How can you move a skeptic to consider the possibility that the Bible is the Word of God, or at least get them to consider the idea that it’s not just another book? Ultimately, of course, the Holy Spirit is the One who must do the convincing, but there is a logical argument that you can share with a non-believer that might at least lead them to “doubt their doubts”:
The argument is based on the person of Jesus Christ and His uniqueness in history. And it begins with showing that He was raised from the dead.
There are many excellent books out regarding the resurrection, Lee Strobel’s, The Case For Christ, being quite terrific, but also, a semi-recent scholarly work by N.T. Wright is apparently excellent (from what I’ve heard – I’ve only started it) : The Resurrection of the Son of God.
Some of the questions skeptics are forced to answer regarding this include…
- Why was there an empty tomb? In other words, what accounts for the missing body? If it was moved, who moved it? If the disciples stole it, how did they get past the guards? And more than that, why then did so many disciples of them die as martyrs preaching a lie? Finally, if the Romans or Jews moved the body, why didn’t they produce it when these Christians became such rabble-rousers? Answer: the resurrection.
- What accounts for the transformation of the disciples? First, we have these men abandoning Jesus and hiding in fear, and then, history records them publicly proclaiming Christ on a public square in Jerusalem roughly 6 weeks after the resurrection…at the risk of life and limb. What accounts for this change? Answer: the resurrection.
- Why did these early Jewish Christians begin worshiping on Sunday? This is one of the strangest facts about early Christianity. These devout Jews went from worshiping on the Sabbath (Friday sundown to Saturday sundown) to worshiping on Sunday, a.k.a. “the Lord’s Day”. Why did this happen, and how is it even remotely possible? The Sabbath was not a small aspect of their religion. It was huge. Why would they have abandoned it? Answer: of course – the resurrection.
Once you establish the likelihood of Christ’s resurrection, you have also demonstrated that he was a unique person in history. Now, take it to the logical next step – if this unique person in history was truly raised from the dead, then we shouldn’t be surprised that there is a record of his life and ministry. These records, of course, are the gospels – four different viewpoints on the life of Jesus, all culminating in the cross and resurrection.
Now, reading the gospels, we also discover this unique Person’s viewpoints on many different issues, one of which is the Old Testament. In different places, Jesus confirms that He believed the Old Testament to be absolutely and totally true. One of the strongest is here…
Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I said, you are gods’? If he called them gods to whom the word of God came– and Scripture cannot be broken–do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? John 10:34-36 (ESV)
You’ll forgive, me, I’m sure, if I don’t go into a long discussion of what Jesus is trying to argue here. Suffice it to say that He believed the Scripture (the Old Testament) could not be broken. Whatever it said, He believed would come to pass.
Everywhere, He assumed the Old Testament was true…
He said to them, “Have you not read what David did…” Matthew 12:3 (ESV)
And Jesus said to them, “Yes; have you never read, “‘Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies you have prepared praise’?” Matthew 21:16 (ESV)
“For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.” Matthew 5:18 (ESV)
Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. John 17:17 (ESV)
Not only this, but considering the gospels – the historic records of this unique person Jesus – leads us to see that He believed in a real Adam and Eve, the destruction of Sodom, a person named Jonah who survived three days in a fish, Moses, Noah and a host of other wondrous things that moderns have difficulty believing.
These verses above demonstrate that Jesus believed the Old Testament was true, but He also made provision for the writing of the New Testament…
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. John 14:26 (ESV)
And there you are – reason to at least consider that the Bible is true, because Jesus certainly believed it was. So once again…
- This unique person, Jesus, was really raised from the dead, evidenced by actual events in history.
- A record of His life and ministry would therefore be expected, and this record consists of the New Testament gospels.
- We see in these gospels Jesus’ belief in the truthfulness of the Old Testament and His provision for the New Testament.
For Monday, October 19th: John 11
October 16, 2015 at 8:13 am
We just covered points 1,2,3 in Max Lucado’s book, “When Christ Comes”, in our Life Group. Such good historical points!