Coming to believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God by letting Jesus speak for Himself.
I wanna talk about a flashpoint right now and a workaround for it about something we probably encounter when we’re talking to other people about our convictions and that is the use of the Bible. So if we cite something from the Bible or quote the Bible or make reference to the Bible, people push back immediately and they say, “Well the Bible is just written by men.” And the like. And a lot of times it’s difficult to know how to deal with that.
Well I have a workaround, I think that that might be helpful. Think of it this way. I suspect that you believe as I do that the Bible is the inspired inerrant Word of God. But how is it that you ever came to that conclusion? How is it that you came to the understanding that the Bible had this kind of divine authority to it? I suspect it wasn’t because somebody gave you an argument for the authority of the Bible. Now we do that, and at Stand to Reason we have a training tool, some teaching I’ve given called, Has God Spoken, and I go through six evidences that are supernatural evidences is for the authority of Scripture.
But most people haven’t heard that. Most people who believe the Bible’s authoritative haven’t heard that. I didn’t come to believe in the authority of the Bible that way. I came to believe in the authority of the Bible probably in the same way that you came to believe in it—by encountering it. That is, we are brought to the text, we read the Gospels, or some of the letters ,or different aspects of it, and in the reading of it, we become richly and deeply and profoundly persuaded of its truth. And of its divine authority. And this is far beyond the kind of burning in the bosom that Mormons have to justify the Book of Mormon. I’m not asking you to have a burning in the bosom. I’m talking about our own engagement of the text, and the profound changes it began making our lives. Including our perception of the divine origin of the Scriptures.
Ok now, if that’s the way most people who believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God, come to believe it’s the inspired Word of God, including me, then maybe there’s a way that we can capitalize on that dynamic, and that is to encourage people not to be thinking necessarily of the Bible as the inspired Word of God but to go to Jesus and take Jesus at face value. To just engage it. To give Jesus the same kind of consideration that they would give any other teacher, or speaker, or intelligent reasonably wise human being, which most people think that Jesus actually is. Engage Jesus.
Ok, and so I carry some Gospel’s of John with me in my traveling bag, so if I’m having a conversation with somebody, a lot of times toward the end of the conversation, I could say, “Look it, why don’t you just read Jesus yourself?” That’s the way I put it. I don’t say read the Bible. I don’t ask people if they’ve ever read the Bible. Bible is really big 66 books and they might have read snatches of it and didn’t like it. No I don’t. I want them to read Jesus. I want them to take an accounting of the life of Jesus of Nazareth and read through it from beginning to end and let Jesus speak for himself. That’s what I tell them. And they usually appreciate it when I offer them as a gift. I don’t say this is a Gospel of John. What I say is, this is an account of the life of Jesus. Kind of a mini biography, written by somebody who spent three years with Jesus. More than three years and really knew him intimately, So I just suggest you take this. Don’t cherry-pick, I tell them, don’t just jump around and find little passages you like. Let Jesus speak for himself and then see what you think.
And see what I’m doing here is representing the truth to him and then letting them engage it themselves and let the Holy Spirit work through the word and the power of the word were to convince them of its authority. That’s a whole lot easier than trying to argue that the Bible is the inspired Word of God. Because the minute you do that people are gonna go to contradictions or alleged contradictions. And you’re off on all kinds of wild goose chases. Forget about that.
People say you know it’s only written by men, I say well do you have any books in your library? Of course. I say, well who wrote those? Human beings right? Ok, so you still respect them, even though they don’t have a divine origin. All I’m asking you to do at this moment, I say, is to just to address the teachings of Jesus in the same way. Take them as a man with reasonable spiritual insight. A reasonable amount of intelligence, and a profound impact of the world, and see what he had to say and then make your own judgments. That I think, is a fabulous way to go. You leave them with the Word itself and let the Holy Spirit do the heavy lifting for you.