Is God’s Word Reliable?
by Josh McDowell
As a nineteen-year-old university student, I was intrigued by the ancient writings of Scripture. Though I was a skeptic, I sensed a strange power about the words I saw penned on ancient manuscripts. But I didn’t trust them to be reliable. I thought I could prove that the Bible was nothing more than a collection of distorted and unreliable records of historical and mythical events. I reasoned that if we couldn’t trust that the writings of Scripture had been accurately handed down over the centuries, we would have no basis for the truth claims of the Bible. Simply put, if the Bible is not a reliable document of history, then everything it says about God and the Christian faith is in question.
Have you ever wondered whether the ancient scribes who copied the Scriptures left things out or added things in? Could God have given Moses twelve commandments only to have some scribe along the way decide to eliminate two of them? What if, during the copying of the Gospel of John, a hundred years after he wrote it, a scribe left out five chapters? Imagine if overzealous scribes added to or twisted the recorded things Jesus said or did in order to inject their own ideas. How can we be sure that we have a Bible that accurately represents what God inspired people to write on his behalf? Since we have none of the original manuscripts, how can we know that the copies in our possession are reliable and accurate?
Face it, if we can’t be confident that Scripture is a reliable book of history, we can’t assert that it is the power-filled Word of God. Sure, God may be the master of powerful words, but if his words have not been passed down accurately to us, the power of those words would be lost.
As a university student, somewhere in the hidden recesses of my heart I wanted to believe God was real and cared for me. But I had no true basis for believing that, unless the Bible was reliable.
You don’t either.
You may sincerely believe in God and trust that his Word has power. Yet, at some point, your faith in the Bible will be tested. Are you sure we have all the writing that God considers inspired or has some been lost? Who decided what books would become Scripture? What was God’s motivation for giving you his Word in the first place? In other words, what is the true purpose of Scripture? Do you know the key steps to accurately interpreting the Bible? How about the purported errors and contradictions in the Bible? How do we deal with those? And who is to say that other religions do not have inspired writings from God, too?
These and other questions are carefully examined and answered in God-Breathed. Knowing the answers to the tough questions about the reliability of God’s Word will provide you all the assurance necessary to trust that the words of God are absolutely true. You and I can know that God’s Word has been handed down to us reliably; and because of that, we can experience his powerful words in our everyday lives. That is what God-Breathed is about: knowing with certainty that we can experience the power of God’s Word as revealed in the Bible, because his book is reliable.
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