Wednesday, December 17, 2014

"But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart."

A couple years ago my daughter walked into her bedroom to find balloons & confetti everywhere – all over her bed, all over the floor, all over the dresser.  And there on her bed was a sign asking her to prom.  She looked around, then read the sign, and then quietly sat on her bed. 

Taking it all in, she smiled and treasured the scene up in her heart and thought about her response.

Hours earlier, before she had come home, her sister had peeked into that same room, and seeing what had been done, she screamed in excitement for her sister.

A couple months later the kids and I flew back from visiting my brother.  We arrived at the airport around 2 in the morning on a school night.  My daughters’ boyfriends had decided to surprise them by meeting them at the airport.  

One daughter, as soon as she saw her boyfriend, screamed and ran to him to give him a big hug, nearly knocking him down.  The other daughter calmly smiled, walked to her boyfriend, said “hi,” and hugged him.  

Two people. .. two very different responses in both scenes.

I was reminded of these two scenes this week, and while talking about them with my girls, it brought to mind another scene – in Luke.

You know the story well.  An angel came to some shepherds to announce Jesus’ birth.  Then the shepherds decide to go find the baby Jesus.
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” (Luke 2:16-19)

What the shepherds did was great!  They hurried off to find baby Jesus, they spread the word concerning Him, they glorified and praised God. 
But Mary treasured up these things in her heart.
I LOVE THAT!!  She didn't FEEL any less than the shepherds just because she quietly took in what she saw and heard, storing it up in her heart – all the amazing acts of God, the words spoken to her by angels and prophets, the reactions of those who heard and those who came to see & worship Jesus. 
And we can learn from that. 
Yes, there are times for praising & glorifying God and telling others of His great works, and ideally that would be often.  But we also need to take time to just quietly fill up our hearts with the Words and acts of God. 
Because what’s in our hearts matters! Proverbs tells us that EVERYTHING we do flows from it.
And Luke 6:45 says: “The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”
We all store things in our hearts – memories, feelings, words read or spoken.   We store negative things in our hearts as well as positive things. 
It’s important to be careful what we store in our hearts.
Proverbs instructs us to overlook an offense or insult; that is, refuse to store it up in our hearts.  Care in what we read or listen to also protect the storage rooms of our hearts.  We can choose not to store up negative things in our hearts, but it has to be a deliberate choice.
We should also make a deliberate choice to store up God’s Word in our hearts.
Psalm 119:11 says: “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” 
If our hearts are so full of God’s Words, there will be less room for anything negative.  Then good things will flow from us to others.
But Mary also pondered what she had stored in her heart. 
To ponder means to weigh in the mind; to view with deliberation; to examine carefully; to consider attentively, to meditate on.
It’s not enough just to have the Word in our hearts. 
We need to meditate on it,
Examine it carefully to understand it,
Consider it attentively to apply it to our lives.
A couple scriptures to remember:
2 Timothy 3:16 “Every scripture is inspired by God and useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.”  

Philippians 4:8  "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things." 

“I think it matters what we choose to treasure up and ponder in our hearts: treasuring problems leads to anxiety, treasuring hope yields joy.” –John Richmond

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Socialization and the Thief on the Cross

Those of you who have homeschooled have probably heard it time and time again.
Those of you who are against homeschooling have probably said it time and time again.

"What about socialization?"

It is the most common argument against homeschooling.  Because obviously homeschooled children have no social opportunities whatsoever and must grow up to be totally socially inept.  And just as obvious, a child can only learn how to act properly in social situations if with children within 12 months of his age.


Those of you who believe that baptism is a necessary part of salvation have probably heard it time and time again.
Those of you who don't believe that baptism is a part of salvation and one is saved by faith alone have probably said it time and time again.

"What about the thief on the cross?"

The narrative of the thief on the cross can be found in Luke 23:39-43.  I'm sure you remember it well. Two criminals were crucified with Jesus, one on each side.  One was mocking Jesus, saying, "Aren't you the Christ? Save yourself and us!" 

But the other rebuked the first, saying, "Don't you fear God since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong."  Then he asked Jesus to remember him when He came into His kingdom.

Jesus response was, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise."  

So obviously this thief on the cross was saved. And obviously he didn't need to be baptized to be saved.  TADA!!!  Baptism is not a necessary part of salvation.  


