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Book Jacket

0736911278
Trade Paperback
225 pages
Aug 2003
Harvest House

A Christian Woman's Guide to Reasons for Faith : Understanding Why You Believe

by Judy Salisbury

Review  |   Author Bio  |  Read an Excerpt

Excerpt:

A Christian Woman's Guide to Reasons for Faith


by Judy Salisbury

HARVEST HOUSE PUBLISHERS

Copyright © 2003 by Judy Salisbury
Published by Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, Oregon 97402
All rights reserved.
ISBN 0-7369-1127-8


Contents

    Foreword by Dr. Norm Geisler
    Opportunities Are Everywhere

    Part I: The Most Common Questions

  1. Trusting the Word
  2. Belief in God’s Existence
  3. Faith in Spite of Popular Objections

    Part II: The Most Difficult Questions

  4. Confidence That Truth and Moral Absolutes Matter
  5. Knowing Why Belief in Evolution Requires Enormous Faith
  6. Reasons for the Existence of Evil and Suffering

    Part III: It’s All About Jesus

  7. Knowing That Jesus Is Who He Claimed to Be
  8. The Reality of the Resurrection
  9. Why the Gospel Is Good News
    Seizing the Opportunities: How My Life Is My Witness
    Notes

    CHAPTER 1


    Trusting the Word

    God said it. I believe it. That settles it.” A rather bold saying, to be sure. However, when I was a new believer, though I was without a doubt committed to the Lord Jesus Christ, I was somewhat apprehensive about committing to trust the Bible as well. I realized that if I was to grow closer to God and know His will for my life, the Bible was the place to turn. But just like so many others, I had questions…and yes, concerns. One of which was if the Bible was truly God’s Word.

    Thankfully, our merciful and loving heavenly Parent did not leave us without answers. He did not give us a burning desire to seek for Him and grope for Him (according to Acts 17:27), only to leave us frustrated in our quest to find Him. God, in His immense love for His image-bearers, gave not just what so many refer to as Life’s Little Instruction Book—no, it is so much more than that. God has given us His very Word, a window to His heart and to His love for fallen humanity, which we call the Holy Bible.

    Is it okay to question the validity of the Bible? Is it okay to have doubts? Is it okay to wonder if it is really any different from other holy books from the vast array of world religions? In a nutshell, is it okay to ask, “Why?” or, “Why should we believe that the Holy Bible is the inspired Word of God?”

    Of course it’s okay to ask these questions, because God loves to prove Himself true. Since, thankfully, the answers are so plentiful, I will share just a few points from several areas. First, I’d like to look at some basic misconceptions regarding the Bible. Second, I’ll discuss the reliability of the Old and New Testament manuscripts. Third, I’ll share some fascinating biblical prophecies and their fulfillment. Fourth, we’ll look at Jesus’ attitude toward the Scriptures and how He used them. Lastly, I’ll share just a few thoughts on the importance of the Word of God in our lives.

    The Bible: Must Reading

    Truly, one can turn to the Holy Bible for life’s little instructions. And if we turned to it for this purpose alone, to help us on our day-to-day journey through life, it would certainly be a worthy read. Unfortunately, though it is the most widely purchased book in North America, it is still the least read. One of the things that amazed me as a new believer—and still does—is just how many professing Christians have never read their Bible cover to cover. However, I am just as amazed at the number of individuals who disbelieve it who, likewise, have never read it. It is no wonder that so many people have a difficult time defending or refuting it when this is the case.

    Therefore, due to the dust buildup on many a Bible, I think there are several misconceptions I should briefly touch upon to perhaps help strengthen our confidence when presenting the Bible to others.

    Common Misconceptions About Divine Inspiration

    I think it could be possible that those who feel a bit ambivalent about the Bible’s trustworthiness just might picture a bunch of guys in tunics sitting around jawing about a great book idea that could change the world. That somehow a bunch of guys with overactive imaginations made the whole thing up. Perhaps the ambivalent folks might even think that some wise guys offered their own interpretation of what God communicated. However, the apostle Peter assures us that this is not the case. In classic passionate Peter fashion he emphatically states, “But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.”

    Then we get a bit more help from the apostle Paul, who explains how the Spirit of God communicated to him and the other apostles, and why believers who hear the message can recognize it as being from the Spirit of God.

