What Do We Mean When We Say the Bible is ‘Self-Authenticating’?

Even though most Christians believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God, very few can give an articulate answer for how Christians know this to be true.  We believe it, but we are not sure why we believe it.

Of course, the average non-Christian critic out there is quick to pounce on this problem. “Christians have no reliable basis for knowing whether the Bible is God’s Word,” they might say.  “You Christians can believe it if you want to, but you have no grounds for believing it.  You are believing it without a reason.”

In order to address precisely this issue, I gave a lecture this past Spring …

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How Do You Know the Scriptures are from God? One Testimony in the Early Church

It probably comes as no surprise that the most common question I receive from both Christians and non-Christians is “How do I know the Bible is the Word of God?” And the reason this question is at the top of the list is not hard to determine.  The authority of the Bible is the foundation for everything that we believe as Christians.  It is the source of our doctrine and our ethics.  Thus, we need to be able to answer this question when asked.

Let me say from the outset that there is not just one answer to this question. I think there are many ways that Christians can come …

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Ten Basic Facts about the NT Canon that Every Christian Should Memorize: #10: “Early Christians Believed that Canonical Books were Self-Authenticating.”

Note: for the complete series see here.

How do we know which books are from God, and which are not?  There are many answers to that question, some of which we have covered in prior posts. Certainly the apostolic origins of a book can help identify it as being from God (see post here). And, the church’s overall consensus on a book can be part of how we identity it as being from God (see post here).

But, it is interesting to note that the early church fathers, while agreeing that apostolicity and church-reception are fundamentally important, also appealed to another factor that is often overlooked in …

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