Why is the Bible true? Here’s what I came up with.
Grace and the human condition – Grace is the most beautiful thing about Christianity and the biggest reason I am continually drawn to scripture. There is no explanation for it. Indeed, the very reason scripture is scripture is its’ testimony to the living grace of Christ. So much of human behavior draws from trying to find acceptance, but the God of the Bible offers it freely. Without grace we are hopeless consigned to a rat race of futility. We will do anything for security or pleasure, then once we do we don’t know what to do with the guilt. After awhile our hearts become so hardened and selfish we don’t even feel that anymore. Can anyone doubt this? A glance across today’s news headlines anywhere in the world confirms it. But once we have acceptance and our identity in him we can truly learn to live as we are designed. Grace cuts against everything we are. It is completely antithetical to human nature and yet there it is. No other belief system whether religious or secular can compare. While many have superficial similarities and differences, they are all different from Christ’s message in this sense. They all offer a path back to the way things should be, but Christ came down the path to where we are and offers to carry us himself. That is a major difference. That is grace.
Historicity – Simply put, there is compelling historical evidence for the Bible’s truthfulness. For brevity’s sake I will focus on the four gospels here. Also, I believe the rest of the bible stands or falls with them. There is overwhelming objective evidence to support their historicity. Literally thousands of ancient manuscripts from around the ancient world confirm the words of the Gospels as we have them today. I understand there are textual variants, but the original texts can be constructed to about 98% accuracy, and variants do not involve any major doctrines or events. If they were made up or exaggerated would other witnesses not have corrected the story? Would the disciples have made themselves to look like bumbling fools in the narrative? Would documentation of the resurrection depend largely on the testimony of women (a cultural no no at the time)? Of course each gospel reflects the author’s style, context, and emphasis, but that simply represents different perspectives and audiences. I could keep going but I will stop there. In the end, those rejecting the gospels have much more explaining to do than those accepting them. So if it’s true they are indeed historical then the ramifications are huge and lead to my next point.
The best explanation of reality – I believe the Bible offers the only coherent explanation of why things are they way they are. If the gospels are historical documents that of course means the resurrection of Christ from death is a true event. The ramifications of this fact are that he is God as he claimed and should be obeyed. I’m not saying there are not times when I doubt or have issues but in the end I cannot come up with any other explanation for what happened in the tomb and on the cross and that is worth giving my life to. The reality of the resurrection also ties in perfectly with the evidence for design in nature and the universe as well as with the reality of the human condition already discussed. (for more see Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis). Thus, it is my opinion that no other belief system addresses all of this comprehensively. I see intentional design in creation. I see both a deep evil and a profound beauty in all humanity. I see people everywhere myself included longing for redemption but irreducibly unable to find it. I see a God-man Jesus who provides the only solution to all this puzzle. It is only in him and his story found in scripture that what I have experienced and perceive in the world come together without contradiction or conflict.
Tradition – Look, I would be kidding myself if I said my upbringing and education didn’t play a part in my beliefs. Of course they do. That being said, I have honestly questioned and sought answers as best as I can.
What about you?