follow and remember. This article borrows his headings and then incorporates some of Geisler’s research with numerous other sources, which are cited.

Reason 5: The testimony of structure

  • Even though the Bible was recorded by some 40 different authors – from different backgrounds, occupations and levels of education; who spoke in three different languages; who wrote over a period of 1,500 years – there is remarkable unity amid the vast diversity of scripture’s 66 books.
  • There is throughout scripture the unfolding drama of redemption, with Jesus Christ as its central person, seen in the Old Testament by way of anticipation and in the New Testament by way of revelation.
  • The Bible proclaims a unified message: Mankind’s problem is sin, and the solution is salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ (Gen. 2:16-17; 3:16-19; Luke 19:10; John 3:16; 5:24; Rom. 3:10, 23; 4:4-5; 6:23; 10:9-13; Eph. 2:8-9; Titus 3:5-7).

Next – Reason 6: The testimony of the stones

Copyright 2008 by Rob Phillips

Sound reasons to trust the Scriptures (part 1)

This is the first in a nine-part series of articles offering sound reasons to believe the Bible is the Word of God.

 

In Systematic Theology (Vol. I), Dr. Norman Geisler presents many lines of evidence supporting claims for the Bible as the Word of God. In unique fashion, he labels each line of evidence with a word beginning with the letter “S,” making his arguments relatively easy to follow and remember. This article borrows his headings and then incorporates some of Geisler’s research with other sources, all of which are cited.

 

Reason 1: The testimony of science

 

Much in the Bible demonstrates advanced scientific knowledge – that is, God revealed through human scribes information that only He knew long before scientists discovered these truths. For example:

  • The exact order of events in the origin of all things. “In a day when the ancient polytheistic myths of origin prevailed, the author of Genesis declared that the universe came into being out of nothing by the act of a theistic God in the exact order that modern science discovered a millennium and a half later,” writes Geisler. “The universe came first (Gen. 1:1a), then the earth (1:1b), then the land and sea (1:10). After this came life in the sea (1:21), then land animals (1:24-25), and finally … human beings (1:27). This too supports the view that the author of Genesis had access to some intelligence as to how the Creator made the universe” (p. 545).
  • Reproduction after each creature’s own kind. This scientific fact runs contrary to many ancient and even early modern views. Observation and the fossil record demonstrate that each type of life produces its own kind.
  • The earth as the raw material of human bodies. Many ancient polytheistic beliefs claim that people cam from the gods; the Koran teaches that human beings were made from a blood clot (Sura 23:14); but the Bible explains that God made Adam from the earth (Gen. 2:7).
  • Rain water returning to its source (Eccl.. 1:7). Perhaps without even understanding it, the writer recorded the process of evaporation, condensation, and precipitation long before scientists figured it out.
  • The shape of the world as it hangs in space. Job (26:7) and Isaiah (40:22) make remarkable statements contrary to the ancient belief that the earth was flat, or square. Some myths held that the earth rested on the back of Hercules or on pillars, but the Bible states otherwise.
  • Life is in the blood (Lev. 17:11), a fact declared in scripture more than 3,000 years ago and only fairly recently attested to in science.
  • The sea’s paths and boundaries (Ps. 8:8; Prov. 8:29). The continental shelf that makes this possible is a fairly recent scientific discovery.
  • The laws of sanitation (Lev. 12-15). Long before there was scientific knowledge of bacteria and germs, God instructed His people through laws of sanitation to protect themselves from diseases spread by unseen organisms.

Next – Reason 2: The testimony of the scrolls

How do I know the Bible is true? Download free study

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Christians believe in the reliability and authority of the scriptures. That is, we trust the Bible to be the inerrant, infallible, and inspired Word of God and the authoritative source of all we believe and practice. By inerrant, we mean the original autographs are without error because they come from God (2 Peter 1:20-21). By infallible, we mean the Bible is incapable of error because God, as its author, does not lie or make mistakes (Num. 23:19). By inspired, we mean the Bible is “God breathed” (2 Tim. 3:16) And by authoritative, we mean that the Bible, as God’s Word, is His written revelation to us and must therefore guide our thoughts, words and deeds (Heb. 4:12).

But many people do not share such a high view of scripture. In fact, some raise serious objections to claims about the Bible’s truthfulness and reliability. While there are many objections, eight of the more common objections include:

  1. No one really knows what Bible says because the original manuscripts are lost.
  2. The Bible has been copied so many times, with so many variations, there’s no way to know what was originally scripted.
  3. The books of the Bible were chosen arbitrarily by councils of men in highly political processes. As a result, they left out some very good books – perhaps some equally inspired writings.
  4. It’s silly to assume that one book – the Bible – contains all of God’s truth and that other great writings, from the Vedas to the Book of Mormon, do not come from God.
  5. The Bible is full of contradictions.
  6. The Bible can’t be true because it depicts a different God in the Old and New Testaments.
  7. There are so many translations of the Bible today, it’s impossible to know which translation is the right one.
  8. There are so many Christian denominations today, it’s clear that Christians can’t agree on what the Bible teaches.

Responding to these objections is a daunting task – in part because critics raise some valid points. For example, it’s true that we do not have the “autographs,” or the original documents. At the same time, the Bible soars above other ancient documents in many convincing ways, providing evidence of reliability and consistency that gives Christians good reasons to trust it as the Word of God. Our faith is not, as some critics say, “blind faith,” but reasonable faith based on the evidence.

Every Christian should be confident the Bible is true because there are good answers to the skeptics’ objections.

Click here to read the responses.

Copyright 2008 by Rob Phillips