I’ll never forget the conversation I had with a Sunday school teacher when I was a teenager. “How do you know the Bible is true?” I remember my teacher’s hesitation. All the other kids in the class waited in anticipation. The teacher had that look in his eye, the one we’ve all felt as teachers and parents: This is one of those teachable moments in life, and I don’t have an answer. For parents, these questions usually come from the back of the van while you’re rushing to drop the kids off at school or practice.
My teacher’s answer ended up being something along the lines that you can’t really know, but you need to have faith that it is true. “It’s a faith issue,” he said, nodding earnestly.
But if you read the Bible closely, you will find all kinds of proof in the Bible itself that the Bible is the infallible, all-knowing, Spirit-inspired word of God. Look at the advertisements. That’s right—advertisements. The Bible can be read like a magazine—with advertisements for itself peppered throughout.
The anonymous author of Psalm 119:98-100 teaches us that reading the Bible makes us wiser than our enemies and our own teachers:
Your commands make me wiser than my enemies,
Advertisements in magazines often use images to show the value of the product. A sailboat might be used to represent freedom, for example. Paul uses this technique in Ephesians 6:13-17:
for they are my constant guide.
Yes, I have more insight than my teachers,
for I am always thinking of your laws.
I am even wiser than my elders,
for I have kept your commandments. (NLT)
Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (NLT)
In 2 Peter 1:19-21, Peter uses what advertisers call “personal testimony” to teach us that every word in the Bible is true, despite the fact they were written by humans:
For we were not making up clever stories when we told you about the powerful coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. We saw his majestic splendor with our own eyes when he received honor and glory from God the Father. The voice from the majestic glory of God said to him, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.” We ourselves heard that voice from heaven when we were with him on the holy mountain. (NLT)
Because of that experience, we have even greater confidence in the message proclaimed by the prophets. You must pay close attention to what they wrote, for their words are like a lamp shining in a dark place—until the Day dawns, and Christ the Morning Star shines in your hearts. Above all, you must realize that no prophecy in Scripture ever came from the prophet’s own understanding, or from human initiative. No, those prophets were moved by the Holy Spirit, and they spoke from God.
All advertisements make promises about a product’s ability. Isaiah 55:11
promises us the Bible will bear fruit:
It is the same with my word.
There are many other references in the Bible to the Bible as a living, true account of the story of Jesus. Here are a few more “advertisements” for you to bookmark in preparation for your defense of the truth of the Bible:
I send it out, and it always produces fruit.
It will accomplish all I want it to,
and it will prosper everywhere I send it. (NLT)
1 Timothy 3:16-17
Ron DeBoer teaches grade 6 Sunday School at The Journey Church. During the week, he is vice-principal in an inner city high school.