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Why I Believe - Why I Believe in the Bible, Part 1

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram
The Truth Network Radio
August 24, 2022 6:00 am

Why I Believe - Why I Believe in the Bible, Part 1

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram

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August 24, 2022 6:00 am

In this program, Chip asks: Is it intellectually feasible to believe that a collection of sixty-six manuscripts, by forty different authors, written in three languages, over a period of fifteen hundred years could actually be the very words of God? If you’ve ever struggled with questions about the authenticity and integrity of the Bible, what Chip shares will be a great encouragement.

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Is it intellectually feasible to believe that a collection of 66 manuscripts by 40 different authors written in three languages over a period of 1,500 years could actually be the very words of God? Is there any real evidence that supports such an outrageous claim?

Find out today. Welcome to this Edition of Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram. I'm Dave Druey, and the mission of these daily programs is to intentionally disciple Christians through the Bible teaching of Chip Ingram. Have you ever wondered, is the Bible completely accurate?

I mean, how can we know for sure that every single word from the original manuscripts to what we read today is the exact same? In just a minute, Chip will continue his series, Why I Believe, into revealing some concrete evidence to the flawlessness of God's Word and why we can trust it. And if you're looking for some deeper insight into this important topic, join us after the message as Chip shares some really in-depth and practical advice.

You're not going to want to miss it. Well, with that, here's Chip with his talk, Why I Believe in the Bible. You may not know this, but before I was a pastor, I was a basketball coach. And I honestly thought my whole life was going to be a basketball coach. And I'd coached middle school and then high school, and then my dream was I wanted Bobby Knight's job.

I wanted either Indiana or Ohio State. I wanted to be a major college coach. And so I had to go to graduate school.

I didn't really want to go back to graduate school, but if you don't have a master's degree, then you can't coach in college. And so I found a job as a resident assistant at West Virginia University where I could kind of teach the freshman level stuff, and then they would pay my way, which worked out really well. And I'll never forget, I was walking in to teach one of my classes, and I had my books, and I had my Bible on it because I was leading a campus ministry at the same time. And a very bright PhD student paused, and then he looked at me, then he looked at my Bible.

He said, is that a Bible? I said, yeah. And then sort of with disdain, you don't really believe that, do you? And in a moment of faith, I said, yeah, I really do. And then he walked away, but before he walked away, I got one of those glances that you've probably gotten.

Oh my gosh, I thought you had all your marbles, or are you anti-intellectual? How in the world could you be doing graduate work at a secular university and actually believe the Bible? And all I can tell you was, I'm ashamed to say this, I was ashamed of the Bible. I mean, I felt like, wow, he was really big and I was really small. And I remember walking down the hall feeling like, why do I feel like this?

I mean, God, you've changed my life. And what I realized was I didn't have confidence. I had a personal relationship with God, and he was speaking to me through the Bible, but I didn't have the confidence that this is the word of God. I could proudly say, this is God's truth.

And by the way, here's why. And so what I want to do in our time is I want to answer some of those tough questions that I went on a journey that I had to know, because I don't want to just believe it. I just don't want God to speak to me. I want to have a level of confidence that this is the very word of God.

And what I want you to know, you can have that same confidence. Here's the questions that were plaguing me. Questions like, is the Bible the word of God or the word of men? Is the Bible full of myths and legends and fairy tales, or is it historically reliable? Is all the Bible true or are only parts of it trustworthy? Can the Bible be translated that many times over hundreds and hundreds of years and still be accurate? And finally, what makes the Bible different than other religious writings? I mean, you get in a discussion and that group has their holy book and that group has their holy book.

So what makes it unique and distinctive? And so to go on this journey, I begin to ask questions. So what I want to do is I want to ask a handful of questions and give you the reason of what I learned of why I have confidence in the Bible is God's word. The first question is, isn't the Bible a collection of stories, myths, and legends?

The answer to that is no. And why archaeology? The Bible is a historically accurate document.

Are you ready for this? There are over 25,000 specific places in the Old Testament alone that are verified in history. Actual cities, actual people. I can go to the New Testament, there's inscriptions, all the things we've heard about, Pontius Pilate, Bethlehem, Jesus, the census, all those things are historical facts that can be verified. The New Testament, the Old Testament, is not myths, dreams, legends, or stories.

It's people, places, and real events that can be verified. The second question, don't all religions have their holy book? What makes the Bible so special? The answer, revelation.

