Wednesday, November 30, 2011

How Do We Know the Bible is the Inspired Word of God?


Awhile back on a forum for homeschool graduates that I am a part of, there was a discussion about the inspiration of the Bible. It was a little surprising how many did not believe that the Bible was, in its entirety, the inspired, infallible word of God, believing instead that none of it was true, or, that only parts of it were true and others weren’t. There ended up being quite a discussion about it (of which I was a part), and my last post in the thread I thought I would share here as well in the hopes that it may be an encouragement/help to someone . . .

This thread has been a little disheartening to read through and see the various responses that have been given. Much evidence has been shared by others showing the support for the inerrancy of Scripture, yet the evidences given have for the most part, not been examined, but have instead, been overlooked and/or ignored.

If the serious, unbiased seeker of the Lord and of truth would examine the evidences and would truly examine the Bible without presuppositions, they would find that it IS in its entirety, God’s infallible Word.

The Bible itself claims to be the Word of God, but that in and of itself does not prove that it is (as many of you have pointed out.) The Koran and other religious works also make similar claims, and logically, all of these cannot be true.

How, then, is the Bible different from other religions’ books? Simply put, the Bible, and the historical, logical, and archaeological evidences, show clearly that the 66 books of the Bible are the inspired word of God (and what is shared below is just a tiny glimpse into these evidences, and is also not an examination of the canonization of Scripture, though that makes a very fascinating study as well) . . . .


To make a bit of a starting point, try finding ten people in your own town with similar backgrounds and walks of life and ask them to, without talking to one another, write a short paper on a controversial topic, such as: what is man’s purpose in life, and then see if they agree in perfect harmony. I would venture to guess that they would not. :) Consider that, then, in light of this . . .


--The Bible, even with its great length (1196 pages in my Bible), has perfect unity. It was written down by men (as in, the hand of God did not pen it like He did the ten commandments) over a period of 1,500 years by more than 40 different authors with very different education levels, backgrounds, cultures, ages, and more. They wrote in different places – city, wilderness, prison, island. The writings composing the Bible were written on three different continents (Asia, Africa and Europe) and in three different languages (Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic.)


--The Bible is composed of 66 books that deal with a wide variety of topics, many that are controversial, but the central theme that can be found throughout the entire Bible is God’s marvelous plan of salvation for mankind through Jesus Christ. And when considering the above points, that in and of itself is amazing.

--The Bible (and historical evidence) shows the perfect fulfillment of so many of the prophecies given in the Old Testament (Lamentations 2:17. And the prophecies that have not yet been fulfilled are still awaiting their fulfillment.)

--The Bible has no contradictions (and the supposed ‘contradictions’ that have been shared in this thread are not truly contradictions – a thorough examination of these ‘contradictions’ will bring that to light.) To clarify this just a bit, one of the foundational laws of logic is ‘non-contradiction’ - a thing cannot be both ‘a’ and ‘not-a’ at the same time. For example, if the Scriptures said that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, and then in another place said that He was born in Jerusalem, we have a contradiction and this would be a provable error.

This is where discernment and an unbiased examination of the evidence must come into play, however. Just because two statements may differ, it does not mean that they contradict one another. For example (and a rather simple one), I could say that “I went to the store today.” By that statement, someone might infer that I only went to the store today. Whereas I simply did not give the full information by my statement. A later statement (or statements) could give more information without contradicting the first statement. “I went to the park today” or “I went to the store today and yesterday” or “I didn’t go to the store this morning.” These do not contradict the first statement, but they do give a fuller and more complete understanding to what actually took place.

One additional point I would like to make to this is that our translations are not perfectly exact to the original texts (as in, an exact word for word translation – this is understood through even the translation today of one language to another, say, French to Spanish.) This is where it is helpful to have things such as interlinear Bibles, a concordance, lexicons, etc. that help us to understand the original Greek and Hebrew words that were used. Even with this, though, again, the Bible has no contradictions in it.


