One of the essentials of a healthy Community Group is the centrality of the Bible. We rely on the truth of God’s Word as the final authority in our lives and in our groups. As a Community Group Leader, an even as a Christ-follower, you’ll need to be prepared to defend your faith and the reliability of Scripture. Here are four quick reasons we can trust that the Bible truly is God’s Word.
Early testimony. The gospels were written by eye witnesses living within one generation of Jesus’ ascension into heaven. Imagine playing the game, “Telephone,” lining up 100 people, with each one representing a single generation. We would expect corruption to take place with the message within those 100 people, right? But if the first generation wrote down the message, then we should expect the message to be accurate, even 99 generations later. As William Lane Craig says, “If the gap between the evidence and the event that took place is short, then the gap between the evidence and today is irrelevant. Good evidence does not become bad evidence because of time.”
Embarrassing testimony. If someone is writing about a real event that took place, they will include every detail, including embarrassing details. If the gospels have no embarrassing details about key characters, we might question the truth of those stories. But the gospels do in fact have embarrassing details: Peter is called the devil, Jesus’ closest disciples are constantly rebuked for their failures, and women (who were considered by that culture as non-reliable witnesses) are some of the heroes of the gospel stories. If the writers of the New Testament were trying to write a good story, they did a really bad job. But they weren’t trying to write a good story, they were writing a true story.
Excruciating testimony. If the disciples really knew that Jesus didn’t rise from the dead and they were spreading a lie, would they have died for that lie? 10 out of the 12 disciples were murdered for their belief in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. The eleventh was dipped in a boiling pot of water, survived then exiled. And the twelfth was Judas, who betrayed Jesus and then killed himself.
Extra-Biblical testimony. When we compare the New Testament documents to other ancient documents, the New Testament simply has way more evidence for its reliability. For instance, the 3rd best-preserved ancient work is Sophocles with 194 copies – and the earliest ones date 1400 years after the original. The 2nd best is Homer’s “The Iliad” with 643 copies dating 500 years after the original. With overwhelming evidence, the best-preserved ancient work is the New Testament with 24,000 hand written copies dating within mere decades of the originals.
With these testimonies, and others, we can confidently rely on the truth of God’s Word as the final authority in our lives and in our groups.