So, what about socialization?  I find it hard to believe that anyone actually would say that a child can only be properly socialized if in a classroom of people within a year of the child's age day after day. 
My children were socialized in a variety of situations:  dance class, church, youth group, family, swim team, swim lessons, homeschool coops, grocery stores, Costco, nursing homes, work, service projects, etc.  My children were actually socialized around young children, children their age, children older than they, adults, and the elderly.  Doesn't that seem like socialization to you?  

I have seen the same examples you have in the news of the homeschooling parents who hide their kids away, use homeschooling as a cover for their educational and oftentimes emotional and physical abuse.  But that should be used as the rule for judging homeschooling about as much as the high school drop out or the school shooter should be used to judge public schooling.  

And now, what about the thief on the cross.  He was with Jesus in paradise on the day he died, without baptism, so. . . .baptism isn't necessary for salvation, right?

But let's look at what baptism is a bit more closely before we jump to that conclusion, shall we?

Romans 6:3-5 reads, "Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.  If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection."

Colossians 2:12 speaks of baptism as being buried with Jesus and being raised with Him through faith in the power of God who raised Jesus from the dead.

So Christian baptism is dying, being buried in a watery grave, and being resurrected into new life in Christ.  

To put it plainly, the thief on the cross didn't need to be baptized into Christ's death because Jesus hadn't died yet!  Doesn't get much easier than that, huh?

Jesus hadn't commanded baptism yet, either.  He did so AFTER His resurrection (Matthew 26, Mark 16).

But wait, there's more!!  

That Christian baptism hadn't been instituted yet is enough of a reason to say that the thief on the cross didn't need to be baptized to be saved and to lay to rest the argument "what about the thief on the cross?" as an argument against the necessity of baptism.  

But there is another very good reason that using the "what about the thief on the cross?" argument is not a reasonable or valid argument.  

Jesus is GOD!  He can do whatever He wants. 

The thief on the cross was not the first person Jesus gave salvation to during His time on earth before His death and resurrection (for salvation is the forgiveness of sins which lead to death, right?).  

You can read in Luke 5 about a paralytic whose sins Jesus forgave.  And in Luke 7: 48 and 50 Jesus tells a sinful woman, "Your sins are forgiven." and "Your faith has saved you."

Jesus has the power to forgive sins and extend salvation whenever and to whomever He wants.  He has always had that power.  And He has the right to decide how one receives salvation and told us in His Word.  


These two common arguments are both so easily disproved, and yet are still almost always the first arguments posed against homeschooling and against baptism's necessity in salvation.  

In fact, my first response to the "ludicrous" idea that baptism was necessary in salvation was: "What about the thief on the cross?"  And the answer was so obvious once explained to me.  It makes me wonder why I would have ever used the thief on the cross as my proof against the necessity of baptism.  It also makes me wonder what other "standard answers" to other questions I have about the Bible & theology I have accepted without thinking it through.  

And I still hear "What about socialization?" 14 years of homeschooling three well-socialized children.  

People are so quick to judge what they don't understand, what goes against what is the norm.  And people are so quick to defend their own understandings lest they have to admit they have been misguided.  But one should never just accept the party line without comparing how it measures up to the truth.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Church Membership

So, recently I took the leap.  I (along with my children) made a decision to become a member of a church, to try to belong someplace.  Before last year all the churches I went to didn't do membership, so I was quite hesitant.  But the desire to be part of a loving church family was overwhelming.

This decision gave me such joy!  To be a part of a church family is the most amazing feeling.  It gave me a feeling of love and safety and belonging.  How could I have been in the Church, been a believer, for 30 years and never had experienced what a loving church family was like?  Shouldn't that be the way every Christian church is?  And yet it isn't.  I am sure God would always have His Church be a family that draws people in with their love and acceptance, and yet this seems to be the exception anymore.  Sure so many churches try to draw them in with loud music, with coffee bars, with concerts, with drama - but what about drawing them in with love and acceptance?  Not so much.

I've been so happy being a part of this family!  I've been so thankful to have been so welcomed.

But then it happened. . . .more different-ness.  More feelings of not belonging.  Of being just outside the circle. Why must it be so difficult to belong?

There are days, like today, when I just want to quit.  Just go back to the way it was before last May and be content in my ignorance.

But more than that, I want to honor God. So I can't go back to ignorance.  I have to hold on and try to figure out a way to belong without compromising truth.

How Important Is Doctrine

How important is doctrine? And which doctrines are important? Do I let go of some to fit in. Not let go of believing what I know to be the truth from the Word, but let go of wishing others would accept the truths I know? For the sake of fitting in, for the sake of having a home church?

