A Reason to Believe
Believing what the Bible says about God
By Jim Allen
A person wrote to Got Questions asking why there is so much confusion in the Bible. He said his faith was in crisis. He no longer felt the Bible was true. He tried to believe but could no longer ignore his doubts. He felt there was just too much confusion to believe God was the Bible's author. He needed another reason to believe.
As you might imagine, my answer back to him was carefully crafted to address his concerns. Of those concerns, this article briefly addresses one that seemed to bother him the most. What follows is not exactly how I responded but it does bring forward the essence of that response. I will name this person Randy.
Though Randy's questions and doubts were thought-provoking and troubling, they reminded me of a time when I had such thoughts about God and the Bible. In fact, we've all been there on occasion with questions and doubts that trouble the soul. But, I digress. Randy asked, "How can a God who designed a living cell be the author of such confusion?"
Of no surprise, even Christians are known to grumble about how confusing the Bible appears to be at times. Why is that? It's a good question. How can a book authored by God be confusing? After all, God is not the author of confusion. He is the author of precision and clarity and harmony (1 Corinthians 33:14). The entire Bible was inspired by God and yet people struggle to make sense of it (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Why?
Without the Holy Spirit, it is impossible to understand what the Bible is telling us. We need help. Paul wrote:
"The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned" (1 Corinthians 2:14).Paul is saying no one can understand the Bible unless God intervenes to help them comprehend what it means. Could this be Randy's problem? During the time of Paul, the Bible was scripted in just a few languages. But today, things are very different and more confusing than ever.
The Bible has been translated into many languages from the biblical languages of Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. As of November 2014 the full Bible has been translated into 531 languages, and 2,883 languages have at least some portion of the Bible. (Source)In addition to the high number of full and partial translations, the Gospel message is further muddled by another outside factor. At a minimum, there are an estimated 20,000 denominations worldwide, many of which vary in interpretation. These two noted outside influences, not to mention others, serve to skew Christendom and its Gospel message nearly beyond recognition.
But if a person is drawn to the Bible and sincerely seeking God, the Spirit will come and guide that person to a good translation where He opens the heart to a treasure trove of marvelous truths (John 16:13; 1 Peter 1:23). God will always lead genuine seekers from grace to unending grace.
I like that about the Spirit of God and the Bible. Smith Wigglesworth (the controversial Apostle of Faith) liked the Bible too, and had this to say:
The Bible is the Word of God: supernatural in origin, eternal in duration, inexpressible in valor, infinite in scope, regenerative in power, infallible in authority, universal in interest, personal in application, inspired in totality. Read it through, write it down, pray it in, work it out, and then pass it on. Truly it is the Word of God.In flow with the preceding, God will reveal to Randy what he needs to know one verse at a time over time, beginning with the milk of the word. Growing in Christ is not an instant process, unlike the moment of salvation. Growth takes time...day by day, a little here and a little there, always forward and upward (Isaiah 28:10). Jesus said, "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you" (Mathew 7:7-8).
It brings into man the personality of God; it changes the man until he becomes the epistle of God. It transforms his mind, changes his character, takes him on from grace to grace, and gives him an inheritance in the Spirit. God comes in, dwells in, walks in, talks through, and sups with him. (Source)
Randy, besieged by doubt, wanted one reason to believe but couldn't find any. What can I tell him beyond what God has already shown in creation? What words of wisdom can I share beyond what the Bible has already declared true? The Apostle Paul wrote,
...since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities — his eternal power and divine nature — have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse (Romans 1:19-20).But still, many people continue in unbelief until the Spirit moves over them in a special way. I read about Marilyn Adamson, a former atheist who is now wonderfully saved. She spoke boldly about her new faith after finding many reasons to believe. She wrote:
Of all the religions known to humanity, only through Jesus will you see God reaching toward humanity, providing a way for us to have a relationship with him. Jesus proves a divine heart of love, meeting our needs, drawing us to himself. Because of Jesus' death and resurrection, he offers us a new life today. We can be forgiven, fully accepted by God and genuinely loved by God. He says, "I have loved you with an everlasting love, therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you" (Jeremiah 31:3). (Source)Before salvation, Marilyn struggled to find one reason to believe God was real; and then, one day looked around and found many reasons to believe (Romans 1:19-20). She saw the vast wonders of the universe, pondered the complexity of the human brain, thought deeply about DNA's double helix, and on and on. She saw marvel after marvel until her heart overflowed with many reasons to believe God is real.
To Marilyn, creation became a living epistle, a divine invitation to come and learn more about this wonderful and great and powerful Being. She wanted to know God and the message He had for her. So she read the Bible, searched its contents carefully, and was wonderfully born again (1 Peter 1:23).
Marilyn saw God's creation as proof of Him and believed the Bible true. These truths coalesced into a timeless message about which C.S. Lewis wisely wrote, "Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and, if true, of infinite importance. The one thing it can never be is moderately important." (Source)
In closing, I don't know if Randy found or will ever find a reason to believe. Many never do. But, here's the thing: The moral of Randy's and Marilyn's stories is that if people approach God looking for reasons "not" to believe, they will find them. But, if they approach God looking for reasons to believe, they will find them too.
Image Credit: pedroivo; untitled; Creative Commons
Tags: Biblical-Salvation | Biblical-Truth
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