Category Archives: Truth

A series of posts based on my Bible study, The Ever Loving Truth, by Voddie Baucham.

Truth: Is It Important What We Believe?

I’ll start by apologizing today for not posting much this week – it’s been a busy week at work and at home.

Today’s post is very similar to the previous days’ posts, in that we are going to look at the importance of the doctrine of the resurrection to the Christian faith, but we are going to look at it from a slightly different angle, and we’re going to take it in a different direction.

A few months ago, I was reading the blog of popular Christian author Don Miller. He wrote a post called Having Right Theology Does Not Mean You Know God, and at the time I first read it, I agreed with it very much. I still agree with it very much, because the overarching point he makes in it is that the most important part of becoming a Christian is a relationship with the person of Jesus, rather than the right ideas (theology) you have about Jesus. Miller says “I do not believe [right theology] has any agency to convert anymore than directions to the doctor’s office has the power to heal.”  Now, a few months later, as I read his post, I can’t help but ask myself how important right theology is to the Christian faith.  Are our beliefs really all that important?

Now, I must point out that Don Miller didn’t say that having bad theology was okay, as long as you had a relationship with Jesus. I think what Miller was trying to say is that the most important thing is to have a relationship with Jesus, and that having the right ideas about Him comes later. The conversion itself is based on relationship, not head knowledge. It starts in the heart, and then as you continue in your relationship with Jesus, you are affected in such a way that it moves to your head. I might be wrong about what Miller is saying, but that’s how I took it.  In some ways I like this – it makes a relationship with God sound much more appealing than reading a dull book. But at the same time, I wonder how much this kind of thinking leads a person to a faith based on experiences and not on truth.

Human experience is a dangerous thing. Relying on only your experiences to guide you into truth is like relying on your experiences to guide you out of a dense forest. You can try your best to remember what trees you’ve already passed and which paths you’ve already taken, but chances are you will remain lost.  In order to get out of that forest, you would be better off having something that was absolute – a compass or a map.  God has given us something absolute in His Word – the Bible. And this is where theology comes in.

We talked the other day about how some people claim to be Christians, yet also deny that certain things are true, such as the resurrection of Jesus. Voddie Baucham quoted the very influential Episcopal bishop, John Shelby Spong, as saying

…I do not believe that Jesus entered this world by miracle of a virgin birth or that virgin births occur anywhere accept in mythology…I do not believe that the experience Christians celebrate at Easter was the physical resuscitation of the three-days-dead body of Jesus, nor do I believe that anyone literally talked with Jesus after the resurrection moment…

Can this man be a Christian, yet deny the most central truths that the Bible proclaims about Jesus? Can he truly deny the resurrection, and still claim to be a believer in any sense of the word? The Apostle Paul would say no.  When the Corinthian church started questioning the truth of the physical resurrection of the dead, he told them this:

12But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. 15More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. 16For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. 17And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. 19If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men. (1 Corinthians 15:12-19)

Paul makes it clear that you must believe in the resurrection of Christ, or else our faith is useless, we are still in our sins, and we will perish, both physically and spiritually, at our deaths.

So this begs the question – is it important what we believe?  Is there truly a “right theology” that is necessary for the Christian faith?  I do not deny that someone can have a relationship with Jesus, yet have completely wrong ideas about Him. I believe people have relationships with each other, yet have completely wrong ideas about each other. This is one of the reasons for our incredibly high divorce rates!  But just as a married couple who has the wrong ideas about each other ends in divorce, wouldn’t someone who has the wrong ideas about Jesus end up splitting ways with Him, once they found out the truth (if they didn’t like the truth, that is)?

So, although I’ve done this in the past with absolutely no response, I’m going to try again. I’m going to ask for feedback in the comments.  How important is having right beliefs to the Christian faith?  If you think it’s very important, which beliefs are essential?

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Truth: Believe in the Whole Gospel…

One of the hardest things for non-Christians to understand about Christianity is it’s exclusiveness. As I said in my posts last week, Jesus didn’t leave any wiggle room for other religions to come in and stake a claim on people’s salvation. Jesus said that “no one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Sometimes people still try to argue this point, but perhaps even more troubling are the people who accept Christianity as an exclusive religion, yet still don’t believe in every facet of the Gospel. A good example is the resurrection. There are people today who claim to be Christians but don’t believe in the resurrection. Take this one site, The Questions Christian, who wrote this in a post titled What if the Resurrection Didn’t Happen?:

At least according to the synoptic Gospels, the essence of Christianity is three things:

  • Love God above all;
  • love your neighbor as yourself — and your neighbor is everyone who crosses your path, not just your fellow tribesman; and
  • be willing to change your life to more closely match God’s will.

