The Question: How do we know the Bible is from God? How do we know the Bible hasn’t been influenced or directed by the Devil? Is it possible the great deceiver wrote a hand book to separate the children of God? I know the biblical texts can be verified historically, but I am not questioning it’s validity. I am however, confused as to how a God who is love and good is capable of condoning segregation, stoning, wars, etc. The Bible is every Christian’s reference to God. What if God is not inside of the book? What if the devil saw an opportunity to mimic God, all the while teaching us little loop holes to separate, justify and ultimately deceive?
This is a question that is pretty significant as it can make or break our entire foundation of faith and knowledge of God. There is sort of a few questions grouped into one though… I think the underlying issue in this question(s) is that there are things in the Bible that do not seem to fall in line with a ‘good’ and ‘loving’ God. This then leads to doubts regarding the legitimacy of the Bible as God’s word. How do we know the Bible is from God? How can we be sure the Bible is true and influenced by God and not by Satan?
First thing I’d recommend (also applies to every other scenario) is to pray. Ask God for wisdom. Ask God for understanding. Take those specific concerns regarding whatever issue or passage it is you are struggling with before God. Be patient, and don’t be afraid to do research. There is a vast resource of information and insight at your fingertips with the internet. Ask God’s guidance and direction and for His discretion as you sift through the various explanations and reasoning people will provide. Some of it will not be correct, so be discerning and trust that God will lead you.
Second is to accept that there may be some things you will not understand at the current time, and perhaps not even ever. There are many things I don’t comprehend fully or even at all in regards to God and the Bible, and that’s okay. I don’t need all the answers, nor do I expect them in this life. All I know for sure, is that God is good, and that He loves us, and at the end of the day, that is all I require. Do I still seek knowledge and work to grow in faith and understanding? Of course, but each day I am still required to trust and have faith in God regardless of how much understanding and knowledge (or lack thereof) I possess.
That being said, I think there are certainly things we can look at regarding this particular question.
Okay, so lets look at the first part of the question, “How do we know the Bible is from God? How do we know the Bible wasn’t influenced by Satan and that we are being led astray/deceived by it?”
The answer to this question is, I believe, actually quite simple. However it may be hard to digest or accept due to it’s simplicity so I will try to extrapolate as best I am able.
Here it goes: we as Christian’s know that the Bible is indeed the word of God because it must be. There is no viable alternative.
Now bear with me here, as that isn’t really much of an answer, so let me try to explain…
Lets assume for a moment that the books and records and letters and texts that compose the Bible was not/is not inspired or directed by God but was/is directed by the Devil to lead God’s children astray. Where would that leave us as Christian’s? That would leave us in a place without any direction or leadership in regards to how God desires us to live and we would be left to ‘decide’ for ourselves what is right and what is wrong; essentially, we would be left without God in the picture.
People would just begin to say, “Well God told me this was right or that was right.” and we as Christian’s would have no way of corroborating the truth of any ideals or morals because there would be no guide or reference, there would be no definitive direction from God. We know that God is Good, and that God loves us. If He is good and He loves us, then we also know He wouldn’t leave us without direction and a way to develop a relationship with Him.
Some people can argue, “We don’t need the Bible, all we really need is the Holy Spirit/God who will guide us, after all, the Disciples didn’t have the Bible, right?”. Well, that’s an interesting statement, but one that is contradicted by… The Bible. Now unfortunately if the Bible isn’t the work of God then that contradiction doesn’t matter, however lets break it down a bit further then…
So the basis of Christian faith and belief in God is that He sent his son Jesus to sacrifice himself for us, so that we may accept God’s gift of redemption (now, this is also taken from the Bible… but if we don’t believe this then there really isn’t any way to continue nor really anything to base our Christian faith off of…). Now, Jesus had his Apostles, and he left them (according to the accounts in the Bible) the Holy Spirit when he ascended back to Heaven after being resurrected (again this is the basic foundation that Christian faith is built on). Okay, so Jesus/God left the Holy Spirit to the Apostles, saying they would be led and directed into all truth through Him, the Spirit (John 16:13), and with a directive: go and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19).
