Why Trust the Bible?

The Ratio Christi chapter at UTA has a whiteboard where we ask people to write their reasons for/against the existence of God. One of the most annoying responses – and one that keeps recurring – is that ‘the Bible says so’. Don’t get me wrong. I believe the Bible has authority in our lives as Christians, but such an offhand declaration is either careless or stupid. What the Bible says holds no sway to anyone but Christians. If a Muslim told you, “I know that Jesus is not God because the Quran says so”, you would not find the response funny. A better technique is to present the Bible as a trustworthy historical document, and then argue for God’s existence. It avoids circular reasoning.

The Christian way, however, requires you to trust the Bible not just as a good document similar to your history textbook, but as the word of God. In other words, it requires you to believe that the Bible is an authoritative and reliable guide on moral, philosophical, and spiritual issues (at the very least). For this reason, there’s a lot of discussion going around about how trustworthy the Bible is. You will notice that I didn’t mention the Bible as a reliable historical account. That’s because I have no idea what to think about it. I believe certain parts of the Bible to be historically accurate; the accounts of Jesus death and burial are one such example. But I haven’t been able to reason from that point to the point in which all historical claims in the Bible are true.

I know, I know. You think I’m a heretic. I’m not. I’m just a little girl who wasn’t taught any of these things and is trying to figure them out for themselves. Even if I had been taught, should I believe whatever my parents and teachers tell me?

The Bible passage used most commonly on this subject is from 2 Timothy.

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 complete, equipped for every good work. – 2 Timothy 3:16,17

The verse clearly says that all scripture is good for moral concerns, so I believe that. But, picky person that I am, I can see that Paul doesn’t explicitly say that all historical claims are accurate, so I can’t believe it without some other reason. That reason is usually given as, “All scripture comes from God. God does not lie, so every word of scripture must be true. This includes all historical claims”. The response goes “Well, God does not lie, but God didn’t drop the scripture out of heaven. He used people and people make mistakes”. Then they argue back and forth on whether or not God would allow his instruments to make mistakes, etc. I usually get lost around the point where we start speculating on what God would and wouldn’t do. The issue becomes blurry, and blurry makes me nervous.

I use another technique to defend this view of scripture. We know that scripture must be accurate in its moral (and by implication, spiritual) teachings. If there are errors in the historical facts, there could be errors in the moral claims, unless God allows errors in one, but not the other. However, we don’t know what God would do, so my best guess is that if he would not allow errors in the moral claims, he would not allow errors in the historical claims. It makes sense, unless he has some obscure reason for doing something like that. (And with God, you never really know. He came to earth to die a most gruesome and humiliating death. Who does that? Granted, he had a pretty good reason, but it’s not something I would have thought of.)

Where was I? Ah, yes, historical claims. It’s tempting to deny this view of innerancy. That way, when someone tells you that the Bible says the earth is flat (it doesn’t, by the way), you don’t have to argue it. It is also tempting to claim that the Bible is inerrant in its historical claims. It feels like a superior view, demonstrating confidence in God and his word. But as the book title goes, “it doesn’t matter what you believe if it’s not true”. So I sit on the fence and listen to the arguments. The Bible passages most important to me are attested to in other ancient writings. With the not so important ones, I wait. It’s an uncomfortable position, but I need a reason before I can make a decision.

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Tracy

I’m Tracy

One thought on “Why Trust the Bible?”

  1. THE TRUSTED VERSION BY STEVE FINNELL

    Is there only one translation of God’s word that is correct? Have all others been corrupted?

    Some would say that the King James Version would be “THE TRUSTED VERSION”, others would advocate the Revised Standard Version, the American Standard Version, the New International Version etc. This presents us with a couple of problems.

    The first problem, is who is correct? Some of the advocates who champion the King James Version as “THE TRUSTED VERSION” say it was the first English version, and God did not make a mistake. Actually, the Wycliffe New Testament was translated into English (hand written) in 1385. The Matthew-Tyndale complete Bible was translated from the original Greek and Hebrew in 1547. It is also worth noting the 1611 King James Version sold in most Christian bookstores today is not the original King James Version.

    We need to stop worrying about which translation has omitted a certain word or passage of Scripture and just teach, believe, and practice what the Bible declares.

    The truly sad thing is even though some believe in “THE TRUSTED VERSION” scenario, many of them still proclaim God’s word to be mistranslated if it does not affirm their view of doctrine. To make “THE TRUSTED VERSION” proclamation, is in effect saying all other translations of God’s word cannot be trusted. Can this be confirmed using Scripture? No, this conclusion, along with the assertion that the Bible has been, in general, mistranslated, can only be supported by quoting books written about the Bible, commentaries, and other opinions of men. This discredits God’s word. The ramifications of which are creating doubt and unbelief in non-Christians, the novice church member, as well as some seasoned Saints.

    To discredit God’s word is no small matter. Satan’s very first act of deception was to discredit God’s word. Genesis 3:1-5 Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman , “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden?”…..3 but from the fruit of the tree which is in middle of the garden, God said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it , or you will die.’ 4 The serpent said to the woman , “You surely will not die!……..(In a manner of speaking, Satan was saying do not trust God’s word).

    Is God to be trusted? 1 Peter 1:24-25 For, “ALL FLESH IS LIKE GRASS, AND ALL ITS GLORY LIKE THE FLOWER OR GRASS, THE GRASS WITHERS, AND THE FLOWERS FALL OFF, 25 BUT THE WORD OF THE LORD ENDURES FOREVER.” And this is the word which was preached to you.

    Luke 21:33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.

    If you trusted God to send His Son, Jesus, to die for the sins of all mankind and believe He created all things, then why is it so difficult to have enough faith to believe that God can guide men to translate His word without errors?

    “THE TRUSTED VERSION” or “JUST TRUST GOD”?

    (All Scriptures quotes from; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE)
    (For the serious Bible student I would recommend a word for word translation, such as the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BILE, KING JAMES BIBLE, ENGLISH STANDARD VERSION, or NEW KING JAMES VERSION, however, I have no doubts that 99% of the 60+ translations in English, can give you the proper instruction as to how to get to heaven.

    YOU ARE INVITED TO FOLLOW MY BLOG. http://steve-finnell.blogspot.com

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