    We have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words [or, “interpreting spiritual things to spiritual men”]. But a natural man [or, “an unspiritual” man] does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.

    Second Timothy 3:16 states that “all Scripture is inspired by God.” Now, while that seems pretty straightforward, what does it really mean? The word inspired in the Greek literally means God-breathed. The word all means just that—all! Not some, not pick-and-choose, but “all Scripture is inspired by God.”

    To sum up the above passages, all Scripture was given by the Holy Spirit of God, who inspired individuals of His choosing, at a time of His choosing, to write. And, as believers, we can grasp the Scriptures by the Holy Spirit as well. Therefore, while many individuals write beautifully inspiring messages or songs, it is quite another matter to claim that what was written was divinely inspired.

    For example, if you were holding two “holy books,” one in either hand, there would be ways of knowing which one of them was truly inspired by God, if either. Since no two contradictory statements can both be true at the same time and in the same sense, the first question to ask is, “Do the messages contained in these books contradict each other?” If one states, for example, that you are to worship many gods, yet the Bible states that there is only one true and living God who said, “You shall have no other gods before Me,” then obviously there is a contradiction. Both books cannot be true on the subject of God and worship. Hence, it would be time to put these books to the test. That is exactly the purpose of this chapter: to discover if the “Good Book” really was written through divine inspiration.

    Tough Stuff: More Common Misconceptions

    I find that, while we are more than happy to get the Word of God into the hands of eager seekers, there are some topics in the Bible that just might make us bristle when we’re confronted with them. The following are just a few of the prickly items that often rock the believer and rouse the unbeliever.

    1. Slavery

    The subject of slavery is always a sticky one, yet it is often misunderstood when we consider biblical times. Though it was part of the culture at that time, thankfully it was far from what we imagine when we think of slavery today. Some individuals actually became slaves as a means of paying their debts—however, the Bible does not advocate abuse but states that slaves were to be treated with dignity and respect. For example, if a slave ran away from his master, he was able to live where he wished without fear of being returned. Job, for example, recognized that he and his slaves were equal before God, and he understood that if he mistreated them he would stand accountable before God for that mistreatment. In his words:

    If I have despised the claim of my male or female slaves When they filed a complaint against me, What then could I do when God arises?
    And when He calls me to account, what will I answer Him? Did not He who made me in the womb make him, And the same one fashion us in the womb?

    2. Bigamy

    The practice of bigamy as recorded in the Bible, is another issue that certainly, and rightfully, causes concern. We might well ask, if Solomon’s wealth and wisdom were a gift from God, how could he have chosen to have so many wives? Yet Solomon’s wayward lusts led to his despair and demise. The book of Ecclesiastes, which he penned, expresses his view of the self-indulgent life quite appropriately. “Vanity of vanities! All is vanity.” Quite literally, “Futility of futilities! All is futile.” Solomon’s lust for women drew his heart away from God.

    When God spoke on the subject of matrimony, an institution created by Him, He was very clear regarding His intent: “A man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife [singular]; and they shall become one flesh.”

    As I look at the lives of Bible characters, it seems to me that the departure from God’s standard for marriage by those who pursued the cultural practice of bigamy brought nothing but trouble. Who can forget the rivalry of Rachel and Leah—yet they were the mothers of the children of Israel. God redeemed the human circumstance that resulted from sin by bringing about a great nation. Though we never read that God condoned the practice, it seems that He may have simply tolerated bigamy as a part of Israel’s culture for only a season.

    3. Other Sordid Events

    We would have to agree that, aside from bigamy or slavery, there are several unflattering and at times ungodly circumstances that are recorded in the Bible. Abraham embroidering the truth before King Abimelech in regard to Sarah being his sister rather than his bride, or Leah purchasing from Rachel a night with Jacob for a handful of mandrakes. And of course, who can ever forget the David–Bathsheba affair?

    Actually, when you think about it, the fact that Bible characters are not pictured in their best light—but in their frailty, during their notso-godly decisions—certainly affords more credence to the Scriptures. The events are simply reported as they actually happened. You can be sure that if the Scriptures had been contrived, many a biblical character would be portrayed as the supersaint of the century. However many, like all of us, were far from that. Peter, for example, constantly put his foot in his mouth, and in a very cowardly way he swore that he did not know Jesus—not once but three times. What a failure on the part of the man who had promised our Lord just hours before that if everyone else deserted Him, he alone would die for Him! Yet we all have our Peter moments, don’t we? Thanks be to God for His immediate forgiveness and restoration when we seek it.

