Several questions arise when we consider the trustworthiness of the Bible.
- What is its source?
- Could the source be wrong?
- Do we accept what is recorded by this source as being accurate and applicable to our current-day lives.
The truth will set you free
Jesus tells us that if we are his disciples and follow His teaching… then, and only then, will we know the truth that sets us free.
“If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” [John 8:31-32]
Jesus tells us to hold to His teaching and you will know the truth.
Hold to what?
His teaching that is contained within the pages of Scripture.
It is those truths we learn in the Scriptures that will connect all the dots in our topsy turvy upside down confusing world, and give us hope and encouragement. Once you begin to know the truth, things that seemed confusing will begin to make sense and you’ll begin to see the dark agenda behind the events unfolding before your lives.
Sadly, there are many among us that have succumbed to the voices that bring doubts about the truth of Scripture. Indeed, they tell us that truth is relative and each of us can have our own truth. “What is true for you is true for you and what is true for me is true for me,”… and so forth.
If you think about that statement for a moment you will see the nonsense of it. The very nature of truth demands there be only ONE truth. If there are many different truths, then they simply cannot all be true. Either one is true and the others false, or they are all false. You can’t have two opposing ideas that are both true.
Who wrote the Bible?
The original manuscripts that make up the Bible were written over a 1,500 year time span by more than 40 authors from every walk of life including kings, peasants, philosophers, fishermen, poets, statesmen, and scholars.
They were written in three languages: Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek; in times of war and times of peace; and written on three different continents: Asia, Africa and Europe.
Can the writers of the Bible be wrong?
Without question, the Bible writers’ personalities, writing styles, perspectives, and distinctives are reflected in their words. But their accounts are more than the words of men – they are the Word of God. The Bible writers were guided in their writing to go where God wanted them to go and to produce what God wanted them to produce.
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 Timothy 3:16-17]
The Bible writers were not inspired as great artists are ‘inspired’ to produce great art. The word translated ‘inspired’ means “God-breathed.” The Greek word is theopneustos, from two Greek words: theos, meaning “God,” and pneo, meaning “to breathe”. It conveys the idea of God “breathing out” the Scriptures. And since the word for “breath” can also be translated “spirit,” we can easily see the work of the Holy Spirit as he superintended the writing.
Doctrine of Biblical Inerrancy
One of the most vexing controversies within conservative Protestantism since World War 2 has focused on the doctrine of biblical inerrancy. “Inerrancy” means “without error – containing no mistakes or errors in the original writings, and having no errors in any area whatsoever.” Inerrancy is the view that when all the facts become known, they will demonstrate that the Bible in its original autographs and correctly interpreted is entirely true and never false. This is true not only when it speaks of salvation, ethical values and morality, but it is also without error on all subjects about which it speaks, including history, the cosmos, as well as the prophetic text.
The Old Testament, one of the most ancient of books, is always marvelously accurate when it touches scientific questions; whereas ALL other books a hundred years old, whenever touching such questions are full of glaring, and often foolish mistakes.
Do we accept the Bible as our authority?
The Bible is central to Christian life and faith as it is the very life and Word of God. God’s Word must be received, believed and obeyed as the final authority in all things pertaining to life and godliness.
“I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.” [Matthew 5:18]
Sadly, even among many professing Christians, the Bible is not their ultimate authority. They may claim to believe in the Bible, but their lives and their actions do not demonstrate that. They may believe that Jesus Christ is their redeemer, but what does that mean?
- What about justice or your interactions with other believers and non-believers?
- What does the Bible teach about your diet and how that affects your health?
- How about handling your finances and money?
- What about the Sabbath?
- What about our society and the direction it’s heading?
In many areas of our culture today, the Bible, the Mosaic Law, its 759 statutes, judgements, and commandments have been replaced with the 10 Planks of Communism. Most people do not have a clue about the penalties and benefits for their observance. Few people today follow the words of Matthew 5:18, instead following only those parts of the Bible they feel comfortable with and ignoring what they don’t feel comfortable with.
“Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.” [John 14:21]
Some people might reject the Bible as the Word of God because to them, it just doesn’t feel right. However, how you feel about the Bible does not define the Bible. In fact, our feelings are the most unreliable indicators of the meaning of anything. Nor does our experience define the Word of God, rather the Word of God corrects, rebukes and teaches us how to live.
God’s Word must be dealt with based upon the meaning of words within the context of all of Scripture.
It must be used in the church as the final authority in all matters for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteous living (2 Ti. 3:16-17). One cannot submit to Christ’s lordship without submitting to God and His Word as the ultimate authority.
The Bible has proven itself historically accurate. No historical revelations disprove the Bible’s account of history. New historical findings continue to verify the accuracy of the Bible’s historical basis.
The Bible has proven to be archaeologically accurate. No archaeological evidence has ever been unearthed that disproves the Bible’s account of civilizations and cultures that have existed since the beginning of man’s life on earth.
The Bible has proven itself prophetically accurate. Hundreds of prophesies recorded in the Bible have been fulfilled to the letter, centuries after they were recorded. The only exception are those pertaining to the return of Jesus Christ to establish His reign on earth, and the subsequent establishing of the new heavens and the new earth.
Jesus bears witness to the Bible’s inerrancy where He emphasizes that the actual written words of Scripture can be trusted, not just the ideas they contain. Jesus demonstrated the power of the words of Scripture to defeat Satan when he tempted Him. We have that same weapon available to us today – the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God (Eph. 6:17).
Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'”
Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.'” Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'”
Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'”
Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him. [Matthew 4:1-11]