I and all Christians are often asked this question. Our first response is to try to convince the one who asks by quoting the Bible, but if you are not a Christian you can not understand the Bible. The question is usually asked in an attempt to trap the believer and if asked with that motive is not asked in truth. This leads to arguments as the unbeliever tries to convince the Christian that he, or she is wrong and the Christian becomes frustrated because the other person doesn’t understand what is so clear to them.

This post is about my experience, so please excuse the constant reference to me.

At some point in my studies I began to believe the God of the Bible was the true God. I believe it was when I admitted to myself that I was truly a sinner. I suppose that one can say that I began to know God when I began to know myself.

To search for God is to search for truth and if you are not willing to apply truth to yourself then why would God reveal Himself to you?

I didn’t understand this at that time. I thought that it was all me, that I was going to find God, but now I see that it was God that revealed Himself; not because I searched, but because I searched in truth.

OK, so it was partially me. I do not think God reveals Himself if you don’t search and ask Him to.

When I knew that I was a sinner I knew also that God didn’t like sinners. I did not yet understand sin, but I could understand that I was not going to Heaven the way I was. God then lead me to understand Jesus and the realization that I could be forgiven. Whereupon, I asked Jesus to come into my heart and save me. That is purely a selfish act, but one God wants. I was then baptized and received the Holy Spirit to teach me about God. It should be apparent that if you do not have the Holy Spirit to teach you then you can not learn. Most people think they can learn about God on their own, but that is not God’s way. If you are not willing to admit the truth and want to change, then God is not willing either.

I wanted and still want to know everything about God. The more I learn the stronger my faith becomes.

If one does not start their search for God in truth they will find and make up all kinds of gods. Some gods are mere idols and some though they come close to the real God are an image of a god that is not loving or merciful.

Well, I suppose you could say that I believe the God of the Bible is the true God because He taught me that He is. I told you that you couldn’t understand if you were not a Christian, didn’t I?


  1. owen59 says:

    I believe there is only one God. Can’t see how there can be more than one Creator. Looks like He created Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and a whole bunch of indigenous religions.

  2. hokku says:

    You wrote:

    Our first response is to try to convince the one who asks by quoting the Bible, but if you are not a Christian you can not understand the Bible.”

    Given that there are over 38,000 listed different sects of Christianity, obviously Christians cannot understand it either!

  3. astudent says:

    God, if He is God, can not be inconsistent. Truth is truth. Jesus said, (John 14:6 NIV) “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” No other religion makes the claim that Jesus is the Messiah, so if the Bible is truth from God then all other religions can not be from God.

    I don’t believe you can find “any” two Christians that believe exactly the same. God is a subject that mere mortals can not understand. There are many levels of understanding just as there are many grades in schools. Man doesn’t live long enough to accuire any great understanding of the subject. If we did we would all reach complete understanding and would agree completely. Perhaps you haven’t thought of it, but there are no two people in the world that agree about everything on “any” subject. Why try to hold Christians to a different standard?

  4. […] here This entry was posted on Monday, October 22nd, 2007 at 6:54 am and is filed under bible reference. […]

  5. hokku says:

    My quibble is with your statement that “if you are not a Christian you can not understand the Bible.” You added later “there are many levels of understanding.”

    My point is simply that your statement “if you are not a Christian you can not understand the Bible” is not accurate, because obviously, with over 38,000 different Christian sects derived from the Bible, there is a great deal of disagreement among all Christian groups over what the Bible says — therefore, being Christian is no guarantee that one will “understand the Bible.” And of course Christians are in no better position to understand it than non-Christians, perhaps even in a worse position, because they have so many preconceptions.

