Why the Bible?
At the end of the section on Scripture I require students to write a personal statement paper on why they believe the Bible. I want my students to not only consider what they believe but why they believe it. Every semester I will have a large percentage of the class say in their paper that they’ve never really considered a clear response to the question, “Why do you believe the Bible?”
To be clear, I do a lot of teaching on what we believe about the Bible and about what the Bible teaches.
Christians regularly craft statements to express what we believe about the Bible. For example, I have my students read the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrrancy which defines and defends the belief that God used men to write exactly what he wanted in Scripture without error. This an extremely helpful statement about what we believe about Scripture. It is a statement I affirm wholeheartedly.
There are other statements that go beyond what we believe about Scripture in general and speak to what we believe the Bible teaches about specific topics. For example, I use the Danvers Statement on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood in the final section of my theology class on the doctrine of creation. This is a really helpful summary of what we believe the Bible teaches about God’s design for men and women. It is a statement I affirm wholeheartedly.
There are a number of other examples I could give of statements that summarize what Christians believe about the Bible and about what the Bible teaches. But I also want my students to be prepared to give an answer when someone asks why they believe the Bible.
I believe God is the author of the Bible, which is what I mean when I say it is inspired. I believe God used men to write his message without error, which is what I mean when I say it is inerrant. And I believe the Bible cannot fail—that it will accomplish everything God has appointed it to accomplish—which is what I mean when I say it is infallible.
These are all summary statements of what I believe about the Bible. But I still need to be ready to respond when someone asks me “Why?” And so do you. Love for God and love for neighbor requires us to give an answer to everyone who asks us to give the reason for the hope that we have — with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15). Let’s be ready.