Saturday, October 15, 2016

By the Book

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 we really believe what's in the Bible? What makes it so reliable?

For Christ-followers, these two small questions have eternal consequences. But who really knows? After all, many people say that the Bible is too old to be relevant in the 21st Century. Skeptics doubt the possibility of all the miracles it reports. And still others assert that the Bible is no greater than the scriptures used by other religions.

With so many legitimate concerns out there, why should we trust the Bible?

First, the Bible claims to be God's Bibleword. But moreover it proves it with hundreds of prophesies (predictions) about events that actually happened decades or centuries later. For example, the Old Testament records in detail God's plan for saving mankind through a Messiah. The prophet Micah wrote that this Savior would be born--in of all places--an obscure village in the Middle East called Bethlehem. And as we read in the New Testament, Jesus indeed fulfilled these prophesies 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 New Testament's 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 shared 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 said. "But we saw the greatness of Jesus with our own eyes."

It all adds up to a mountain of convincing 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 Scripture. After all, it's God's 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 action: trust.

Yes, God's message to us through the Bible is reliable. And who better to confirm that than someone who believed it himself: Jesus. Luke's Gospel records that Christ even launched his public ministry by reading a passage from the Old Testament:

He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: 

The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news 
to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery
of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.

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."

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