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Why Should You Believe in God,
Jesus, and the Bible? - Part 2

Jesus Is Lord - Lesson #2


Introduction:

This lesson continues examining the evidence for God, Jesus, and the Bible. Please review lesson #1 before beginning.


Witness #3: The Unity of the Bible


The Bible includes 66 books written by 40 different men over 1500 years.

These were men of widely different generations, localities and backgrounds. There were kings, slaves, fisherman, physicians, etc. They lived in Israel, Babylon, Rome, etc., from 1400 BC to 100 AD.

But their writings, when collected, show no contradictions.

Paul does not disagree with Moses, John does not argue with David, etc., though they wrote on the most controversial subjects known to man. Instead, their teachings strengthen and support one another.

Some skeptics claim contradictions exist in the Bible, but ask them to produce one. Most will not even try! Usually they have never really studied the Bible, but are taking someone else's word about it. Proper study can reconcile any supposed contradictions that are suggested.

Mere human wisdom could never achieve such unity.

*1* Consider religious teachers who write by human wisdom. How often do you find them completely agreeing among themselves? (a) they always agree on everything, (b) they usually agree, (c) complete agreement is rare. Answer: ______.

*2* If the 40 Bible writers, having such different backgrounds, do agree completely, what would this indicate? (a) they were not writing by their own wisdom, (b) the Bible must be the product of one supreme Mind, (c) God exists, (d) the Bible is God's word, (e) all the preceding. Answer: ______.


Witness #4: Fulfilled Prophecy


A. The Purpose of Prophecy

Prophecy proves that the true God exists.

>>> Read JAMES 4:14.<<<

*3* Can men consistently predict the future? (yes or no) Answer: ______.

>>> Read ISAIAH 41:21-23; 42:8,9. <<<

*4* What can God do that false gods cannot do? Answer: God can predict the ______.

*5* God refused to allow His praise to be given to whom? Answer: ______.

Only a Supreme Being can foretell the future accurately. If the God of the Bible can do this, then He must exist and must be the true God.

Prophecy shows which men were spokesmen for God.

>>> Read DEUTERONOMY 18:20-22. <<<

*6* If a man tries to predict the future and fails, what can we know? Answer: We can know that what he speaks is not from ______.

If the Bible writers could infallibly predict the future, surely this would indicate God was working through them. [See also Jer. 28:9.]

Prophecy proves that Jesus was God's Son.

>>> Read LUKE 24:25-27,44. <<<

*7* What did Jesus say about Old Testament Scriptures? (a) they no longer have any value, (b) He was unable to understand them, (c) they spoke about Him and He fulfilled them, (d) all the preceding. Answer: ______.

Jesus' disciples often quoted Old Testament prophecy to prove that Jesus was the Messiah and that His claims must be true [cf. John 5:39; Acts 2:25-36; 3:18- 26; 10:43; 13:27-39].

B. Examples of Fulfilled Prophecy

Here are just a few of the hundreds of prophecies Jesus fulfilled:

SUBJECT

PROPHECY

FULFILLMENT

Place of birth: Bethlehem

Micah 5:2

Matthew 2:1-6

Lineage: Seed of David

Jeremiah 23:5

Acts 13:22,23

Virgin Birth

Isaiah 7:14

Matthew 1:18-25

Prophet, priest, and king

Deuteronomy 18:17-19
Psalm 110:1-4

Acts 3:20-23
Hebrews 7:17; 8:1

Fore-runner: John Baptist

Isaiah 40:3,4

Luke 3:2-5

Triumphal entry

Zechariah 9:9

Matthew 21:1-9

Death by crucifixion

Psalm 22:16-18; 34:20

John 19:18-37

Died for others' guilt

Isaiah 53:4-12

1 Peter 2:21-25

Buried in rich man's tomb

Isaiah 53:9

Matthew 27:57-60

Resurrection

Psalm 16:10

Acts 2:24-32

Though a man might fulfill one or two of these by coincidence, to fulfill all of them would be impossible except by plan of God.

In addition, the Bible often accurately predicted the future of nations and cities such as Israel (Deut. 28:15-64), Tyre (Ezek. 26:3-14), Nineveh (Zeph. 2:13-15), and Babylon (Isa. 13:19-21; Jer. 51:37-58).

Mere men, writing by their own human wisdom, could never have predicted the future like this, but the Bible writers did so time and again. This witness testifies that God exists and that He spoke through these men. Since Jesus fulfilled these prophecies, He must be the Messiah, the King, the Prophet, and Savior God sent into the world.


Witness #5: Miracles


A. Examples of Miracles

A miracle, according to the Bible, is not just any unusual event, nor would an event be called a miracle just because God caused it. A miracle is an event that is impossible by natural law, but is brought to pass by the supernatural power of God. For each passage below, state in the answer blank what miraculous event occurred.

