THE BIBLE TRANSFORMS PEOPLE’S LIVES
The most compelling reason of all for believing that the Bible is God’s book is the way it transforms lives.
People with failed dreams... suffering from broken relationships... bound by fear... addicted to bad habits... embroiled in problems... wracked by pain... find new solutions and new resources through the Bible. The Bible’s message is powerful and life-changing!
Unfortunately, most people aren’t motivated to study the Bible until they’re deep in trouble. But wise people turn to the Bible even when things are going well, thus preventing future distress.
There are thousands of self-help books which come and go, moving up the best-seller lists and then falling into oblivion. These books can be helpful for the moment, but the problem is that they tell what we must do to make our life better. (It takes a lot of work, and we may not be able to sustain the effort!) In contrast, the Bible tells what God will do to make our life better. He does the work!
Only the Bible tells how we can get rid of our sin, which is our major problem. A person may fool others, but he can’t fool himself into believing his sin is lifted if in fact it’s still weighing him down.
Even the idea of forgiveness of sin occurs only rarely outside of Christianity. Belief in self, Muhammad, Buddha, or anyone or anything else, does not give the same genuine quality and certainty of experience that we get from complete forgiveness of sin through personal faith in Jesus Christ (see Topics 5-6 and 53-55).
THE BIBLE HAS SHAPED THE COURSE OF HISTORY
The entire world has been dramatically and positively affected by the Bible.
In America, our civil law – as well as our work ethic and social ethic – is rooted in the Bible. Our country, which we generally believe is unsurpassed by any in the world, was explicitly founded on Christian principles. Stark comparisons are evident when our society is compared with societies which don’t have Christian roots or haven’t adopted Christian principles.
The Bible sets the pattern for civilization. Even atheists acknowledge its profound effect on the course of history. No other book has influenced our world so much.
CRITICS ASK: WHAT ABOUT HYPOCRITES?
Critics of the Bible often point to people who claim to read the Bible – and live by it – but whose lives are a contradiction.
We need to remember two things: (1) Many people who say they’re Christians aren’t truly Christians, and (2) Christians aren’t perfect.
As discussed in Topic 11, there’s a big difference between ‘cultural Christianity’ (which affects a person from the outside in) and ‘biblical Christianity’ (which affects a person from the inside out).
A true Christian – described in Topics 61-66 – has a source of inner spiritual power, providing a desire and propensity to do good, but he still has his personal will. By acts of the will, Christians can (and often do) block the power of God through their lives, with resulting behavior that is inconsistent with the ideal expressed in the Bible.
But the aberrations should not obscure the fact that, essentially, those who take the Bible seriously – and consequently accept Jesus Christ as their personal savior – enjoy and exhibit transformed lives.
ULTIMATE TEST: LIFE-CHANGE! IT WORKS!
Whenever a claim is made about the truth or power of something, it’s merely rhetoric until proven in real life. It has value only if it can make life easier or better.
The Bible, too, needs to be put to the practical test to see if it really works in real life. To learn whether or not it really works, we turn to (1) personal experience and (2) testimony of others.
PERSONAL EXPERIENCE – For most Christians, the convincing proof that the Bible is really God’s book is not the amazing facts reported in Topics 20-24, but rather the personal life change that comes from following what the Bible says. A person’s own experience, for him, is undeniable and irrefutable.
The Bible can easily be tested by personal experience. Topic 62 tells how to do it. A person has everything to gain and nothing to lose by studying the Bible and, with this new knowledge, placing his faith in Jesus Christ. If he doesn’t experience a transformation in his life, he can say simply that he tried it and it didn’t work. But if he experiences a transformation, he will know it came through the knowledge he received from the Bible, and thus he will have no doubt that the Bible is God’s book.
TESTIMONY OF OTHERS – The best proof of the Bible is one’s own personal experience, but the second best proof is the testimony of others.
Millions of people give clear testimony of the fact that the knowledge they’ve received from the Bible has transformed their lives. No honest investigator can dismiss the quantity and quality of this timeless and universal evidence.
The Bible is not magical, but it contains crucial information which leads to an understanding of God, and to personal faith in Jesus Christ, who can supernaturally transform a life for the better.
When power chain saws were first introduced, a story was told about a lumberjack who bought one. He took it out of the box and started cutting. But he soon cursed the saw and put it away because it was harder and slower than his ax.
One day when a friend came to visit, the lumberjack complained about his overrated saw. The friend examined it, then reached into the box to get the user’s manual. After reading it, he made a few adjustments and pulled the starter cord. The little engine started to roar.
‘What’s that?’ the lumberjack exclaimed. It was then he discovered that he’d been cutting trees without using the engine. No wonder it was so hard! He didn’t know he had an unused power source for his work.
That’s incredible, and only a story, we say. But it’s not much different from the way people use their lives. There’s ample evidence that God has provided a user’s manual – the Bible – which most people don’t bother to read but without which we don’t know how to access the power.
With spiritual power, there’s wonderful and dramatic life change, with little self effort (see Topic 53).