Archive by Author | Paul O'Brien

Why should I believe the Bible? (pt 8)

Many decide not to follow the Bible because it is in their opinion morally restrictive. However, we as humans need a definitive source of morality. We need a moral guide and the Bible is… 

Moral

As we have said, many people struggle with the morality that the Bible presents. D.A. Carson has said, “Many Christians slide away from full confidence in the trustworthiness of Scripture for reasons that are not so much intellectual as broadly cultural.”[1] Many people, for example, do not agree with the Bible’s opposition towards homosexual practice.

Read More…

Why should I believe the Bible? (pt 7)

We have already looked at many reasons why we can believe the Bible. Yet, there are still many more. Here we briefly look at the Bible being trustworthy because it is… 

Prophetic

The Bible contains all sorts of fulfilled prophecies (see e.g. “The Prophecy of Daniel 8”), particularly about Jesus. These attest to the Bible’s uniqueness, truthfulness, and authority.

“Whatever one may think of the authority of and the message presented in the book we call the Bible, there is a world-wide agreement that in more ways than one it is the most remarkable volume that has ever been produced in these some five thousand years of writing on the part of the human race.

It is the only volume ever produced by man, or a group of men, in which is to be found a large body of prophecies relating to individual nations, to Israel, to all the peoples of the earth, to certain cities, and to the coming of One who was to be the Messiah. The ancient world had many different devices for determining the future, known as divination, but not in the entire gamut of Greek and Latin literature, even though they use the words prophet and prophecy, can we find any real specific prophecy of a great historic event to come in the distant future, nor any prophecy of a Savior to arise in the human race…”[1]

Here’s a sampling of some of the prophecies that were fulfilled by Jesus. Long before Jesus was on earth the Old Testament said Jesus the Messiah would…

  1. be the seed of the woman that would crush the serpent cf. Gen. 3:15/Is. 7:14/Matt. 1:23[2]
  2. be the Son of God cf. Ps. 2:7/Matt. 3:17 
  3. come from the house of David cf. 2 Sam. 7:12; Jer. 33:14-15/Luke 3:23, 31
  4. be born in Bethlehem cf. Micah 5:2/Matt. 2:1
  5. exist before all things cf. Micah 5:2/Col. 1: 17 
  6. be given gifts cf. Ps. 72:10/Matt. 2:1, 11
  7. be called Immanuel (God with Us) cf. Is. 7: 14/Matt. 1:23
  8. be preceded by a messenger cf. Is. 40:3/Matt. 3:1,2; Jn. 1:23
  9. have a ministry of miracles cf. Is. 35:5/Matt. 9:35; 11:4-5
  10. enter Jerusalem on a donkey cf. Zech. 9:9/Lk. 19:35-37; Matt. 21:7-9
  11. be silent before his accusers cf. Is. 53:7/Matt. 27:12
  12. have His hands and feet pierced cf. Ps 22:16/Lk. 23:33; Jn. 20:20
  13. be hated without reason cf. Ps. 69:4/Jn. 15:25
  14. be mocked cf. Ps. 109:25/Matt. 27:39
  15. have His garments divided and cast lots for cf. Ps. 22:18/Jn. 19:23-24
  16. not have His bones broken (unexpected for those who die of crucifixion) cf. Ps. 34:20/Jn. 19:33
  17. have His side pieced cf. Zech. 12:10/Jn. 19:34 
  18. experience darkness over the whole land cf. Amos 8:9/Matt. 27:45[3]
  19. be buried in a rich man’s tomb cf. Is. 53:9/Matt. 27:57-60
  20. be a light for the nations of the world cf. Is. 42:1-6/Matt. 12:15-18; Lk. 2:27-32
  21. be the Passover lamb cf. Ex. 12/Jn. 1:29, 36; 19:33, 36; 1 Cor. 5:7-8; 1 Pet. 1:19
  22. be lifted up cf. Num. 21:6-9/Jn. 3:14-18
  23. be a prophet like Moses cf. Deut. 18:15-19/Matt. 13:57; Jn. 6:14; 7:40; Acts 3:22
  24. be the object of a murderous plot cf. Jer. 31:15/Matt. 2:16-18
  25. be the son of man cf. Dan. 7:13-14/Matt. 9:6; 12: 8; 13:41; 16:27; Mk. 8:31; Lk. 9:22; Jn. 1:51; Acts 7:56

What explains all these (and many other) “coincidences”? I believe the supernatural authorship of the Bible explains how all these prophecies could be fulfilled. “Men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Pet. 1:21). 

