Uncertain world; example: Twitter wars between President and media
- Whom can you trust? Enlightenment: trust yourself; but can you even do that?
- Our finitude leaves us unable to attain any certainty if we start with ourselves; dilemma
- Do we have a place to stand? Yes: on the Word of God.
- Sola Scriptura: The Bible is the only infallible authority for all truth; God’s own words.
- The Bible does not contain all truth, but it accounts for how we know any truth; a lens.
- But why should we believe this about the Bible?
Three Reasons to Trust the Bible as the Word of God
- Adam and Eve in the Garden knew (1) God; (2) the world around them; (3) themselves.
- God’s glory revealed in: creation, humanity = image of God; to know one = to know others.
- These three things reveal three perspectives on knowledge (acknowledgement: John Frame):
(1) The authority perspective (normative)
(2) The world perspective (situational)
(3) The self perspective (existential)
- We can look at why we can trust the Bible from these same three perspectives.
I. The authoritaty perspective: we should trust the Bible because it claims to be the
Word of God.
- Important: we are not claiming something for the Bible it does not claim for itself.
- The claim is there; we must decide what to do with it—accept it or reject it.
- 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:19-21; Matt. 5:17-18; John 10:35; “It is written…”
(1) How can you accept the Bible’s witness to itself? Don’t you have to find a witness
outside the Bible in order to establish the Bible’s authority first? (reason, experience, etc.)
- But think about that: If the Bible is God’s Word, the supreme authority, what other authority
could there be outside of it? Hebrews 6:13: “For when God made a promise to Abraham, since he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself” (referring to Gen 22).
- That argument would contradict itself.
(2) We don’t accept the claims of all of the other books in the world that claim to be the Word of God. Why not?
- There are actually not many b/c this claim requires a theistic perspective.
- All the ones that do are somehow tied to Christianity; it is a borrowed idea.
- Judaism: we agree with their claim about the Old Testament.
- Islam and Mormonism: new revelation continues and corrects the Bible.
- But these sources plainly contradict the Bible, leading them to say it was corrupted.
- There is no evidence for this claim at all. Mormon writings, Qu’ran are false witnesses.
- We will explore more weaknesses of them in future weeks.
- Summary: God has spoken, and he has clearly testified to the authority of his Word. Trust him.
II. The world perspective: we should trust the Bible because it alone makes sense of the
world as we experience it.
- You woke up to discover that you are a character in a book, but you don’t know which book.
- Some people you met said, “You are Achilles in The Iliad.”
- Others said, “No, you are Tom in Tom Sawyer.”
- Others said, “No, you are Buck in The Call of the Wild.”
- You would have to start looking around to see which theory fit.
- We are living in a story, and every belief system tells a different story:
- Five Key Questions for our story:
(1) Who are we? We live as though human beings are unique, entailing unique obligations.
(2) Where did we come from? We live as though there is some purpose to our lives.
(3) What went wrong? We live as though evil is real, is tragic, must be opposed; yet we also recognize that we have our own flaws.
(4) How can it be made right? The desire for atonement is widespread, if not universal.
(5) Where are we going? We have hope of a better day to come.
- The story of the Bible fits these aspects of our lives perfectly:
(1) Who are we? God’s image, equipped to know the world; obligations to fellow men.
(2) Where did we come from? God created us to know him, glorify him, enjoy him.
(3) What went wrong? Our covenantal head, Adam, rebelled against God = exile from garden.
(4) How can it be made right? Jesus Christ, the last Adam, has died and been raised for us.
(5) Where are we going? A new creation, the fulfillment of God’s original design.
- This story makes no sense from an impersonalist perspective:
(1) Humanity would not be unique.
(2) There would be no real distinction between right and wrong.
(3) There would be no purpose to life because there would be no personal being behind it all.
- Among theistic perspectives, only Christianity is truly personalist.
(1) The doctrine of the Trinity alone accounts for God as a loving, relational, personal being.
(2) The Trinity is key to the Christian worldview; the Bible alone gives us this worldview.
- Summary: We must trust the Bible because of its claims about itself and because it alone makes sense of the world.
III. The self perspective: we should trust the Bible because we see the glory of Christ
revealed in it.
- A perspective based on personal experience of something.
- How do you know that honey is sweet? By tasting it.
- How do you know that the Bible is God’s Word; by “tasting” its sweetness.
2 Corinthians 4:3-6: Paul’s new covenant ministry
- v. 3: “veil” over Moses’ face; veil remains over those who do not believe.
- Why is there a veil? v. 4: work of Satan; spiritual blindness.
- If a blind man cannot see the sun, is that evidence that the sun is not real?
- vv. 5-6: God’s powerful work of giving spiritual sight.
- “Let there be light”—a command with power; Spirit bears witness to the Word.
- How do you know the brightness of a bright light? You see it.
- All of this relates to the gospel Paul proclaimed; but what about the Bible?
- The Bible is the written testimony of the gospel, the story of God’s redemptive work in Christ.
- The glory of Scripture is the glory of Jesus Christ revealed to us in Scripture.
- Our trust is ultimately in a Person, not a book detached from a Person. We encounter him here.
Problem: Don’t other religions have similar claims?
- Do Muslims see glory in the Qu’ran?
- They may claim a similar experience, but there is an objective glory in Scripture they miss.
- No other book tells this beautiful story of the God-man and our redemption.
- Bible written over 1,400 years, 3 languages, 40 authors: one unified story.
- Bottom line: The Bible shows us its reliability as we encounter it throughout our lives.
The Question of Bible Difficulties
- Are there difficulties in Scripture? Yes.
- Example: Gal. 2:15-16 and James 2:24; makes us think.
- Be thankful for Bible difficulties. We won’t figure them all out, but we must approach them from a position of faith seeking understanding.
- Abraham: Two words from God: (1) I will multiply your offspring through Isaac; (2) Kill Isaac.
Summary: Why Should We Trust the Bible?
- We cannot build adequate knowledge of truth on ourselves.
- We cannot build it on false witnesses to the truth.
- We must build on the Word of God, written for us in Scripture.