July 19 - Message Update

“How Do I Know the Bible is Absolutely True?” - 2 Timothy 3:16-17, Psalm 19:7-11 – Pastor Brian

The Bible is absolutely true because of evidence and experience.

Psalm 19: 7-11, “The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the LORD are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover, by them is Your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.”

 

This is a wonderful description of God’s word and the various ways it affects us. Reading this familiar Psalm instills great appreciation for God’s Word.  However, there are those who say the Bible cannot be absolutely true because there are no absolute truths and the Bible is irrelevant, out of touch and un-relatable.  Today we will consider evidence and experiences that point to the absolute truthfulness of the Bible and its relevance to instill confidence in today’s main point that “The Bible is absolutely true because of evidence and experience.”

 

1) The Bible is absolutely true because of the EVIDENCE. 2 Tim. 3:16-17, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man, the person of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”

 

These verses are making a bold statement.  All Scripture, meaning the entire Bible, is breathed out by God so that we as followers of Christ will be equipped for every good work.  Breathed out by God, implies the Bible is reliable and absolutely true because it starts with God.  God is the author of the Bible.  The Bible has never contradicted itself in the past few thousand years so we can be confident that it will never contradict itself.  A compelling argument for the credibility of the Bible is that it has hundreds of prophecies of Jesus already fulfilled that were written hundreds of years before His birth.

 

Obviously to be breathed out by God means that God is involved. If God is involved and God is sinless, complete and perfect, then it follows that everything He says is sinless, complete, and perfect indicating that all Scripture is sinless, complete and perfect. One commentary summarized it like this, “The Bible is divinely inspired and given through men superintended by the Holy Spirit so that their writings are without error.” In effect God chose imperfect people to communicate His perfect written word, to correct, train and equip every Christian for every good work.

 

Seeking to answer, “How do I know the Bible is absolutely true?” not only exposed me to great professors but also great resources other than the Bible that demonstrated the Bible’s trustworthiness.  One resource was the book, “The New Evidence That Demands a Verdict,” by Josh McDowel.  He set out to question and disprove the Bible but in the process found what the Bible taught was absolutely true.  The evidence he discovered demanded a decision and he became a passionate follower of Jesus Christ.

 

Here are some evidences that McDowell found regarding the Bible’s trustworthiness: The Bible was written over a time span of 1500 years by over 40 different people of various backgrounds. They wrote from the three different continents of Africa, Asia and Europe; hundreds of miles and hundreds of years apart yet constant and continuous with the same message of God’s redemption of human beings.

 

The number of manuscripts enhances a book’s reliability and credibility. The New Testament has close to 25,000 surviving manuscripts from which the original Bible was written.

 

In McDowel’s book apologist Dr Norman Geisler states that considerable reports from non-Christian sources from Roman, Greek, Jewish, and Samaritan sources confirm the Gospel accounts of Christ.

 

2 Timothy 2:16-17 says, "that ALL Scripture is breathed out by God.”  But what about those who say the Bible can’t be absolutely true because there is no absolute truth? To say there is no truth, is a truth in itself.  Those who reject the absolute truth of the Bible demand that we believe their truth that there is no absolute truth. Confused? So am I. It’s as though they are deaf to what they are voicing.

 

To seriously ponder what we believe about absolute truth we ought to consider everyday things we don’t even see.  For example, we have evidence of gravity. What goes up will come down.  We have evidence of oxygen.  Without oxygen you will die.  If you didn’t believe in the absolute truth of the existence of oxygen hold your breath for more than 5 minutes and you’ll have evidence of its reality.

 

There are mounds of evidence that affirms the credibility and reliability of the Bible as truth. But I appreciate what Josh McDowel says, “The evidence does not prove the Bible is the Word of God but it clearly indicates that it is uniquely superior than any other book in the world.”

 

2) The Bible is absolutely true because of EXPERIENCE.  We can all agree that nature, God’s artwork, is inspiring. We see evidence of His glory through amazing pictures shared by family, friends, and in books but until we actually experience hiking to the top of a majestic mountain or a thundering waterfall, the impact of God’s wonder is not fully realized.

 

Psalms is a poetic book.  As in most poetry, there is often more meaning to the words spoken.  Poetry not only speaks to our minds but also to our hearts.  Psalms do the same thing.  They speak to our minds and hearts but more importantly they touch our spirit. Psalm 19:7-11 describes the Bible, God’s Word, as “perfect, sure, right, pure, clean, righteous and true.” Also mentioned are are resulting experiences from God’s Word.  There is the experience of reviving the soul, making wise the simple, rejoicing the heart, and enlightening the eyes.

 

We have evidence about the Bible to help us know we can trust it.  But like gravity and oxygen, experience helps to solidify our belief. It might be good to ask yourself, what evidence and experiences have helped me know the Bible is true?

 

God’s Word is impactful, not out of touch or irrelevant.  On the contrary, in fact it is the most relevant book in the world when studied and interpreted correctly. The sins of prejudice, bigotry, sexism, and discrimination are not ignored but confronted by the Bible.  It challenges the injustices we have seen, do see, and will see with His commandments.

 

If every person in the entire world acknowledged and confessed their sins, repented of them and lived according to God’s commandment, “To love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind and love your neighbor as yourself,” the unfairness, the corruption, and exploitation of people would cease to exist.  Knowing Jesus by faith and following His teachings would solve the world’s problems.  Of course, we know this will not happen this side of heaven but it should not prevent us from seeking to be those people who live according to the commandment to love your neighbor as yourself. One way to love your neighbor is to wear a mask.  You may not like it.  It’s inconvenient, bothersome and painful but by putting on a mask you are loving your neighbor.  Experience the transforming power of God’s Word, be the light in these dark times which could be as simple as wearing a mask.

 

There are limitations to learning about the truth of the Bible if we only consider the massive amounts of evidence we have been taught. Deeper understanding is discovered through the experiences of others and ourselves. At the same time, there are times when an explanation really isn’t possible. Even with evidence and experience, it’s a faith step to date, trust physics and biology that gravity and oxygen exist.

 

In the same way, it takes faith to believe the Bible is breathed out by God as 2 Timothy 3:16-17 proclaims.  Admittedly, we cannot prove anything with complete certainty but God gave us a brain to make wise decisions.  When evidence and experience are combined, they give us confidence in what to believe.

 

You have choices to make.  Gather evidence yourself, believe those you respect or rely upon experience.  I hope you do a little of each.  Do your own research, listen to others and recall your experiences to help you answer, “How can I know the Bible is absolutely true?”  

 

Praise Songs:  Lion and the Lamb, Great Things, What A Friend We Have in Jesus, Good Good Father, Doxology