Updated: May 6, 2022
As a part of our series, “God Has a Plan,” our last blog post introduced the truth that not only does God have a plan, but it is revealed in the Bible.
But some may ask, “Can the Bible be trusted?”
I have met quite a few people who responded to my overtures to share the gospel by spouting their reasons for not believing the Bible. In these encounters, almost without exception, it is apparent that they have never done serious research. Although my doctoral work is not in textual criticism, archaeology, apologetics, or history, I have come to learn from years of study that honest questions about the Bible and its reliability may be answered when reasonable people honestly seek the truth.
It is not my intention to attempt to answer every question or objection to the Bible, the resurrection, or Christianity in general. I can happily recommend books and websites where one may do their own research. I hope God will use my articles to strengthen the faith of believers as well as spur seekers on to investigate the wonders of the Bible.
My last post, “God Has a Plan and it’s in the Bible” was written as a brief personal testimony as an example of how God used the Bible in my life. This post briefly discusses how evidence can play a role in one coming to faith in Christ.
Millions of people have been moved by God’s Message in the Bible. Likely, most had their lives forever changed by the word of God before they ever knew there was verifiable evidence of its reliability. It is important to understand that to have the faith to believe and cry out to God for salvation, it is not necessary to study the corroborating evidence of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. Many have studied the Scriptures and know them and the proof of their validity as well as anyone, yet have refused to believe (cf. Luke 16:27-31). So, evidence alone will not produce repentance and faith. Ultimately, this is a work of God (John 6:44, 60-65; Eph. 2:8-9 et. al.).
Jesus’ closest followers had a hard time believing He had risen from the dead even though the Lord had predicted His death and resurrection on more than one occasion. Even though they heard Him, they still did not believe, or at the very least, they could not conceive these things taking place. After Jesus’ arrest, they ran for their lives and after His crucifixion, they hid behind a locked door. The disciples had to wonder if the very ones who arrested and crucified their Master would make them their next target.
Locked doors mean nothing to God. The Lord appeared to them and they were astonished. Doubtless, the evidence of seeing their Savior alive and well gave them hope. But it was the coming of the promised Holy Spirit that transformed them into bold witnesses. Access to archeological finds, museums, and warehouses full of evidence may amaze, but it is the work of God’s Spirit Who seals, energizes, and empowers all those who believe.
While facts alone do not result in a changed life, we who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and have placed our trust in Him as the Son of God and our Savior, can look in wonder at the insurmountable evidence supporting the veracity of Scripture and give thanks. Thomas was not with the other disciples when the risen Christ first appeared to them and demanded evidence (John 20:24-27). Like Thomas, the seeker who searches the evidence with a humble heart, may well come under conviction as to the truth of Scripture and the resurrection of Christ and say along with Thomas, “My Lord and my God” (John 20:28)!
Jesus’ story of the rich man and Lazarus is undoubtedly one of the most horrific and tragic accounts in Scripture (Luke 16:19-31). Both Lazarus and the rich man lived close to one another. When they breathed their last breaths, they are suddenly and permanently separated from this life and one another.
When the rich man realizes he is in hell and there is no escape for him, he pleads for Abraham to send Lazarus to his father’s house to warn his brothers so they don’t share the same fate as him. Abraham's reply and his interchange with the rich man should cause every person to pause:
“Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’ “‘No, father Abraham,’ he [the rich man]* said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead ’ ” (Luke 19:29-31 *[Notation is mine]).
For those who refuse to believe the gospel and repent, no evidence will be sufficient to convince them otherwise.
While I hope you will be glad there is evidence to support the reliability of the Bible, most of all, I pray you will believe the Message of God’s work to provide forgiveness and eternal life to all who will surrender to His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him (Hebrews 11:6).