The following is a sermon transcription that will hopefully help you to understand from the Bible the importance of keeping to the words in the Bible and why we believe in it.
Why do We Need to Believe in the Bible?
(adapted from a sermon by Pr Chin Aun Quek)
In the name of my Lord Jesus Christ I began to speak.
In this world, there are many renowned philosophical and religious books which describe the life of men. In this case, why do we need to believe in the Bible? Professor M. Montiero-Williams from the U.K. is a renowned culture theorist and literal critique and he has spent 42 years studying many religious books. He makes comparison of the Bible with these books and he say “Pile them, if you will, on the left side of your study table; but place your own Holy Bible on the right side – all by itself, all alone – and with a wide gap between them. For there is a gulf between it and the so-called sacred books of the East which severs the one from the other utterly, hopelessly, and forever…a veritable gulf which cannot be bridged over by any science of religious thought.” He believed that there is a big contrast between the Bible and the other religious books. To him, the Bible is not just a book that has transcends amongst all other books because even if it has transcended, to the extent that it is the number 1 book, it is still only a book within the same category. Hence, he says that the Bible is uniquely different from all other books and should not be classified together. The bible is not the teachings of men but that of God’s.
1 Thessalonians 2:13 – “And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe”.
When Paul and his co-worker preached the gospel to the people of Thessalonica, they believed in what he preached. In those days, the Thessalonians have other religious beliefs and also philosophies from their renowned teachers. We know that it is not easy for one to discard his religious belief and to accept a new one. So what if what you speak is good or better than what I believing in, I still do not see the need to change or I think that mine is good as well or maybe yours is only slightly better than mine. This is also what many of our truth seeking friends tells us and they’re unwilling to bear the risk of being criticized and accused by their family members for taking up another religious belief. The Thessalonians is willing to discard their traditional beliefs and accept what Paul preaches because they reckoned the words are from God and not from men and they feel that this is entirely different. How can we know that the Bible is truly the word from God? If it is a deception, which is detectable if one ponders over it, then there is no need for us to believe for, even though it is preached in the name of God, it is not from God and they’ve misused the name of God. But the words preached by Paul and company are truly the words of God. The Thessalonians have reflected, made comparisons and after realizing the differences they believe.
Throughout time, there are many well-known men who preached their teachings and these are what they’ve observed or what they’ve understood to be true. For example, some people have, after investigating and studying the natural forces of the universe, realized that there are certain orders in it. Newton has discovered the law of gravity after being hit by a fallen apple. On a lighter side, we might say that he is lucky to have a free apple but he has also investigated why the apple has fallen downwards instead of going upwards and in the process, he discovered the law of gravity. Another group of men observes how the human body functions and can distinguish between the normal one from the abnormal ones. Indeed it is painful to suffer or to see one suffers under an abnormal body condition but what has really caused them and is there a cure? This group of men studied and investigated and they found medicine to cure or heal many illnesses, while others made advances in the field of psychological studies which deals with mental illnesses. Some other groups of men, after observing the natural cycle of old age, sickness and death, created philosophies and religions to try to explain them. There are also others who try to find solutions to explain about evil and their consequences and in their opinion, people can gain freedom of their mind if they follow their solution. They invented many ways to atone for sin and to regain peace. All these solutions and teachings are derived from human’s perception of the problem and how to deal with them.
In the Bible we often come across God or His prophets instructing the people to do certain tasks so if you were to read the bible with a serious attitude and with sincerity, you will be able to understand that the bible is the words God has intended for men.
2 Timothy 3:15-17 say “and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work”.
Here Paul explains that the scriptures are given through God’s inspiration and that the purpose is for us to be wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. Through the teachings from the bible your life can go in the right direction, depart from the way of sin and become a righteous person so that you can be pleasing in the eyes of God, enters into eternal life and be saved. It is true that the bible is written by humans but they wrote them with words of God intended for men. It is God that has inspired them so that they can understand and writes them down. God tells us his will and also that He created the universe and all mankind.
Human beings are faced with death and also encounter many problems in life. If truly God has created mankind, then why did He also create death and sufferings for us? Some people cannot accept this arrangement so they complain about Him. But God is not a God who created death and sufferings. God has created men in His own image and likeness; how glorious this is! God puts the humans that He created into the Garden of Eden, a garden of joy and He gives them eternal life and not death. Hence, God wants men to live a joyous life and not a suffering one. God tells us that because men has disobeyed Him and has sinned and the consequence of this is death and sufferings. For when men sinned, the ground is cursed and from it grew forth thorns and thistles. It was because of men’s sin that all these sufferings came about. More importantly, God has also inspired us to know that there is judgment after death and He has already decided when this day will come. On this day, which will also be the end of the world, all will be resurrected and be judged by God based on his or her conduct. Some people misunderstood that God only judges the non-believers and they accuse Jesus to be unreasonable since He sentenced to death only those who do not believe in Him. This is not true because from the Bible, death came about because of our sins and on the last day, God will judge everyone righteously based on what he has done. God loves men and He is willing to save all mankind. In order to redeem us from our sins and save us, He incarnated in flesh as Jesus and was crucified on the cross.
