NOTE: This article is part of our series called ‘Honest Questions’, which seeks to aid those on a spiritual journey to work through some of the biggest questions and obstacles to faith. You can read our introduction to the series here.

AN HONEST QUESTION

“The Bible was written thousands of years ago…contains some claims that seem far-fetched…was written by people who were really biased…and can seem quite confusing. Why would I read it today in the 21st century, let alone base my life on it?”

WHAT JESUS SAID

In the Gospels (the four accounts of Jesus’ life in the Bible), Jesus says that:

  • The Old Testament (the part written before he was born) is God’s words, written by his messengers, or “prophets”.
  • The New Testament, written by his friends, has been written by God’s Spirit, who Jesus promised would “guide [his friends] into all truth” (John 16:13).

The Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John) claim that Jesus is God, living on earth as a human. So if the Gospels are right about Jesus, then we can trust the Bible, because he says it has all been written by God. If the Gospels are trustworthy, the Bible is God’s words.

But that’s a big “if”! Can we trust the Gospels?

FIVE REASONS WHY WE CAN

  1. The Gospels claim to be history – not fairy tales. Luke begins his Gospel by saying he’s “carefully investigated everything”, by interviewing “those who from the first were eyewitnesses” (Luke 1:2-3).
  2. The Gospel claims are backed up by witnesses. Most of the New Testament was written within a generation of Jesus’ life. So it would have been easy for people to say: “I was there, and that bit didn’t happen”. One New Testament writer, Paul, said that after Jesus died and rose back to life, he “appeared to more than five hundred…most of whom are still living” (1 Corinthians 15:6). None of them said, “No, this is made up!”
  3. The Gospels we read are authentic. We have enough very early New Testaments to know that what we read is the same as what was first written 2000 years ago (though it’s been translated from Greek to English, of course!)
  4. The Gospels are backed up by research. The more we find out about that era, the more we discover that the Gospels’ details check out with what non-Christian writers (such as the Roman, Tacitus; and the Jew, Josephus) wrote.
  5. The Gospel writers suffered for their claims. Jesus’ first followers (including the Gospel writers) were tortured and even killed for what they said. They were willing to die for their claims about Jesus. Why die for something you know is a lie because you made it up?

Lots of people make their minds up without reading the Bible with an open mind. It’s worth reading a Gospel before deciding.

YES, BUT…

“Jesus could have got the Bible wrong. Wasn’t he just a great teacher?

FURTHER STUDY

Thanks to the internet, we have an incredible number of resources at our fingertips. In an abundance of information, however, the challenge is often finding the right thing to study. With this in mind, we’ve curated this list of articles and videos for you as you continue your investigation into the topic explored in this article.

Author

  • Timothy Berry

    Tim and Renske met and were married in Toulouse, France. They have three wonderful children: Matthijs, Anouk, and Jaana. Before planting City Church Wolverhampton, they served at Mendham Hills Community Church in Chester, NJ as the Pastor of Worship Arts. Tim is ordained by the Christian & Missionary Alliance (C&MA).