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Why Believe the Bible?

June 19, 2012

In the previous post I concluded that Fear of God is the correct point from which to search for wisdom.  I explored the fallacy that is “baked in” to eastern, new age and atheistic worldviews which assumes that wisdom can be found inside each of us, and contrasted that with the Bible’s teaching about the Fear of the Lord and how that leads to a correct understanding of the world, and ultimately will lead to wisdom as the believer studies the Bible to gain it.

The fallacies of many commonly-held worldviews are self-evident, despite their common defenses:

  • That each of us is born with truth inside us (although this group will likely believe that all life is only physical, in which case based on DNA, in which case susceptible to mutations and errors)
  • That each of us is really part of God and can access His wisdom (although if we are “born” how can we also be part of an eternal Being?)
  • That true wisdom is knowing that nothing is real, which we can realize by just thinking long and quietly enough (although this Buddhist view just shifts the semantics of the wonder of life: how can something not real have been created in which each of us has such a unique personal experience full of love, wonder and meaning?)

These views have been debunked very effectively by Dr. Greg Bahnsen and others, so I won’t go through that process here.

Turning away from what’s wrong with the alternatives to the subject of this article… how do we know that when we turn to the Bible we can trust it: its history, its Gospel message and its treasures of Wisdom that we are motivated to search after experiencing the Fear of the Lord?  How do we know there is not another book of amazing wisdom about to be discovered or written which only then will provide man a glimpse of Truth?

For my unsaved readers I have bad news for you – YOU CAN’T.  I’m not just predicting that you won’t – if you haven’t been saved by God you literally can’t believe the Bible. You can certainly read it, study it, even memorize whole sections.  You can feel amazement at certain aspects of the book which seem impossible to explain if it had solely human authorship:

  • The order of creation events in Genesis (regardless of your view on the length of time involved) and its alignment to scientific understanding only recently gained
  • Prophecies which we know were written prior to actual historical events
  • The Bible’s unique description of “the human condition”, describing our natures more accurately than any other religion

You might conclude that it seems a lot more credible to believe the universe in all its delicately balanced wonder was created instead of being the result of pure chance.  You can be impressed with the wisdom for life contained in its pages.  You may be impressed that across 66 books with 40 authors written over a span of 1500 years no conflicts occur, and one thread is interwoven as Old Testament sacrifices and symbols point to the coming of Christ described in the New Testament.

You may be drawn to Jesus as a powerful figure and extremely wise teacher.  You can be enamored of His use of simple parables to teach some of the most complex moral teachings, and find those so much more powerful than anything contained in any other holy book.  You might find extremely beautiful uses of language in some passages.  It may occur to you that contrary to judging Christianity by the actions of its “professed” followers, you should have judged its Truth for yourself based on what it teaches and claims. You may be impressed with the accuracy of the Bible’s description of the evil of man’s heart, something no other religion grasps.  You might see proof of the gospels’ history in the amazing actions of the apostles after the resurrection of Jesus, risking and losing their lives gladly to preach the news of what they knew to be true – with no glory or recognition in their own time, but only hardship and persecution. You can admire the Bible, but you can’t really believe it or trust it if you have not been saved.

The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. — 1 Corinthians 1:18

What happens when we are saved to enable us to believe the Bible?  God changes us.  He changes us RADICALLY and DRAMATICALLY.  Things that we used to covet we no longer care about at all.  Things to which we were addicted suddenly lose their grip on us, even if previous efforts of our own failed to break those bad habits.  We find ourselves focused on gaining new understanding from the Bible and seeking righteousness in our lives – public and private. In 2 Corinthians 5:17, Paul describes this process as becoming a “new creation”.  It is not an overstatement.

In 1 Corinthians Paul also compares this change to moving from “thinking like a child” to adulthood.  We realize how childish and wrong our previous thinking was on so many topics – many of the same topics we held and defended so adamantly before!   In many cases the change in us is immediate, but in other cases being saved starts a gradual process called sanctification in which we find ourselves becoming more Christlike as He teaches us in our lives and as we read the Bible.  The Holy Spirit comes to dwell inside us – we find ourselves doing and saying things we would not do ourselves, and these changes always accord with the Bible.  Actually for believers, the question of whether and how to believe the Bible is one which really needs no explanation – in short, God empowers us to do it.

“The moral principles and precepts contained in the Scriptures ought to form the basis of all our civil constitutions and laws. All the miseries and evils which men suffer from vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery, and war, proceed from their despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible.” — Noah Webster

Despite what many churches teach, this is not something which you can choose to do yourself.  God has to save you.  But if you read the Bible and realize how far short you have fallen from God’s law – how selfish and greedy you really are in your inner person, if you earnestly want to turn from that and let Christ pay the penalty for your sins, and to give your life to God for Him to make of you a new creation, then He has already changed you, and you can pray to Him to save you.

… I’ve made this post knowing that nothing I can do or say – no matter how long the list of evidence or how hard I try to write persuasively – nothing I say can cause anyone to consider believing the Bible, nor to see the Fear of the Lord the starting point on our search for wisdom. As we have seen, reasons to believe the Bible are ineffective for the unsaved, and unnecessary for true believers.  But I do have hope that minds will be changed – if that is God’s will…

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From → Bible, Worldview

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