His Word Is Truth
“It’s nice that the Bible is true for you, but I don’t necessarily agree.”
Has anyone ever said something like that to you? Where did you go from there?
Often Christians know what they believe, but they don’t know how to help someone else understand the nature and authority of the Bible. Here are some suggestions.
All people make assumptions. Some are reasonable; others are illogical. Without revelation, which is God’s disclosure of Himself, humanity’s knowledge would be limited to the material world.
When an atheist assumes there is no God, he goes against nature. God’s general revelation of Himself through the natural world communicates His existence:
For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead [divine nature], so that they [people] are without excuse (Rom. 1:20).
This verse explains the pending internal collapse of evolution in favor of “intelligent design” among those who are intellectually honest. God’s invisible attributes are too clearly portrayed for evolution’s denials to continue forever. Indeed, virtually all cultures create religions having an intelligent designer in one form or another. Denying God’s existence is completely illogical.
What if your friend concedes but then asserts, “We cannot know for sure there is a God.” When an agnostic assumes we cannot know God, he goes against reason. He must conclude that this intelligent designer has played a cruel joke on the highest form of his design. It is unreasonable to assume a designer sequesters himself and delights in anonymously watching his design fail.
Can a mother forget her baby? Can an intelligent designer reject his design? Hardly. Total objectivity must acknowledge God.
Rejecting God is an issue of the heart and will, not a matter of the mind. Though you cannot reason someone into God’s Kingdom, your gentle and caring relationship with your friend may open the door to his or her mind.
Perhaps your friend is willing to admit there must be a God. Where do you go from there? The Bible. Theism is the only natural, logical conclusion.
God “is there, and He is not silent,” wrote the late Francis Schaeffer. Not only does this statement underlie the Christian’s pursuit of truth, but it is clearly claimed by the Bible itself. Concluding that the world’s Designer has revealed Himself to His design is logically consistent. And the only book that claims to be the inspired, authoritative self-revelation of God is the Bible.
Introduce your friend to the idea of inspiration. The Bible is the inspired Word of God. “God-breathed” is the meaning of a Greek word the apostle Paul used (2 Tim. 3:16). The apostle Peter added, “No prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation” (2 Pet. 1:20), meaning that no writer of any part of the biblical record ever recorded his own interpretation of what he saw, heard, or experienced.
Peter taught that nothing in the Bible is merely human explanation. He emphasized this point by adding, “For prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (v. 21). Even though each writer used his own vocabulary, style, and experiences, the entire content of the Bible is “God-breathed” by the Holy Spirit.
There is a mysterious element to the origin of the biblical text. For the most part, God did not “dictate it.” Neither did He simply stamp His approval on what men had written. The Spirit of God “moved” men as the wind moves a sailboat, so they composed precisely what He wanted written.
Well-known theologian Charles Ryrie provided an excellent definition of the biblical concept of inspiration: “God superintended the human authors of the Bible so that they composed and recorded without error His message to mankind in the words of their original writings.”1
Next, your friend needs to consider the result of inspiration. Since God directed the biblical authors, it is logical the Bible would be inerrant. Inspiration is verbal and complete, extending to the very words of the biblical text—not merely to the concepts. Both Jesus and the apostles built theological truth on the words of Scripture (Mt. 22:32; Gal. 3:16). Paul taught,
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Tim. 3:16–17).
Jesus affirmed, “the Scripture cannot be broken” (Jn. 10:35). “Till heaven and earth pass away,” He said, “one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled” (Mt. 5:18). The jot is the smallest letter of the Hebrew alphabet, and the tittle is the little tail that distinguishes certain Hebrew letters.
Then help your friend understand that inerrancy leads to infallibility. If the Scripture cannot be broken, then wherever it speaks, it must speak infallibly. Since the Holy Spirit enabled the human authors to record God’s message without error, the message must be trustworthy.
Conversely, if even one statement in the Bible is wrong, the entire Book falls under a cloud of suspicion. If any Scripture can be broken, then Jesus was wrong. But Jesus reminded men who attempted to break the Scripture, “You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God” (22:29).
Inspiration, rightly understood, communicates an inerrant, infallible self-disclosure of God and His truth for humanity.
Many have argued for a lower view of inspiration, which always elevates the mind of the reader/interpreter above the authority of the text. Natural and mystical views of inspiration attribute Scripture’s origin to the human authors, saying that the writers were inspired. Partial inspiration divides the credit between God and man. Karl Barth and Neo-orthodoxy define inspiration more in terms of what happens to the person who reads Scripture. Postmodernism embraces a full-orbed reader-centered inspiration. All these deficient views undermine the inerrancy, infallibility, and authority of the text itself as God’s self-disclosure.
Now your friend is ready for the bottom line. If the only logical assumption is “God is there, and He is not silent,” then inspiration—rightly understood—affirms that the Bible is truth. Truth is defined as that which conforms to reality. Not reality as people think they see it, but reality as it actually exists—as only God sees it. For the God-breathed Scriptures to be anything less than truth, God must have made a mistake or lied. By definition, God is omniscient, so there can be no mistake. Hebrews 6:18 asserts, “It is impossible for God to lie.”
Not only is the Bible truth, it is absolute truth. As an airplane pilot needs reliable instruments because his perceptions can prove fatal, so mankind needs God’s Word. God alone has an unobstructed, unbiased view of reality. His inspired Word provides that view of reality for all of us.
- Charles C. Ryrie, Basic Theology (Colorado Springs, CO: Victor Books, 1988), 71.