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   Strengthening Your Faith: The Bible is God's Book

Guest Article

Why I Believe the Bible
By James MacDonald

There are a lot of good reasons to believe that the Bible is God's book.

So what do you tell people when they ask, "You don't really believe all that stuff in the Bible, do you?"

The more you rub shoulders with people who have no concept of real Christianity, the more your faith will be challenged, even your sanity questioned.

"You've got to be kidding? You're basing your life on some dusty book written like a million years ago?"

"It's just a bunch of stories."

"You thing God wrote it?"

"Any thinking person knows the Bible is full of mistakes and contradictions?""

I'm sure you've heard these lame excuses and more. Especially if you've ever tried to explain your confidence in God's Word to somebody. Well, you're not alone.

If you give me a couple minutes of your time, I'll fill you with some facts about God's Word that will not only increase your confidence in His book, but also give you some solid answers for your skeptical friends. God told the prophet Isaiah to "Cry out' The grass withers and the flower fades away, but the word of our God shall stand forever" (40:8). That means that long after skeptics are gone, God's Word will still be standing. Here's why.

The Bible is all that?

The more I study the Bible, the more I am absolutely convinced that God did write a book. No one can refute that the Bible is the preeminent book in existence. It has traveled more highways, walked more paths, knocked on more doors and spoken to more people in the mother tongue than any book the world has ever known, can ever know, or will ever know.

Let me give you some numbers that blew my mind. One organization alone, Gideon's International, distributes more than 56 million copies of the Scripture worldwide every year. Do the math—that's 107 copies a minute. Since 1815 to 1975 2.5 billion copies of God's Word were printed and distributed. No other book comes close in circulation.

Some would say, "Sure, the Bible is a great religious book, but what about the Koran or the Book of Mormon?" I love what this scholarly dude, Montero Williams (not to be confused with Montel Williams) said about Eastern religion after 42 years of studied comparison with the Bible. He said, "Pile them if you will on the left side of your study table, but place your Bible on the right side by itself alone. For there is a wide gulf between the Bible and the so-called sacred books of the East which cannot be bridged over by any science or religious thought."

Any why do so many people hate God's Word? No other book has been so burned and banned and outlawed as much as the Bible. From Roman emperors to communist leaders to college professors, everyone seems to take it upon themselves to attack this book. If for no other reason, aren't you at least curious why this book is so hated? I'll tell you—the Bible calls people to true accountability before the Creator of the universe and very few of us are willing to submit.

Man will never be able to destroy the Bible because Almighty God wrote it and He is taking care of it. We could go on citing fascinating historical twists and recent archeological finds that prove the Bible's credibility and indestructibility, but let's just say this: when you hold the Bible in your hands, you hold a personal message from the loving and living God. Yes, a loving God, provided we receive His message and choose to take Him seriously.

Let the Bible speak for itself.

Does the Bible confirm itself to be true? Let's take a moment to consider the facts.

God used 40 different people to write down His Word. Not one or two people, or five or ten. Forty! Some of them were shepherds or farmers. Others were political and religious leaders, even kings. Together these authors lived over a period of 1,500 years. (That's the same amount of time as from the Middle Ages to the present.)

So we have 40 people, all authors of Scripture, from different walks of life, separated by one and a half millennia. Now tell me, how do you get all these people to agree on theology? You can't get four people to decide on where to go for dinner. And these guys wrote on the two things that nobody ever agrees on: religion and politics. Their consistency is nothing short of amazing. How did this happen? These human instruments recorded what the single Author of Scripture told them. I'll say it again—God wrote a book. And it changes people's lives.

Next time you hear a critic say, "the Bible is full of contradictions" just ask them to name one. Most people will be speechless. Even the few who will speak, 99% of their questions can be answered by the following:

Supposed contradictions of message. Critics say things like, "the Old Testament says an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, but in the New Testament it says to turn the other cheek. Contradiction!" To that you can say, "Jesus totally cleared that up in Matthew 5:38. He changed the program from law to grace." And if they say something that you don't know how to address, offer to get back to them with an answer. Don't cower in silence because you don't have a response at your fingertips. Do your homework and ask your pastor or trusted Bible ministries to help you.

