Last week we took a basic quiz on Biblical literacy. How well did you do? If you struggled with it, and you are a practicing Christian, you are not alone. As we have seen from the statistics, Biblical literacy is at an all time low even among professing Christians. Muslims know their Quran, Mormons know their Book of Mormon, Jehovah Witnesses know their Watchtower Society Bible (New World Translation), so why are Christians not Biblical experts? The top seven reasons I’ve run across, and seen in other apologetic literature, are as follows (not in a particular order):
- The Bible is difficult to read and hard to understand
- The Bible is so old, therefore it is not culturally relevant today
- The Bible was written by fallible men so it can’t be the inspired Word of God
- We don’t know if the books in the Christian Bible are the right ones, there were so many others left out (who decided the canon and why?)
- We can’t know if the Bible is accurate because it has been translated so many times
- The Bible is no different than any of the other ancient books or so-called holy books
- The Old Testament is not relevant to the New Testament so we don’t need to read or study it
There are excellent rebuttals with concise answers for each one of these assertions, and over the next several posts the objective is to help you gain confidence in your ability to address them. Since we are two-thousand years removed from the last writings of the Christian Bible it is easy to understand how people might have questions or concerns like these. However, we should not hold to these allegations unless we have looked at their counters especially if they are based on solid evidence (no one I know after doing so can maintain any of those views).
A larger problem in addressing these issues is that most people, including Christians, do not give God or the Bible much time or thought as long as things are moving along great in their lives. Daily activities and responsibilities cause us to put Bible reading and study at a low priority. However, when life changing or catastrophic events cause us to reevaluate our eternal purpose and destiny we can be catapulted into the shadows of hopelessness and despair. If we are not grounded by the knowledge that Christianity is true and the Bible is the Word of God we can find ourselves in a very dark place.
Nabeel Quereshi, Christian Apologist and former Muslim, shared strong words of encouragement and trust in God even though he was going through an unimaginable situation in his young life. His testimony, (especially now since passing on to his eternal home), should inspire us to know that we can get to that place of complete confidence and assurance in the God of the Bible and His Word, if we just make it a priority in this life.
Nabeel never recounted his testimony and I am confident that he is with his Lord and Savior Jesus today. He did not come to the conclusion that Christianity was true, and Islam false, without serious study. His trust that the Bible is the inspired, inerrant, and historically accurate Word of God gave him that level of confidence to proclaim at the end of his life, “Jesus is the victory!” If we commit to reading and studying the Bible we can have that same level of confidence and someday make that same declaration.
For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. –Hebrews 4:12
Beginning our Case:
When atheists and skeptics attack Christianity we often need to take the role of defense attorney and put the reliability and truth of the Bible up against a courtroom test. Simon Greenleaf, enlightened atheist, professor, and principle founder of Harvard’s prestigious school of Law did just that. After using careful courtroom and investigative methods Greenleaf became a Christian and wrote a classic Christian Apologetics’ book called: “Testimony of the Evangelists, The Gospels Examined by the Rules of Evidence” (1846). There have been many to follow in Greenleaf’s footsteps and today Christian Apologists are still using “case-making” as a form of pre-evangelism, demolishing misconceptions and flawed philosophies that reign in education today. This is done in hopes of breaking down barriers and bringing people everywhere to the saving grace of Jesus through the understanding of His Word in the Bible.
To begin, we will look at multiple lines of evidence that support the Bible’s trustworthiness by keeping this theme of investigation. We will base our ‘case-making’ for the Bible on evidence from the following categories using the acronym MAPSS:
Manuscripts: Historical literary facts, transmission, canonization, translation, textual criticism, eyewitness accounts from both Christian and non-Christian sources
Archeology: Physical evidence from uncovered geographically confirmed locations and artifacts; and historical records of people, places and events that corroborate Biblical accounts
Prophecy: Predicted outcomes of historical events and Messianic prophecy fulfilled in Jesus
Scientific: Biblical authenticity confirmed in areas of medicine, nutrition, cosmology and biochemistry
Saved lives: Personal testimonies over the centuries of drastically changed lives (for the better) because of Biblical Christianity
Join us next we as we begin our investigation into category #1:
The Manuscript Evidence
You will not find this material in the public school curriculum even though it is based on solid evidence and grounded in research. It is ironic that following the evidence to where it leads stops at the door of our public schools as they will not let a “Divine footprint” in! Join us as we examine evidence for Christianity and learn how to become a thoughtful defender and ambassador of your faith.
Click into the resource page of this website to view many of the top Christian thinkers and apologists along with some of their work; connecting to these types of resources is essential in your Christian growth.
Please let me know what you think: Give feedback, ask questions or send concerns in the comment section of the blog.
1 Peter 3:15