Have you ever heard someone say, “Your truth is your truth, my truth is mine, and either truth is okay”? Did you find yourself wondering how that can actually be true? Doesn’t the very statement violate Aristotle’s law of non-contradiction in which contradictory propositions cannot both be true in the same sense, at the same time. In an era where determining your own truth is communicated, and celebrated as the cultural norm, the Bible can seem like an ancient book of writings that is not only irrelevant but that promotes intolerance, oppression and injustice today. However, I would like to suggest that we have not progressed past the Bible, and that it has, is, and will always remain the absolute objective truth for morality, and the only solid foundation on which we can love well, and truly experience fullness of life.
One of the biggest hindrances I had in my faith was making sense of the bible. In my early twenties, newly married, and raising two children, I felt the nudge to return to the faith of my childhood. However, I still had so much confusion and many unanswered questions about the validity of Scripture. This time I needed to have a solid reason to believe because I was now choosing to lead my family on this path of why Christianity. We began attending church, my Husband and I signed up for an Alpha course, and because of all my questions one of my leaders gave me the book called “Case for Christ” by Lee Strobel. This is one of my all time favorite books because it provided the answers and evidence I needed to fully walk as a Christ follower and lead my family well.
When choosing to travel by plane, we know that all of our belongings are put through a security checkpoint, and run under a screening light for our safety, the safety of our loved ones, and all people flying. We are ok with this because we know this extra measure is for our own good. Just as we are to run all of our thoughts, actions, and choices under the light of scripture for not only our own good, but for God’s best, and for the benefit of all of humanity. This gives us a fresh perspective to move from an everchanging unstable worldview based on popular opinion, personal conscience or feelings, what we’ve learned and experienced in our culture and environment as a child, into a place of freedom, security, joy, and peace that is only found in the presence of our creator and the knowledge of His truth.
So now it is time for me to geek out on the treasures from the Bible and Bible facts! The Bible tells the Big Story of all of creation (Genesis 1:1, John 1:1), the fall of humanity (Genesis 3) , and God’s plan to redeem and restore all of creation through Jesus (John 3:16). Everything written is God revealing Himself to us; He wants the reader to know that He is All Powerful, a Righteous Judge, and Unconditionally Loving, and that he delights in being in right relationship with His people. Once we see the real nature and character of a good and loving God, we can have open eyes to see his beauty, at work in us, through us, and all around us (Romans 11:36). The Apostle Paul taught that “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work”. (2 Timothy 3:16-17) In following God’s word we are instructed to love our enemies, to serve others above ourselves, and to live sacrificially just as Jesus demonstrated through his life. True followers of Jesus are called to bring revival and reformation to all areas of society, working as a unified body of believers (the church), to abolish injustice and oppression. (Deuteronomy 10:18, Isaiah 1:17, Micah 6:8, Matthew 25:40, James 1:27).
The Bible confirms more than 100 biblical characters written about in secular history and provides clear evidence for the existence of Jesus Christ, the central figure of the Bible, thus providing remarkable proof for the validity of scripture. The New Testament is the best textually supported book from the ancient world. The number of NT Greek manuscripts is over 5,800, consisting of 2.5 million pages of text. There are more than 20,000 handwritten manuscripts of the New testament in various languages, and even if all manuscript evidence for the New Testament disappeared, we could still reconstruct almost the entire 27 New Testament books from more than one million quotations of the early church fathers. Compare this with a typical book from antiquity which is about 7-10 manuscripts. Homer’s Iliad has the most at 643 manuscripts.
Another cool fact about the bible is fulfilled prophecy which is the specificity of events foretold with great detail many years, sometimes centuries, before they occur. There are approximately 2500 prophecies in the Bible, about 2,000 that have been fulfilled. For example, in Micah 5:2, the prophet identifies the city of Bethlehem as the Messiah’s birthplace approximately 700 years before the event. The prophet Zechariah predicted Jesus would be betrayed for 30 pieces of silver found in Zechariah 11:12-13.
The Bible is not dictated word for word but a divine inspired collaboration from God through man. The bible is a collection of 66 books written in three different languages, taking place in three different continents, by more than 40 authors, reflecting various literary styles such as law, poetry, wisdom, and historical; using figurative and literal language. It was meant to be understood as written in it’s day, yet relevant for all time. It was recorded over a period of more than 1,500 years, and yet it is amazingly accurate when it comes to the historical record. For example, until 1993 there was no proof of the existence of King David or even of Israel as a nation prior to Solomon. Then in 1993 archeologists found proof of King David’s existence outside the Bible. At an ancient mound called Tel Dan, in the north of Israel, words carved into a chunk of basalt were translated as “House of David” and “King of Israel”. This proved that David was more than just a legend.
There are accounts from several non biblical authors that give evidence of Jesus’ existence such as this example from Josephus, a 1st century Romano-Jewish scholar. Here is what the undoctored text says: “At this time, there was a wise man who was called Jesus. And his conduct was good, and he was known to be virtuous. And many people from among the Jews and other nations became his disciples. Pilate condemned him to be crucified and to die. And those who had become his disciples did not abandon his discipleship. They reported that he had appeared to them after his crucifixion and that he was alive; accordingly, he was perhaps the Messiah concerning whom the prophets have recounted wonders.”
Now finally, for the evidence involving the life, death, resurrection and ascension of King Jesus the Messiah. There are three main facts that independently establish that God raised Jesus from the dead, the empty tomb (no body was found), the resurrection appearances (which the first recorded appearance and accounts were by women, uncredible eyewitnesses at this time!), and the origin of the Christian faith (people aren’t normally willing to be brutally killed for a lie, but these Christ followers would not change their story, or renounce their belief in Jesus the Messiah). Also, early dating of non biblical historical documentation is evidence that lines up with the gospel writers accounts (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), book of acts, during the rapid development of the early church present a strong case for Christ. For example Clement of Rome sent a letter to the Corinthian church in A.D. 95 in which he quoted from the Gospels and other portions of the N.T. When we look at the life of Jesus, there is no denying that he was different, a humble, kind man who served those around him with a love that was able to transform people with word and actions, yet did not sway in his authority or purpose, and shifted culture.
“For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance; that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.” (1 Corinthians 15:3-8)
Basing truth off of popular opinion and not on objective reality does not equal truth. If the Bible is truly the Word of God, then it is the final authority for all matters of faith, practice, and morality. If the Bible is the Word of God, then to dismiss it is to dismiss God Himself. Have we progressed past the Bible? Is it irrelevant in our society today? I’d like to say that’s a firm no! The bible is trustworthy. It is the inherent, infallible, inspired authoritative word of God. It does not change based on feelings, experiences, or personal conscience. It is alive and active, has the power to transform lives, it actively reveals that God is faithful and good through the power of the Holy Spirit, and provides wisdom that is as relevant today as it always has been and will be. (Hebrews 4:12)
“There is an infinite majesty about every line of Scripture, but especially about that part of Scripture in which the Lord reveals Himself and His glorious plan of saving grace in the person of His dear Son Jesus Christ.” (Charles Spurgeon)
I encourage you to simply begin reading the bible, write down verses that reveal the nature and character of the Trinity (God the Father, God the Son Jesus Christ, and God the Holy Spirit). Journal the process of what you are learning, questioning, and reading about each day. Are you already living according to the instruction from God’s word? In what ways? What would it change for you? Are there ways you can take God’s word into your world and put them into practice? Is there someone you know that can help you walk through deeper understanding of how to study and apply the word of God? Begin to delight in the greatest discovery with the one who knows you the best and loves you the most. (1 John 4:9-11)
Recommended book The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel