Questions

We’re living in a day where its popular to kind of ‘customize’ your faith to fit your own preferences and ‘opinions’.   It’s a lot like the period of time spoken of in the book of Judges, “in those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”(Judges 21:25) This was a fitting epitaph for one of Israel’s darkest times!  Likewise, today we call the period of history where the Word of God was hidden from the Church (about 500 AD to 1500 AD)  the Dark Ages!

Have you ever heard the phrase, “The Bible was written by man”?  Is that true?  Can we trust it?

Is the Bible a trustworthy record of God’s will for our lives today?

The Authority of Scripture for Humanity

The first thing is to realize that Jesus expects us to believe ALL of the scripture!

It is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than for the least stroke of a pen to drop out of the Law – Jesus (Luke 16:17 NIV)

To the skeptic, it is the height of absurdity that we would believe the scripture literally.  Usually, if someone says they do not believe the Bible (the whole Bible), they bring up things like:

  • Creation
  • Noah and the flood
  • Jonah and the whale (actually it was “a great fish”)

As if these could not possibly have happened in the ‘real world’.

Interestingly, Jesus validated all of these very events!  – Matthew 12:40; 19:4; 24:36-38.  It was like He went out of His way to pick the very things He knew that critics would one day point to.  As one person said, “God will offend your mind to reveal your heart.”

47 And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. 48 He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him— the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day. 49 For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak. (John 12:47-49)

Notice what He said in v. 49 – Jesus did not speak on His own authority, which was considerable.  We are like Jesus in this regard – we are speaking His Words, His authority; therefore we can speak with authority!

The Place and Authority of Scripture for Believers

as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue,   2 Pet. 1:3 NKJV

  • The word “knowledge” here is epignosis, which means, “knowledge from above”.
  • Here we are told that God knows everything we need to live a full and godly life, and He has given it to us in His Word.  All of the great questions of life can and should be answered in God’s Word!

he has given us everything we need to live and to serve God (New Century Version)

16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Ti 3:16-17)

How Can We Trust the Scripture?

  1. Reason dictates it
    • If there is a God, He would not leave us without a witness of His will.  If the Bible is not His recorded Will, what is?  Our opinion?  If there really is a God, He must have something to say to us!  Jesus said that is the scripture, the reliable Word from God for all of time.
  1. Prophecy confirms it
    1. Old Testament contains over 300 prophecies fulfilled in Jesus Christ
        • The time in which He would live
        • His lineage
        • Manner of His birth
        • Place of His birth
        • Manner of His death
        • His resurrection

One scientist (Peter Stoner) took just eight of the major prophecies and calculated the rate of probability of all eight being fulfilled in one man as 1 in 1017 !  This is the same as covering the state of Texas with dollar bills two feet deep and finding the right one by blind chance!

  1. The textual record supports it.

One of the common criticisms leveled today about the Bible is that even if it was originally ‘inspired’ by God, over time, it had to have been corrupted through so many multiple copies.  First of all, let’s go back to the ‘reason’ clause: if God is Sovereign enough to originally give us the scriptures, He is certainly powerful enough to preserve it.  But, beyond that, there is considerable textual evidence to support the fact that the original copies have been faithfully preserved to the present.  Consider the following chart:

New Testament MSS Homer Tacitus’ Rome

# copies Over 24,000 643 20

time span 25 years 500 1000

The first heading row tells us how many copies today exist, both for the New Testament manuscripts (MSS) and the next two most popular ancient documents, which is the Greek poet Homer’s Iliad, and Tacitus’ history of Rome.  We can see that there are over 24,000 existing copies of portions of the New Testament in existence today.   And, these agree in content by about 99%!  By comparison, we have only 643 copies of Homer’s Iliad.  Tacitus’ history of Rome – 20.  So, if we can’t trust the New Testament, from a purely textual standpoint, we have to throw out all ancient history and literature.

The next row gives us the time span between the original copy and the next remaining version.  Again, the New Testament is far more reliable from a purely scientific standpoint.

  1. The Holy Spirit validates it

For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.   Heb 4:12  The New King James Version

People ‘prove’ the Word of God over and over, when they act on it and believe what it says.   God, in the Person of the Holy Spirit, comes alongside us to validate it in within us.  It reveals our hearts and changes our lives.

As you can see, no other book, secular or religious, meets these qualifications.  That is why I believe the Bible is indeed the Word of God.

Yes, but my friends don’t believe in the Bible!

Share it with them anyway!  It carries its own power and authority.  Share with them the facts and statistics above (or refer them to our web site) and then share with them its life-giving message.

