Is it OK with Jesus for us to believe him (and believe in him); and also have severe doubt about the bible being "OKed" by 1.Him 2. the Holy Spirit 3. or God?

Great question! (But that seems to be the only kind I get around this wonderful website!..I am blessed!). My short answer is "yes," but of course I cannot leave it at that! The question, though phrased to expect a "yes" or "no" checkmark, is deep and layered enough to require a more qualified and nuanced response. So don't turn off the sermon yet! It's "yes..and yet" answer, for sure.

By the way (and this goes for all questioners on this website), if I have not really addressed your underlying concerns, let me know; I'd love to address them, or attempt to; so feel free to send me ..and maybe stump me with..some "questions behind the question."

So again, it is "OK" with Jesus, but Jesus is dying to (actually "died to"...literally) help folks see that the Bible is not only "OK"ed by him and His Father and Spirit (it was a joint endorsement), but God's unique and necessary written word and revelation ,and therefore something that we should not live or navigate life without. It is "OK" with him in the sense that he is thrilled we are even considering reading it/actually reading it/exploring questions of its origin and purpose, because He of all people knows the untold gold we inherit as we read it in such a way that it is our Lifeline and plumbline. And he knows that the more we read it, even with an honest uncertainty(might as well be honest..too and the church hasn't always allowed that), we are drawing closer to grasping it and finding it real. To apply the old cliche about "Jesus loves you just the way you are, but too much to leave you that way," aimed towards this current question, it becomes, "Yes, it's OK with Jesus for you to believe him (and believe in Him),and have severe doubt about the Bible being OKed by Him, the Holy Spirit and God...but he loves you so much that he will go out of his way to lead you to the inevitable conclusion of that belief (if it is pursued with prayer and honest inquiry) that the Bible does have the Trinity's blessing behind it.

Of course, questions arise. If the "us" you are speaking of is yourself, I would be sure your "severe doubts" are not actually about one person's/one tradition's INTERPRETATION of the Bible. I have severe doubts about many groups' spin on Scripture. So clearly we need to whittle down to what is the Bible, and what does it actually say and mean. This may sound all too obvious, and something that should go without saying, but I think the issue is potentially huge. Many have doubted or discounted the Divine inspiration and breathing of Scripture because they have been taught that the Word says or implies something that it does not (women must always wear their hair in a bun, we have to dress a certain way to please God, we have to keep tons of commandments to keep God happy or us saved, wives are to blindly submit to husbands even when they are abusive, etc. etc.). Even the most seasoned and studied Christians sometimes assume the script of Scripture says something even antithetical to what it does! Another crucial question: which "Bible" do we mean: Catholic? Protestant? Mormon? Which translation/version: NIV? King James? The original Hebrew and Greek manuscripts? Watchtower? These choices make a clear difference (as you might guess, I believe the 66-book version, which has the unbelievably strong and stalwart backing of the early church councils as being the extent and content of Scripture (for further info, see F.F. Bruce's classic: The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable?", and my column on translations here), is the "Bible" as we were intended to receive and believe , and that versions translated by non-Christian sects..like Mormon and Watchtower versions... are severe and dangerous departures from what we are meant to treat as God-edited.

Clearly, the Bible is self-authenticating in its witness to itself. By this I mean, in its own pages it offers an unconditional and explicit "OK" and stamp of approval by all three members of the Trinity that you named.( 1.FATHER: "All Scripture," 2 Tim 3;16 boldly asserts, "is God-breathed, and profitable..."; 2.JESUS: In Luke 24:27, Jesus personally endorses the Bible by calling it Scripture; 3.HOLY SPIRIT: 2 Peter 1:21 asserts unapologetically that the Holy Spirit is the source of Scriptural inspiration) Of course this can be seen as a circular argument... ("Of course the Bible assumes/affirms that," the sincere scoffer can argue," but is it TRUE just because it claims truth?") ,and we cannot trust wholly what could be a logical and philosophical fallacy; all based on a potentially erroneous "a priori" argument that may not hold weight or water. So indeed I have staked my life and salvation on the prior (and post) faith-assumption that the Bible is authentic, accurate and authoritative. And in the end, it must be a scientifically/philosophically "untestable" leap of faith that what the Word says is divinely inspired. And the way you have carefully labeled your question: "believing him(and believing in Him)," leads me to suggest that such belief will inexorably lead to increased "holy confidence" in the divine "OK" and inspiration of Scripture. However, in addition to the Scriptures' witness to its own veracity and authority, God has promised us abundant wisdom (James 1:3) as we pray..even about such "taboo" (or so we have been told) prayers, as "God, please reveal to me whether Scripture is Your word or not. I have severe doubts." A well-intentioned " I do believe; help my unbelief" is a valid and vital prayer, and in fact is a "straight out of Scripture" prayer that Jesus didn't judge but immediately jumped on to answer (Visit Mark 9:24 for this amazing transaction). Even 'saints' and spiritual heroes in the league of Noah, Moses, Job (he had good reason, eh?), and Jesus himself (!! Matthew 26:39, Mark 15:34) tasted and expressed seasons of doubt and were not doomed and damned because of it. And Thomas, what was his nickname for a spell?

