TOP TEN REASONS WHY I BELIEVE THE BIBLE

(full version)

by Steve Stone

   There is little doubt that the Bible is the most widely-read, most often-quoted, most-loved and respected piece of literature in all of history. In America, we have used it in our courts to hold witnesses accountable to tell the truth as well as in the solemn ceremony of swearing our Presidents into office. The Bible is a staple at baptisms, weddings, funerals and everyplace in between. However, there is also no doubt that not everyone accepts the Bible as God's Word, as many have tried to discredit it throughout the centuries. In this article, I will probably not be able to silence all of the critics, but I would like to offer my top ten reasons for believing that the Bible truly is the inspired Word of the Almighty God who created our little planet and everything else that exists.

1 - PERSONAL REVELATION

It is my humble opinion that any teaching, religious or otherwise, which asks you to bypass your brain, is false. I believe in the God of the Bible, first and foremost, because He has revealed Himself to me. Without going into all of the details of how this happened, let me just say that He answered the questions that were in my heart and mind - not all of them, of course, but the ones that needed to be answered so that I could know for sure that He is, and that He actually knows me and loves me.

Without this kind of confirmation, I could never have placed my faith in God and become a Christian. But the fact that He has been so kind as to give me the assurance that I needed shows me how much He respects me for the person I am, and that He has created me to be - with an intellect and will to make my own choices. And I have since discovered that the Bible is full of Scriptures where God promises to reveal Himself to the heart of anyone who will simply examine the evidence with an open heart and mind. [i]

Blind faith has often been the cry of those who would try to cast doubt upon the Scriptures, but true Christian faith is not blind at all. It is a reasonable faith that is based on the evidence that God provides, not the least of which includes a personal relationship with Him, through faith in the work that His Son Jesus accomplished on the cross. How and when this relationship occurs varies with each individual, but the Word of God often repeats this idea that God wants to "manifest," or "disclose" Himself (John 14:21). Jesus also talks about His sheep "hear"[ing] His voice and following Him (John 10).

"if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved...........Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." Romans 10:9,10, 13

This is what separates Christianity from all other religions. There is no other religion that even offers what the Bible promises to deliver - a relationship with the very Creator of the universe!

2 - THE HOLY SPIRIT

We regularly read the Bible in Sunday school and church as I was growing up, but I can't say that I understood much of what I was reading. However, after the Lord revealed Himself to me and I totally committed my heart to Him, there was a complete change. It seemed as if a "light" was shining on each verse as I read the Scriptures.

What was happening was actually a very simple, but profound truth. You see, one of the promises that God makes to those who repent of their sins and put their faith in Christ, is to give them His Spirit[ii], which is the very power of God that raised Jesus from the dead, and created the heavens and the earth. So before I had accepted Christ, whenever I had attempted to read the Scriptures, it was like reading in the dark. But when the Spirit came into my life through faith in Jesus, all of the sudden the light was turned on and I could see and understand as never before. Incidentally, if you are not a Christian, this is probably the main reason why you seldom read the Bible or have any desire to. The Scriptures actually explain this when it says - "The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned." I Corinthians 2:14

I also experienced something else that the Spirit of God does for believers of Christ. Not only does He guide you into all truth as you read the Word of God, but He will also give you the desire and the power to be good! I spent much of my childhood feeling guilty because I knew I was supposed to be "holy," but the harder I tried, the more miserably I failed. But after the Spirit came into my heart and life, I found that I really enjoyed being good. I don't mean that I never got mad or was perfect by any means, but just that I wanted to do what was right and I seemed to have the power to live on a different level than anything I had ever experienced before. - "The time is coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant........I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts." Hebrews 8:8,10

So the presence of the Holy Spirit in my life has become a very strong reason why I believe in the Bible.

3 - JESUS

Before I became a Christian, life was very confusing to me, as well as hopeless and meaningless. Why are we here? What is the purpose of life? It seemed to me that this world was nothing more than a rat race, and we were all consumers, trying to consume whatever we could manage to get our grimy little paws on.

