Heartprints

3 Reasons I Trust the Bible (And Your Kids Can Too)

The Bible is the best-selling book of all time, but can we really trust writings penned thousands of years ago? Here are three reasons I trust the Bible and so can you.

1. The Bible is a Time-Tested Collection

The early church shared similar challenges we experience today. Influencers taught “creative” ideas about knowing God, while still calling themselves “Christians.” (Hello, social media.) These false Christians packed lies with the truths taught by the apostles. The deceivers also simmered their ideas with other Eastern philosophies and religions.[1]

Those who taught strange teachings, such as Gnosticism[2], claimed they followed God-inspired writings. So, the church needed to identify the true teaching passed on from the apostles and disciples.[3]

Good Leaders Chose What Writings to Include

Bishops[4] created lists of writings that should be read in gathered worship as truth, in response to mixed-religion teachings.[5]

These good leaders clarified what writings were inspired by God—and what early writings were for encouragement, but not seen as God’s words (think the Bible and your favorite Christian-living book).[6]

The clarification also protected the church from accepting false teachings and writings not inspired by God (such as the Gnostic writings and false gospels). The bishops’ lists became a trusted source that endured.

The Early Church Believed the Writings Were God’s Words

The early church Fathers, such as Justin Martyr, believed the writings affirmed by the bishops were (and are) divine writing through and through.[7]

The church accepted these writings, as well as some additional writings, largely without question for more than a thousand years.[8]

Good Curating Means We Can Trust It

Church leaders again questioned what books to include in the Bible during the Protestant Reformation (1500s).

The leaders of the Protestant Reformation (such as Martin Luther) held firmly to the belief that the writings of the prophets (Old Testament), and early-accepted New Testament writings[9] came to humans as God-breathed teaching. The reformers thought the added accepted writings should not be included as authoritative as the writings affirmed by bishops, such as Jerome (A.D. 394).

Thus, these reformers solidified the God-breathed, God-inspired writings included in the Protestant Bible we use today.


Why I trust the Bible #1:

The time-tested collection of God-inspired writings gives us the confidence that our modern Bibles are the words of God.


2. The Bible Has Time-Tested Dependability

Can we trust a book written thousands of years ago and copied through the centuries to contain the teaching originally penned? For any other book, I might suspect that too many transmissions probably led to corruption.

But we can have confidence that the Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic texts we have today (and used for our modern English translations), are the teachings originally penned. Here’s why.

The New Testament Has Many Witnesses

We have thousands of existing copies of ancient writings with original-language biblical text copied from each book of the Bible—about 5,400 distinct pieces—dating back to the first three hundred years.

These multiple copies allow modern-day scholars to reconstruct with a high degree of confidence what the original letters and writings said (as compared to trusting Julius Caesar’s Gallic Wars, which have at most ten readable copies, the earliest of which dates nine hundred years after Caesar’s time).[10]

The New Testament Writers Believed the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament)

Hundreds of years before Jesus appeared on the scene, Jewish people used the Old Testament writings as their God-inspired religious texts. God wrote the Law on tablets made of stone, which he gave to Moses. And the people lived and breathed by the writings of the prophets, which teach about who God is and how to worship him.

The Jews’ thousands of years of history and confidence in these writings is staggering and validates the dependability of the teachings.

Secondly, since we can have full confidence in the teachings of the New Testament because of modern scholarship and ancient copies, we can also look at the references to the Old Testament that we find in the New Testament.

In the Gospels we see Jesus often quoting or referring to the Old Testament as God’s Word. A simple look at his temptation in the wilderness shows how he used the Old Testament writings to speak God’s words to Satan (and how Satan tried to twist God’s words for his agenda).

More so, the other writers of the New Testament books also used Old Testament quotes and references, demonstrating their confidence that the Jewish scriptures were and are God’s words.

Additionally, consider the crazy amount of prophesy in the Old Testament fulfilled in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.


Why I trust the Bible #2:

Modern scholarship, fulfilled prophesy, and the use of Old Testament writings in the New Testament, all attest to the dependability of the Bible.


3. The Bible Has Time-tested Power.

In the Gospels, we read about how the scared disciples run away from Jesus like wounded puppies when the soldiers arrested him. Hiding. Sulking. Afraid. The women mourned at his grave, thinking their hope had died.

But then Jesus appeared to both women and men disciples in a resurrected body.

And these scaredy-cat runaways and hopeless mourners become confident Holy-Spirit filled proclaimers—even to the point of death in gruesome ways.

The power of the gospel changed their lives and continues to change the hearts of sinners—like a young boy living in India.

The Story of Samuel Paul

Samuel Paul, as I came to know him, grew up in a strong Hindu town. Rumors of the gospel of Jesus Christ reached him, so he sneaked out of his home at night to attend secret Jesus meetings and learn about the Bible—at the risk of death. He believed the scriptures, was secretly baptized, and began to live a life filled with the Holy Spirit’s power.

Years later, Samuel Paul immigrated to the United States and met my father. He prayed and prayed for my father’s salvation. And finally, while a preacher shared the scripture, the Holy Spirit opened my father’s eyes and he believed.

This same Samuel Paul, with arthritis knees and shallow breath, crouched on his knees on the hardwood floors of our ranch-style California home and prayed the scriptures over me.

Humanly speaking, I believe I am a Christian today as a result of Samuel Paul’s prayers and the power of God-breathed scriptures.

These same scriptures, when coupled with belief and the power of the Holy Spirit, have healed, restored, released, and renewed believers for thousands of years.


Why I trust the Bible #3:

The time-tested power of scripture is revealed through the testimonies of believers.


QUESTION: How have biblical scriptures affected your life?

THIS POST FIRST APPEARED ON www.SeanaScott.org


[1] Such as Gnosticism, Manicheanism, and Montanism

[2] A blended religion of Eastern ideologies, Platonic philosophy, and Christian principles.

[3] “Apostolic succession” is the authority of the gospel message, entrusted to leaders of the church from the apostles, to the next generation, to the next generation. The message of the gospel was seen by church leaders as the “authority” in the first century. Church leaders did not need to defend the circulated writings—until these false teachings contradicted the writings affirmed as the inspired words of God.

[4] Bishops led local church gatherings throughout the Roman Empire. They had job of preserving sound teaching from the apostles, much like many senior pastors seek to do today.

[5] Our Legacy: The History of Christian Doctrine pp. 47

[6] About A. D. 150.

[7] Our Legacy: The History of Christian Doctrine pp. 42­–45

[9] The books included in the second edition of the Latin Vulgate. Our Legacy: The History of Christian Doctrine pp. 47

[10] https://www.crossway.org/articles/why-trust-the-bible/

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