Journal Entry: Session V: Reliability of the Scriptures
Professor: Dr. Lee
Colorado Christian University: College of Adult and Graduate Studies
May 31, 2015
And he said to me, “These words are faithful and true”; and the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent His angel to show to His bondservants the things which must soon take place. (Revelations 22:6, NASB)
To me, the testimony of what happened to Paul on the road to Damascus combined with the truths that his letters reveal is the most compelling evidence of the reliability of the message in the New Testament. Paul was forever changed after that encounter. He met Christ, had an intervention, and then spent the rest of his life sharing the good news and fighting against false teachers to his own self detriment at times. A person would not take a complete turn in life like that, putting their very life on the line, if Christ were not the real deal. “Saul’s conversion makes him pray, see a vision, enjoy acceptance as a brother in the community of Jesus’ disciples, receive the Holy Spirit, proclaim Jesus to be God’s son and the Christ, and suffer the kind of persecution he once perpetrated.” (Gundry, pg345)
Paul let’s his history be known and openly admits to being present at the stoning of Stephen revealing God’s grace through his life. I know myself it is only out of the love of the Lord that I have openly admitted my faults in the past as proof of God’s love. This is exactly what Luke explains Paul as having done in Acts 22:20:  ‘And when the blood of Your witness Stephen was being shed, I also was standing by approving, and watching out for the coats of those who were slaying him.’
I know for me when I read Paul’s letters I feel his heart for God. Sometimes when I am reading things he is testifying to and teaching I truly have the book come to life and it is like I can hear Paul himself! I have the same experience when I read about King David as well as the things he is credited with writing.
I know that those are mere feelings but I also know the Holy Spirit speaks to me regarding the very same truths I read in the bible. In all honesty the more I read my bible, the more I am convinced that it is the Word of God. It is weird to discover words of wisdom, advice and truth in the bible that I have personally had told to me by the Holy Spirit throughout my life. How I wish I had sought the Word long before I did!
A letter from Paul to Timothy points to the Old Testament Scriptures stating that they teach us wisdom that leads to salvation through faith:  and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.  All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;  so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:15-17, NASB)
When it comes to the words that Paul wrote, Peter tells us clearly that they are reliable and useful:  and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you,  as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction. (2 Peter 3:15-16)
Gundry tells us this about the importance of the way in which Peter referred to Paul: “The description of Paul as “our beloved brother” (2 Peter 3:15) is what an apostolic contemporary and equal would write.” (Gundry, pg 532)
Peter would not have backed Paul’s words and called him beloved if he too did not recognize that Paul was speaking truth. I see this referral by Peter, the rock of the church, back to Paul as another reason his letters are reliable.
I think when it comes to the testimony of John regarding Jesus, John’s testimony is very reliable. For me, it is the story about Nicodemus that he tells that truly gives reliability to what he shares. Nicodemus was a ruler of the Jews and for him to say what John wrote he said is quite something in itself. If this were not a true account, it would surely have been disputed at the very time of its writing!  Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews;  this man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.” (John 3:1-2, NASB) Our text book says, “The story of Jesus and Nicodemus, a member of the Sanhedrin, illustrates Jesus’ omniscience of the interior state of human beings. Nicodemus is an example of those who believe in the name of Jesus solely because of the signs he performs but whom Jesus knows to be still in need of a renewal so radical as to constitute a new birth, one that originates in heaven above and happens through belief in Jesus as God’s unique Son who descended from heaven and ascended back to heaven by way of being lifted up on the cross.” (Gundry, pg 300)
Last and certainly not least, I think in the sharing of the good news with the Beran Jews, when we are told that they went to the Scriptures to verify that what Paul had spoken was truth, shows that those who had studied the Word long before I ever picked it up, found Paul’s testimony to be reliable and true!:  Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.  Therefore many of them believed, along with a number of prominent Greek women and men. (Acts 17:11-12, NASB)
The MacArthur Study Bible, 2006, John MacArthur, Thomas Nelson Publishing
A Survey of the New Testament, 2012, Robert H. Gundry, Zondervan