Proving the Bible

Discussion in 'Apologetical Methods' started by Weston Stoler, Sep 23, 2011.

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  1. Weston Stoler

    Weston Stoler Puritan Board Sophomore

    I think (by the power of Christ) I can convince a friend of my girlfriend of the fact that their is a God. However I don't know where I would go from their. My main problem is how do I prove the bible is without error in its original writings, authoritative, good for reproof and correction and instruction in righteousness ect.... without using the bible to prove it? If I can prove that to him everything else will fall into place.
     
  2. "William The Baptist"

    "William The Baptist" Puritan Board Freshman

    I am always hesitant to try and use that apologetic approach... but that is because I think Van Tillian apologetics is vastly superior. :)

    Please take this link with a grain of salt. I listened to it months ago, and there are some good points, though I don't agree entirely with his theology, this seems like it could be helpful given your question.

    Why I Believe in the Bible

    I paused and typed up a lot of word for word things and still have a few of those notes, if you are interested.

    Also you might find this debate not only helpful, but humorous. Bahnsen Vs Stein.


    Also, praying for you, that the Lord would grant you to be as wise as a serpent, yet as innocent as a dove. Also praying for this friend's heart to be softened.
     
  3. Ask Mr. Religion

    Ask Mr. Religion Flatly Unflappable

    [​IMG]

    There is something here that should create enough cognitive dissonance in the person and illustrate a wee bit of non-rational resistance to accepting the empirical evidence. From 10 to 15 NT manuscripts were written within the first 100 years of the completion of the NT. To be sure, they are all fragmentary, but some of them are fairly sizable fragments, covering large portions of the Gospels or Paul’s letters, for example. Within two centuries, the numbers increase to at least four dozen manuscripts. Of manuscripts produced before a.d. 400, an astounding 99 still exist—including the oldest complete NT, Codex Sinaiticus. The gap between the originals and the early manuscripts is relatively slim. By comparison, the average classical author has no copies for more than half a millennium.

    SRC: ESVSB
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2011
  4. rookie

    rookie Puritan Board Sophomore

    Also look for Ravi Zacharias....he touches on the transcendence of God.....
     
  5. seajayrice

    seajayrice Puritan Board Sophomore

    I think that is a pretty common challenge with the Thomistic approach. In my humble estimate, the apology is for a god, not so much the God.

    Rom 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

    Jas 2:19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.

    Rom 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.


    I don't think we convince anyone of saving faith or even orient them in that direction. I found Vos and Owen helpful with biblical theology and understanding the complete necessity of special/specific revelation.
     
  6. nwink

    nwink Puritan Board Sophomore

    Weston, the problem is not that you have to intellectually convince her that there is a God. It says in Romans 1:18-32 that God has clearly shown Himself to every person (1:19) through the light of their conscience and through His creation (1:20). Because of this clear revelation of God, everyone is without excuse! The issue is not that your friend needs to hear the "best arguments" to believe in God...because in her heart of hearts, she knows there is a God...but she is suppressing that truth in unrighteousness (1:18)! By refusing to acknowledge, glorify and worship her Creator, she has become vain in her imaginations and her heart has become darkened (1:21). Always keep these details in mind as they are the root issue involved in witnessing endeavors.

    As for "proving" the Bible, that involves issues of presuppositions. (ie, how does one convince someone of a presupposition they completely disagree with? they need to "drop their presupposition" in repentance!) Your friend is presupposing (in unrighteousness) that there is no God and thus the Bible couldn't be His Word. In a nutshell, we know the Bible is God's Word because God says so and cannot lie...it is on His authority we believe what the Word says. But if we rebel against God, we won't believe what it says. So maybe the best approach is to briefly show the irrationality of your friend's presupposition (probably being that she thinks her own reason is the guide to all truth...and she believes this just because she believes this...so, her presupposition is "circular reasoning" just as she would say about the Christian's reasoning about the Bible). And then speak the Word of truth which has God's authority. Whether the Spirit opens her eyes or not, it ultimately is the work of the Spirit to convince her unto salvation. But we can trust in the Word which is "quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." (Heb 4:12) And consider the words of Christ in John 7: "My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself."

    Hope this helps!
     
  7. jwithnell

    jwithnell Moderator Staff Member

    While I believe that only the Holy Spirit can cause someone to see the Bible as God's word and am in general agreement with the presuppositional approach, there is room to give honest answers to honest questions (a la Schaeffer). However, if you are out to "convince" someone, you are not likely trying to meet their own struggle to come to terms with the scriptures.

    I do think the texts provide a fascinating study as well as the canonization of them. That something like the "Gospel of Judas" recently could gain such traction shows a deplorable ignorance of the early church. (And you can bet someone educated in the public schools know next to nothing about this era.)
     