Hence, we call Jesus our Savior because He has borne the sentence on the account of our sins. Through Him we can have our sins forgiven and be freed from future judgment. But do not be misunderstood that Jesus only saves the believers or Christians. He wants to save all sinners in this world since He did not die on the cross for the Jews or the Christians but for all sinners. He is willing to pardon all sinners because from the Bible, we know that Jesus wants the whole world to believe in Him, be saved and not to let anyone perish. This is God’s love for us but this grace of salvation will not come automatically, but rather we need to believe in Him, repent and obey Him, so that our sins will be forgiven and in the future we can enter into the kingdom of heaven. When many hear of this grace, they feel that it is good but they’re not willing to repent, obey Jesus, turnover a new leaf and discard all old and wrong beliefs, conducts and actions. Hence, it is not that Jesus is unwilling to forgive or to save these people. For those who are willing, their sins are forgiven because they know from the bible about this true God who saves and forgives mankind and the method which God uses. Hence, Paul says that this scripture can make one wise for salvation through faith in Jesus. This method of salvation is not a human’s invention but what is from God. Christianity is one religion which men receive inspiration from God directly and is totally different from other religions. It is a faith that it is being established by the word of God. Therefore the bible is the book of God. So after reading it we can understand the will of God, to walk on the right path of salvation and have the correct direction in our life which will ultimately lead us into the kingdom of heaven.
Why do we need to believe in the Bible? There are two facts that can objectively proof that the Bible is from God. In Isaiah chapter 41 verse 21-23 it is written, “Present your case,” says the Lord. “Bring forth your strong reasons,” says the King of Jacob. “Let them bring forth and show us what will happen; Let them show the former things, what they were, that we may consider them, and know the latter end of them; Or declare to us things to come. Show the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that you are gods; Yes, do good or do evil, that we may be dismayed and see it together. At that time, there were men who believed and worshipped the Jehovah God but some others worshipped other Gods. Those who worshipped other Gods claim that their Gods are the true God so does that mean that there are more than one true God in this world? If it is indeed so, then we can have peace since everyone can worship their own God. However, the True God who inspired us told us that besides Him, there are no other Gods. This one and only God is the creator of the universe and of mankind and He is also a God who is self-existence. There is no other method of salvation since it is this true God that will judge us in the future. Of course, this can make many of other faiths and religions feel uncomfortable and unhappy and they will challenge this point. God has inspired us to ask questions such as “Is the God of yours able to tell things of the past? “, “Is the Gods of yours able to foretell the things to happen in the future?” If the God of your faith is indeed the true God, then He must be able to transcend through time and space so that He can know of the things in the past and in the future. Is your God able to do that? How is the universe and mankind created? How the human’s marriage did initially happened? Death is a fact but how it came about? Who knows of these former things and is able to tell you accurately? These are some questions we should ask but many people have come up with their own interpretations which resulted in many different types of conclusions. But the Bible is not a human’s interpretation or explanation of the things of the past but it is God who has inspired his servants to know what has happened and to record them down. God says that in the beginning He created the heavens and the earth. Which other God is able to appear before men to tell them what has happened and inspired them to know the things in the past.
If you believe in God then you’ll also believe that He is a living God. German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche said that God is dead, however God is still living but this man is already dead. He has the wrong definition of God and he considers God like one of us who can one day die. If God can die, then he is not God. God lives eternally and this eternal God is the living God who speaks. He tells us the things of the past, the future and His views of the present. No one is able to do this. We humans may, based on our experiences predict, to a certain accuracy that something is going to happen. For example, we can predict the weather of next week quite accurately but still we can be wrong. However, for things that are going to happen one thousand years or later, no one except God can tells us accurately because He is able to transcend time and space. From the bible, not only does He tell you about the past but also of the future. Some of it concerns the people while others concern that of a nation and all these prophecy are fulfilled one by one. More importantly is the prophecy regarding Jesus Christ whom is God’s incarnation to save mankind. About 700 years before the birth of Jesus Christ, God has already inspired prophet Isaiah to say “a child will be born and He shall bear the sins of mankind. He shall be called the Almighty God, everlasting Father”. When you receive this inspiration from God, are you brave enough to preach it? Many people cannot believe how a virgin can conceive and bore a child but even more unbelievable is a child the Almighty God and everlasting father. This is especially true since most humans think rationally but the prophet is not preaching his own thinking or what is after thinking through rationally. The prophet knows that God wants His people to hear these words and this has to do with the salvation of mankind so even though he might not understand it, he chose to believe and preaches this prophecy accordingly.
