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Need a book (or something) helping me believe in the inspiration of the Bible


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I have been a Christian ever since I was a child, but over the last few years I have had increasing doubt in the fact that the Bible is really the Word of God.

 

I want to believe that it is, but in the back of my mind I keep thinking, "What makes this different from any other religion? Who decided that these letters and stories were The Word of God, and other things aren't? What makes the any different from the Koran, or the Book of Morman, or even myths and tales from other ancient religions? Why are Paul's letters any more significant than any other letter that people wrote within the last two thousand years?"

 

The usual answers I get to this are not helpful. Quoting scripture that say, "All scripture is God-breathed" is not useful to me, for multiple reasons.

 

Anyway, I was wondering if anyone had either a) Thoughts; or b) Book suggestions that you think might be helpful or inspiring to me.

 

I'm not sure I'm looking for a typical "apologetics" book (although I would be open to it). I don't know if someone saying, "Well, the Bible must be true, because archaeologist have found ..." is going to quite convince me. I don't think I'm looking for the "historical" truth of the Bible, but more reason to believe that it is inspired by God.

 

And anything YEC is definitely not going to help me personally.

 

It might help if it was something particularly ... intellectual ... like of a CS Lewis caliber. A very intelligent author, but not too terribly hard to read.

 

 

Any thoughts? Thanks!

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Have you read The Case for Christ, by Lee Strobel? He was an investigative journalist in Chicago who set out to prove there was no way Christ was who He said He was. In the process, he spends a good deal of time on the accuracy and reliability of the Bible itself. It's an easy read that is definitely worth your time, imo.

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I actually read The Case for Christ for similar reasons a while back....

Jenny - I don't think it fits the bill (no offense, Danielle - just my opinion).

Many don't notice - because a lot of people read it when they already have a strong opinion that agrees with his - but it is circular logic at it's finest.

You have to already believe his premises/pardigms, because he uses those to prove his arguments.....

Anyway - not on caliber with CS Lewis at all, IMHO.

Actually - I'd stick with CS Lewis. Read what you haven't already. I can't think of a better author for what you are looking for.

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It might help if it was something particularly ... intellectual ... like of a CS Lewis caliber. A very intelligent author, but not too terribly hard to read.

 

 

I'm not sure if anything currently clickable:) is what you're looking for...maybe the one about same evidence, different conclusions, but I haven't watched it yet...I immediately thought of John Lennox (http://johnlennox.org/)--CS Lewis caliber, intellectual, etc. I've heard him speak, and it was very, very good. As a mathematician and scientist, he definitely comes at it from that viewpoint and has debated Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens--search Youtube if you're into watching debates:D.

 

Again, not sure if that is what you're looking for, but he's worth listening to and reading. Another place that might help is http://www.reasonablefaith.org. I've heard his books are tough to get through, but I've seen some DVDs and he has some very interesting things to say.

 

I know these are general, but they came to mind, so I thought I'd toss them out there. Have fun digging:).

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I actually read The Case for Christ for similar reasons a while back....

Jenny - I don't think it fits the bill (no offense, Danielle - just my opinion).

Many don't notice - because a lot of people read it when they already have a strong opinion that agrees with his - but it is circular logic at it's finest.

You have to already believe his premises/pardigms, because he uses those to prove his arguments.....

Anyway - not on caliber with CS Lewis at all, IMHO.

Actually - I'd stick with CS Lewis. Read what you haven't already. I can't think of a better author for what you are looking for.

 

No worries. I have heard people say that he uses circular logic, and maybe I'm one of those people who went into it with biased opinions that agreed with his conclusions to begin with, but I don't really see it. Imo, he was looking to see if Biblical scholars could logically back up the claims the Bible makes about Christ, and as far as he was concerned, they could.

 

C.S. Lewis is great though, of course. I never meant to imply that Lee Strobel was on par with him.

