For me, the greatest reason to believe that the Bible is God’s Word is history. We stand on the shoulders of those believers who lived much closer to the time of Christ’s time on the earth. Here’s the big thing: The early church believed that these 66 books were inspired by God. They preserved them, protected them, and were willing to give their life for these books all because they believed that here are the very words of God. This is very important to me. It was not one man who said, “I have the word of God.” It was not one man that said here are the books that are authoritative. The church in unified agreement said “Here are the books.” They didn’t choose which books were. They just began to recognize which ones were and which ones were not. How did they recognize you ask? When it comes to the New Testament, here are four criteria that looking back appeared to be used.
1. Apostolic Origin—Apostle or close relationship with Apostle
2. Universal Acceptance—The Church recognized together that these were books or letters from Apostles who spoke for God
3. Use by the Early Church in worship
4. Orthodoxy of Message
Another historical factor is the preservation of these ancient texts before the invention of the printing press. The care with which the believing community treated these ancient texts is without rival. One of the leading evangelical scholars in this area of study (textual criticism) is a man by the name of Bruce Metzger. He died in 2007, but he was one of the church’s greatest scholars on the subject of the ancient texts. Lee Strobel asked him, “All these decades of scholarship, of study, of writing textbooks, of delving into the minutiae of the New Testament text—what has all this done to your personal faith?”
Metzger answered, “It has increased my faith. It has built it. I’ve asked questions all my life. I’ve dug into the text, I’ve studied this thoroughly, and today I know with confidence that my trust in Jesus has been well placed—very well placed.”
I believe that too!
(This post is based on the message “How Do We Know the Bible is God’s Word?” which you can watch at fbclaf.org/video)