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Question: I have been kind of questioning the Bible. I read every day and study it. I have been thinking lately that I don’t think any of the stuff in the Bible could happen today, like dead people coming back to life, a virgin having a baby, one man killing 6,000 thousand soldiers with a jaw bone, a donkey talking. All of that stuff is hard to believe.
I’m glad that you’re reading the Bible. And it sounds like you’re asking yourself some real honest questions. That’s good! That’s how you get to the root of things, and that’s where real change comes from.
Sometimes it’s helpful to take a peek behind your assumptions:
“I have been thinking lately that I don’t think any of the stuff in the Bible could happen today.”
Think about what you’re saying: I don’t think God raises people from the dead. I don’t believe God can bring a baby into the world without the help of a human father. I don’t think God gives extraordinary strength to people. It sounds like you are questioning the truthfulness of the Bible, and/or behind these events recorded in the Bible, it sounds like you may be questioning God’s ability or willingness to do these things.
By the way, I remember struggling with the same questions you are now, about 20 years ago, when I was in my early 20’s. I wondered how anyone could actually believe these things. And I wondered if I was crazy for wanting to believe them. But no matter how much I wanted to believe, at the time I could not get around my intellectual barriers.
“I know God knows I am having these doubts, but I don’t know what to do about it.”
I think you may find a story from the Bible helpful: Jesus was talking to the religious leaders of his day, who were upset with him because of the miraculous signs that he was doing (and because he was breaking the man-made rules that they were trying to enforce).
Jesus told them, “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life” (John 5:39-40).
Notice, like you, these men were students of the Bible (in their case, the Old Testament). The reason they studied the Bible, according to Jesus, is that they hoped to find the pathway to eternal life. They hoped the Bible would give them the instructions for living a life that’s pleasing to God.
Now here’s the rub: The Bible points to Jesus (not a set of moral instructions) as the way to eternal life. But they refused to come to him. They wanted to do it on their own. As long as you are trying to achieve or earn your own place in heaven, all you will be able to see is your own weakness, your own inability to do what God requires.
The reason you must come to Jesus, is that faith is a gift. If you will come to him with all your doubts, he will not turn you away. He will receive you. And, as you trust him to help you, you will begin to see that he is more than you ever imagined. Once you know who Jesus is, it begins to make sense of everything else in the Bible.
“I think you will have to agree, if someone told you today those things you wouldn’t believe them.”
You’re right. I probably wouldn’t believe them, at least not initially. But the Bible is not just someone or anyone…the Bible claims to be God’s Word.
The Bible was written by prophets who, in many cases, gave their lives to certify that what they said is from God, and by apostles who walked with Jesus, who certify that he died and was raised from the dead. Most of them lost their lives by giving testimony to this.
The apostle John says, “These are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:31). The reason John wrote his Gospel was so that you would read it and believe his testimony, and have eternal life in Jesus Christ.
I encourage you to read John’s Gospel and as you read, come to Jesus and ask him to help you believe. If he really was raised from the dead, that means he’s alive in heaven right now, and you can come to him in a step of faith.
I’m going to pray that you would take this step of faith. It sounds like God is already working in your life. Please write back and let me know how things are going.