Now, if indeed God intended for us to only require the Holy Spirit in order to develop a relationship with God and live our lives the way He intends us to live them, all the Apostles would have needed to do would be to get people to accept Jesus as their savior or ‘convert’ them, or ‘baptize them in the Spirit’, etc. (there are various lines of thought about what is involved in letting the Holy Spirit become a part of your life, but that’s a topic for a different day…), and that would have been it…
Is that what the Apostles did? No, it is not. By both Biblical and non-Biblical accounts, the Apostles taught and mentored and laboriously built and developed the people of God’s church. They painstakingly instructed and directed and corrected the followers of God. So by this we know that we, as human’s, require more to develop our relationship with God than just having the Holy Spirit as part of our lives.
Now, that being said. I’m not saying that having the Holy Spirit isn’t a crucial part of following God, it surely is. Nor am I saying God ‘couldn’t’ direct us by the Spirit alone if He so choose, and there may be instances where He does… I mean, He is God, He can anything… What I am saying though, is this is how God choose to work among mankind, and we know that based on the way His Apostles followed Him and how Jesus instructed the Apostles.
We are finally getting to the meat and potatoes of this, I assure you… Just stay with me a bit more.
So, we’ve established that we, as followers of God, require instruction and direction to develop our relationship with God, in addition to the Holy Spirit. But wait! The Apostles didn’t have the Bible, yet they are some of the most notable and devout followers of God, right?!?
Indeed they are/were, but they did have instruction, as they were instructed by Jesus, and, they did have what we know as the Old Testament as well… In addition, they had well developed faith in God and sensitivity to the Holy Spirit, both built and trained by Jesus. So perhaps if we all had that developed faith and sensitivity and experience, we may not be as dependent on the Bible for knowing what God’s will is and how He wants us to live… However I can only speak for myself when I say, I surely need direction and instruction, and I’m quite confident that most other Christian’s are in the same boat as myself.
Luckily, the people of the churches the Apostles seeded also were in the same boat, and as such the Apostles wrote many a lengthy letter to them with instruction and guidance. Did the Apostles know when they were writing the letters, that God would preserve those letters through the ages and that they would still be used to instruct and direct Christian’s thousands of years later? I’m not sure, but I’m certainly glad God did it and that we have not only the words and accounts of Jesus himself as recorded by them to examine and learn from as the Apostles did, but also the words and instructions of the Apostles on whom God imparted the Holy Spirit and directed them to go and make disciples of all nations.
The Apostles and disciples and prophets of God write a fair bit about the word of God: 2 Timothy 3:16, Hebrews 4:12, Proverbs 4:20-22, Colossians 3:16, Proverbs 3:1-35, Psalm 119:105, John 1:1-2, Mark 13:31, and so forth and so on. The point here is that the Scriptures of the Old Testament, and the accounts and texts of the New Testament were and are inspired by God because God has said they are, and this truth has been corroborated by the Apostles and believers and followers of God by the Holy Spirit.
I guess it comes down to this. There cannot be belief in God (and see here for what I mean when I say ‘belief’) without the Bible. Therefore, if we have belief in God, we must also accept the Bible as true and that it is God’s word and instruction to us as His children. If the Bible is from God and it is His instruction to us as His children, we must also accept and believe that God, being good and loving and just and merciful, would preserve His word to us as He intends us to have it, and trust that while their may be things in it we don’t comprehend and have difficulty accepting, that He is God.
While I think it’s extremely obvious that the Devil warps and twists the words of God to mislead us and cause doubts, I do not believe that there is a single instance in the entire Bible where the Devil has influenced the writers and actually ‘changed’ what God intended to be written. The Bible has incredible depth and meaning, and requires study and research and diligence to even begin to understand it, and I believe that is also the way God intended it to be.
The Bible is an incredible book that has survived the ages against all odds, the only book in the world with prophecies that have always been fulfilled, a book with so many different writers and time periods that somehow, miraculously support each other and come together to form a cohesive and corroborating account that tell us about a loving God who has given us an incredible gift, and instructs us on how to develop a relationship with Him and how to live meaningful, fulfilled lives… It’s astounding. Here is a short article that goes into a bit more detail that you may find useful.
The Bible is from God, and God can indeed be found in that book, and while there are many false interpretations and misleading ideas regarding it, I believe the book itself does contain the truth of God. It is however up to us to seek it, and we can take comfort in the fact that God has given us the Holy Spirit to guide and direct us as we walk with Him and build a relationship with Him and develop our understanding of Him.
Okay, now for the second part of the question. Seeing as it’s more or less it’s own topic, I’ve created a second article here.
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