At that time, Mary is betrothed to her finance Joseph and when Joseph found out that she has conceived and will bore a child which is not his, this saddened him greatly. Despite his love for her, she has been unfaithful and has even conceived a child of another man’s. However, he still loves her and so he decided not to take any vengeance against her but just to annul the betrothal. An angel appeared to him that night and said to him that he must marry Mary for what she has conceived in her is not from man but from God. As it is written in the prophecy, “For a virgin shall conceive and bear a child.” Joseph, a God fearing man, has heard about this prophecy which has been circulating amongst men for more than 700 years, but he is still faced with a dilemma as to whether to believe it or not. This has happened in accordance with the prophecy and there is even an angel who appears to him to confirm and to testify. Apart from this, there are also many other prophecies concerning Christ such as the prophecy on where He shall be born and how He is going to die. For these prophecies, there is a detailed description in the Bible and they’re subsequently fulfilled one after another. Hence, Joseph chose to believe and to accept. Truly, Mary gives birth to a child whom is the Almighty God and Everlasting Father. We have seen this and hence we cannot deny that the Bible is indeed the book from God.
In John chapter 19 verse 32-37, “Then came the soldiers, and break the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him. But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they break not his legs: But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water. And he that saw it bare record and his record is true: and he knoweth that he said is true, that ye might believe. For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, a bone of him shall not be broken. And again another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced”. To some, this might be something common and nothing peculiar about. What makes John to believe that the testimony is true after seeing it? He has also specially recorded this incident down so that we too can come to believe. This incident is not coincidental because for more than 1000 years before Christ, the servants of God have already prophesized this. At that time no one is able to understand what this prophecy is about. What does it mean that none of his bones shall be broken? What does it mean that they shall look upon Him whom he pierced? Is there anyone so cruel to, besides killing him, breaks also his bones? And if you shall look up on him, then why would you still pierce and kill him whom you look up to? If you’re so angry and so you killed him, then why would you still look upon Him? All these questions are beyond human understanding but the prophets wrote them according to God’s inspiration. After Jesus is crucified on the cross and has fulfilled the prophecy, the soldier wanted to break His leg so as to confirm that He is really dead. This is the practice of the soldiers at that time. However, the soldiers did not do so after seeing that Jesus is already dead. Similarly, this is also in accordance with the prophecy and it has allowed us to understand that the crucification of Jesus Christ is God’s plan of salvation. He has been killed and pierced but he has become our savior whom we look up to. When we read the bible, we found out that many of the prophecies are fulfilled and therefore, we believe that the bible is truly the book of God and that the reader can come to know this true God and be saved.
Isaiah 40:8 – “The grass withers, the flower fades: but the word of our God shall stand forever.”
The Bible has remained unchanged throughout the ages. Everything on this earth will change or be continually changing, even though it might not visible to us. Scientist told us that the sun is changing but it might be unnoticeable. The word of God however, remains unchanged. Jeremiah chapter 1 verse 12 tells us “Then said the LORD unto me, You have well seen: for I will hasten my word to perform it”. Here, the prophet is telling us what God has inspired him and that is God will preserve his words and He will make sure that they’re fulfilled without any obstruction. Since the bible is the word of God, It will not be changed, destroyed or be hindered and, it will stand forever just like the characteristic of the true God. This is proven through history. In this world, though there are truths but they cannot withstand the test of time and human’s questioning so resulting in many of which are subsequently modified or abolished.
The content of the Bible has however, remained unchanged since the day it is written, even though going through persecution or men who sought to destroy it. During the Cultural Revolution in China, churches are being shut down and bibles are being confiscated and burnt. This is a well-known historical event in the world and the revolutionist at that time, proclaimed that the Mao’s red book will surpass the Bible and that the latter will perish while the Mao’s book will remain. At that time, one can hardly finds a Bible but it is easily get hold of a copy of the red book. In 1976, Mao ZeDong passed away and in 1978, the Chinese announced to cease printing of the Mao’s book. It took only a short span of two years after Mao’s death before the ban of his book. This incident has demonstrated that books written by human are beyond comparison with that which is inspired by God. When a man is alive he can, through his might or status, attempt to preserve his words but this will cease after his death. The Bible, however, is God’s words and He has told us clearly that He will preserve and fulfill all that is written. Forces that attempt to oppose or destroy the Bible will only succeed temporarily and we can verify this by looking at the many failed attempts in history to destroy the Bible. This clearly showed us that God has preserved His words and hence, we believed that the Bible is God’s words.
Why do we need to believe in the Bible? We’ve seen, we’ve read and we’ve believed. We hope that you too can come and read, study and to believe.