Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The Bible is Full of Eyewitness Accounts

This post is the fifth in my blog series entitled Church, Bible, and Interpretation - It's Not So Simple.

All sorts of people today doubt the truth claims of scripture. This doesn't surprise or concern me when coming from secularists. I would expect nothing else. However, I'm deeply troubled when followers of Christ struggle with whether not to trust as true what they read in the Bible. Many act as if the Bible is a nice book but lacking in solid, historical reasons to believe it.

I want to encourage fellow Christians with the reminder that we can trust scripture. One reason is the fact that the Bible is full of eyewitness accounts. From Genesis to Revelation we read account after account written by people who were there in time and space. They saw and lived what happened.

The person of Jesus Christ is the most critical aspect of the Bible. It all revolves around him. But what do we know of him? Frankly, we know a ton. Matthew's and John's gospel accounts are extremely important for us because both men were part of Christ's twelve apostles. They were right there in the midst of everything that occurred. John in particular was part of Jesus' inner circle (along with Peter and James). His twenty-one chapters are a goldmine of eyewitness data. He saw, lived, and experienced life directly with our Lord. And then John told us about it.

The most important events in the life of Jesus Christ are his crucifixion and resurrection. If they are true, then he is a very special and unique person indeed. If not, then he is a fraud to be rejected. Why ought we believe, in particular, in the resurrection? Because many, many people saw the resurrected Christ. Paul writes the following in I Corinthians 15:1-8:

Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you — unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.

Jesus appeared to over five hundred people! Paul is telling the Corinthian believers that they should hold strong faith in the resurrected Christ because so many folks saw him in the flesh. They were eyewitnesses. Not only that, but many remained alive. Paul is almost challenging those doubting in Corinth to travel to Israel to ask the eyewitnesses themselves.

To sum up, the Bible makes massive truth claims. These claims are supported again and again by people who saw what happened. We have the written records of people who spent years with our Lord. They even saw and spoke with him after he was resurrected from the dead. These accounts give us great reason to believe.

No comments: