Can you be a Christian and reject the Bible as God’s inspired and inerrant word? More and more people believe you can. A recent Lifeway Research survey commissioned by Ligonier Ministries finds that 53% of Americans do not believe the Bible is literally true. That’s disturbing, but not all that unexpected. What’s shocking to me is that 26% of those who identify as evangelical Christians also hold that the Bible is not literally true. If you don’t believe the Word of God, how is it you know, much less believe, the gospel?
If you reject the Bible as God’s Word, you reject Jesus being who He said He is. Those who reject Jesus as being who He says He is cannot be Evangelical Christians. Either the survey takers were presenting a flawed definition of what it means to be an Evangelical Christian, or someone terribly deceived those responding and sent them toward an eternity far more tragic than they imagine.
There are a growing number of popular preachers today espousing you don’t need the Bible to follow Jesus. I don’t even see how that’s possible. You can believe in God without ever having read a Bible because the glory of creation cries out in evidence of His existence (Psalm 19:1; Luke 19:40). You can even learn about Jesus in ancient writings outside of the Bible. I suppose you can read books about Jesus from those who have read and believed the Word of God and learn to accept Christ in that way. But all of those examples are ways to find Christ if a Bible is not available. None of them would reject the Bible as God’s Word if they had access to it.
For those who are fortunate enough to have access to a Bible and have the capacity to understand it, there is no way I can imagine accepting Christ but rejecting His Word. The only people I see rejecting God’s Word as being literal truth are those who don’t like the implication such truth has on their lives. They don’t believe because believing means recognizing they are accountable to a holy God and guilt of sin against Him. It’s far easier and more convenient to live as if that wasn’t true. But that doesn’t make it untrue.
All the Bible is true. It is the inerrant, inspired Word of God. All of the Bible is useful in learning about Christ and teaching others about Him (2 Timothy 3:16-17). If you take out one piece of it, your faith no longer makes any sense. You cannot choose to believe the parts you like or understand and reject the rest. The book of Revelation closes with the warning that no one should remove or add anything to the book (Revelation 22:18-19). We can argue whether that means only the book of Revelation, but if it applies to Revelation, then it is consistent to apply that warning to the rest of the Bible as well. Our God is nothing if not consistent. He is unwavering in all His ways (Numbers 23:19; Malachi 3:6).
It won’t play well in our compromised culture and church, but if you reject the Bible, you reject Christ. If you reject any part of the Bible, you reject God’s plan of redemption through the death and resurrection of Jesus. The Old Testament is vital to understanding the New Testament. From Genesis to Revelation, the Word of God is true and trustworthy. It is the foundation of our faith. Without the Bible, there is no Christianity. You can’t have one without the other. If you love Jesus, you will love His Word. Don’t let the compromise of others deceive you. They will find out the truth soon enough. Cling tightly to the Word of God and the One whom it is all about–Jesus Christ, our Lord, and Savior.