No one is perfect, and no one interprets all the Bible perfectly, so I guess it becomes necessary to accept some degree of doctrinal deviation among people. Kinda like the meat sacrificed to animals that was fine and dandy to eat, but some believed it to be wrong to eat it.

Still, I want to discover truth, and want others to discover that truth, too, so we may all share in the truth. Like Jesus, I want all believers to "be brought to complete unity to let the world know that [God] sent [Jesus]." (John 17:23) But, alas, that won't completely happen on this side of heaven, huh?

So perhaps I should embrace my different-ness, continue my quest for truth, but realize not everyone is at the same place I am. No, that doesn't mean my truth is different than someone else's truth - truth is absolute, and only God's truth is absolutely true. But not everyone is gonna be at the same stage of finding truth about some things. And that's ok (as long as it is not a salvation issue). So perhaps I don't have to be so alone after all. Perhaps I just need to not be eating the meat sacrificed to animals in public right now. Maybe a time will come when I can, but maybe that time isn't now.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Agree to Disagree?

How is it possible for so many people to use the same Bible and come up with so many different beliefs?

There is only one truth - God's truth.  But yet so many wonderful people who truly love God believe different things.  How can this be?  And how can we know who is right?

And usually people don't seem to even care that others have different beliefs.  We can all just agree to disagree, right?.  People don't seem to be so concerned about truth anymore.  Is the fact that it was taught to us in our youth or at our church or at our Bible college enough to hang onto that belief?  Obviously not!  And yet so many people absolutely refuse to even consider that perhaps they were taught wrongly.  

As we mature and mature in our faith, we should be studying what we believe, we should be ensuring that our beliefs are based on the Word of God and not the words of our pastor, preacher, parent, or teacher.

I don't want to agree to disagree.  I want to know the truth.  And then I want to share the truth I find - not my truth, but God's truth.  I wish people would be more open to hear and receive the truth.  Or to study for themselves to find out what the truth is.

Monday, May 12, 2014

The Gospel According to Jesus

I've been reading a book by John MacArthur called The Gospel According to Jesus.  I'm not far into it yet, but have become very intrigued by what churches and "christians" say one must do to be saved, to become a Christian.

MacArthur's book begins, "Listen to the typical gospel presentation nowadays. You'll hear sinners entreated with words like, 'accept Jesus Christ as personal Savior'; 'ask Jesus into your heart'; 'invite Christ into your life'; or 'make a decision for Christ.' You may be so accustomed to hearing those phrases that it will surprise you to learn none of them is based on biblical terminology. They are the products of a diluted gospel. It is not the gospel according to Jesus."

Salvation is such a scary thing to get wrong.  Jesus says many people will cry out, "Lord, Lord," and He'll say, "I never knew you."  How many of those He never knew will be those who were told all they had to do was say a prayer and ask Jesus into their hearts.  How many people have been lead into a false sense of security with instruction to accept Jesus as your personal Savior.

Paul warns the Galatians about turning from a different gospel "which is really no gospel at all."  He further asserts that "some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!"

The church needs to get back to preaching the gospel, not a watered down version made easy to bring more people into the church.  This is a matter of eternal importance.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Conditional Forgiveness

Is God's forgiveness really conditional?

(an aside - this is so refreshing!!  Unconditional love has become such a rare thing in this world.  Ideally spouses will have unconditional love for each other, but too often that doesn't happen. Friends should unconditionally love each other and be there for each other during the dark times - again, real life doesn't seem to work that way anymore.  I'm so thankful God will always, unconditionally love me, even when I'm stupid, even when I'm grumpy, even when I'm old and no longer cute and skinny, even when I make mistakes, even when I'm not fun to be around because I'm depressed, even when I don't get my work or chores done or keep a clean enough house.  God loves me completely and unconditionally.  That doesn't mean He wants me to stay in a state of grumpiness or stupidity or sin or not do what I am supposed to do.  But His love doesn't depend on it like sometimes people's love does.  May I be like that - may I  unconditionally love my family and friends, without regard to their deservingness!)

So, His love is unconditional but His forgiveness is not?  Yep, as scary as that thought is, it is what the Bible teaches: "For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins." (Matt 6:14-15)

Seems pretty clear to me that God's forgiveness is contingent on our forgiving others.  Am I wrong?  Did I misread these verses?  I don't think so, but I am open to correction . . . .as long as it is based on God's Word as the ultimate and only source of complete truth.