It basically comes down to the fact that there is irrefutable evidence that the Bible is true (and there is SO much more than the tiny little bit that was shared in this post that is evidence that the Bible is true . . . including in areas that were not even touched on here such as the archaeological, historical, and scientific evidences. There have been whole books written on these evidences, and I’d rather not write another one in this thread :) so this is but a brief glimpse into a part of it.) It is up to each one of us, then, to believe the evidences given, or to disregard them and continue believing that the Bible is false (or that parts of the Bible are false.) Each man has this choice to make . . . and the choice we make will have eternal consequences.

I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book . . . if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book.” Revelation 22:18-19

For myself, I choose to believe and trust the indisputable historical, logical, scientific, and archeological evidences that abound and to take God at His word. Trusting that what He promised and what He has said is true . . . .

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever.” Isaiah 40:8

"So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts. But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.” 2 Peter 1:19-21

15 comments:

  1. Sarah thank you for taking the time to do this post! Its very encouraging to hear others that believe the whole Bible and not just parts of it. I have been to churches where the people there did not believe the whole of the Bible or that it was God's WORD and it was so sad! Praise God the church is universal, though we are in different time zones and places we are all one through Christ Jesus. That is an encouragement to me and its an encouragement that God's WORD is true!

    In Christ,
    Rebecca

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  2. Very well said!!
    The Bible proves itself historically, and has changed more lives than we can count or know about over years and years, and John 1:1 tells from whence it came. It is sad when some don't believe it for what it is, the infallible Word of God, His love letter to us.
    Thank you for this post. :-)
    I've left an award for you on my blog.
    Have a blessed week,
    Miss Anne ♥

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  3. Beautifully done Sarah! And in such a wonderful spirit. thank you for sharing it.

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  4. Sarah...thank you for this very enlightening post. I too am saddened to know that a community of homeschooled graduates does not believe in the innerancy and inspiration of the Scriptures--particularly since the homeschool movement is by and large a Christian one.

    I believe there are a number of reasons why someone would reject the Bible as inspired and infallible. One reason could be that they simply have not been taught the truth by their parents, in a purposeful, proactive way. So they are unaware of the overwhelming wealth of evidence that exists in all disciplines, that supports the Scriptures. They have failed to study this out, and so their "education" contains a large gap.

    Another reason might be that their church has not been diligent in teaching the innerancy of Scripture. There are a number of churches out there that teach a fuzzy theology at best, and neglect to equip the flock with real answers to their questions. So the congregation is vulnerable to believing half-truths, or outright deceptions, "tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming." (Eph. 4:14)

    A third reason people reject the absolute truth of Scripture is because it conflicts with their current lifestyle. To believe what it says would mean to admit that they are living contrary to its teachings in some area...so it's easier simply to imagine that a particular teaching is "open to interpretation," or "relevant only to that time or culture," etc.

    And finally, a BIG reason young people reject the innerancy of Scripture is because they have questioned the literal truths of the first 11 chapters of Genesis. Ken Ham holds that when someone doesn't believe the Biblical account of creation literally--that God created the world and everything in it in 6 literal, 24-hour days--then it becomes easy for them to discredit the rest of the Bible.

    As you so eloquently stated, there are countless books written on this subject, and a basic understanding of apologetics is essential for the Christian to "rightly divide the word of truth." The Holman QuickSource Guide to Christian Apologetics by Doug Powell gives a good, basic overview of many issues surrounding the truth of Scripture. Also, the Answers in Genesis ministry and the Vision Forum ministries have many valuable resources that are helpful in studying this issue out. And as you pointed out, the decision to reject God's Word as truth will have consequences--both in this life, and the next.

    Thank you again, Sarah, for your faithfulness in proclaiming the truth, and for being ready "in season and out of season; [to] reprove, rebuke, [and] exhort, with great patience and instruction." (2 Tim 4:2)

    ~ Betsy

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  5. Excellent post Miss Sarah. I've posted a link to this post on my own blog.

    Thanks for taking time to share.
    Mrs.B

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  6. Thank you all so much for your comments! Each one was a great encouragement to read, and I hope to reply to each one of them soon!

