Often when people challenge the authority and reliability of the Scripture, it is merely an excuse for dismissing its claims over their lives. That is really at the heart of why there is so much passion (and emotional, defensive and dismissive attitudes towards the Bible) and a lack of sincere seeking of whether it is reliable or not. At the heart of this issue is not (as many like to try to claim) an intellectual problem but man’s rebellious nature.
The Bible makes claims such as there is a God who created this world. The logical conclusion of that truth is that we are therefore responsible to this God who gave us life. The prophets and Jesus and then His followers taught that there would be a future resurrection and judgment of the righteous and unrighteous and we will all stand before a Holy God and give an account (be brought to accountability) for how we lived our lives. Being that we are sinful, we are all doomed to eternal damnation, unless we humble ourselves and acknowledge we are sinners in need of a Savior and that that Savior is Jesus Christ who gave His life on the cross for my sin, your sin and the sins of the world; that whoever in repentance, believes in Him, confessing Him as Lord, receiving Him for who He is and trusting in Him, these would be saved by God’s grace and given the gift of everlasting or eternal life.
But it’s precisely this call to submit to Christ and trust in Him, it’s precisely this message that He is Lord and will return to judge this world in righteousness; it’s these truths that sinful man resists, because we want to be our own god and be accountable to no one but ourselves. We want to live how we want to live without accepting that there will be eternal consequences. We at our core are incredibly selfish and self-centered, deceiving ourselves and convincing ourselves that life is about us, not that we were created for the pleasure and glory of God. The appeal of relativism is that there are no external absolutes that apply to all people. You can pick your own set of values or rules to live by and all that matters is that you are “true” to yourself. You can be your own god.
At the root of this is simply rebellion against authority (ultimately God) outside of ourselves. It’s the ancient lie of the devil who told our first parents to eat of the fruit after God commanded them not to eat of it, for if they did “they would be like God” (become their own gods: free from being under the “control” of dependence upon or authority of God). We are still eating that fruit that sounds so wonderful but in the end turns sour with dire and eternally devastating consequences. It is man’s selfishness, rebellion and perversion of religion of that has resulted in all the wars and tragedies of this fallen world. “The wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23).
But back to the main question. How do we know the Bible is true? Isn’t it full of errors and contradictions? It has to be because it was written by men, so what makes it superior to any other book written by men? What about all the wars and God telling people to wipe out entire villages? What kind of a God is that? Didn’t some King write the Bible?
These are often common “questions” (often just excuses) that people use to dismiss the authority and accuracy of the Bible.
We could spend hours clarifying those questions and often misunderstandings.
We could spend hours talking about the amazing unity of the Bible, that although it was written over a period of 1,500 years by over 40 people of various backgrounds (fishermen, shepherds, kings, prophets, etc.) on 3 different continents, its central message is the same and its teachings do not contradict each other (when properly understood in its culture-historical setting, etc.). Often what appears to be contradictions is just ignorance or misunderstanding and a little research and study brings the truth to light.
We could talk about how hundreds of prophecies in the Bible written hundreds of years prior, have been literally fulfilled with amazing accuracy, regarding nations, individuals and especially Jesus Christ.
We could talk about how archaeology has time and time again provided evidence that the biblical accounts are historically reliable and accurate, even details that once were disputed, mocked and dismissed.
We could talk about the fact that the Bible is the bestselling book of all time and has changed and transformed countless hearts and lives by its message.
We could talk about the amazing survival of the Bible throughout history despite the attacks against it.
We could talk about how more manuscripts and copies of the Bible have been discovered then any other ancient book and even though there are minor variants in the manuscripts, there are none that contradict key doctrines; (most just normal copying errors). No other ancient work is disputed or attacked or so closely criticized like the Bible, even though for some famous ancient works we only have a few manuscripts compared to the Bible.
We could talk about how those who wrote the Bible, were honest, not hiding or covering up their failures and sometimes horrible sin.
We could talk about how, if those who wrote the Bible were trying to promulgate a myth, they did a horrible job because, for example, they used a woman as a witness to Christ’s resurrection (back then a woman’s testimony had no credibility in the court of law). They also did not wait long enough to develop this “myth” because at the time they wrote it, there were hundreds of eyewitnesses still alive, who could have disputed the accuracy of it but did not.
We could also talk about all the eyewitnesses (over 500 according to 1 Corinthians 15) of Jesus’ resurrection itself, lending proof to its reliability.
But ultimately all the arguments we could give for the trustworthiness of the Scripture, still will not convince everyone and people will still find reasons to dismiss it. And that is because it ultimately comes down to the fact that many people don’t want to believe it because of the ramifications to their lives.
And ultimately there is only one sure way for you to personally find out whether the Bible is true and reliable or not.
Jesus once said this: “My teaching is not my own. It comes from him who sent me. If anyone chooses to do God’s will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own.” (John 7:16-17).
To know the truth, you must choose to do God’s will (not your will). You must decide to go His way, not your way. To know if what Jesus spoke was true or not (and the Bible as a whole) you must choose to seek God and do His will.
God says in Jeremiah 29:13-14 “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity.”
You must believe in faith and then through believing you will see. Jesus said this: “I am the way and the truth and the life and no one can come to the Father but by Me.” (John 14:6).
In other words, truth is actually found and discovered through a right relationship with Jesus Christ, where He is Lord of your life. It is then that as you hold to His teachings, that you “will know the truth and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31-32).
It all begins with surrender to the will of God and submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Until you surrender to Christ, you are a slave to your sin, to your selfishness. You are not free when you live for yourself, but actually in bondage to Satan who controls you by your passions and desires. Only Jesus can set you free, and only He can reveal the truth to you and help you understand your misunderstandings and confusion.
I encourage you to turn to Him in repentance and faith and trust in Him—-and then you will see for yourself!
Hebrews 11:6 “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”
Acts 17:24-31 “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring…” “…now he commands all people everywhere to repent. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead.”