Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Conclusion: Twelve Points That Prove Christianity - Since Jesus Is God, Whatever He Teaches Is True, He Taught The Bible Is God's Word, Therefore The Bible Is God's Word


    In our last post we explored the claims, acts, and statements made by Jesus about Himself. We also considered the testimony of His miracles. In all, we noted five lines of evidence that provide the cummulative case for Christ's deity. For review, this is what we concluded in the last post

Premise #1 In the New Testament, Jesus claimed to be God.

A. Direct statements (Mark 14:61-62; John 8:58).

B. The titles He used for Himself (“Son of Man”, over 80x, only in the Gospels; Son of God; Lord). See for example Mark 14:62-63.

C. Equating Himself with the Father (John 5:25-29; 10:30)

Premise #2 Jesus is proved to be God.

D. His actions and claims (John 2:5-7).

E. His knowledge of the future (Mark 14:16).

F. His miracles attest His identity, teachings, and claims, see for example Matthew 11:1-6; John 5:36.

G. His fulfillment of prophecies (Matthew 21:5 and Zechariah 9:9)

Conclusion: Therefore Jesus is God.

    The premises and conclusion of the above argument correspond to points seven, eight, and nine in the twelve point argument we've explored in this series. In today's post we once again will combine three points, the final three points, since they give us another logical argument that brings the twelve points to their intended end. Let me lay out the three final points (points 10,11,12) below that we will cover in this post

Premise #1 Since Jesus is God, whatever He teaches is true.

Premise #2 He Taught The Bible Is God's Word.

Therefore: The Bible Is God's Word

    If the reader will note the two sets of points above, they give us a summary of how we get from the Biblical text being reliable to it being the Word of God in our overall presentation of the truth claims of Christianity. Jesus is central to this transition, since what He taught about the Biblical text and how he used it in His ministry sets the standard for how we ought to regard the Bible today.

    In a past post I have argued more in detail what I call "An argument to inerrancy" here 

    In that post, I showed how Jesus' teaching about the Scriptures and the validation of His life through His resurrection from the dead bring us to conclude that the Bible is the inerrant, infallible Word of God. It goes without saying that we could also reach the same conclusion through a survey of fulfilled Bible prophecy or consideration of God's attributes. Together with Jesus Himself, these three approaches provide a three-corded strand of apologetic rope that is not easily broken (to borrow a phrase from Ecclesiastes 4:12). 

    What I like about centralizing our view of Scripture on Jesus' view is that the skeptic has to contend with Jesus, rather than just evidences or logical arguments. Arguments and evidences have their place. When it comes to the authority of Scripture, we must take it at face value by understanding what its central Actor had to say about it.

    What I'll present below are various phrases used by Jesus in the Gospels to describe the Biblical text. At the time Jesus would had taught these things, the Old Testament would had been the only portion of the Scriptures available. Since Jesus had commissioned His Apostles and since many of them would write the New Testament books, whatever statements Jesus made about the Old Testament would apply to the New Testament. 

    We find early on in Christianity following Jesus' ascension the equation of the New Testament with the Old Testament. Paul for example quotes from Deuteronomy and Luke in 1 Timothy 5:18, treating them as "Scripture". Further, Peter includes Paul's letters alongside the Scriptures of the Old Testament in his comments on them in 2 Peter 3:16. With those observations, lets look at what Jesus taught about the Scriptures.

A. Jesus and His use of the phrase "It is written"

    Jesus would sometimes use the phrase "it is written" to assert the Divine authority of the Old Testament (Matthew 4:4, 6, 7, 10; 11:10; 21:13; 26:24, 31 / Mark 1:2, 7:6, 9:12, 13; 11:17; 14:21, 27 / Luke 4:4, 8, 10, 17, 7:27; 10:26; 18:31; 19.46; 20.17, 22, 22:37; 24.44, 46 / John 6:31,45; 8:17; 10:34; 12:14, 16; 15:25; 19:19, 20, 22).

B. Jesus and His use of the term “Scripture”.

    Jesus used another closely associated term, "scripture", to describe the Old Testament (Matthew 21:42, 22:29, 26:54, 56/ Mark 12:24, 14:49 / Luke 24:27, 32, 45, John 5:39). In these instances, Jesus describes the scriptures as fulfilled, having Divine authority, without error or "inerrant" (Matthew 22:29) and incapable of failure or "infallible" (John 10:35).

C. Jesus and the term “fulfilled”.

    The third term used by Jesus in His teaching on scripture is His often used phrased it is fulfilled (Matthew 4:14;
5:17; 8:17; 12:1; 13:14,35; 21:4; 26:54, 56 / Mark 1:15; 14:49 / Luke 4:21; 21:22, 24 / John 12:38; 13:18, 25; 17:12).

D. Jesus and the phrases “truly, truly” (i.e. “verily, verily”) and “I say to you”.

    Jesus used the phrase "truly truly" in John 1:51; 3:3, 5, 11; 5:19, 24, 25; 6:26, 32, 47, 53; 8:34, 51, 58; 10:1, 7; 12:24; 13:16, 20, 21, 38; 14:12; 16:20, 23 and 21:18. We then find Jesus using the phrase "I say" with reference to his own Divine Authority in Matthew 5:18, 22, 22, 26, 28, 32, 34, 39, 44; 6:2, 5, 16, 25, 29, 8.10, 11; 10:15, 23, 29; 11:23, 24; 12:43; 13:30, 37: 14:9, 14, 18, 25, 30 / Luke 4:24 and Luke 5:24. In Luke 6:25, Jesus would use the phrase "but I say" to contrast himself to the Jewish traditions, as seen in Luke 7.9, 14, 26, 28, 47.10:12; 11:8, 9, 51; 12:5, 22, 27, 37, 44.

E. Jesus used the title “Word of God” to describe the Bible.

    This title “Word of God” entailed the books of the Bible as inerrant and infallible as originally given, with that same authority carrying down to the copies and translations. Thus, Jesus used this phrase "word of God" in places such as Matthew 4:4; 15:6 / Mark 7:13 / Luke 8:11, 21; 11:28 / John 3:34; 8:47 / John 10:35.

    Let the reader note the mountain of verses that give us a clear picture of Jesus' views on the Biblical text. His claims and demonstration of His deity, coupled with His death and resurrection from the dead, more than qualifies Jesus to be the authority to make claims about the authority of Scripture. It is for these reasons we can right conclude in the final point of our twelve point case for proving Christianity: 

Therefore, the Bible is the Word of God and anything opposed to it is false.

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