I believe.
I believe the Bible.
I believe in Holy Scripture inspired by God.

By why?
Why do I believe the Bible?

I know very few Christians who can adequately answer this question. If they are challenged by a skeptic at work as to exactly why they believe the Bible they find themselves on uncomfortable ground; their hands break out in a sweat as they fumble for a defense. Perhaps they go home, dig out a Josh McDowell book , cram for the “test”, try to memorize a few apologetic facts, and then head back to work the next day ready to explain why they believe the Bible…based on the arguments they read and tried to memorize the night before.

But the problem with this defense is that it is disingenuous. As true as the apologetic arguments for the veracity of Scripture may be, it is not why they believe the Bible. The truth is, they believed the Bible before they knew a single apologetic argument. I doubt that one in ten thousand Christians believes the Bible because of historical, archeological, textual, literary, philosophical evidence. They believe in the Bible for a completely different reason, though they probably have never consciously understood this reason.

I believe the Bible because I believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ and because I believe in the Church.

Here’s how it works…

I believe in the resurrection of Jesus because of my own encounter with the resurrected Savior. It is entirely a subjective experience. I can’t prove my own subjective experience to another person, but I know my own experience. I can’t prove empirically that I love my wife. But I do and I subjectively know I do. And I can’t prove empirically that I have encountered Jesus of Nazareth as the risen Savior and life transforming Lord, but I have and I know I have. My subjective experiences are not invalidated by my inability to empirically prove them to an outside observer. You can either take my testimony to my personal experience as credible or not.

The resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth has many credible witnesses and historical attestations and these are well documented and can be persuasively presented. But I believe in the resurrection of Jesus, first and foremost, because of my own experience with Jesus Christ as the resurrected Lord and Savior.

But my encounter with the resurrected Christ did not occur apart from mediation.

The message of the resurrection was given to me by the Church—the community of believers who have passed this gospel on from generation to generation. My leap of faith into the reality of the resurrection was prompted by the faithful of witness of the Church to the gospel of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

And this Church which first introduced me to the good news of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus also told me about their book—the Bible.

Because I believe in the resurrection of Jesus by my experience, I believe in the Church that gave me the message that led to my experience. And the Church also gave me their book. Quite simply, because I believe in the Church I believe the Bible.

Jesus (experience)….Church (witness)….Bible (authority).

This way the believer does not have to defend the Bible by themselves.

When Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, etc., attack the Bible, the believer does not have to go toe to toe with them and try to match wits with them and do their own apologetic heavy lifting. Instead, they can simply say, “Sorry, Richard, Chris, Sam, I believe the Church, not you. Then the Church can bring forth its own scholars, its own heavy weight champions to do battle with the likes of Richard, Chris, Sam, etc. Let Richard, Chris and Sam fight with Alister McGrath or William Lane Craig or N.T. Wright or C.S. Lewis (or Augustine or Aquinas for that matter)…but not the lone individual Christian. This way Sister Sally doesn’t have to spend all her time reading Josh McDowell books, which she really doesn’t understand anyway, trying to convince herself that this is why she believes the bible, when in reality it isn’t so. If she does this and tries to defend her faith with a collection of memorized-last-night-McDowell-apologetics, she is really being disingenuous…because this is not why she believes the bible. And she will come across as ill-informed, ill-equipped, and insincere.

The Church has its apologists (from Augustine to Zacharias) so that not every individual believer has to be an apologist.

If you believe in the Church you don’t have to fight all your own battles. The Church will fight many battles for you. And that’s a relief.

But if you are a believer without the Church or apart from the Church, you have to defend the faith on your own. And not many are capable of that.

(Not to mention that a believer who is disconnected with the Church has no real right to claim the Christian Scriptures—for they were written, collected and canonized by the Church.)

Thus the benefits of a higher ecclesiology.

It’s nice to have an Augustine or an Aquinas in your corner. Let the skeptics mess with those cats.

The community of believers can trust the Church, call on the Church, lean on the Church, depend on the Church.

But the Enlightenment influenced individual by himself as a lone(ly) believer has a huge responsibility, that quite honestly, he is probably not capable of.

The gates of hell will not prevail against the Church. But the gates of hell might very well beat the brains out of the lone individual. You need Jesus. And you need the Church that told you about Jesus. And you need the book the Church has given to you.


I believe in Jesus because of my experience.
I believe in the Church which bears witness to Jesus
I believe in the Bible created, collected and canonized by the Church.




PS The painting is Credo by Esme Thompson