Why Believe God and His Word?

There was a time in my life when I did not know much about the Bible and so I did not really understand it or believe what it says. I was far from God and He seemed far from me. Through a series of challenging times that lead me to searching and seeking I discovered that God is real and close to us and that there are many good reasons to believe in Him and His Word, the Bible. I would like to share six of them with you that have been particularly helpful to me.

1. The Scriptures Show Us God Is Personal.

All writings show us something about their authors, whether they intend to or not. Books convey the knowledge and interest of their writers. Letters between friends can provide glimpses of their true affections and feelings for one another. Excellent reasons for believing the Bible are to be found in what it reveals about its ultimate author, God. God is personal and cares about each one of us.

Jesus' prayer to His Heavenly Father in John 17 gives us this precious insight: "And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent" (John 17:3). Jesus addresses God in a personal way using the personal pronouns we see in this verse. So significant is this personal God that living eternally is equated with knowing Him, 'the only true God' and Jesus Christ, His Son, who He sent into the world to be the way by which people come to God. The apostle John also confirms that Jesus is God. Scripture claims that, not only is God personal, He is the only true God.

Why is this important? Because Jesus came as God and as a human, we know He understands us and what we are going through. Because the Bible shows us God in a personal way, it is easier to understand Him. We can know His character, motives and concern for humankind. The Bible teaches us that the believer is also known by God. The perception of a personal God is not new to the western mind conditioned by centuries of the Bible's impact on its societies. But there are those who think of God as an anonymous impersonal force. Some think everything is a god. But this is unwise:

The fool has said in his heart,
'There is no God.' (Psalm 14:1a)
What a relief it is to awaken to the realization that there is one true God, a personal God who understands us and has given us the Bible by which we can know Him.

2. Science, Archaeology and History Are Compatible With the Bible

Many people deny any real connection between the Bible and science. Science, they say, is contrary to faith. But even science has an element of faith in how it operates. We discover things we don’t know because we believe we can. The purpose of the Bible is not to explain science, it is to connect us with God. Yet, Paul says in Romans 1:17 that “since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made” just like I mentioned above about knowing an author by reading their works. Scientific discoveries continue to reveal how awesome and beautiful the universe is and I find that they actually increase my faith by helping me to understand God’s “His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature …through what has been made.”

Because the Bible is inspired by the Creator of the universe, it gives a meaningful worldview and a framework for understanding life. While the Bible's purpose is not to explain science, it is believable because good science is consistent with it. Brief examples from the disciplines of science, archaeology and history show how these things are true.

"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" (Genesis 1:1). These are the words with which the Bible begins. Recent satellite discoveries show the existence of low frequency microwaves in the outer reaches of space. Scientists think that these variations from 'smoother' radiation waves point to a 'big-bang' which started matter moving. The laws of thermodynamics and this theory confirm what the Bible says, the universe had a beginning.

Let's look at an example from archaeology. In Exodus 23:23, God said, “For My angel will go before you and bring you into the land of the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Canaanites, the Hivites and the Jebusites; and I will completely destroy them.” The Bible identifies the Hittite nation as one whose people were in the promised land before the Israelites entered it. God promised to destroy the Hittites and they were gone by about 1200 B.C. For many years people denied their existence until the late 19th century when Hittite monuments were discovered by A. Y. Sayce of Oxford. In 1906, Hugo Winckler of Berlin found the remains of the Hittite capital, including an archive of clay tablets containing important military documents. Archaeology confirmed that what the Bible said is true.

In response to His disciples remarks on the temple buildings, Jesus said, "Truly I say to you, not one stone here shall be left upon another, which will not be torn down" (Matthew 24:2b). For a Jew living in first century Jerusalem the idea of the magnificent temple built by Herod being destroyed must have seemed unbelievable. But Jesus' prophecy came true in A.D. 70 when the Romans demolished the temple. History has proven what was recorded in the Bible. New discoveries in science, archaeology and history continue to demonstrate the credibility of the Bible.

3. Scriptural Principles Work in Reality

In addition to eternal truths about God, the Bible gives us much helpful practical advice and how to live here in the world today:
"Thy word is a lamp to my feet,
and a light to my path." (Psalm 119:130)
The Bible contains many encouraging commands, examples and principles that can guide and enrich the lives of its believers. One example of God's principles that work in reality is:
"A gentle answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger." (Proverbs 15:1)
A gentle, calm and reasoned response to inter-personal conflict can dissolve animosity and anxiety. Experience shows God's Word is accurate. "If any man is willing to do His will, he shall know of the teaching, whether it is of God, or whether I speak from Myself" (John 7:17). Jesus tells us that if we practice the commands and principles of the Bible we will prove for ourselves that they are true.

