Hello friends! Just wondering what methods or approaches do you use in giving people evidence that the Bible is God’s word. Do you use the Bible to prove the Bible? Or do you use something else? And why?
@omnarchy Personally, I would ask if the person has a specific reason / Bible difficulty that is tripping them up and then address that specific question or questions.
Once that question is addressed - I would move straight to John chapter 1 and talk about how Jesus is the Word of God. It is the Spirit of God who testifies to the truth of God’s character and nature, so I think that it is much easier for someone to wrestle withe the written Word once they have surrendered to the Living Word.
Thanks for the contribution, @SeanO. Do you use this method in general? I mean, regardless of the person’s worldview? Or does it change depending on the particular background?
I see Bible difficulties as a good method analogous to answering alternative theories regarding the resurrection.
@omnarchy, here are 3 short video responses to this question from Ravi which I’ve found to be very helpful and done In Ravi’s inimitable style:
My Question:History vs allegory
@omnarchy No - if I actually have time to get to know someone I usually try to ask enough questions to understand, as best as I can, there posture / attitude towards God and Christ.
In many cases I have found Bible difficulty questions to be a smokescreen if the person is not already Christian. What I mean by that is that the person actual either:
a) does not believe in God
b) is just curious to see if I can answer but not really interested at a deep level
c) believes all religions point to the same god
d) thinks religion is anti-science / something from the past
e) simply enjoys being contrary or likes a good argument
f) follows some other teacher, whether religious or philosophical and wants to pull me into their view
g) add other things you can think of
That is not always the case, but in my very limited personal experience it has generally been the case. So what I try to do is get past the smokescreen and get into a conversation about the underlying issue - is there a God? How can Christ be the only way? How can one be religious in the face of the discoveries of science? Why should we be interested in Jesus?
Thank you @Helen_Tan. I liked the different approaches done here as well. Something helpful for all of us indeed.
Excellent approach @SeanO. Making sure we address the underlying issue will help us answer the questioner and not merely the question. After all, they are people too who are lost who truly needs the saving power of God.
This is going to be a strange reply to the initial question, because it really does not address “proving” the Bible as God’s word.
I agree with Sean that there may be a lot of questions/answers before I get to this point, but I try to give them a framework for seeing the Bible as God’s revelation of himself in and through His history with humanity. That although is a series of books, different kinds of books, there is a thread of a story. That thread is sometimes figurative and sometimes literal, but it is always relational.
They may see it as an ancient text, written so long ago that nothing could possibly be fact checked. Yet to the Christian, it is continually yielding new revelations. For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (HEB 4:12)
I’m not sure you can ever prove anything about the Bible, but I do believe you can pique their interest in the story. That may allow for some areas of discussion on specifics about the story that can lead deeper. Through that process the Holy Spirit can reveal truth to them such that they can accept it as the word of God.
Okay, so here’s where I divert to a rabbit trail. Years ago I was attending a weekend retreat/conference. It was obvious that God was really doing a work in me because through the night in a semi-sleep state, my mind was in what felt like a different kind of consciousness–I really don’t have words to describe it. But I “awoke” with my mind filled with the words, “it’s not a what but a who.” Bizarre, huh. That phrase would not let go, it was like a song you cannot get out of your head.
That afternoon, as part of the retreat, you were to find a quiet place and pray for God to reveal to you your spiritual name. That concept was new to me, but I figured, why not? In prayer, in that quiet place, out of the blue, my mind was filled with the image of Horton, from Horton Hears a Who by Dr. Suess. My first thought was, “Please God, not an elephant.” You see I’m a large woman and it would not have been my first choice. Then my mind connected with, “it’s not a what but a who,” which led to this train of thought.
Horton (me) Hears a Who (God/Jesus/HS) > Jesus is the Word made flesh > the Bible (the Word made flesh) is “not a what but a who.” I know this all sound very strange, but it all just fell into place like a puzzle that finally fit. It was a new context for me in relating to the Bible; not a book, but a relationship with a person, The Person, through these words revealing Himself to me. It has ever since been an added dimension in how I see the Bible.
I think sometimes we can get caught up in a scholarly debate about proofs, when the proof is in the pudding, so to speak. What was I like before I took a deep dive into the Bible? How did what I learn begin to change me? Is there fruit? The person you are having the discussion with may not know your before and after character, but it may credible enough to provide a reason for checking it out themselves.