    Martin Luther, the “founder” of Protestantism, found out very quickly how confusing the Bible was. His doctrine of Sola Scriptura, “Scripture alone” as the doctrinal foundation of belief was fine as long as he was the only one reading and interpreting the Bible; but quickly along came Ulrich Zwingli in Switzerland, who disagreed with Luther over the meaning of the words “This is my body” in accounts of the “Lord’s Supper. Zwingli founded the Swiss Reformed Church; and then there were the Anabaptists, who disagreed over the validity of baptizing infants rather than adults; and of course along with these came a multitude of splits and divisions, so that today we have “Christian” bodies as diverse as the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Mormons, and the Southern Baptists, all claiming to “understand the Bible.”

    My contention is that the Bible is simply a collection of selected human documents, edited and revised over time, completely fallible, and comprehensible only to the extend that one understands the cultural and religious environments in which they were written and copied, and the history of the doctrinal developments and views expressed within them.

    Christians are no better at understanding the Bible than anyone else, and in many cases are far worse at it than those who approach it objectively.

  6. astudent says:

    You seem to think that I meant under stand the Bible completely. I did not mean that. No one understands anything completely. Whither it is a subject of science, politics, or anything else. Of course there are disagreements, just as there are disagreements in worldly subjects. We feel that the subject of God is so important that we sometimes must move apart from those who we feel are wrong, so that it does not interfere with our worship. I did not say that anyone understands the Bible completely. Actually I said no one does.
    I am not trying to anger you, but I must say that you are only looking at what man says about the Bible and from that judging the authenticity of it. It is the Word of God and therefore it is not like other books. If you want to know if the Bible is true you must search in truth. You have to admit that you are imperfect (Truth) and you have to really want to know if there is a God and if so what He would want from you. If and when you really do this then you will be able to understand the Bible. Not everything and not immediately. If you do not do so then you truthfully do not want to understand and God will not make you. Don’t just take my word for it ask other Christians if they understand after they were baptized and not before.
    If I were a professor and my field was electronics, I still would not know everything about electronics and I would disagree with my colleges about parts of the subject, just as Christians do about doctrine. If you decided that there was no such thing as electronics and therefore I was a fraud and wouldn’t experiment for yourself then your contention would be correct in your own mind. But you would still be wrong.

  7. hokku says:

    If the Bible is the “Word of God and therefore it is not like other books,” one would expect it not to have the characteristics of other books. But it does. It is a collection of many assembled writings, some early, some later, with lots of editing and revision and uncertainties of text. And given that even Christians cannot agree on what it says, I think we can add that not only is it doctrinally unclear, but in my view it even includes disagreements in doctrine, such as Paul saying one is saved by faith and not the works of the Law, and James saying faith is nothing without works And of course even on fundamentals Christians disagree radically, such as whether Jesus is God or not God, whether Baptism is for adults only or for infants, whether the Lord’s Supper is the body and blood of Christ or just a symbol, on whether the earth was created in seven 24-hour days or in long eras, whether Adam is historic or an allegory, and on and on and on.

  8. astudent says:

    I think you miss the obvious. The Bible is the oldest book known, it has never gone out of print, and though it has been translated into many languages it has not been changed. There has been no editing, or revisions that would change what is said. No other book about anything can make these claims. “All” books about science, history, or any subject have been, or will be revised, refuted, or forgotten. As I said there is no other Book like the Bible.
    All subjects have those who disagree with each other, not just Bible scholars. How would disagreements between men prove the Bible in error? I can see that it is unclear to you, but I told you in the second sentence of the post that you couldn’t understand it. I’m right aren’t I?

  9. hokku says:

    You said “the Bible is the oldest book known.” That is not exactly true. First, the Bible is not a single book, but rather an anthology of documents written over several centuries. The entire New Testament is less than 2,000 years old, and of course actual manuscripts of the Bible vary in age, and copies of the Bible vary in the number of books included and in which books are included. There are other books of great age, and a good part of the Bible is not even as old as some of those.