    4. Seeming Inconsistencies

    Sometimes, spotting an inconsistency in the Scriptures can sure knock us for a loop. For example, in the Gospel of Mark it is stated that Jesus was crucified at the third hour. But John’s account states that at the sixth hour Jesus was still on trial! Both can’t be true—or can they? This little difficulty is easily explained by Dr. Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe in their most handy resource When Critics Ask: A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties:

    Both Gospel writers are correct in their assertions. The difficulty is answered when we realize that each Gospel writer used a different time system. John follows the Roman time system while Mark follows the Jewish time system.

    According to Roman time, the day ran from midnight to midnight. The Jewish 24-hour period began in the evening at 6 P.M. and the morning of that day began at 6 A.M. Therefore, when Mark asserts that at the third hour Christ was crucified, this was about 9 A.M. John stated that Christ’s trial was about the sixth hour [6 A.M. Roman time]. This would place the trial before the crucifixion and this would not negate any testimony of the Gospel writers.

    Indeed, it seems to make more sense for John to use Roman time, since he was writing a Gospel to the Gentiles. Mark, documenting the words of Peter, was writing from a more Jewish perspective (considering the fact that Mark’s Gospel opens with a quotation from Isaiah).

    In any case, while there are some variations in the records of the same event, the variations are not contradictions. Moreover, there are always variations in eyewitness testimony. The variations don’t discredit the validity of the accounts—in actuality, the variations in the biblical accounts validate the Scriptures. I imagine that if all the accounts were identically written, word for word, we might well suspect the authors of collaboration.

    In sum, any apparent inconsistencies in the Bible are just that— apparent. What we might perceive as an inconsistency or contradiction can be understood by taking into account the language, idioms, customs, or culture of that time.

    Are the Old Testament Texts Reliable?

    Remember the telephone game? Someone whispers something in your ear, and you whisper it in the next person’s ear, and so on until the message travels all around the room. By the time the message reaches the last person it is dramatically different from the original. Because it’s a game—and the more the message changes the funnier the game becomes. Unfortunately, some people are of the opinion that relying on the Scriptures is like relying on the last person in the telephone game. They believe that each time the text was copied it may have been altered from the original message. However, since Old Testament scribes understood their task as copying what God had breathed, they viewed it as anything but a game, as Dr. Geisler aptly notes:

    With respect to the Jewish Scriptures, however, it was not scribal accuracy alone that guaranteed their product. Rather, it was their almost superstitious reverence for the Bible. According to the Talmud there were specifications not only for the kind of skins to be used and the size of the columns, but there was even a religious ritual necessary for the scribe to perform before writing the name of God. Rules governed the kind of ink used, dictated the spacing of words, and prohibited writing anything from memory. The lines, and even the letters, were counted methodically. If a manuscript was found to contain even one mistake, it was discarded and destroyed. This scribal formalism was responsible, at least in part, for the extreme care exercised in copying the Scriptures. It was also the reason there were only a few manuscripts (as the rules demanded the destruction of defective copies).

    Perhaps you’ve heard of the Dead Sea Scrolls and wondered what was so significant about the find. Well, among the scrolls discovered in 1947 at Qumran was the entire book of Isaiah. This scroll turned out to be about a thousand years older than the oldest manuscript of Isaiah available at the time. Proving Dr. Geisler’s point, it is word-for-word identical to our standard Hebrew text today. Due to the meticulousness of the scribes, overall our Old Testament Scriptures are 95-percent pure. The 5-percent variation is only in punctuation or spelling, nothing that would affect any major doctrine.

    What About the New Testament Manuscripts?

    When we consider the reliability of the New Testament, it is important to note that it was written entirely during the first century A.D. Why is this important? Since the majority of the New Testament was written between A.D. 47 and 70, those who might be concerned about legends creeping into the text can put their mind at ease. The time span between the documentation of the events and the actual events was simply too short for legend to have developed. Since many of Jesus’ contemporaries were still alive at the time of the writing of the text, these individuals would have recognized anything false as legend and would have been able to refute it immediately.

