The Theological Reliability of the Bible
The theological reliability of the Bible hinges upon the historical reliability of the Resurrection. That is to say, we can know for sure that the Bible is God’s Word, if we can know that Jesus rose from the dead. If Jesus rose from the dead, He is who He said He was. The argument looks like this:
- Jesus claimed to be God.
- Jesus rose from the dead to prove premise 1.
- Jesus, as God, is the Truth and teaches the truth.
- Jesus taught that the Old Testament is God’s Word.
- Jesus ordained the Apostles to speak on His behalf, making the New Testament the Word of God also.
Jesus claimed to be God
Some might try to say that Jesus never claimed to be God. Well, Jesus never said the words “I am God,” but he unmistakably claimed equality with God.
“I and the father are One,” (John 10:30). The following verses make it clear that the Jews understood Jesus to be claiming equality with God. This is why they would eventually call for His crucifixion.
To read why I believe Jesus rose from the dead, go here.
So, Jesus claimed to be God and then rose from the dead, vindicating His claim. If he was blasphemous in His claim, God would not have risen Him from the grave. He was correct in His claim, and so vindicated in the Resurrection.
So what did He say about the Old Testament?
What Jesus says about the Old Testament
Some think that the Old Testament is too out of date and that Christians should “unhitch” from it. Many skeptics misunderstand the role of the Old Testament, claiming that if Christians were faithful, they would still follow every letter of the Law.
Jesus makes it clear how we ought to view the Old Testament. Jesus explicitly refers to Moses and the Prophets (the Old Testament) as “the Word of God” in Mark 7:13.
Jesus says that he did not come to abolish the Old Testament, but to fulfill it (Matthew 5:17). The Old Testament is still God’s Word and therefore still profitable for teaching, edification, and rebuke. However, it cannot be understood outside of Jesus’ fulfillment of its entirety. He didn’t abolish it, but he didn’t leave it unchanged either. He fulfilled it.
What about the New Testament?
Obviously, Jesus never says, “Also, the New Testament is God’s Word.” It had not been written yet. However, Jesus specially appointed His Apostles to be his spokespersons on Earth after His departure. This means they are essentially serving the same role the Prophets served (2 Peter 3:2).
God spoke to the prophets, the prophets spoke to the people, and the prophets’ writings were considered the Word of God even by Jesus.
Jesus is God. Jesus spoke to the Apostles and ordained them to speak on His behalf, and their writings should be understood as the Word of God as well.
Peter, in the same breath that he speaks of the Old Testament’s divine authority, places Paul’s writings in the same boat (2 Peter 3:15-16). So this was understood even by the Apostles themselves.
In conclusion, you can trust that the Bible is God’s Word because Jesus rose from the dead. In rising from the dead, Jesus proved that He was God. Since He is God, we can trust what he teaches. He taught that the Old Testament was God’s Word. He also ordained Apostles to teach on His behalf. We can trust their writings, the New Testament, to be the Word of God as well.
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