Tuesday, November 4, 2008

How Do We Know the Bible Is True? (Part 1)

Another question people have is, “Is the Bible true?” A related question could be, “How can we know the Bible is true?” A further question might be, “Why should we even care whether or not the Bible is true?”

Defining “True”

To answer the question, “Why should we care whether or not the Bible is true?” we should first define what we mean by the word “true.” Let’s look at three different possibilities.

1. True Means Without Factual Error

Some understand “true” to mean that the Bible is without any kind of error. This would mean all historical information is accurate and all facts and figures are correct.

2. True Means Take It Literally

Some understand “true” to mean the Bible is to be taken literally. This interpretation of “true” would mean, for example, that you must believe the world was created in six 24-hour days, not over eons.

3. True Means It Contains Absolute Truth

Still others understand “true” to mean that the Bible may not always be factually correct or literally true, but it does contain absolute truth from God. In other words, the various forms of literature contained in the Bible convey absolute truth about God, about the world, about God’s will, about morality. In my opinion, you can believe the Bible contains absolute truth without taking everything in it literally or claiming it is factually correct in every historical detail. Using the creation example, you can believe God created the world over eons, not six literal days, as long as you believe God created everything out of nothing.

John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, avoided this whole debate about the Bible by saying simply, “The Bible contains all that is necessary for salvation.” And when you think about it, that’s the bottom line, the salvation of our souls.

More on the Bible in a future post.

Note: Some material in this post was based on the book The God Questions by Hal Seed and Dan Grider, published by Outreach Publishing, © 2007

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