Mar 4, 2013
At the beginning of his ministry, Billy Graham was confident that the Bible was the true Word of God.
But then he read some authors who did not believe the Bible was the Word of God. And now his good friend Chuck Templeton was telling him that not everything in the Bible was true.
So this raised troubling questions for Billy Graham — questions he knew he needed to answer.
So what did he do?
He began with careful study. He read scholars on both sides. And he studied what the Bible taught about itself.
He saw Paul’s statement that all Scripture was inspired, “God-breathed,” which means it is from God Himself (2Tim 3:16).
He studied Peter’s statement that prophets did not speak on their own, but as they were moved by the Holy Spirit (2Pet 1:21).
He studied Jesus’ statement that God’s words would not pass away (Matt 24:35).
These and other Scriptures strengthened his confidence that the Bible was the Word of God, which meant everything it taught was true.
But the battle was just beginning.
On The Rack
Both he and his friend Chuck Templeton were scheduled to speak at a conference in the mountains east of Los Angeles.
As they talked between meetings, Chuck openly mocked Billy —
Billy, you’re fifty years out of date. People no longer accept the Bible as being inspired the way you do. Your faith is too simple. Your language is out of date. You’re going to have to learn the new jargon if you’re going to be successful in ministry.
Chuck’s comments were not only painful, they also shook Billy’s confidence in the Bible.
But at the conference Billy also had the opportunity to talk with Henrietta Mears, who was the conference director.
She was confident in the truth of the Scriptures, with a deep understanding of the Word of God and an ability to answer questions about the Bible.
These conversations were helpful. But still, as Billy put it: “I ached as if I were on the rack, with Miss Mears stretching me one way and Chuck Templeton stretching me the other.”
Alone In His Room
So one evening he went to his room to study God’s Word alone.
He saw how Jesus taught that the Old Testament was completely true.
He studied how Jesus said the stories of Noah and Jonah actually happened as described in the Old Testament.
He read all the verses he could find about the Bible’s truth and authority.
He saw again that the Bible did claim to be the perfectly true Word of God.
But he could tell the issue was not yet settled in his heart.
On His Knees
So he left his room and walked out into the forest. It was a warm August night. It was late. The moon was out.
He came to a tree stump, where he knelt down, with his Bible on the stump in front of him.
And he prayed something like this —
O God! There are many things in this book I do not understand. There are many problems with it for which I have no solution … I can’t answer some of the questions Chuck and others are raising.
But even though he was praying sincerely, he could tell something was still unresolved. And then he said the Holy Spirit finally enabled him to pray —
Father, I am going to accept this as Thy Word — by faith! I’m going to allow faith to go beyond my intellectual questions and doubts, and I will believe this to be Your inspired Word.
Here’s what happened next —
When I got up from my knees at Forest Home that August night, my eyes stung with tears. I sensed the presence and power of God as I had not sensed it in months.
Not all my questions were answered, but a major bridge had been crossed. In my heart and mind, I knew a spiritual battle in my soul had been fought and won.
(Just As I Am: The Autobiography of Billy Graham, pp.135-139).
Don’t be surprised if you sometimes doubt that the Bible is God’s Word. When this happens, bring your doubts to the Word of God, look again at all the biblical and historical evidence for its truthfulness —
- Eyewitnesses confirm that Jesus worked miracles and rose from the dead, which shows that He is God (John 20:30-31; 1Co 15:6; 2Pe 1:16).
- Therefore we can trust Jesus when He says the Old Testament is the very words of God (Mark 12:36 and Luke 24:25, for example).
- And therefore we can trust Jesus when He says that the New Testament authors (His apostles) will be enabled to remember all Jesus taught, and would be taught truth directly from God (John 14:26).
- This is confirmed by how the apostles say they are writing truth directly from God (1Co 2:13 and 14:37, for example).
It’s also helpful to remember times when we powerfully met God in and through the Word. Our experience confirms the biblical and historical evidence that the Bible is the Word of God.
We don’t need to answer every question or resolve every seeming contradiction, in order to trust the Bible. The massive evidence for God’s authorship rightly encourages us to give the Bible the benefit of the doubt.
So if you doubt the truth of God’s Word, take this seriously. Fight the fight of faith. Pray over Scriptures showing that the Bible is God’s Word. Review the biblical and historical evidence listed above. Pray “I believe, help my unbelief” (Mark 9:24). As you do this, God will help you.
Just like He helped Billy Graham.
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And here are some related posts you might find helpful –
- Five Promises To Help Your Times With God
- Why We Must CLING To God’s Word
- How George Mueller Read God’s Word
- Why Trust Jesus Christ?
(Picture is from Wikipedia and is in the public domain.)