A final commentary again on the wonderful way you have framed and phrased the question: assuming belief of, AND belief in, Jesus. Jesus is indeed perhaps the member of the Trinity to focus on first in this matter. For only He of all three members of the Godhead is specifically called /named the same name as Scripture; He and the Bible are both called the "Word." So he is in a sense an incarnation not only of God but of all that Scripture is intended to be (Matthew 5:17-20). And in light of Stephen's "famous last words" at his Acts 8:54-56 martyrdom , check that as he was dying, he looked to see the "glory of God", and what did he see? Technically, not the Father or the Holy Spirit, but Jesus. One of my pastors, in preaching on this text, proffered the following principle which I think is sound and helpful here: "Look for God, and you will see Jesus." If you are really seeking the Father (which is step one, Matthew 6:33), you will drawn to focus on Jesus (Colossians 1:15, step two); and once you have officially "fixed your eyes on Him" (as in Hebrews 12:2), He in turn will build step three for you, and introduce you the the third and final member of this Cosmic Committee: the Holy Spirit, "who will lead us into all truth," and (significantly) is then self effacing-enough to deflect the glory for himself, and point and position the floodlight (J. I. Packer's appropriate image, see the highlighted section of this good article: Click here) back onto the center of the faith and Trinity: Jesus. So one may start with any member of the Trinity, but there is a reason we are called Christ-ians , and not "Father-ians" or "Holy Spirit-ians." There is something so central about Jesus Christ, that as we make Him the central download of our lives , our lives then revolving and evolving around him in the kind of "belief" you
seem to have initiated, we will find wisdom about all truth being offered to us, even about the very essence and essential of Holy Scripture.

Having said that, i reiterate again that yes it's "OK" , in the mind and economy of Jesus Christ-- for now-- to be where you are. The way to the door of salvation is narrow, this Jesus said, and "few find it." But it is also a very simple qualification to receive salvation; in fact the "door" is wide open, and actually IS Jesus Himself (John 10:9..Which brings up the most fundamental question, "believe" in Jesus is not just intellectual assent..."even the demons believe," the Book says in James 2:19, "but they are not saved"..one must believe enough to "open the door" of Revelation 3:20).

And note that the Book nowhere says "believe in the Scripture and you will be saved.' Jesus rebuked that heresy in John 5:39-40! It wisely places the locus and focus elsewhere: "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved." And once belief in Christ is thus experientially and personally entered into, even cautiously or experimentally, we will be lead into consequent truths, such as the inspiration of the Bible. The old line many skeptics use, "I believe in Jesus..I believe he was a good teacher, but I don't believe he was/is God," C.S. Lewis so articulately and artfully demolishes and exposes as itself a logical fallacy. What is Jesus main teaching, if granted, he was a "good teacher"? Even a cursory perusal of the Book of Books which houses his teaching, reveals that his teaching centered around ....(gasp!) the claim that He was God! Well, here is that argument from a better preacher than me:

Jesus claimed to be the Son of God. It follows that he was either a liar, a madman, or the Son of God in fact. Jesus' universally acknowledged goodness and wisdom rule out the first two possibilities: we must therefore accept the third. This argument, reduced to the neatly alliterative 'Lunatic, Liar or Lord' (or 'Mad, bad or God') and nick-named 'the trilemma' is a mainstay of much popular Christian evangelism and apologetics. It sometimes seems to be more famous either than the book, Mere Christianity, in which it appears or the man, C.S Lewis, who wrote it.

The term 'trilemma' is not used by Lewis. It is coined by Josh McDowell in his book Evidence Which Demands a Verdict, a collection of quotations and sources intended to save preachers the trouble of reading any actual books. McDowell presents the argument in the form of a simple flow chart, a series of 'either/or' propositions, (Jesus either was or was not the Son of God; he either did or did not believe it Himself, and you must either Accept or Reject him.) McDowell cites various secular and religious writers who insist on Jesus' moral goodness and wisdom and thus rules out the possibility that he could have been mad or bad. ('Someone who lived as Jesus lived, taught as Jesus taught and died as Jesus died could not have been a liar.') He therefore takes Jesus divinity as proven. In an astonishing post-script he adds:

'The evidence is clearly in favor of Jesus as Lord. However, some people reject the clear evidence because of the moral implications involved. There needs to be a moral honesty in the above considerations of Jesus either as a liar, lunatic, or Lord and God.
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(Click here for source above)


"A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher, " Lewis himself said, " He would either be a lunatic on a level with a man who says he is a poached egg or else he would have to be the devil of hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the son of God, or a madman or something worse." All this to say, I recommend C.S. Lewis to any honest seeker or doubter, he is great companion on the journey, and the last century's leading apologist for intelligent questions such as yours. I am guessing I has similar reservations before I read Lewis's "Mere Christianity" .


So yes, its "OK," to answer your question with a qualified "OK", but because you yourself have qualified the question as a believer in Jesus, and have not "framejacked" the context, it is a likely a "given" that you are praying for wisdom about the Bible, and thus will receive the clear answer of Scripture itself about itself , AND experience, perhaps in a serendipitous and simultaneous ("Spiritaneous") way, an "objective" answer to prayer, that the Word is heartily and eternally "OKed" by Father Son and Holy Spirit. At least I hope I have helped along that path.

 

 

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