How do we know that the Bible is the Word of God and not the Qur’an, the Book of Mormon, etc.?

The question of which (if any) religious text is the true word of God is of utmost importance. To avoid circular reasoning, the first question we must ask is: how would we know if God communicated in the first place? Well, God would have to communicate in a manner that people could understand, but that also means that people could make up their own messages and simply claim that they came from God. So, it seems reasonable to think that if God wanted to authenticate His communication He would have to verify it in a manner that could not be duplicated by mere humans – in other words, by miracles. This narrows the field considerably.

Beyond the evidence for the Bible’s correctness (manuscript evidence) and its historicity (archeological evidence), the most important evidence is that of its inspiration. The real determination of the Bible’s claim to absolute inspired truth is in its supernatural evidence, including prophecy. God used prophets to speak and write down His Word and God uses miracles like fulfilled prophecy to authenticate His messengers. For example, inGenesis 12:7, God promises that the land of Israel was to be for Abraham and his descendants. In 1948 Israel was returned back to the Jewish people for the second time in history. This may not seem so astonishing until you realize that no nation in the history of the world has been scattered from its homeland and returned! Israel has done it twice. The book of Daniel predicts with accuracy the coming of the four great kingdoms from Babylon, to Medo-Persia, to Greece, to Rome centuries before some of those kingdoms came on the scene (a time span of over 1,000 years!) with details concerning how they would rule and be broken. This includes the reigns of Alexander the Great and Antiochus Epiphanies.

In Ezekiel 26 we can see in astonishing detail how the city of Tyre was to be destroyed, how it would be torn down, and how its debris would be thrown into the sea. When Alexander the Great marched on that area, he encountered a group of people holed up in a tower on an island off the coast near there. He could not cross the sea, so he could not fight those in the tower. Rather than wait them out, the proud conqueror had his army throw stones into the sea to build a land bridge to the tower. It worked. His army crossed the sea and overthrew the occupants of the stronghold. But where did he get so much stone? The rocks that were used for the land bridge were the leftover rubble from the city of Tyre . . . its stones cast into the sea!

There are so many prophecies concerning Christ (over 270!) that it would take more than a few screens worth of space to list them all. Further, Jesus would have had no control over many of them such as His birthplace or time of birth. Second, the odds of one man accidentally fulfilling even 16 of these are 1 in 10^45. How many is that? For comparison, there are less than 10^82 atoms in the entire universe! And Jesus, who affirmed the Bible as the Word of God, proved His reliability and deity by His resurrection (an historical fact not easily ignored).

Now consider the Quran – its author, Muhammad, performed no miracles to back up his message (even when he was asked to by his followers – Sura 17:91-95; 29:47-51). Only in much later tradition (the Hadith) do any alleged miracles even show up and these are all quite fanciful (like Muhammad cutting the moon in half) and have zero reliable testimony to back them up. Further, the Quran makes clear historical errors. Muslims believe the Bible is inspired but with some errors from editing (Sura 2:136 as well as Suras 13, 16, 17, 20, 21, 23, 25). The question they cannot adequately answer is: “When was the Bible corrupted?” If they say before 600 A.D. then how can the Quran admonish believers to read it? If they claim it was after 600 A.D., then they have jumped out of the frying pan and into the fire, for we have absolutely no doubt as to the accuracy of biblical manuscripts from at least the 3rd century forward. Even if Christianity were false, the Quran still has an insurmountable problem because it makes judgments against Christians for believing things that they do not (nor have they ever) believed. For example, the Quran teaches that Christians believe the Trinity is the Father, the Mother (Mary), and the Son (Sura 5:73-75, 116), and the Quran also teaches that Christians believe that God had sex with Mary to have a son (Suras 2:116; 6:100-101; 10:68; 16:57; 19:35; 23:91; 37:149-151; 43:16-19). If the Quran is really from God, then it should at least be able to accurately report what Christians believe.

