Greg Laurie is the author of 12 inspirational books, which are available online.

I believe the Bible is true.

Now, I did not always believe that. In fact, for the first 17 years of my life, I had no real interest in this book called Scripture.

But all that changed after I began to read it for myself. Many people are quick to criticize the Bible, yet have never read its words for themselves.

The Bible stands apart from all other writings, be they secular or religious. It stands apart as the very Word of God. It is the most amazing book ever written. It is literally God’s message to you.

Technically speaking, it is not one book but actually 66 written over a 1,500-year span. Its words were written by more than 40 authors from every walk of life, including kings, peasants, philosophers, fishermen, poets, statesmen and scholars.

Yet all the authors of the Bible write about one theme – God’s redemption of mankind. And each one of these men was inspired by God to write these words.

Scripture says, “Above all, you must understand that no prophecy in Scripture ever came from the prophets themselves or because they wanted to prophesy. It was the Holy Spirit who moved the prophets to speak from God.” (2 Peter 1:20-21 NLT)

But how can we know the Bible is true?

First, I know it is true because it gave me the experience it claims it will give me. Now, that is not the only reason I believe it, and perhaps not the most convincing to the skeptic out there, but it certainly helped me to believe personally.

For example, the Bible says God will forgive my sins. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9 NKJV)

One day, I chose to believe that. I accepted God’s forgiveness and you know what? That sense of guilt and the heavy burden I had been carrying was taken away.

The Bible promised me a peace that “surpasses all human understanding” (Philippians 4:7 NKJV), and I experienced that after I told God I was sorry for my sins and turned from my sin.

The Bible also said that if I came to Jesus, I would become a different person. Scripture promises, “What this means is that those who become Christians become new persons. They are not the same anymore, for the old life is gone. A new life has begun!” (2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT)

Now, I am still a work in progress, but this change that the Bible promised has happened to me and millions of other people.

Second, I know the Bible is true because it is confirmed by science. Contrary to what some people think, Christianity is a very reasonable belief.

“Come now, let us argue this out,” says the LORD. “No matter how deep the stain of your sins, I can remove it. I can make you as clean as freshly fallen snow.” (Isaiah 1:18 NLT)

There is a place for faith, but we don’t have to check our brains at the door. When I believed in Jesus and His Word, the Bible, that was when the world made sense to me. Now I could understand why people did what they did and how lives could be changed.

Now, you might be thinking, “No, the Bible and science contradict each other!” That is not necessarily true. There are many who have scoffed at the Bible over the years, saying how unscientific it is.

Yet, it was the Bible that first said that the number of the stars is beyond counting. Scripture tells us that God “stretched forth the heavens” (Isaiah 51:13 KJV) into a limitless expanse that can never be measured, and filled it with stars that are as numerous as the sands upon the seashore. (see Genesis 22:17)

To your average observer with the latest telescope technology, the visible stars are not uncountable. They are a vast number, but they do not seem impossible to count.

But the Bible flatly states that the number of the stars can be compared, literally, to the number of the grains of sand upon the seashore. Modern science has now established this to be true. Man cannot possibly begin to assess the number of stars.

The Bible says, “By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen.” (Hebrews 11:3 NLT) Centuries after that verse was written, modern science finally recognized that all matter is made up of invisible energy-protons, neutrons and electrons.

Having said all that, let me point out something that is very important for us to know about the Bible. It is not the intention of the Bible to be a textbook on science, per se. If it were, the book would be much thicker than it is, and much less comprehensible.

When the Bible addresses scientific or historical fact, it is always accurate. But the Bible is intended to be a book of redemption. Its primary purpose is not to tell us how the heavens go, but how to go to heaven. It tells us how to know God and how to live in this troubled and confused human race. It is the only book that speaks with authority in this realm.

Third, the Bible is true because it is confirmed by archaeology. Over the years, countless critics have challenged the teachings of the Bible, but recent archaeological findings have confirmed Scripture’s teaching time and time again.

Critics have doubted the Bible because of what it said about crucifixion. They contended that crucifixions did not take place, as Scripture suggests. You can see how such criticism strikes at the very heart of our faith, as so much is said specifically about the crucifixion of Jesus.

But this criticism was silenced in 1968, when the remains of a man crucified in his mid-30s were discovered north of Jerusalem with a seven-inch iron nail still embedded in the heel. The state of the bones indicated that the condemned man’s arms were outstretched and that his feet had been placed sideways, with the nail driven first through a small block of wood and then through both heels into the cross.

Once again, the Bible gave the information before the “experts” had it.

Critics have doubted the Bible over the years because they could find no historical record of some Roman governor named Pontius Pilate. But in 1961, an inscription found at Caesarea Maritima in Israel confirmed that Pontius Pilate was the Roman governor in Judea at the time of Jesus’ crucifixion.

Critics doubted Scripture’s authority because no record of a high priest named Caiaphas existed. But in 1990, the tomb of the high priest Caiaphas was discovered.

Jewish archaeologist Nelson Glueck has said, “It may be stated categorically that no archaeological discovery has ever controverted a biblical reference. Scores of archaeological findings have been made that confirm in clear outline or exact detail the historical statements made in the Bible.”

Fourth, the Bible is true because it is the one book that dares to predict the future. We aren’t talking about a psychic or some tabloid prediction here. We are talking about very specific prophecies that have been fulfilled. No other world religions have books that do this.

Why? If they were to do so, it would be evident that they are not inspired by God, as the Bible is. God can speak of the future with absolute certainty because He knows it as well as we would know the past (even better than we do because we often forget what actually happened).

The basic test of the true God, the true faith, the true Prophet and the true belief lies in this: “Can they predict the future?”

The Bible is the one book that does that, not once or twice but hundreds of times! The present conflict in the Middle East? It was predicted centuries ago that the Jewish people would be scattered to the four corners of the world and that they would regather again in their land. Against all odds, this happened, and Israel officially became a nation on May 14,1948.

The Scripture also pointed out that Israel would be surrounded by enemies and would be attacked. This, too, has happened, is happening and will happen again.

And the Scripture told us that the final conflict of the world would happen in the Middle East and that the tiny city of Jerusalem would be at the center of it.

This has yet to happen, but you can see just how close it is. All of these “signs of the times” were but reminders – reminders of the fact that Jesus Christ is coming back again.

One half of the Bible’s prophecies have already come to take place. Therefore, if one half of them have happened as He has said, should I have any reason to doubt that the remaining ones will happen exactly as God has said? This helps us to see that when God says something is going to happen, you can take it to the bank.

A scientist figured out the odds of just eight biblical prophecies about Jesus being fulfilled by coincidence. For example, the chances that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem were 1 in 280,000. The chances that He would have a forerunner announcing his coming were 1 in 1,000. The chances that He would be betrayed for 30 pieces of silver were 1 in 10,000. The chances that He would have His hands wounded were 1 in 10,000. And the chances that He would ride into Jerusalem on a donkey were 1 in 1,000.

Putting all eight prophecies together, the chances that Jesus would fulfill all of them coincidentally are 1 in 10 to the 28th power.

Imagine covering the entire state of Texas with silver dollars two feet high, marking one of them. Now blindfold someone and have him walk across the state and randomly pick up one silver dollar. The chances of that coin being the one you marked is the same as the chances that Jesus could have fulfilled all eight prophecies by chance!

The fact is Jesus fulfilled many, many prophecies, not to mention the ones fulfilled in other parts of the Bible! You can see why this book has been attacked so much over the years.

The Bible. There is nothing like it. Why not start reading it today and see for yourself?

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