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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). 

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[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).

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]

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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?

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Why should I believe the Bible? (pt 1)

“Why should I believe the Bible?”

That is a very important question. In the next couple of posts, we will briefly consider various aspects of the Bible so that we are in a better position to answer that question.[1]

First, the Bible is…

Literature

The Bible is a very distinct piece of literature; it is truly unlike any other literary work. It is unique.

The Bible is the best selling book of all time and the most translated book of all time.[2] The figures vary but it is estimated that there are approximately 44 million copies sold each year. The Bible, whatever your opinion about its supernatural nature, should be read by all people. Reading and understanding the Bible is important in part because of the huge cultural impact it has had.[3] “No other book in all human history has in turn inspired the writing of so many books as the Bible.”[4]

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***Porn*** (pt 2)

[This post contains explicit descriptions and is not suitable for all audiences]

Porn and Objectification

Porn turns people into objects to use and then discard. A Princeton University study has actually shown that “viewing pictures of scantily clad women activated the ‘tool-use part’ of men’s brains, causing them to view women as tools to be used.”[i]

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***Porn*** (pt 1)

[This post contains explicit descriptions and is not suitable for all audiences]

How should we think about porn?

Porn has been normalized and seems to be accepted for the most part in mainstream culture. It may not always be openly promoted but it seems to be assumed. It seems wise, in part because of porns prevalence, to at least consider the impact it is having and the place it should (or shouldn’t) have in our lives. 

In America, there is no broadly shared consensus regarding sex.[i] For example, there are various answers to these important questions: What is the purpose of sex and when and with whom should we have it? Connected to people’s view of sex is people’s view of pornography.

Statistics,[ii] as well mere observation of culture (e.g. Snapchat, Instagram), show us that there is moral ambiguity towards porn. In fact, teens and young adults view overeating as more immoral than viewing porn.[iii] So, as “access to pornography has increased, the stigma toward it has seemingly decreased.”[iv] I would suggest, however, that we shouldn’t assume this is a good thing.

I don’t think that we should blindly accept that porn consumption doesn’t matter. We would be wise to have and be able to defend our position on porn. As Socrates reportedly said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.”

How do we evaluate the acceptability of porn? There are two main ways we can evaluate porn and I believe they are both important to look at. We can look at porn from a 1) natural perspective and from a 2) supernatural perspective.

The Natural Perspective 

Here are two questions I believe it is wise to answer: Does porn promote human flourishing? Does porn help individuals and society thrive? Those are obviously big questions (that we can not exhaustively cover here) but they are important to consider.

Porn and Self-image 

Porn can turn healthy self-image into an unhealthy “sex-image” where people measure themselves by the images they view or by the images their partner views. Porn can very negatively affect self-image. For example, “A 2012 study of college-aged women with male partners who used porn concluded that the young women suffered diminished self-esteem, relationship quality and sexual satisfaction correlated with their partners’ porn use.”[v]

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