Other doctrines such as the resurrection, the virgin birth, the atonement, etc., are at best ancillary to [i.e., less important than] the Essential Three. But they did fortuitously [i.e., by luck or chance] serve as pedagogical devices, as “hooks” that got people’s attention and thereby helped them internalize the Essential Three.

A professed Christian who denies the resurrection?  Seems contradictory, doesn’t it? But he isn’t the first person in history to do this. The Corinthian church was known for being a troublesome congregation, and Paul wrote 2 letters to them in hopes of getting things straight. In his first letter, he told them

1Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:1-2)

What is this gospel that he preached to them?  He explains in the next set of verses:

3For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. 6After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.9For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. 11Whether, then, it was I or they, this is what we preach, and this is what you believed. (1 Corinthians 15:3-11)

So what was it in the gospel he preached that the Corinthians were having trouble believing?  Paul addresses this in the next verse:

12But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? (1 Corinthians 15:12)

See?  People have been arguing the reality of the resurrection of Christ since the first century. And people still don’t take it has fact – one survey of Americans found that only 36% believe in a physical resurrection of the dead, yet another survey found that 87% of people believe they themselves are going to heaven. If people believe that heaven is only a spiritual place or if they just haven’t thought it all through – I don’t know. But these numbers don’t line up with the core teachings of the Bible.  How did Paul respond to the Corinthians in this case?

13If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. 15More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. 16For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. 17And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. 19If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.

There is only one true gospel – the gospel that Paul preached to the Corinthians and that he summarized in the passages above. If we don’t believe that gospel in it’s entirety, whatever we do believe is useless to us. Our faith is futile. We are still in our sins, and we have absolutely nothing to hope for. And if that is the case, we should be pitied greatly.

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Truth: The Answer to Who Jesus Is…

My last post – last Tuesday – asked a series of questions about who Jesus really is. I asked anyone who read the post to comment by answering those questions, and although no one commented, I am still going to finish up the week by answering those questions based on my own personal knowledge and experience, but more importantly, the truths about Jesus portrayed in the Bible and outlined in my study throughout the week. Forgive the length of today’s post – it’s really a summary of a whole week’s worth of posts rolled up into one.

The first point to make is that the first question – who is Jesus to you, personally? – is not really an important question. Don’t get me wrong – it is important for your own salvation, because if your answer to question #1 and question #2 (who is the Jesus in the Bible?) are completely different and irreconcilable, then you don’t know the Jesus of the Bible and therefore are not saved. I know that is a seemingly harsh statement to make, but Jesus didn’t leave any wiggle room in this area. He stated it plainly:

6Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’ ” (John 14:6).

And Peter made the same point clear in his speech, recorded in Acts 4:10-12:

10then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. 11He is ‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the capstone. 12Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.

So in the end, the answer the first question is only important in light of the second question.

The best place to start in answering these questions is to answer the final question – How can we know who Jesus really is?  And the best answer for this is that the Bible says so. Now, if someone doesn’t believe the Bible to be a reliable book, then they aren’t in a place to know who Jesus really is, because the Bible is the only source from which we can learn anything factual about Jesus. But as we have discussed in the previous week’s posts, the Bible is, as Voddie Baucham puts it, ” a reliable collection of historical documents written down by eyewitnesses during the lifetime of other eyewitnesses. They report supernatural events that took place in fulfillment of specific prophecies and claimed that their writing are divine rather than human in origin.” So we can fully rely on what is written in the Bible and know that it trumps any other book or any experience we may have. Therefore, what it says about Jesus is true. The Bible is how we can get to know Jesus.

The next question to answer is who the Jesus of the Bible really is. This week’s studies outlined what is surely a very long answer, and I will condense it even further here:

  1. Jesus is God. This means that He is eternal and that he shares the Father’s nature and essence. John 1:1-2 says “1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was with God in the beginning.”  Although it’s hard to understand, Jesus is both God and with God, and therefore shares the characteristics of God and has been around since before time began (which answers question #3). The best explanation I have ever seen of this was in Mere Christianity, by C.S. Lewis:

    What God begets is God; just as what man begets is man. What God creates is not God; just as what man makes is not man. That is why men are not Sons of God in the sense that Christ is. They may be like God in certain ways, but they are not things of the same kind. They are more like statues or pictures of God…In God’s dimension, so to speak, you find a being who is three Persons while remaining one Being, just as a cube is six squares while remaining one cube. Of course we cannot fully conceive a Being like that: just as, if we were so made that we perceived only two dimensions in space we could never properly imagine a cube.