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Not trying to be difficult but I highly recommend "Letter to a Christian Nation" by Sam Harris. I absolutely think that you will find it both helpful and inspiring. Good luck and best wishes.

 

:iagree:But if you are looking to find logical reasons to increase your level of belief, you won't find it there.

 

I'd also quietly recommend books by Bart Ehrman on the history of the bible--Misquoting Jesus was eye-opening to me, personally.

 

Also, I agree with SailorMom. In my case, Lee Strobel's book I think had the opposite effect than what the author intended.

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I didn't really have a strong faith until I began women's bible studies. I have always considered myself a Christian. I was baptized Catholic, although our family was more of the holiday Catholics. Anyway, I was a skeptical christian. "How could a day be a 24 hour day in Genesis?" "Was Christ really completely sin free?"

You can find similarities in most religious texts. The answers you need, you won't find in a book. It comes with conviction. Books may help you hear what you need to hear to fully convict your spirit. Discerning the Voice of God by Priscilla Shirer is wonderful. She is the daughter of Anthony Evans, a Southern Baptist Minister in Texas. She is a writer, speaker, mother and wife. Beth Moore is also a wonderful source of knowledge and encouragement. She has a book titled: Believing God. They are both well educated women that write with a bit of humor and tell stories of personal experience.

 

I have found that when I struggle with something in my life, I pray and open the Bible. Just let it open where it may. I read the verses and somehow, I find the answers to the questions I need. It happens more often than not.

My true faith did not start until I was 29. In all things I trust in His grace and mercy to pull me out of the pits that I fall into. So far, it has not been misplaced.

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No worries. I have heard people say that he uses circular logic, and maybe I'm one of those people who went into it with biased opinions that agreed with his conclusions to begin with, but I don't really see it. Imo, he was looking to see if Biblical scholars could logically back up the claims the Bible makes about Christ, and as far as he was concerned, they could.

 

C.S. Lewis is great though, of course. I never meant to imply that Lee Strobel was on par with him.

 

 

You'd be in the majority on Strobel. I'm definitely the minority :) My cousin has a PhD in Divinity, and you should hear us argue about this one :grouphug:

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I don't know if you want to be convinced that your beliefs are real, or you want to explore all avenues. Forgive me if it's the former.

 

When I was letting go of God, I did a lot of research on my own religion as well as other religions. Eventually I decided that none were true. This site helped me in my journey.

 

http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/

Edited by floridamom
fixed typos
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I understand exactly what you mean. For me there was not much point in looking to outside resources (great preachers or books about faith), the decision had to be internal. If I could not see the sense of the issue from looking at the Bible there was not much man could say to add to it.

 

I also have little patience for 'experts' who don't allow/encourage/admit to questioning. For me (again) a belief is not worth having unless I have thoroughly questioned it. :001_smile:

 

I am a Christian and believe that Bible is the inspired Word of God. I am not a literalist nor do I believe in YEC. I believe the Bible contains all that is required (along with guidance of the Spirit) to seek God and receive salvation.

 

After I had 'thought my own thoughts" I started looking at books by theoloians. My favorites are C.S.Lewis and John Wesley.

 

I hope you find what you need.

 

p.s. not sure if this helps, but one thought that continued to ring for me was that so many myths and religions rise and fade away, but the story of Christ not only endured but has significantly altered the world.

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Last summer I half-decided to give up my faith. I ended up doing a Kay Arthur study on the word "covenant" as it is used throughout the Bible. This may not be quite what you're looking for, but I saw patterns that I hadn't seen before. It made me believe that the biblical story was designed by an involved God, through many people over a long period of time. I'm still amazed by it.

 

I did give up my faith a few years before that, after years of grief. I read John Eldredge's Epic then, and it was just what I needed. That book is more directed toward suffering, though.

 

As a teen, my faith was strengthened by reading Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis.

 

I agree with what several others have said, though. What keeps my faith going are the things I perceive as God's direct involvement in my life.

