Is that a good idea?
The Bible Says So. The phrase may be cliche, but the reality begs for deeper conversation. Being that we've just finished reading the Bible in a year (Luke and I, that is), it's a good time to bring it up.
Let's be real. Non-christians doubt it. At times, Christian friends I've had through the years have questioned it. Many reject its messages. A few have abandoned believing God wrote it. Privately, others have wondered if they can fully trust it.
We're talking about the authenticity of the Bible. We're talking about whether or not the Bible is true.
A common argument I hear creeping in among intellectuals and academics is many books hold truths that can be applied to life--the Bible is one such book and a compilation men chose, at that (in truth, councils that affirmed the biblical books merely recognized what the church had acknowledged as divinely inspired for years). Therefore, it can be trusted little more than Whitman or Thoreau.
However, one distinction exists. Whitman never said "Song of Myself" was from God. He passionately believed his intoxications of nature, but he understood them to be observations. Similarly, Thoreau wrote from his own sense of searching.
The Bible claims it is divinely inspired by God. Trustworthy in every way to be true.
"Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation of things. For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit." 1 Peter 1:20-21
"All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." 2 Timothy 3:16-17
So is the Bible lying or is it true? There are only two options. The question really is--is it from God?
If it is, we can trust it in all situations. And if it is, we must change our lives in response.
In truth, we don't need evidence. Though I've heard many people say they read the Bible yet still need to see proof, my hunch is they aren't actually reading it nearly as much as they say they are (or think they are). If one pores through the Bible with an open heart to know God, his Holy Spirit will show everything it says is true--and we can believe God is really saying it.
Since God really exists, this is easy for him. The more time we invest in his Word (with an open heart), the more we give him this opportunity.
However, for those who tend to ask to see the nail holes and put their hands in his side before believing, go back and do what I just said. No, seriously.
But you can read on too, and see that what God's Spirit will speak to your heart, he doesn't simply say. It actually is.
4 Ways to See the Nail Holes and Place Your Hand in his Side.
1) Archaelogical Evidence. Really? I know, I know. Let's start easy. But think about it for a moment. Secular society considers most Bible stories to be nice, well...fibs. Adam and Eve. Noah's Ark. Jonah. Jericho. Unscientific. Fluffy religious stuff.
The basis for that assumption is evidence. Problem is, every current archaelogical discovery shows more and more places academics thought were made up actually existed. And were exactly the way the Bible reports (one of many references). Do these discoveries trump the weight of God's Word? No. His Word stands alone. But they clearly support it.
2) Medical Advances. In the 1800s, germs were discovered. At a hospital in Vienna, women were dying at an alarming rate during birthing. A Hungarian doctor realized the doctors delivering the babies were coming directly from performing autopsies and must be passing something invisible. He made them wash their hands before assisting in births and the mortality rate dropped from 18% to 2.2%. Just washing their hands.
God told the Israelites to wash after various impurities made them "unclean" before they could return to camp. God's Word gave instructions about cleanliness thousands of years before germs and the importance of washing to prevent disease were discovered.
Other directions, such as not eating pork, have since been found to be extremely healthful. These are just two of many commands God gave in his Word that could not have been known at the time otherwise.
3) The Agreement of the Message. Around 40 different authors spanning many generations. All with the same enduring message. This isn't one guy scrawling down some thoughts from an angel. Some were uneducated--Peter. Others, extremely learned--Paul.
Critics argue the Bible contradicts itself. Really, passages complement each other for deep, clear insights into wisdom. And think who these guys were:
-Most of the Old Testament books were written by prophets who directly heard from God
(and Moses, who was so close to God's presence his face shone)
-The ones in the New Testament were the guys who were so filled with the Holy Spirit they
started and led the church (and confounded the far better educated)
Believable this was a work of God.
4) The Prophecies of Jesus. Perhaps most compelling, there are over 300 prophecies about the Jewish Messiah that were all fulfilled in Jesus (here are 44, clearly outlined. Check them out!).
They are irrefutable, things like where the Messiah would be born, what line of descendants he would come from, how he would die--things no one could fake.
And all these come from the Holy Scriptures of a people who largely do not even accept him (mostly because he threatens their status quo). They pre-date his birth, and can all still be read there. There's no way they could be doctored by a bunch of upstart newbies.
So put your finger here. See his hands. Reach out yours and put it into his side. Stop doubting and believe.
But "blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed" (John 20:29).
In other words, go to his Word. Read it daily with renewed excitement and an open heart. His Holy Spirit will speak to you so powerfully there you will find it changes your life.
Stop doubting and believe.
And you will find what is true is exactly what he says. What the Bible says so.
Sounds about right, Dad