Joseph Smith, the author of the Book of Mormon, tried to do some miracles such as prophecy (a test for a true prophet in Deuteronomy 18:21-22) but failed several times. He foretold of Christ’s second coming in History of the Church (HC) 2:382. Joseph Smith preached that the coming of the Lord would be in 56 years (about 1891). The second coming did not occur in 1891, and the Mormon Church does not claim that it did. Nor has it occurred since. He also prophesied that several cities would be destroyed in Doctrine and Covenants (D&C) 84:114-115. New York, Albany and Boston were to be destroyed if they rejected the gospel according to Smith. Joseph Smith himself went to New York, Albany, and Boston and preached there. These cities did not accept his gospel, yet they have not been destroyed. Another famous false prophecy of Joseph Smith was his “END OF ALL NATIONS” in D&C 87 concerning the rebellion of South Carolina in the war between the states. The South was supposed to call on Great Britain for aid, and as a result war would be poured out upon all nations; slaves would revolt; the inhabitants of the earth would mourn; famine, plague, earthquake, thunder, lightning, and a full end of all nations would result. The South finally did revolt in 1861, but the slaves did not rise up, war was not poured out upon all nations, there was no worldwide famine, plague, earthquake, etc., and there was no resulting “end of all nations.”

The Bible so far outshines every competing source for being God’s revelation that if it is not God’s Word, it would seem impossible to choose among the leftovers. If the Bible is not God’s Word, then we have been left with no clear criteria by which to know what might be.

Source:GotQuestions.org

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How can a loving God send people to hell?

(1) God has given all people enough evidence to know that he exists.

  • “…What may be known about God is plain to them [people], because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities — his eternal power and divine nature — have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.”(Romans 1:19-20)
  • “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” (Psalms 19:1)

(2) Nonetheless, people choose not to know him.

  • “They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator.” (Romans 1:25)
  • “The fool has said in his heart, ‘there is no God.'” (Psalms 14:1)
  • “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way.”(Isaiah 53:6)
  • “God looks down from heaven on the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God. Everyone has turned away, they have together become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one.”(Psalms 53:2-3)
  • “There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.” (2Timothy 3:1-4)

(3) Therefore, God is giving people what they want.

God wants all people to be rescued from their sins and know His truth (1Timothy 2:3-4). He desires all to repent and come to know him (2Peter 3:9). However, the Bible also reveals that God does not force Himself on people. He allows people to reject Him even though He doesn’t like it. God is love (1John 4:16), but God allows people to reject His love, and to remain in their sins.

There will be a judgment of all people, where all people will be presented before God’s throne (Rev. 20:11-13). Anyone whose name is not found in the “book of life” is thrown into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:15).

God told the Israelites, “I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live” (Deuteronomy 30:19). In a way, that’s the choice before all of us: the blessing or the curse, life or death, God’s love or God’s wrath.

It seems illogical to some that God could be loving and wrathful at the same time. However, much of God’s character is beyond our comprehension. God’s wrath and His love are compatible, even if in a way that we do not currently comprehend.

Even though we don’t fully understand it, the decision is still before us. God says that we all deserve his wrath and judgment, even at this very moment. Jesus plainly said, “…unless you believe that I am he, you will die in your sins” (John 8:24). But He welcomes everyone to turn to Him for forgiveness, even at this very moment, so that instead of being condemned by him we can be forgiven and reconciled to him. Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life” (John 5:24).

Source:EveryStudent.com

Are Mormons Christians?

The Mormon religion (Mormonism), whose followers are known as Mormons and Latter Day Saints (LDS), was founded less than two hundred years ago by a man named Joseph Smith. He claimed to have received a personal visit from God the Father and Jesus Christ who told him that all churches and their creeds were an abomination. Joseph Smith then set out to begin a brand-new religion that claims to be the “only true church on earth.” The problem with Mormonism is that it contradicts, modifies, and expands on the Bible. Christians have no reason to believe that the Bible is not true and adequate. To truly believe in and trust God means to believe in His Word, and all Scripture is inspired by God, which means it comes from Him (2 Timothy 3:16).

Mormons believe that there are in fact four sources of divinely inspired words, not just one: 1) The Bible “as far as it is translated correctly.” Which verses are considered incorrectly translated is not always made clear. 2) The Book of Mormon, which was “translated” by Smith and published in 1830. Smith claimed it is the “most correct book” on earth and that a person can get closer to God by following its precepts “than by any other book.” 3) The Doctrine and Covenants, containing a collection of modern revelations regarding the “Church of Jesus Christ as it has been restored.” 4) The Pearl of the Great Price, which is considered by Mormons to “clarify” doctrines and teachings that were lost from the Bible and adds its own information about the earth’s creation.