But after I committed my life to the Lord and began reading His Word, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, I was happily relieved to discover that all was not lost after all. As I began reading the Scriptures, I quickly found out that God has everything in control. He has a plan, and He has been busy working out that plan. Past, present and future, all things proceed under His supervision, and nothing happens without His permission. And, furthermore, there is one grand, supreme and central theme that runs throughout the Word of God, and that one, distinct and unifying theme is none other than the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Of course I always knew that Christ was important. I knew about Christmas and Easter, and that the New Testament was all about Jesus, but I didn't realize that every single book in the Bible is talking about Jesus. Did you? From Genesis to Revelation, the focal point of all Scripture is to glorify God through everything He has done to make provision for the forgiveness of our sins which has been accomplished by Christ's death on the cross. The Old Testament is full of prophecies foretelling of the coming of God's Messiah, or Savior, as well as numerous pictures (the tabernacle, Noah's ark, etc.) and types of Christ (Joseph, David, et. al.). And with every word I read, it all made more and more sense. All of the old church songs I had heard as a child came rushing back to my memory. " Sure, that makes sense. That's what they were talking about. 'Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe, Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow.'" [iii]

Of course, there is much I still don't understand. But the Bible is the Word of an infinite God, and I'm only a man. I will always be learning something as I read and study the Scriptures and get to know the Lord. But it is very comforting to know the "key" to God's Word, and that key is Jesus.

"And being found in appearance as a man, he (Jesus) humbled himself and became obedient to death -- even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow..." Philippians 2:8,9

"but now he (God) commands all people everywhere to repent. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed (Jesus). He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead." Acts 17:30,31

4 - The Oneness and Unity of the Word of God

Is the Bible the inspired and inerrant (without error) Word of the Creator of the universe - or not? I remember hearing about this debate when I was young and thinking, "If its not, then why do we read from it every Sunday and listen to sermons about it and study it in Sunday school?" I certainly didn't understand the Bible, but it seemed like a stupid question for Bible scholars to be debating.

But now, having read the Word many times myself, I have absolutely no doubt that this book could not have been written by human wisdom. The Scriptures are a compilation of 66 books from 40 different authors over a period of approximately 1600 years, and yet there is a unity and harmony that connects every book and all of the many themes and topics that are covered within. The late Baptist pastor, W. A. Criswell, wrote about this, - "Despite the varying circumstances, conditions, authors, and workmen who produced the Bible, the Bible is not many books but one Book. Behind its many parts there is an unmistakable organic unity. It contains one system of doctrine, one system of ethics, one plan of salvation, and one rule of faith." "The more one really studies the Bible the more one is convinced that behind the many authors there is one overruling, controlling mind." [iv]

There is no other book that has ever existed which speaks so authoritatively on so many topics by so many different writers who are all in such amazing agreement. This is what stands out to me every time I open the Bible and convinces me that only the hand of God Himself could have given such a book to us.

5 - The Impact of Scripture on People and Nations

Although I am not an expert of history, I think it is fair to say that you would be hard-pressed to find another book that has impacted the world, in a positive way, more so than the Bible. In the United States alone, the influence of Scripture upon its formation and subsequent events, has been tremendous. I have already touched upon this point somewhat in writing about the places where the Bible is used in American society, but we could also discuss the prominence of Scripture in the writings and beliefs of many of our founding fathers, as well as the repeated use of Bible verses which are often etched into the monuments and memorials in Washington D.C. and throughout our country.

However, I am afraid that many of today's students in the public school system are not being taught much about our Christian heritage in the U.S., and that is very unfortunate, and possibly even calculated at times. But it is a fact of history that the principles found in the Bible are quite often the guiding light and prime motivation, from the Declaration of Independence, to the U.S. Constitution and our judicial laws, to the founding of most of our colleges and the building of many hospitals,. orphanages, and other social institutions - not to mention the abolition of slavery and the civil rights movement. "Some elements of today's society seem 'deathly scared' of anything religious['..." but the truth is "-the Bible has never threatened America. It has helped to build it."[v]

On a personal level, the Word of God has changed my life of purposelessness into one of hope, joy and love, and I know countless others who have experienced the same thing. One of my favorite verses from the Bible has always been John 8:32 - "And you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free." Being set free by the truths within the Word of God has been a truly wonderful experience. To quote Criswell again, "The Bible works. Its truths transform the lives of men and women."*

6 - Archaeology

Oftentimes, people will claim that the stories in the Bible are mere myths and legends and no one even knows if many of the people or places from the Bible ever really existed. But these claims have become much harder to make in the last hundred years or so because the science of archaeology has proven many of the claims of biblical skeptics wrong.