  8. Weston Stoler

    Weston Stoler Puritan Board Sophomore

    My problem is, when I try to talk to most athiests I can see that it is a very weak argument they pose against their being a God. That something came from nothing is preposterous they know it and I know it. Heck we all know it. Always will quote the gospel, I can prove their is a God and still have him go to hell, Christ has to work a miracle in his heart. However, I do not want to be ignorant and just tell him it is true because it is true and that is that. I preach the gospel unashamedly to atheists, I just don't want to be like "Well that doesn't matter just believe Jesus".
     
  9. Marrow Man

    Marrow Man Drunk with Powder

    A comment I read a couple of months ago by John Murray has resonated with me. Every other major doctrine that we have is proven how? From Scripture, of course. Why would we expect the doctrine of Scripture/revelation to be any different? We cannot do better than God's own revelation. :2cents:
     
  10. Weston Stoler

    Weston Stoler Puritan Board Sophomore

    Probably one of the most helpful things I have ever seen on why someone believes the bible. Thanks ^-^
     
  11. "William The Baptist"

    "William The Baptist" Puritan Board Freshman

    I am glad you found it helpful! I did too and am grateful to the friend who sent that link to me many months ago. :)

    Still in prayer for your friend. I know debating can get pretty heated, but I would just *encourage* you to be humble, genuine, and sincere... for loving someone amid such debates keeps us from being "clanging cymbals". Not saying you aren't, but I just don't know you and just adding my :2cents: And like others have said, ultimately the Holy Spirit is the one to open his eyes, but from your original post, I had gathered you knew that but just wanted a little reinforcement on a practical level.

    Be blessed, brother!
     
  12. bug

    bug Puritan Board Freshman

    Try turning the question round, and asking them why they do not believe the bible is the word of God. Dig into their own presuppositions and challenge them there! Don't just give a prepared apologetic for the bible! Rather use the weapons of our warfare to pull down their pertciular stronghold (2 cor 10:4) For whilst the work is all of the Spirit it still remains our task to persuade and compel.
     
  13. Peairtach

    Peairtach Puritan Board Doctor

    J Withnell
    I'm sure for Van Til and other presuppositionalists, it wasn't the use of "evidence" that was the problem, but how it is used.
     
  14. Rufus

    Rufus Puritan Board Junior

    Prove that Christ rose from the dead, it all boils down to that.
     
  15. jwithnell

    jwithnell Moderator Staff Member

    That's kind of my point. We don't just shrug our shoulders and say, just believe. But we can go into a conversation certain that no other system of thought can be internally consistent.
     
  16. Apologist4Him

    Apologist4Him Puritan Board Freshman

    Brother Weston,

    A few book recommendations:

    Faith Has Its Reasons by Robert Bowman & kenneth Boa (608 pages published by IVP) - This book is all about different approaches to defending the faith, or apologetical methodology. I recommend it above the "Five Views on Apologetics" because it explains the methods well, and unlike the five views book, this volume also serves as a "who's who" in Christian apologetics.

    Philosophical Foundations For A Christian Worldview by J.P. Moreland & William Lane Craig (672 pages published by IVP) - While I do not agree with the apologetical methodology of the authors, nor their theology, this book is loaded with useful information for apologetics. Some parts should be read with a "grain of salt" but this book is one of the best introductions to logic and philosophy from a Christian perspective.

    Always Ready: Directions for Defending the Faith by Greg Bahnsen (289 pages published by Covenant Media Press) - Dr. Greg Bahnsen studied under Dr. Van Til, and embraced the Van Tillian...biblical presupposionalist-revelational epistemologist method/approach to defending the Christian faith. Dr. Bahnsen's writings and lectures are easier to understand and comprehend than Dr. Van Til's. As a Van Tillian myself, and one who believes it is the Reformed approach, I highly recommend this book.

    Every Thought Captive: A Study Manual For The Defense of Christian Truth by Richard Pratt Jr. (142 pages published by Presbyterian & Reformed) - This is the book I most highly recommend. It is short, Van Tillian apologetics written in layman terms.

    Relativism: Feet Planted Firmly in Mid-Air by Greg Koukl & Francis Beckwith This book addresses a major problem in trying to defend the faith, and in "theories" of knowledge and justification for knowledge. Who hasn't heard "well that may be true for you but not for me" or "that's just your interpretation"? Good stuff here.


    For a list of books to help defend the Bible, I refer to a post of mine at: Defending the Bible - Christian Forums

    Finally some words of advice, in all of our apologetic efforts, to borrow from an old saying, it is like this "you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink". Ultimately, what people need is to be born again. Without the monergistic work of God in regenerating a lost sinner, the Gospel and all of our apologetic efforts are foolishness to the non-Christian, because their problem is greater than mental hangups, they need God to create in them a new heart and mind. I hope and pray God will encourage you, and guide you, to the praise of His glory.
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2011
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