We live in a world that has advanced in many domains such as medicine, science, knowledge, technology, communication and information to name a few. Today, everything is questioned and there is a pressure for more information in order to make a decision. The Bible claims that it is the source of truth. Jesus said this when praying to his Father in heaven:
“Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.” (John 17:17, ESV)
About one thousand years earlier, King David of Israel said of God’s word,
“The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the LORD are true, and righteous altogether.” (Psalm 19:7-9, ESV)
The Bible claims that it is from God and that it is true. Two immediate benefits from an acknowledgement of these claims are that: it necessitates closer examination to determine the accuracy of the claim; and that in examining the Bible, one comes to appreciate that there are right ways and wrong ways to live our lives in the eyes of God. This is a great source of comfort in a world in which we are bombarded by more and more conflicting information. It may lead one to ask, just as Pontius Pilate asked Jesus,
“What is truth?” (John 18:38, ESV)
The challenge and the benefit that Bible provides in claiming to be the source of truth is to read it seriously with an eye for the detail. Does it accurately describe the sinful state of humanity? Does it speak of people, places and events accurately? Does the direction for life that it gives prove to work? These are questions we may ask ourselves. Of course, in order to determine the answers to some of these questions, one may look to the areas of study such as archaeology and history.
The Bible can provide guidance and direction for our lives each day,
“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (Psalm 119:105, ESV)
In fact, one of the claims to test is that God says that His word is like a light that shines in dark place. God’s evaluation of what humanity has done to His creation is that it has been made into a “dark place;” one in which people have difficulty seeing clearly in terms of the right way to live.
“And we have something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” (2 Peter 1:19-21, ESV)
The Bible challenges us to read it regularly and put it to the test. It claims that its teachings are true and right. Just like a light that shines through the darkness, the Bible provides a path to guide us in a good and proper way that pleases God.
The Bible claims that it is profitable or helpful to provide direction for daily living and that it is inspired by God, Himself.
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17, ESV)
Briefly, the hope described in the Bible is the hope of salvation, which consists of eternal life and is bound up in the gospel message.
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”” (Romans 1:16-17, ESV)
The Bible provides direction and hope for those who desire to seek it. The Old Testament of the Bible contains the hope that forms the gospel message as described in the New Testament. This hope is of a better life, which is eternal or unending life, and is described as the “power of God for salvation to everyone who believes”. The Bible describes the conditions that will exist in the future when this hope is realized. One of the challenges and the benefits of regular, careful Bible reading is to come to an understanding of what this hope will look like and how this hope can change our lives for the better. These are only some of the reasons that I believe the Bible!