Sin separates us from God.  Forgiveness of sin is necessary for a right relationship with God and for salvation.  I sure wanna be sure I have God's forgiveness of my sins!!  And I wanna know if there is something that would hinder receiving that forgiveness. 

But my advice would be to forgive those you hate, have bitterness towards, etc.  If you don't forgive, and if my interpretation here is correct, your very salvation could be at risk.  Yikes, I find that scary!  I've been known to harbor some bitterness in my life.  With this in mind, I don't think I'll be doing that anymore.  

And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins. " (Mark 11:25)

"Only one petition in the Lord's Prayer has any condition attached to it; it is the petition for forgiveness."
--William Temple

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Believe Is a Verb

I find it really interesting how believe and obey are so closely related in the Bible.  I was reading Hebrews 3 today, talking about the people Moses led out of Egypt and how angry God was with those who sinned.   "And to whom was God talking when He promised that they would never enter His rest? He was talking to those who did not obey Him. So we see they were not allowed to enter and have God's rest because they did not believe."  (vs. 18,19)  Obey and believe are synonymous in this passage.  Kinda interesting, huh?

In fact, if you look at the Greek of the word for "did not obey," apitheho, it means, "not to allow one's self to be persuaded, to refuse or withhold belief, to refuse belief and obedience, not to comply with."  It definitely shows just how involved those who did not obey and did not believe were.  It wasn't just a matter of their lack of faith, but a deliberate, stubborn decision to not allow themselves to be persuaded, to refuse or withhold belief even though there was more than enough proof of the truth (remember the Red Sea parting for them?), to not comply with what God was asking of them.  Yep, this was no passive lack of belief, no neutral disobedience. This was a very deliberate decision to not believe, to not obey what they knew to be true, what they had seen to be true, what they have been told was true.

Now I know we don't have things like the Red Sea parting for us, but we do have His Word. Will we believe and obey it?  But how can one believe and obey, without reading and studying what God's Word says?  We can't!  So, what are we gonna do with it?

I sure don't wanna be one of those with whom God was angry because I heard but did not believe or obey!

"Today listen to what He says. 
Do not be stubborn as in the past when you turned again God." 
Psalm 95:7-8 

Only he who believes is obedient and only he who is obedient believes." Dietrich Bonhoeffer . 

Friday, March 28, 2014

A Peg that Doesn't Fit into a Round or Square Hole Anymore.

It is a lonely thing to not quite fit in, especially in church or even with my friends.  
I have become that person, and I don't like it at all.

I've been a believer for nearly 31 years now, so how did I get to this point in the last few months where I no longer feel like I am a part of church?  I know that I am part of THE church, the body of Christ as a true Christian, but I no longer fit into any local church.  I'm an oddity now.  (Those of you reading this who know me personally will suggest that I've always been an oddity!)

Doctrinally speaking, I no longer fit anywhere.  But the thing is, doctrine is important!

If I were to take any single doctrinal point, I could find a church home.  But I apparently have such a strange combination of doctrinal beliefs, which I believe are firmly founded in Scripture, that taken together, fit with no church.

So where does that leave me?

Right now it leaves me going to two churches.  Not quite fitting in at either one. Wishing I could fit in someplace.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Reflections of a What?

Pontius Pilate once asked, “What is truth?”  This question was in response to Jesus declaring that “the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me” (John 18:37).

People through the ages have wondered, as Pilate did, “What is truth?” Is truth absolute or relative?  Where can we find truth?  Who defines truth? 

Most everyone agrees that scientific truth is absolute.  It is truth that one plus one equals two. It is true that the force of gravity will cause a ball to fall to the ground when thrown.

Many today, though, believe that moral truth is relative.  It may be true to one person that abortion is a choice; whereas, it may be true to another person that abortion is the ending of a life.  For those believing that truth is relative, one’s truth is filtered through experiences, feelings, beliefs. “Truth in Western cultures usually refers to consensus whereby competing schools of thought aim to establish consensus and thereby dominance. So, in this version of truth (which is generally the scientific/political/social view) we have fluctuating truths that vary according to the acceptance or rejection of new data. This is something like how the pendulum of truth swung on eggs. The "experts" first thought eggs were good, then bad because of cholesterol, then good a few years later. Truth by consensus is what passes for truth for those that look outside of themselves for answers” (Davis).  But is that an accurate assessment of truth?  Did the truth of whether or not eggs are beneficial to health change, or was it merely the perception of truth based on available knowledge that changed?