Revelation. The Bible claims to infallibly reveal the very words and the mind of God. 2 Timothy 3.16 says this, all scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness. In other words, all scripture, the very, very words of the Bible are inspired or God-breathed through human instruments and through their personalities but God superintended it in such a way that what we have is the very word of God.

Now you might say to yourself, well Chip, that is a little bit of circular reasoning and I will admit that. But over 3,000 times, thus says the Lord. It makes it unique. In other words, it's authoritative.

So there's lots of holy books but here's what I want you to get. The Bible claims to be the infallible revealed word of God. That makes it unique but there's something else that makes it unique. It's origin, it's structure, and it's unity. You know, a lot of people have no idea, you know, did some guy just sit down and write the Bible? No.

Are you ready for this? There's 40 different authors, three different languages over 1,500 years. The Old Testament was written in Hebrew.

New Testament was primarily corny Greek but also Aramaic. And you have these different authors from all these different timeframes and are you ready for this? In different geographical places with one very central theme. From Genesis all the way to Revelation, it's Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ the coming Savior. Jesus Christ the King. Jesus Christ the one who will fulfill all the prophecies. Jesus Christ now the center of the gospels.

And now Jesus Christ ascended and the Jesus Christ is coming back again. Genesis to Revelation, the theme of a book written over 1,500 years in multiple languages by multiple authors. One central theme, Jesus Christ. Now imagine two billion publications of the Bible since 1455 and then there's one last thing that makes it very unique.

It's authenticity. You know, most holy books don't show any of the weaknesses of the characters. Think about this. Moses, murderer. David, murderer and adulterer. The Apostle Paul, a murderer.

James and John, anger management issues. You know, if you were trying to convince someone that this is a book from heaven, you certainly wouldn't be that authentic. And yet that's what tells me this is from God because God knows we struggle. He wanted to give us examples of real people in real time to reveal his heart and how he deals with us not just when we're doing well but when we're not doing so well.

The third question I want to answer is it's obvious that the data is strong. There's a strong case that the Bible is very unique. But can it really be the very word of God?

Well the answer is yes because of one very famous name, Jesus. Jesus actually believed the Old Testament to be the very words of God and he predicted the New Testament to be likewise. Not just in concepts, not in generalities, but the actual words Jesus would say were from the Father. They're God's word.

Matthew chapter 5, Jesus is preaching on the Sermon on the Mount. He says, do not think that I came to abolish the law or the prophets. I didn't come to abolish the law but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass away from the law until it's all accomplished. And so he says to them, I'm not here to change things. I'm going to fulfill the very word of God. He actually believed that every word was God-breathed or inspired.

In fact, are you ready for this? Jesus actually bases his proof of the resurrection on a tense of the verb, not just one word, but on the tense of a verb. And the religious leaders are trying to trap him. And so what they do is they come with this story.

It's a very familiar one for many of you. And it is about this woman who has multiple husbands and there's no heirs. And so they say, when this woman is in heaven, like who's going to be her husband?

Because there's seven men. And what they were really trying to say is there is no resurrection. Listen to Jesus' response in Matthew chapter 22, verse 29. Jesus replied, you are in error because you do not know the scriptures or the power of God. At the resurrection, people will neither marry or be given in marriage. They will be like the angels in heaven.

Now get this. But about the resurrection of the Lord, he said, have you not read what God said to you? I am, present tense, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living. Now of all the places that Jesus could go to support that he believes in the resurrection, I mean, there's a passage in Job that's really clear. He could have reached into one of the Psalms, but he goes to one little tense of the verb. You know what that says? Jesus actually believes that every word is inspired by God.

And I think about that. He's the expert witness. I've been on a lot of juries and you know, you listen to all kinds of expert witnesses and as they come in, the better their credentials and the more they know, the more weight you give them. We have learned that Jesus rose from the dead. We've looked at the proof of the resurrection. If the resurrected Christ says, I believe in the Old Testament and I believe the New Testament, every word is going to be inspired, I will tell you for me, that gives me a lot of confidence. When Jesus talks about Abraham, Noah, Jonah, Adam, Eve, he doesn't say, these are nice legends or fairy tales.

They were actual people in actual space time. He had full confidence and believed that the Bible was the very word of God. Now the next question that I want to ask and answer is, yes, Jesus' view is a strong argument, but for me, for me, and I think it's because of what I was going through, the most convincing argument that God spoke to my heart, where when I walked out of that place and felt intimidated by that student and went through some rough times in my life, this next reason is the one that God used to say, Chip, you can believe it.

