Centuries ago, an English pastor by the name of Thomas Watson wrote: “Because the Old and New Testament are the foundation of all religion (Christian beliefs and practices). If their divinity cannot be proved, the foundation on which we build our faith is gone.” And we all know what happens to a structure with insecure or unstable foundation.
At the outset, I should make clear what I mean by ‘believing the Bible’. It is not a mere belief in the historical accuracy of the events recorded in the Bible. This is ,of course, assumed, but it is not what I mean. I am referring to that belief in the Bible as a record of God’s revelation to mankind. It is that regard and reverence for the books contained therein as God’s word. This belief implies that regardless of the manner in which those books were composed or how the revelations and messages were received, all the truths the authors set out to teach are to be accepted on God’s own authority.
The question, then, is why must anyone have this sort of ‘faith’ in the Bible? Why must we form our lives on its teachings , or give heed to what it says on those great topics like God, Sin, Redemption and Immortality? I give below a very brief sketch of some reasons why I do, and think everyone should, believe that the books of the Bible are what Christians believe them to be – God’s word.
- The individual writers claim to receive messages from God and to speak on God’s authority. In other words, they claimed to be ‘inspired’. And their lives support the claims, for they were wise, holy and godly men. See Deut. 31:19-22;34:10, Num. 16:28,29, 2 Sam. 23:2, Jer. 9:12; 13:13; 30:4, Micah 4:4, Amos 3:1, 1 Cor. 2:13;14:37, 2 Cor. 10:8, 2 Thess. 2:15; 3:6, I Thess. 4:8.
- The depth and nature of their teachings argue that they are from God. They speak of such themes like the character of God, the nature of man, the misery and hideousness of human sin, the moral law, etc., with such profundity that they do strike us as being more than mere human writings. The Bible also reveals truths that can not be known other than through revelation. These include: The nature of the Godhead, the work of redemption and the end of the world.
- Though written by about 40 different persons from various backgrounds over a period of 1,500 years, the books of the Bible share a common theme throughout – God is redeeming sinful mankind, starting with the Jews, through His Son, Jesus Christ. In spite of their different genres, individual themes, author or purpose, each book makes a contribution to the grand overarching story of redemption. Each one is like a rung on a ladder, a link in a chain, or a note in a piece of music, bringing its own uniqueness to bear on the whole that is called the Bible.
- At various times during Biblical history we find God performing miracles through various persons. And these were done not just in order to deliver or care for his people, but they also served to authenticate his messengers and the message that they brought. Thus it was with Moses, Joshua, Elijah, Elisha, Jesus, and the apostles. Speaking to the unbelieving Jews of his day, Jesus himself uttered: “The miracles I do in my Father’s name speak for me.” (John 10:25 NIV)
- It is certain that no individual has perfect knowledge, much less control, of the future. Therefore when an individual who claims to speak from God foretells the future accurately, it would not be out of place to take such claim seriously. The accuracy of several prophecies throughout the Bible(whether about the birth of King Josiah, the captivity of the Jews, or several about the life and death of Jesus) confirms my belief that, indeed, it is God’s very revelation to us.
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It is crucial to know why we believe the bible.