Why Trust the Bible?
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All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Tim. 3:16-17).
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For two thousand years, the Bible has survived every attempt by its critics to destroy it. Today it remains so far in front on the bestseller lists that the book sellers don't even bother listing it. Clearly, there is some kind of attraction that draws millions of people to its pages. Why?
In his final epistle before he died, Paul described the character of the Bible as "profitable"--or useful, beneficial, valuable--for preparing us to live our lives well. Notice four areas in which Paul says the Bible performs a service for us:
First, it is profitable for doctrine, or instruction. We come into this world ignorant, and must be taught everything we need to know to survive. Education is essential to our flourishing. But what should we be taught? A host of wildly contradictory philosophies compete with the Bible for our attention. Jesus says that to choose wisely among all these options, we must examine the fruit (Matt. 7:15-16); that is, look at the practical outcome of each system of thought. By any fair measure, the teaching of the Bible--what it says about God, about us, about life and death and beyond--has had the greatest positive impact on humanity compared to any other source.
Second, it is profitable for reproof, or rebuke. The Bible calls us out for our misbehavior. It shines the harsh light of truth on our imperfections, and exposes the weaknesses that we try to hide. If we go to the Bible only for inspiring verses that make us feel good, we're not reading it properly. It ought to make us squirm. It should humble us, because we need to be humbled.
Third, it is profitable for correction. The reproofs of the Bible are not there to humiliate us, but to serve as a first step toward fixing what's broken. It offers counsel on how to overcome our bad habits, how to clean up the messes we've made in our relationships, and how to get our priorities straightened out. These changes are not easy, but the Bible is brutally honest in pointing us to the path of healing.
Finally, the Bible is profitable for instruction in righteousness. Once this initial transformation takes place, the education never stops. The Bible continues to enlighten us on how the world--and we--work. It deepens our understanding of the cause-and-effect relationships that govern so much of life, sparing us embarrassing mistakes in the future. And it trains us to face the hardships and disappointments of life with courage.
If we take the Bible seriously, it will equip us "for every good work." We will gradually become more wise, more mature, more stable, more productive. And why not? This book was inspired by God. He made us, and the Bible is His instruction manual to help us better understand and improve ourselves.
Trust the Bible. You won't regret it.