 

I still have my own questions about the Bible. I do believe it is inspired by God. At this point, I'm OEC, but I acknowledge that I don't have all the answers.

Edited by mudboots
edited out the part that sounded like a formula
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:grouphug:

 

Someone mentioned Bart Ehrman's Misquoting Jesus. Misquoting Truth, by Timothy Paul Jones, argues against Ehrman's view. I found it very helpful in defending more traditional views of the origins of the Gospels. Both books are interesting reading.

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I actually read The Case for Christ for similar reasons a while back....

Jenny - I don't think it fits the bill (no offense, Danielle - just my opinion).

Many don't notice - because a lot of people read it when they already have a strong opinion that agrees with his - but it is circular logic at it's finest.

You have to already believe his premises/pardigms, because he uses those to prove his arguments.....

Anyway - not on caliber with CS Lewis at all, IMHO.

Actually - I'd stick with CS Lewis. Read what you haven't already. I can't think of a better author for what you are looking for.

 

I'm glad someone else said this. I tried to watch the movie version of the Case for Christ and had to turn it off, the logic was so bad.

 

Agreed that C.S. Lewis is amazing.. read or reread Mere Christianity.

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Until recently, I didn't know that not all Christians believe that the Bible is the literal and infallible word of God. I didn't know that there are Christians who do not focus on what to believe, on but how to be a disciple of Christ. It is very encouraging to me, because I was having many of the same doubts you are experiencing. My understanding of what it means to be a Christian is changing.

 

I've been reading every book I can get my hands on by authors I would have avoided in the past, because they were not conservative/fundamental. Right now I'm reading books by Marcus Borg. In the past, I would never have considered reading them. Now my mind has been devouring them like I'm starving for food that I wasn't getting from the brand of Christianity that I live amidst.

 

I hope you find what you need.

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For the gospels themselves, I really liked this book - http://www.amazon.com/Can-Trust-Gospels-Investigating-Reliability/dp/1581348665

 

It's scholarly and accessible and written by someone who comes across as thoughtful vs. ideologue. It was very encouraging and helpful to me in accepting the reliability of the Gospels, which in turn helps with other areas of Scripture.

 

ETA: The author's MDiv is from Harvard (definitely not a 'conservative school'), he studied with professors of all stripes, and he expresses respect for those not persuaded by his points, and he comes across as both intellectual and accessible. His book is in large part to address Ehrman along with Davinci code ideas floating around pop culture.

Edited by Sevilla
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rather than trying to read a book (or something) to "prove" to you the bible - live its tenents. ask yourself if by living the tenets of the bible makes you a better person than you were, last week, last month, last year, last century . . . .

 

or as Jesus broke down into just two things - Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, might, mind and strength, and the second is like unto it - love thy neighbor as thyself.

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Anyway, I was wondering if anyone had either a) Thoughts; or b) Book suggestions that you think might be helpful or inspiring to me.

 

I'm not sure I'm looking for a typical "apologetics" book (although I would be open to it). I don't know if someone saying, "Well, the Bible must be true, because archaeologist have found ..." is going to quite convince me. I don't think I'm looking for the "historical" truth of the Bible, but more reason to believe that it is inspired by God.

 

And anything YEC is definitely not going to help me personally.

 

It might help if it was something particularly ... intellectual ... like of a CS Lewis caliber. A very intelligent author, but not too terribly hard to read.

Any thoughts? Thanks!

 

I recommend You Can Understand The Bible by Peter Kreeft. I think it is exactly what you are looking for.

 

http://www.amazon.com/You-Can-Understand-The-Bible/dp/1586170457/ref=lp_B000APBQD0_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1335908065&sr=1-7

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I will offer my thoughts :grouphug:.

 

For me, believing the Bible is inspired by God is definitely the *result* of faith, not the *cause* of faith or a prerequisite of faith. I don't think it is intellectually *indefensible*, but it's not intellectually defensible outside of faith, either.

