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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: Don Stewart :: 10 Reasons to Trust the Bible

Don Stewart :: The Intelligent Faith the Bible Presents

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Reason 1

The Intelligent Faith the Bible Presents

Our first reason to trust the Bible recognizes the astonishing nature of this one-of-a-kind book. Indeed, the fact that we can even have this discussion in the twenty-first century is a true wonder!

Although the various books of the Bible were composed between two thousand and four thousand years ago, they still have the power to challenge intelligent men and women in our modern world. In fact, the Bible can stand the test of the most rigorous academic assault and will prove to be intellectually satisfying to anyone “honestly” investigating the evidence. A number of observations need to be made about this amazing feature of Scripture.

  1. Biblical Faith Is Intelligent Faith

    To begin with, we note that the Bible constantly encourages people to put their “faith” in God. Unfortunately, many people equate faith with a blind leap in the dark or wishful thinking. But the faith that the Bible requires is “intelligent,” or “reasonable” faith. It is neither blind nor irrational.

    Biblical faith asks us to put our trust in an object (God) who is worthy of our faith. No one is asked to sacrifice their intellect when they put their faith in the God of the Bible.

    Indeed, Christian faith is based upon the solid foundation of what the living God has done in history. He has revealed Himself to humanity and this disclosure of Himself is recorded in the Scriptures. The Bible tells us what God requires of us and that we are to respond to Him by faith. In doing so, we are never expected to stop thinking or to “assassinate our brains.”

    In fact, Jesus emphasized that coming to God involves the mind as well as the heart and soul. When asked about the greatest commandment in the law, He responded as follows:

    Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. (Matthew 22:37)

    Notice that Jesus said that we are to love the Lord with all of our “mind.” The Bible expects its readers to use their minds to evaluate the truth, to weigh the evidence of its message.

  2. In Scripture, Intelligence Is Equated with Knowing God

    When Jesus had a conversation with one of the teachers of the Jewish law, He equated intelligence, or wisdom, with knowing God. The Bible says:

    And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And after that no one dared to ask him any more questions. (Mark 12:34)

    An intelligent, or wise, response from the teacher of the law caused Jesus to say that the man was close to the Kingdom of God. This is another indication that the Bible encourages people to use their minds while examining the evidence.

  3. Scripture Says That We Are to Test Everything

    The Apostle Paul encouraged people to “test things” to see if they were true. Indeed, people were not merely to blindly believe. He wrote the following to the Thessalonians:

    But test them all; hold on to what is good. (1 Thessalonians 5:21)

    These people were told to test “everything;” every claim that was made about God. Blind faith was not an option.

    The Apostle John wrote something similar. He put it this way:

    Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. (1 John 4:1)

    Again we find the emphasis on “testing things.” Christians are not told to believe everything that they read or hear.

    How do we do this? We are to test things by using our mind. It is clear that God does not want us to exercise “blind faith” when it comes to determining what is true and what is false.

  4. The Lord Issues a Challenge to Test Him

    In the Old Testament, we find the Lord issuing a challenge to those who believed in gods other than Him. The Bible says:

    “Present your case,” says the LORD. “Set forth your arguments,” says Jacob’s King. “Tell us, you idols, what is going to happen. Tell us what the former things were, so that we may consider them and know their final outcome. Or declare to us the things to come, tell us what the future holds, so we may know that you are gods. Do something, whether good or bad, so that we will be dismayed and filled with fear.” (Isaiah 41:21-23)

    Notice that the living God of the Bible challenges those who believe in these other gods to bring forth evidence to prove that they exist. He speaks of “presenting their case” and “bringing forth arguments and evidence.” In other words, God challenges them to lay out the facts that would support their claims.

    Obviously, they cannot do so since these so-called gods do not really exist. On the other hand, there is the confidence that the God of Scripture has provided sufficient evidence to meet the needs of those honestly desiring the truth. In contrast to these non-existent gods, the God of the Bible has given us overwhelming evidence to believe in Him.

  5. People Were Encouraged to Examine the Evidence about Jesus

    We also find that the New Testament writers challenged people to investigate the claims of the Christian faith. They could encourage this type of examination because they knew that the events they recorded were true. In other words, the writers of Scripture were confident that they were not spreading myths or legends.

    In fact, Simon Peter showed that the New Testament writers were well aware of the difference between mythology and fact. He wrote:

    For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. He received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain. (2 Peter 1:16-18)

    In this passage, we find that Peter emphasizes two important things:

    First, he knows that what he is preaching and writing about Jesus is true. Why? It is because he was there! Peter was an eyewitness to these events. So he knew what he was writing was accurate.

    Second, Peter tells us that he realizes that there is a difference between “clever stories” or “myths” and what he is writing about; the truth. This follower of Jesus makes it clear that his account of the life and ministry of Christ is based upon fact, not mythology. Again, he could make that claim because he saw the events in the life and ministry of Jesus Christ with his own eyes. Peter was there!

  6. Jesus Gave Many Infallible Proofs to Prove His Identity

    In the Book of Acts, there is another reference to Jesus providing sufficient evidence that He was the One whom He claimed to be. Luke wrote about His resurrection appearances:

    After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. (Acts 1:3)

    Notice that Luke stresses the fact that the appearances of the resurrected Jesus were “convincing proofs” that Christ was indeed alive after His death on the cross. In fact, for forty days Jesus showed His disciples that He had truly risen from the dead. They received all of the proof that was necessary to establish His resurrection.

    To sum up, the New Testament writers were either eyewitnesses to the events they wrote about or they recorded eyewitness testimony. They knew what they wrote was true, and welcomed an honest investigation of the facts. Blind faith was never encouraged. This is crucial to understand.

