February 27, 2010

An Explanation for Why I Believe the Bible

I want to think through some reasons for why I believe the Bible. I started commenting on Ray Comfort's blog again, and have been challenged there to think more accurately through some of the issues I have discussed. In this post I hope to do a little of that for myself and to provide insight to anyone who reads. If you are not a Christian, this is a good chance to get a view from my perspective. I'd be interested in what you would say about your reasons for why you believe or don't believe as well. Now, here are some

Reasons why I believe the Bible:

1). I was raised to believe it. This should not be the only reason, and it is not. It is also not a reasonable proof for the Bible's truthfulness, but I'm not using it as that. It is a fact, however, that one reason I do believe is related to my upbringing. I don't think my upbringing instilled true faith in me, only God by His Spirit and His Word can do that - 2Corinthians 4:6. It did expose me to the Bible, which God used to bring me to faith.

2). I believe the Bible because it exposed the attitudes and manner of thinking in my unconverted heart. I read Romans and other passages that described me well, such as Romans 1:32: "Though they know God's decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them." Also Romans 2:1: "Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things." When I read these passages they cut to my heart, and I felt like they described my own thoughts extremely well. There were many more passages, but these two serve as examples of how I came to the conclusion that the Bible described my own inward attitude and thinking better than I ever realized before. I knew it was right.

3). I believe because the gospel makes sense. When I read about sin in Scripture, and I look at myself and people around me, I see plenty of it. When I read about judgment from a Biblical point of view, I feel it is just. When I read about God, I can understand His sovereign authority and right to deal with people out of justice and judgment. When I read about His mercy, I feel it is needed on my part. When I read about His provision of justice in the condemnation of His just Son for sinners like me, I feel loved. When I read about His justification of sinners through faith in the blood of Christ, I feel a deep desire to believe. When I read about His Holy Spirit's work to save, seal and sanctify every child of God, I feel confident and pray and wait to see the result. When I read of eternal life and a new heaven and new earth after the destruction of this one, I feel the need to get ready and expect that kingdom of righteousness and joy through the Savior. In short, I feel the gospel is convincing because of what it says.

4). Most important to my explanation for why I believe is the Sovereign grace of God, and His work in me by His Spirit. I believe the Bible because I have experienced what it describes in these passages:
John 1:12, 13 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
John 3:3 Jesus answered him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God." [Note: the new birth is described as a work of God in John 1:13, not an act of the human will or of human effort.]
John 6:37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.
John 7:17 If anyone's will is to do God's will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority.
John 8:31, 32 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, "If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
1Corinthians 1:26-27 For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong...
1Corinthians 1:30, 31 And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, "Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord."
Ephesians 1:5 he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ.
Ephesians 2:8, 9 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

5) Last, but not least, I believe the Bible because it is the true Word of God. You may ask, "How do you know that it is the true Word of God?" I know because of God's self-attesting authority (i.e., there is no greater witness to God's Word than God Himself). God testifies to His Word through His Spirit and by His creation. We are created in His image, says Genesis 1:26-27, and as a result we know God and recognize His truth inherently. But more than that, by denying it as His Word, we are left without a justification for knowing anything at all. In other words, it is impossible for us to know anything if it is not God's Word. Here's why: our knowledge of anything rests on the foundation that God exists and has created the world just as the Bible says, upholding and sustaining it by His own will and revealing true knowledge to His human creatures. If we deny this, we cannot know anything for certain, unless we acknowledge that God has revealed things to us, so that we can know some things on account of His infallible revelation.

I'm sure there are many more reasons for why I believe, but these ones are significant.