Can you honestly say, “I believe the Bible is the Word of God and I believe that it’s true?”
I can remember a time when I doubted this to be true.
I was a graduate student at West Virginia University and one day I was walking into one of my classes when a very bright Ph.D. student passed me and then stopped in his tracks. He spotted a Bible on top of a stack of books I was carrying.
He looked at me and then at my Bible.
“Is that a Bible?” he asked.
“You don’t really believe that, do you?” he said with disdain in his voice.
And in a moment of faith, I said, “Yeah, I really do!”
Then he walked away, and gave me one of those glances that seemed to imply, “How in the world could you be doing graduate work at a secular university and actually believe the Bible?” It was in that moment that I felt ashamed of the Bible.
Later, I asked myself, “Why? Why did I feel ashamed?”
I realized it was because I didn’t have confidence.
I knew that I had a personal relationship with God, and He was speaking to me through the Bible. But I didn’t have confidence that the Bible was the Word of God.
Then, between my third and fourth year in college, everything began to unravel. I suddenly began to wonder if my faith was true. I wondered if my salvation was true, if Jesus was real, and if I could trust the Bible. It was horrendous!
My emotional connection with God just evaporated.
But I remember deciding, regardless of how I felt, I would read God’s Word. My faith couldn’t be built on my experience or my feelings.
My faith had to be built on truth.
I was barely hanging on until one day while reading my Bible I happened to come across this passage that was so encouraging.
“Remember the former things, things of long ago. I am God, there is no other; I am God, there is none like Me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, and what is still to come. I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.’” – Isaiah 46:8-11
Earlier in the book, the prophet Isaiah basically says, ‘Our God can tell the future, beginning to end. He makes prophecies and they come through a hundred percent of the time.’
And then I remembered someone saying that there are over three hundred prophecies alone that Jesus fulfilled in His first coming. After I did some research, I found out for myself that those prophecies were predicted seven hundred years before He was even born.
I began to realize that only a God who is sovereign and all-knowing could predict what is going to happen a hundred percent of the time. It was mind-boggling! Suddenly, my faith was infused.
There are many facts about the Bible that helped infuse my faith. But prophecy was one of the most powerful things that helped me to hold on when I had my doubts.
I don’t think it’s bad or wrong to doubt. I think there are times when it’s normal to struggle when someone challenges our faith. I’m actually glad that Ph.D. student said what he said and that I realized I didn’t have confidence because I realized I needed to trust God’s Word.
Everybody trusts someone’s word. Some kids trust their mom and dad’s word. Some of us trust the word of an authority figure. And sometimes we trust the words we hear on TV.
But we can trust God’s Word.
God’s word is reliable. God’s Word is credible. And it can stand up to scrutiny anywhere at any time.
To learn more about the authenticity of the Bible and how to grow in faith, check out Chip’s series Why I Believe.
Founder & Teaching Pastor, Living on the Edge
Chip Ingram is the CEO and teaching pastor of Living on the Edge, an international teaching and discipleship ministry. A pastor for over thirty years, Chip has a unique ability to communicate truth and challenge people to live out their faith. He is the author of many books, including The Real God, Culture Shock and The Real Heaven. Chip and his wife, Theresa, have four grown children and twelve grandchildren and live in California.More Articles by Chip