    Jesus, therefore, being begotten by God the Father, and not created by Him, is all God. God can be more than one person and still be one being. Again, this is hard to understand, but it’s important to know that Jesus is all God.

  2. Jesus is a man. Although Jesus is all God, he is also all man. Philippians 2:5-8 says:

    5Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: 6Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross!

    Jesus’ life was the purest example of humility. He laid aside His strength and abilities, choosing to to take on the form of a man, a weak human body, and to serve those around Him in the process, no less!

  3. Jesus is Lord. Because He humbled Himself, God the Father exalted Him as Lord over everything:

    9Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9-11)

  4. Jesus created all things. The eternal nature of Jesus, as discussed in point #1 above, implies that He was around during the creation of everything. But Colossians 1:15-17 states plainly that Jesus was the creator:

    15He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. 17He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

  5. Jesus is the only way to Heaven. Probably the most controversial aspect of Jesus is the fact that He is the exclusive way to God the Father, and therefore to Heaven. Exclusive means that every other way is excluded. No other religion, no amount of good works, no other method will allow you access to the Father. Only Jesus can do that. As I said above, He left no wiggle room in this area. People throughout the world, and especially in America, live their lives assuming that Heaven is the default destination. But Voddie Baucham makes in illustration in today’s lesson that I think makes the point the best:

    Image a bride dressed in a long, flowing, white wedding gown. She stands in front of a beautiful new house waiting to be carried across the threshold. Her eyes are filled with the joy, anticipation, and excitement of a newlywed. As the man of her dreams approaches, she closes her eyes, takes a deep breath, extends her arms, and…   Before we finish the story, let’s add a twist. The woman has never met the man approaching her. She merely saw the house being built and decided it was the place she wanted to spend the rest of her life. On its completion she learned of the anticipated move-in date and showed up in a wedding gown expecting to be embraced, swept off her feet, and married…  This scenario might seem outrageous, but it is exactly what people do when they expect to spend eternity with Jesus without having given their lives to Him beforehand. An unbeliever’s expectation to spend life without Jesus and eternity with Him is like expecting the previous story to have a happy ending; it’s not going to happen!

This week’s study on the Search for the Real Jesus was very rewarding for me, and hopefully if you come across these posts, you will get something from them, too. Knowing Jesus is the most important aspect of our lives – no one else has the power to erase our pasts, empower us for the present, and give us a hope for the future. Only in Jesus do we find what we were truly made for, so knowing who He truly is one of the most crucial things we can learn.

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Truth: Who Is Jesus?

When I used to teach middle school, I also coached tennis for a couple of years. My last year of teaching/coaching, there was a girl on my tennis team who I got to talk about Christianity with. She was not a believer, nor was any of her family. They were an intelligent family, and they obviously talked about religious things, because this girl had a good base in understanding religious ideas about many different religions. She understood a little about Christianity, but she also knew other people in other religions that she loved dearly, as well as some family members who were living very non-Christian lifestyles, and she couldn’t see how she could become a Christian and believe that she would go to heaven, when all these other people would go to hell. That was “cruel” in her mind. She wanted a firm answer as to how I knew that Jesus was the only way to God.

On the other side of things, here on my blog I have had people comment by saying things that were contrary to what I had written about, and tried to portray Jesus as somebody different that I was trying to portray Him as. Specifically, when I was doing my Bible study over Heaven, I wrote about the existence of hell, and I received a comment by a gentleman who had written a book about how there was no such thing as hell, and that the passages in the Bible that taught that hell was a real place were either misinterpreted or were added later by the church to scare people into believing (and supposedly, therefore, into giving the church money). This guy had taken a central teaching of the Bible and discarded it in order to make Jesus into who he wanted Him to be. We both believed in Jesus, but not the same Jesus.

This week’s study in The Ever Loving Truth is titled The Search for the Real Jesus. I’m going to do something a little different this week than I usually do with my Bible study posts. I’m going to ask you, the reader, to respond to a few questions. Feel free to answer any or all of these, and answer them in any way you choose. I commit to respond to every single comment, and on Friday, I am going to come back and discuss my own answers to these questions, and continue the discussion of who Jesus really is.

  1. Who is Jesus to you, personally?
  2. Who is the Jesus in the Bible? Include any Bible passages you may use to give this answer.
  3. How long has Jesus been around? How do you know?
  4. What role has Jesus played throughout history?
  5. How can we know who Jesus really is?

