The world might question God’s Word, but Jesus is the reason for our confidence in the Bible.
Have you ever gone back to a familiar place, a place you have been to a hundred times, then all of a sudden you notice something new? After years of being away, you drive past your childhood home and see a giant tree on the south side of the house. Even if that tree had been much smaller, it must have been there years before but you had never noticed it.
Sometimes God’s Word is like that. When we go back to old familiar passages, we unexpectedly find things that we have not noticed before.
Take John chapter 3. John 3:16, the gospel in a nutshell as it has been called, is probably the most well-known verse in Scripture, but the context surrounding this verse might not be as familiar. Jesus was talking to a Pharisee by the name of Nicodemus about how it is necessary for a person to be born again of water and the Spirit before he can enter the kingdom of God. Nicodemus seems to be expressing more than curiosity when he asks, “How can this be?” He was also wondering how Jesus could know these things about the workings of God’s kingdom.
Trust Jesus; he was there
Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man” (John 3:11-13). In other words, “You can trust what I’m saying, because I’ve been there!”
Part of the fun of traveling is coming back and telling your friends some of the strange and interesting things you witnessed. Did you know that in England people drive on the left-hand side of the road, and in Canada they put vinegar on their fries instead of ketchup? In certain parts of the South even orange soda falls under the category of “coke.” Years ago, before everyone had a little device in their hands that could immediately fact-check these claims, there was some disbelief and questioning: “Really? They drive on the other side of the road?” You, the brave traveler, would answer, “Yep, I’ve been there. I even rented a little Peugeot and drove around London for a week. Just remember, if you are making left-hand turns you turn into the lane closest to you! It’s embarrassing and dangerous if you don’t. I know.”
We can be confident in the words of the Bible because they are the words of the One who died and rose from the dead.
How did Jesus know these things about God? He has been there. He has seen the Father. In fact, he and his Father are one (John 10:30). He completely and intimately knows the things of God—the eternal plan of salvation and how God so loved the world. When Jesus speaks about these heavenly things, he speaks as one with authority—the only one who knows the truth—because he’s been there. This is why Nicodemus could trust what Jesus said about God. This is why we can trust what Jesus says about God. This is why we can trust the Bible.
Other “holy” books claim to be the inspired Word of God. For example, Muslims claim that the words of God came to Mohammed like water through a pipe—directly and without distortion. Here’s another example. In Doctrines and Covenants, one of the authoritative scriptures of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, the Lord says that he gave Joseph Smith “power from on high . . . to translate the Book of Mormon, which contains . . . the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ . . . which was given by inspiration” (Doctrines and Covenants 20:8-10, selected).
So if other holy books claim to be inspired and to have divine origin and authority, why would we choose to believe the Bible over them?
The simple answer is Jesus. Jesus is the only religious leader who came from heaven. Jesus is the only one who took on human flesh, suffered, died, and was buried. He is also the only one who has risen from death. He is the center and focal point of God’s revelation to humans. The divine narrative of God’s love becomes real in Jesus who became flesh and blood.
The Scriptures are his truth
The entire Old Testament was driving toward Jesus’ coming, and the entire New Testament is the preaching and proclamation that he has come. Jesus’ coming in human history is what gives us confidence in the Bible. His coming to save is what gives us confidence for living. Jesus told Nicodemus that just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, he would be lifted up as the perfect remedy for the poison of sin that leads to death, and that just as those who looked to the bronze snake suspended on a pole received healing from their venomous bite, everyone who looks and listens to him will receive everlasting life (John 3:14,15).
We can be confident in the words of the Bible because they are the words of the One who died and rose from the dead. Before Jesus returned to heaven, he commanded his disciples to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19,20). The apostles would do this as they boldly proclaimed a crucified and risen Jesus and as they wrote the words of the Bible. But it would not just be their words. Jesus had promised, “All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you” (John 14:25,26). The Spirit would teach and remind them of the things that the One from heaven had shared with them.
When you pick up your Bible you have the message Jesus came from heaven to teach. His truth has come down to us—heavenly truths taught by Jesus and shared with us through earthly human beings guided by the Holy Spirit. The truth has come down to us—just like our Savior. He is the reason for our confidence in the Bible.
Author: Justin Cloute
Volume 108, Number 09
Issue: September 2021