Explore God 6: Is the Bible Reliable?

For 7 weeks, we're partnering with over 100 other churches in metro Richmond for the Explore God series. This series is especially designed for people that have spiritual questions and are exploring what they believe. For more information on the full series, as well as other Explore God opportunities we have going on, visit our Explore God page, or visit the ExploreGod.com.

For Meditation

Last Sunday we looked at the divinity of Jesus. We referenced C.S. Lewis’ famous quote that given the kind of things that Jesus said about himself, he must either be a Liar, a Lunatic, or Lord. However, the scholar William Lane Craig points out in his book Reasonable Faith that there may be another alternative as well: perhaps the Jesus presented in the Bible is a legend. How do we know that the Jesus presented in the four gospels is the real historical Jesus, and not some made-up person that the early Christians wanted to believe in? (This is an argument popularized by the viral book The DaVinci Code a few years ago). So in many ways, the question of Jesus’ divinity is contingent on the prior question of the Bible’s reliability. Can this book be trusted? Can we believe what it’s saying about Jesus, about God, about the world?

This Sunday, we’ll first look at the question of the Bible’s reliability head on. Though we won’t be able to do a thorough survey of the evidence, we’ll talk about some of the facts that point to a strong case for the Bible’s historical reliability. In the words of F.J.A. Hort, one of the great textual critics of the 20th century, “In the variety and fullness of the evidence on which it rests, the text of the New Testament stands absolutely and unapproachably alone among ancient prose writings.”

A more relevant question for us, however, may be: “What is the Bible reliable for?” What’s the purpose of the Bible? Though the Bible has many different purposes, we’ll see that the ultimate purpose of the Bible is to tell the true story about the world- the story that reveals to us who God is, who we are, and how everything will be set right. The Bible is more than a book - it is an invitation into a new way of seeing and being in the world. 

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Psalm 119:97-105

97 Oh, how I love your law!
I meditate on it all day long.
98 Your commands are always with me and make me wiser than my enemies.
99 I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on your statutes.
100 I have more understanding than the elders, for I obey your precepts.
101 I have kept my feet from every evil path so that I might obey your word.
102 I have not departed from your laws, for you yourself have taught me.
103 How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
104 I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path.
105 Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.

John 5:39-40

39 You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me to have life.