Reflection Essay #1
Introduction: The two topics I have chosen for my reflection paper are “The Authority of the Bible” and “Faith in God”. I have chosen these two topics because for me they are perhaps the two most important topics that we have discussed so far. What I will attempt to provide in this paper are my personal life experiences and beliefs in regard to my faith in God and the authority of the Bible while reinforcing these personal beliefs with scripture as well as from material that we have read in class. Faith in God: Have you ever been going through a hard time and had someone say to you “everything will be fine, all you have to do is have faith.
” I know this has happened to me more times than I can even begin to count. And more times than not when I was younger I would simply nod my head and think “yeah right, what does that even mean anyway, have faith? ” Well, that’s a great question, because I feel that faith can have a multitude of different meanings. However, the meaning that I want to focus on is bars none the most important kind of faith we can ever experience; and that is of course faith in God. Growing up I never knew much about being a Christian or the importance of having faith in God. In fact, the argument could be easily made that I was an atheist.
Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t that the Christian religion wasn’t introduced to me a time or ten as I was growing up. No, actually just the opposite was the case, I can recall being forced to go to church on Sunday morning, Sunday night, and on Wednesday evenings for Bible study. However I was going for all the wrong reasons; I was going because I was being made to go rather than because I wanted to go. In making me attend church in this manner as a youth I developed a rebellious attitude and/or resentment towards everything that was being said by the pastor.
In other words, I as a child had heard the words that were being preached but, I chose to rebel rather than believe. You’re probably wondering why I am sharing these childhood experiences with you. I’m sharing them because I believe that once you the reader have an understanding of how unlikely it was for someone like me to have “faith in God” that perhaps you will be able to better understand why I feel the way I do today about the subject of faith. Today I feel that faith in God is essential in living life to glorify God and essential for salvation. It is the key between simply existing or living life to its fullest.
It is the driving force that pushes me to believe in things that would otherwise be unbelievable. It is through my faith in God that I am able to claim victory in all situations that I am encountered with in this world. So how does a person go from atheist to devout believer in the power of faith? I’m sure that answer would vary from person to person. But for me it was through the saving grace of God that I was able to have faith in God. It wasn’t until I was able to believe that I could be (or was worthy of being) loved that I could begin to understand faith in God.
However, once I allowed God to enter my heart that all of my previous conceptions about faith would be changed forever. I associate this time era in my life to the scripture we discussed last week (1 Corinthians 13:11) “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. ” Meaning for me that my life before God’s grace I was foolish like a child whereas afterwards (after God’s grace) I was able to begin growing as an adult and learning adult (Godly) things.
The Bible has 61 different verses about “faith in God” (www. openbible 2014). Some of which tie perfectly into my understanding and beliefs of what faith in God is. Verses such as Hebrews 11:1-6, Romans 1:17, Romans 10:17, and Ephesians 2:8 are all wonderful references that God has given us to better understand faith. But there are other places that give great insight to faith as well. Take for example the quote that is provided in our Praxis book on page 9 by Westminster Shorter Catechism “Question: What is faith in Jesus Christ? Answer: Faith in Jesus Christ is a saving grace, whereby we
receive and rest upon him alone for salvation, as he is offered to us in the gospel. ” For me this really hit the mark and fit perfectly for explaining how I feel about faith in God. The Authority of the Bible: So how would someone go about validating the authority of the bible? After all there are several different books from several different religions out there that also claim to have been God inspired. So with that being known what means would be best to show without question that the Bible is in fact the one and only true word of God?
I suppose I could use archaeology to show the historical evidence that has been discovered over the years that strongly supports what we are told in the Bible. Archaeological finds like the Dead Sea Scrolls that were discovered at Khirbet Qumran in the West Bank that contained a collection of 972 ancient texts. 225 of which are Biblical texts. The great importance of the Dead Sea scrolls is unimaginable due to their historical, religious, and linguistic contributions because they include the earliest known surviving manuscripts of works that would later be included in the Hebrew Bible canon (OT).
These manuscripts have been dated to various ranges between 408 BCE and 318 CE and yet when scholar’s compared our modern text to this earlier text it revealed the remarkable accuracy to which the scribes copied the sacred texts. However, while I feel that archaeological finds like this and others like it are of immense value and significance and make a very impressive argument for my case, I don’t feel that they alone hold to key to the point I am attempting to make.
So, if history isn’t the method I want to use show the authority of the Bible how about I attempt to use science to prove my case? There are many out there that would argue that the Bible is not a book of science and that it’s primarily purpose is that of inspiration or guidance. However, I would argue that they are (in a word) wrong. As a matter of fact I would go one further and show that the Bible actually has several places in it that revealed scientific facts long before they were scientifically discovered to be fact by mankind.
Perhaps one of my favorite examples of this would be the fact that the earth is in fact round. Most people when they think about the discovery of the earth being round think of famous explorer Christopher Columbus who would have to all but beg fellow seamen to sail with him because they were terrified that one day Columbus would accidently sail off the face of the earth. During that time era using the scientific facts as they were known at the time people believed whole heartedly that the earth was flat and that at its edges was great water falls that led to an unknown watery abyss.
However, the Bible clearly contradicted this fallacy in Isaiah 40:22 “He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in. ” (Note “circle of the earth” was made bold to show emphasis) Now let’s stop for a second and remember back to the dating of the Dead Sea Scrolls of which the book of Isaiah was included “ranges between 408 BCE and 318 CE”. That’s hundreds upon hundreds of years before 1492 when the people of the time swore that the earth was flat.
Another good example of science in the Bible can be found in Job 26:7 “He spreads out the northern skies over empty space; he suspends the earth over nothing. ” Surely the people of Isaiah’s time didn’t believe that the planet earth just floated in space attached to nothing. No, of course not, this was long before the age of modern astronomy. So “how then” you might ask could Job have known to write such a thing. Well, I personally think that the answer to that question as well as many others should be pretty obvious by now.
But, just in case I still haven’t made clear my case as to why I believe in the authority of the Bible yet I will continue probing alternate means of determining the Bibles authority. Well, if I’m not going to use archaeology or science as a sole means to validate the Bibles authority then what’s left? How about prophecy? Did you know that the Bible has over twenty-five hundred prophecy’s recorded within its pages? And that of that twenty-five hundred approximately two thousand of them have already come to perfect fruition.
I would add that while there are other books out there that have made predictions about the future none have done so with perfection such as the Bible. As a matter of fact the Holy Bible is the only book known to man that can boast such a high percentage of perfectly fulfilled prophecy. But even this, as impressive as it is doesn’t give the authority to the Bible that I feel it truly deserves. No, in all honesty, I would have to say that when it comes to addressing the true and absolute authority of the Bible there can only be one place that that kind of authority could possibly come from….
That’s right you guessed it, that kind of authority can only come from God. So why do I personally feel that the Bible has undeniable authority? Because God says it does. And that’s all the reason I need. Conclusion: So in closing I believe that one thing should be noted about both topics that I have written about here today, and that is that no matter what the topic of discussion might be, be it faith in God or the authority if the Bible; only God is worthy and capable of having total authority.
Take faith for example, while I could give you all the reasons in the world why you should have faith in God I can’t actually give you that faith, nor can you obtain faith on your own. Only through God can anyone have faith in God. Evidence of this can be seen in Eph. 2:8 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God”. In other words when all is said and done only God has total authority.