You can walk into any arena. This is not anti-intellectual. This is the very word of God and this is prophecy.

Notice prophecy sets the Bible apart from all other religions. Now let me give you a little background. Probably between my third and fourth year in college and I was growing and things were great. I stayed for summer school so I could play in a basketball league and I had this weird experience. I didn't know anything about it. I would learn later that theologians and mystics would call it the dark night of the soul and every now and then sometimes God will allow the emotional connection with him to sort of fade away and help you learn to trust him and just out of the blue one day I had this thought and it was a deep doubt and it wasn't like, I wonder if this passage over here is right or wrong and it wasn't like, you know, I wonder about that book. It was like, I wonder if any of this is true and literally it was satanic. I mean, it was just like, I wonder if my salvation is true.

I wonder if Jesus is real. I wonder if I could trust the Bible and it was horrendous and my emotional connection with God, it's just like, it evaporated and so I remember deciding regardless of how I felt, I would get up as was my custom now and I would read God's word and I read God's word every day and I didn't feel anything but I realized my faith can't be built on my experience and on my feelings. It had to be on truth and so I hung in there and I hung in there and I happened to be reading through the Old Testament and I was reading through Isaiah and I came across this passage that I'm gonna tell you, it was so encouraging and so blew my mind. It's on Isaiah 46.

It says, remember the former things, things of long ago. I am God, there is no other. I am God, there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times and what is still to come.

I say my purpose will stand and I will do all that I please. Now there's a bigger context and in the context, what he's gonna do in chapter 44, 45 and there in 46, it's a comparison of who is a true God and who's a false God and Isaiah speaking for the Lord basically says our God can tell the future beginning to end and he makes prophecies and they come through a hundred percent of the time and then he gives some examples and I just begin to think, wait a second, do I believe this or not? And I mean, I could have gone to lots of different places but I remember someone saying there were over 300 prophecies alone that Jesus fulfilled in his first coming and I thought to myself, okay.

I mean, I knew a few of them like, okay, 30 pieces of silver, I remember that. He'll be born of a virgin. I kind of heard that and then I did some research and found out those things were predicted 700 years before he was even born and all of a sudden I began to realize, wow, and I did a study on prophecy and what I realized was a God who is sovereign and who is all knowing and can say this is going to happen and it happens a hundred percent of the time is mind boggling and when he does it specifically about God the son, all I can tell you is my faith got infused and I thought to myself, you know something, everybody trusts someone's word.

Think about that. I mean, that PhD student, it was like popular culture said, the Bible's out. He trusted someone's word. We trust someone's word.

Some kids, their mom and dad. Sometimes it's an authority figure. Sometimes it's on, you know, what we hear on the TV. Everyone trusts someone's word. You are going to trust someone's word about all kinds of things in life. What I'm telling you is the evidence is overwhelming. We can trust God's word and prophecy is the thing that took me over the edge and helped me to hang on.

Chip will be back in just a minute with his application. You've been listening to the first part of his message, why I believe in the Bible. Now, as you may or may not know, there's actually a lot of solid verifiable evidence that supports Jesus' existence and his ministry. The real challenge is articulating that and other biblical truths to those who genuinely want to know more.

So how do we do that? Well, in this series, Chip shares ways we can effectively and winsomely answer honest questions about our faith that will attract people to the gospel, not repel them from it. For more information about why I believe or our resources, go to livingontheedge.org, the Chip Ingram app, or call 888-333-6003. Well, before we go any further, Chip's joined me here in studio. And Chip, I can see that you're wanting to jump in here real quick to talk to our listeners about something that's on your heart.

Thanks, Dave. I want to share an important request with you. If Living on the Edge is ministering to you, would you consider returning the favor? If you've been listening but haven't yet become a financial partner with Living on the Edge, would you prayerfully consider sending a gift today?

And if you've given but could do it monthly, I can't tell you. It would make a huge difference. If we all pitched in, it would just make an incredible difference in terms of what we can do here to reach and care for more people. So thanks so much for all that you do, and thanks for just praying and doing whatever God shows you to do. And we will receive it with great gratitude. Well, as you prayerfully consider your role with this ministry, I want to remind you that every gift is significant.

