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Why Do I Believe the Bible is the Word of God?

By La Nej Garrison

Why do I believe the Bible is the Word of God? What reasons do I have for affirming biblical inerrancy? How do I overcome challenges against biblical inerrancy? The reliability of the historical text is paramount to the Christian faith. While this is a cursory look at a few issues, the goal is to give the believer a sense of security in their faith. The reliability of Scripture is foundational for faith in Jesus as it holds the keys for salvation. While there are numerous objections to Biblical inerrancy, the goal is to address the most common critiques. This is not an exhaustive defense of biblical inerrancy, but rather it serves as an outline for a logical apologetic.

How do we define inerrancy, and why is it important? Wayne Grudem, a respected systematic theologian provides this definition: “The inerrancy of Scripture means that Scripture in the original manuscripts does not affirm anything contrary to the fact…The definition in simple terms just means that the Bible always tells the truth and that it always tells the truth concerning everything it talks about.”[i]

There must be a stopping point for ultimate authority. A common challenge to this line of thinking is that it’s circular reasoning. If I claim that the Bible is true because the Bible says it’s true, then I have used the Bible to defend the Bible. This is a circular argument. Well, kind of.

Grudem continues to state, “However, that does not make its use invalid, for all arguments for an absolute authority must ultimately appeal to that authority for proof: otherwise, the authority would not be an absolute authority or highest authority.”

Often, skeptics will quote a notable authority figure from a particular field as support for their arguments. Mentioning their name is meant to drive fear into the believer, as their intellectual prowess seems daunting. The task is not to remove the authority, but instead, the task should be to examine the claims made by the authoritative text or person. So, how do we begin? We begin with the text.

A few years ago, a book came out that created controversy within the Christian community. The Divinci Code challenged traditional views of Jesus, His humanity, and His divinity. Students will ask me what I think about Dan Brown’s writings. “Doesn’t this book make you rethink Christianity?” Why would a fictitious book, written for entertainment, cause me to doubt the authority of Scripture? The Divinci Code never claimed to have divine authority, nor did it claim to make true statements about the origin of man, morality, eternity, etc. On the other hand, if a book claims to be the Word of God while making statements about the beginning of time, the condition of man, and the end of the age, then that is worth examining.

Here are the steps:

  1. What claims does the Bible make about itself?
  2. What evidence do we have that the biblical manuscripts have been preserved?
  3. Is the Bible historically/archaeologically accurate?
  4. What is the role of prophecy in establishing inerrancy?

What claims does the Bible make about itself?

What does the Bible say about itself? From the Old Testament to the New Testament, various passages have proclaimed that God was either directly speaking to the people, speaking through the prophets or prophetic events in history. In 2 Samuel 7, God spoke directly through the prophet Nathan reminding David to be a shepherd to His people. 1 Kings 6:11, God spoke to Solomon, instructing him to remain diligent to keep His Word and be blessed.

Throughout the Old Testament, prophets and kings were challenged to keep God’s commands, which were shared orally by trained scholars and written down for preservation. There are hundreds of recorded accounts that reference God’s communication with His people.

In the New Testament, “Paul affirms the authority of Old Testament writings; they are “theopaneustaos, ‘breathed out by God.’ Since it is writings that are said to be ‘breathed out,’ this breathing must be understood as a metaphor for speaking the words of Scripture.”[ii] There was a clear understanding by the early church that the Old Testament was the sacred Word of God.

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” (2 Timothy 4:16)

Jesus quoted Deuteronomy amid His temptation, attesting to the historicity of Mosaic documents. He quoted Isaiah and other prophets, verifying their witnesses and the historical events in the Old Testament. The Bible repeatedly makes internal claims that it is the Word of God.

What evidence do we have that the biblical manuscripts have been preserved?

The claims that the Bible makes about itself are important but are of little use if God is not able to preserve His Word and keep it from error over time. Forty authors over thousands of years recorded the Bible. How can we be sure that the words we read today are the same words written down by the original authors?

