Why should I believe the Bible? (pt 9)

Some doubt the authority of the Bible but as we have already seen there are actually a lot of reasons to believe the Bible. The Bible itself also claims to be necessary and… 

Authoritative 

The Bible claims repeatedly to be more than mere human words. The Bible says it is inspired—breathed out—by God (2 Tim. 3:16-17). The Bible has the authority, not as words from men, but as words from God (1 Thess. 2:13). “When the Bible speaks, God speaks.”[1] Wayne Grudem says, “The authority of Scripture means that all the words of Scripture are God’s words in such a way that to disbelieve or disobey any word of Scripture is to disbelieve or disobey God.”

The Bible is not merely a record of what God has said in the past but a means of God speaking today. That is a good thing. We need to hear what God has to say. We need God’s guidance and we need an authority. God alone is equipped to be that authority. 

It is absolutely vital that we have revelation from God. I may not always want to agree with it, for instance when it conflicts with certain things I want to do.[2] I, however, believe that God’s word is vital for human flourishing.[3]

We need the Bible to have a coherent morality. It is important in part because we cannot derive ought from is.[4] That is, what we see through science about the way the world is cannot tell us what we ought to do morally.[5]

Because the Bible is the authoritative word of God it is uniquely profitable (2 Tim. 3:16-17). It is our sole authority for faith and practice. Scripture is a light (Ps. 119:105,130), a sword (Eph. 6:17), a hammer (Jer. 23:29), and a surgeon (Heb. 4:12). Scripture is more essential than bread (Matt. 4:4), better than gold (Ps. 19:10; 119:72), and we need it to live (Ps. 119:144). Scripture is perfect (Ps. 19:7), true (Ps. 19:9), pure (Ps. 19:8), and eternal (1 Pet. 1:25). Scripture contains the words of life (Jn. 6:68) and the words that are breathed out by God (2 Tim. 3:16). Scripture gives joy (Ps. 119:111; Jer. 15:16), makes wise (Ps. 19:7), equips (2 Tim. 3:17), guards (Ps. 119:9), guides (Ps. 73:24; 119:105), saves (1 Pet. 1:23), sanctifies (Ps. 119:9,11; Jn. 17:17), and satisfies because by it we know God (1 Pet. 2:3).

The Bible is of absolute importance.

________________

[1] Mohler, Five Views on Biblical Inerrancy, 29, 58.

[2] Many people struggle with the morality that the Bible presents. D.A. Carson has said, “Many Christians slide away from full confidence in the trustworthiness of Scripture for reasons that are not so much intellectual as broadly cultural” (Carson, “Subtle Ways to Abandon the Authority of Scripture in Our Lives” in Themelios 42.1 (2017), 1). Vern Poythress writes, “Modern worldviews are at odds with the worldview put forward in the Bible. This difference in worldviews creates obstacles when modern people read and study the Bible. People come to the Bible with expectations that do not fit the Bible, and this clash becomes one main reason, though not the only one, why people do not find the Bible’s claims acceptable” (Vern Sheridan Poythress, Inerrancy and Worldview: Answering Modern Challenges to the Bible [Wheaton: Crossway, 2012]14).

[3] So, John Frame shows “non-Christian ethics is incapable of providing a basis for moral decisions” (John M. Frame, The Doctrine of the Christian Life (Phillipsburg, New Jersey, 2008], 131). Jeff Myers and David A. Noebel point out that “Understanding our obligation to God is the only thing that gets us past relativism” (Understanding the Times: A Survey of Competing Worldviews [Summit Ministries: Colorado Springs, CO, 2016]247). They go on: “‘We should never forget,’ Martin Luther King Jr. wrote in his letter from Birmingham jail, ‘that everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was ‘legal’” (Ibid.). Kruger says, “Logic, science, and morality make no sense within the non-Christian worldview. For example, how can the atheist justify and explain the origin and universal applicability of moral absolutes? He simply cannot. Consider philosopher William Lane Craig as he explains the impossibility of moral absolutes in an atheist worldview: If there is no God, then any ground for regarding the herd morality evolved by homo sapiens as objectively true seems to have been removed. After all, what is so special about human beings? They are just accidental by-products of nature which have evolved relatively recently on an infinitesimal speck of dust lost somewhere in a hostile and mindless universe and which are doomed to perish individually and collectively in a relatively short time. Some action, say incest, may not be biologically or socially advantageous and so in the course of human evolution has become taboo; but there is on the atheistic view nothing really wrong about committing incest. If, as Kurt states, ‘The moral principles that govern our behavior are rooted in habit and custom, feeling and fashion,’ then the non–comformist who chooses to flout the herd morality is doing nothing more serious than acting unfashionably” (Michael J. Kruger, “The Sufficiency of Scripture in Apologetics,” 83n35 in The Master’s Seminary Journal, Vol. 12, No. 1, Spring 2001).

[4] Frame points out, referencing G. E. Moore and David Hume, that “one cannot deduce ought from is. That is to say, from premises about what is, about factual observations, you cannot deduce conclusions about what you ought to do… Facts from nature do not carry with them moral obligations… One may deduce moral conclusions from moral facts, but not from nonmoral facts” (Frame, The Doctrine of the Christian Life, 60. 61). We need something outside sense experience and empirical reality to tell us what we should do. We need knowledge that can only be obtained through revelation. We cannot possibly know the consequences of all our actions. We need an omniscience person. Thankfully God does know all and He tells us all we need to know to live lives that are pleasing to Him (2 Pet. 1:3).

[5] Without an objective moral standard, we are left without any ultimate standard of what is morally right and just. Humanity is left to do whatever is right in their own eyes. To adapt Ivan Karamazov’s words from Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s book The Brothers Karamazov: If there is no objective truth, everything is permitted. If there is no objective standard of truth then it follows that morality is subjective and thus there is no ultimate reason to say that anything is objectively morally wrong. This type of freedom is appealing in some ways but as G.K. Chesterton said, “By rebelling against everything [modern man] has lost his right to rebel against anything” (Gilbert K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy [New York: John Lane Company, 1908], 74). And so it is, if we say there is no truth and no morality we cannot then criticize the actions of others (no matter what they do), because truth and morality do not exist. So, we are left with an uncomfortable dilemma. If this is the case—if there is no objective standard for morality—then all sorts of vile atrocities follow. Who is to say that genocide is morally wrong, for example?

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About Paul O'Brien

I am a lot of things; saint and sinner. I struggle and I strive. I am a husband and father of three. I have been in pastoral ministry for 9 years. I went to school at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary but most of my schooling has been at the School of Hard Knocks. I have worked various jobs, including pheasant farmer, toilet maker, construction worker, and I served in the military. My wife and I enjoy reading at coffee shops, taking walks, hanging out with friends and family, and watching our three kid's antics. :)

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