Today a friend sent me this message:
Hi Dwight, got a random question… What would you say are your top 3 reasons for why you believe the Bible?
Since I had little time, and since I am not an expert on philosophical apologetics or epistemology, I gave the following response (edited slightly here for clarity):
Well… I’ll answer quickly, so this might be 3 random answers to your question rather than my top 3!
1) Jesus’ resurrection. The disciples proved by martyrdom that they believed Jesus rose from the dead, and they were in a position to know whether he had in fact done so. And if he indeed did rise, then we’d better listen to what was…
2) Jesus’ belief about the Bible. As I read Jesus’ words as recorded by his apostles and their close associates, it is clear to me that Jesus believed the OT scriptures were the words of God, the voice of the Holy Spirit. Then he also promised that his apostles—who later wrote the bulk of the NT—would be led into all truth by the same Holy Spirit, and appointed them to be his witnesses.
3) The witness of the Bible itself as I read it—literary grandeur, diverse breadth of themes that matches the diversity of human experience, and–getting to more important factors–its unique explanatory power for why the world and ourselves are as we find them to be, its unified coherent story line from beginning to end of the text and the universe, and its compelling vision of a God that is both more holy and more loving than any other image of divinity ever dreamed up by humanity.
Thanks for making me think about this! I could add other sociologically important factors, like the fact that I was taught to believe it from little on up. But when I have moments of doubt, while I do return to the fact that the best people I’ve ever known believe the Bible (this is an important fact!), I ultimately am only settled when I ponder objective facts like the above.
Finally, I must also say that I believe the Bible because God has granted me faith to believe, and because his Holy Spirit continues to open my heart to its words and its message about Christ.
There are many good answers to my friend’s question. No one answer may feel sufficient on its own (just as it is equally possible for you to dispute whether I actually exist). But the many answers, taken together, add up to a compelling case for the Bible’s trustworthiness.
What about you? What 1-minute answer would you give if someone sprang the same question on you? Share, if you wish, in the comments below.