4. The Scriptures Consistently Claim to Be the Inspired Word of God

God, through the Holy Spirit, moved the different authors of Scripture through the centuries to produce the writings that He wanted to form the content of the Bible. We call this process "inspiration." The continuing involvement of God's Spirit in this process explains the consistency and harmony of the Bible books where were written over a period of at least 1,300 years. The apostle Paul writes about this process in 2 Timothy 3:16a where he says, "All Scripture is inspired by God..."

The word he uses for 'inspired' is theopnuestos, 'Theo' being God and 'pneustos' being 'breathed' from the same word as 'spirit'. This word has also been translated as 'God-breathed'. In the physical realm, inspiration is the intake of life-giving air in the respiration cycle. In the spiritual sense God breathed into the Scriptures the life and meaning that He desired through His Spirit. This distinguishes the Bible from all other books written by men alone, apart from God's direction. The Bible is a living book that gives spiritual life to us.

Because the Bible is inspired by God it can justly be called the Word of God. Exodus 24:4a contains the simple statement regarding Moses' authorship: "And Moses wrote down all the words of the LORD."

While Moses was doing the writing, the words were the LORD'S. This agrees with what Paul wrote centuries later in 1 Thessalonians 2:13: "And for this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received from us the word of God's message, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe."

For those who protest that the Bible is simply a book written by men, Peter writes, "But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God" (2 Peter 1:20, 21). We can rely on the Bible because it is the inspired word of God.

5. Sin - An Evidence and the Bible's Answer to It - Jesus

Another powerful reason for believing the Bible is that it accurately describes people's spiritual condition. It identifies the major problem with one unpopular word - sin. The existence of selfishness, war, abuse and cruelty in societies demonstrate the Bible's claims that most people live outside God's will, "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23).

If all the Bible did was to diagnose the world as sinful, discouraging and full of despair, it would be no different from many types of philosophy. The good news (gospel) is that God provides an answer to sin in His son Jesus: "For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures" (1 Corinthians 15: 3:& 4). 'Christ died for our sins' so that we do not have to die. The Bible offers eternal life to those who will hear and obey: "He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned" (Mark 16:16).

Sin is evidence that what the Bible says is true. Fortunately, there is an answer to it in Jesus.

6. God Gives Life and the Wonderful Words of Life

The Bible teaches that God is the source of life. He gives life and sustains it: “…in Him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:17). He speaks through the Scriptures to provide food for the soul. "It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life." (John 6:63).

The Bible is an amazing book occupying a unique and paramount place in history. It was written by dozens of authors moved by God over a period of more than 1,300 years from approximately the 13th century B.C. to the later part of the 1st century A.D. Discoveries of early manuscripts, such as the Dead Sea Scroll in 1947, demonstrate that the words of the Bible were faithfully copied with remarkable accuracy through the centuries.

The word 'Bible' is related to two Greek words. Biblion means 'book, scroll or document' and Biblos often refers to 'book' in the sacred sense. The Bible is really a collection of books, 39 in the Old Testament, and 27 in the New Testament. The New Testament often refers to the writings of the Bible as the graphos, meaning 'writing' or 'scripture'.

The Bible is a book with purpose. It is a rich library that gives its readers access to the very thoughts of God. The Bible provides an understanding of the past, a meaningful way of life for the present, and a hope for the future. Believing the Bible is believing that what it says is true. The Bible is not to be worshipped, but rather it reveals God, who is the object of true worship. Thus God has designed the Bible for a purpose. It is to have a positive impact in people's lives as the prophet Isaiah writes in Isaiah 55:11,

“So shall My word be which goes forth from My mouth;
It shall not return to Me empty,
Without accomplishing what I desire,
And without succeeding in the matter for
which I sent it."
There are many reasons for believing the Bible: Jesus confirmed it, Scripture consistently claims that it is true and it is supported by history and experience. The words of the Bible are powerful, convicting and often very beautiful. They clearly reflect the character of their ultimate author, God. These are not simply the words of men. The Word of God gives us hope and light by which we can respond to God through faith, repentance, immersion into Christ, and leading a faithful life until we are united with Him forever in heaven. Through the wonderful words of the Bible we can know Jesus and be saved by Him, the living and abiding Word of God.

Paul Birston©