By Tim Wildmon
My dad was a United Methodist pastor when I was young. Like many of you reading this, I learned many Bible stories as a child.
Many nights dad would read to his four children about Daniel, Moses, David, Peter and Jesus. I still have all those books which contained individual stories and sketches. I went to Sunday School every week, Camp Lake Stephens, vacation Bible school in the summer and home Bible studies weekly as a teen. My lovely and talented wife Alison and I have always had as a priority for a church, does it stress the teaching of God’s Word? In short, the Bible has been a big part of my life for nearly five decades now.
When you grow up steeped in something for so long, you just naturally assume it to be true, whatever it is. It wasn’t until my college years that I began to hear some people openly challenge the veracity of the Bible. I remember my Anatomy and Physiology professor at Mississippi State speaking of Darwinian evolution as a fact, not a theory. That had such an impression on me that I remember it like it was yesterday. Then I meet some fellow students who would openly question the Bible. When they would do so, I would stand back and wait for the lightning bolt to strike them dead. It never did. Looking back, that was good for me. It’s good to have your assumptions about anything challenged.
Since those college years I’ve read many books on what is called biblical apologetics. There is a lot you can say about the Bible that is logical, understandable, historical and verifiable. But then there is a lot that is mysterious, cruel, unexplained and seemingly contradictory; although most of these “contradictions” can be explained with a closer study of the text. The Bible is both simple and complex.
One of the most compelling reasons to believe that the Bible is true is the fact that we still have an ethnic group of people called Jews, and many places mentioned in the Scriptures are still in existence today – Jerusalem and Egypt, for example. In the Bible the Jews are also referred to as Hebrews or Israelites. There are many groups of people also mentioned in the Bible that have long since passed from the face of the Earth. But the Jews have remained. God selected the Jews to be His “chosen people” beginning with Abraham. In other words, God discriminated in favor of the Jews. Why? Because He wanted to and God can do whatever He wants.
When Jesus Christ came to Earth, he opened up God’s favor to anyone who would follow Him, not just the Jews. There is a reason John 3:16 is the most famous verse in the Bible. It’s because it expresses this idea of a universal invitation for salvation perhaps better than any other verse. It reads: “For God so loved the world, that He sent His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but shall have eternal life.”
There are 66 books in the Bible. The shortest chapter in the Bible is Psalms 117 and the longest chapter is Psalms 119 which consists of 176 verses. The number “176” just happens to be 16×11. The King James Version was first published in the year 1611.
If the Bible is “made up” and not a miraculous work of God, it takes a lot of “faith” to believe that all of it just happened to come together with a consistent theme: There is one God and He created all things in the heavens and on Earth.
Community columnist Tim Wildmon is a Lee County resident. He is president of the American Family Association, but the column represents his personal opinion unless otherwise noted. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.