Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught. Luke 1: 1-4
I am not writing this blog as a platform for debate but as a resource for readers to understand why I view the Bible as the most significant wisdom resource for life instruction, why I often quote it, and why I made a conscious decision to live by principles within it. There was no sudden epiphany, no loss of senses or reason, but rather a lifetime of study and exploration of spiritual pathways, along with my own experience, that caused me to draw my conclusions.
I am the same person as I was yesterday but not historically; my life and my character has changed significantly over the past several years. I remain as ever loving and kind toward humanity as I have been, yet like all people, I ascribe to my own belief system. As with all faith systems, Christianity is not a monolith. I know many and surround myself with ones who are kind and good toward all, no matter how their personal belief system departs from others.
There are many captivating philosophies, with some of their guiding concepts overlapping with Biblical principles, yet none come close to the consistency, scope, and authenticity of teachings between the covers of one book. I choose to believe the Bible as a truthful account because it is a reliable collection of historical documents written by eyewitnesses during the lifetime of other eyewitnesses who report supernatural events that fulfilled certain prophecies. All claim divine rather than human origin, with remarkable likeness to accounts over time and location.
The Bible inspired more than 25,000 archeological digs related to biblical subject matter with no contradictions. The text of the entire book was written over the course of 1,500 years and has 66 books. The Bible was written across three continents (Asia, Europe, and Africa) and in three different languages (Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek) and its message is consistent. Over 6000 portions of New Testament manuscripts date back to 150 AD.
In the New Testament, Luke, a physician, and historian, explains how he traced information from eyewitnesses, followed events closely, and wrote his Gospel. He interviewed eyewitness including the Apostles Peter, Paul, Mary, and others. Luke was a thoughtful academic of the time and he sought authenticity and accuracy.
The Apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the Corinthians that witnesses of Christ after his resurrection included Peter, the 12 Apostles (Judas had been replaced with Mathias), 500 brothers at one time (most still alive at the time of writing), James, and then Paul himself. He attested that all of these people had seen with their own eyes and touched Jesus with their own hands. His account stands unrefuted in historical writings. Paul himself had commanded the deaths of many Christians before his supernatural conversion on the road to Damascus, making his own transformation remarkable.
Of all the major spiritual teachers on earth, Christ is the only one who died on a cross after scourging for the remission of man’s sins, according to teachings. I found it interesting that at least once branch of yoga stands in agreement to this teaching. His bodily resurrection after his crucifixion was verified by many eyewitnesses, according to scripture. His ascension into heaven was also witnessed. He is exclusive among spiritual teachers, foretold through prophecy. Most ancient spiritual teachers lived lives of ease, and none challenged man’s evolution toward righteousness as did Christ. All other paths promise enlightenment as a result of self-effort after many lifetimes, not a supernatural act.
After Jesus ascended, his followers were assured of his divinity and the power they received from the Holy Spirit at Pentecost and beyond. Because of their direct experience, they fulfilled Christ’s command to spread the news, even in the face of equally horrifying deaths. It was not just eleven of the twelve apostles who were brutally murdered, but also thousands upon thousands of early Christians as well as believers up to this very day. Their obedience unto death testifies to the indwelling Holy Spirit and grace without which no person could maintain loyalty unto such barbarous executions.
Since before the time of Nero, Christians have been executed for their faith. During Nero’s reign, followers of Christ were hanged and tethered on stone shelves along Roman walls, doused in tar, and lighted with torches. “Roman Candles” were constructed out of living Christians and illuminated the night, screams of the perishing punctuating darkness along with the stench of burning flesh. They were routinely rounded up, imprisoned, and fed to wild dogs and lions in the Roman coliseum – entire families and communities.
Some Christians were sentenced to death by dismemberment, four wild horses tied to the victim’s limbs then driven in different directions as their bodies were pulled apart by force. Others were crucified as Jesus was. The Apostle Peter elected to be crucified upside down as he did not deem himself worthy to die in the same manner as Christ. To be condemned to the mines until death was mild in comparison to these horrors. As much as some deny the very existence of Christ, this portion of history is recorded in historical documents outside of scripture.
Christians were then and still are martyred for their faith. In many countries across the globe, it is extremely dangerous to claim Christian faith. The Center for the Study of Global Christianity estimates 90,000 Christians were killed from mid 2016-2017. In 2022, there were 5,898 verified Christian martyrs. Estimates are that in the past 2,000 years some 70 million Christians have been killed, approximately half of them in the 20th century. These grim realities match predictions in the book and given by Christ himself.
Throughout history, both Jews and Christians have been persecuted and murdered over and above other groups, per capita. The Jews were God’s original chosen people, and through them, the world received the law of God and Jesus Christ. Christians were grafted into the family tree via salvation through Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Because of unique positioning as the chosen, people directly associated as servants of God have been historically hated, as Satan himself hates them. The Book verifies this is so.
In addition, principles for living outlined in scripture support healthy living in body, mind, and spirit through manifesting real love toward self and others. I recall years ago in my first counseling course at the university, listening to the seminarian professor, and thinking he was teaching Biblical standards for righteous living. One of the differences between the two disciplines is that what scripture calls sin is referred to as unhealthy thoughts and behaviors in psychology, although the latter list is significantly more permissive.
Through the years, I have had the opportunity to compare The Book to other traditions and teachers, including New Age spiritual concepts. Other traditions are works based and have one to few original authors; in Buddhism, Hinduism, and Yoga, man works his way to salvation via his own effort and has endless opportunity through reincarnation to do so. His authority is no god or many. He has no original sin, no need for repentance, no need for supernatural intervention, and few restrictions on personal or corporate behaviors. Some sects worship many spirits, including demons, according to their own reports. In New Age philosophy, man is his own god and higher consciousness comes via mystical practice and experience. Universalism boasts a framework of ethical considerations and a belief that all paths lead to the same destination.
Reason informs me universalism is false because everything cannot be true simultaneously although there is some truth in different traditions. Despite my beliefs, I treat others with respect who believe differently than I do because it is in my heart to do so, and I live by the command to love my neighbor as myself. That does not mean I agree with everyone on many points. Love does not require that I do.
Contrasting Christianity, individuals are born into original sin and are able to escape Satan, sin, and death only through the substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ. It is written in Mark 10:45, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” In the gospel of John 1: 29, it is written “He is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.” The Apostle Peter wrote in 1 Peter 3:18, “For Christ also suffered for sins one for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring you to God.”
The last reasons that I believe as I do is that I have found the applied principles to work in my own life and my personal transformation is consistent with that expressed in scripture. I could not have done this alone. I no longer even remotely enjoy what I once did – there is no draw toward it. It makes me feel sick to think of it, and I am filled with gratitude to have received salvation, the ultimate opening of the spiritual eyes leading to holiness and redemption of my life.
Let every man believe as he does according to grace and faith bestowed upon him.
Krista is a Certified Life Coach in the areas of Wellness, Transformational Change, and Spirituality who helps people implement an authentic healthy lifestyle, leave behind harmful habits and behaviors, and step into their highest potential. She is also a Certified Meditation Instructor and Yoga Teacher. For more information on her transformational change, wellness programs, and coaching visit www.theomshanty.com.