    Though there are various ways of proving that the New Testament was written between A.D. 47 and 70, I’ll share just one way for simplicity’s sake. We can know approximately when the New Testament Scriptures were written by what is not recorded. For example, you would think that the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple and the dispersion of the Jewish people by the Roman general Titus in A.D. 70 might get even a little mention had the events occurred before the texts were written. It would be like me writing a book on the recent history of America and omitting September 11, 2001. Since the events of that day so dramatically impacted our whole country, surely you would have to assume that my omission was because of the fact that my writing came before the horrific events of that memorable day.

    The other exciting little item to note is that there is a time lapse of only 100 to 200 years between the original writing of the New Testament and the oldest copies we have of it. In contrast, the time frame between Plato’s original writings and the oldest existing copies is approximately 1200 years. In the case of Aristotle there are approximately 1400 years between his original writings and the most ancient copies, and for Homer’s Iliad we have about a 500-year gap. Therefore, if we can accept the texts of Plato, Aristotle, and Homer as authentic, surely we can trust the New Testament texts as well—especially since the New Testament is 99.5-percent pure in its accuracy to the original. As with the Old Testament, there are variations in style or spelling, but nothing that would affect any major doctrine.

    Of all the works of antiquity, the New Testament has the greatest amount of surviving manuscript evidence. With a whopping 24,000 ancient manuscript copies of the New Testament, comparisons bear out the accuracy of the text. No other ancient writing even comes close. For Plato’s writings, there are less than 10 ancient manuscript copies, for Aristotle, 50, and for Homer’s Iliad, approximately 640 surviving manuscript copies.

    Rest assured that the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and John are documented eyewitness accounts. And though Luke, the author of the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles, was not an eyewitness, the good doctor was a meticulous historian. It is widely acknowledged that Luke’s background information is historically, geographically, and archeologically verifiable.

    How Would the Psychic Hot Line Fare Against Biblical Prophecy?

    Since questions regarding the future occupy the minds of many people, biblical prophecy is by far one of the most exciting proofs for the reliability of the Holy Bible. Prophecy truly sets the Bible apart from any other holy book of the world religions—and it sets the Bible’s God apart from any other so-called god, as Isaiah 46:9-11 reveals:

    Remember the former things long past, For I am God, and there is no other;

    I am God, and there is no one like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, “My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all my good pleasure”;

    Calling a bird of prey from the east, The man of My purpose from a far country. Truly I have spoken; truly I will bring it to pass. I have planned it, surely I will do it.

    He has indeed declared “the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things which have not been done” because, as Psalm 103:19 proclaims,

    The LORD has established His throne in the heavens, And His sovereignty rules over all.

    Incredibly detailed biblical prophecies concerning cities like Sidon, Samaria, Gaza, Edom—and the list can go on—have been fulfilled in explicit detail. So precise and accurate are the prophecies recorded in the book of Daniel—including the succession of the empires of Babylon, Medo–Persia, Greece, and Rome—that some critics have made the unsubstantiated claim that the book was written after the events took place. Unfortunately for these critics, the dating of the book of Daniel is historically verifiable.

    A Prophecy About a City

    I think you just might agree that one of the most fascinating predictions concerned a city called Tyre. In Ezekiel 26, several interesting prophecies were decreed by God against this city, which included the following:

    • King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon would besiege the mainland city of Tyre.
    • The city walls would be destroyed, the towers broken down, and the debris of the city would be scraped down to the bare rock.
    • The stones, timber, and debris from the city would be thrown into the water.
    • It would become a place for fishermen to spread their nets.
    • The city would never again be rebuilt.

    In 585 B.C., three years after Ezekiel’s dramatic prophecy, King Nebuchadnezzar began a 13-year siege of mainland Tyre. By 573 B.C., mainland Tyre was completely destroyed. Several hundred years later, the Tyrians who lived on the island city bruised the ego of Alexander the Great by refusing to open their gates upon his request to do so. Irate at their refusal, Alex proceeded to besiege the city. Since he did not possess a naval fleet at the time, he had the debris of mainland Tyre literally scraped into the sea, thus building a causeway to the island city of Tyre and leaving mainland Tyre a bare rock. The mainland city has never been rebuilt, and if you decide to go there for your next vacation, you will find fishermen drying their nets upon the shore.

    As I looked into this intriguing prophecy, I became a bit more curious and wanted to find out what Tyre looked like today. So I perused the Internet and came across a visitor’s guide. The Web site mentioned something I found most interesting. “Whether it was the Hellenistic, Roman, or Byzantine conquerors of the ancient world or the Crusaders and Ottomans of the Middle Ages, they all came and went, like the ebb and flow of Tyre’s beautiful shoreline.” Now, you might be thinking, What’s so interesting about that? Well, it just happens to be yet another prophecy fulfilled. Ezekiel 26:3 reads, “Thus says the Lord GOD, ‘Behold, I am against you, O Tyre, and I will bring up many nations against you, as the sea brings up its waves.’”

    Specific Prophecies About Specific People

    There are scores of biblical prophecies concerning events, such as the return of the Jewish people to their homeland from around the globe, the deserts of Israel agriculturally flourishing, and the increase of communication, knowledge, and travel in the last days.

    There is also a variety of prophecies about individuals—including, of course, the long-awaited Messiah (I will go over some of these in a later chapter). For now, let’s take a look at what the Lord declared in Isaiah 44:28 concerning one man in particular, a man named Cyrus.

    It is I who says of Cyrus, “He is my shepherd! And he will perform all My desire.”
    And he declares of Jerusalem, “She will be built,” And of the temple, “Your foundation will be laid.”

    Here we have a specific prophecy that refers to a particular man named Cyrus, yet the prophecy was recorded about 150 years before Cyrus was even born. Not only that, but the prophecy predicts the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the temple at a time when they were still standing. This would be like me saying on August 11, 2001, “Of the World Trade Center, it will be rebuilt.” You’d think me crazy! Yet it wasn’t until a hundred years after Isaiah’s prophecy that Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed. King Nebuchadnezzar took care of that in 586 B.C. However, after the Persians conquered the region in 539 B.C., Cyrus, king of Persia, as recorded in Ezra chapter 1, made his proclamation for the Jewish exiles to return and “rebuild the house of the LORD… in Jerusalem.”

    Fascinating. Cyrus did exactly what the Lord said he would do. Again, Cyrus’s actions were foretold 150 years before the man was even born. “The LORD of hosts has sworn, saying, ‘Surely, just as I have intended so it has happened, and just as I have planned so it will stand.’ ” Therefore, “Many plans are in a man’s heart, but the counsel of the LORD will stand.”

    Every prophecy in the Bible regarding the past, right up until today, has come true—approximately 2000 of them. No human being in history, from before the time of Nostradamus to Jeane Dixon and beyond, has been able to make predictions with 100-percent accuracy. And, unlike the Psychic Hot Line, the Bible needs no disclaimers regarding the accuracy of its prophecies. You will never find the small print “for entertainment purposes only” under the biblical prophetic writings.

    The wonderful thing is that since every prophetic word has been fulfilled in the past, every word God declared concerning this time forward will also take place. I cannot help but recall Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:18: “Truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished”—which leads us to our next segment.

    The Word on The Word

    If the Scriptures were a bit suspect, I think you could safely conclude that Jesus’ use or quotation of them would certainly express His views on them. It seems obvious to me that Jesus viewed the Scriptures as authoritative, since He confirmed their validity, referred individuals to them, quoted them when facing His greatest enemy, and rebuked the Pharisees for treating their traditions with higher esteem than the Scriptures. <IN P < passages: following the in words Jesus’ Consider authoritative. as them regard to have would He them, of fulfillment Himself believed since that assume one Now, them. be claimed also and broken,” cannot Scripture “the said Jesus 10:35, John>

    • To Satan in Matthew 4:4,7,10: “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.’”
         “It is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
         “Go, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.’”

    • To the Pharisees in Mark 7:6-8: “Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: ‘This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far away from Me. But in vain do they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.’ Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men.”

    • To the rich young ruler in Luke 18:20: “You know the commandments, ‘Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not bear false witness, honor your father and mother.’ ”

    • To the crowds in John 7:38: “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being shall flow rivers of \living water.’”

    It only makes sense that Jesus viewed the Word of God as authoritative—after all, He is the Word made flesh. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (I’ll share a bit more on this in chapter 7.)

    So Much More Than Life’s Little Instruction Book

    The manuscript evidence, the internal evidence such as the fulfilled prophecies and eyewitness accounts, and the external evidence such as history and archeology have all proved the validity of the Scriptures. However, unlike any other writing, ancient or otherwise, it is a living document, and its impact is supernatural. Anyone sincerely desiring a relationship with the living God will find Him by searching the Scriptures. As you know, what I am referring to is not simply a warm, fuzzy feeling that’s fleeting, but an abiding relation-ship with the Word made flesh.