The most important message of the Bible is how to be saved.  Click here to find out how to know God personally.

All scriptures taken from The New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

We all know them.  Good, hard working people who seem to have no desire to attend church, except on special occasions.   No animosity here (or so it seems), yet just don’t feel the need.  Otherwise they seem like good people.  They play by the rules, sometimes even the Golden Rule (that’s from the Bible, just so you know).    They are “good without God”.  Or, are they? 

So, it seems to come down to who defines ‘good’.  Society or God?  We can look at acceptable practices in society today that very few would define as good ten or twenty years ago. 

The Bible is not vague here.  God declares in Romans 3:10-12,

10 As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one; 11 There is none who understands;

There is none who seeks after God. 12 They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one.

Pretty clear.  In God’s eyes, outside of His influence, none of us have passed the test.  But… look closely here.  The definition of good is not defined by how you treat others, but by how you treat God (“There is none who seeks after God.”)  And ignoring Him is seen as not being upright, nor good. 

This may shock a lot of people, who are accustomed to conventional (and shifting) human standards of behavior and belief.  But why not?  Why wouldn’t it be considered evil to ignore the God Who made us and made us with the ability to understand and harvest the rich resources He has provided in His creation (Genesis 1:28.29)?   Is it too much to ask that we worship and serve Him in return?   We have no time for Him, no room for Him in our life? 

The Bible explains this evil self-centeredness as sin emanating from a corrupted, fallen human nature.  This is why we can go so long ignoring God without noticing what we’re doing. 

This is why we’re lost.   Jesus told a seemingly upright wealthy young ruler in Israel, “No one is good but One, that is, God.” (Matthew 19:17).  He is the only One uncorrupted by sin.  Which goes back to our relationship with Him.  Why wouldn’t we, who want to believe ourselves good people, pursue Goodness Himself?  Why would we distance ourselves from Him, since no one has the power to make us better people than Him!

Our evil or goodness is defined by our relationship with Him, not just our relationship with others. 

Good news however!   The goodness of God has made provision for us.  Just a few verses down from Romans 3:10 (above), we read in verses 23-25,

23 For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. 24 Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. 25 For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, (New Living Translation)

This is beyond good!  This is merciful, sacrificing His own Son so we might be forgiven and come into relationship with Him.  For more insight on what it means to know God, click here.

This comes up often.  If Jesus is the only way to salvation, as He declares that He is (John 14:6), how can God judge those who haven’t heard the truth about God, and especially the message of salvation through Jesus Christ?

Both scripture and history provide insight on this at several levels.  Volumes have been written on this, but here are the main points:

Light has been given everywhere!

The Psalmist declares that the knowledge of God is indeed universal, due to creation alone:

1 The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork. 2 Day unto day utters speech, And night unto night reveals knowledge. 3 There is no speech nor language Where their voice is not heard. Psalm 19:1-3

Romans 1:18-20 tells us the same thing,

1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of people who suppress the truth by their unrighteousness, 1:19 because what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 1:20 For since the creation of the world his invisible attributes—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, because they are understood through what has been made. So people are without excuse. (New English Translation)

This is why you find worship of some sort in every culture since the beginning of known history.  The theory of evolution has no explanation for this.  Mere survival of the fittest does not account for man’s knowledge of God, nor his sense of duty to this God.

God gives more light when people respond to the light they already have

Yes you may say, people may recognize there is some kind of deity out there (that’s why there are so many religions), but they may not have heard about Jesus.  If they need Jesus to be saved, what then?

There is a principle that God gives more light if we respond positively to the light He’s given us.  We recognize there is a Creator, there is right and wrong (our conscience), and we say to ourselves (or others), “Who is this God, and how can I know Him?”  We see throughout both history and scripture that God is moved by that response and sends more light our way.  A fascinating example of this is the account of Cornelius in Acts chapter 10.  We are told Cornelius was an officer in the Roman army.  Remember, Rome believed in idols, not the God of the Bible.  However, Cornelius was “… a devout, God-fearing man, as was everyone in his household. He gave generously to the poor and prayed regularly to God” (verse 2).In other words, He knew of this God the Jews spoke of, and worshipped to the best of his knowledge.  Now, some would say that’s all God asks, that we are faithful to the religious traditions we are taught, no matter how they conflict with other beliefs or even the Bible.  What we in fact see is that God rewarded Cornelius’ devotion by sending him the truth through His chosen apostle Peter.  This took some doing, as Peter, being a devout Jew, would not associate with Gentiles.  God showed both Cornelius and Peter supernatural visions to get Peter to preach the lifesaving gospel so Cornelius could be saved.