It used to be accepted as truth that the Earth was the center of the universe, that the Sun revolved around the Earth.  This was the consensus at the time.  Did the fact that it was a consensus make it true? Absolutely not!  Though it wasn't believed, though at the time it hadn't been proven, this Earth has always revolved around the Sun. It is important to remember that truth and belief are not synonymous. “Beliefs have to be presented and defended. Truth Is” (Herring).

I maintain that all truth is absolute, regardless of feelings, experiences, belief, consensus, etc.  By definition truth must be absolute.  But describing truth as absolute does not define truth. So once again, “What is truth?”

The Bible has a lot to say about truth:

John 17:17 Jesus prays to His Father, “Your Word is truth.”  Earlier John had said that the Word was God and became flesh; so to say that God’s Word is truth is to say that Jesus is truth and that Jesus is God.

John 14:6 Jesus clearly proclaims, “I am the way, the truth, the life.”
1 John 5:6 states, “The Spirit is the truth.”

The “word of truth” is spoken of often in the New Testament. Colossians 1:5 says that “the word of truth” is “the gospel,” and Ephesians 1:13 describes “the word of truth” as “the gospel of your salvation.” One can find many more references to truth within the New Testament, but I think you get the point I’m trying to make here.
But as I've already stated, belief and truth are not synonymous, so how can I know that what the Bible says is truth is really truth.  Because I believe the Bible?  Because I believe in God?  Because I accept what the Bible says: “All Scripture is God-breathed”?  Yes, but not only based on my belief, because belief can be relative. 

I openly proclaim that I have faith and because of that faith, I trust the Bible to be true.  But my faith is not a blind faith.  My faith, my belief that the Bible is true, is based on other objective, documented truths that support my belief and affirm my belief to be true.

Because this blog will be devoted to truth and my love for truth, I want to begin by showing you that the Bible can be trusted to be true and accurate.

Many will argue that we can’t know that the Bible is true and accurate because we don’t have the “original autographs,” meaning the original documents that each of the authors wrote.  We don’t have the Book of Acts that Luke actually penned.  We don’t have the actually letters that Paul wrote to the various churches of his time.  All we have are copies.  In fact, all we have are copies of copies.  So how can we know they are accurate?  How can we know there haven’t been changes to suit different times and cultures?  After all, that was 2000 years ago.  Can we really trust the copies we have now? 

Did you know that over a period of only 300 years over 24,300 manuscripts of the Bible were produced from the originals?  Over a period of 500 years over 60,000 manuscripts of the Bible were produced!  Let’s compare that to some other works of ancient literature. The ten of the most famous writers of ancient times are Homer, Aristotle, Demosthenes, Sophocles, Herodotus, Thucydides, Pliny the Younger, Tacitus, Plato and Caesar.  None of their original autographs exist any longer, but the copies available are universally accepted to be accurate to their writings.  Over a thousand year period (from the time of their writings to 1000 years later), only 643 manuscripts were produced from their writings.  In twice the time, only 1% the number of manuscripts was produced from ten of the most well known ancient authors’ writings.  The writings we have of Plato and Homer and the rest are accepted as accurate to the originals with much less proof, with many fewer ancient manuscripts to verify that they are true to the originals.  "There is no body of ancient literature in the world which enjoys such a wealth of good textual attestation as the New Testament" (F.F. Bruce, The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable?), so why is it so difficult to accept the Bible is true to the original autographs?  

And all these various manuscripts of the Bible are 99.5% identical!!  The majority of the variances between them are differences in spelling, in punctuation, in division of text.  There is NO major doctrinal issue that varies among these tens of thousands of ancient manuscripts of the Bible.  One of the earliest complete manuscripts of the entire Bible is from the 4th century, between 325-360 A.D. This manuscript is still easily readable (if you can read Koine Greek, that is). Why is it considered such a leap of faith to believe that the Bible is accurate?

Another reason we can rely on the Bible is because it is primarily a collection of eyewitness accounts.  The authors of the Bible were people who were actually there and witnessed the events they described.  Peter stated, “We were eyewitnesses of his majesty” (2 Peter 1:16). Luke said, “I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning” (Luke 1:3). Most of them were persecuted and killed because of what they were saying, but none of them changed their story, not even to save themselves from death.  Would YOU die for something you knew wasn't true?  Indeed, would you die for something even if you knew it WAS true?  The fact that these men were martyred for what they were proclaiming lends much validity to their accounts and points to the importance of their story.  

