How Can You Believe the Bible?


(Español: ¿Cómo se puede creer en la Biblia?)

We recently received the following question:

“I have a very important question. Obviously there are many mistakes and things which contradict each other in the common Bible translations. So what is the true one without any mistakes? I mean there must be one. Otherwise, there would be no reason to believe in the whole thing. I hope you can answer my question.”

First, and foremost, let’s understand that no one has in their possession the original manuscripts upon which the Bible is based. Everything is either a copy or a translation. Does that fact invalidate the Bible? Not at all! The Bible, itself, is its own greatest witness for the proof that God inspired men to write down and then to preserve words from Him. Let’s begin with some Bible basics.

Among men, Jesus Christ, alone, has seen God. The Bible makes this point:

“No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him” (John 1:18).

Now consider what Jesus said of God—the One Who is called “the Father”:

“‘And the Father Himself, who sent Me, has testified of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His form’” (John 5:37).

God is Spirit (John 4:24); God is invisible (Colossians 1:15; 1 Timothy 1:17; Hebrews 11:27); God is eternal (Deuteronomy 33:27; Revelation 4:9; Romans 16:26).

Some might conclude that these Scriptures contradict other statements in the Bible in which it is said that men heard the voice of God and some actually saw His form. A direct example is found concerning the children of Israel during their exodus from Egypt, as they went to the Promised Land. Note:

“Then Moses went up, also Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, and they saw the God of Israel. And there was under His feet as it were a paved work of sapphire stone, and it was like the very heavens in its clarity” (Exodus 24:9-10).

Other Scriptures reveal that the God seen by these men was Jesus Christ—before He came as a flesh and blood human (compare 1 Corinthians 10:4; John 1:18). The remarkable truth we find here is that two individuals are revealed as God in the Bible, the Father and the Son.

Now this is an example to show that there are explanations contained within the pages of the Bible concerning so-called contradictions. But one must realize that understanding the Word of God requires a willing attitude on our part, and we find how this approach was used by people who heard the gospel being preached:

“Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. Therefore many of them believed, and also not a few of the Greeks, prominent women as well as men” (Acts 17:10-12).

Even to Timothy, a minister, Paul said, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15, Authorized Version). Paul also gave Timothy these instructions:

“But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:14-17).

Paul was addressing the value of what we call the “Old Testament.” Jesus also referred to “‘the Scriptures’” (John 5:39); “‘the writings’” (John 5:47); and “‘the Law and the Prophets’” (Matthew 7:12; 22:40; compare also Luke 16:16)—all terms identifying the authority of the Old Testament!

Jesus Christ believed the Bible—as did His disciples who were led to establish the Church of God based on the very Word of God!

The Bible is not an accidental accumulation of various scrolls and letters which have somehow been preserved until our day. In fact, the Bible contains prophecies written specifically for our time! These particular writings were not even understood by those who wrote them.

Jacob’s revelation to his twelve sons was for “‘the last days’” (Genesis 49:1); Daniel wanted to know the meaning of the prophecies he was given, but was told, “‘the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end’” (Daniel 12:9); Habakkuk was told to write a vision which “‘at the end… will speak’” (Habakkuk 2:3); and Jesus Christ answered questions from His disciples about the end of the age by revealing signs and events which would coincide and culminate with His return to the earth!

You can believe the Bible based on prophecy—both the ones already fulfilled and those that are coming to pass even now.

Another test you can apply is to begin to seek God through reading the Bible and doing those things God instructs—get to know God through His written Word! King David used this as a key for himself:

“Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day. You, through Your commandments, make me wiser than my enemies; For they are ever with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers, For Your testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the ancients, Because I keep Your precepts” (Psalm 119:97-100).

Consider that Jesus Christ’s sinless life was based on His obedience to God’s laws found in the Word of God:

“Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come–In the volume of the book it is written of Me–To do Your will, O God’” (Hebrews 10:7; compare also John 15:9-10).

Jesus was asked by His disciples why it was that He spoke in parables. This is His answer:

“And He said, ‘To you it has been given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is given in parables, that “Seeing they may not see, And hearing they may not understand”’” (Luke 8:10).

For you to believe the Bible, help from God is needed—you simply can’t open up the scriptures by yourself. The reason for this is that the Bible is a spiritual document which requires God’s revelation through His Holy Spirit:

“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” (1 Corinthians 2:14).

So what do you do, now? Do what the apostle Peter instructed:

“Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit’” (Acts 2:38).

As to your concern about various translations of the Bible, take the first steps to begin to study and ask God to guide you. There are, of course, versions which more accurately reflect the original, and these are those which translate on a word-for-word basis into the language at hand. Understand, as well, that on the Day of Pentecost, when the Church of God was founded, those hearing the disciples preach were astounded and said, “‘And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born?’” (Acts 2:8).

They did not have to hear the message of salvation in a language they did not understand! So it is, today!

And, yes, your question is indeed an important one. For although there may be some minor difficulties in modern Bible translations, the truth of God IS contained in His written Word. BELIEVE THAT as a starting point!

“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6).

Lead Writer: Dave Harris

©2024 Church of the Eternal God