Pastor Letter #1

How do we know that the Bible is the word of God?

This question is one of critical importance.  If the Bible were not God’s word, we could not rely upon its teaching about salvation. Without a firm acceptance of the Bible as God’s Word, the system of salvation therein remains a matter of perspective instead of a matter of fact.  We must accept the truth and origin of scripture if its message is to be taken as anything more than a piece of literature.

The first evidence of the authenticity of scripture is the witness of the church.  Roman Catholicism states that the church determines what scripture is.  However, if the Bible is God’s word, no man can determine its content.  The church does not define scripture or determine what ought be included in the Bible.  Its power is merely ministerial and descriptive.  Therefore, what it says about scripture is accurately called “testimony” and not judgments.  The church merely testifies that through its investigation, it is convinced that the Bible is God’s word.

The second evidence involves those elements of scripture that we weigh as important or suggestive.  It speaks of those transcendent realities that we would anticipate in the revelation of God.  Its teaching seems to work in this world.  It does not seem overly optimistic about people we might consider heroes.  Instead it shows their failures in quite prominent stories.  It claims and reveals the only way of salvation.  Whether it is through its doctrine, the salvation it offers, or its majestic style, the Bible contains all the elements one would anticipate if the Bible were the work of God.  This provides sufficient evidence to our own hearts to convince us of the divine origin of scripture.

For all these internal and external human evidences, the third and conclusive evidence comes from the only source possible.  If the Bible is the word of God, only God can attest to its authenticity.  We can accept no other conclusive testimony than that of the author of scripture.  How then has God revealed the authenticity of scripture?  We discover the verification of scripture in God’s revelation and the inward work of the Holy Spirit which always accompanies scripture.  God’s Word testifies through the ministry of God Himself in the person of the Holy Spirit.  Therefore, the testimony of God’s word in combination with His Spirit provide conclusive proof of the authenticity of the Bible.

This understanding quietly informs the mind and heart, not with blinding light, but with an inward assurance.  While conclusive, the evidence is not undeniable, for the natural man, deceived by sin, will always deny the truth of God.

Some may argue that the inward work of the Spirit involves a subjective and exceptional element that does not provide an independently verifiable conclusion.  This assumes that the inward testimony only applies personally and individually.  The testimony of the Bible suggests that the vital inward witness of the Holy Spirit always attends the reading and hearing of scripture. (Isaiah 55:11)  Thus, whoever examines scripture receives conclusive proof that it is the revelation of God.  Those who deny this reality do so at the expense of their own integrity for they deny what they know is true.  They are telling others the lie they have already told themselves.

How then can you know the Bible is the word of God?  Read it.  In reading the word, all three evidences will present themselves to your mind and heart and convince you of its divine origin and truth.  What you do with that knowledge will either save or condemn your soul.


For further reading: Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter 1. (I Corinthians 2:4-5, 9-10; Hebrews 4:12; John 10:35; Romans 11:36; Psalm 19:7-11; II Timothy 3:15; I Thessalonians 1:5; I John 2:20,27)

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