>>> Read JOHN 11:38-44 (cf. Acts 9:36ff).

*8* The miracle was: Jesus raised a man from the ______.

>>> Read MATTHEW 14:22-33 (cf. 8:23-27).

*9&10* The miracle was: Jesus ______ on the ______.

>>> Read MATTHEW 14:14-21 (cf. 15:32-38).

*11* The miracle was: Jesus fed (give a number) ______ men with five loaves and two fish.

Jesus also instantaneously and completely healed all kinds of diseases such as leprosy, blindness, deafness, lameness, withered hands, etc. (John 4:46-54; 5:1-9; 9:1-11,30-38; Acts 3:1-20; 4:22; 14:8-10; 5:12-16; 19:11,12; 9:32-35; Mk. 2:1-12, etc.).

B. The Purpose of Miracles

>>>Read JOHN 5:36. <<<

*12* What did Jesus say His works proved? (a) that the Father sent Him, (b) that He was a skilled magician, (c) that God will do miracles today for anyone who loves Him. Answer: ______.

>>>Read ACTS 14:3. <<<

*13* What purpose was served by the miracles done through Paul? (a) they made Paul wealthy, (b) they proved the Lord spoke through Paul, (c) they proved everybody can do miracles, (d) all the preceding. Answer: ______.

People need a way to distinguish God's true spokesmen from false teachers. This was the purpose of miracles - they "confirmed the word" (Mark 16:20). If men claimed to be directly guided by God and they could do works that could occur only by the power of God, then people would know God was working in those men and they would believe their message (Heb. 2:3,4; Acts 2:22; John 20:30,31; 4:48; 2 Cor. 12:12).

C. Evidence that Miracles Occurred

Since Jesus and His apostles are not personally in our presence, how can we today reach a verdict whether or not miracles were really performed? We must call the witnesses.

1. The Bible contains testimony from many eyewitnesses to confirm that miracles occurred (John 20:30,31 - note the many examples listed above). Remember that the Bible has been proved to be historically trustworthy.

2. Even the enemies of the gospel testified that Jesus and His apostles did miracles.

>>>Read ACTS 4:16.

*14* What did the rulers say Peter and John had done? Answer: They had done a great ______.

>>> Read JOHN 11:47. <<<

*15* What did the rulers say Jesus did? Answer: They said He did many ______.

Whether friend or foe, no one who really saw the works of Jesus and His apostles could deny that miracles were done. Their testimony becomes evidence on which we can base our faith (cf. Matt. 12:22-24; Acts 8:5-13; 13:10-13; Ex. 8:17-19; 1 Kings 18:17-39).

Miracles are God's stamp of approval on the teaching of Jesus and the Bible writers. This witness testifies that there is a God who possesses supernatural power. Since Bible writers did miracles, they must have been guided by God's power. And since Jesus did miracles, His claims also must be valid: He was the Son of God.


Witness #6: The Resurrection


>>> Read ROMANS 1:4. <<<

*16&17* The resurrection declared Jesus to be who? Answer: He was declared to be the ______ of ______ by the resurrection from the dead.

The resurrection is God's proof that Jesus is His Son. It is the greatest of all miracles in that, if we accept it, all other Bible miracles are easy to accept. Yet if we reject the resurrection, the other miracles will not matter, since we cannot be saved if we reject the resurrection (cf. Rom. 10:9,10; John 20:28-31).

A. The Facts Surrounding Jesus' Death

>>>Read 1 CORINTHIANS 15:3-8. <<<

*18,19,&20* List in historical order three facts Paul preached about Jesus in verses 3,4. Answers: Jesus ______, He was ______, and He ______on the third day.

*21* Verses 5-8 list how many times that Jesus appeared to people after His resurrection? Answer: (give a number) ______ times. Note carefully: The question asks how many times Jesus appeared according to the list, not how many people He appeared to. 

The four gospel accounts confirm the following facts. Remember that the Bible is historically trustworthy. Virtually everyone concedes these events to be true:

1. Jesus was beaten, nailed to the cross, and pierced by a spear.
2. Roman soldiers examined His body to be sure He was dead.
3. His disciples prepared His body for burial and placed it in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea.
4. Jews sealed the tomb and placed soldiers to guard it.
5. On the third day afterwards, the body was gone.
6. Many people claimed they had seen Jesus alive again.
7. The disciples began to preach that His resurrection proved He was Christ (Acts 1:3; 2:24-36; 3:15, etc.).

Any explanation offered for these events must account for all the facts. Especially one must explain the empty tomb and the eyewitness testimony of those who claimed to see Jesus alive. (Note the accounts in Matt. 27 and 28; Mark 15 and 16; Luke 23 and 24; John 18-21; and Acts 1.)

B. Possible Explanations for the Evidence

1. The theory that the disciples stole the body.

The soldiers were paid to say this (Matt. 28:11-15), but consider:

* This involves men testifying about what happened while they slept! Should we accept this as valid testimony?