When you partner with Living on the Edge, you multiply our efforts and resources in ways that only God can do. Make your donation at livingontheedge.org or through the Chip Ingram app. Or if it's easier, you can text the word donate to 74141. That's donate to 74141. We appreciate your help. Well, Chip, let's get to that application we promised.

As we wrap up today's program, I would remind you of the very last sentence in our teaching time. Everyone trusts someone's word about what's true. You do. I do.

Everyone does. We trust our parents, or the TV, or a college professor, or the Internet, or a book that we've read. And that's what led me on this journey. I had real doubts about the Bible. I had all these PhDs looking at me like, did you throw your brains in the trash?

I mean, what's wrong with you, Ingram? And so I had to find out, is it intellectually feasible to actually believe that this really amazing and miraculous book written over this long period of time with the central theme of Jesus, could it really be the Word of God? And honestly, I said, like probably a lot of people, it's pretty far-fetched. Of all the things that have been a struggle for me, it's, can you really believe the Bible? But that's the foundation of everything. It's the teaching about Jesus. It's the teaching about what's real. It's about teaching about heaven. It's teaching about how to live your life.

And so as I went on the journey, I began to start with, well, where did this book come from? And as you heard in our teaching time today, the Bible is historically accurate. That may not be a big deal to you right now, but I will tell you, if you've studied some other religions like I have, or if you've examined some of the cults or some of the other religious books, I will tell you, it is absolutely unique that you can look at the archaeology for now a couple thousand years. And I mean, Pontius Pilate was a person. Bethlehem is a place. All these different things that happened, I can go in space-time history and know that what is written in this book actually happened.

To me, that was huge. The second thing was the outrageous claim. You know, there's a lot of religious books that say, you know, here's some great wisdom, or here's some philosophy, or here's what our spiritual guru or our leader says about this or that. But the Bible claims to be the infallible, revealed, very words of God. I mean, it's so outrageous that the Bible was God-breathed. He's actually speaking through this, and then you sort of lean back, at least I did, and I thought, over fifteen hundred years, how would you weave all those languages and all that time and forty different authors? I mean, it's mind-boggling to think of what it is and how it's come together.

And then the unity, the structure, I mean, even some of the pragmatism, you know, two billion Bibles published since 1455, from Genesis all the way to Revelation, one central theme. There is a Messiah coming. His name is Jesus. He is Emmanuel.

He is God with us. And those things were helpful to me. I mean, those were very, very helpful. But as I shared in the teaching time, and this is what I would challenge you with, at some point in time, we need something irrefutable. We're going to trust someone's word. And it's going to be a sociology professor or some critic who will be intimidated by someone who appears to be very intellectual. But for me, when I looked at what the Bible says about prophecy and the hundred percent accuracy, things that happen in the Old Testament, the New Testament, I'm recently reading through the Gospels and especially Matthew right now, and many of you that are followers of Christ, you'll probably have a version like mine that every time it quotes something from the Old Testament, it'll be, you know, in a little bit different kind of type.

Maybe it's all block letters or bold or italics or something. And as you read through Matthew, the theme of that is there is a king. There's a reigning king, and he's fulfilled all this prophecy because Matthew was written to the Jews. And as I read through that and begin to ponder that 700 years before any of these things happened, where he would be born and what he would say and how it would happen and 30 pieces of silver, I don't know about you, and I don't know whose word you're going to trust, but I can tell you this, that these things have convinced me that the Bible is worthy of exploring with all my heart and trusting it with all my soul.

Now here's my question for you. Do you really trust it? Do you really trust it enough to read it? Do you really trust it enough to obey it? Do you really trust it enough to stand up against the criticism or the doubts that people begin to throw at you or your kids or your grandkids? You need to come to a conviction about is the Bible true or not, and we would love to help you. This is a time that I'd really encourage you to get the notes, review them.

Let us be a help to you on your journey. Good word, Chip. Well, you'll find the message notes Chip just mentioned in a couple of places. Go to livingontheedge.org and click the broadcasts tab. App listeners will find it by tapping fill in notes. Now this is a tool available for every program, so let me encourage you to get this resource before you listen to us again. Chip's notes include his outline, all of the scripture references, and lots of fill ins to help you remember what you're learning. They'll really help you get the most out of every program. Well, join us again next time as Chip continues his series, Why I Believe. Until then, this is Dave Druey saying thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-06 10:56:01 / 2023-03-06 11:05:33 / 10

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