Can we trust the Bible?

“How can we trust the word to be true? How can we trust the authors of the Bible?”

This is a great question but also one that could receive a book length answer. I apologize that for this reason, I’ve waited for an opportunity to devote more time to it.

How can we trust the Bible to be true? At this point we are not asking questions about the canon (what books belong within the scripture?) or about the reliability of the manuscripts and their transmission (does our current text accurately reflect what was in the original manuscripts?).

Our starting point is the scripture as we recognize it with sixty-six books from Genesis through Revelation. How can we be sure they are truthful in all they proclaim?

Let me address this briefly under the following headings: internal witness (does the Bible make the claim of inerrancy), logic (is there a logical necessity that it be inerrant?), Christ’s view of scripture (did He regard it as inerrant?), external evidence (is there objective evidence that the scripture is inerrant?)

Internal witness: The scripture’s self-understanding and self-disclosure is that it is the word of God and that it speaks truthfully and authoritatively in all its parts. [i]

Logic: If we were to allow that the Bible could be untruthful and unreliable in parts, then we would have no basis for affirming anything in it with confidence. Furthermore, if it is the word of an infallible, almighty, omniscient God, then it would logically be wholly truthful in all that it intends to say.

Christ’s view: What Christ held concerning the scripture must be our linchpin of understanding. We believe that He is the savior of the world, the Son of God who died on the cross and rose from the grave. The entire scripture points to Him. He testified to the truthfulness of all scripture. He is the key witness to the veracity of every jot and tittle. [ii]

External evidence: Although the Bible has been under attack for centuries, archaeology has repeatedly corroborated the scripture’s testimony. Again and again, scholars have doubted the existence of people groups, usages of language, historical data, knowledge of geography, names of rulers, and so forth. They attack and try to discredit, and then archeological discoveries come along and support the biblical data.

Special considerations: Inerrancy does not require scientific precision. The Bible does not speak in modern scientific categories. For instance, if a person says, “I saw the sunrise this morning” we do not brand him a liar (for we know the earth moved and not the sun). This is called phenomenological language and the Bible often speaks in that way. There is no error in that manner of thought.

The Bible is truthful and reliable in whatever it speaks to. For instance, long before the concept of the big bang, the Bible declared that God made the universe by His word and not from what is visible. In the view of science, this was considered a laughable idea until the theory of the big bang came along and science came to support the idea of a beginning to the universe.

Conclusion:  The Bible is the word of God as breathed out by Him through human authors. It is truthful in all that it intends to affirm. The language may not be considered scientific, but it is truthful in its intended meaning. Because it is the word of God, it is not only truthful, but it is reliable and the only authority for our faith and our lives.

For further reading: Wayne Grudem has an excellent and nearly exhaustive treatment of this subject in chapters 2-8 of his Systematic Theology.

Currently, the book by R.C. Sproul, Can I Trust The Bible? is free on Amazon for Kindle.

Norman Geisler also has edited a book, Inerrancy that looks to be quite thorough.

[i] 2 Timothy 3:15-16, Hebrews 6:18, Numbers 23:19, Matthew 24:35

[ii] Matthew 4:4, 5:18, John 6:63, 10:34-35, 17:17

God’s Salvation

Pastor Jonathan preaches for Palm Sunday on “God’s Salvation” from Psalm 118.

Psalm 118 (ESV)

His Steadfast Love Endures Forever

Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever! Let Israel say, “His steadfast love endures forever.” Let the house of Aaron say, “His steadfast love endures forever.” Let those who fear the Lord say, “His steadfast love endures forever.” Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free. The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? The Lord is on my side as my helper; I shall look in triumph on those who hate me. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes. All nations surrounded me; in the name of the Lord I cut them off! They surrounded me, surrounded me on every side; in the name of the Lord I cut them off! They surrounded me like bees; they went out like a fire among thorns; in the name of the Lord I cut them off! I was pushed hard, so that I was falling, but the Lord helped me. The Lord is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. Glad songs of salvation are in the tents of the righteous: “The right hand of the Lord does valiantly, the right hand of the Lord exalts, the right hand of the Lord does valiantly!” I shall not die, but I shall live,  and recount the deeds of the Lord. The Lord has disciplined me severely, but he has not given me over to death. Open to me the gates of righteousness, that I may enter through them and give thanks to the Lord. This is the gate of the Lord; the righteous shall enter through it. I thank you that you have answered me and have become my salvation. The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Save us, we pray, O Lord! O Lord, we pray, give us success! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! We bless you from the house of the Lord. The Lord is God, and he has made his light to shine upon us. Bind the festal sacrifice with cords, up to the horns of the altar! You are my God, and I will give thanks to you; you are my God; I will extol you. Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!

Give thanks to God for the salvation He has provided.

  • What is the basis of this salvation?
  • Who provides this salvation?
  • What kind of salvation does God provide?
  • How does this salvation work?
  • For what purpose are we saved?

Parent Connection Questions:

  • If you were to list off your three biggest problems, what kinds of things would you list?
  • Why do we usually not think of sin as one of our main problems?
  • How did the Jewish crowds misunderstand this mission of Jesus?
  • What are some ways you can enjoy and glorify God this week?

Crazy Confidence

Pastor Jay continues the series on War of the World – A Training Manual for “My Little Children”, with this week’s sermon “Crazy Confidence” from 1 John 4:13-21.

1 John 4:13-21 (ESV)

By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.  Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.

Believers in Christ ought to have crazy confidence.

  • We know we abide in Him and He in us.
  • We know and believe the love that God has for us.
  • We have boldness on the day of judgement because He loved us.

Parent Connection Questions:

  • What sort of confidence do we mean?
  • What evidences do we have that we abide in God?
  • What is the difference between the idea “to Know” and “to Believe”?
  • What does it mean that love is perfected “with us”?
  • What one thing causes fear?

The Church at Smyrna

Pastor Jon preaches from Revelation 2:8-11.

Revelation 2:8-11 (ESV)

To the Church in Smyrna

“And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: ‘The words of the first and the last, who died and came to life. “‘I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich) and the slander of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death.

Bombardument

Pastor Jay continues the series on War of the World – A Training Manual for “My Little Children”, with this week’s sermon “Bombardument” from 1 John 4:7-12.

1 John 4:7-12 (ESV)

God Is Love

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.

We should love one another because God.

  • God is the source of love.
  • God is love.
  • God reveals love.
  • God initiated love.
  • God is the logic of love.
  • God reveals himself in love.

Parent Connection Questions:

  • What is a bombardument and how is John doing that?
  • Does loving cause us to be born again? What does it say?
  • How does God’s love, initiated by God, help us to love?
  • How is God’s love perfected in us? What does that mean?