Greg Gilbert – Why Trust the Bible?

Why Trust the Bible?

Don’t believe everything you read. Everybody knows that.

So why trust the Bible? What can be known about its historical reliability?

Even more than other religions, Christianity presents itself as history. At its heart, Christianity claims that something extraordinary happened in the course of time—something concrete, real, and historical.

In the Bible, the New Testament declares that a man named Jesus was born to a virgin, claimed to be God, did miracles like walking on water and raising people from the dead, was crucified on a Roman cross, then rose from the dead and ascended into heaven to reign as King of the universe. Can we conclude confidently these things are true without simply presupposing the Bible is “the Word of God”?

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Greg Gilbert – 4 Tips for Defending Your Trust in the Bible


Why Do You Trust the Bible?

Can you explain to someone why you believe the Bible? I don’t mean explain it to your Sunday School class, your small group, or your Christian mom. I mean, could you explain to someone who is a total skeptic—doesn’t believe in God, Jesus, Jonah, or the big fish—why you think that everything the Bible says is true?

That’s not an easy question, is it? And the trouble isn’t that Christians don’t have their reasons. We do, and many of them are very good ones. Archaeological evidence backs up the truth claims of the Bible; it has “the ring of truth” to it; it’s the Word of God; you just have to believe it on faith.

Of course, none of those reasons for believing the Bible are wrong or bad. It’s just that none of them are likely to hold much water with most of the people with whom we live and work and interact in our daily lives. The fact is, most of the world around us finds it very strange to hear that otherwise seemingly well-adjusted, put-together people would stake their lives on and put their trust in a book like the Bible. To put it bluntly, it sounds crazy to them.

Playing Defense Is Not Enough

Under that kind of pressure, there’s always a temptation for Christians to retreat into a defensive, apologetic (in the bad way) crouch when it comes to their belief in the Bible—either side-stepping the question entirely, or engaging the conversation with the goal of convincing unbelievers not that it’s right to believe the Bible, but that it’s simply OK to believe it, that it doesn’t make us quite as weird as maybe they thought.

But here’s the thing: as Christians, we’re not in the business simply of playing defense for our “crazy” beliefs, just getting people to leave us alone so we can get on with “practicing our religion” in the privacy of our homes. Quite to the contrary, we are actually in the business—and on the mission — of declaring to a sinful, rebellious world that the King has offered mercy and forgiveness through his own life, death, and resurrection from the grave.

If that’s true, then it’s not enough to play defense when it comes to the truth and trustworthiness of the Bible. If we’re going to declare the gospel of Jesus to a world that rejects him outright, we’re going to have to start by asserting the truth of the book which tells us about him in the first place — the Bible.

So how do you do that in a world that simply doesn’t take the Bible seriously? How do you turn the tables so that you’re not simply defending your belief in the Bible, but actually pressing the truth of the Bible against the skepticism of an unbelieving world?

Obviously, I can’t take the time here to lay out an entire case. But let me give you four quick thoughts on the shape such a case would take—a case that doesn’t just play defense, but actually tries to push the ball down the field.

1. Don’t Quit Before the Game Starts

In other words, don’t admit that while most of the world operates in the realm of reason and logic, belief in the Bible is a “religious” matter that you “just have to take on faith.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard Christians use that line when they get pushed into a conversational corner. The questions come hard and fast, they’re on the ropes, and they finally just throw up their hands and say, “Well I just believe it on faith!” And of course that’s the match for the skeptic. He shrugs, walks away, and says, “Oh. You just believe it on faith. I see. That means you don’t really have any good reasons at all.”

In 1 Peter 3:15, Peter tells us always to be prepared “to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.” That phrase doesn’t mean “be defensive.” It means to make a case—that is, to give reasons for your faith (including your belief in the Bible) that will press back on the person questioning you. In other words, Peter is telling us to be ready to make a case to the world not just for why it’s alright for us to believe the Bible, but for why they should believe it, too! And that means not relegating belief in the Bible to the merely “religious,” but rather making a case based on reason, evidence, and logic that will have the potential to unsettle even the most hardened skeptic.

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Book Review – Why Trust the Bible?

Why Trust the Bible

Why should anyone place their full faith and trust in the Bible? After all, there are numerous other self-proclaimed spiritual works available that are viable options for connecting with God, right? How do we know that the Bible is correct and all other choices are not? As a believer, I regularly refer to what is written in the pages of Scripture as the source of authority in my life. But for those who might question that approach, what makes the 66 books of Scripture stand out above the crowded field of religious documents and writings? What makes this ancient document so special?

One thing is quite certain and that is God and His Word are constantly under attack. In our day, men like Bart Erhman and Richard Dawkins demean Scripture as full of error and treat God as nothing more than a crazy man bent on making life difficult for humanity. To respond to such attacks, it is necessary for the believer in God and His Word to equip themselves with the facts and to be able to respond with more than just “Well I believe it’s true”. There are a number of apologetical tools we can wield when the validity of God’s Word is questioned. In his latest book Why Trust the Bible?, Greg Gilbert expertly looks at the facts of why God’s Word can be trusted, exploring along the way the aforementioned tools that can be used in response to those who purposefully seek to question Scripture or to speak to those who are honestly seeking what this thing called the Bible is all about.

Often books that discuss this type of subject matter tend to stray into the more academic arena, exploring the specific number of ancient manuscripts available, digging into every single nuance or supposed error in the text or walking in great detail through the method by which the Bible as we know it can to be. Now Gilbert discusses all those points but he does so in a way that is accessible to not just scholars, but also to the average person looking for answers. This is a book I would feel quite comfortable handing to a friend who is in searching mode because I know it would actually be read and understood. It is one thing to be able to toss about facts and figures and those are certainly important. It is quite another to write a book that is useful for the searcher, the newcomer to the faith, and the seasoned believer. Gilbert’s effort will help every individual along that aforementioned spectrum.

While this book is full of useful facts and information, in my humble opinion, the most impactful chapter is the part where Gilbert addresses the so what of it all. One can admit the evidence in support of Scripture is quite impressive and far exceeds that of any other ancient document. One can admit that the words of Scripture seem to be worthwhile. The important question is what will you do with God’s Word? Will you hide in your heart or just view it as a collection of helpful sayings? Gilbert saliently notes, “In the end, coming to the conclusion that the Bible is reliable is really just a means to another end, the end of coming to know that Jesus is reliable.” The fact that God’s Word is true means this thing called the gospel is true and the Messiah who died for our sins to redeem and restore us to our Creator actually did just that. Such reliability demands a response, either to accept the Messiah into your life or to reject him. I was pleased that Gilbert ended this book on that important note.

I highly recommend Why Trust the Bible? for its readability, the important information shared in its pages, and most importantly for its gospel focus. Gilbert does an excellent job of providing the reader with the facts (and there are plenty) while staying focused on the ultimate quest – what will you do with this Word that declares God is God and Jesus came to save. In the middle of the debate over supposed transmission errors or any number of other questions constantly raised against Scripture, God’s Word can be proven to be true and since it is true, we can trust it implicitly, declaring the glorious message of the gospel it contains.

This book is available for purchase from Crossway Books by clicking here.

I received this book for free from Crossway Books and the opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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