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  7. You’re welcome, Rebecca, and thank you for your encouraging comment! It was a blessing to receive. Yes, it is very encouraging to hear of others who believe the Bible in its entirety. And as you shared, it is wonderful that God’s church is universal and that while many miles may separate us all, we are still a part of the same body of Christ. What a blessing that is!

    Thank you again for your comment!

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  8. Thank you for your encouraging words, Mrs. Anne! What you shared is so true . . . that is another thing that wasn’t mentioned in this post is how the Bible has transformed countless lives. Yet another evidence that it is what it says it is. John 1:1 is a beautiful (and very applicable!) verse, isn’t it? Thank you for mentioning it! And yes, it is very sad to hear of others who do not believe that the Bible in its entirety is the infallible Word of God . . . which makes it all the more encouraging to hear of those who believe that it is.

    You’re welcome for sharing, and thank you again for your encouraging comment and for the blog award! I hope that you have a blessed rest of the week as well!

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  9. Thank you for encouraging comment, Monica! It was a blessing. And you’re welcome in regards to sharing!

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  10. You’re welcome, Betsy, and thank you for sharing all that you did! I appreciated all of the different points that you brought up. (And I hope you don’t mind a long comment back in reply. :)

    Yes, it was very saddening to see in a homeschool community how many did not believe the Bible to be infallible. Yet if it isn’t, what standard do we have for living? For our faith? For anything? There really isn’t any, then, and it is just up to us to decide what is true and what isn’t, and that brings dire and eternal consequences. Being a part of this online forum has opened my eyes to seeing that homeschooling isn’t strictly ‘Christian’ anymore . . . and so many who were homeschooled have turned from the faith that they were raised in. Which brings the question, why? And I think you answered that well.

    All of the reasons you brought up that could lead to this, I would agree with. And several of them are directly related to what was taking place in this forum. Such as Scripture conflicting with their current lifestyle and the truth of Genesis. One of the ‘contradictions’ that kept being brought up in the thread was how the ‘two creation accounts’ contradicted one another. By accepting this as a ‘contradiction’, it was being used as a main evidence that other parts of the Bible are not true as well. Yet as was shared in this post, these supposed contradictions are not contradictions (which can be seen if one truly examines them.)

    Oh, if only more parents and teachers of God’s word would accurately teach and train the young people (and the older ones!) up in the ways of the Lord! Primarily in regards to the authority and truth of the Bible in its entirety, and not watering down the truths within it. If that one point was learned and accepted, than everything else would be built on that foundation and held to the standard of God’s infallible Word. One sees how important it is to move from taking “milk” to taking the “solid food” so our senses will be “trained to discern good and evil.” (Hebrews 5:12-14.) Without that, as you shared, people are vulnerable to what Ephesians 4:14 shares. Yet even without being accurately taught by others, every believer has the responsibility themselves to truly read, study, and examine Scripture.

    I have so often heard the third reason you mentioned! “But that was cultural”, “it doesn’t really mean that”, etc. That is where letting Scripture interpret Scripture and examining all things in the light of Scripture as the Bereans (Acts 17:11) is vital.

    Another ministry that I would add that is so helpful for apologetics is The Institute of Creation Research. We have found their materials to be very helpful! There are so many places where we can get good materials, yet how reassuring to know that even without all of those, Scripture itself has more than enough in it to teach and to train us up in true knowledge of the Lord.

    Thank you again, Betsy, for sharing all that you did and for the encouragement that you gave! Both were a blessing to me!

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  11. Thank you, Mrs. B., for not only your sweet comment, but also for linking to this post. I hope that it will be a blessing to your readers!

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  12. Thank you, Sarah. Isn't Psalm 119:160 a comfort? "The sum of thy word is truth" (and the remainder of the verse too, "and every righteous judgment of thine is for ever.")

    Neil

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  13. What a beautiful post. :o) I really enjoyed it! :o)

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  14. The verse from Psalm 119 is a great comfort, Neil . . . knowing without doubt that God’s word is true and trustworthy. Thank you for sharing it!

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  15. Thank you, Nabila, and I am glad that it was a blessing to you!

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Thanks so much for your comment! Each one is read and enjoyed. :)