Skeptics once said that Moses couldn't have written any of the books of the Bible because handwriting hadn't been invented yet. But archaeologists now know that writing began over a thousand years before Moses' time. King Sargon II, the king of Assyria from Isaiah chapter 20, was said to be a myth, However, in 1843, French archaeologist, Paul Emil Botta, discovered a wall relief in Khorasbad, Iraq, which confirmed this king's existence. The Hittites, said the skeptics, were a figment of the biblical writers' imagination. But in 1906, the Hittite capital, Hattusha, was unearthed in what is now Bogazkale, Turkey. Another so-called myth was Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor who sentenced Jesus to death. But as with the others, ancient inscriptions have been found that have vindicated the Biblical record.

One of the most significant finds has been the Dead Sea Scrolls, which were found in a cave in Qumran in 1947. Included in this find are complete copies of every book in the Bible, except Esther, that were 1000 years older than anything found previously. The amazing thing is, when compared with the more recent manuscripts, the text was virtually the same. The date of the manuscripts from the Dead Sea Scrolls has been set at 150 B.C., so it seems likely that the Scriptures that were used at the time of Christ were virtually the same. And since Jesus always verified the authenticity of the Bible as it existed then, we can be assured that what we have today are the very Words of God.

Many, many more examples could be given where the Biblical record has been corroborated by archaeological evidence. The miracles and other events in the Bible will always have to be taken by faith, but the places and people involved are known historical facts, and that assures me that my faith is grounded on reality.[vi]

7 - Fulfilled Prophecy

Do you realize that the Bible contains thousands of predictive prophecies, most of which have already been fulfilled? No other book even attempts to foretell the future like this, but it seems as if God is determined to use His Word to demonstrate and verify His authority and sovereignty over this earth and its inhabitants - regardless of whether they accept Him or not

There are over 300 prophecies concerning the coming of God's Messiah which have already been fulfilled by Christ. Included in these are - His birth in the city of Bethlehem, a virgin-birth at that, He was from the Jewish tribe of Judah, a descendant of King David, a performer of many miracles, was betrayed for thirty pieces of silver, His clothing was gambled for, He died for the sins of Israel and the world, was numbered among the transgressors (He was killed between two thieves), and was buried in a rich man's tomb.[vii] Also, Isaiah, chapter 53, as well as Psalm 22, offer amazingly vivid details of the crucifixion of Christ. Isaiah was writing 800 years before these events occurred, and if Psalm 22 was written by David, which many scholars believe to be the case, then it was written approximately 1000 years before the fact.

Isaiah was one of the most prolific of the Hebrew prophets. In Isaiah 39:5-7, he predicted that the nation of Babylon would invade Israel and carry off everything. This event happened a little over one hundred years later.[viii] In another astonishing prediction, Isaiah claimed that a king by the name of Cyrus would "rebuild my city and set my exiles free." (Isaiah 45:13) This is exactly what happened 200 years later![ix]

The prophet Jeremiah also prophesied that Babylon would defeat the Israelites, and Jeremiah 25:11 reveals that the Jews would be exiled in Babylon for seventy years. One of my favorite prophets is Daniel. Daniel chapter 2 tells the story of how Daniel interpreted the dream of Babylon's King Nebuchadnezzar. In this dream, God gave the king a vision of a statue that represented five kingdoms that would arise to rule the earth. And history has proven that this is exactly what has happened. In the dream, Babylon was revealed to be the first kingdom, It was destroyed by the Medo-Persian empire in 539 B.C. Alexander the Great, and the Greeks, overtook the Medo-Persians in 331 B.C., and then came the Roman Empire in 63 B.C. The fall of the Roman empire is usually dated in the fourth or fifth century A.D., and the fifth kingdom has yet to arise, but most scholars believe it will be a revived Roman empire which will appear shortly before the return of Christ, and be destroyed by Him at His coming at the end of the age.

