On Sunday mornings this summer, Heritage is exploring different myths commonly believed within Christianity during a “Mythbusters” teaching series. The week after each topic is taught from a biblical perspective, this blog will further dive into the issue at hand. We pray that this teaching series and the blog article that accompanies it will serve to be a resource as you reach your world for Christ.
By: Stefanie McGowan
Photo: Heather Templeton
The Bible is one of the most influential books in human history.
Its 66 books were written by 40 different men of varying backgrounds both academically and vocationally. It was written from different continents, in three different languages: Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek, over the span of 1500 years. Yet together, amongst all these authors and books and time, there is one central story. How can that be?
From the Pentateuch, to the Historical Books, the Wisdom Books, and the Prophets, through a 400 year silence before the Gospels and Acts, and the Letters and Revelation…the Bible is made up of one long narrative. It uses stories and parables, poetry, songs, laws, sermons, and letters all with one unified theme pointing us to Jesus the Messiah; where every book and every story, points us to Him. “Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me” (Psalm 40:7).
But is it trustworthy? Can the Word really be trusted?
What about other books, other writings, other world views, and religions? What about truth? How do you know? Whether we are seeking, solidifying, or just prone to wander…the question of the validity of the Bible can itself be summed as a question to the overall trustworthiness of God, who is Himself (Jesus) the Word made flesh (John 1:14).
Pontius Pilate addressed this question of truth when Jesus was on trial before the crucifixion:
Jesus answered, “You say that I am king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.’ Pilate said to him, “What is truth?” After he had said this, he went back outside to the Jews and told them, “I find no guilt in him.” (John 18: 37-38)
Still we wonder, “What is truth?” Perhaps Pilate’s question ought to have been, “Who is truth?” rather than “what.” Who do we trust? Jesus or the world? Is the Bible man-made? Is the Word reliable? In our questioning, we come to doubt the trustworthiness of the very One who is Himself Truth. We see from the beginning of creation how doubting God keeps us from fully trusting and surrendering to the Creator. We choose our own way and search to find the way to truth apart from God only to find the way is actually the One who is Himself the Way, and the Truth, and the Life. “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him’” (John 14:6-7).
It has always been the strategy of the deceiver, Satan, to cause doubt; to steal, and kill, and destroy (John 10:10). We see doubt in the garden, in Genesis 3, as the serpent asks the woman, “Did God really say…?” And we watch as Eve questions the trustworthiness of God. Doubt seeps in as she entertains a cunning conversation with the enemy. We witness her desire for the wisdom that the fruit would give her, to be like God, in all His knowledge of good and evil. We witness her choice to fully trust God or be her own god. So Eve chooses knowledge apart from God and places herself in God’s role as the authority of her life. We see her disregard God’s Word and not heed His warning. She doubts God’s goodness and His love for her. In turn, she stops trusting the One who created her, who walked with her in the garden and knows her intimately, the One who sees her in all her nakedness, where she stood unashamed. Yet she still chooses not to trust, and the result? “At that moment, their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. So they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves” (Genesis 3:7). We witness broken trust as they hid from the Lord in their doubt and shame.
But it is the Lord’s kindness to not leave us broken, to redeem what feels lost and bring us back into right relationship with Himself through His Son. So He stepped down and became human, fully God and fully man. He walked where we’ve walked and was tempted as we’ve been, yet never sinned. He came into the very world He created, to make a way to reconcile us back to Himself, through Jesus. “He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By his wounds you are healed. Once you were like sheep who wandered away. But now you have turned to your Shepherd, the Guardian of your souls” (1 Peter 2:24-25). And through Christ, we have come to trust in God (1 Peter 1:21). By this Good News, God makes a way for us to come boldly back to Him and experience His grace so that we can once again stand in His presence, unashamed.
He bought us back, purchased our freedom, and paid a debt we could not pay. We are no longer exposed but hidden in Christ Jesus, where He robes us in His righteousness (Isaiah 61:10) and reconciles us back to Himself by means of the cross (Colossians 1:20). Where He replaces our shame and doubt and gives us a true and better covering in Jesus and says, “It is finished” (John 19:30). This is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are (Romans 3:21-22). That to all who believe in Him, who believe in His name, He gives the right to become children of God (John 1:10-14).
So whenever we stop trusting that God is good, or seek wisdom apart from Him, or choose not to take Him at His word, we fail. Because only “In Him lie hidden all the treasures of knowledge and wisdom” (Colossians 2:3). “For there is only one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity – the man Christ Jesus. He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone” (1 Timothy 2:5-6). We are called into the body of Christ, believing God when He says in 1 Thessalonians 2:13, that all Scripture is God breathed. Breathed into men, out onto paper, out from the very breath of God Himself. It’s here that we trust that God is who He says He is, the Word made flesh.
No facts or world-view, no critic or commentary, no historical proof or archaeological dig, could ever teach a heart to trust the One who is trustworthy. This is faith that comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God (Romans 10:17). It’s trusting as we seek God with our whole heart and discover the truth of the promise, that “If you seek me with your whole heart, you will find me” (Jeremiah 29:13). It’s here that God calls us out of the darkness and into His wonderful light (1 Peter 2:9). And if we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny who He is (2 Timothy 2:13).
You see, it is the very nature of God, the goodness of His character, that Jesus would conquer the grave to defeat the power of sin over us and live to continually make intercession for us. It is God’s nature to draw us back to the truth of who He is: our “Abba, Father,” the Bread of Life, the Living Water, the Word made flesh. This is His heart for us, and He cannot deny who He is.
“Come to me with your ears wide open. Listen, and you will find life. I will make an everlasting covenant with you.” (Isaiah 55:3)