Some internet debate opponents accuse me of circular reasoning. The statement I am accused of making goes like this: The Bible claims to be God’s Word so it is God’s Word. That is “begging the question,” where the conclusion is true only if the premise is true. However, the actual argument put forth by Christians is linear and logical. In bullet point form, it goes like this:
• The Bible is good history (The New Evidence that Demands a Verdict by Josh McDowell).
• We can trust what the Bible says about Jesus because it is based on eyewitness testimony (Luke 1:1-4, 2 Peter 1:16, Jesus and the Eyewitnesses by Richard Baukham). The lives of these eyewitnesses were radically changed by what they saw (Jesus and the Victory of God by N, T,. Wright).
• Jesus claimed to be God. He said, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30). Thomas said, “My Lord and my God,” and Jesus did not correct him (John 20:26-31).
• Jesus worked miracles and proved Himself to be God (John 14: 9-11).
• Jesus affirmed the truth of God’s Word. He said, “Man shall not live on bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). He said, in prayer to God, “Thy word is truth” (John 17:17).
• Jesus promised the Holy Spirit to help the apostles remember and truthfully relate the events in the Bible (John 16:13-15).
• We have a Bible we can trust. It gives us God’s truth and equips us for faith and service (2 Tim. 3:15-17).
The basic tenor of this argument is taken from two sources, When Skeptics Ask by Norman Geisler and Reason to Believe by R. C. Sproul.
As R. C. Sproul pointed out in a recent lecture, if we have established that the Bible is God’s Word, every other issue becomes a matter of “exegesis,” deciding what the Bible says on the issue at hand.
I would love to see your comments on the general approach, the specific points, or the things I have undoubtedly left out.