We have seen these supernatural movements of God’s servants throughout history to get the gospel to people.  Today we are hearing of innumerable number of visions of Jesus to those behind the curtain of Islam, where there is no freedom to preach the gospel. 

On the other hand, God is under no obligation to get the light of the gospel to those who are rejecting the lesser light of creation and conscience.  That includes all of us!  We cannot hide our rejection of the gospel under the pretense of the ignorance of others.  God is bigger than that!

To answer this question, we would love to point you to an incredible article by Dr. G. Charles Jackson entitled, “Darwin is Wrong – Top Ten Reasons.” Click the button below to access the pdf!

DARWIN IS WRONG

The fact that we’re troubled by suffering itself proves the existence of God!  It proves we’re not animals (see Darwin is Wrong), but rather created by a perfect God and made to live in a perfect world.

Okay, so God made us for Himself, can’t He stop all the suffering?  Well, the vast majority of human suffering is caused by other humans.  Even the hunger we see in developing nations is usually a result of the corruption of leaders.  For instance, I’ve been many times to the city of Kinshasa, in the Democratic Republic of Congo.  It’s one of the earth’s poorest cities.  The Congo is rich in natural resources (God’s goodness).  It’s the greed of their dictators that keeps development from happening and wars continuing.  This is repeated throughout the world.

This is seen in the starvation happening in Communist ruled nations.  It is seen in the starving masses in India, where Hinduism refuses to allow rats to be killed, but rather eat the grains in the temples, or cows not to be slaughtered, due to the errors of reincarnation.

But why does God allow free choice?  Why doesn’t He just take out the evil people who cause others to suffer?  You may have wondered that on a personal level, as you may have suffered at the hands of others. 

A friend of mine was asked this on a plane ride.  His answer, “Yes, I think it would be good for God to take out evil people.  Would you like Him to start with you?”

We all have sinned and have thus caused pain at some level to others.  God’s answer is for Jesus to take our sins on the cross in His own body, and for God to take the evil out of us instead of taking us out of the world.  The Bible is clear that suffering will never fully end until we see a new heaven and new earth and new people to populate both.  I pray you are part of that group! 

To find out more about how to know God personally, click HERE.

There is probably no more objectionable doctrine than the doctrine of hell.  The idea of conscious eternal suffering seems to be too much except for the ‘worst’ among us (i.e., Hitler).  Many, even some believers, have backed away from this because it offends our sensibilities.  People make derogatory remarks about ‘hellfire and brimstone’ preaching.  Perhaps some have been subjected to a style of preaching that seems manipulative.  But, before we allow ourselves to substitute our judgment for God’s, it’s good to remember that Jesus Himself tells us to be afraid of the terrors of hell and to have a healthy fear of the One who can send us to eternal judgment. 

Luke 12:4 “And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him!”

Whenever I’m tempted to allow human reasoning to override divine revelation, I’m reminded to humble myself before the Son of God Himself. 

In our flawed and fallen condition, man gets ‘offended’ that God would judge us.  But the truth is, it is amazing that any are saved!  When you consider the fact that God has provided so much for us – the rich resources of earth and the skill to utilize those resources, and we give Him nothing back – not our time nor our resources, it is amazing that He puts up with any of us.   On top of all that, He sent His Son Jesus to take our place and our judgment.  All we have to do is repent of our sins and receive His salvation and His leadership of our lives.  This was God’s provision for us to escape the just condemnation we deserve.  If we reject or ignore His amazing mercy, what hope is there for us?

Some would say, I understand judgment, but not eternal judgment.  One atheist activist was heard to say, “There is no way God would give eternal punishment for actions that have only temporary consequences!”  But… that’s the problem.  If eternity is real, then no actions have temporary consequences!   All of us, with our lives and words, are steering people toward eternal rewards through faith in God, or eternal judgment through unbelief.  This terrifying account says it well,

A man once dreamed that he was in hell. When asked to give an account of what he had seen—if there were flames there, and suffering there, and wrecked and malign creatures with whom he had to associate, and if the place resounded with oaths of blasphemy—he said, “Yes, but there was something far worse than that: I was compelled to face my influence. I knew that I deserve punishment, for I had scorned and rejected Jesus Christ; but my sorest pain was to see what the effect of my life had been upon others.”

Do not let prideful flawed reasoning and self-justification keep you away from God’s mercy through Christ.  Call upon Him while there is time.  To find out more about how to know God personally click HERE.