Why should I believe the Bible? (pt 3)

As we consider the question “Why should I believe the Bible?” it is important to understand various things about the Bible. One of those things is that the Bible is amazingly… 

Unified

The Bible was written over the period of fifteen-hundred-years, by more than forty authors with varied backgrounds (e.g. king, herdsman, fisher, tax collector, physician) and literary styles (e.g. historical narrative, poetry, law, biography), on three different continents (Asia, Africa, and Europe), in three different languages (Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek) and yet it tells one unified story.[1] The storyline of Scripture is amazing. It’s significance and glory can never be fully known and yet the storyline of Scripture can be beautifully portrayed in a three-minute video.

The Bible’s unity among diversity is for me a profound witness to its glory and trustworthiness. The overarching narrative of Scripture—that declares Christ throughout[2]—through various times, genres, and writers is very compelling to me.

I like the way J.I. Packer says it:

“To the man enlightened by the Spirit, Scripture is no longer a bewildering jumble of isolated items… Part chimes in with part, Scripture meshes with Scripture, and the unified bearing of the whole Bible becomes apparent. The accompanying experience of the ‘taste’, or ‘flavour’ of spiritual realities is immediate and ineffable.”[3]

__________________

[1] “The Bible, at first sight, appears to be a collection of literature—mainly Jewish. If we enquire into the circumstances under which the various Biblical documents were written, we find that they were written at intervals over a space of nearly 1400 years the writers wrote in various lands, from Italy in the west to Mesopotamia and possible Persia in the east. The writers themselves were a heterogeneous number of people, not only separated from each other by hundreds of years and hundreds of miles, but belonging to the most diverse walks of life. In their ranks we have kings, herdsmen, soldiers, legislators, fishermen, statesmen, courtiers, priests and prophets, a tentmaking Rabbi and a Gentile physician, not to speak of others of whom we know nothing apart from the writings they have left us. The writings themselves belong to a great variety of literary types. They include history, law (civil, criminal, ethical, ritual, sanitary), religious poetry, didactic treatises, lyric poetry, parable and allegory, biography, personal correspondence, personal memoirs and diaries, in addition to the distinctively Biblical types of prophecy and apocalyptic

    For all that, the Bible is not simply an anthology; there is a unity which binds the whole together. An anthology is complied by an anthologist, but no anthologist compiled the Bible” (F. F. Bruce, The Books and the Parchments: How We Got Our English Bible, 88).

[2] “To have 27 pieces of [New Testament] literature written by eight or nine authors contemporary to the events, all of who were giving the same basic message—about Christ—is unprecedented. Nothing like it exists for any other book from antiquity” (The Popular Handbook of Archaeology and the Bible, 133). The study of biblical theology has been very helpful for me on this point.

[3] J.I. Packer, A Quest for Godliness: The Puritan Vision of the Christian Life (Wheaton: Crossway, 1990), 92

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About Paul O'Brien

I am a lot of things; saint and sinner. I struggle and I strive. I am a husband and father of three. I have been in pastoral ministry for 9 years. I went to school at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary but most of my schooling has been at the School of Hard Knocks. I have worked various jobs, including pheasant farmer, toilet maker, construction worker, and I served in the military. My wife and I enjoy reading at coffee shops, taking walks, hanging out with friends and family, and watching our three kid's antics. :)

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