Before we move on to part three of this blog series, let’s recap. In part one and part two, I suggested that the Creator God chose to communicate to his creation by means of two major miraculous events and that the Bible is the result of his communique.
The Bible is made up of two testaments. The Old Testament (our Jewish friends call it the Hebrew Bible) is the result of the Exodus event, which was recorded by eyewitnesses and provides an explanation of the formation of Israel and his Scriptures.
The New Testament is a product of the Resurrection of Jesus, which was also recorded by eyewitnesses. The New Testament explains the formation of the Church and her Scriptures. Superintending this process was the Creator God who intended to communicate the messages to his creatures. He performed the miracles, and he interpreted it through eyewitnesses.
So, now let’s consider their testimony. Why should we be compelled to believe the testimony? What is it about the testimony that makes it believable?
First, I would argue that their testimony is excruciating. That is, they paid a price for believing and sharing their experience. Moses’ entire life was changed. He went from being a shepherd to having a face-off with the Pharaoh of Egypt. The Twelve disciples of Jesus all suffered martyrdom or exile as a result of sharing the gospel. They could have avoided so much suffering had they just said that they made it all up. But they didn’t.
Second, I would argue that their testimony is embarrassing. Moses is reluctant to lead the children of Israel in the first place. He gets angry with the people. He sins. He doesn’t even get to go into the Promised Land. It’s very embarrassing when the recognized leader is a “failure.” Yet, that is exactly the testimony. It’s not pretty; it’s not exalting; it’s not fanciful. And that makes it all the more believable.
Same for the New Testament. Read the Gospels. The Twelve disciples are slow to learn. They make huge mistakes. They deny Jesus; one betrays Jesus. They don’t believe at first. It’s embarrassing. But then they experience the resurrected Jesus, and they are completely different: bold, courageous, willing to stand up to the authorities, willing to suffer for His name’s sake. Something miraculous, they say, has happened, and they can’t help but tell it to the whole world.
Third, I would throw in that nothing archaeologically or historically disproves the testimony. While we have not discovered or unearthed some artifacts we would love to have, what we have uncovered verifies, not contradicts, the Bible’s record.
Other considerations could be added here, but these three characteristics of the testimony of the Old and New Testaments should suffice to support our basic claim: We have sufficient reason to believe the Bible.
In part four, we will consider the faithfulness of the message handed down to us from the eyewitnesses. Can we be sure that we have received the actual eyewitness testimony or has it been [maliciously] changed?