How Can The Bible Be Trusted?
One of the most notable hang-ups people have with the Bible is often the Bible itself. It’s not uncommon to hear someone say, “Man is messed up and sinful. Man authored and wrote the Bible to suit his needs. How can it be trusted?”
How are we to respond? Second Peter 1:12-21 gives us the answer. Peter is answering objections that everything the apostles taught was simply made up.
Notice what 2 Peter 1:16 says:
For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.
Some modern-day critics such as Dan Brown (author of the “Da Vinci Code”) and Bart D. Ehrman insist that early Christians selected stories that, in essence, propped Jesus up to a supernatural level. And here are four quick reasons why that isn’t the case.
- The date is too early for Matthew, Mark, Luke and John to be simply fairytale. Most books were written some 20-30 years after Jesus’ death. Paul quotes a hymn in the book of Philippians 2, for instance, that sprung from the Gospels themselves. Further, the Gospel writers referred to current events of the first century in their writings (e.g., 1 Cor. 15, Luke 13-14, etc.).
- The actual subject matter of the Gospels is too extreme to be a fairytale. Why would they include such claims as Jesus is God? Why would they include Jesus praying to His Father? And, in a first-century context where women were nothing more than property, why would they put them first at the tomb of Jesus? If you were simply writing a myth, you would never go that direction.
- The Gospels are way too detailed to be a fairytale. From first-person narratives to historical dates, times and customs, the Gospels are richly laced with factual statements. Take Mark 14:52 as an example. In the throes of describing some of the most intense scenes so far of his book, Mark tells of someone (probably himself) who fled “naked” from the last night of Jesus’ life. That’s the kind of detail you put in when you’re writing a historical account. You don’t do that when you are merely making it up.
- The meaning is too big to be a fairytale. What reward was there for telling the story as we have it today? All the writers and apostles, save John, died unnatural deaths for their faith – they were killed. You might say, “Well, don’t people die for lies all the time?” Yes, but people don’t die for something they know is a lie.
Peter also argues that the author of the New Testament (and Bible at large) isn’t man but God.
2 Peter 1:19-21 says:
And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit
Christians have long believed that the Bible itself is written by God and man. It has a unique part of each author’s perspective, writing style and personality. Being from God, it is infallible and inerrant. Yes, the authors were very fallible, but it wasn’t the authors themselves that were flawless—it was God.
Someone may say, “Yes, but we don’t have the original letters.”
Did you know that in Britain the official measure of a yard is encased in a heavy metal of titanium? What if someone stole it? Would we have to development a new measurement? Not at all! We have copies—yardsticks. You can compare the copies and know within a millimeter how long a yard is. The vast number and availability of yardsticks makes the original all the more trustworthy.
Likewise, the fact we have thousands of biblical copies affirms that it’s the Word of God. It hasn’t changed.
The Bible offers the only practical explanation for mankind’s plight and the presence of evil. History affirms that what it says about man is true (we are sinners in need of divine grace alone for salvation). Any subject on which the Bible speaks, the Bible must be our final authority. God’s Word gets the last word. Give the Bible a chance and see if it makes better sense out of your life than a secular worldview.
What’s the difference between the Bible and the Internet? The former deserves your unreserved trust and the latter deserves a good measure of suspicion. Choose wisely.