Since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, there has been a definite increase in the interest of "end-of-the -world" scenarios. Many of these are secular in nature, and do not look to or rely upon the Bible for their predictions, but there are, in fact, around 300 prophecies in God's Word that refer to the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ and the end of our world as we know it. Without getting into the various interpretations of how these Scriptures might be fulfilled, I would just say that because God has shown His Word to be a reliable source of wisdom and knowledge, it would be wise for us to take the Bible, and its Author, very seriously.

8 - Israel

There has always been something puzzling to me about the nation of Israel. Even though it is only a small speck on our world map, it seems to get an immense amount of attention on the world stage. I could just never understand this before I became a Christian, but now I think I understand why this is so.

Geographically speaking, the land of Israel and the people of Israel have been chosen by God to reveal who He is to the entire world. The Bible is the history of God's relationship to His chosen nation. Twice, God has punished His own people, because of their disobedience to Him, by removing them from their land - the land that He miraculously gave to them in the days of Moses. He had formerly promised the land to them through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. They were first removed during the Babylonian exile, and then were gathered back to Israel after 70 years, as the prophet Jeremiah had prophesied. Then, as Jesus Himself prophesied, (Luke 21:23,24) they were dispersed throughout the earth, after Titus and the Romans came and destroyed Jerusalem in 70 A.D.

So, for over 1900 years the Jews have wondered over all the earth. How is it that the Jewish people have survived all these years? What other nation has ever disappeared for almost two thousand years and come back to form a nation again? But that is what happened on May 14, 1948. Many of the prophets had said this would happen, including Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Amos, and others.[x] The existence of Israel is truly a miracle as well as a confirmation to the reliability of the Bible.

9 - The Indestructibility of the Bible

As I mentioned earlier, the Bible is probably the most-loved book of all time, but it is also doubtless the most-hated. The list of those who have tried to annihilate, destroy, and discredit God's Word is almost endless - Celsus, Porphyry, Lucien, Diocletian, Voltaire, and Thomas Paine are just a few that I have read about.[xi] I believe that I also read that Karl Marx was happy to use Darwin's theory of evolution to bolster his ideas about Communism, and Thomas Huxley, who was called "Darwin's bulldog", was another who gladly promoted evolution in order support his anti-God philosophies.

But it doesn't matter how hard anyone works, or how intelligent they may seem to be, no one has ever been able turn people away from faith in the Scriptures. Perhaps this verse from the Apostle Paul can give us a little insight into why the Bible is so indestructible - "I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes....For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed...." (Romans 1:16) The Bible is the only book that truly offers a real and lasting hope to mankind, through the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. And Peter also said, in the book of Acts, "Salvation is found in no one else[but Jesus], for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved." (Acts 4:12)

"The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the Word of our God stands forever." Isaiah 40:8

"As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish.......so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it." Isaiah 55:10,11

10 - Common Sense

This last reason is one of the most convincing to me and it is simply the fact that it makes sense that a good and loving God would make Himself known to His creation, and that is exactly what He has done with His Word. It may sound trite, but the Bible actually is the "Manufacturer's Handbook." God has graciously provided the truth that our hearts yearn for, and shown us how to live well and be happy.

To those who want to know the truth, the Bible is ready and waiting to give the answer. And even to those who have stopped their ears and covered their eyes to God's truth, nonetheless, it trumpets forth the folly of their error. Hear what God says, if you dare, in Romans chapter 1 - "The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities - his eternal power and divine nature - have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse." (Romans 1:18-20)

The truth is, no one has any excuse not to believe in God because He has revealed Himself through creation. But many have chosen to hold on to their sin and suppress and reject this knowledge of God that is available to all, thereby rejecting also the salvation that is offered to all in the pages of God's Word through the blood of His Son, Jesus.