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Truth: Guided By Truth, Not By Experience…

One of the most attention-grabbing things to see is when a person tells a story about an amazing event in their life. People, when telling about a life-or-death situation they were in, or a huge transition they went through, often are more animated and therefore more interesting to listen to. And it doesn’t have to be about themselves – a person telling a story about someone else can be just as animated if the story is dramatic. A good example is the book I just finished reading, and that I reviewed here on the blog, called Captured By Grace, by David Jeremiah. In it, Dr. Jeremiah tells about the conversion of John Newton, a former slave trader turned abolitionist, and author of the famous hymn, Amazing Grace. That book captured my attention with it’s stories of the adventures Newton went through as a sea-faring slave trader. He had several close calls with death, and those experiences were very influential in his conversion and life as a Christ follower. Something about testimonies like that grabs us and gets our attention. We have a soft spot for the experiences we and others go through.

In a way, that is a good thing. It shows that we are tuned in to the human condition, and that we empathize with others when they go through tough times. On the other hand, relying on experience alone is dangerous, because all kinds of people have all kinds of experiences. Voddie Baucham uses the example of an alcoholic going through a 12-step program to get sober. One of the 12 steps is to find a higher power. What if he chooses to make the lamppost outside his house his higher power?  If he then is able to get sober, then his experience is validated. The lamppost truly is something special!  But of course, we know that the lamppost had nothing to do with it. This is why it’s dangerous to use experience as validation of the truth.

The apostle Peter wrote about the truth of the Bible in 2 Peter 1:16-21:

16We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17For he received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” 18We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.19And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.

He started by pointing out that the events he spoke of occurred in the presence of many eyewitnesses. He wasn’t just making up stories. He then points to the supernatural events involved – these eyewitnesses are all able to give testimony to the events which took place, which prove that more than just mortal man was involved. This was a God thing! He then pointed out that the events that took place fulfilled many prophecies – there were prophecies that Christ would be born of a virgin in Bethlehem, that He would suffer and die, and that he would rise from the dead before his body was able to see decay. All of this came true, and is a powerful testimony to the truth in the Bible. It wasn’t until after all of these arguments that Peter then says “you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.” This is believed to be some kind of first century figure of speech, and it points to the fact that the events spoken of (and therefore the Bible that records them) should have an impact on people’s lives.

When asked why we believe the Bible is true, as opposed to some other holy book or supposed higher power, we would do well to stay away from using experience as our first argument. Many Muslims can claim the Quran as having the same impact on their lives. And the drunk can claim the same experience with the lamppost outside his house. When they do, it completely invalidates our argument that the Bible is a life changing book. It leads people to believe that faith is relative – what works for one person works for them, and what works for another person works for that person. There is no absolute truth in that scenario. If we want people to understand the truth of the Bible, we must do like Peter did and start with the factual evidence that the Bible is true. Then, when we’ve established the fact that the Bible is true, we can use our experience as a testimony to draw people to it’s life-changing power. Or as Baucham put it, we can stand up and say “oh yeah, I tried it, and it worked for me.”

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Truth: When It’s Hard To Lie…

Have you ever told a lie?  Of course you have, and so have I. Lying is one of the easiest of all sins, and a trap that many of us have fallen into many times in our lives. But have you ever told a lie to someone who already knew the truth?  This is a lot harder to do! Voddie Baucham tells a story in a sermon titled Why I Choose To Believe the Bible, where his son touches a light socket after being told he wasn’t supposed to do that. He asks his son if he touched the socket, to which he replies “No. I didn’t touch it.”  Baucham then says, “I’m going to ask you again, and this time I should let you know that I saw what you did.  Now, did you touch the light socket?” This time his son replies only with a few tears and an “I love you!”

It’s so much harder for us to lie to people when we know that they already know the truth. It was no different for the apostles and early church leaders when they wrote what was to become the New Testament. When Peter wrote his 2 letters to believers throughout “Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia” (1 Peter 1:1), one of the things he discusses is when he, John, and James were eyewitnesses to the glory given to Jesus on the mountain, when He was transfigured before their eyes (see 2 Peter 1:16-17, Mark 9:1-12). Now, this event was already well recorded – in the gospels of Matthew (ch. 17), Mark (ch. 9), and Luke (ch. 9) – but Peter would not have been able to boldly proclaim it as a true event if it were not so. I’m not 100% sure about James, but John was still alive at the time that Peter wrote this, and would have been able to refute it had it been a lie.

This isn’t the only example – the entire New Testament is written by eyewitnesses or by those who received their information firsthand from eyewitnesses, all while other eyewitnesses were still alive. It would have been much harder for these writers to lie or even embellish about the events of the life of Jesus when so many other people who knew the truth firsthand were still around.

