Last month we started in the John Piper series, “Why We Believe the Bible”.
Last Sunday’s message reminded me of a post written by Demian Farnworth in his blog, Fallen and Flawed. I’ve been following Demian for some time and find his posts to be filled with good content. Of course, these are not the only reason one should believe the Bible. But there is a level of comfort in knowing these points.
However, ultimately, its the seventh and thirteenth points that holds the greatest weight for me. If belief in and a commitment to the good news about Christ didn’t change my life and the lives of people I know, I think none of the other points would matter much.The particular post I was reminded of is copied (with permission) below.
16 Reasons Why Christians Must Submit to the Authority of the Bible
1. Manuscript Evidence
Over 24,000 New Testament Greek, Syriac, Latin, Coptic and Aramaic manuscripts in existence. The internal consistency of the New Testament documents is about 99.5% textually pure. And there is dating evidence that suggests the entire New Testament was completed within 70 years. No other book comes even close to this reliability and authenticity.
2. Bible Writers Were Scrupously Honest
The Bible writers were taught integrity and truthfulness and they went to their graves defending what they wrote. This was an earmark of early Christian conviction.
3. Miracles Confirmed
Miracles are definitive confirmation of a prophet’s claim to be speaking for God. This was true for Moses, Jesus, Peter and Paul–Jesus being the only one who didn’t outright contribute to Scripture.
4. Fulfilled Prophecy
Unlike any other book, the Bible offers specific predictions that were written hundreds of years in advance of their literal fulfillment. These fulfilled predictions stand as a testament of the Bible’s unique, supernatural origin.
5. Unity of the Bible
Sixty-six books unfold one continuous drame of redemption. There is one message: Humankind’s problem is sin. The solution is salvation through Christ.
6. Archaelogical Confirmation
Archaeology cannot directly prove the Bible’s inspiration. What it can do is confirm its reliability as an historical document. No archaeological discovery has ever controverted a biblical reference. Scores of findings however have confirmed historical statements in the Bible.
7. Testimonies of Transforming Power
A subjective but supporting line of evidence for the supernatural origin of the Bible is the evidence of a changed life. It’s always been the preaching of the Gospel that’s transformed lives and gave Christianity its vitality.
8. Paul’s Life Changed
From murderous prosecutor of Christians to zealous evangelist of the Gentiles, Paul’s conversion is a monumental statement to the efficacy of the Gospel. But note, the sheer reading of Scripture–whom Paul claimed to be an expert in–didn’t convert him. It took an act of the Holy Spirit, who comes through reading.
9. Early Church and Councils Confirmed
The early church and councils didn’t confer authority on the canonical books of the New Testament. They simply recognized the books as having the authority.
10. Consensus of the Centuries
Over two thousand years, historic Christian churches have consistently maintained and defended the divine origin of Scripture. This is very impressive and is not to be lightly set aside or despised.
11. Bible Writers Claimed Authority for the Scriptures
What did the Bible writers themselves claim? Moses said he received the law from the Lord. Prophets like Jeremiah introduced their oracles by saying “Thus says the Lord” or “the word of the Lord Came to me, saying.”
12. Certain Characteristics of the Bible Strike Observant Readers
Unity, fulfilled prophecy and relevancy thousands of years later is another line of evidence for the inspiration and authority of Scripture. The Iliad, Shakespeare’s canon, Moby Dick–the world’s greatest literature, including the Koran–lack these qualities.
13. Experience of the Burning Heart
Think about the persuasion that the Bible has had in believer’s lives. In your life. It disturbs the complacent. Comforts the sorrowful. Humbles the proud. Reforms the sinful. Encourages the faint-hearted. Brings hope to the bereaved. Gives direction to those who have lost their way.
14. God Spoke Through Men
The inspiration of the Bible was not mechanical. God made full use of the personality, temperament, background and experience of the biblcial authors, in order to convey throgh each an appropriate and distinctive message. One message shows up despite dozens of styles.
15. Apostles Authority
Paul defended his apostolic commission. John asserted it. And the early church confirmed it. Bishop Ignatius of Antioch said, “I do not, as Peter and Paul, issue commandments unto you. They were apostles; I am but a condemned man.” An apostle–most wrote the New Testament–had the mark of divine authority on him.
16. Christ Endorsed the Authority of the Bible
Perhaps the strongest argument that the Bible is the Word of God is the testimony of Jesus. Jesus claimed of the Bible: divine authority, indestructibility, infallibility, ultimate supremacy, factual inerrancy, historical reliability and scientific accuracy. And if he is the Son of God, then the Bible is the Word of God.
1. Manuscript Evidence
Over 24,000 New Testament Greek, Syriac, Latin, Coptic and Aramaic manuscripts in existence. The internal consistency of the New Testament documents is about 99.5% textually pure. And there is dating evidence that suggests the entire New Testament was completed within 70 years. No other book comes even close to this reliability and authenticity. Continue reading Why We Believe the Bible