When deciding what to believe about the Bible, who should we listen to?
That’s a rather basic question, and I suppose there are many possible answers. We could listen to our friends—maybe a roommate or a co-worker. Then there are family members, maybe our parents or siblings. Surely they would have an opinion. Or we could look to our leaders, a pastor or professor who seems to be an “expert.” And there’s always Google if we really want to know what to think!
But in the midst of all the options there is one person that, ironically, Christians (and non-Christians) overlook. Jesus.
Now, of course, Christians don’t overlook Jesus generally. He is central to about everything Christians think and do. But, strangely, he is not often the ultimate court of appeal when they are deciding what to think about the Bible. But, just a few moments of reflection suggest he should be.
First, and most obviously, Jesus’ opinion about the Bible (which in his day was the Old Testament) matters most because he wrote it. Now, obviously, he didn’t literally write it—we have no evidence that Jesus himself left any written records. But, as the incarnate Lord, as the very God of Israel enfleshed, he is the divine author of Scripture. If he is who he claims to be, then he is the one who inspired the Old Testament authors. When you hear the voice of the Old Testament Scriptures, you are hearing the voice of the Lord—the voice of Christ.
Who better to tell us what to think about the Old Testament than its author?
By way of example, imagine if someone asked what we should think about the painting, The Mona Lisa. There are a lot of opinions out there, from art historians to lay folks, about the identity of this mysterious woman. Not only have numerous female names been suggested, but others have argued the painting may even be a disguised self-portrait of da Vinci himself!
But there would be one way (perhaps the only way) to settle the matter absolutely. And that is if we were able to ask da Vinci himself about The Mona Lisa. Surely the author’s own testimony about the painting would be definitive.
Of course, at this point someone will object: How can base our opinions about the Bible on Jesus’s testimony, when that testimony comes from the Bible? Isn’t that circular reasoning? [Read more…]