*** This post was written by Erik Raymond, Gospel Coalition contributor. I found it to be extremely insightful and helpful to the topic I have wanted to write about for a while. Please read and enjoy!
As Christians we are to always be ready to give a defense of the hope that is within us (1 Pet. 3:15). The basis of this hope is our confidence that the Bible is God’s Word. It is trustworthy and sufficient.
There are many times when our confidence in the Bible can come under attack. Consider a temptation to doubt the truth of God’s Word when you or someone close to you is diagnosed with a severe medical condition. Are you tempted to doubt the sufficiency and truthfulness of God’s promises? Or consider the moment of great temptation to sin. Like Eve you are appraising the way the desire can bring satisfaction to you and meet your need. You weigh this against God’s Word. At some point you have to remind yourself of the truthfulness of the Bible. Finally, consider a conversation with an unbelieving friend who is sanctioning their lifestyle because the Bible is not true. In each of these scenarios you need to have some quick, simple, and compelling truths on retainer.
I’ve put these 5 together as something of a quick reference notecard for why I believe the Bible. I’m sure there is an acronym or something clever but I’ve not thought of it.
(1) The Biblical Argument.
By this I simply mean that the Bible claims to be God’s Word. This claim is not just in a remote passage or book but throughout. We read in 2 Timothy 3:16, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,”. The source of the text, the Word is God himself. There is no flinching on this fact from Genesis to Revelation. The fact that the Bible claims to be God’s Word and proves to be so throughout history needs to be on my mind when dealing my doubts or a skeptic’s.
(2) The Historical Argument.
Here I am simply saying that overall the people and places in the Bible show up in history. When we read of descriptions of times and events we often find these same things in extra-biblical history. Further, when archeologists dig and uncover ancient artifacts it often shows us that biblical events that were not previously discovered were in fact true. And finally, the history of events from within the Bible in terms of prophecy, they happen. Consider the Babylonian captivity, King Cyrus, and the details concerning the life of Christ. Within the canon of Scripture it unfolds with historical consistency.
(3) The Empirical Argument.
Personally speaking, I have experienced a substantial change. The day I was converted I walked out of my house cursing God and then I came home praising him. How does this happen? My experience tells me that this is not some ordinary book. I’ve been moved to tears reading other books but this book actually reads me, wrecks me, and rebuilds me. What’s more, I’ve seen and experienced this same thing with other people. This change is not limited to gender, ethnicity, geography, or even time. This book claims to change lives and it actually does.
(4) The Logical Argument.
There is a single, coherent theme throughout the book that the glory of God is paramount. If God were to write a book this is how he would write it. If man were to write a book this is not how he would write it. It has the “ring of truth” as Lewis would say. Man would tend to diminish his defects and exaggerate his virtues; the Bible seems to do the opposite. It maintains the dignity of humanity but also shows its brokenness. It is here that we see the glory of God on display. This brings me to another aspect of this argument. If you survey all world religions most will agree that there is a problem and they exist to help us with this problem. However, it is only biblical Christianity that actually maintains a God who does not compromise. Every other plan of salvation has God bending his righteousness in order to show love. Man and God partner together to achieve salvation. However, with the Bible God does not compromise. He maintains and demonstrates his righteousnesswhile showing forth his love! On the cross God is both the just and the justifier (Rom. 3:26). This means that he does not compromise. Think about this: the Bible maintains that all of God’s attributes are in tact, no dimples, defects, or deflation! However, without the cross (and outside of the Bible) you have a god who compromises something in order to bring salvation. This reminds me of God’s infinite wisdom, love, mercy and grace—as well as his authorship of the Bible.
(5) The Christological Argument.
This seals the deal. Here it is an a nutshell: since Jesus rose from the dead he is God, therefore, his view of the Bible is the right one. Jesus believed the Bible was divinely inspired (Mt. 4:2; Mt. 22:31-32), authoritative (Lk. 4; Jn. 10:34-36; 12:47-48); powerful (Mt. 5:17-18; Jn. 6:63; Jn. 17:17); and about him (Lk: 24:25-27, 44-47; Jn. 5:46-47). Furthermore, he believed the Bible was historically accurate, “”In the Gospels we see Jesus reference Abel, Noah, Abraham, Sodom and Gomorrah, Isaac and Jacob, manna in the wilderness, the serpent in the wilderness, Moses as the lawgiver, David and Solomon, the Queen of Sheba, Elijah and Elisha, the widow of Zerephath, Naaman, Zechariah, and even Jonah, never questioning a single event, a single miracle, or a single historical claim. Jesus clearly believed in the historicity of biblical history.” (DeYoung, Taking God at His Word). Having Jesus’ bibliology is never a bad idea.
In the midst of temptation you will hear the words of doubt again, “Did God really say?” You and I need to be ready to muzzle the serpent with truth. Continue to tutor yourself with the reality that God’s Word is in fact God’s Word. Do this in the good times as well as the difficult times. Keep on studying and delighting in this truth that you might be able to properly deal with doubts both from within and from without.