Is the Bible Reliable?
Is the Bible Reliable?
It is exciting to see our church participating in the Explore God series and actively engaging in study groups. One important question that will be addressed in the series is, “Is the Bible Reliable?” This blog post is not intended to give an exhaustive defense of the reliability of the Bible but to spur our thinking as we look at this question in our church and in our study groups. So, to prime the pump, even before we look at the question of the reliability of the Bible, we need to ask who the author is and what do we know about Him?
Every view or theology of the Bible has an understanding of God attached to it. A fundamental teaching of true Christianity is that the Triune God is the author of the Bible. If the Bible is reliable, then God who is the author of the Bible is reliable. If the Bible is not reliable, then God is not reliable. If the Bible has errors, then God has errors and is not perfect. If the Bible is inerrant and infallible, then God who wrote it is perfect, holy, without error, and He does not have the ability to err. While many faithful Christians will read this and agree, many non-Christians will view it very differently.
It is easy for people to judge the Bible and qualify its reliability based on a contemporary understanding of science, language, and history. The reality is that not only is it anachronistic to judge the Scripture in that way, but it is deceiving to think that our understanding of language, science, and history stays the same – it does not – it changes all the time.
Therefore, if we want to ask if the Bible is reliable, first, we need to understand and know who the author is. Second, we need to grasp the method in which the author wrote the text. (For example, is it dictation theory or verbal plenary inspiration?) Third, what is the purpose of the Bible and in our reading of Scripture? It is imperative to use the historical-grammatical hermeneutic (meaning, we need to interpret the Bible in its original languages and historical context).
In closing, it is inconsistent for Christians to have a high view of God and a low view of the Scriptures. True Christianity always will have a high view of God and a high view of the Scriptures because He is the perfect author. Over the course of thousands of years, using different languages and in diverse cultural contexts, God worked through and divinely inspired human authors to convey His message. Also, when we wonder if the Bible is reliable, we should ask the question, “On whose authority are we deeming it credible?” Are we the authority or is God the authority in claiming what is true or is not true concerning His Scriptures? Everyone will have presuppositions when they ask the question of the reliability of the Bible. In this battle for the Bible, we see a clash of worldview between the Christian and non-Christian. While Christians need to be discerning, it is also vital for Christians to trust God and His Bible in faith.
While much more could have been said, I hope some of these preliminary thoughts will spark more conversation on the reliability of the Bible in our study groups.