If Not a Book, then What?

   “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:” (2 Timothy 3:16)

   If people say, “I believe in God, but I don’t believe the Bible,” do they believe God gave us another way to know about Him, or no way at all to know about Him? God gave us pretty, fragrant flowers, stunningly beautiful sunsets, and tasty, healthy fruit. It seems reasonable He would love us enough to tell us more about Himself, as well as give us answers to important questions such as, What happens when we die?

   Did God give us more than one source of knowledge about Him? If two sources contradict, they both can’t be of God. That’s confusion, and “…God is not the author of confusion,” (1 Corinthians 14:33) In Islam, for example, Jesus Christ is not regarded as God. In Christianity, He is. Both can’t be right.

   Some may not believe God revealed Himself through a book. Yet if not through a book, how would He do it? Through visions? Say a man claims God spoke to him in visions. How do we know he had visions and is not a con artist? The Bible gives us specific information so we can discern true doctrine from false: “…if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” (Isaiah 8:20)

   A book can also be fact-checked for accuracy. Say you’re a homicide detective on a case. You find a possible suspect. He agrees to talk. You ask where he was the day and time of the crime. He says he was at a restaurant. You ask which one. He tells you. You ask if anyone was with him. He says his girlfriend. You get her name and ask if anyone else was there. He says a buddy from the Marine Corps and his wife.

   Later you call the girlfriend and ask if they went out, to which restaurant, and with whom. In case the man calls her and tells her what to say, you can ask her questions you didn’t ask him, like: what did they eat, what was the server’s name, or what did the server look like. You could also purposely comment about them being with one of his Army (not Marine Corps) buddies, and see if she corrects you.

   Now if he refused to talk or if his answers seemed vague or conveniently impossible to verify, he MAY be your guy, or he may be involved in some other fishy business. Yet if he’s telling the truth, then you can find the girlfriend, the server, the Marine buddy, or all of them, and the facts will line up.

   Speaking of fish, the Bible also has specific statements that can be fact-checked. For instance, God told Jonah to go to Nineveh and “…cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.” (Jonah 1:2) Instead, Jonah “…went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD.” (Jonah 1:3)

   Joppa was an Israeli city on the Mediterranean Sea. Tarshish was in Spain, so Jonah would have crossed the Mediterranean if the whale hadn’t swallowed him. The sperm whale, big enough to swallow a man, is also found in the Mediterranean (Isn’t Google great?). So God gave us details to “check out the story.”

   Jesus also said the story of Jonah and the whale is a true story. He used it to describe His burial in the sepulchre after being crucified: “For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” (Matthew 12:40)

   God gave us an abundance of specific information about Himself in the Bible. Most importantly, God’s word tells us how to have our sins forgiven and a home in heaven. Please go to www.clevelandbaptist.org, click “Helpful Links,” then “How Do I Go to Heaven?” to learn more.

Brian Miller 6/10/2024

Cleveland Baptist Church 4431 Tiedeman Road, Brooklyn, Ohio 44144 216/671-2822