All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
-- 2 Timothy 3:16:17
Can you really believe what's in the Bible? And is all that stuff about Easter and Jesus rising from the dead really true?
These are lofty questions with eternal consequences. But who really knows the truth? After all, some people say that the Bible is too old to be relevant in the 21st Century. Others doubt the possibility of all the miracles it reports. And still more claim that the Bible is no greater than the scriptures of other faiths.
With so many legitimate concerns out there, what makes the Bible stand out above every book ever written?
First, the Bible claims to be God's Word--and then backs it up with hundreds of prophesies (predictions) about events that would happen decades or even centuries later. For example, the Old Testament records in detail God's plan for saving mankind through a Messiah. The prophet Micah wrote that the Savior would be born--in of all places--an obscure Middle Eastern town called Bethlehem. And as we read in the New Testament, Jesus actually fulfilled these prophesies in person through His birth, ministry, death and resurrection. And he did so to the letter!
Historically and scientifically accurate, the Bible is also the most studied and critiqued book in history. Try as many have, no one has been able to disprove its claims. Luke, the physician who wrote the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles, also wanted the real scoop. So he interviewed the people who knew Jesus best and could attest to His reality. Consider the opening lines of Luke's first book:
"Many people have tried to tell the story of what God has done among us. They wrote what we had been told by the ones who were there in the beginning and saw what happened. So I made a careful study of everything and then decided to write and tell you exactly what took place. ...I have done this to let you know the truth about what you have heard."
The Apostle Peter--someone who knew Jesus personally--also documented his own testimony:
"When we told you about the powerful coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, we were not telling just clever stories that someone invented," he wrote. "But we saw the greatness of Jesus with our own eyes."
It all adds up to a mountain of evidence that would stand up in court. So as Christ-followers seeking to grow in our faith, what should be our response to this awesome reality?
First, we should take time each day to read and memorize God's Word. After all, it's his message to us that covers just about every facet of life. And of course, we also need to obey it--even if it doesn't make sense at the time. What's more, we should delight in it because we know it's the source of truth for our life. And this all leads to our final response: trust.
God's Word to us through the Bible is surely trustworthy. And who better to confirm this than someone who very much believed it himself: Jesus. Luke's Gospel tells us that Christ even launched His public ministry by reading passages from the Book of Isaiah. A small Jewish congregation was the first audience for these stunning words of new-found meaning. But Jesus also meant them for everyone--even those of us today with ears to hear them:
"Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. He began by saying to them, "Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing."
Yes, we can and should believe God's Word for us in the Bible. And that's the Gospel Truth!