Why I believe in the Bible!
Last year, I stood in front of a congregation and shared a “prediction” that I had with them. In my message, I indicated how the enemy would go about and be dropping packaged poison which is supposed to bring “deliverance” to Christians from supposed religious bondage, but would rather “kill” them (where “killing” means “departure from the faith”). Alas, Scripture is being fulfilled right before our own eyes as many are departing from the faith, just because they are giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons (1 Tim. 4:1–3).
Of course, I do not claim in any way that this unfortunate experience started after I shared the message (since this did not start today); however, my message was to emphasize the degree, level, or intensity at which this would happen, thus, sounding a caution to the Christian or believing world. From the part of the world I come from, Christians departing from the faith has reached an unprecedented level since the Western missionaries left our soil. Many natives have sat on television and radio to express their disbelief and disgust for God’s word. I have personally heard many dissenters, even those who are supposed to be ministers of God, claim that the bible is not God’s word — it is not God-inspired.
Their reasons for such claims are not only funny but unfounded, absurd, and lack critical thinking, logical reasoning, and the common sense they claim to have. One reason they make such claims is that the bible is a compendium of the experiences of people. Those who are alive today were obviously not there at the time the biblical characters had those experiences, so they aren’t verifiable. Secondly, the bible is full of errors, majorly scribal or translation errors. Thirdly, they say that the bible is full of serious contradictions. For example, the book of Genesis accounted that 70 people moved to Egypt when Joseph was Prime Minister, but before Stephen was stoned, he said there were 75 people who moved to Egypt. So, an account contradicts another account.
As a result, many have concluded that the bible is just a mere history or storybook and is not God’s word. At worst, they sound sure that if it isn’t a myth, then it’s a compendium of ancient manuscripts from other pagan sources. “How can God write and there will be errors and contradictions?”, asks the opposers. Also, they say that technically speaking, God’s word is supposed to be “the word God spoke”, and not people’s experiences or words mixed up with what is supposed to be God’s word. Many have hence concluded it to be a mere fabrication, and the person of the Scriptures — Jesus — a myth. How do we defend this defenseless book then? Although all these have reasons and concrete defense, it is, however, not the purpose of this article to address them.
As stated earlier, this is funny and is not even supposed to be an argument in the first place. As a matter of fact, the above-stated reasons from people who are aimed at discrediting the Bible, are the same reasons I believe the bible to be true, authentic, and ultimately, God’s word.
Here are my reasons:
First, those in biblical days lived in a different geographical and cultural setting, compared to ours today. Their setting, because of the lack of technology, was more complex than ours. For example, addressing a large crowd did not start today. If we tell a five-year-old boy that the President of Ghana addressed 30 million citizens during the wake of the Covid-19, he would not be surprised. Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine, and within minutes, it was captured all across the world, and in one hour, almost every nation was talking about it. We do not have a very complex cultural system and setting because of technology. However, that wasn’t the case in the biblical days. A message in those days was normally spread by two groups of people: first, witnesses, and second, spreaders of hearsay, with few people doing scribal works.
When Jesus was alive, the bible (being a history book) records that he had disciples, and a multitude followed him. From the accounts of the Bible and history, Jesus was the most famous person in His time — not even the Roman Emperor had that kind of fame. The reason was simple: the people who followed Him, saw His miracles and heard His teachings also broadcast to other people. This seems like a slow process, but I beg to differ. Taking the fame of Jesus into account because of His Messianic claims which the whole of Israel was in anticipation of, there was no way anyone who heard those claims would take it lightly and would not be in a hurry to tell the next person. My point is that, the story of Jesus was spread by word of mouth by witnesses whose listeners told others who would listen. And this spread of the Jesus story continued for years. At this point, history tells us that the Roman Empire, which ruled the whole world at the time, was insecure to an extent (because they felt Christianity was an emergence of a new empire), and the nation of Israel also felt threatened by this Jesus whom they most considered an imposter. Both parties would definitely be alert and would react — hence, the persecution of the church.
Now, there was no Television, no radio, not even print media. The message and story were spread by witnesses, hearsay, and some scribal works. Having appreciated this background, we can understand why Luke and Mark, not being disciples of Christ, would be able to write their Gospels or versions of Jesus’s story. Of course, opponents of the Christian faith argue that one (Luke’s) was more detailed than the other (Mark’s) and both books don’t seem chronologically coherent. That notwithstanding, both Luke and Mark deserve applause for being able to capture a level of chronological consistency while preserving the main truths which are fundamental to our faith (the virgin birth, death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of Christ) from witnesses, hearsay and minimal scribal work. I’d believe this “storybook” compared to another in which the author claimed to have received a vision from a particular cave, with an angel giving him all the revelation, which cannot be verified by other witnesses and sources.
As far as we are dealing with witnesses and hearsay, there will be some information one will get and others you won’t receive, hence, the superficial differences in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke; however, fundamentally, both Gospels captured exactly what is essential to Christianity. If one had said “Jesus died”, and the other said “Jesus didn’t die”, then we have a problem. Why? Because the death of Jesus is crucial and critical to our faith. He died and was resurrected so that we will receive eternal life. If one had accounted for the resurrection and the other denied it, then there is no Christianity. Why? Because Christianity is hinged on the death and resurrection of Christ, among others. At least, these two are exclusive to Christianity alone. This is what defines our faith!
My awe lies in the fact that witnesses and spreaders of hearsay have been able to preserve the core tenets and fundamental truths of the faith for these companions of Paul (Mark and Luke, who wrote some years after Christ) to also scribe them for us. It is also argued that the Gospel of Matthew was not written by Matthew but some witnesses — this still goes ahead to prove that for many years, people had this “Jesus story” on their lips. Myths do not spread that speedily! This is truly awesome! Critical thinking, logical reasoning, and common sense would applaud the “storybook” which is empirically consistent and logically coherent, compared to another book that was received by only one man, and nobody can prove afterward. Who is blindly following here?
At this point, relying on historical documentation or scribal proofs, such as the works of Flavius Josephus (who was even not a Christian) will only supplement the truth and the consistency of the logical reasoning.
As for the Old Testament, I am particularly awed by the consistency and coherence of how the logic of, at least, most writings, serve as a prophecy of Christ the Messiah. It’s just beautiful! From Genesis to Malachi, space would not permit me to share how they wonderfully unveil Jesus Christ. Perhaps, that may be captured in my subsequent write-ups on this topic. For now, remain blessed!