top of page

You Can & Should Trust God's Word

Originally submitted in fullfilment of course requirements for THEO 525: Systematic Theology I at Liberty University.

 

Today we will be talking about the trustworthiness of God’s Word. So many doubt that we can trust the Bible as God’s Word. My mission for today is to encourage you that you definitely can trust scripture as God’s Word, and it is useful for application in our daily lives. There are so many doubts concerning scripture’s validity, but I hope you consider what is said and even do your own research. Let’s begin!

            If you’re a Christian, you may sometimes wonder what you are supposed to believe about scripture. If you are NOT a Christian, you may wonder what it is that Christians believe about this really old biblical text and why they study it so much. Well, this will be one of the first things I will address.

            Christians ought to believe that Scripture is inerrant. This means we believe that the bible is fully truthful in all that it teaches.[1] This also means that we believe that all scripture is God-breathed and useful for teaching.[2] While God may not have come down directly to earth to write the words with a pen and scroll Himself, He did utilize humans to communicate the truths found in scripture to His people. To trust Scripture is to trust God.

            Over the course of church history, the family of believers have established what they believe to be is true about scripture. This is not due solely to tradition, but because of God’s commands. Tradition is important, but it is not more important than God’s Word. We can look to the elders throughout church history for guidance and look to their lives as examples of how to live according to the way of God – or for examples of how not to live according to the Word of God. His Word always takes authority over tradition.

            To help us be acquainted with what we ought to know as saved children of God we look to the Chicago statement on Biblical inerrancy. Some Articles of Affirmation are as followed:

“We affirm that the Holy Scriptures are to be received as the authoritative Word of God.”

“We affirm that the written Word in its entirety is revelation given by God.”

“We affirm that inspiration was the work in which God by His Spirit, through human writers, gave us His Word.”

“We affirm that Scripture, having been given by divine inspiration, is infallible…”

“We affirm that the doctrine of inerrancy is ground in the teaching of the Bible about inspiration.”[3]

            Church leaders of the past have believed these things to be true and we should too. Not because they told us so, but because God gives us His Word so we can live out our lives to bring Him glory. I believe that due to God’s character He would not deceive His children, or His Son for that matter who believed these things to be true as well. As followers of Christ and as a people who accept salvation from Him, we must believe in Him, His beliefs, His words, and His actions.

            Authors of the Old Testament believed in the trustworthiness of God as well. Proverbs 30:5-6 says, “Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Do not add to his words, lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar.”[4] This passage tells us we can trust both God and His Word while also warning us not to add to His words. As a writer of scripture, I am sure it could have been tempting to add something to it for one’s own benefit, but that has been warned against. Honestly, a lot of scripture is some difficult stuff to follow through on which requires the help of the Holy Spirit. We need the help of the Holy Spirit to both read it and live it. It is the Holy Spirit who equips us to believe and understand scripture once we accept His guarantee of salvation.

            God reveals Himself to us both in Scripture and through special revelation. GotQuestions.org defines special revelation as “how God has chosen to reveal Himself through miraculous means. Special revelation includes physical appearances of God, dreams, visions, the written Word of God, and most importantly—Jesus Christ.”[5] God chose to reveal Himself and His expectations for us in the Bible.[6] This is the chosen medium of His communication with Him. Yes, we have prayer, but don’t we look to scripture for how to pray and to define it? Jesus, Himself teaches us how to pray in Luke 11 with what we know as the Lord’s prayer.

            Since God is the author of scripture that means that scripture in and of itself cannot be hindered. Humans do not affect scripture’s divinity or authority.[7] If we trust God to be both all-knowing and all powerful then we have no reason to doubt the means by which He communicates or its authority. Our theological approach to scripture must be rooted in God’s omniscience and His trustworthy character.[8]

            If trusting God, Himself is the issue concerning your belief or lack thereof in His Word then we have to dig deep into our memories and recall His faithfulness. The Bible holds records of His faithfulness from Abraham in the Old Testament to Paul in the New Testament. If we do not want to take Scripture’s Word for it then I want you to take a moment to pause and reflect on how God has been faithful to you in your own life. Did you have a bill you weren’t too sure how you were going to pay? The car wouldn’t start but a quick prayer later the ignition started or someone showed up with jumper cables? Or thank God for AAA right? He’s proven to be faithful in that for me – providing others to meet my needs in the midst of a trial. Personally, I always go back to when my mom passed. I didn’t feel His faithfulness in her passing, but I sure felt His faithfulness in the provision of funds for her memorial and burial services. At twenty years old I had no idea what I was doing but kept doing my best to walk in faith. I started a GoFundMe page and family and friends contributed allowing me to put on a nice service for my mom. He doesn’t always have to show up in such a big way like that all the time to prove His faithfulness, but that is one moment I always recall when I begin to doubt. Financially, emotionally, and spiritually He has been faithful. If we can trust Him in those moments where His character has been proven true, we can trust Him in His ability to be the all-powerful and all-knowing author of the Bible we read today.

