When Thy Son Asks: How do you know the Scriptures are the only source of truth?

The sly visitor knew that everything Eve enjoyed hinged on her trusting God’s Word. Satan gripped the pin and plied; “Hath God said?” And twisted; “Ye shall not surely die.” Then, with a diabolic yank, “Ye shall be as gods,” Eve’s pin slid clear out of the hinge. Paradise lost. How did Satan do it? By attacking God’s Word; by suggesting that it wasn’t the only truth out there.

Satan’s attacks haven’t changed because spiritual blessings still hinge on trusting God’s Word. So, what holds the pin in place? Why trust the Scriptures as the only source of absolute truth?

All or Nothing

Does the Bible claim to be the truth? Does it claim to be exclusive, the only source of divine truth?

Speaking about God’s written Word, Psalm 119 says, “Thy Word is true” (v 160). Proverbs says, “Every word of God is pure,” where “pure” has the idea of “put to the test and proven” (30:5). The Lord Jesus says about the written Word of God: “Thy Word is truth,” and “Scripture cannot be broken” (John 17:17, 10:35).

The Lord Jesus often used the expressions, “It is written” and, “The Scriptures say” to show the authority of the written Word of God. He condemned those who put reasoning or tradition on par with the Scriptures (Matt 22:29, Mark 7:13).

Both the Old and New Testaments state that the divinely-given Word must not be added to. “Every Word of God is pure … Add thou not unto His words, lest He reprove thee” (Prov 30:5-6). And in the final words of the Revelation: “If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book” (Rev 22:18-19).

Jude says, “Ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (v 3b). “The faith” refers to the totality of what is to be believed, the sum of truth. The complete sum of truth “was once delivered,” where “once” means “once for all,” never added to or repeated. “Delivered” shows that it is a completed act and a work that God has done. Jude is describing a completed collection of all divinely communicated truth that God has given to the saints, the Bible.

Most people will admit that the Bible contains some truth, but the Bible presents itself as a whole package. We have seen that it claims to be the complete God-given collection of absolute truth.1 If the Bible is true, then its claim to be the only source of truth must also be true. If the Bible is wrong when it claims to be the only source of truth, then it’s not reliable. It’s all or nothing.

Fact Check

How do you test all or nothing? Wait to see if every detail is fulfilled? “Till heaven and earth pass away” (Matt 5:18, Luke 21:33)? Even then, you still haven’t tested the things the Bible describes from before creation. And how do you test the thoughts of God? The other option is to make a decision based on what can be tested.

You can test the unity of the Bible’s 66 books. Would 40 writers spread over a 2,000 year period agree on every point? Check the Bible. You will find harmony, precision, and complex interconnections in the themes it develops from start to finish—evidence that points to a single author Who breathed out each word (2 Tim 3:16).

Study the Bible’s history.2 Thousands of manuscripts have been found, and more continue to be found, that confirm the accuracy of its wording. Archaeology continues to verify the details of people and places the Bible mentions. And notice that every effort to destroy the Bible has failed, supporting its claim to be indestructible (Luke 21:33).

Look at the Bible’s prophetic accuracy. The improbability of a long series of specific predictions coming true is staggering. You will find hundreds of them fulfilled throughout the Bible’s history. Statistically, chance is an impossible explanation. The Bible’s claim that God is “declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times the things that are not yet done” is credible (Isa 46:10).

These are only a few of the areas where you can put the Scriptures to the test.3 The deeper you dig, the clearer it becomes that believing the Bible is no leap in the dark. After all the provable is proven, the only reasonable conclusion is that the rest must also be true, just as the Bible claims. At that point, it demands faith, a very rational faith, the pin in the hinge.

End of the Path

Was it reasonable for God, as Creator, to expect Adam and Eve to trust His word? Sadly, against all reason, the words of a snake prevailed.

God hasn’t changed. “Without faith it is impossible to please Him” (Heb 11:6). He still has every right to expect us to trust Him. He has left plenty of evidence to make faith reasonable. But, ultimately, faith is required because He requires it. How do I know the Scriptures are the only source of truth? They claim to be. The evidence is compelling. So at the end of the path of the provable, I step out in faith, trusting His Word.4 Proofs make me think so. Faith lets me know so. I know because God says so.

1 Additional helpful verses include: 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:12, 20-21; 3:15-16; and 1 Corinthians 13:9-10.

2 A well-written book on the history of the Bible by Neil R. Lightfoot, How We Got the Bible.

3 A good resource on this topic by John Ankerberg, Dillon Burroughs, Taking a Stand for the Bible.

4 God’s written Word leads to faith in the Word made flesh (Rom 10:8-17; John 1:1-14). The written Word finds both its source and its perfect fulfillment in Christ, the incarnate Word (Col 3:16; Rom 10:17 ESV; Luke 24:27). The incarnate Word, as we noted of the written Word, is the expression of God, is true and exclusive, continues eternally, and demands our complete trust (John 1:18; 14:6; Rev 1:17-18; John 11:25-26).