Is the Bible really a book that comes from God?
Or should we even ask such a question? Isn’t that a bit, or far more than a bit, sacrilegious? How can we challenge God that way?
And yet, while I will live and die by the faith that the Bible has taught me, and I will ever be convinced that the Bible truly is the precious and never failing word of God, nonetheless I am convinced that one of the biggest problems Christianity faces is that people never honestly question the authority and validity of the Bible’s claims. They accept the claims of the Bible far too easily.
How can this be a problem for Christianity, you ask? The answer to that is very simple. When men and women accept the claim of the Bible to be the word of God without ever sincerely questioning that claim, the reality is that they have not truly believed that claim. They have never really come to believe it; they have merely nodded an unbelieving consent to it. There is a huge difference between truly believing something and merely accepting it without challenge. If you truly believe the Bible, it will control your life from start to finish, leaving nothing unchanged; but if you merely nod consent, it will make little difference.
Many men have claimed to have a message from God. Some of those messages have been written down and become the “holy books” of various groups. In one sense, the Bible is not unique in claiming to be from God. Should we accept it as divine simply because it makes that claim? How are we to make a decision about which book to accept and which ones to reject? Or do we somehow try to accept them all (impossible in the end)? Or perhaps we instead will come to the conclusion that so many have reached, rejecting all such claims to divine authority.
So far as I can tell, the sad truth is that most people who say they believe the Bible do so simply because they were taught to say that long ago. It is part of the culture in which they have lived, and they have adopted the form of belief that they see around them. Without honest reflection, they have said that they believe the Bible to be the word of God. This is not the true meaning of faith. It is no faith in the end, and the lack of true faith shows itself in the lack of any true conviction about the message of Christ when life is examined.
I want to ask us all a question: Do we really believe that the Bible is the word of God? Don’t answer that question too quickly. Think and reflect first. Examine yourself. Have you ever even asked and answered that question honestly? If not, I think it is about time to do so. And it might take some time and effort on your part. You might have to wrestle with the matter. It might not be as safe and easy as you would like it to be. But if you have never asked that question, your faith, if it is real, is weak, having not been tested.
And while you are answering that question, go ahead and add one more part to it. Ask not only whether you believe the Bible or not, but ask also: Why?