    Your statement “There has been no editing, or revisions that would change what is said.” That is obviously incorrect, because even looking at one gospel — that attributed to Mark — we can see that the oldest and best manuscripts have no post-resurrection stories at all. An ending has been added to the text — as a matter of fact, THERE ARE AT LEAST FOUR DIFFERENT KNOWN ENDINGS TO THE GOSPEL OF MARK. And that is just one example of editing. Not only that, but there are numerous variant readings, many of them involving the deity (or lack thereof) of Jesus, and of course there is the notorious 1 John5:7-8, often used in support of the Trinity doctrine — which is an obvious addition absent from every Greek manuscript except four that seen be be translations from a late version of the Latin Vulgate. And these are just the tip of the iceberg.

    The Dead Sea Scrolls show us that it is not only the New Testament that has undergone revision and editing — for example the book of Jeremiah was found in two versions, one considerably longer than the other!

    I don’t think your statements are going to hold much weight with readers if you cannot substantiate them, and the fact that the Bible has undergone editing and revision is so glaringly obvious to anyone who has studied the history of the transmission of the biblical texts that your statement simply holds no water. Even looking in most modern translations of the Bible will demonstrate the existence of variant readings, so I have no idea how you did not get the news.

  10. astudent says:

    Man are you grasping for straws. Of course the Bible is a book. By your definition a car is not a car, because it is made of parts; and parts that were not made at the same time.
    American Heritage Dictionary
    Bi•ble (bº“b…l) n. 1.a. Abbr. B., Bib. The sacred book of Christianity, a collection of ancient writings including the books of both the Old Testament and the New Testament.
    Go argue with them.
    The earliest portions of Scripture date back more than 3,300 years.
    The Bible has an unique continuity when you consider that it was written over a 1500-year period; written over 40 generations; written by over 40 authors from every walk of life including kings, peasants, philosophers, fishermen, poets, statesmen, scholars, etc.;
    written in many different places.
    You make wild claims about revisions and editing such as four different endings to the Gospel of Mark. Heck why don’t you just write another one? It will be as creditable as the other four.
    The Bible is by far the most widely circulated book in the world. Since 1804, more than 800 million Bibles and portions of Scripture have been issued. These figures are from the British and Foreign Bible Societies alone. Every year more than 22 million copies of the complete Bible and New Testament are circulated around the globe.
    Millions of people believe the Bible to be the inerrant Word of God and a few come along and make the claims that you make and you infer that I have no creditability! I said you couldn’t understand it, but heck, you don’t even understand that it is a book!!!

  11. hokku says:

    I can tell you have never studied the manuscript evidence from which modern Bibles are translated. It is elementary that there are at least four different endings to the Gospel attributed to Mark. Don’t take my word for it — look in any critical text of the NT in Greek. But if you do not want to look at the evidence, no one can make you learn. No point in continuing this under those circumstances.

  12. astudent says:

    I think that you would agree that our basic problem is that I believe the Bible to be the inerrant Word of God and you do not. It is true that some have found manuscripts with Mark ending different. You see this and claim the Bible is written by man and they were trying to get it right. I see this and, because I am sure that God wrote the Bible, using men like I use my right hand to write, I understand that the Bible was not yet finished.
    The manuscripts that ended at 16:8 were genuine and those that had something added were attempts to finish it for God. All Bibles now end Mark the same way, so that is what God wanted and the Bible is finished. It was always God’s method of operation to use men to write the bible and it was written over a long time frame. I think it was someone other than Mark that finished the chapter, but it does not detract from the authenticity of the Bible. Anyone, when the Bible was being written could make the same claim that you make as there were parts of the Bible that were being continually added.
    If the world lasts for another five hundred years someone might find a copy of the Readers Digest Condensed version of the Bible and make the same claims that you, and others with the same view make. You see why I said they were wild claims?
    Neither of us were alive when those manuscripts were written, so truthfully neither can attest that either view is genuine. The Bible says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” Well, there is no way iron can be used to sharpen iron, so one man can not sharpen another. The truth is you do not understand and it is not in my power to make you. I will be able to sharpen you when a grapefruit can teach a lemon.

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