I didn’t grow up going to church, or reading the Bible, or learning about Jesus. I’m not sure exactly what the “furthest thing from being a Christian” is, but I may have been it. I didn’t believe in God and I didn’t care.
At the age of 20, I picked up a Bible for the first time. I had no interest or intention of becoming a Christian. Several months later, my heart was forever changed and I discovered who Jesus was. What happened you ask? Well, the Bible happened. Reading the Bible led me to believe in God.
You might be wondering why or how. Allow me to share with you four reasons that led me to believe in God.
Reason #1: Manuscript Evidence
The first question I asked when I started reading the Bible was, “did the telephone game happen?” Do you remember the telephone game? Just in case, let’s recap. One person whispers a message to the next who is supposed to whisper the same words to the next person, and so on down the line. However, what always happens is faulty memories lead to distorted messages.
Are Biblical Stories Made-Up Or Embellished?
Is that what happened with the Bible? For instance, in the Bible, we read that Jesus claimed to be God’s Son and that thousands of people said they saw him risen from the dead.
What if, over time, people have messed up or embellished the story, so what we have now isn’t what was said back then? They didn’t exactly have Xerox machines to make copies of the original.
Are Ancient Manuscripts Consistent With The Bible Today?
I needed to determine if what we read in the bible today was faithful to the original words. To do that, you ask three questions:
- How many ancient handwritten copies do we have? The more, the better.
- How old are they? The older, the better.
- And how consistent are they? The more consistent, the better.
For instance, perhaps when you were in high school you learned about the Gallic Wars, in which Julius Caesar defeated the Gauls. This can be found in education books and is taught in schools as factual history. The complete history of that war was written by Julius Caesar, yet we have precisely ten different handwritten ancient copies of what he wrote. So, he wrote it and sent it to Rome. They made copies and sent them all over.
People continued to make handwritten copies over the years, most of which are long gone, but we have ten still left. Ten is good, though. It means we can compare them to see if they all say the same thing, or if there are substantial differences. If so, we’d doubt their accuracy.
Do Original Handwritten Copies Of The Bible Still Exist?
How many, and then, how old? Of the ten copies we have of the Gallic Wars, the earliest text we have is from 1,000 years after the original. Historians consider it reliable to have ten copies, from within 1,000 years of the original. That’s why they teach it as history in schools.
How many ancient handwritten copies do we have of the New Testament of the Bible? Over 5,500 manuscript copies. Josh McDowell wrote, “The Bible, compared with other ancient writings, has more manuscript evidence than any ten pieces of classical literature combined.”
We have a lot of copies, but how old? We have documents from within 125 years of the original. We have copies of the entire New Testament that come within 225 years of the initially written text.
Can I Trust Everything The Bible Says?
I ended up doing some research, asking, “how many and how old?” As it turns out, we have a ton, and they are ancient! So, my next question was, “how consistent?”
It turns out there are about 184,540 words in the New Testament. When comparing all the ancient manuscripts, there’s uncertainty about approximately 400 of those words. None of the ambiguity affects any significant teaching. There are only a few words in question, and they are all spelling or grammatical issues.
I realized that I could trust what the Bible says today is what was originally written.
Reason #2: Historical Accuracy
Moving forward, I finally determined what the Bible says is an accurate transmission of the original text, but that didn’t necessarily mean it was historically accurate. And so began my next pursuit.
I started by looking at archeology and discovered that there had been many archeological discoveries which have confirmed and reinforced biblical truth.
Do Archeological Discoveries Confirm Or Deny The Bible?
Secular historians have often questioned the accuracy of the Bible, only to later discover, because of archeological discoveries, that they were wrong and the Bible was right.
An archaeological expert named Nelson Bloch even said, “no archaeological discovery has ever controverted a biblical reference.”
Are The People And Stories In The Bible Made Up?
Another thing I noticed that helped me to believe in God was the Bible’s historical accuracy and how often the heroes come across as weak, inconsistent, arrogant, or sinful.
What I realized was if they were just making up a story, especially thousands of years ago when there was no internet or no wiki-leaks, they would make the main characters and heroes seem perfect. But that’s not what the Bible does, yet, I wondered why. The only answer that made sense is that its authentic history about actual people.
Did Historians From Jesus’ Time Write About Him?
One of the questions I asked was if other historians from Jesus’ time wrote about Jesus. If Jesus went around doing the things the Bible says He did, other people would have also written about it.
It turns out, they did. Many historians from before and after the time of Jesus, and even outside the Bible, wrote about Jesus. Historians like Lucian, Suetonius, Pliny the Younger, Thallus, Phlegon, Mara Bar-Serapion. (What is up with these peoples names?!) They were the leading historians from around the time of Jesus, and they wrote about his teachings, his miracles, his crucifixion, and his resurrection.
That leads to the third reason I decided to become a Christian…
Reason #3: Jesus
As I read the gospels, I became interested in, even fascinated with Jesus. I didn’t know if he was real, but I couldn’t imagine someone making him up. He was too amazing, and I wanted him to be real. I wanted him to be part of my life. I wanted my life to be all about him.
Did The Resurrection Really Happen?
As I read, I learned of the dozens of specific prophecies from the Old Testament that Jesus fulfilled, and I of his claim to be the promised Messiah and Son of God, and his miracles, and the eyewitness testimony about him, and his resurrection. The resurrection was hard to swallow. I spent a lot of time researching it and ran into all the evidence that proved it happened.
Jesus was real. God had sent him from heaven.
Reason #4: Love
The reason God sent Jesus was love. That was a shocker. The Bible said God was love and loved even those who had made him their enemy. I realized that this meant he even loved me. It was challenging, but I needed to believe it.
Does God Really Love Me?
I had never put it into words, but I finally realized that I wanted to be loved. What I was searching for my entire life was perfect love.
Finally, I stood, face to face with a God who loved me so much, he died so he could have a relationship with me. How could I NOT believe in God? The evidence led me to the end of the rainbow, but it was God and his love that made me say yes.
That was the best day of my life, and I’ve spent my days since discovering hundreds of other reasons to believe in God, reasons I didn’t understand back then. Now I ask myself why people don’t believe in God, when I used to be one of those people.
Can I Let Go Of The Past And Experience God’s Love?
I’ve also spent the years since moving out of my past and into God’s future for me and lately helping others do the same. That’s what my new book, Restore, is all about; assisting stuck people to get unstuck so they can experience God’s love and the life he has for them.
If you are searching for the rationale to believe in God, there are many more reasons to consider. If your faith has been shaky, there’s so much more to discover about God’s love. Keep moving into God’s love and his future for you.
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