 

I believe that the foundational message of the whole Bible, OT and NT, is to point us to Christ's atoning death on the cross. The Law is written on our hearts and can be seen in nature, but the solution to the problem raised by the Law - that I am meant to be with God, that to be with God I must be perfect, yet I *cannot* be perfect :confused: - is only found in Christ, the Word made flesh.

 

And the Bible, God's Word, is what God wanted us to know about the Word, Christ, the savior of the world. In fact, the Holy Spirit did not just work in the hearts and minds of the men who wrote the words of the Bible, but works in the hearts and minds of everyone who *hears* (or reads or sings or thinks about) the words of the Bible :).

 

God's Word is a means of grace, a means by which the Holy Spirit actively works in me, forgiving sins, creating and strengthening faith. The Gospel message does not passively point us to Christ, but God *actively* works through the Gospel to bring us to Christ and keep us in Christ :).

 

So whatever errors may or may not be in the written words of the Bible, I believe that God is strong enough to perserve the purity of Gospel message - the point of the whole Bible - and to overcome any human errors as He actively works salvation through it. And that He has indeed done so and continues to do so.

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If you are looking to believe I would not recommend McDowell or Strobel. If you are interested in why they are such bad arguements in favor of the Bible I recommend: http://www.amazon.com/Challenging-Verdict-Cross-Examination-Strobels-Christ/dp/0968925901/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_S_T1?ie=UTF8&coliid=IFL588WGJH78&colid=2HXRKFHA5H4X7 AND http://www.amazon.com/The-Case-Against-For-Christ/dp/1578840058/ref=pd_bxgy_b_img_b .

 

I don't think that you can find inspiration for belief in a book. I think that you either believe or you don't and you can't convince yourself to do either.

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In short, I believe the Bible is the Gospel message - that we we dead in our sins, couldn't do one single thing to save ourselves, yet Christ died in our place, and through His death, God brings us to life in Him :) - written down as God wanted it to be. As the Holy Spirit actively works through the Gospel now, so the Spirit worked then through the Gospel then, as it was written down, and so the Spirit worked through the Gospel throughout the intervening ages :).

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I do agree that belief doesn't come through a book or through reason or feelings - but from God. When my faith is struggling, I pray that God would help strengthen it through my hearing the Word (and partaking of the sacraments - the Word joined with tangible objects), and go hear the Word and partake of the sacraments - let God work in me through the means of grace :).

 

:grouphug:

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{{OP}}

 

I have been on a very similar journey. I event posted "I don't think I want to be a Christian anymore" on this forum. ;)

 

The predictable answers just reinforce the questions.

 

The "anti" answers are understandable, but often faith to affirm the desire for spirituality.

 

It's spiritual limbo.

 

I've settled into a set of beliefs I am comfortable with, but I don't put myself out there anymore in certain settings seeking affirmation.

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I recommend You Can Understand The Bible by Peter Kreeft. I think it is exactly what you are looking for.

 

http://www.amazon.com/You-Can-Understand-The-Bible/dp/1586170457/ref=lp_B000APBQD0_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1335908065&sr=1-7

 

:iagree:

 

For what you want Kreeft is perfect. Amazingly intellectual but yet so easy to read. He's a PhD in philosophy and teaches at Brown, if I'm not mistaken. (On the kindle can't check)

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If you don't believe the Bible why would you believe the word of a man? Sorry. I don't mean that in a hateful way, I just don't see how reading something from an obvious human author would convince you when the Word of God doesn't. Praying He will reveal the truth to you.

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If you don't believe the Bible why would you believe the word of a man? Sorry. I don't mean that in a hateful way, I just don't see how reading something from an obvious human author would convince you when the Word of God doesn't. Praying He will reveal the truth to you.

 

Just FYI, this is beyond not helpful. It is truly, absolutely, 100% counter productive to people who believe who are critically thinking and exploring. It is anti-evangelistic.

 

It also shows a narrow focus on a living God.

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