One crucial question that comes up by atheists in the Western World today, when the Gospel is preached to them, is: “How do you know the Bible is the Word of God? Why not follow what another religion’s scriptures say?”
This question has probably lurked in the back of the minds of many Christians at one point or another (as it has for me). It mustn’t, however, be shunned. Questioning the sources of your belief is a good thing. If this did not happen, many who now believe might not have believed because they would not have become discontented with their prior belief system.
People are shocked when Christians show signs of awareness and thought-out arguments, because many believe that Christians have what is called “blind faith”, a faith without reason. Therefore, in doing Apologetics both inside and outside the Church, I find these four main points to be very helpful. These are reasons to trust that what the Bible says is true. I have put them in order of importance/prominence.
1. The Bible testifies, concerning itself, that it is the truth.
“But that’s circular reasoning,” you say. I guess it is. But I cannot help it. This, by conviction of the Holy Spirit, is the reason I believe. The ultimate testimony of the truth of God is the truth of God itself. It cannot be defended in this regard, but once it is accepted it defends itself in your mind and heart. You’ve heard the saying, “seeing is believing”. In this case, it is quite the opposite. Once you believe, you will truly see. But even before you believe, the scriptures testify that they are true. The issue is pride that prevents someone from believing it. More than this I cannot say.
I recommend that, if you are defending your faith based on the four points in this post, you state this point first. Also, make it clear that you realize this is circular reasoning, but from there go on to the next point.
2. The Bible is perfect.
Saying this will open a discussion that could last for hours. Many people will say that the Bible has “50,000 mistakes”, but will be unable to point to one of them. Others have genuine concerns about what we call “problem texts”, which I like to call “texts which we cannot understand yet”.
This is why it is important to be reading the Bible intensively. If you are aware of these problems, at least you will be able to say so. Then they will not think you are simply ignorant, that you are just repeating what someone else told you. A rounded out knowledge of the Scriptures is a powerful weapon to wield.
3. There are prophetic statements in the Bible that have already come true.
This is where you show them what a timeless God can do. Show them specific prophecies, such as Isaiah 43 and Psalm 22, both of which predict the coming and death of Christ. The visions of Daniel are amazing as well, because of the details God provides concerning events that were to happen later (more on these fascinating prophecies soon). Prophecies can really have an impact if presented correctly. In fact, this is what brought the eunuch to belief in Christ (though of course it must be noted that the eunuch seems to already have believed that the Old Testament was the word of God). It says:
Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture [Isaiah 53:7-8] and told him the good news about Jesus. (Acts 8:35, NIV)
4. The narrative of Jesus’ death and resurrection is historically sound.
You might think there’d be no way to give substantial proof showing that the resurrection really happened. Think again! If you get the chance, get a hold of William Lane Craig’s Reasonable Faith. The entire book is worth reading in my opinion, but specifically the last chapter is a real gold-mine for apologetics. In about 60 pages, Craig, treating the Bible only as a historical document (though he believes it to be much more than that), proves that the resurrection account provided therein must be true. In fact, even liberal scholars today agree that the evidence points in favor of the resurrection (though whether they would actually take the step to believe in it is a different story).
That’s how I would defend the inspiration of the Bible. I know discussion about apologetics in evangelism is a somewhat contentious issue. Later I will be making a post explaining what I believe the role of apologetics is and how far one can take it, because many believe that apologetics has its proper place (which I agree with). Until then, I hope you find these points useful.
I will conclude with a list of books I think are must-reads for Christians today. The first one in particular is probably the best apologetics book I have ever read, and was a real page-turner: