THE BIBLE: IS IT RELIABLE?

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TRUTH ON TRIAL

The Bible is the one supreme source of the revelation of the meaning of life.”
—Woodrow Wilson, 28th President of the United States

 

Most Christians recognize the Bible as a book that is full of “good advice,” and the question remains as to whether or not Scripture has the inherent authority that it should have if we are to be truly obedient to God. If we believe that Scripture is more than simply “good advice”—that it is, in fact, the inspired Word of God—then “all the words in Scripture are God’s Words in such a way that to disbelieve any word of Scripture is to disbelieve or disobey God.”

Divine revelation is essential if we are to know something about God’s character and moral laws. And even though He has placed in every person’s heart an awareness of His existence and attributes (Romans 1:18-20), the Scriptures are essential if we are to know and understand the Gospel, maintain a dynamic spiritual life, understand His intentions for the church, and know God’s will.

Understandable & Trustworthy

If the Scriptures are to be profitable for us, then they must be understandable and trustworthy. And since God Himself is the author of Scripture, the Bible must necessarily be sufficient and comprehensible so as to communicate His purposes. God did not reveal His Word to the writers of Scripture for us not to understand it! In fact, Deuteronomy 6:6-7 states, “These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” The clarity and trustworthiness of the Scriptures should lead us to:

  • Recognize our individual responsibility to search out and know for ourselves w hat God desires and requires
  • Apply His Word in every circumstance, even though our knowledge and understanding of the same may never be complete
  • Continue to study His Word to improve our knowledge and understanding

Some uninformed or sincere doubters question the authority of the Bible, believing that it is just a collection of myths and inaccuracies.

Three things characterize almost everyone who has difficulty accepting the authority of the Scripture:

  • They seldom, if ever, bother to read the Bible.
  • They approach the Bible with prejudiced ideas learned from Bible critics and their writings.
  • They are not acquainted with the Bible’s “Author.”

 

Can we trust the Bible? Absolutely Yes!

  

What Is the Bible? 

In order to better understand what it is, we need to know the following overview of the Bible. 

  • Title: 

The English word “Bible” is from the Latin word biblia, which means “books.” 

  • Purpose: 

The Bible is the record that God has given us ... of Creation, of His work in the lives of people, and of the final destination—heaven or hell—for every person ever born. 

  • Structure: 

The Bible is 1 book consisting of 66 smaller books containing a continuous, coordinated, congruent story of God’s plan of salvation. 

  • Revelation: 

The Bible is God’s revealed truth in written form to all people. It is God’s written self-disclosure of His will, His works, and His ways. 

  • Author: 

The Bible is authored by God Himself. 

  • Writers: 

The Bible was written by more than 40 men who were inspired by God’s Spirit to write. 

  • Languages:

 The Bible was written in 3 different languages: Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic. 

  • Location: 

The Bible was written on 3 continents: Asia, Africa, and Europe. 

  • Date: 

The Bible was written over a span of approximately 1,500–1,600 years. 

  • Topics: 

The Bible addresses theology, history, and science, as well as many difficult subjects: the origin of the universe and life, the nature of God, the nature of sin and the plan for human redemption, and the future—including heaven, hell, and eternity. 

  • Theme: 

The Bible contains 1 central theme: salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. 

 

What Is Scripture? 

  • Scripture means sacred or holy writings. 
  • Scripture can refer to one verse, one passage, one chapter, one book (of the Bible), or to the entire Bible. 
  • Scripture is God’s Word; therefore, to quote Scripture is to quote God. 
  • Scripture in the New Testament has equal authority with Scripture in the Old Testament. 

“Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. ... 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) 

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” 

2 Timothy 3:16 

How Can the Bible Be Authoritative?

The all-powerful God, the Creator of everything, has the power to communicate whatever message He chooses and to control the writing of that message so that it is infallible, inerrant, inclusive, and inspired—exactly what He intended. The Bible has authority because God, who is perfect, used imperfect human authors to write down His very words, which He perfectly protected. In fact, God Himself gives a graphic illustration describing His power to protect His Word.…

“As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not  return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”

(Isaiah 55:10–11)

The Bible Has Authority because It Is…

  • Inspired: The Bible is supernaturally inspired.… It comes from

God Himself. The English word “inspired” comes from the Greek word the opneustos, which means “God-breathed.” In fact, the Bible is the precise message God wanted recorded.…

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.”

(2 Timothy 3:16)

  • Infallible: The Bible is incapable of deception.… It is totally trustworthy. In fact, the Bible is totally truthful.… It will not mislead because …

“The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple.”

(Psalm 19:7)

  • Inerrant: The Bible tells the truth and does so without error.…

It is absolutely accurate. In fact, the Bible contains no mistake, falsehood, or flaw…

“The words of the Lord are flawless, like silver refined in a furnace of clay, purified seven times.”

(Psalm 12:6)

  • Inclusive: The Bible is all inclusive.… It encompasses all truth necessary for life. In fact, the Bible contains everything we need for…

Salvation

“By this gospel you are saved.”

(1 Corinthians 15:2)

Instruction

“Preach the Word … correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.”

(2 Timothy 4:2).

Hope

“Everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”

(Romans 15:4)

Blessing

“The man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.”

(James 1:25)

What Is the Root Cause of Doubt?

Seeing isn’t always believing. People had seen the dead resurrected … the blind given sight … the demon-possessed freed… the diseased healed … and still they picked up stones to kill Jesus. Then…

“Jesus said to them, ‘I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?’ ”

(John 10:32)

Those who want to forgo “faith” for “just the facts” can be found in all generations of people throughout the centuries. They assert that if Jesus would stand in front of them and perform a miracle, then they would believe. And it didn’t happen that way back then, and it’s doubtful it will happen that way today because…

“Even after Jesus had done all these miraculous signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him.”

(John 12:37)

Wrong Belief:

“Seeing is believing. It is not reasonable to trust in a book that I cannot intellectually prove to be flawless.”

The Bible says …

“They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts.”

(Ephesians 4:18)

Right Belief:

“Even though I cannot understand all the ways and words of God, I can rely on the biblical prophecies fulfilled in secular history to verify the accuracy of the Holy Scriptures. As I give myself to Christ, His Spirit of Truth within me will confirm the truth of Scripture to me.”

The Bible says…

“As it is written: ‘No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him’—but 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 words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.”

(1 Corinthians 2:9–13)

 

Key Verse to Learn

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” 

(2 Timothy 3:16)

 

Key Passage to Read

Psalm 119

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