The only other objection that people can make, then, is that the Bible has been changed since it’s original writing. Baucham calls this the “zealous monk theory,” because so many people claim that zealous monks made changes to the New Testament to make it better match up with the Old Testament. To show how ludicrous this theory is, Baucham explains the magnitude of such an undertaking in his book that this study is based on, also titled The Ever Loving Truth:

First, we would have to ignore the fact that there are over 5000 Greek manuscripts and that any monk wishing to change the Bible would have to collect at least a majority of them. Second, this zealous monk would have to make sure that all of the early translations were gathered and destroyed. Third, he would have to eliminate the writings of the early church fathers, and finally, he would have to single-handedly spread his doctored documents throughout the world, returning them to the museums, monasteries, churches, and individual collections from which he stole them. Please! That would be a bigger feat than parting the Red Sea!

It’s hard for some people to believe the Bible, but I am starting to see that the reason for this is not that the Bible has an unbelievable story or unbelievable beginnings. It’s because they don’t want to have to live up to the standards that it sets. I don’t blame them, really – I don’t really want to live up to those standards either. But we all have a choice, and because I know the Bible is true, I can’t help but want to make the choice it says is best for me – Jesus.

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Truth: How Do We Know That the Bible Is True?

When it comes to talking to people about our faith in Jesus, it’s almost impossible to do without referring to the Bible. I mean, technically, none of us were there. None of us were eyewitnesses to any of the events written about in the gospels or in Acts. When we tell people about Jesus, we are forced to fall back on others’ testimonies about Jesus, and these are found in the Bible. The problem with this is that if the person we are talking to doesn’t believe that the Bible is authentic, then our only line of evidence is worthless to them. So, it’s important that we provide a strong argument for the authenticity of the Bible when we talk to people about Jesus.

In today’s lesson from The Ever Loving Truth, author Voddie Baucham lists 3 major objections that people often give when discussing the authenticity of the Bible:

  1. The Bible has been changed many times, so we can’t know for sure what it originally said.
  2. The Bible is just a collection of myths that may or may not be true.
  3. The church has hidden documents over the years because they refute the Bible.

Baucham then points out that there is no evidence for any of these objections. In order to show that the Bible was changed, you’d have to show what the original was like. In order to show that documents exist that refute the Bible, you’d have to produce those documents, or have some kind of proof that they were being concealed. These arguments just don’t stand up.

The truth is that the Bible is “a reliable collection of historical documents.” There is plenty of evidence for this:

  1. Thousands of early manuscripts exist. There are more than 5000 ancient New Testament manuscripts available, some written as early as within 50 years of the original documents. Other historical documents (like Julius Ceasar’s Gallic Wars, or Aristotle’s Poetics) have only 5-10 manuscripts available, and were written 900-1300 years after the originals. Scholars never question the authenticity of these other historical documents, yet they easily question the authenticity of the Bible.
  2. Early translations exist. Translations of the New Testament exist that were translated into Latin, Syriac, or Coptic, as early as the 2nd or 3rd centuries. Scholars often argue that the New Testament was written much later than that, but how, then, could it have been translated earlier? If this blog post were translated into Spanish tomorrow, you couldn’t come back a few weeks from now and say that it was really written two weeks after it was actually written. A translation exists that was written earlier than that, so the original must have existed earlier than that.
  3. Early church fathers quoted the New Testament. The men who read the early texts written by Peter, John, Paul, and others, quoted and cited from that text so much, that we could almost reproduce the entire New Testament completely from their quotations. In other words, even if we didn’t have the 5000 manuscripts of the New Testament, we could probably still piece together what was written in them by simply taking what others had quoted from them.

This evidence makes it clear that the Bible is more reliable than any other historical document around. Once that is established, we can go one step further and take Peter’s words in 2 Peter 1:16

16We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17For he received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” 18We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.

Peter is saying that he and others were eyewitnesses to the events of the gospels. Not just storytellers who relay what others have told them. Actual eyewitnesses. They were on the mountain with Jesus when God spoke (see Matthew 17:1-11, Mark 9:2-13, or Luke 9:28-36). And the apostle John made this same truth clear when he said “1That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life” (1 John 1:1, emphasis added). The stories they told of Jesus were first-hand accounts.

If the Bible is authentic, as it evidently is by any standard we might use to show its authenticity, and if those who wrote it claim first-hand knowledge of the events and person of Jesus, we now have a solid base from which we can then explain to people their need for a savior, and God’s provision of just that through Jesus Christ.

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