            When we doubt the truthfulness of God’s word, we also doubt our Savior. Jesus accepted the divinity of Scripture and did not doubt the authority or reliability of it.[9] While Jesus does acknowledge that some parts of scripture are “weightier” than others, He does not disregard any of it as unimportant.[10] In Matthew 23:23-24 Jesus says, “ “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel!”[11] Jesus is saying that we cannot pick and choose what we want to believe and be obedient to, but we must believe and obey the whole of scripture because God is the author of all of it, not part of it. Not only did Jesus believe all of the Word of God, but He also fulfilled it! There were four hundred years of silence between the Old and New Testaments.[12] This indicates that the Word of God was faithfully passed down over this number of years to where the people still expected their Messiah to come. This is similar to how we know Jesus will come again because we take great care to faithfully pass down this news. Great care has been put into the translation and transfer of scripture from generation to generation. After a four hundred year gap the prophecies of the Old Testament were fulfilled. This proves that God is faithful, and His Word can be trusted.

            If God’s character is not enough for us to trust His Word, there is physical evidence. Our confidence in scripture and Jesus’ authority are only affirmed through the means of archaeological materials.[13] Discoveries have been made that correlate with certain Biblical stories and others that have God’s Word written on them that have been sustained with great care because of their importance. Let’s look at some.

            One of the more popular or at least the one artifact I have heard the most about is the Dead Sea Scrolls. These are document fragments that contain fragments of 190 Biblical scrolls including a complete scroll of Isaiah.[14] The most prominent finding of these Dead Sea Scrolls is that they are transcribed and copied with minimal differences. The Hebrew texts have not been altered since transcribed all those years ago.[15] The meaning of the text has remained faithful since the time it was written. This means that those who authored and transcribed paid attention to what the Proverbs author said about not adding to scripture. This gives us hope in the faithfulness of God’s Word and those who have done the tedious task of ensuring it is carried on for genrations.

            Going along with the faithful recording of God’s Word, The Epic of Gilgamesh is a biblical record that had been found confirming the flood story.[16] In comparison to what this document had to say regarding the flood account it appears that the Genesis account is more historically accurate.[17] This makes sense in my book because our God is nothing less than perfection.

            Along with documents cities are discovered that align with the history of the bible. the Word of God can be trusted both historically and spiritually. An example of city and architectural evidence is the Shiloh Tabernacle Architecture. The gate here is believed to be the one that was mentioned in 1 Samuel 4 concerning the place of death of the high priest, Eli.[18] Places and items correlate properly with the Word of God. I, personally am not surprised, but I am grateful that we have physical proof that we can remind ourselves of when doubt creeps in. It is also nice to have this evidence as we begin to share the gospel and we begin to list our “why”s for our belief in Jesus and why we follow what He did and what He believed. The evidence is there, we just have to be open to it and not harden our hearts toward the Lord.

If we believe in the Word of God, then we believe some really good news. If we believe what the Bible says that means we believe that Jesus Christ was sent by God, the Father to pay atonement for our sins out of His love for us. And that’s not the end of it! Our sins are paid for and we have been given the Holy Spirit to help us read and obey God’s Word along with the rest of our daily lives. Salvation and the gift of the Holy Spirit are promised to us in Scripture, but along with salvation comes eternal life living in glorified union with God and the saints. This is something we should desire to believe. One of my favorite articles that I have read so far concerning the implications of Biblical inerrancy and salvation is written by R.C. Sproul and it is titled, “What Difference Does an Inerrant Bible Make?” Within this article Sproul details a conversation he has had with a Christian who says he only believes inerrancy in parts of scripture rather than the whole.[19] Sproul begins to ask some basic questions concerning salvation and they conclude that scripture must be believed wholly inerrant for us to have salvation. If any part of scripture contains error than there is room for error in our salvation. That’s a scary thought. To question scripture is to question Christ’s authority. If we question Christ’s authority, then our salvation becomes questionable. We go down a large rabbit hole if any part of scripture contains error and is not perfect like the God who authored it. The inerrant Bible makes all the difference for our salvation and relationship with our God.

