Why Believe the Bible?
“2 timothy 3:16-17 “all scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction and for training in righteousness……”
It was at St Lucia in 2012 at the University of Queensland where I first ventured into campus evangelism. Youthful and energised with the urge to share the saving message of Christ that I myself had only received that year. I remember enjoying the discussions around the evidence for God, the basis for morality, the unpacking of secular worldviews with non-believers, but to much of my amazement, I spent most of my time making the case that the Bible is the inerrant word of God among non-believers and believers alike. Proverbs 30:5 states “every word of God is flawless……” in other words, without error or contradictions. At this point I wrestled with the very question we as Christians must face at the foundational point of our Christian walk. The question of, “Why believe the Bible?”
Throughout history, the purpose of our existence and life after death have been the subjects of much debate. The Bible makes clear claims to answer the questions of our existence. In an overview, it claims we are made in his image (Genesis 1:27). It claims we have fallen away from his goodness (Romans 3:23). It claims we are restored in his presence (2 Corinthians 5:17) and redeemed for an eternity. At the heart of the Bible, we find the claim of Jesus in John 14:6, where Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Jesus isn’t one way to heaven, He is ‘the’ way. And we discover this through His word in the Bible, a message that has stood the test of time and years of scrutiny.
One would argue, you can read scripture for years and be distant from knowing God which is true, but I would state, you also can’t draw closer to God and be distant from His word. The Bible is His word, and this is how He has revealed Himself to us. I can recall in the early stages of my Christian walk engaging with a question that I would never forget.
“Suppose scientists discovered a new earth with aliens tomorrow. Would you first turn to the discovery to make sense of the Bible? Or would you turn to the Bible to make sense of the discovery?”
How we answer that comes to down to our view of the Bible and the weight of authority it holds in our minds. I am not suggesting that the Bible is about or refers to aliens, but if we view the Bible as God’s authoritative word, then the Bible ought to shape our experiences/knowledge rather than our knowledge and experiences shaping the Bible. In a secular worldview where truth is relative, the Bible is one more way to view the world but if it truly is the Word of God as it claims, then what we have in this book is divine authority, the first point of truth, and the final word.
God intends for readers to know that all of scripture is in fact His words, ‘breathed out by God’ or ‘inspired’ as Timothy writes. Timothy doesn’t stop there though, grounded in this understanding that God is the author of the Bible, he then makes four key points.
The Bible is intended for:
- Training in righteousness
These points accompanied by the view that all Scripture is God-breathed sets the standard of authority by which teaching, reproving and correcting can be established. So, in the face of a new discovery, we as Christians have the authoritative Word of God that we turn to, in order to make sense of life.
At UQ, as a Christian evangelist my aim was to point people to the ultimate intention of God’s Word. The Word itself! John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God” (italics mine). What we have in the Bible is not simply a historical book, or a book of moral teachings, but one book with many human writers all inspired by one divine author to communicate the message of the gospel. That is the account of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. John 3:17 “And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” To see Christ as the Word, the Alpha the Omega, the beginning and the end, the Saviour of mankind is what the Bible speaks to us about and in response as Christians, we submit our lives to him, listening to every word of Scripture that he wants to use to teach us, reprove us, correct us and train us in righteousness.