Why do Christians believe that the Bible is the true, authoritative, inerrant, Word of God?
Why should Christians believe that the Bible contains the inspired and inerrant words of God? There are multitudes of philosophies and competing religious writings out there. What makes the Bible so special so as to be classified by Christians as the “final rule for life and faith?” In this politically correct, pluralistic modern society, statements like these sound out of touch or almost outrageous to some. But, there are many reasons why the Bible is completely distinct from other religious writings. A key factor that sets the Bible apart from other religious literature and firmly establishes its truthfulness and authority is the historical event of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. God has given such tremendous evidence affirming the resurrection of Jesus from the dead that it makes Christianity much more than simply a blind, philosophical leap of faith and the Bible more than just another piece of religious literature.
Why trust Jesus? He keeps His word like none other in all of history…
In the Gospels, the Apostles tell us that Jesus gave His word to them repeatedly that He would suffer, die, and then be raised from the dead after being buried in a tomb for three days. It is historically evident that something happened after the death of Jesus that powerfully impacted the apostles. These 12 adult men, most with jobs, wives, and children, were given the first-hand opportunity to find out whether what Jesus told them was true or a lie. Let’s not fool ourselves, if we walked away from everything important in our lives to go and follow a religious leader for three and a half years, only to find out that that person had lied to us the entire time, we would be enfuriated. It’s impossible to imagine any rational person being willing to continue following, and nonetheless give up their life, for a person who has proven themselves to be a fraudulent liar! Taking all this into account, it’s revealing that not only did Jesus’ disciples later come to believe in Him and continue following Him while facing bitter persecution, all but one died a brutal death simply for being His disciples. With absolutely nothing to gain if Jesus was a liar, history tells us that Peter was crucified upside down. Andrew was also crucified on an olive tree in Achaia. James was thrown from a building and then stoned and the horrific stories of their deaths goes on and on. With this vivid historical evidence, it is clear that the 12 and at least 500 or so more saw Jesus risen from the dead and were so powerfully impacted by this event that they were willing to lose everything for Him, even their lives. This leads us to a vitally important conclusion: Jesus gave and kept His word to these men and, as a result, they were so transformed by Him that they were willing to give up everything for Him. If Jesus gave to the Apostles and, through their writings, to us, His word regarding something as challenging to believe as His own resurrection from death and kept it, then He is who says He was and we can be confident that everything that He says is true.
We can safely trust Jesus. So, what does this have to do with whether the Bible is true or not?
Because of His unique status as risen Lord and Messiah, Jesus can be trusted completely. All that He says is true. Therefore, what He says about which particular writings are to be considered divinely inspired and authoritative is of vital importance and can be trusted completely as well. Which writings, then, did Jesus endorse as being inspired, inerrant and authoritative?
Jesus said in Luke 24 that the Psalms, the Prophets and Moses (all the books of the Old Testament) testify of Him. Jesus validated the Old Testament and confirmed that the 39 books that it contains are the inspired words of God. Jesus then told His disciples in John chapters 14 and 16 that the Spirit would come upon them and that He would lead them into truth, bring to their remembrance all the things that He had told them, and bear witness to them of Him. In doing this, Jesus revealed that the writings of the Apostles are inspired, or breathed-out, by the Spirit of God and placed them on equal ground as the writings of the Old Testament. As a result, Christians believe that the books of the New Testament also contain the Holy Spirit breathed words of God that are authoritative and true. They believe that these writings faithfully record the things that Jesus said and did and truthfully bear witness of Him. As mentioned, the ground for this belief is the fact that if Jesus told the truth about His resurrection, if He kept His word regarding something as powerful as that, then there is a ripple effect that takes place that requires us to take Him at His word on all that He says.
Unlike other philosophies and religions, Christianity is much more than a blind, leap of faith in a dead founder and questionable religious writings. During His ministry here on earth, Jesus affirmed a particular group of writings, now contained in the Bible, as being divinely inspired and true. His life, death and resurrection set Him and His word apart from all other religions and religious writings in the world. Christians have been called simpletons, gullible and unsophisticated for their belief in the truthfulness and authority of Scripture. But, this is simply not the case. Christians place their faith in the Divine, living Savior and accept His words as faithful and true because He has proven Himself to be both Faithful and True.
The Bible is Truth
Are there hard sayings in the Bible that might be somewhat difficult for us to accept or understand? Of course there are. The Bible talks about the “offense” of the Cross and the “foolishness” of the Gospel to unregenerate hearts. But, we can be grateful for these hard sayings that cut through the tendency of our hearts toward idolatry, self-deception and superficial ideas related to heaven, hell, evil, sin, injustice, reality, eternity, love and life in general. A world-view that is Gospel and Scripture saturated is the only world-view that can adequately and sufficiently deal with the reality that humanity faces. The Bible is the only book that reveals God’s plan to rescue sinful humanity and reconcile them to Himself through Jesus. The Bible is the only book endorsed by the One who lived a sinless life, died, and rose to life again from the dead. The Bible, all 66 books of the Old and New Testaments, plunges to the depths of human experience, both good and evil, and finds it’s culmination and validation in the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is truth.