_____________________

[1] Wilbur Smith, The Incomparable Book, 9-10. He goes on to say, Mohammedanism cannot point to any prophecies of the coming of Mohammed uttered hundreds of years before his birth. Neither can the founders of any cult in this country rightly identify any ancient text specifically foretelling their appearance.”

[2] This has significance beyond what is apparent though a quick reading. See for example “Who is the Serpent Crushing Offspring?”

[3] “Circa AD 52, Thallus wrote a history of the Eastern Mediterranean world from the Trojan War to his own time.  This work itself has been lost and only fragments of it exist in the citations of others.  One such scholar who knew and spoke of it was Julius Africanus, who wrote about AD 221.  In speaking of Jesus’ crucifixion and the darkness that covered the land during this event, Africanus found a reference in the writings of Thallus that dealt with this cosmic report.  Africanus asserts:  ‘On the whole world there pressed a most fearful darkness; and the rocks were rent by an earthquake, and many places in Judea and other districts were thrown down.  This darkness Thallus, in the third book of his History, calls, as appears to me without reason, an eclipse of the sun'” (Julius Africanus, Extant Writings, XVIII in The Ante–Nicene Fathers, ed. by Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1973), vol. VI, p. 130, as cited in Gary R. Habermas, The Historical Jesus: Ancient Evidence for the Life of Christ, (Joplin, MO: College Press Publishing Company), 1996).

#metoo & #howiwillchange

I know my experience isn’t as traumatic as many people’s experiences so I have hesitated to share this. However, I want to show support and point out that our system is broken.

So, out of concern and in an attempt to combat the problem in some small way, I add my voice: #metoo

Me too. I have been on the receiving end. I have been affected. As a teenager, a guy sexually groped me and a woman reached into my pants and fondled me. Both of those encounters were unwanted and unexpected.

I only share my experience to further communicate how pervasive the problem is. I also seek to be honest and admit that I have not just been affected by the problem, I have been part of the problem. As a teenager, I got into pornography and at various times failed to treat women with the utmost respect that they deserve. 

So, I too have propagated the plague. For me, it started with porn: in the form of Victoria’s Secret magazines. But porn seeks expression. It doesn’t want to just see, it wants to feel. And it won’t stop there if unchecked.

Our current cultural situation, I fear, is the fruit of a larger and deeper problem. I would like to see it destroyed at its root… If not, the plague of sexual harassment will continue for society.

#metoo will continue unless we as a society see the problem with making humans mere sexual objects. Of course, the person who harasses someone else is never excused. No one can say, “Porn made me do it” or “She was asking for it.”

No. We are all morally accountable individuals. It’s not the victim who is responsible for what happened to them. My point, however, is that porn culture creates a culture of sexual harassment.

Read More…

Why should I believe the Bible? (pt 6)

“Why should I believe the Bible?” This might sound crazy to a lot of people but you should believe the Bible because it is…

Scientific

The Bible is not a scientific textbook. Yet it is accurate scientifically. The Bible concurs with all sorts of scientific discoveries. The Bible also lays the groundwork for scientific research to be carried out.

“Belief in the rationality of God not only led to the inductive method but also led to the conclusion that the universe is governed rationally by discoverable laws. This assumption is vitally important to scientific research, because in a pagan or polytheistic world, which saw its gods often engaged in jealous, irrational behavior in a world that was nonrational, any systematic investigation of such a world would seem futile. ”[1]

Read More…

Why should I believe the Bible? (pt 5)

“Why should I believe the Bible?” Because the Bible is…

Historical

The Bible reports actual historical events and the manuscripts that we have for the Bible are very reliable. Nothing in ancient literature matches the historical documentation of the Bible. Nothing really comes close.

“Compared with other ancient writings, the Bible has more manuscript evidence to support it than any ten pieces of classical literature combined.”[1]

“The reliability of the New Testament history is overwhelming when compared to that of any other book from the ancient world.”[2]

“The New Testament is easily the best attested ancient writing in terms of the sheer number of documents, the time span between the events and the documents, and the variety of documents available to sustain or contradict it. There is nothing in ancient manuscript evidence to match such textual availability and integrity.”[3]

Read More…

Why should I believe the Bible? (pt 4)

“Why should I believe the Bible?” Well, one reason I believe the Bible is because I find it very… 

Compelling 

The Bible presents a very viable explanation of the world around us. It gives us a worldview that makes sense of reality. It adequately addresses and answers the most fundamental questions of life. Questions like: How did we get here? Is the world chaotic or ordered? What is a human being? Do humans have intrinsic worth? Why do we have a sense of morality? Is there truly morality; right and wrong, good and evil? What happens after we die? Why is it possible to know anything at all? What is the purpose of life? Why is the world so messed up? And is there any hope?

Read More…

%d bloggers like this: