The Bible proves itself. Two big truths that make this the case are repetition and proof texts. By “repetition” I mean that the same truth is spoken by the same writer in different books. For instance, Paul wrote thirteen letters that are included in the New Testament. Peter made this observation about Paul’s writing. “As also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures” (2 Pet. 3:16). Paul did not write thirteen letters filled with different information. He repeated himself often. Paul’s repetition became known as Pauline theology, which became my passion to know. Paul’s repetition usually makes his misunderstood sections understandable.

The other way that the Bible proves itself is through proof texts. Proof texts are the same exact truth taught by different writers in different Bible books. For instance, Peter writes that we are “born again not by corruptible seed but by incorruptible seed, by means of the word of God which lives and abides forever” (1 Pet. 1:22-25). It is the truth of the gospel providing the incorruptible seed of God’s Word by which one is born again. James says basically the same thing but in a different way. “Of His own will [God’s choice] He brought us forth [he birthed us] by the word of truth [Scripture]” (James 1:18). John adds this. “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood [physical descent], nor of the will of the flesh [not by a human decision], nor of the will of man, [the decision of a human couple to have children] but of God” (Jn. 1:12-13).The three passages teach the same exact truth but in different ways. Hence, proof texts.

When the interpreter begins to stitch all the Bible’s repeated info together, along with all the various proof texts in their proper context, the result becomes a form of systematic theology. Systematic theology means that the Bible holds together from Genesis to Revelation, weaving together one connected story—God’s story. In the process of putting the Bible together, the Holy Spirit uses many figures of speech, such as similes, metaphors, hyperbole, and (the use of our subject) parables.

God established different languages at Babel. Recall that the people had come together at Shinar as one people based on their one language. And the LORD said, “Indeed the people are one and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them (Gen. 11:6). Because of their one language, the people unified. And because they had become one, they could blend the power of their minds, and nothing that they purposed to do would be withheld from them. They could raise the power of both good and evil to unbelievable heights. I have fleshed out this truth in my newly published book, A Glimpse of the New Genesis, Westbow Press, which will be on shelves very soon.

By changing the language, God caused the people to spread out. “Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech” (Gen. 11:7). The Bible does not say how many languages God gave the people, but my sanctified imagination thinks there were many. The people spread into small clans based on their language.

In this same upcoming book, I quoted Bob Dylan’s famous line: “The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind; the answer is blowing in the wind.” Getting answers from a blowing wind is an obvious metaphor. How could blowing wind speak? Jesus spoke of this with Nicodemus. He was answering Nicodemus’ question concerning the new birth. Jesus said, “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” The way to understand this metaphor is to grasp, “hearing the sound of it.” One hears the swoosh of the wind as it blows through the trees. The swoosh of the wind could be the sound vocalized by the gospel. Paul clarifies this truth of hearing and believing. “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom. 10:17). The Holy Spirit opens many minds to understand the truth of the gospel and to respond by placing personal faith in Christ (1 Pet. 1:22-25). 

Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians are of utmost importance: 

“Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time. For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. Therefore, whether it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed” (1 Cor. 15:1-11).

The gospel, according to Paul, is three-fold.

  1. That Christ! Christ is the name for the God-Man. The name says that God became flesh, coming to earth in order to die for sin. This is why we celebrate Christmas. God declared that the wages for sin is death and only death (Rom. 6:23). He determined to take this judgment of death for us (Isa. 53:6). But as God, He could not die. God is said to be from everlasting to everlasting (Psa. 90:2). An everlasting God cannot die.
  2. The second part of the gospel explains that the Christ, died for our sins and was buried, according to the Scriptures. Christ really died! He died on a cross! His death is clearly explained by Matthew (Matt. 27:46-50). He was not drugged or, as one writer put it, swooned. He died!
  3. Third, and of significant relevance at this time of year, He rose from the dead. The huge stone was rolled away, yet the guards saw nothing, and then His body was gone. Two women saw the empty tomb and many eyewitnesses saw Him alive (1 Cor. 15:5-9). His disciple James touched Him and, as a result, James believed (Jn. 20:27). The empty tomb was found, but no body. Grave clothes were found, but no body. The disciples, the Romans, and the Jews looked for it – yet no body was ever found. Finding this dead body should have been easy to do and finding the dead body of Christ would have ended Christianity before it ever began. The body of Christ was not found because He had risen from the dead and has become the first-fruits of those who will die and be resurrected (1 Cor. 15:20).

What did Paul mean when he said, “Unless you believed in vain”? This phrase has long been misunderstood and misinterpreted. Paul does not mean to question the quality of one’s faith. He means that if God did not truly become a man, or if Jesus really did not die for sin, or if He really did not rise from the dead, then our faith would have no real substance. Our faith would be an empty faith, and we will have believed in vain. But God did become man. He did die on the cross. He was buried, and He rose from the dead. So, the moment one hears the gospel and personally believes in Christ, that one is born into the forever family of God. That person is forever loved by God, encouraged by God, and disciplined by God, that the believer may become fruitful for Him. We are of all people most blessed.