Supposed contradictions of historical events. Again, critics may say, "Two places in the Bible tell the same story differently. Contradiction!" Here's a common, big one. "Genesis 1 says that God created man and woman. Genesis 2 says He created man and later created woman out of man." Clearly we are getting a flyby in Genesis 1 and a focused look at one point of creation—man and woman, in chapter 2. More detail, not contradiction. Don't be intimidated into thinking that the Bible doesn't square with itself.

Supposed contradictions of scientific details. Did your college professors try to trash the Bible? This is one of their favorite: Joshua tells the story of the day that the sun stood still. Science could prove that if the sun ever stood still, the earth would blow apart. Like a God who could put one hand on the sun and hold it still couldn't put the other hand on the earth and hold it together?

Here's another: Did you know that 2,200 years before Christopher Columbus, God said our planet was circular and not flat? (Isaiah 40:22). Geologists and evolutionists have often challenged the Bible only to be proven wrong. It's almost laughable to think of them trying to figure out God's program. I'm going to stick with what God has said in the matter yet to be verified by science. I'm sure He's not holding His breath waiting to be validated. As if, "Whew, they've finally proven I'm real; what a breakthrough!" I don't think so.

Fulfilled prophecy. For me, one of the greatest proofs for the Bible's trustworthiness is the fact that things that God said would happen'did. The Old Testament is packed with fulfilled prophecies. Written a thousand years before Christ, Isaiah 7 foretold that the Promised One would be a child, born of a virgin (it happened) and that He would establish an eternal kingdom.

Psalm 72 says that the Promised One would be worshipped by shepherds and kings who would bring gifts to him. ("In the same region there were shepherds in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night." Luke 2:8)

Micah 5:2 says that the Promised One would be born in Bethlehem. "That's just a lucky guess," some say. Hardly. Sixty-one prophecies concerning the life of Jesus Christ were written between 500 and 4,000 years before His birth and they all happened. Coincidence? Unbelieving scientists applying the measurement of statistical probability tell us that the chances of just eight of those prophecies being fulfilled is one in 1017 or one hundred thousand trillion. This wasn't luck. This was God.

True or false? People who have never read the Bible or have not read it with an open heart think that it's contradictory, outdated, and irrelevant. Like a car repair manual from the 1920's or a computer textbook from the 1950's.

But you and I know differently.

Okay let's make it personal.

Have you ever sat under the teaching of God's Word and felt totally convicted? Has the Spirit of God ever used His Word like a knife, pointing out your specific thoughts and motives? I could tell you about times God's Word has worked me over. The real question is are we allowing Scripture to penetrate our lives and change us? If you can say yes, then you know the power I'm talking about.

On the flip side, as you've pondered God's Word have you felt an inexpressible comfort? A peace that transcends understanding? When you were hurting or discouraged, did certain passages become clearer with new insight? Did it strengthen you? Could man have written such a wonderful comfort as this? I don't think so!

I wish you could see what I see from the front of my church every weekend as I teach God's Word. I look across the faces of people gripped by God's eternal truth. Tears stream down their cheeks. Some can hardly look up because they're under the power of the Holy Spirit. Hear this—God's Word is always effective in doing the job that He intended it to do. It never "returns void," Isaiah 55:11 promises. Every time you as a mother or father, pastor, small group leader or children's ministry worker teach Scripture, God says, "You think you're speaking, but what is really happening is that I'm sending forth My Word."

Why do I believe the Bible? Because I'm convinced beyond any doubt that it is divinely inspired in its totality, inerrant in doctrine, infallible in authority, immeasurable in influence, personal in application, regenerative in power, diverse in its unity, and infinitely trustworthy. Why? Because God wrote it.

Do you sense the immensity of that truth?
This reality not only compels me to celebrate sola scriptura but to live it! Are you with me? Starting right now, how about we choose to make a greater personal investment in God's Word? You've got the time—just set your priorities. Commit to read, study, and ponder more of God's timeless message' and then go live it! Make it the passion of your life to discover what it means to delight in the law of the Lord (Psalm 119:77).

And the next time someone asks you, "Why do you believe the Bible?" proclaim your confidence and faith in God and the book He has written by answering, "I am glad you asked'."

By Dr. James MacDonald. From Sola Scriptura Winter 2003 Issue Number 2. Used with permission.

Please note that although Dr. MacDonald does not agree with the Pneuma Foundation's position regarding the contemporary ministry of the Holy Spirit, this article reflects a shared passion for God's Word that the Foundation commends to our readers.