    Thus, God does not expect people to act in faith toward Him unless that faith is an intelligent or reasonable faith. It must be built upon the solid foundation of what He has done in history, and what He has recorded in His Word.

  7. The Evidence for the Christian Faith Is Sufficient for Those Honestly Examining the Evidence

    In sum, we will discover that the evidence is more than sufficient for those who wish to know the truth. In fact, there have been many cases of people who have actually attempted to disprove the message of the Bible and have ended up becoming believers because of the impressive evidence.

The Story of the Skeptic, Frank Morrison

For example, at the turn of the twentieth century, there was a man who wrote under the name of Frank Morrison. Morrison, who had been brought up in a non-Christian environment, had come to the conclusion that the resurrection of Jesus Christ was nothing but a myth. Morrison planned to write an account of the last days of Jesus which would refute the biblical account of the resurrection. He went to the Holy Land to do his research to write “the” book that would give the true answer as to what really happened to Jesus after His death.

But after a thorough study of the facts, he changed his mind. His book, instead of refuting the resurrection, advocated it. The first chapter of his book is significantly titled, ‘The book that refused to be written.’ In his book, he documented that his mind was changed because of the sheer weight of the evidence. In other words, a close examination of the facts made him a believer in Jesus Christ.

The Testimony of Skeptics Gilbert West and Lord Lyttleton

Author Michael Green, in his book Man Alive, provides further examples of people who set out to refute the Christian faith only to become believers. He wrote:

Two able young men, Gilbert West and Lord Lyttleton, went up to Oxford... determined to attack the very basis of the Christian faith. So Lyttleton settled down to prove that Saul of Tarsus was never converted to Christianity, and West to demonstrate that Jesus never rose from the tomb. Some time later, they met to discuss their findings. Both were a little sheepish. For they had come independently to similar and disturbing conclusions. Lyttleton found, on examination, that Saul of Tarsus did become a radically new man through his conversion to Christianity; and West found that the evidence pointed unmistakably to the fact that Jesus did rise from the dead. You may still find his book in a large library. It is entitled Observations on the History and Evidences of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, and was published in 1747. On the fly-leaf he has had printed his telling quotation from Ecclesiasticus 11:7, which might be adopted with profit by any modern agnostic: ‘Blame not before thou hast examined the truth.’ (Michael Green, Man Alive, Downers Grove: Intervarsity Press, 1968, pp. 55,56)

This suggestion of West, written so long ago, still holds true today. People should not reject the claims of Christianity until they have personally examined the evidence.

In his own book, Lyttleton made the following comment about the conversion of Saul of Tarsus to the Apostle Paul:

I thought the conversion and the Apostleship of St. Paul alone, duly considered, was of itself a demonstration sufficient to prove Christianity as a Divine Revelation. (George Lord Lyttleton, Observations on the Conversion and Apostleship of St. Paul, London, 1814)

Therefore, we have the testimony of two men who became convinced that the Christian faith was true after doing a detailed examination of the facts. Though they started out as unbelievers, the sheer weight of the evidence made them change their minds.

William F. Albright

The late Dr. Clifford Wilson was a personal friend of the author. He related the story of a conversation he had with the world’s greatest archaeologist at the time; William F. Albright. Dr. Albright came to faith in Christ at the end of his life. In his conversation with Dr. Wilson he made it clear it was because of the evidence that he had discovered through his long and brilliant career. He went from skeptic to believer.

Examples of these types of testimonies can be multiplied. Indeed, to this day, former skeptics continue to become believers in Jesus Christ because of the overwhelming evidence.

Confidently, we may conclude that twenty-first century men and women can take the Bible, intelligently examine it and find it completely satisfying. It truly is a wonder that this ancient book does meet the intellectual needs for modern humanity.

What is the reason for this? It is because the Scripture is what it claims to be—the very Word of the living God.

Summary - Reason 1
The Intelligent Faith the Bible Presents

One of the many factors which makes the Bible different from all other ancient books is its relevance to modern humanity. Indeed, the Scriptures are as relevant today as they ever were.

How is this so? For one thing, the God which is revealed in the Bible encourages people to think—to weigh and evaluate the evidence. The biblical writers did not expect their readers to exercise blind faith. Instead they expected them to think; to use their minds.

Consequently, the Christian faith is not something which people accept by denying the facts, but rather by investigating them. Christianity welcomes an open and honest investigation of the truth. When the facts are checked out it will be found that the Christian faith matches up to known reality. In other words, the facts will prove the claims of Scripture to be true.

For one thing, we are told to love the Lord with, “all of our mind.” This means that we are to think. We are to test the various claims which the biblical writers make to see if they are true. Thus, Christianity is not afraid of the truth.

This is consistent with what we find in the Old Testament. The prophet Isaiah records God offering a challenge to the gods of the ancient world. He asked them to “set forth their case.” In other words, He wanted them to provide evidence that their claims were true. Obviously, they could not because these gods did not exist. The God of the Bible, on the other hand, offers evidence which is more than sufficient to cause people to believe.

Simon Peter made the point that the disciples of Jesus had not followed after fables or myths when they made known to people the message of Christ, but were actually eyewitnesses of the events they recorded. They knew what they wrote was true because they were there! This is why they could preach and write with such confidence and assurance.

We also find that there are numerous historical examples of people who started out as skeptics toward the Christian faith but eventually became believers in Jesus Christ because of the abundance of evidence. This is still happening today.

Indeed, when people honestly check out the facts that support the truth of the Christian faith they are faced with the overwhelming evidence for the case for Christianity.

Therefore, the fact that an ancient book like the Bible is intellectually satisfying for modern humanity is truly a wonder.

With this in mind, let’s examine some of the specific evidence that Scripture provides for us.

What Is Our Personal Responsibility Toward God and His Word? ← Prior Section
The Bible’s Unique Design Next Section →
CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.

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