The well-known discovery of the Qumran caves was one of the most significant archeological finds in history. Within these 11 caves, archaeologists discovered numerous Old Testament writings, including parts of the book of Leviticus, the writings of twelve Minor Prophets, and most notably, the entire book of Isaiah. These findings verified the preservation of biblical writings. The discovery of scrolls[iii] supports the claim that Bible we read today has in fact, in its original form, been preserved over thousands of years. Furthermore, critical scholars like John A. T. Robinson and Helmut Koester attest to the overwhelming amount of New Testament documents that have been preserved by the early church.[iv]

As a Christian, I can trust that I am reading the words of the prophets and their testimonies about God. Skeptics may claim that there are contradictions within scripture, but any fair-minded reading recognizes the need to read texts according their genre to ensure proper interpretation.

Is the Bible historically/archaeologically accurate?

Does the Bible accurately record historical events? The Bible is a book of faith that describes the lives of kings, the fall of nations, and the establishment of kingdoms. The nation of Israel’s story can be understood within the pages of the Old and New Testament. Therefore, it is imperative that historical data be externally verifiable. “The renowned archaeologist William F. Albright said, ‘There can be no doubt that archaeological discovery has confirmed the substantial historicity of the Old Testament tradition.’ Nelson Glueck adds, ‘It may be stated categorically that no archaeological discovery has ever controverted a Biblical reference.”[v] These archaeologists affirm the integrity of statements made by biblical writers that corroborate with historical data.

What is the role of prophecy in establishing inerrancy?

The discovery of the book of Isaiah confirms the internal coherence of Scripture, but it does not necessarily affirm divine inspiration. It is possible that all of these points thus far are mere coincidences, or possibly the work of a secret sect. It is the additional supernatural prophetic fulfillments that surpass the capacities of men, combined with the previous arguments that should challenge the most ardent skeptic. There are numerous prophetic examples, such as the establishment of the nation of Israel in 1948 (Ezekiel 36:8-12), which are compelling. I will highlight one prophetic figure predicted hundreds of years before, Jesus Christ. In His birth, life, and death, Jesus fulfills hundreds of prophecies.

“Biblical scholar John Phillips makes the following pertinent remarks: ‘…It has been said that there were some 109 Old Testament predictions literally fulfilled at Christ’s first coming, and that, of the 845 quotations from the Old Testament in the New Testament, 333 refer to Christ. These were literally fulfilled although the chances against such fulfillment have been shown to be one chance in 33,554,438.”[vi]

Fulfilled prophecies over hundreds of years are not constructs of man. The mathematical probability is in the billions! Prophecies are testaments to a Divine Mind who is active in the affairs of men. Therefore, we have an obligation to examine His Words. In conclusion, if Christians have a text that is internally coherent, historically/archaeologically consistent, and prophetically accurate, they are justified in accepting an inerrant view of Scripture. This is not a blind step of faith, but a reasoned examination of the data.

[i] Grudem, Wayne A. Systematic Theology: an Introduction to Biblical Doctrine. I, Zondervan Academic, 1994.

[ii] Grudem, Wayne A. Systematic Theology: an Introduction to Biblical Doctrine. I, Zondervan Academic, 1994.

[iii] https://www.britannica.com/topic/Dead-Sea-Scrolls

[iv] Geisler, Norman L., and Paul K. Hoffman. Why I Am a Christian Leading Thinkers Explain Why They Believe. Baker Books, 2006.

[v] Geisler, Norman L., and William E. Nix. A General Introduction to the Bible. Moody Press, 1986.

[vi] Geisler, Norman L., and Paul K. Hoffman. Why I Am a Christian Leading Thinkers Explain Why They Believe. Baker Books, 2006.

 

© 2021, LaNejGarrison. All rights reserved. Used with Permission.


Disclaimer: All views expressed by those associated with this ministry or on our platforms do not necessarily represent the opinions of Women in Apologetics, Inc. or its individual team members.

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