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| Are You Being Duped?|
Chapter 12: You have been duped if you think the Bible is not trustworthy
Many people who oppose the Christian belief would say that the bible is fictional, a created system made to profit off of in various ways. Because it was written by man, an unbeliever would say “it is full of errors” or that it “was changed by the church”. The bible isn’t written in everyday language, so for some, it may cause a difficulty in understanding. There is also the issue of individuals who emphasize on certain aspects of the bible so that they can push their own hidden agenda. No matter how much people discredit the words of God or how many people misinterpreted it, the gospel will go nowhere. Christ says in Luke 21:33 “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.”
Philpott writes “Christian Scriptures are problematic to non-Christians…we are engaged in the realm of the spirit, which is not amendable to the scientific process of testing and verification”. It is only the Holy Spirit that can reveal the bible’s reliability, we as Christians, cannot convert an unbeliever; with that being said the bible does not reveal everything to us only what we need. According to Philpott the purpose of the bible is to reveal who “God is and his purposes in Christ and in the world”; besides this we need no other information.
There is a stereotype about Christians that implies how we “think too highly of the Bible.” There’s even supposed Christians who may say the same thing, but this is a ridiculous statement. I too agree with Philpott when he writes “I wish you were taking it more seriously than I am”. In fact, if you ask me, there are far too many nominal Christians who ignore the seriousness of the bible. This lack of seriousness may come from the fact that the bible is written by man. Indeed, these men who had written these sacred passages where moved by the Holy Spirit, but it still leaves room for error in the eyes of an unbeliever. To simply revert to 2 Timothy 3:16 where it is written “All scripture is inspired by God” is not enough to prove our argument.
In the words of Philpott the bible “contains statements that claim divine inspiration for itself”. Jesus had proven this through reading from the Old Testament at the synagogue of Nazareth when he simply read from the book of Isaiah. In Luke 4:16-30 we see Christ read from the Old Testament in the synagogue on Sabbath day. The reaction from his hometown was negative to say the least. They had formed a crowd around Christ in an attempt to push him off of a cliff in which they had brought him to. Jesus had done nothing but read the scripture and said “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:21), but as we can see this was enough to raise tempers showing that the “Scripture is self-validating”.
The author then goes into his view of the bible by writing “I believe in the inspiration of the Word of God. I take the bible seriously, since I believe it is directly from the Creator God.” For me the sufficiency of the bible is incomparable. It was composed so long ago, and yet it can be effectively applied to present life. If you were to merely look God’s word as another book, well then this book is so influential it has changed the course of history; so these words hold power, a power beyond human measure the type of power that comes from God. Philpott writes “It is a matter of faith; it is a matter of revelation. And the unbeliever cannot be sure. If we are honest, even the believer struggle with it at times.” I agree with the authors statement, although I hold fast to my faith they’re time where my grip isn’t as tight as it should be; what allows me to regain hold is the Word of God and its message.
There is also “the consistency of storyline and points of doctrine that matter”, as written by Philpott. Jesus had taught from the Old Testament all throughout the New Testament and when the early church began it was with the exact same formula. So as Philpott writes the bible was written, “…over a period of fifteen centuries, yet their agreement in theme and theology is strong evidence for the inspiration of Scripture.” There are no other spiritually inspired books written like the bible.
The nature of God remains consistent throughout the Old Testament, New Testament and the early church. The author writes the “Bible is the story of God, regardless of who wrote each section. Jesus does not innovate on any point concerning the nature of God.” There were no distortion of the gospel whenever Christ had taught, he simply reverted back to the scriptures of the Old Testament. In Isaiah 6:3 it reads “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of host”, this is referring to how holy God is. To me the repetitious use of “holy” describes that God is three times as holy indicating that there is none holier.
Our human nature is also described in the bible, going back to Adam and Eve we see that, as written by the author, “humans are held responsible by God to obey him—yet we rebel.” We see this with Adam and Eve all the way to Peter, every person mentioned in the bible (besides the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit) have rebelled in some way, shape or form; therefore we can only be saved through Christ being that he is completely God and man. Isaiah 53 tells us that “the Messiah would die for the sin of the people.”
The message of the bible is redemption, reconciliation and forgiveness; these are repeated themes in the bible. Philpott makes a valid point when he writes “The death of Jesus, in which he takes our sin upon himself, satisfies the just demands of the Father so that our sin and rebellion may be forgiven.” The prodigal son, who is spoken of in Luke 15, is a good model story of the redemption between us and God. Matthew 4:17 is a good model of reconciliation, for one of Christ’s first words to the newly found disciples was “repent”.
The preservation of God’s word shows the out lastingness of truth, for it is “the Light and the Way”. Archeologists have found artifacts that prove the authenticity of the Old Testament. To reiterate Philpott’s statement “…the Bible survived neglect, distortion and corruption—this again is an amazing story. The long and short of it is: God preserved his word.” The potent message is far too powerful for human nature to understand, and to trust it is to be shown mercy, favor and grace. God’s word is real and applicable to life itself and to apply it is a God given gift of salvation. For one to not trust in the word, is a sign of being duped.
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