God has spoken. Of all the things that the Christian believes, he must believe this. The controversy, however, swarms around the question of how has God spoken. Historically, God’s people have believed on the Scriptures as God’s primary means of speaking to them. We are talking over 2,000 years of hearing and reading the Bible (keeping in mind that the earliest believers only had portions of the canon of Scripture, which was completed in the late first century A.D.)
From the beginning, Satan was a liar and the father of lies. That is the first thing we learn of him in the Bible as we find him selling his elixir to Eve. When it comes to the reliability of the Bible, many professing Christians today have swallowed the ancient venomous brew of Satan. As a part of a major, conservative, Baptist denomination, I have been surprised at how many individuals I have had to counsel on this subject. I’m not talking about general questions or confusion. I’m talking about people who say things like, “Writers in the New Testament were only giving their opinions when they were writing.”
I have literally spent hours attempting to answer such objections to the simple statement, “The Bible is God’s word to man and not simply man’s word about God.” It is to the point that many local churches do not even examine a ministerial candidate’s basic theology or view of the Bible. This results in churches placing people in ministry positions that have no solid foundation of truth because the source of authority of these candidates is themselves. Unfortunately, I know of more than one person who has served or is serving in important ministry positions who do not believe in the inspiration, infallibility, and inerrancy of the Bible.
Some are tempted to say at this point that people like me are splitting hairs or making a mountain out of a mole hill. But nothing could be further from the truth. Let me be very clear at this point: Believing God’s word to be God’s word is a matter of life and death. Because this is such a serious matter, I want to share a few reasons, along with biblical citations, why I believe the Bible is a trustworthy collection of writings and why disbelieving it puts a person in danger of eternity in hell.
1. The Bible contains self-claimed authority:The Bible itself claims to be authoritative truth from God. So either the biblical writers are looney liars, or they really were recording God’s truth. In essence, God’s credibility is at stake (2 Tim. 3:16).
2. The Bible contains eyewitness testimony: From Moses to John (that is Old Testament to New Testament), the Bible is full of eyewitness testimony. For example, the Gospel of John is written by a man that claims to have seen, heared, and handled Jesus, not to mention experienced the ministry of Jesus firsthand. Can you imagine witnessing the dead being raised to life, the deaf given hearing, and the blind given sight? Can you imagine seeing some 20,000 people fed with only five loaves and two fish? Again, either John and the other biblical writers were looney liars, or they are giving us a subjectively objective account. By subjectively objective, I mean that God allowed them to use their own personality, style, and perspective in writing, yet everything that is recorded is exactly what God purposed for them to write (Jn. 21:24-25; Acts 1:16; Heb. 1:1-2; 2 Pt. 1:20-21; 3:2).
3. The Bible brings spiritual life: There is no spiritual life apart from hearing the truth contained in the Bible. A person in the darkest jungle may have an awareness of God and His moral law, but that person cannot be right with God through this limited awareness. The gospel of Jesus must be read and/or heard for salvation to come to a person whose spirit is dead to God but alive to sin (Ps. 119:130; Acts 26:15-18; Rom. 10:12-15; Eph. 4:17-19; 2 Tim. 3:15).
4. Reading the Bible requires faith: The words recorded in the Bible are ludicrous to the unbeliever. God’s word is not meant to be purely logical, and there are innumerable paradoxes and stories that defy logic. Yet, that is the very nature of God’s truth. God’s truth only “makes sense” to those who have been given life by the Holy Spirit through the gospel of Jesus Christ. God’s word is meant to reveal who God really is and who we really are in relation to Him. Believing that God is holy and pours out wrath on unrepentant, unbelieving sinners requires faith that we don’t have. Believing that we are sinners incapable of producing a righteousness that pleases God also requires a faith that we don’t have (Deut. 29:29; Rom. 12:3; 14:23b; Php. 1;29; Heb. 3:12).
5. Faith includes belief in God’s providence: Providence is the teaching found in the Bible that describes God’s will being worked out in every detail of the created order, from a flock of birds that fill the sky to a single bird feather that falls to rest on a blade of grass. God works all things according to His good pleasure. If God is so involved in the minutest detail, would He not ensure that the Bible is wholly inspired, infallible, and inerrant? Yes! He would and He has (Ps. 115:3; Matt. 10:29-31; Col. 1:17)!
There is no way in this article to answer all of the objections and mention all of the intricacies of the debate over the Bible. But the things that have been noted are sufficient to make the point that the Bible is God’s Word to man, and the only proper and saving response to His Word is belief.
For His Glory,