We can also see from a scientific point of view, that the truth offered to us in Scripture is the only rational explanation for our existence. Although much of our world today has fallen for evolution, it is totally irrational and implausible to believe that everything that we know and see has come into being from nothing, purely by chance. But faith in God and the Bible is a reasonable and rational response to the world that we all know and live in each day. (see my article "What is Reality") Only the God of the Bible provides the foundation for all of the things we take for granted in life, like right and wrong, and true and false. These are the kind of things that don't make sense if we're just here by accident, and without the Bible we also have no purpose for existence or hope for the future.[xii]

I spent a lot of years living my life without purpose and hope - really without much of a clue about most things (with maybe the exception of football, basketball, baseball, and golf). But today, I know where to go, and to Whom to go to for answers and help in life. Some might say I don't really know much, and they might be right, but I'll take my chances on this "road" that I am traveling. And I'm offering these 10 reasons to believe as "signposts" to help you detect whether or not you are traveling in the right direction - and there are many other reasons as well. I could go on, and possibly I will someday, but these must do for now. If you have questions, please ask, and I will do my best to answer. Let me end by quoting the last verse of the gospel written by the Apostle John.

"Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written." John 21:25

NOTES

[i] . Isaiah 40:31 - "those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength."; Lamentations 3:25 - "The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to those who seek him."; James 4:8 - "Draw near to God and he will draw near to you."; 2 Chronicles 15:2 - "The Lord is with you when you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you.."; Jeremiah 29:11-13 -'.."For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart."; Zechariah 1:3, Malachi 3:7 - Return to me, and I will return to you."; Psalm 145:18,19 - "The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them." Proverbs 2:1-5 - "My son, if you will receive my sayings, And treasure my commandments within you, Make your ear attentive to wisdom, Incline your heart to understanding; For if you cry for discernment, Lift your voice for understanding; If you seek her as silver, And search for her as for hidden treasures; Then you will discern the fear of the Lord, And discover the knowledge of God."; Proverbs 8:17 - "I love those who love me; And those who diligently seek me will find me."; Psalm 50:15 - "-call upon me in the day of trouble; I shall rescue you, and you will honor me."; Jeremiah 33:3 - Call to me, and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know."; John 14:21 - "He who has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me; and he who loves me shall be loved by my father, and I will love him, and will disclose myself to him."

[ii] John 14:16,18,26; 16:7,8

[iii] Hymn - Jesus Paid It All, Elvina M. Hall, John T. Grape (1865 )

[iv] ,Criswell, W.A., Why I Preach That The Bible Is Literally True, ( Broadman & Holman, 1995, 1999) 103,104

[v] TheRebirth of America, (Arthur S. DeMoss Foundation, 1986) p. 49

[vi] This section is based, in part, on information from the following sources: Keller, Werner, The Bible As History,(Bantam Books , 1980); Archaeology And The Bible, from an article in The English Standard Version Study Bible, (Crossway Bibles, 2008) p. 2591; Criswell, p.57-65; Bible History Online; ChristianAnswers.net.

[vii] (Prophecy>Fulfilled) Micah 5:2>Luke 2:4-7; Isaiah 7:14>Matthew 1:18-25,Luke 1:26-28; Genesis 49:10, Micah 5:2, . The Rebirth of America, (Arthur S. DeMoss Foundation, 1986) p. 49Zechariah 10:4>Matthew 1:2,3, Luke 3:33; 2 Samuel 7:12-14>Matthew 1:1, Luke 3:31; Isaiah 35:5,6>Matthew 11:3-5,Luke 7:22; Zechariah 11:12,13>Matthew 26:14,15,27:5-10; Psalm 22:18>Matthew 27:35; Isaiah 49:6>John 11:49-52; Isaiah 53:9-12>Matthew 27:38, Luke 22:37; Isaiah 53:9>Matthew 27:57-60

[viii] Lindsey, Hal, The Late Great Planet Earth,(Zondervan, 1970) p. 14

[ix] Lindsey, p. 15

[x] Deuteronomy 30;3-5; Isaiah 43:5,6; Jeremiah 31:8-10; Ezekiel 36:24,37:12-14; Amos 9:15

[xi] Criswell, p.110-112

12 Lisle, Jason, The Ultimate Proof of Creation, (Master Books, 20009) esp. pgs. 31-43

 

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