If we turn to the Bible as our highest authority in every area (including how we defend the Bible itself!), we will discover that we can appeal to no greater authority than God Himself. If we had to appeal to another authority to prove what God said, then God wouldn’t be our ultimate authority.
How can we help people believe that the Bible is true? The answer may be surprising to many. It is not by scientific, archaeological, or historical evidences, important though these may be in their proper place. It is not even by fulfilled prophecy! It is by sharing with others—based on our own knowledge of Scripture—the matchless character of the God who ultimately wrote the Bible.
Peter, the chief of the apostles, put it this way: “Sanctify the Lord God in your hearts . . . [and by this means you will] always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; having a good conscience” (1 Peter 3:15–16).
To “sanctify the Lord God,” as the nation of Israel had been taught for centuries, was to set Him apart from all other “gods.” It meant to honor Him supremely, to think and act in the light of His glory. This is profoundly significant in providing an effective witness. After all, none of us can pressure or manipulate a human heart to believe in the God of the Bible.
Only the Holy Spirit can convict sinners and change hearts (John 16:8; Jeremiah 17:9–10). We “sanctify” God by relying on His own Word and His Spirit to convince people about His unsurpassable qualities, including His holiness, wisdom, love, and truthfulness.
What does this have to do with knowing that the Bible is true?
Our main role is to honor the Author of the Bible by our own lives and words. You may not have heard of this as “evidence” before, but it is extremely important for Christians to realize. Through our Bible-enriched words and our changed lives, we give evidence of the truth of the One who inspired the Bible and says it is “living and powerful” (Hebrews 4:12). If our individual lives do not exhibit Jesus’s transforming power, why should anyone believe that His words had the power to create the universe?
Not just God’s truthfulness but the whole gamut of His qualities convinces sinners about the truth of His Word. In fact, one of the most profound character traits of the Author of the Bible—love—is critical when we can testify about Him.
God’s unique self-sacrificial love (agape in the original Greek) is unlike any love we experience in normal life. This love comes from God, and He wants sinners to see it in His followers, as part of our effective witness. “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love” (1 John 4:7–8).
Whenever God’s love is reflected through a believer’s life and words, unbelievers will recognize something genuinely divine.
They will sense that the God of Scripture is real, and they will be convicted about the truth and power of His Word. Here is the way our Lord explained it: “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34–35).
How does this work in practice? When unsaved people living in spiritual darkness observe God’s special self-sacrificial love at work, they will be deeply affected by seeing something they have never experienced. A powerful example is a loving relationship between a Christian man and his wife, and between Christian parents and their children. Another example is the deep love displayed within a local church (Ephesians 4:15–16).
This love cannot be explained or experienced apart from the true and living God, who created every human being with a mind, a soul, and a conscience that can know Him and see Him in His Word.
God’s love compels us to go out and share the truth about salvation (2 Corinthians 5:14). As we “sanctify the Lord in our hearts,” the Holy Spirit will then use our lives and words—spoken “with meekness and fear”—to convince sinners about the truth of His Word.
The bottom line: God Himself vindicates His Word as people see Him honored in His Word and in the lives of His children.