Why I know I can trust the Bible
“…yea, if you’re a Christian!” he snorted derisively. Even slouched in my seat at the back of the room, I could see the slightest hint of a smile creep across the professor’s face, betraying her agreement with the student’s flippant comment. During my undergraduate education, I was required to take a single English elective. I chose “Apocalyptic Science Fiction”. I thought it would be good fun and it fit my schedule. The course description promised a selection of sci-fi novels and films as part of the course curriculum. I didn’t realize that the Book of Revelation would be part of the required reading. Although the professor had reminded the class to be respectful with comments during discussions, the reminder hardly stemmed the tide of sarcastic remarks and snide comments.
To this point in my life, I had not taken faith very seriously. I was raised by Christian parents who saw fit to send me to a Christian school. I also had not considered whether or not I believed the Bible could be trusted. Sitting at the back of the room, with my baseball cap on as low as it could be and the oversized hood of my sweater up over my head, I slouched down in my seat. I listened as fellow classmates bantered back and forth over what seemed to them to be an obvious work of fiction. Internally, I began to question my own positions. “Is the Bible true?” “Is it accurate?” “How do I know I can trust it?”.
At some point in our lives, each of us has our own moment in the back of the lecture hall where we must confront the reality of whether or not we believe the Bible is true and accurate. While a certain measure of faith is necessary, knowing the facts helps to give us confidence in our faith.
The Bible is the most attested to ancient document in the history of the world. Historical facts and ancient documents do not prove their authenticity through the scientific method. Rather, they rely on the “evidentiary method”. The evidentiary method evaluates the reliability of the sources, corroboration of sources, and internal and external reliability. This is the very same method used in a court of law to determine guilt or innocence.
God’s story has been preserved for us throughout all of history and is reliable, true, and relevant. We can have confidence in it and we can meet the relational God through it.