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Lowell Brueckner

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Why Do We Believe that the Bible is the Word of God?


BUILDING UPON THE ROCK… essential doctrines
On Sunday, January 26, on Radio Luz a las Naciones, we started a new series of programs in Spanish entitled “Building Upon the Rock. We will be presenting the essential doctrines of the Christian faith. These are doctrines, about which all true Christians over the centuries in all parts of the world have been in agreement… and they must be in agreement, if they are to be considered true Christians. Everyone, who calls himself a Christian, should know these doctrines and base his life and faith upon them.

We have the Bible as the only foundation, upon which we can and will teach these essential Christian doctrines. Therefore, it must be clear to us why we consider the Bible the maximum authority and why we believe it to be the Word of God. I want to briefly explain the reasons.

The Old Testament: We will begin in Romans 3 to see there what Paul said concerning the Old Testament: “What advantage has the Jew?” he asks in verse 1 and immediately he gives his answer in verse 2: “Great in every respect. First of all, that they were entrusted with the oracles of God.” This is a very important declaration, because it indicates that there was a body of writings, which were considered to be authoritative and divinely inspired. They were produced solely within the Jewish nation. Peter teaches about the Old Testament, saying that “no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.” Just as the prophets were inspired by the Holy Spirit in order to write, so there were godly Jews, guided by the Holy Spirit in order to discern which writings were truly inspired. Sovereign God, watching over His word, ordered this work throughout their history.

Before the church age, the Jews were entrusted by God to establish the Old Testament canon. By New Testament times, the canon of the Hebrew Bible consisted of a precise number of books with a specific structure. This fact proves that for a long time before Christ, the Jews had already determined and closed the canon. Jesus and His disciples were in agreement with the religious leaders of Israel over this issue. In that time, there were 22 books, but in our day some have been divided and for this reason there are now 39 books in the Old Testament. However, all that we now have were included in the 22 books of the Jews.

We can be sure that what was established in the Jewish nation, was also accepted in heaven, because Jesus Himself based His teaching on these Scriptures and also recognized the three divisions ordered by the Jews: The Law of Moses (5 books), The Prophets (13 books) and the Psalms (4 books… notice Lk.24:27; Mk.12:10). In Jesus’ time, when He mentioned these three volumes, all the Jews knew exactly to which books He was referring. Jesus recognized them as the Word of God: “Have you not read what was spoken to you by God?”, he asked the Sadducees, quoting from Genesis. In answering the temptations of the devil, Jesus said, “It is written”, showing that what was written in those books was recognized, even by the enemy, as the Word of authority, given by God. In three different places, the writer of Hebrews gave credit to the Holy Spirit as the Author of these Scriptures.

The New Testament: In forming the canon of the New Testament, the early church held to three criteria in order to determine if a document was truly the Word of God or not. 1) Apostolic authority: It must be written by an original apostle or someone associated with an apostle. “They (the believers) were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching” (Acts 2:42). 2) The rule of faith: The document must represent what was considered and recognized, in general, as basic and normal doctrine, upon which the church was founded. 3) Continuous usage and acceptance: It must have been accepted from the beginning by the church, in general, and used by it to indoctrinate. For example, the four Gospels are confirmed, because thousands of copies were distributed among the churches. Today, 5,600 of the manuscripts of the New Testament still exist, the oldest of which dates from 125 a.d., only 35 years after the original document was written.

These manuscripts were quoted by the oldest fathers of the church and are now recognized as the Word of God. Even Peter, in his day and in his second epistle, recognized the work of Paul among the Scriptures: “Our beloved brother Paul… wrote to you, as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things… which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also THE REST OF THE SCRIPTURES…” (2 Pt.3:15-16). In this manner the 27 books of the New Testament were formed and recognized, along with the 39 books of the Old Testament, as the Word of God.

With the Bible as our only foundation, we build our teaching. There are many more reasons why we believe the Bible to be the Word of God, but we will only briefly add a few: 1) The Bible is a book, which contains hundreds of prophecies, which have been or are being fulfilled. There is no other book like it in this respect. The fulfillment of prophecies is evidence that God is manifested in them. Jesus said to His disciples: “I have told you before it happens, so that when it happens, you may believe.” 2) There is a oneness of thought. From the death of Moses to the reign of Artaxerxes, the Persian, almost 3,000 years elapse, during which the Old Testament was written. Add another 400 years between the Testaments and 95 years more to the completion of the last book of the New Testament, and we have a total of 3,500 years. In all this period of time, the Scriptures provide for us an extraordinary continuity and unity of thought. This demonstrates that over all is a single plan and a single Author of that plan. 3) It has been impossible to destroy the Bible. Many political and religious rulers have attempted to do away with the Scriptures, but were never able to do so. There have existed untold numbers of critics, who have intended to invalidate the Bible, but not only have they been unable to do so, but many proofs have come to confirm its genuineness. Archeological discoveries have given us many of them. Perhaps the most astounding of all has been the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls. 4) The promises of the Bible are fulfilled in the lives of the individuals, who believe them. This test continues to confirm the Bible to this day. For this reason, a great number continue faithfully to adhere to the Word, because they are personal witnesses to its success. Many have held to their faith to the death and right up to this 21st Century, not a few have given their lives rather than deny Christ and the Scripture.


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