Do you know where your Bible comes from? Have you thought about who wrote it, compiled it, and how it came to exist as it does today? Have you considered whether or not every part of Scripture is true? Have you wondered whether or not the Bible is accurate?
Maybe you've heard others assert that you can't trust a book written so long ago or that there's no way to verify the biblical accounts or that it's just a book of fairy tales. Whatever the case may be the question remains: have you sought out to know more about the intricacies of our sacred Scripture?
We talk a lot about how important it is to read our Bibles every day, and many of us are adamant about the inerrancy of the Word of God. Nevertheless, the fact remains: there are some things in the Bible that makes us scratch our heads. Don't hear what I am not saying: I absolutely affirm the authority, inerrancy, and veracity of the Bible. I hold it highly and seek to live my life according to what God says in it. I believe that through it we're given all that needs to be known in order to live a life that is God-reflective and wise. I believe that the Bible is God given and Spirit-breathed, that it was written by human authors by the leading of the Holy Ghost. In short–the Bible is our life-preserver.
But what do we do with passages like Mark 15:10-21? Or John 7(inset ref)? How do we read the alleged discrepancies between the four gospel accounts? What do we do when some of the numbers or names don't match up between 1 & 2 Kings and 1&2 Chronicles? I know what we don't do–we don't run from it. We don't cross our fingers hoping that unbelievers or friends never ask us to explain the Bible. We don't remain contented in not understanding the very text that leads our lives and grows our knowledge of the Lord. Instead, we read. We search. We find.
Thankfully for us, there is no shortage of information available on this topic. Even more fortunately, there is no shortage of ways to consume this information. The world wide web is literally at our fingertips, and we are given access to information that our ancestors couldn't have even dreamed of. It may take mental work or sacrificing time but knowing our Bibles as best as possible is so worth it. It is worth it to know how it all sings together in perfect harmony, how the Holy Spirit orchestrated every bit of it. It is worth it to know and trust that the Bible is true. So here are three specific reasons why we should all invest time and energy into knowing our Bibles and answering some of the harder questions it proposes.
Strengthen your own faith
First and foremost, studying the historical accuracy of the Bible enriches your faith. When we pay attention to the text and ask hard questions, our minds are stretched and grown. Our faith is stronger when we research, study, and seek further understanding of our Bibles.
When we come across a hard question in the Bible, fleeing from the answers only breeds distrust and confusion. When we seek after truth instead, our faith becomes more robust, tangible, and formed. In learning more and more about the Bible, our understanding of its trustworthiness only grows stronger.
Defend your faith
Secondly, studying the historical accuracy of the Bible enables you to more adequately defend your faith. When non-believers come to you with difficult questions about the Bible, it is good for us to be armed with answers. Not so that we can be right or so that we can "win," but because in so doing we might plant gospel seeds, revealing to them the veracity of the Scriptures.
1 Peter 3:15-16 says, "but in your hearts regard Christ the Lord as holy, ready at any time to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you. Yet do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that when you are accused, those who disparage your good conduct in Christ will be put to shame." Part of giving a defense to others our blessed hope is giving them reason to trust the veracity and accuracy of Scripture. When we study God's Word in fullness, we participate in apologetics, defending our faith to those who crave answers.
Share your Faith
The third way that studying the historical accuracy of the Bible impacts our faith is that it gives us boldness. When we store up knowledge on why we believe the Bible is true and how it can be historically verified, we garner boldness to share our faith. In gathering confidence to spread the gospel, the kingdom of God grows. When we sow seeds of the gospel and God waters and gives growth, the Church is better for it.
Sharing our faith can be difficult. We build up scenarios in our minds like: what if they ask questions to which I don't know answers? What if they don't believe what I'm saying is true? However, when we put in time and effort to understanding why we ought to believe the Bible, we are able to give appropriate answers to those who are seeking after the Lord but may have some level of skepticism.
This is by no means a comprehensive list, nor is it always this black-and-white. However, I deeply encourage you to engage the Scriptures on a more intimate level. Many of us are contented with knowing what the Bible says and forget to ask important questions about why we believe the Bible to be true. Part of growing in our faith is seeking out the answers for why the Bible is ultimately reliable, far more reliable than any other written text. At The Daily Grace Company, we will help you as much as possible. We will give you tools, help engage your heart, and even this blog will put important information before you as frequently as possible. At the end of the day though, you've got to decide: do you think it's important to know the answer to the hard questions of the Bible?