* How did the disciples evade the guards who were there to prevent the theft of the body? Note: the punishment for losing a prisoner, especially while sleeping on duty, was death (cf. Acts 12:19; 16:27). If this really had happened, would the soldiers admit it?

* What motive would the disciples have for this? They were persecuted and most died for preaching the resurrection. None gained power, riches, or pleasure. Yet none ever denied his testimony regarding the resurrection. Why do this if they knew it was a lie?

* How would this explain the personal appearances of the body, especially to foes and doubters like Saul of Tarsus (Acts 9) and Thomas (John 20:26ff)?

2. The theory that Jesus did not really die but only "swooned" on the cross and then later recovered in the tomb.

* How can this explain the testimony of the Roman soldiers, the centurion, and the disciples who embalmed Jesus, all of whom said He was dead (John 19:32-34,38-42; Mk. 15:44,45)?

* Jesus had been scourged, crucified, and pierced by a spear. He was three days in the tomb without food, water, or medication. How could He revive, roll away the huge stone, evade the guards, walk the length of Palestine, and still appear healthy enough to convince the skeptical disciples that He was resurrected? This would be a miracle almost as great as the resurrection!

* Would the character of Jesus allow this? Remember, this would make Him a liar and blasphemer.

3. The theory that the disciples had "hallucinations" and only imagined they saw Jesus alive after the crucifixion.

* What happened to the body? This theory would mean it would still be in the tomb where the enemies could bring it forth to disprove the claims of a resurrection.

* Were the disciples in a state of mind to hallucinate? People who hallucinate see what they expect to see, but the disciples did not expect to see Jesus alive again. They did not even believe when they did see (Mark 16:11-14; Luke 24:11). Did doubting Thomas and unbelieving Saul hallucinate too?

* How does this explain the number and nature of the appearances? How could so many people have the same hallucination, many of them at the same time? The tone is factual and historical. The witnesses saw, heard, and handled the body (Luke 24:39; John 20:26-29).

None of these theories fit the evidence. The only reasonable verdict is that Jesus presented Himself alive "by many infallible proofs" (Acts 1:3). He truly was raised from the dead. Therefore, He truly is the Divine Son of God, just as He claimed.

Conclusion

The witnesses have now testified, and you must reach your verdict. Remember that the verdict other people reach is not nearly so important to you as the verdict you reach. Your eternal destiny depends on your decision. In order to conclude honestly that God does not exist, the Bible is not God's word, and Jesus is not God's Son, here is what you must do:

1. Explain the existence of the universe without God to create it. What reasonable explanation is there?
2. Disprove the accuracy of the Bible. Skeptics have tried this for centuries without success.
3. Disprove the unity of the Bible. Again, this has been tried repeatedly and unsuccessfully.
4. Explain the fulfilled prophecies. What explanation can there be, other than that the writers were inspired by God?
5. Disprove the miracles. But even Jesus' enemies in the first century could not do this!
6. Disprove the resurrection. What explanation can you give?

What verdict will you reach? Do you believe God exists, the Bible is God's word, and Jesus Christ is the divine Son of God?

Personal application questions:

(These questions are for you to ponder. Your answers will help us understand your thinking, however they will not affect your "score.")

*22* How convincing do you find the evidence we presented regarding the existence of God? _________

*23* If Jesus was not the Son of God as he claimed to be, do you believe He could have fulfilled prophecy and done miracles as the Bible says He did? _________

*24* Can you think of an alternative explanation which would fit the facts following Jesus' death without His being resurrected? _________

*25* State what you believe about the inspiration of the Bible. _________

Note: For a much more detailed study of the evidences for God, Jesus, and the Bible, please click on the following link: Evidences for God, Jesus, & the Bible

Resources

The following books were especially helpful in preparing this study and will be helpful to you in further study:

Indestructible Foundations, by Peter Wilson.
Internal Evidences of Christianity, by Homer Hailey.
Introduction to Christian Evidences, by Ferrell Jenkins.
Twilight of Evolution, by Henry M. Morris.

See also Biblical World, edited by Charles W. Pfieffer, distributed by Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, MI, 1966.

When you have carefully studied this lesson and written down answers to all the questions, click on this link to submit your answers.

(C) Copyright David E. Pratte, 1999 (click for copyright information)

Topics for further Bible study

An In-Depth Study of Biblical Evidences
What Claims Did Jesus Make?
The Importance of the Bible
Bible Inspiration: Infallible, Inerrant, Verbal
The Preservation and Accuracy of the Bible
The Consequences of Evolution
Evidence for Jesus' Resurrection
The Bible and Creation
Is There Life after Death?

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Scripture quotations are generally from the New King James Version (NKJV), copyright 1982, 1988 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. used by permission. All rights reserved.

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