    Isn’t it a shame that so many people turn to their Bible as they would to a “Magic Eight Ball”? Have you ever seen those silly things? A former co-worker of mine in sales used to keep one on her desk. If a deal wasn’t working out quite right she would shake the little ball and flip it over to see her answer float to the top. Most of the time it read, “Try again later.” Just as frivolous is the approach some professing believers take to the Scriptures. They flip through it with eyes closed, and wherever their finger lands, that must be God’s will for the day. God wants His Word to be so much more than that in our lives because it is so much more.

    The apostle Paul, in what was his final letter before he was beheaded, passionately reminded the young pastor Timothy of the vital importance of Scripture in his life. Even though we know these things, it is so good to be reminded, isn’t it?

    You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

    The Bible helps us discover the living God and reveals just how we can enter into an abiding relationship with our heavenly Father. The Bible also encourages us in our walk with our Lord and painfully convicts us when we meander off that narrow path. Have you ever noticed that? Isn’t it funny how, at those times when we know we are out of His will, certain passages in the Bible are the last thing we want to read? Hebrews 4:12 tells us why: “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” That’s deep stuff—no wonder so many people become inflamed when we quote it!

    From the Scriptures, we can discern truth from error, like the Bereans, who offer a great example of how we are to do just that. “The brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. Now these were more noble-minded [intellectually honest I’d say] than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.”

    Also along these lines we are told to “be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth.”

    In other words…no “Magic Eight Ball” approach to the Scriptures. Since it is a living document, our approach should be with prayer and “great eagerness.” This implies an expectant heart listening for the heart of God. Isn’t it just magnificent that God has given us such an incredible gift?

    Final Thoughts

    As a mom, wouldn’t it be foolish for me to have my children memorize verses from a collection of books that are not what they claim to be? Wouldn’t it seem like a waste of time to study that collection of books if they were only filled with myths and legends? Wouldn’t it seem silly to trust that same collection of books as a roadmap for this present life and the next if they weren’t authoritative? The wonderful news is that the Holy Bible is what it claims to be. It is indeed the inspired Word of God.

    What I’ve shared in this chapter regarding the reliability of the Holy Bible is not new information—and there is so much more I wish I could say here. However, at the end of this chapter (and of each chapter in this book) you will find a list of suggested resources. My hope is that you will try to get ahold of some of these wonderful books, because they will serve you well in answering any further questions that may arise regarding the validity of the Holy Bible and many other concerns.

    For far too long, I think, we’ve been uneasy about defending the Holy Bible against objections. Some of them sound so convincing. But take heart and don’t take it personally if someone snickers at your love of the Word. Keep in mind that anyone’s quarrel with the reliability of the Holy Bible is not with the one who honors it as such, but with the One who provided it for any person who desires a love relationship with the Almighty. Jot down your seeking friend or relative’s concern if you are unsure about an answer. If you can’t find the answer in this simple guide to reasons for faith, you will most certainly find the answer in my suggested resources. Also, keep in mind that just because you aren’t sure of an answer, that does not mean there isn’t one available. God has already seen to it.

    My dear sister, there is no doubt about it—you can trust the Holy Bible because it is divinely inspired, historically reliable, indestructible, infallible, and life-changing. So go right ahead and pick one up at a nightstand near you—and feel confident to encourage someone you know to do the same.

    Questions for Reflection

    1. Is relying on the Bible like relying on the last person in the “tele-phone game”? Why or why not?

    2. Can you name three things that make the Bible unique?

    3. What makes the Bible much more than a mere instruction book?

    4. Have you ever read your Bible cover to cover?

    5. Have you considered visiting Tyre for your next vacation?

    Suggested Resources

    When Critics Ask: A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties by

    Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe. Baker Books, 1992.

    I’m Glad You Asked by Kenneth Boa and Larry Moody. Cook

    Communications Ministries, 1995.

    The New Inductive Study Bible: Discovering the Truth for

    Yourself. Precept Ministries International. Harvest House Publishers, 2000.


    Excerpted from A Christian Woman's Guide to Reasons for Faith By Judy Salisbury. Copyright © 2003 by Harvest House Publishers. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.