Many people today see the Bible as a book of stories (in other words, not true). Largely because of evolutionary presuppositions, people have been taught to think that the Bible’s history is untrustworthy, when in fact, the evidence for the Bible actually supports its history.
Here are three reasons to emphasize the history of the Bible in our preaching and teaching.
1. To Avoid Presenting the Bible as a Myth
Firstly, if we do not emphasize the historicity of the Bible, there will be a divide between the church and the world around us, and preaching will become less effective. The Bible becomes a fanciful myth, and faith is seen as simply a matter of opinion.
2. To Show that the Bible’s History and Theology Can’t Be Separated
Secondly, the Bible’s theological claims cannot be separated from its historical claims. Paul told the Corinthians that the events in Israel’s history serve as an example for them not to fall into idolatry (1 Corinthians 10:6, 11). In his debate with the Sadducees, Jesus used the history of the Old Testament to make a theological point about the Resurrection (Matthew 22:31–32; see Exodus 3:6). Moreover, Genesis 1–11 is treated as historical (an account that the author wanted his audience to believe had happened) in order to make theological points by Christ and the Apostles (Matthew 19:4–6, 24:37–38; Mark 10:6; Luke 3:38, 11:49–51, 17:26–34; John 8:44; Acts 17:26; Romans 5:12–21; 1 Corinthians 15:22, 45; 2 Corinthians 11:3; 1 Timothy 2:13–14; Hebrews 11:7; 1 Peter 3:20; 2 Peter 3:5–6).
3. To Show that God Really Does Act in History
Thirdly, not emphasizing the Bible’s history will lead to belief in a God who does not really act in history. The Bible, however, tells us that God has acted in history specifically in the redemption of His people. In the Old Testament we read, “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage” (Exodus 20:2). God intervened in the history of the people of Israel, rescuing them from slavery in Egypt. In the New Testament, the gospel is based upon the historicity of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:3–4). Christianity is unique because it is grounded in history; without a historical Jesus, the gospel has no meaning (verse 14). Moreover, Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection are founded upon the historical events in Genesis 1–3 (1 Corinthians 15:21–22, 45).
We cannot lose the historicity of the Bible without losing the theology; and we cannot lose the historicity without losing the salvation that comes from it. The Bible has linked them intimately together. It is important, therefore, in our teaching and preaching that we emphasize the Bible’s history.