14 May 2013

How Do We Know the Bible is True?

That's an excellent question because so much is at stake in the Christian faith in terms of the truthfulness of Scripture. The Bible is our primary source of information about Jesus and about all of those things we embrace as elements of our faith. Of course, if the Bible isn't true, then professing Christians are in serious trouble. I believe the Bible is true. I believe it is the Word of God. As Jesus himself declared of the Scripture, "Your word is truth." But why am I persuaded that the Bible is the truth?

We need to ask a broader question first. How do we know that anything is true? We're asking a technical question in epistemology. How do we test claims of truth? There is a certain kind of truth that we test through observation, experimentation, eyewitness, examination, and scientific evidence. As far as the history of Jesus is concerned, as far as we know any history, we want to check the stories of Scripture using those means by which historical evidence can be tested — through archaeology, for example. There are certain elements of the Scripture, such as historical claims, that are to be measured by the common standards of historiography. I invite people to do that — to check it out.

Second, we want to test the claims of truth through the test of rationality. Is it logically consistent, or does it speak with a "forked tongue"? We examine the content of Scripture to see if it is coherent. That's another test of truth. One of the most astonishing things, of course, is that the Bible has literally thousands of testable historical prophecies, cases in which events were clearly foretold, and both the foretelling and the fulfillment are a matter of historical record. The very dimension of the sheer fulfillment of prophecy of the Old Testament Scriptures should be enough to convince anyone that we are dealing with a supernatural piece of literature.

Of course, some theologians have said that with all of the evidence there is that Scripture is true, we can truly embrace it only with the Holy Spirit working in us to overcome our biases and prejudices against Scripture, against God. In theology, this is called the internal testimony of the Holy Spirit. I want to stress at this point that when the Holy Spirit helps me to see the truth of Scripture and to embrace the truth of Scripture, it's not because the Holy Spirit is giving me some special insight that he doesn't give to somebody else or is giving me special information that nobody else can have. All the Holy Spirit does is change my heart, change my disposition toward the evidence that is already there. I think that God himself has planted within the Scriptures an internal consistency that bears witness that this is his Word.

~ R.C. Sproul, "Tough Questions"


ProudHillbilly said...

What I have found interesting and entertaining over the years are the repeated finds that support events recorded only in the Bible. It wasn't that long ago that they found physical evidence of David - I forget what - and folks acted like they were shocked that he was a real historical figure. And there's a great deal of geologic evidence of catastrophic flooding in the Middle East several thousand years ago - maybe the globe itself wasn't covered but Noah's world was.

eiaftinfo said...

Ya know . . . they call it a "faith" for a reason . . .


Rev. Paul said...

PH, that's true. There are tons of archeological finds based on Biblical references, confirming its accuracy as a historical reference. But the most important part is that it's the only writing claiming to be Divinely-inspired that contains confirmed prophecies, with the historical record showing that the prophecies were indeed written decades - or centuries - before the events predicted.

eiaftinfo, Hebrews 11:1 says that faith is the evidence of things not seen. But in the case of the Bible, it's proven to be true (see above). I see no reason to assume that if 90% of it is already true, then the other 10% might be false. It's all true, brother, and that's the beauty of our faith. Thanks! :)

Matt said...

And on the flip side of this, the Bible never had to resort to hoaxes
like the piltdown man to persuade people into belief.....


or the Nebraska man which was initially based solely on a tooth which turned out to be that of a pig.


And perhaps in this day and age of high powered science the farce of Global warming. We know from their emails that deception (data manipulation) was practiced in order to nudge people towards believing this garbage.

Rev. Paul said...

True, Matt, and all good points.