            For application of the trustworthiness of God we should cling to Paul’s words to Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:14-17: “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it 15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” Once we believe in the inerrant Word of God we can utilize and apply it in our daily lives. Scripture is referred to as bread in which we need daily. As Christians, we must feed ourselves, so we grow in both love - toward God and others – and wisdom. Today we have learned that scripture fulfils scripture and that there is even architectural evidence to believe in the inerrant word of God. Now, we have to be responsible with this information. The first we must do is process this for ourselves and evaluate where we stand with scripture and ask God to soften our hearts toward His Word so that we may glorify Him. The second thing is once we have processed this for ourselves, we must share it with others. Biblical inerrancy confirms the good news of salvation, and we should desire to share that with everyone. We are also ordered to share this with everyone by Jesus in Matthew 28. Have you ever gotten excited about a good book you read? For me, I can get excited about Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer. If someone is struggling with grief or feeling defeated in their mind, I am quick to recommend this book. If someone is struggling in life and needs hope, I need to be quick to share the Word of God. His Word is the only book that is perfectly inerrant and filled with life. The Word of God contains the words of life, and we should apply it to our own lives and share it with those around us.

            The Word of God has been trusted since the beginning of time, literally. It has been handled with great care so that all the generations to come can believe in its trustworthiness and receive the gift of salvation. If we doubt scripture, we then doubt the very means of our salvation. Our trustworthy God and His Word is too good not to share. We must study it for ourselves and pray for a bold faith so we can invite others to believe the crazy goodness of God’s Word.

 




[1] Millard J Erickson, Christian Theology, 3rd ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2013), 189–209.

[2] 2 Timothy 3:16-17

[3] “The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy,” The Gospel Coalition, 1978, https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/themelios/article/the-chicago-statement-on-biblical-inerrancy/.

[4] Proverbs 30:5-6, ESV

[5] GotQuestions.org, “What Is General Revelation and Special Revelation? | GotQuestions.org,” GotQuestions.org, February 5, 2007, https://www.gotquestions.org/general-special-revelation.html. Emphasis mine.

[6] Ibid.

[7] The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy,” The Gospel Coalition (Themelios, 1978), https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/themelios/article/the-chicago-statement-on-biblical-inerrancy/.

[8] Millard J Erickson, “What Is Theology?,” in Christian Theology, 3rd ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2013), 3–22.

[9] Craig L. Blomberg and Julie N. Dykes, “Jesus’s View of the Old Testament,” The Gospel Coalition, February 10, 2020, https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/essay/jesuss-view-old-testament/.

[10] Craig L. Blomberg and Julie N. Dykes, “Jesus’s View of the Old Testament,” The Gospel Coalition, February 10, 2020, https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/essay/jesuss-view-old-testament/.

[11] Matthew 23:23-24, ESV

[12] LORI STANLEY ROELEVELD, “What Happened during the 400 Years of Silence between the Old and New Testaments?,” Christianity.com, May 11, 2022, https://www.christianity.com/wiki/bible/what-happened-during-the-400-years-of-silence-between-the-old-and-new-testaments.html.

[13] Millard J Erickson, “What Is Theology?,” in Christian Theology, 3rd ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2013), 3–22.

[14] John Currid, “10 Crucial Archaeological Discoveries Related to the Bible,” Crossway.org, 2018, https://www.crossway.org/articles/10-crucial-archaeological-discoveries-related-to-the-bible/.

[15] Ibid.

[16] Clifford Wilson, “Does Archaeology Support the Bible?,” Answers in Genesis, accessed March 7, 2024, https://answersingenesis.org/archaeology/does-archaeology-support-the-bible/.

[17] Ibid.

[18] Armstrong Institute Staff, “Top 10 Biblical Archaeology Discoveries of 2022,” ArmstrongInstitute.org, 2022, https://armstronginstitute.org/841-top-10-biblical-archaeology-discoveries-of-2022.

[19] R.C. Sproul, “What Difference Does an Inerrant Bible Make?,” Ligonier Ministries, August 2, 2021, https://www.ligonier.org/learn/articles/what-difference-does-inerrant-bible-make.

21 views

Comments


bottom of page