Luke 1,1 Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us, 2 just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us, 3 it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4 that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught.
The word is epistemology, and before you decide not to read this blog (a person’s epistemology is one’s way of knowing), let me ask you a simple question: How do you know what you think you know? Let’s face it: It has become one of the most pressing questions of 21st Century life. We live in a world of assumptions bolstered by the growth in social media and what many call “fake news.” That story your child told you about concerning his/her incident on the playground? Did it happen that way? How about that beautiful photo of your friends on Maui? Are those people really happy, or did they scuffle between themselves gathering for the photo? With people showing only their best and with people telling events only their way, are we ever going to get to the facts in life’s daily events? Then we can ask this question: are we ever going to get to the truth?
Such questions about facts and truth surround us seven days a week, and it’s not just a 21st century current event problem. It’s a problem in the Church as Christians approach scripture. The study of the Bible is demanding work. It can be approached casually, and I certainly encourage any such reading. Read the Bible, read the Bible, and read it again. Yet if a person desires to dig, to work hard at understanding, to pursue treasures in the text, with the help of the Holy Spirit the study of scripture requires much effort.
Don’t be discouraged! Our God is an awesome God willing to help all who call upon Him, and the good news is that the Bible comes to us as a bedrock of truth. How do we know this? How do we know that the Bible is just not an early form of social media filled with “fake news?’ Let me suggest one simple answer among many: the writers of the New Testament were persecuted for their faith.
Notice how Luke opens his gospel:
Luke 1,1 Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us, 2 just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us,
The eyewitnesses Luke is talking about includes the Apostles who were all persecuted and most martyred for their proclamation that Jesus is King – the King who rose from the dead. Luke is not simply writing a casual story. He himself is taking a personal risk numbering himself with the Apostles who were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word.
How do we know the Bible is true? We know because it came from a persecuted subculture in a hostile Roman Empire. These were men who did not write for fame and glory. They received no earthly rewards. They didn’t get a book deal. Rather, they wrote because they had witnessed God do amazing, awe-inspiring things, and the Lord was with them in their writing so that one day the world could know the greatest truth of all: Jesus’ loves you and me.