Read His Words Before Ours!
Mr. Nilius was my high school music director and he also taught Bible my junior year. Aside from my English teacher, whom I was mostly terrified of, but secretly admired his adherence to strict grammar, Mr. Nilius was my favorite. In lieu of my own emotionally abusive and in many ways absent father, I allowed Mr. Nilius access to speak into my life as a father figure (likely unbeknownst to him).
In one particular Bible class, Mr. Nilius challenged us to think critically of our own beliefs. What did we believe, why, and could our “why” really be supported with our answers.
My faith was largely a piggy-back off of what I’d learned at home at this point, and I’d never been allowed the privilege of truly questioning it.
My parents were simply right.
Mr. Nilius suggested that for every answer we could give for our “whys”, we respond to ourselves with “well, how do you know that’s true?”
He was leading us to test our beliefs that we might discover on our own, and know and hold onto, exactly what was true and solid for life.
Could our beliefs hold up under the fire of criticism?
As a child I’d often wondered, but never voiced,
“What if all this Bible stuff wasn’t true?
Suppose there really wasn’t a God or a way to Heaven?
Maybe there wasn’t even Heaven at all.”
They were all valid questions, and as I grew older I realized that they deserved to be answered.
I deserved to know the truth.
One friend challenged me to consider that if God wasn’t big enough to handle my questions, my poking, and prodding, then He really wasn’t big enough to save me or be worthy of my trust.
As I began the process of testing my faith, my biggest question surfaced to the top,
“Is the Bible true?”
If I was going to build my life and base my future on one set of beliefs, I had to know if the Bible really was true and solid enough to support life and the eternal destination of my soul.
Fear pricked my heart and made my stomach churn as I considered what might happen if I studied this whole “Bible thing” and discovered it was bogus. What then? But as sick as that possibility made me, I had to know.
The Bible itself claims to be “inerrant”, meaning fully without error.
A pretty significant boast.
The Bible claims to be perfect, true, trustworthy for salvation, for godliness, for everything we need to be wise, and holding supreme value in correction and training in righteousness.
But I had a problem with that.
The grammar was off, in a lot of places. It clearly wasn’t perfect. (hey, I love English)
There were so many translations, and sometimes the different word choices made for different conclusions.
Sometimes the stories didn’t line up. Matthew would tell of a supposed “eyewitness account”, but Mark’s “eyewitness account” had different details.
Who to believe?
More importantly, how could this book be reliable for anything?
Let alone eternal salvation.
The more facts I discovered, the more my skepticism dissipated. Turns out that my questions had solid answers.
Grammar and Syntax – The grammar was off exactly because I was reading it in English, whereas it was originally written in Hebrew and Greek.
Accuracy – Archeologists have proven that the Bible is the most accurate historical document in existence.
Authorship – There is significantly more evidence to support the authentic authorship of the Bible than there exists evidence that Shakespeare wrote his plays, yet no one questions that.
Preservation – The Bible has been translated since the time of the New Testament when the first five books of the Old Testament (originally written in Hebrew), were translated to Greek. Paul himself, through the influence of the Holy Spirit, told Timothy that the Word of God he studied from was perfectly reliable. The document Timothy studied from was itself a translation! God preserves His Word through translations in order to extract His intended meaning that all languages might know Him.
Uniformity – The Bible was written by 40 different authors across a span of 1,500 years, yet there is one, main recurring theme that exists from the opening line to the very last word: the redemption of mankind. Only a single author could produce that kind of continuity, and only One author is timeless…the Lord God.
Reliability – Eyewitness accounts are given significant weight both in Biblical times and today, even just 2 or 3 eyewitnesses make a huge difference in the reliability of a story’s authenticity. In the case of Christ’s post-resurrection appearances, there were over 400 eyewitnesses who saw and interacted with Jesus Christ after His death and resurrection. And the fact that a few story details don’t match other accounts is actually a voice proving the reliability of the Bible. These minor differences weren’t “edited out” to make “identical” re-tellings of the same story, but were left in because they were recounted from different people with different perspectives. The Bible is about authenticity, even when it comes to varying perspectives on events!
Inspiration – Scripture is God-breathed according to 2 Timothy 3:16, meaning that God alone is the ultimate author. Yes, humans wrote it down as they were inspired by the Holy Spirit, but every letter has the handiwork of the Father crafted into it. It is preserved by His hand, fueled by His Spirit, and because it is authored by the Almighty, its message is wholly reliable.
We hold the Bible, I hold the Bible, to be fully without error (inerrant) in its original language, which is why translations are so important. (Here’s our recommended translation list!)
Precious sister on the other side of this screen, this Word of God is for you!
His story is for you!
His redemption is for you!
He wants you to know Him, to love Him, to see Him for who He is.
And His Word is the means to accomplishing all of that!
Here’s the thing, if the Bible isn’t 100% true, we are wasting our time reading it,
let alone studying it.
But if it is true….
Then it demands our full attention,
our voracious study of it,
and our all-consuming appetite for its message.
For a little more on the doctrine of Inerrancy, we recommend checking out the girls at Thinking and Theology. Read their post on how the Bible is Better Than Google!
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