I recently had the joy of teaching our youth a bit about the Bible—who wrote it, and why, and the process it took over thousands of years for divinely inspired poems, historical scrolls, and letters to become the cohesive work that we know today.
Once we sorted through some of the material facts about Scripture, we considered a challenging question: Is the Bible true?
There is a significant amount of evidence to support the truth of the Bible found outside of the Bible. Both past and present archeological findings continue to reveal evidence of people, places, and events described in the Bible. The cities we read about existed and the cultures we know from Scripture left abundant material remains. Further, art and literature from outside the Christian tradition testifies to the existence of the person of Jesus who we read about in the New Testament. And in the Gospel, we find multiple viewpoints of the same major events, miracles, and teachings.
Think of the journey that brought this book to us here today! It has survived through thousands of years, inspiring men and women living ordinary lives and facing countless natural disasters and wars and famines. It made the leap from oral tradition to the written word, from Hebrew and Greek and Aramaic, to Latin and English and every modern language. Once upon a time, only educated rabbis and priests were able to read and study Scripture, but now it’s available to anyone with a smartphone in hundreds of versions.
For me, though, the validity and reliability of the Bible doesn’t come from archaeology or supporting evidence or even the long, improbable survival of the text. My trust in the Bible springs from my belief that the Bible is God’s divine word. That’s a belief that has been confirmed again and again by the role the Bible has played in my own life.
The way I read it, the Bible is not chiefly history—far less is it science. Rather, the Bible is a word written for me (and for you) filled with stories of love and faith. These stories are about imperfect people and an all-loving God. In these timeless poems, and songs, and letters, we learn about God, who loves us so much that He’s never given up on us, no matter how many times we get it wrong. In the Garden where we ignore the simplest rule; in Babel where we build our selfish towers; amongst our pantheons of false idols; even as we crucify God’s own Son—God is with us, working for our good. I know, in my heart, when I read these words, they are words of love, words of life, and words of truth. That’s why I’ve devoted my life to teaching them to others.
“The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.”
- Isaiah 40:8
God’s Word was created for a purpose: the salvation of creation. That work continues today and that work will be accomplished.
So the next time you open your Bible, take a moment to remember and reflect on the journey these stories have taken to reach you, and be thankful. And I’ll do the same.
Pastor Geitra Mickelson
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