But we don’t have to rely only on the authors of the Bible.  Irenaeus (c. 120–202 A.D.), Tertullian(160–225 A.D.), Polycarp (69–155 A.D.), Julius Africanus (c. 160–240 A.D.), Origen (c. 184–254 A.D.), and Clement of Rome (died 99 A.D) are considered some of the earliest church fathers.  In fact, according to the writings of both Tertullian and Irenaeus (who according to his own writings, in his youth heard Polycarp speak), Polycarp was a disciple of the Apostle John. Many of their writings have survived, and in these writings the early church fathers quote so much of the Bible, that with their writings alone, we would have almost the entire New Testament.
There are even writings of ancient secular historians that corroborate the authenticity of the New Testament.  Josephus (37–100 A.D.) was a contemporary of the authors of the New Testament. Josephus writes about John the Baptist (using that terminology).  Josephus states that John the Baptist told the Jews to exercise virtue toward one another and piety toward God, he said that great crowds came to listen to John the Baptist speak, and that many followed John and were baptized by him and that his followers were very dedicated to him. Josephus also relates a time when the Jews sent priests to question John.  And finally, Josephus relates John’s imprisonment in Macherus by Herod and his subsequent execution.  Each of these statements by the ancient historian support what the Gospels relate about John the Baptist, adding some detail in some instances and omitting details in others, but never contradicting the accounts of John the Baptist by the Gospel writers.  Josephus also mentions Jesus in his writings twice, thereby substantiating the historicity of Jesus.

Pliny the Younger (c. 61-112), a Roman official and historian, in a letter to the Emperor Trajan, discussed how to handle those who refused to worship the emperor because they worshiped “Christos.” In his letter, he writes, “They have also stated that their entire negligence or violation was only this: they regularly came together before dawn on a fixed day to sing verses in honor of Christ as a god, and to unite with each other under oath, not with any criminal purpose, but to refrain from theft, robbery or adultery…”

Tacitus (c. 56-117 A.D.), another Roman historian, wrote of “Christus,” who was put to death under Pontius Pilate.  He also related the persecution of Christians under Nero, including Nero’s false accusation that Christians started the fire of Rome.

These ancient secular writings add to the verity of the historicity of Jesus and the early Christian church, which in turn adds to the credibility of the New Testament.

Several archaeological discoveries substantiate the accuracy of various historical and cultural references in the Bible. Artifacts that speak of King David (who experts once believed was a fictional character), Nebuchadnezzar’s siege of Jerusalem spoken of in 2 Kings 25, the construction of Hezekiah's tunnel mentioned in 2 Kings 20, the story of the Assyrian siege told about in IsaiahChronicles and 2 Kings are just a few examples of archaeological discoveries which corroborate stories, people, and places spoken of in the Bible. A simple Google search will show you that there have been many more such archaeological discoveries that further substantiate the Bible’s historical and cultural accuracy. 

One very interesting archaeological discovery is that of an entire set of royal archives in cuneiform tablets that included records of trade between Assyrian merchants and the Hittites.  What makes this especially interesting is that before these discoveries in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, the popular view was that the Hittites were a fictional people, but since this discovery, experts have not only affirmed the Hittites of the Bible existed, but that they were the dominant power in Asia Minor until around 1200 B.C.

A final, very powerful proof of the Bible’s legitimacy is its literary consistency.  The Bible is made up of 66 books written over a 1500 year period by 40 different authors, but it all comes together to tell one story, that of God’s plan of salvation through the Messiah Jesus Christ.  Prophecies of Jesus’ birth, death, and resurrection, written hundreds of years before Jesus was ever born were proven true by eyewitness accounts written in the first century. “There is indeed a wide variety of human authors and themes (in the Bible). Yet behind these…there lies a single divine author with a single unifying theme” (Stott, Understanding the Bible).

I am sure there are many other evidences that could be discussed to support the accuracy and truth of the Bible as the infallible Word of God, but this is just a touch of why I know I can trust the Bible as my source of truth.

I am a philalethist, a lover of the truth, and in this blog I will be reflecting on truths I've found and documenting my discoveries of truth I have yet to find.  I’d love for y’all to join me on this journey.  You may not agree with what I find, but I promise you I will not rely on my beliefs or feelings or biases, but on God’s Word to discover and affirm truth.