Our Foundation Presented
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. “And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. “Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. “The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall” (Matthew 7:24-27).
Why Do I Believe in This Word?
Belief in the written word of God has come, for me, in fits and starts. It wasn’t at all that I realized, after a gripping encounter with Christ, that the Book must be true. While I did experience a profound conversion (as all repentant sinners must acknowledge of their own forgiveness and newness), I didn’t immediately associate the written word of God with a manifestation of truth. I wasn’t opposed to such an idea, but the ramifications of such a proclamation never dawned on me. As one lamenting the dark, watching the stars to the west as the sun rises to the east, I wasn’t quite in tune with the landscape in which I found myself.
As my view of the depth and the richness of absolute Truth was quickened, I realized that if I were questioned as to the extent of my belief, I’d be pleased to say that I’d bought the whole Book; hook, line, and sinker. I hadn’t read the whole thing, but there was, very early on, a depth and richness of faith that precluded disbelief. I understood that if any portions of Scripture were to be discounted, the whole lot of it must be discounted. If God, through eternity, was unable to maintain the integrity of His word through a few thousand years, it seems we may rightly worship whomever we choose because the God of the Bible would have shown Himself less than omnipotent. Faith told me that God is nothing less than omnipotent and able to preserve His word. On this we may build.
With time, I moved through the Law, and the Prophets, and the Histories and found the depth and the richness of the gracious faith that God had given to me much as the starved man finds the flavor of the banquet feast of life. It’s something to savor and to hold and to grow.
I believe because I was granted, and am continually granted, belief. I believe because I sought truth and my God began pouring. Though this belief and this faith won’t be perfected this side of eternity, the foundation thickens daily.
The Spirit’s Revelation of This Foundation
“But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you” (John 16:13,14).
As I grew, and grow, in faith – as we grow, the Holy Spirit perpetually makes known the truth of Christ through the Scriptures and our intake of them. This is the mode of the Spirit’s teaching. He opens our eyes to the truth and the teachings of God as revealed in the Bible – He glorifies God; makes Him known to us in accordance with our resolve to know Him. More and more, we acknowledge the existence of the rising sun, as we resolve to turn and see it, and our lamentation of the darkness dissipates. Truth is not revealed in gut feelings or Tarot cards. It is revealed to us by the workings of the Spirit through the written word of God. Indeed, this is our primary means of sanctification: Bible intake.
Sanctify them in the truth, Christ says in John 17:17, Your word is truth. It is not only that we find revelation in these words, we also find sanctification. Again, the Spirit quickens truth from the word of God to our soul and so our spiritual growth progresses. Our sanctification, it should be noted, can be measured in some relation to our Bible intake. If our intake is impoverished, so will be our growth. When, on the other hand, we faithfully commit to knowing God more and more so long as we breathe, He will be known. When we turn to see the sun, we can’t help but to see it.
While it’s certainly true that it is the Holy Spirit who finally moves the scales from our eyes, it should be of some small and additional comfort to us to recall that the Book from which we proclaim truth is testified to by a number of other sources. While many suggest that the Bible’s only claim to credibility comes from itself – circular reasoning is charged – it should be noted that this foundation has three other witnesses which aren’t easily discarded.
As my interest with these is only in presenting the three as further testimony, I’d urge the reader to dig a little deeper and to learn and discern the topics from a variety of viewpoints.
1) Historicity as Witness
Though it isn’t often heralded as the deal-sealer of Scripture, the historicity of the teachings of the Bible bring testimony to its authenticity. Many of the geographical locations that we read of in the Bible have been located. Evidence has been found which testifies to many of the characters and kings that are described therein. Battles and facts are frequently uncovered and what the Bible says happened so long ago, it says in truth. What we have found through archaeological studies bears testimony to the authenticity of the Bible. Our foundation is reliable.
2) Fulfilled Prophecy
The Scriptures that were found in the caves at Qumran, among others, present further witness to the authenticity of the Truth that we proclaim. Included in these codices is a complete volume of the book of Isaiah, which, as we know, includes a great deal of prophecy regarding the Christ. The beauty of such a discovery is two-fold: 1) It assures us that the book of Isaiah that we read and trust today is the same book that was read and trusted 2300 years ago, and 2) The prophecies within the book of Isaiah regarding the Christ were written long before Jesus was born – these codices are dated to at least 300 B.C. – which makes them true prophecy.
When we observe the prophecies in relation to the dates that they were written – knowing that they were written long prior to the prophesied events – we find a remarkable and comforting encouragement; good footing on which to build.
3) Manuscript Evidence
It is customary, in some circles, to mock and to ridicule the authenticity of the Bible by means of calling the numerous manuscripts into question. The argument is usually presented that the Christian could never and, indeed, should never maintain faith in the integrity of the Bible because there are so many manuscripts – who’s to know which one to believe; how could one know what the autographic text may have said in relation to all of the copies that have come afterward, etc., etc.
While it is true that the church has something in the vicinity of 6000 ancient manuscripts to wade through in seeking evidence of the original text, it is not true that this is a problem. The glorious truth of the matter of these 6000 manuscripts is this: They all say the same thing! That which is so frequently heralded as ruinous to the integrity of the Scriptures over the millennia is actually a wonderful testimony to their reliability. We have 6000 ancient manuscripts written over hundreds of years, by hundreds or thousands of scribes from different geographical locations and they all say the same thing. Not one doctrine of the faith is changed. What is the likelihood of that happening? I can’t possibly imagine. What I do find, though, is a fine foundation on which to build.
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us (Hebrews 12:1).