Mormons believe the following about God: He has not always been the Supreme Being of the universe, but attained that status through righteous living and persistent effort. They believe God the Father has a “body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s.” Though abandoned by modern Mormon leaders, Brigham Young taught that Adam actually was God and the father of Jesus Christ. In contrast, Christians know this about God: there is only one true God (Deuteronomy 6:4Isaiah 43:1044:6-8), He always has existed and always will exist (Deuteronomy 33:27Psalm 90:21 Timothy 1:17), and He was not created but is the Creator (Genesis 1; Psalm 24:1Isaiah 37:16). He is perfect, and no one else is equal to Him (Psalm 86:8Isaiah 40:25). God the Father is not a man, nor was He ever (Numbers 23:191 Samuel 15:29Hosea 11:9). He is Spirit (John 4:24), and Spirit is not made of flesh and bone (Luke 24:39).

Mormons believe that there are different levels or kingdoms in the afterlife: the celestial kingdom, the terrestrial kingdom, the telestial kingdom, and outer darkness. Where mankind will end up depends on what they believe and do in this life. In contrast, the Bible tells us that after death, we go to heaven or hell based on whether or not we had faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. To be absent from our bodies means, as believers, we are with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:6-8). Unbelievers are sent to hell or the place of the dead (Luke 16:22-23). When Jesus comes the second time, we will receive new bodies (1 Corinthians 15:50-54). There will be a new heaven and new earth for believers (Revelation 21:1), and unbelievers will be thrown into an everlasting lake of fire (Revelation 20:11-15). There is no second chance for redemption after death (Hebrews 9:27).

Mormon leaders have taught that Jesus’ incarnation was the result of a physical relationship between God the Father and Mary. Mormons believe Jesus is a god, but that any human can also become a god. Mormonism teaches that salvation can be earned by a combination of faith and good works. Contrary to this, Christians historically have taught that no one can achieve the status of God—only He is holy (1 Samuel 2:2). We can only be made holy in God’s sight through faith in Him (1 Corinthians 1:2). Jesus is the only begotten Son of God (John 3:16), is the only one ever to have lived a sinless, blameless life, and now has the highest place of honor in heaven (Hebrews 7:26). Jesus and God are one in essence, Jesus being the only One existing before physical birth (John 1:1-88:56). Jesus gave Himself to us as a sacrifice, God raised Him from the dead, and one day everyone will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord (Philippians 2:6-11). Jesus tells us it is impossible to get to heaven by our own works and that only by faith in Him is it possible (Matthew 19:26). We all deserve eternal punishment for our sins, but God’s infinite love and grace have allowed us a way out. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

Clearly, there is only one way to receive salvation and that is to know God and His Son, Jesus (John 17:3). It is not done by works, but by faith (Romans 1:173:28). We can receive this gift no matter who we are or what we have done (Romans 3:22). “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

Although Mormons are usually friendly, loving, and kind people, they are deceived by a false religion that distorts the nature of God, the Person of Jesus Christ, and the means of salvation.

Source:GotQuestions.org

What is the Doctrine of the Trinity?

You and I live in a three-dimensional world. All physical objects have a certain height, width, and depth. One person can look like someone else, or behave like someone else, or even sound like someone else. But a person cannot actually be the same as another person. They are distinct individuals.

God, however, lives without the limitations of a three-dimensional universe. He is spirit. And he is infinitely more complex than we are.

That is why Jesus the Son can be different from the Father. And, yet the same.

The Bible clearly speaks of: God the Son, God the Father, and God the Holy Spirit. But emphasizes that there is only ONE God.

If we were to use math, it would not be, 1+1+1=3. It would be 1x1x1=1. God is a triune God.

Thus the term: “Tri” meaning three, and “Unity” meaning one, Tri+Unity = Trinity. It is a way of acknowledging what the Bible reveals to us about God, that God is yet three “Persons” who have the same essence of deity. Some have tried to give human illustrations for the Trinity, such as H2O being water, ice and steam (all different forms, but all are H2O). Another illustration is an egg having a shell, egg yolk and egg white, but this egg illustration shows that there would be “parts” to God, which isn’t the case.

