How can I trust the Bible?
By Dr. Robert Owens
Sometimes we try to define God's words and actions too perfectly. In our arrogance we think we can adequately describe exactly what God always means in all situations. This easily can lead us into thinking our doctrines are God's doctrines. We act as if God is sitting on the throne studying our catechisms and judging by our standards.
When we do this, we're trying to put God in a box. The biggest problem with this is that when God decides to draw outside the lines, we run the risk of misidentifying a move of God as a heresy because it violates one of our rules.
It's good to devote our efforts to grasping the meanings of God's Word; however, we must always be aware that it's possible to veer from seeking understanding to believing we have cornered the market on this valuable commodity. We just can't reduce the immensity of God into formulas. In any equation we devise to represent God, His Word, or His actions the "X" of God is always undefined.
Eternity, infinity, and omnipresence are all terms we can define but we can never fully comprehend. The reality of God, the only self-existent One is as far removed from our understanding as the operation of a supercomputer is from an amoeba. Or as one of the prophets put it, "'For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,' says the Lord. 'For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.'"
We must acknowledge that we can't think our way to or through God's truth. Our human minds are fundamentally incapable of encompassing such immensities. As the man who wrote most of the New Testament tells us, "But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."
Many unbelievers and sceptics try to cast aspersions on the Word of God by pointing out what they perceive as contradictions in the text. When we're reading or meditating in the Word if we encounter anything we feel is a contradiction don't let it weaken your faith instead stand on faith. Instead of wavering do as one of the New Testament authors suggests, "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways."
And don't despair, don't think I just can't understand this. Don't think God has given us a puzzle instead of a revelation. Just because we can never fully understand all of it does not mean we can't understand any of it. Just because we can't use God's Word to develop a spiritual unifying field theory for every person everywhere every time it doesn't mean we can't understand enough with God's help to have a reliable guide for life. The Bible itself addresses the ability of the born-again believer to embrace the revelation of God, "Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God."
And for those who say, "The Bible has been translated so many times by so many people how can we know it's the true unadulterated Word of God." Personally, I believe that if the God of all creation went to all the trouble to send prophets and apostles over thousands of years of time to write down His Word to humanity and if after thousands of years of unbelievers trying unsuccessfully to burn and destroy that Word it has not only survived, it has thrived. I can believe His Word has ended up in my hands in a pure enough form for me to hear what He's saying.