The following blog post comes from Pastor Don’s teaching notes from the mid-week Bible study at Truth Community Fellowship. The audio file of this message can be found here.
The Scripture claims to be the Word of God.
Read 2 Timothy 3:16-17.
The question tonight is how do we know to accept that claim? The key is to understand our position from God’s perspective. We want to think His thoughts after Him.
1. The Evidential Approach
This approach asks us to consider evidence that supports the uniqueness of the Bible.
1. The Indestructability of the Bible
The Bible has withstood vicious attacks of its enemies as no other book. Many have tried to burn it, ban it and outlaw it from the days of Roman emperors to Communist-dominated countries (Josh McDowell, Evidence That Demands a Verdict, 22).
The fact of the indestructability of the Bible strongly suggests that it is the embodiment of divine revelation (Henry Thiessen, Lectures in Systematic Theology, 46).
2. The Character of the Bible
The Bible presents a high view of God and exposes the sin of man. It has a remarkable unity even though it was written by approximately 40 different men over a period of 1600 years. It has one doctrinal system and one plan of salvation.
The Bible deals frankly with the sins of its characters. Today’s biographies try to cover up the shady side of people. The Bible does not do it that way (cf. McDowell, 25).
We must conclude it embodies divine revelation, since mere men could not have originated such a world and life view (Thiessen, 46-47).
3. The Influence of the Bible
The Bible has produced the highest results in all walks of life. It has led to great achievements in art, architecture, literature, and music. It has influenced the laws of nations, produced great social reforms, and changed thousands of lives. Surely, this is proof that it is the revelation of God to needy humanity (cf. Thiessen, 47).
4. Fulfilled Prophecy
Only God can reveal the future. Fulfilled prophecy indicates that the writers of prophecy possessed His mind. Many prophecies about the course of human nations have been fulfilled, proving that the Old Testament expresses divine revelation (Thiessen, 48).
One writer concludes:
If we weigh separately the arguments presented in this chapter we may not find any of them conclusive; but if we permit each argument to contribute its modicum of truth, we shall be forced to the conclusion that the Bible is the embodiment of a divine revelation (Thiessen, 49).
Josh McDowell says, “This does not prove the Bible is the Word of God, but it shows the Bible is unique” (Evidence, 21; cf. 23, 26).
These observations may be helpful but they lack final authority. They establish probability. That information is not bad, but in its appeal to human reason bypasses divine authority.
Jesus Christ clearly affirmed the authority of the Old Testament.
C. He Commissioned the New Testament
Jesus pre-authenticated the New Testament during His ministry.
1. He prepared for its writing
Read John 14:26, 15:26-27, 16:12-14.
This indicates a special superintending work of the Holy Spirit whereby the disciples would be able to remember and record without error all that Jesus had said (Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology, 77).
We appeal to Jesus Christ for our salvation and our authority. We trust Him as the reliable judge of truth.
3. But Isn’t That a Circular Argument?
To some, it seems presumptuous to base our assertion of the Bible’s authority on the Bible. “I’m right because I say I’m right.” Bruce Milne says:
Here we note the difficulty of establishing a claim to ultimate authority except by reference to itself; any other authority summoned to support our final authority would itself become the ultimate authority. (Know the Truth, 33).
Milne goes on to say:
God speaks in the words of the Bible in such a manner as to remove all doubt as to its divine origin, character and authority. In the final analysis only God can be an adequate witness to himself. All other testimony such as historical evidence or philosophical deduction can at best possess only secondary value (Milne, Know the Truth, 33).
Why do we believe the Bible? Our Teacher and Lord has spoken.
The Bible is the Word of God.
That’s why we believe the Bible.
But why do we believe the Bible when others do not?