“You Can’t Use the Bible to Prove the Bible” . . . and Other Stupid Statements

Consider this: when someone asserts, “You can’t use the Bible to prove the Bible,” they may not realize they’re inadvertently drawing from a Christian perspective. What are they borrowing? The concept of a fundamental unity or single authorship within Scripture. To claim the Bible cannot validate itself implies an underlying assumption of its inspired nature. Without this presumption, there’s no logical basis to treat the biblical canon as a unified whole. Particularly for a non-Christian viewpoint, the Bible should be regarded as sixty-six distinct ancient documents, each standing on its own merit. To argue that they collectively stand or fall together suggests an assumed unified authorship. Thus, the argument becomes paradoxical: the statement “You can’t use the Bible to prove the Bible” inadvertently endorses the unified, inspired nature of the Bible it seeks to dispute.

You Can’t Use the Bible to Evidence the Bible? Introduction

I have heard this statement many times. It can come from Christians or non-Christians, but mainly I hear it from unbelievers: the idea that the Bible is inadmissible as evidence for itself. If I were trying to use the Bible to prove the validity of the Bible (from the perspective of many outsiders), this is considered circular reasoning. This statement is not only incorrect, but it also completely misunderstands its own argument. Ironically, it makes the exact circular assumptions that it accuses believers of.

Three Reasons this is Stupid

1. The Bible is Not One Book

When discussing proving or substantiating the truths of the Gospel message, it’s crucial to approach it as historians, not solely as religious observers. The common argument inaccurately positions Christians as claiming the Bible is true simply because it says so. However, the Bible is not a singular book. The term Bible itself isn’t even found within these texts. Rather, the Bible is a compilation of works created over a thousand years by numerous authors, some connected, others not. The Protestant Bible contains sixty-six books in total.

Focusing on the New Testament, we delve into the core narrative of Christianity, highlighting the incarnation of Christ, his identity, and his deeds. Arguing that one can’t validate the New Testament using its own texts is misinformed and lacks critical reflection. Notably, the term New Testament and its list of books are not mentioned within these texts. The New Testament is a label for a collection of writings that narrate and interpret Jesus Christ’s advent. It comprises twenty-seven books.

From a historian’s perspective, asserting that the Bible cannot be used to validate itself is highly misguided.

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