God the Son (Jesus) is fully, completely God. God the Father is fully, completely God. And God the Holy Spirit is fully, completely God. Yet there is only one God. In our world, with our limited human experience, it’s tough to understand the Trinity. But from the beginning we see God this way in Scripture. Notice the plural pronouns “us” and “our” in Genesis 1:26 — Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

Though not a complete list, here is some other Scripture that shows God is one, in Trinity:

  • “Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one!” (Deut. 6:4)
  • “I am the LORD, and there is no other; Besides Me there is no God.” (Isa. 45:5)
  • There is no God but one. (1Cor. 8:4)
  • And after being baptized, Jesus went up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove, and coming upon Him, and behold, a voice out of the heavens, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.” (Matt. 3:16-17)
  • “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” (Matt. 28:19)
  • Jesus said: “I and the Father are one.” (John 10:30)
  • “He who has seen Me has seen the Father.” (John 14:9)
  • “He who beholds Me beholds the One who sent Me.” (John 12:45)
  • If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. (Rom. 8:9)
  • “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for that which has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.” (Matt. 1:20)
  • And the angel answered and said to her [Mary], “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy offspring shall be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1:35)
  • [Jesus speaking to His disciples] “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you, and will be in you.” … “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and make Our abode with him.” (John 14:16-17, 23)

Source:EveryStudent.com

What’s the difference between Jesus and the religions in the world?


Let’s take a brief look at some of the major aspects of Jesus Christ, which stand in stark contrast to what’s in the world’s religions.

1. Jesus Christ pursues a relationship with us.Have you ever been in a relationship where you were always the one who was initiating? They are tiresome and usually don’t last very long. Best friends are the ones who enjoy each other so much that they invest their time equally in pursuit of that relationship. Unlike religions that try to reach their God, with Christ you see God reaching out to us. Jesus Christ said why he came: “that you might have life, and have it more abundantly.” He came to give us an eternal life with him, for those who will believe in him.

2. Jesus claimed to be God. No world religion’s key figure claimed to be God.

3. Jesus lived a perfect life and showed his deity in the miracles he performed…healing the blind, quieting a violent storm at sea, raising people from the dead, instantly providing food for thousands of people. World religions have leaders who gave interesting messages, but none of them showed their miraculous power like Jesus did. Jesus said, “Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves.”

4. In many world religions people whip themselves for their sins or perform extensive self-sacrificing rituals. Jesus offers us forgiveness because as God, he paid for our sin for us. “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” On the cross, Jesus carried all of our sins for us and paid for them.

5. Jesus rose from the dead three days after he was crucified. Many religions talk about reincarnation. Jesus, on a number of occasions, told others that he would be crucified and would then rise from the dead three days later. Jesus wanted to publicly prove his deity beyond any doubt. The Roman authorities were aware of this, and so posted an 11-14 man Roman guard outside Jesus tomb, and sealed it with a Roman insignia warning people to stand clear. Yet, three days later his body was gone from the tomb and Jesus showed himself alive to more than 500 people. No world religion claims that their central figure physically rose from the dead or even said that they would.

6. The message of the Bible is unique. It is not a compilation of poetic, disjointed ideas. The Bible reveals God and His plan for our lives. It records for us that something in history went wrong and that the relationship we had with God was broken. It tells us how to restore that relationship and what the benefits are of doing that.

Source:EveryStudent.com

How do you discern a false teacher / false prophet?

Jesus warned us that “false Christs and false prophets” will come and will attempt to deceive even God’s elect (Matthew 24:23-27; see also 2 Peter 3:3 and Jude 17-18). The best way to guard yourself against falsehood and false teachers is to know the truth. To spot a counterfeit, study the real thing. Any believer who “correctly handles the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15) and who makes a careful study of the Bible can identify false doctrine. For example, a believer who has read the activities of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in Matthew 3:16-17 will immediately question any doctrine that denies the Trinity. Therefore, step one is to study the Bible and judge all teaching by what the Scripture says.

