How Do You Know Christianity is True?
From what has been said about evidence and faith, it might appear that I believe we cannot know with any certainty the truth of Christianity. Such is a gross misrepresentation of what Scripture teaches. I’m convinced that we can know beyond any doubt that the truth claims of Christianity are, in fact, true.
The knowledge that Christianity is true doesn’t come through “evidences.” Rather, that knowledge comes through the work of the Holy Spirit. “You have been anointed by the Holy One, and all of you have knowledge. . . . As for you, the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and so you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has been taught you, abide in him” (1 Jn 2:20, 27). John doesn’t tell us what this anointing is. Three theories have been advanced: baptism, anointing with oil, and the presence of the Holy Spirit. It’s my conviction that this anointing refers to the Holy Spirit, for John says that this anointing abides and teaches (two functions of the Holy Spirit).
Notice that the anointing teaches so well that these Christians had no need to be taught. Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would teach.
- “The Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you” (Jn 14:26).
- It is through the Holy Spirit that we know. John 14:16-17, 20. 1 John 3:24; 4:13.
- The Holy Spirit serves as a witness (1 Jn 5:6-10).
- The Holy Spirit convicts the world (Jn 16:7-11).
Nearly ever verse we’ve given as evidence of the Spirit’s role in apologetics could easily refer to the miraculous work of the Spirit. The passages in 1 John:
- 1 John 2:20, 27: If the anointing refers to the work of the Spirit, these Christians might have received the miraculous measure of the Spirit through the laying on of apostolic hands (Acts 8).
- 1 John 3:24; 4:13 do seem to refer to the non-miraculous indwelling of the Holy Spirit available to all Christians.
- 1 John 5:6-10 could possibly refer to the miraculous work the Spirit did through the earthly ministry of Jesus.
The passages in John refer specifically to promises Jesus made to the apostles; they are the ones who are present when Jesus spoke these promises. John 13:1-11; 18:1. It would be a great exegetical fallacy to apply what Jesus said to all Christians.
So, why would i say that the spirit is the means by which we know the Bible is true?
It is the Spirit who inspired the apostles to write Scripture!
The Lord accepted the Holy Spirit’s work in the inspiration of the Old Testament.
He also states that there would come a time when the apostles would speak the very words of the Holy Spirit. Mark 13:11. Notice, however, that the context does not concern the writing of Scripture, but the apostles’ speaking before the Roman authorities.
Luke 1:67ff. Granted, Zechariah did not write Scripture, but the idea is that he spoke directly from the Holy Spirit.
Agabus: Acts 21:11. The Spirit guided what was said (1 Cor 12:3). That there were prophets in the early church who spoke by the guidance of the Holy Spirit is important—not all the New Testament was written by apostles.
Jesus promises the Holy Spirit would come upon them. Acts 1:8.
The Holy Spirit came upon the Apostles at Pentecost: Acts 2:1-4. Notice that in verse 4, the Apostles speak as the Holy Spirit gave them ability. Context is that they are speaking in foreign languages, but the spirit is the One who gave them this ability.
When the disciples prayed for boldness (Acts 4:31). The Holy Spirit was involved in decisions in the early church (Acts 15:28-29). The good news was preached to early Christians through the Holy Spirit (1 Pet 1:12).
The Apostles accepted the Old Testament as written by the Holy Spirit.
- Acts 1:16 (Peter proceeded to quote Ps 69:25 and 109:8)
- Acts 4:2-5. Notice in context that it’s God speaking through the Holy Spirit in Psalm 2:1-2
- Acts 28:25 (Is 6:9-10)
- Hebrews 3:7 (Ps 95:7-11)
- Hebrews 9:8
- Hebrews 10:15 (Jer 31:33-34)
- 2 Peter 1:20-21
The New Testament, likewise, makes claims for its divine origin.
- 1 Corinthians 11:23
- 1 Corinthians 14:37
- 1 Corinthians 2:11-13
2 Timothy 3:14-17 “All scripture is inspired by God.” What is inspiration? The Greek term only occurs here and literally means “God breathed.” What does God-breathed mean?
- One: Could mean that scripture is breathed out by God—that he told the writers of Scripture what to write.
- Two: Could mean that God breathed life into scripture. That’s what he did with Adam (Gen 2:7). Hebrews 4:12.
This Bible class was originally taught by Dr. Justin Imel, Sr., at Church of Christ Deer Park in Deer Park, Texas.