Why You Can Trust the Bible
Many claim the Bible is corrupt, full of contradictions, and historically unreliable. Plenty of people have claimed to speak for God. Other religions have their own sacred religious texts that clearly differ with the Bible on major points of doctrine and practice. Muslims, Buddhists, and Hindus have their own Scriptures. They can’t all be right, can they? What distinguishes the Bible from other religious texts?
No book has been so attacked, burned, critiqued, maligned, and vilified as the Bible. And yet it has endured! That, in itself, is a powerful testimony. The puritans called the Bible, “the anvil that has worn out many hammers.” It’s unparalleled, in a category its own. So let’s put it to the test. Why can we trust the Bible? First, let’s consider some external reasons—evidence from outside Scripture.
It’s no secret that millions of lives have been transformed by the Bible. Granted, experience can be deceptive and misleading, but it should never be ignored. A radically transformed life invites investigation. Why have so many people who came under the power of the Bible been changed? The Old Testament Psalmist writes:
The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul.
The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.
The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart (Psalm 19:7-9).
I can attest. Before I encountered Jesus in the pages of Scripture, I was empty. I was guilty. I was in bondage. My soul was dead. I was drowning in spiritual ignorance. My heart was cold, blind, dead, and hard. I was in chains, longing for freedom.
In the Bible, I read the words of Jesus who said “I came to set the captives free….Come to me I’ll give you rest for your soul.” I took Him up on that and he delivered—literally.
As Hebrews 4 promises, the Bible came alive. It exuded a power and energy in my heart. It grew active. It penetrated, analyzed, and disclosed my heart. It resonated.
When I gave myself to Christ, I became a new creation. Old things passed away. I had a new identity and purpose. Hope, redemption, unassailable joy, and contentment flooded my heart. I was alive, an undeniably new person from the inside out. I believed.
Some would argue: Of course you believed! You grew up in a Christian home. You were brought to church. People taught you to read, believe, and trust the Bible.
But my testimony is not the cookie cutter pattern for every Christian. Tremendous diversity will be found in the conversion stories of believers around the world. Many of them did not grow up in a Christian home or even darken the door of a church. They were not looking for God. But He was looking for them!
Despite the claims of religion sociologists, Christianity is not a Western Religion.
Christianity is not only the largest, but the most diverse belief system in the world. It encompasses Europe, China, North America, South America, and Africa. In Confronting Christianity, Rebecca McLaughlin writes:
From the very beginning, Christianity has been multi-ethnic, multi-racial, and multi-cultural. The last book of the Bible paints a picture of the end of time, when “a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages” will worship Jesus (Rev. 7:9). This was the multicultural vision of Christianity from the beginning.
Religious experts think that by 2030, more Christians will exist in China—once the global center of Atheism—than in America. And by 2060, China could be a majority Christian country. Secularists predicted that as the world grew more advanced, religious beliefs would weaken and eventually disappear. That has not been the case at all.
What about smart people? Is there an intellectual barrier for scientists? Does Christianity appeal only to untaught, naive, simpletons?
I have spent years working with Christian professors at leading secular universities in fields ranging from physics to philosophy. Some grew up in the church. Others encountered Christianity later. All have found that their faith has stood the test of their research and left them more convinced that Christianity represents our tightest grasp on truth and our best hope for the world. —Rebecca McLaughlin
C.S. Lewis became an atheist at age 15, though he later described his young self as being paradoxically "very angry with God for not existing" and "equally angry with him for creating a world.” The book he wrote describing his journey from atheism to belief in Christ is called Surprised by Joy and is appropriately named. He says, “A young man who wishes to remain a sound Atheist cannot be too careful of his reading. There are traps everywhere — "Bibles laid open, millions of surprises. God is, if I may say it, very unscrupulous.”
Rachel Gilson was an Atheist and Lesbian who went to Yale searching for both answers to life and romance with other women. Instead, she found Jesus. She writes, “I became a Christian much to my own surprise. It was as if the sun of the gospel had evaporated my atheism in an instant.” Interestingly enough, her journey to Christ began by reading the book, Mere Christianity, written by C.S. Lewis—which she stole from a friend.
During an interview, she admitted, “I didn’t grow up in a Christian home at all. So I guess I started life neutral toward Christianity, and then, as I moved into my high school years, I became more opposed to it. I thought Christians were stupid and bigoted.”
Pretty arresting stories, aren’t they? How can you argue from such variety and diversity? And yet, experience is the weakest argument for the authority and accuracy of the Bible. More evidence exists that warrants our consideration. Come back next week for part 2!