If I start from the top of my app list, here are some that I see:
- Angry Birds (I admit it, I have played)
- Battery Drain Analyzer
A “Bible app”… is it just another app? Or something more? This is the question we looked at together last Sunday morning in “The Bible?” study group before the worship service. (We meet every Sunday morning at 9am and would love to have you join us!)
Two questions that people asked during our time were…
- …how were books included?
- …is the Bible historically reliable?
Those are great questions! Before we look at any evidence, it is helpful to understand the unconscious assumptions we bring to that evidence.
Worldview / Cosmovisión
Is this a new word for you? Don’t be worried. It’s a way to describe what is going on in our minds in all the important debates about God, freedom, life, death, truth, etc. So what is a worldview?… (en Espanol: cosmovisión) Here is a brief description:
A worldview is a set of presuppositions (or assumptions) that we hold (consciously or unconsciously) about the … world. – James W. Sire, Naming the Elephant
There are 3 parts to our worldview:
- lens. The assumptions that we have before we observe or conclude anything (“epistemology”)
- the real. The “really real”… what we believe about reality (“ontology”)
- ethics. The implications of our lens and beliefs (“axiology”)
“but how does my worldview relate to the Bible?”
The worldview (especially the assumptions) we bring to evidence for the Bible affects us more than we know. Here are some questions to help us consider those assumptions:
- What is the difference between scientific evidence and historical evidence?
- How does living in the marketing age impact our attitude toward truth claims?
- What is the role of the will, emotions, and desires in what people believe?
If you want to know the worldview we have at Christos regarding the Bible, click here.
“How were books included in the Bible?”
There is a lot to say on this, but the quickest explanation for the Old Testament books is like this: those that the Jews were already recognizing as inspired scripture made it in. Those that were kept out were marked by things like: 1. historical and geographical inaccuracies and anachronisms, and 2. teaching of doctrine and practice that contradicted the scriptures recognized for centuries.
The simplest way to explain it for the New Testament is like this: who were the eyewitnesses whose word God attested with the miraculous? This is one way to describe the biblical word ‘apostle.’ The books that apostles wrote or recognized as authoritative were the ones that made it in. And don’t forget the context: during the time the New Testament was being written and organized people were being killed for their faith, even for their belief in scripture. So this was not about some political or social agenda… it was about life and death.
For both testaments, it is not unlike the modern day comparison of holding a hand-written letter from a person we know and comparing it to a gossip magazine that is reporting about the 3 headed child of Elvis. For both Old and New Testaments, it is a good practice just to look for yourself. Many apocryphal books are publicly available. So, for example, don’t just rely on someone else’s opinion… look up the supposed “gospel of Thomas” (the inspiration for the famous Da Vinci Code book and movie) and see for yourself the significant difference in form and content. The most entertaining line is toward the end, where it says that Mary should become male in order to enter heaven.
“Is the Bible historically reliable?”
When studying any work of history (not just the Bible), there are 3 main tests for reliability:
- Internal Evidence Test (does it contradict itself?)
- External Evidence Test (does it conflict with other historical and archaeological records of the time?)
- Bibliographic Test (what kind of manuscript evidence do we have?)
The Bible does very well in all 3 of these tests. You can find over 80 pages of explanation and evidence in “New Evidence That Demands a Verdict” by Josh McDowell (our church has copies in Spanish and English… ask me if you’re interested.) Here are the summaries of those pertinent chapters on the reliability of the Bible.
Questions for reflection
- What might it cost you if you chose to trust the Bible more than you do now?
- What experiences in your life make it more easy or more difficult to believe the Bible?
- What assumptions about supernatural things do you bring to the Bible before you have even opened it?
- Are there scriptures you are tempted to ignore?
- When was a time when God changed your life through scripture?
Sadly, we ran out of time last Sunday and never got to the gospel of John. A really fun study of scripture is to look at John 1:1-18 and ask these questions…
- In what ways is God’s revelation through scripture different from His revelation through Christ?
- In what ways is God’s revelation through scripture similar to His revelation through Christ?
- Why do you think Christ is described as “the Word” in the opening verses of that chapter?
Well, I know this is longer than a normal blog post. But the questions we’re looking at this Fall in our class are very deep, so my desire is to supplement our time together with these blog posts.
I would love to hear your comments and questions. You can email me or respond below.