This is a guest post Scott Magdalein, the founder of TrainedUp and a pastor in Jacksonville, Florida
We all trust in things every day. We trust that a chair will hold us or that our car will start. We trust a spouse to wake us up from a nap on time or a friend to pick us up from the airport.
In most cases, we choose to trust things or people based on past reliability. If something or someone has come through for us in the past, we are more apt to trust.
The same principle applies to the Bible. We’ve seen the faithfulness of God and the fruitfulness of his Word in our lives. Because of that past proof, we trust the Bible for many things.
We trust the Bible to give us guidance in our lives. We trust it to inform our worldview and politics. We even trust it to give us truth about our future and eternity.
All of that trust is a choice. We choose to trust the Bible. Trust isn’t automatic. Sometimes trust is easier to choose than other times, but at all times, it is a choice.
Transferring Trust to Untrusting People
You and I may have grown up in environments that help us to build trust in the Bible, but not everyone had that advantage. Most other people were raised without the Bible as a trustworthy book. For those people, the Bible is little more than a religious text similar to the Koran or the Vedas.
No wonder many people approach the Bible seeking timeless wisdom, but have no expectation of finding absolute truth. They treat the Bible like Chicken Soup for the Soul, that old coffee table book with pithy sayings.
But we can’t blame them for having a lack of trust in the Bible. They weren’t taught about God’s faithfulness to his promises. They didn’t learn about it in Sunday School or at seminary. They didn’t have a church that provided simple Bible training for them.
But now you have the opportunity to help them trust the Bible. You are their friend and mentor. Their pastor.
Maybe you’re covering this topic in your new members class or in a Bible study. In any environment, you have a unique opportunity.
That access and the trust you’ve built means you have the chance to help them trust the Bible. You can transfer your trust to them in the same way you’d tell them about a trustworthy and reliable mechanic or plumber.
Making the Case for the Bible’s Trustworthiness
So you have some teeth in your argument for trusting the Bible, let’s look at some reasons the Bible is trustworthy. We’ve already touched on the reliability of the Bible in the life of the believer. That argument is extremely strong because it’s difficult to argue against someone’s personal experience.
When talking to someone about why you trust the Bible, the best route is to start with your personal experience with the Bible. You have seen God come through on his promises that are stated in the Bible. You’ve felt his presence in times of trouble, just like the Bible promises.
Your testimony of the Bibles fruitfulness in your life is powerful. You can tell story after story about how God helped you or changed you through his living and active Word. People respond to stories more powerfully than simple facts, so use your stories of what God has done for you.
Moving Beyond Personal Experience
Personal experience is powerful, but that’s not the only thing that lends credibility to the Bible’s truthfulness. There are unique aspects of the Bible’s makeup, its history, its preservation, and what it says about itself…all lending to the trustworthiness of the Bible.
First, the Bible is trustworthy because its prophecy is accurate. We can see in both the Old Testament and Jesus predictions about his own life that Bible prophecies always come true. And we know that those prophecies were foretold because of the dating of the Scriptures.
A book whose prophecies are true must also carry other truths. The truth of its foretelling also us a great deal about the truth of its other claims.
Second, the Bible is trustworthy because it was perfectly preserved over thousands of years. There is no text that has been as well preserved for so long as the Bible. It was first passed down flawlessly by oral tradition, then written and copied around the world.
The uniqueness of the Bible’s preservation quality is a sign that God has been taking care to make sure that it passes from one generation to another.
Third, the Bible has many authors across hundreds of years who all agree and don’t contradict each other. This is a significant aspect of the Bible’s uniqueness and points to a single overarching source of inspiration. That source of inspiration is God himself.
Finally, the Bible is trustworthy because Jesus trusted it. Jesus is the most well-respected figure in history, across every major religion, including atheists. We know that Jesus trusted the Bible because he quoted it often. He used the Bible as a source of truth, undergirding his teachings.
All in all, we know that the Bible can be trusted because it is both personally fruitful and practically unique. We can help others build trust by telling them about these things. You don’t need to assume the posture of a lecturing apologist. All you need to do is share what you know.
Scott Magdalein is the founder of TrainedUp and a pastor in Jacksonville, Florida. After Bible college, God called him to bivocational ministry, using his experience as an entrepreneur and programmer to support the local church.