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How to we know the Bible is God’s Word? An Argument from Below

This argument proceeds inductively from the many confirmations we receive when we try to see if what the Bible says is true. This is why I call it an Argument from Below – because it begins in the dirt, amongst the weeds where the Bible’s histories and truths can be discovered accurate. The argument then makes the inference that since the Bible is reliable in those areas where it can be confirmed, then it can be trusted as reliable in the areas where it cannot be confirmed.

One such area that cannot be confirmed is the Bible’s own teaching about itself as inspired. Here is how the argument is laid out.

  1. In every area where the Bible can be confirmed it has been proven that it is reliable.
  2. We have no good reason to distrust those areas of the Bible that cannot be disconfirmed.

    Therefore,
  3. the Bible is reliable in those areas which cannot be confirmed.
  4. The Bible teaches that it is the inspired word of God.

    Therefore,
  5. The Bible’s teaching that it is the inspired word of God is reliable.

    Therefore,
  6. The Bible is the inspired word of God.

As you can see, the argument starts with the evidence for the Bible’s reliability, proceeds to the conclusion the Bible is reliable, and arrives through the reliability of Scripture at the inspiration of scripture. This conclusion means not only that the Bible is God’s word, but that the Bible is a reliable way to knowing God and his plan of salvation.

Since this is an inductive argument, the conclusion is not guaranteed by the premises, even though they are true and the structure of the argument is informally valid. The main inductive leap in the conclusion of Step 3. Though these conclusions are not inevitably true, it is rendered more plausible or likely given the premises. You may be temped to think that because the conclusion is not logically certain, then the argument is unsuccessful. However, because it is an inductive argument, the more evidence we pile up supporting each of the premises one and two, the more likely the conclusion becomes.

I present arguments and evidence for premises one and two in succeeding posts.

Step 4 references the teaching of the Bible that it is the inspired word of God.

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

2 Timothy 3:16-17

More evidence for the Bible’s teaching that it is inspired is found here in the post about the Argument from Above.

Step 5 concludes the Bible’s teaching of inspiration is reliable. It leaves open to interpretation whether that is because it can be confirmed or because it cannot be confirmed. Whether inspiration is confirmable or un-confirmable, it doesn’t matter to this argument, because either way, inspiration is reliable.

Step 6 is also an inductive leap. All we need to assume to make this inference is that a reliable teaching can be counted on as true. Since the teaching of the inspiration of scripture is reliable, it is true the Bible is inspired.

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