Jesus said “a tree is recognized by its fruit” (Matthew 12:33). When looking for “fruit,” here are three specific tests to apply to any teacher to determine the accuracy of his or her teaching:

1) What does this teacher say about Jesus? In Matthew 16:15-16, Jesus asks, “Who do you say I am?” Peter answers, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God,” and for this answer Peter is called “blessed.” In 2 John 9, we read, “Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.” In other words, Jesus Christ and His work of redemption is of utmost importance; beware of anyone who denies that Jesus is equal with God, who downplays Jesus’ sacrificial death, or who rejects Jesus’ humanity. First John 2:22 says, “Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist—he denies the Father and the Son.”

2) Does this teacher preach the gospel? The gospel is defined as the good news concerning Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection, according to the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). As nice as they sound, the statements “God loves you,” “God wants us to feed the hungry,” and “God wants you to be wealthy” are not the complete message of the gospel. As Paul warns in Galatians 1:7, “Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ.” No one, not even a great preacher, has the right to change the message that God gave us. “If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!” (Galatians 1:9).

3) Does this teacher exhibit character qualities that glorify the Lord? Speaking of false teachers, Jude 11 says, “They have taken the way of Cain; they have rushed for profit into Balaam’s error; they have been destroyed in Korah’s rebellion.” In other words, a false teacher can be known by his pride (Cain’s rejection of God’s plan), greed (Balaam’s prophesying for money), and rebellion (Korah’s promotion of himself over Moses). Jesus said to beware of such people and that we would know them by their fruits (Matthew 7:15-20).

For further study, review those books of the Bible that were written specifically to combat false teaching within the church: Galatians, 2 Peter, 1 John, 2 John, and Jude. It is often difficult to spot a false teacher/false prophet. Satan masquerades as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14), and his ministers masquerade as servants of righteousness (2 Corinthians 11:15). Only by being thoroughly familiar with the truth will we be able to recognize a counterfeit.

Source :GotQuestions.org

What does the Bible say about discernment?

The word discern and its derivatives are translations of the Greek word anakrinoin the New Testament. It means “to distinguish, to separate out by diligent search, to examine.” Discernment is the ability to properly discriminate or make determinations. It is related to wisdom. The Word of God itself is said to discern the thoughts and intentions of one’s heart (Hebrews 4:12).

A discerning mind demonstrates wisdom and insight that go beyond what is seen and heard. For example, God’s Word is “spiritually discerned.” To the human mind without the Spirit, the things of God are “foolishness” (1 Corinthians 2:14). The Spirit, then, gives us spiritual discernment.

King Solomon was known for his power of discernment, making many wise decisions and moral judgments (1 Kings 3:911). Christians today are to be discerning as well. Paul prayed for believers “to discern what is best . . . until the day of Christ” (Philippians 1:10).

A discerning person will acknowledge the worth of God’s Word: “All the words of my mouth are just; none of them is crooked or perverse. To the discerning all of them are right; they are faultless to those who have knowledge” (Proverbs 8:8-9). Seeking discernment is a goal for all who desire to walk righteously: “Who is wise? He will realize these things. Who is discerning? He will understand them. The ways of the LORD are right; the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them” (Hosea 14:9).

We are commanded to “hate what is evil; cling to what is good” (Romans 12:9). But, unless we have true discernment, how can we determine what is “evil” and what is “good”? In order to maintain the purity of the gospel, the church must distinguish truth from heresy. Wisdom also demands that we properly discriminate between what is “best” and what is merely “good.”

Discernment has many collateral benefits. “My son, preserve sound judgment and discernment, do not let them out of your sight; they will be life for you, an ornament to grace your neck. Then you will go on your way in safety, and your foot will not stumble; when you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet” (Proverbs 21:24).

Just as Solomon sought discernment and wisdom (Proverbs 1:21 Kings 3:9-12) to explore the handiwork of God (Ecclesiastes 1:13) and seek the meaning of life (Ecclesiastes 12:13), so should believers seek “the wisdom that comes from heaven” (James 3:17). We must study the Scriptures which are “able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15).

May our prayer be “I am your servant; give me discernment that I may understand your statutes” (Psalm 119:125).

Source:Extracts from GotQuestions.org