How Do I Know the Bible is True?
In addition to external evidence, there is internal evidence that gives us good reason to trust the Bible. In other words, there are facts inside of the Bible that demonstrate it is a reliable and trustworthy source of information.
The Bible's Testimony
The Bible claims that it is from God. For example, in II Samuel 23:2 David, who wrote many of the psalms, stated that what he wrote came from God. Jeremiah stated the same thing (Jeremiah 1:4), as did the Apostle Paul (I Thessalonians 2:13). Peter says Paul's writings are "scripture" (II Peter 3:16). Jesus Himself makes many statements about the Bible's trustworthy character (Luke 16:17, 24:44, John 17:17). For example, Jesus routinely considered all Old Testament stories to be trustworthy accounts (Luke 11:51, 17:26-33).
The Bible's Unity
The Bible was written over a period of more than 1,500 years, from Moses' time (before 1400 B.C.) to the time of the Apostle John (about A.D. 100). The total number of human authors is at least forty. And yet, even though all these different men wrote at different times, the message they wrote is always the same, without any contradiction in any details. The reason is that God is the author, who used men to set down what He wanted to say. The human writers lived and died at different times, but the same God Who lives forever told each man what to write. For that reason, we are able to compare different parts of the Bible and find that they agree with, support, and clarify each other (I Corinthians 2:13). We can go to any part of the Bible and know it is consistently trustworthy.
The Bible's Contents
The most amazing internal evidences of the Bible's trustworthiness are the subjects that it discusses. The contents of the Bible, the things it talks about, are things that the Bible could say only if it were written by God. For example, the Bible states that Jesus claimed that He is God (John 10:30); the Bible states that Jesus' apostles claimed that He is God (John 20:28); the Bible states that the Father declared that He is God (Hebrews 1:8). The conclusion of this testimony is that either the message of the Bible is an insane and evil deception, or the message is true and the Bible is the only book of its kind.
Another important example is that only the Bible talks about sin (I John 3:14). No man has the courage to write the accurate assessment of humankind that is described in the Bible. The Bible presents a horrible picture. It offends us, and we are not happy to read it. This explains why we find it so hard to believe that the Bible is true. The problem is not with the evidence but rather with our hearts. Who wants to know that he is a miserable, rotten, no-good sinner? Who rejoices at being told that he is headed for hell, where he will suffer under the eternal wrath of God? Who welcomes the knowledge that there is no good in him at all and that he is in rebellion against the God Who made him?
Only God can be honest with us because only He knows the truth. Only God is willing to be honest with us as an expression of His love. Real love is not expressed by the words of people who try to make us feel good by means of vain flatteries, but leave us in our situation because they have no real hope to offer. Real love is expressed by the truth because it is the only thing that can help us. The Bible's honest word-portrait of humankind is not appealing. However, the Bible contains the words of a real Friend. God knows we are walking on the edge of a cliff ready to fall into hell. He tells us exactly what we need to know to avoid this peril. Even though the Bible is not going to show up on the list of the ten most popular books of the year, only the Bible can make and keep a promise such as "Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light" (Matthew 11:28-30).
The Bible's Message
There is one final idea we must face when we consider whether the Bible can be trusted. Most people believe that there is a God. But if God is really God, then He speaks with absolute authority and we must submit to His Word. In other words, what we think about God's Word, and how we react to it, reflects what we think about God Himself. We cannot separate God and His Bible. We do not have to believe the Bible, but we must deal with the consequences. If people do not believe in the God of the Bible then they are going to act like it, for the bitter fruit of their selfish lives will come to harvest, as the Bible says it will. This is the most frightening evidence of all. In addition to that, they must deal with an angry God who pursues them beyond the grave and will force them to submit to His Word on Judgement Day, as the Bible predicts.
It is a good thing to ask if we can trust the Bible. The Bible is able to take our scrutiny and come through vindicated. James 1:6 states that we must never feel reluctant to ask God for the ability to trust in His Word and the wisdom needed to get the most out of the Bible. However, Bible study is a holy inquiry. Only if we approach the Bible humbly and with an open mind toward the truth, will we find the answers we need.