Trusting the Bible is a question of trusting Jesus. Do you trust him?
1 In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. 3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. 4 So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs.
The Son Superior to Angels
5 For to which of the angels did God ever say,
“You are my Son;
today I have become your Father”?
“I will be his Father,
and he will be my Son”?
“I’ll never be 100% sure about God unless he shows up in person—unless he does a miracle right in front of me—unless a voice booms down from heaven and talks to me.”
“If God were real, then he’d talk to us. Then we could know for sure that Christianity is true.”
Have you ever heard anybody say something like that? Have you said something like that?
In modern Australian culture, it’s our default position to be suspicious of the Bible. The writer to the Hebrews was speaking into a different culture; a culture that held the Jewish Scriptures (what we now think of as the Old Testament) in high regard. The Jews were in close contact with a tradition that said God had spoken to them many times throughout history through spokespeople known as ‘prophets’.
The writer to the Hebrews is appealing to that tradition. “You know how God has always talked to us through the prophets? How do we read the things they’ve written down, to understand what God is like and what he’s doing in the world? Well, recently God has sent something even better. He sent his Son to tell us about himself.”
And this declaration speaks to the natural doubts about God that we have today. “If God were real, then he’d talk to us.” Well, he DID. The author of Hebrews tells us that God has walked the earth and spoken face-to-face with humans. He’s revealed himself in human form, in Jesus. In his teaching, Jesus confirmed the truth of everything that had been written so far in the Scriptures and explained how it all pointed to himself.
Of course, that claim might not mean a lot to us, in our cultural context, over two millennia later. We don’t have a particular reason to trust the Scriptures, or Jesus himself. Many of us haven’t grown up hearing the Bible read every day, accepting it as part of the fabric of our world as the original readers of this letter would have done.
When I was first figuring out what I thought about the Bible, I did a lot of research into where it came from. If you have doubts, I encourage you to look into this too.
I realised that the question of whether the Bible was true really hinged on whether the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ really happened. That’s a concrete, historical event, that could potentially be supported or refuted by written records and archeological evidence from outside the Bible as well as within it.
I’ll cut a long story short (and encourage you to check it out for yourself): I’ve become convinced that there’s plenty of reliable historical evidence to support the existence of Jesus. Crucially, there’s good reason to accept that his death on the cross and his subsequent resurrection from the dead is the best explanation for the body of historical evidence that we have. (This evidence comes from both Christian and non-Christian sources.)
For me, the question of why I should trust the Bible is a question of whether or not I can trust Jesus. Because, as Hebrews says, in the past God spoke to us through prophets—as recorded in the bits of the Bible that came before Jesus—but ‘in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son’ (Heb 1:2). And Jesus ‘was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead’ (Romans 1:4). The fact of his resurrection showed that he was the real deal: the son of God, sent from heaven, the only one who could lead us through death and into new life forever.
I believe that when Jesus rose from the dead and appeared again, alive—which is the best explanation for what happened, incredible as it seems—he proved that he was God. And if Jesus is who he says he is, we can trust that the Bible is what he says it is. He taught that the Bible was the authoritative, reliable source of information about God.
Jesus, ‘the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being’ is the historically verifiable link between us, God, and everything God has said to us throughout history, as recorded in the Bible.
Do you trust him?
Head: Do you know much about where the Bible came from? Or whether the written accounts of Jesus’ life stand up as legitimate historical evidence? Is this something you need to learn more about?
Heart: Do you feel confident in Jesus and that the Bible can be trusted because he says so? Where are your doubts and questions, and how does Jesus answer them?
Hands: How can you deepen your connection with Jesus by engaging with the Bible?
(Developing a daily Bible reading habit is NOT the only way to do this. Think of ways to engage with God’s word based on what makes YOU tick. Things that work for me include: reading through a book of the Bible with a friend; meditating on a favourite Bible verse while I do yoga; listening to a funny podcast that re-caps Bible stories; writing out verses from the Bible on random pages of my day planner for ‘future me’ to read; teaching other people to read the Bible, and studying the Bible academically. What will work for you?)
Prayer: Dear Lord. Thank you that you’ve spoken to us many times, in different ways throughout history. Thank you that you’ve given us questioning natures and investigative minds, that seek after the truth about you. Thank you for the breadcrumb trail of historical evidence that leads us back to Jesus. When we have doubts, when we’re scared that the Bible isn’t true, or when we don’t want to take it seriously, help us to return to the real, concrete historical person of Jesus, and help us to place our trust there. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
A song to listen to: Your Word
Kamina Wust- Creek Road Presbyterian Church- South Bank