Why Do You Believe the Bible?
DO YOU believe the Bible? To that question no doubt the average reader of these lines will answer, “Yes.” In addition to this, the true Bible believer must be able to give a reason for such faith. Can you?—1 Pet. 3:15.
Of course, the chief reason for believing the Bible is that it is the inspired Word of God. This is not merely something that its friends have attributed to it but is what it claims for itself. “All Scripture is inspired of God,” said the apostle Paul. The apostle Peter wrote that “men spoke from God as they were borne along by holy spirit.” And in particular are Jesus’ words to the point: “Your word is truth.”—2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Pet. 1:21; John 17:17.
The Bible’s very preservation, particularly in the face of all the efforts of its enemies to destroy it, supports its claim to be God’s Word: “The word spoken by Jehovah endures forever.” It has survived the countless public burnings of it since printing was invented, particularly from the burning of many thousands of Tyndale’s New Testament in London between 1525 and 1530, to the Bible burnings that took place in May, 1960, in Coello, Colombia, and Cayey, Puerto Rico. There was a time when to translate or even own a Bible meant death at the stake, as was the fate of Tyndale and his friends. The Bible has also survived all the malicious attacks made upon it ostensibly in the name of reason and science. And not only has it endured, but today it is distributed over a wider area, to a far greater extent and in more languages—1,151—than any other book. All this is just what we should expect from a Book provided by the Creator for all mankind.—1 Pet. 1:25.
A third reason for believing the Bible is that it contains a reliable history of the human race. Higher critics under the leadership of Wellhausen have attacked its historicity from beginning to end, but America’s leading archaeologist speaks of “the total breakdown of Wellhausianism under the impact of our new knowledge of antiquity.” Archaeology has vindicated the Bible in regard to “the record of the Patriarchs, the early poetry of Israel, the contrast of Israelite faith with the Canaanite religion, the Exile and Restoration, and the Gospel of John.” Yes, “archaeological data have . . . demonstrated the substantial originality of the Books of Jeremiah and Ezekiel, of Ezra and Nehemiah beyond doubt, they have confirmed the traditional picture of events as well as their order.”—The Bible After Twenty Years of Archaeology, W. F. Albright.
But long before archaeology was thought of, men of faith accepted the Bible’s claims because of the obvious candor of its writers. Only one unduly suspicious, or with a theory to prove, would fail to be impressed by the straightforwardness of the testimony of Bible writers. The mistakes of such faithful men of God as Noah, Moses, David and Peter are there for all to see. As J. Palmer says in his book: “Facts are related with the utmost simplicity. The personality of the writer never appears. There is no sign of passion; no expression of admiration for the Master, or resentment towards His opponents. . . . There is no striving after effect; no attempt at embellishment. Adjectives are rare; adverbs and adverbial phrases are almost absent. There is nought but a bare statement of facts, plain and unvarnished like the evidence of an honest witness in a court of justice.”
Another, a fifth reason, for believing the Bible is found in the prophecies it contains, the fulfillment of which gives the strongest kind of proof that God inspired it and is its Author. It foretold the tragic history of the nation of Israel, its prosperity, its apostasy and adversity. The Bible accurately foretold the rise and fall of one world power after another—Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome. It foretold the exact year of the Messiah’s coming, where he would be born, the works he would do, his persecution, death and resurrection. It correctly foretold world conditions since 1914. Man cannot foretell even tomorrow’s weather with dependability, but God can and does foretell events thousands of years in advance.—Deut. 28:15-68; Daniel, chaps. 7 to 9; Mic. 5:2; Isaiah, chap. 53; Ps. 16:10; Matthew, chap. 24; 2 Tim. 3:1-5.
Further, is it not reasonable to conclude that the Creator would provide a Guide for men? He has given the lower animals infallible instincts that guide them from birth until death. Does God love his human creatures less than the lower animals? Man cannot go by instincts. Neither can he guide himself, as seen by the degradation of man without a divine Guide. Man is at a loss to know where he came from, why he is here, what his destiny is. Would a loving Creator give man the capacity for asking such questions and then not answer them? Certainly not. Answer them he does, in his Word, the Bible. It tells us about the Creator, Jehovah God, and His Son, Jesus Christ. Its God is revealed as the Maker of all things seen and unseen, the Most High, the One eternal, the Source of life, and perfect in wisdom, justice, love and power. The fact that the Bible thus recommends itself to our reason, our sense of justice, our noblest aspirations, is another, a sixth, reason for believing it.
Space permits mentioning only one more of the many other reasons that might be given for believing the Bible, namely, its high standards and its power for righteousness. Look where we will, without the Bible men engage in animism, worship the sun, animals, sex or ancestors, or have their mythological gods, none of which is a power for righteousness. Pagan religion has been the bane of the Chinese, the Japanese, the Indians and the native Africans. While the Western lands have not faithfully followed the Bible, yet to the extent that they have adopted its principles they have excelled in their jurisprudence, their morality and in their liberty.
The Bible set the nation of Israel far above its contemporaries in times of old, did the same for early Christians and is doing the same for Christians today. Its principles work—a most practical reason for believing the Bible! And by following them we give proof, not only of why and what we believe, but how.