This is the third of a series of Reasons to Believe blog posts with my sister, Betty Haynie. Our thoughts may be helpful to those who don’t believe in God as well as others. Betty wrote down her beliefs in detail several years ago. I’ll post her thoughts monthly and add my thoughts and beliefs to each one. Our thoughts are intentionally brief on subjects that could fill volumes.
WHY I BELIEVE IN THE BIBLE
By Betty Haynie
I believe the Bible is the result of God’s inspiration. The words in the Bible are NOT God’s exact words. But they are God’s exact messages. These are God’s thoughts expressed in man’s words. The writers communicated what they believed God wanted them to, expressed in their own style and verbiage. The most important thing to realize is that the Bible benefits us and even corrects our mistakes as described in the verse below.
“Every part of Scripture is God-breathed, and useful one way or another – showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way. Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17 The Message
The Bible began as oral tradition. Stories and lineages were taught from one generation to the next for hundreds of years. Many people wonder about the accuracy of such a beginning. When Alex Haley began researching his family for his book Roots, he traveled to
located the elders of his family’s tribe. The oldest elder was able to recite
the entire history, just as Alex had heard it, due to the respect they had for
passing along accurate history. The early Hebrews had the same respect for
tradition and history. They memorized lists of the names of their forefathers
from Adam to Abraham. They kept mental records and passed them on because
people regarded their “roots” as something significant.
It doesn’t make sense to me that God would create the world and all the people in it and not give us some sort of directions on how to live, or answer questions such as, “Why am I here?” I believe God left us a Guide book to help us find our way as Rick Warren writes in The Purpose-Driven Life:
The Bible tells us:
1. Why we are here
2. How life works
3. What things to avoid
4. What to expect in the future
5. What our individual purpose or ministry is (that He planned for us before we were even conceived!)
I like to read the Bible almost every day for it blesses me. Since 1990 I have read through the Bible several times, taken Bible classes and read a number of books about the Bible. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Chuck Missler’s book “Learn the Bible in 24 Hours” and Henrietta Mears’ book, “What the Bible is All About.” Check them out!
The Bible contains verifiable history and geography, poetry, songs, love stories, truths for living called proverbs, and over a thousand prophecies. It includes “how- to” advice for daily living, the struggles and lives of real people including the honest presentation of their weaknesses and failures, and prophecies of things to come. The Bible also gives us the life, miracles, teachings, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus, the works of the disciples after Jesus’ death, the letters of Paul to nine churches and the revelations of things to come, and SOOOOO much more.
Most people accept the fact that Moses is credited with the writing of the first five books. Poets and prophets wrote much of the Old Testament. Paul is credited with writing much of the New Testament in the form of the Epistles - letters to the various churches which had begun to slip from their original commitment to the Lord. The other books were written by various people starting within 30 years of Jesus death and continuing over another 50 years or so. It matters not in the slightest who actually wrote down the books included in the Bible, it’s the message they present that is all important.
If God is all powerful and all knowing then certainly He could manage to find a few people to write down His messages. If you believe otherwise you are not giving God credit for being God. In this case I would suggest you read Your God is Too Small by J. B. Phillips. When I think of the hundreds of thousands of preachers who have preached each and every week, 50-52 weeks a year, for over 2,000 years (over 500 years in this country alone), using the Bible as their main source for thought, reflection, inspiration, truths and revelation, it boggles the mind how absolutely incredible this book is. Has any other book every supplied so many dissertations?
The Bible, the world’s all-time best seller - is filled with promises, reminders, challenges, history, poetry, and knowledge of God. It fills and soothes the troubled, weary or sad soul just as chicken soup soothes our physical aches and pains. But the Bible also gives us a connection with God that leads to praise and worship which in turn fills our heart’s soul and brings peace and contentment into our often hectic lives.
When you get right down to it, believing in anything requires faith. Even an atheist has to have faith - faith that there is no God. The choice is whether to believe in a faith built on God’s Word or believe in a faith built on man’s word. We need a standard by which we live our lives. The Bible - God’s Word, fills that place for millions. It is the bottom line in every decision we make. It is the bottom line in every relationship we have. It is the bottom line in every problem or situation we have on this earth. Living by this standard makes life a peaceful, joy-filled, wonderful experience.
WHY I BELIEVE IN THE BIBLE
By Dottie Parish
Betty presents good evidence about the validity of the Bible. For anyone who has questions read my blog post on The Case of Christ by Lee Strobel – or see the movie!
So what more can I say? As a child I memorized verses every Sunday in Sunday school. These verses, in part, brought me back to God in 1990. As a teen-ager I won a New Testament by memorizing Luke 15 including The Story of the Prodigal Son! Amazing, since I did stray away from God for decades.
Since 1990 I have been in Bible Studies almost continually. Adult Bible Classes provide a support group as well as life changing information. A new pastor in 1997 introduced us to Disciple Bible Study which included reading and studying 80 percent of the Bible in 34 weeks. We continued in these classes for four years. We also joined a fifteen week Alpha class in 2008 which answered questions about our faith. Every one of these classes inspired and changed us. The Bible is the Word of God.
I began journaling Scripture at the suggestion of Bible teachers. This is a great way to learn the Bible and also make it personally applicable. I journaled Psalm 51 for Lent one year. This is David’s Psalm asking for forgiveness after he committed adultery and murder. He was a man after God’s own heart yet a sinner. I confessed my own sin with each verse, a truly life changing time. The Bible is the Word of God.
I went through the promises of Jesus and the commands of Jesus and wrote my thoughts about each one. Most recently I began journaling Psalm 119 the longest Psalm in the Bible. All of these are on my blog. Journaling scripture leads to inner change. The Bible is the Word of God.
The sermons we have absorbed in the last ten years have also been Bible studies! These help us live out our faith on a daily basis. The most important parts of the Bible are the accounts of Jesus life, death on the cross and resurrection. If the resurrection is not true – Christianity is of no value. The many prophecies of the coming messiah are amazing also. The letters by Paul and others give instruction to the Church and its members on how to live and how to be the Church. It is the Word of God.
The Bible reveals the character of God showing us he is holy, omnipotent, trustworthy, and personal. He is working out his plan through Christ Jesus. The Bible feeds our faith, guides our walk, holds us accountable, and gives us great hope. The beauty of the language in the Bible is like no other book. Consider the 23rd Psalm and the Lord’s Prayer and the Love chapter 1 Corinthians 13. Will you open your Bible and read it? Check out this amazing book. It is the Word of God.
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.” Colossians 3: 16
Watch for the next Reasons to Believe post on WHY I BELIEVE IN JESUS in late August by Betty and Dottie