Lesson 4


A great many people possess an inherited religious faith. They believe what they believe because that is the way they were raised or it is what is socially acceptable in their culture. In reality they have accepted something instead of having a living dynamic faith. Acceptance breeds indifference, apathy, and a lack of involvement. Faith breeds enthusiasm, involvement, and a positive attitude.

We can know why we believe what we believe. There is a great deal of evidence to support the belief that the God of the Bible is the true and living God, that Jesus is His Son, and the Bible is His Word.


There is evidence within the Bible itself to demonstrate that it is not just the work of men. One strong evidence is its clarity. In spite of its great antiquity, the Bible is easy to understand. Genesis 1, for example, was written around 1500 BC, but it is easy to understand and clear in its meaning. Works like the Iliad by Homer are not clear or easy to understand even though they were written hundreds of years after Genesis. In the same way, we find that many religious works like the Vedas are extremely difficult to understand and lack clarity.

What evidence do we have that the Bible has greater clarity than other religious writings? Most of us who are public school teachers are familiar with something called a "fog index." This is a tool educators use to evaluate the writings of students, and it is available in a variety of educational computer software packages. You scan in a student’s paper or have them type it into the computer. The computer assigns a number to the paper to tell how clearly the student has written. A number 1 means the student’s writing is absolutely and completely clear. Number 14 means it is completely and totally obscure.

On such a scale most comic strips are 1 or 2. The sports section is around 2 and the front page of the newspaper around 3. Most novels are 4 to 6, the classics run 5 to 9, and the income tax instructions are well over 10. When you get a fog index of the Vedas (the Hindu Bible) you are going to find very high numbers--well over 10. The Koran varies, but the majority of the Surahs (chapters of the Koran) are over 8. The Sermon on the Mount and the Book of Acts are almost universally under five. The letters from the New Testament are between 4 and 6 and the Genesis account is under five. Apocalyptic literature in the Bible like Revelation and Daniel is higher--over 7, but still below other religious manuscripts. There is a striking difference between the fog index of the Bible and most other religious manuscripts. This measurement is not the bigoted opinion of a Christian author, but an objective tool of education. The Bible has clarity.

The Bible also radiates authority. "Never a man spoke like this man," was the comment of those of Jesus’ day. There was no appeal for belief or credibility. Jesus spoke differently from any man before or since. C. S. Lewis wrote:
A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic--on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg--or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to (C. S. Lewis in Mere Christianity).
One of the most interesting demonstrations of the uniqueness of the Bible is its brevity. All one has to do is to listen to a politician or a preacher to realize that men are never brief. Biographical materials abound with trivia totally unnecessary for an understanding of the person being described. In the chart below are some of the major events in the life of Christ and the number of verses which tell us about these events. John even comments, "The world itself could not contain the books that should be written" (John 21:25).

Jesus lived about 12,000 days
His ministry 1,200 days
Total days accounted for in the Bible 34 days
Christ’s baptism
4 verses
His transfiguration 5 verses

When we read other religious books, we do not see this brevity.

The Bible is also objective--free of whitewash. The weaknesses of its greatest heroes are not covered up. When we read about Abraham, we read about a man who was so weak that on two different occasions he was willing to let his wife become a part of another man’s harem. We read about David’s terrible sin with Bathsheba and his murder of her husband. Unlike the works of men that delete the negative things about its heroes, the Bible tells it all.


The Bible is unique in the fact that it makes statements which can be checked to see whether or not they are true. Although it is not a textbook on any of these things, the Bible makes statements relating to science, history, psychology, medicine, literature, and a myriad of other fields. These statements can be investigated for accuracy, and to see if the facts could have been known by the Bible writers in their day. In the area of science, the Bible contains many examples of facts totally beyond the Bible writer’s knowledge. The ability to check this data provides strong evidence that the Bible is from God.

In the picture above we see the Hindu concept of how the earth is held up in space. The explanation is logical, clear, and reasonable. Elephants are very strong. The reason that objects in the sky move very slowly is that turtles are slow. While logical, the view is incorrect. The chart beside the picture shows other concepts of the suspension of the earth as seen in ancient records and traditions. Nowhere in the Bible is there an indication that the earth is physically supported. The only references we do find are poetic passages like Job 26:7, and even these passages are accurate. Similar charts could be drawn up in other disciplines. When alleged conflicts do appear, a closer examination shows that either assumptions made about the passage are causing the conflict or language difficulties exist.

In addition to freedom from error and knowledge beyond the date of its writing, the Bible has cause-and-effect promises which can be checked out. As an example:
Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over … (Luke 6:38).
Try it in all aspects of your life and you will see that it works.
There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it (1 Corinthians 10:13).
Again, try it and you will find the power to live successfully. There is checkability in the Bible in all kinds of ways. Appendix A (in PDF format) is a list of statements in the Bible, the Koran, and the Book of Mormon that we would encourage you to check out and consider their accuracy.


The system taught in the Bible works. In all areas, it shows logic and practicality. Consider the chart below and notice that the Bible contains wisdom far beyond the human alternatives offered by man-made systems.

God seeks man
(Revelation 3:20; John 10:14-18
Man seeks God
Church is people
(Matthew 18:20; 1 Corinthians 3:16)
Shrines, temples, cathedrals
(Revelation 21:4; 1 Corinthians 15:51-57; Luke 19:12-26
Reincarnation or nothing
Use and management of creation
(Genesis 1:28, 2:15; Acts 11:8- 9
Pantheism, food restrictions, exploitation
Home and relationships
(Mark 10:4-12; Genesis 2:24)
Polygamy, polyandry, none
Dealing with others--service
(Matthew 5-6; Luke 10:30-37;
Acts 10:34-35; John 4:3-24)
Selfishness, prejudice, bigotry, anarchy
Self-help, responsible for others
(Matthew 5-6; 1 Corinthians 10:13)
Overt control, no responsibility
Pain and suffering has a purpose
(Romans 8:23; John 9:1-3)
Nothing, suicide, deserved punishment

We want to emphasize that what we are talking about here is what the biblical system teaches and what other religious books teach. We are not talking about what people who are members of these faiths might believe or do. This is important both negatively and positively. There have been those who claimed to be Christians, but who did horrible things in the name of Christianity. Extreme examples are the Crusades as well as the acts of cult members and high profile preachers who have been guilty of every sin in the book. These examples are in direct opposition to everything Jesus Christ taught. You cannot bring what has happened in the Crusades, in the mass suicides in Guyana, in Catholic priest pedophilia, or the exploitation of the elderly in Protestant religious scams in line with what Jesus taught in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7.

On the positive side, there have been many Muslims who practiced peace, love, and positive living, even though what they did was not harmonious with the Koran. The question is what Muhammad, Buddha, Zoroaster, Bahá'u'lláh, and Jesus Christ taught, not what individuals have practiced. I do not reject my American citizenship because an American tourist in some foreign country does something abusive and outlandish. In fact, even if the president of the United States does something I do not agree with, I do not reject my belief in America. Rejecting God because of something a church leader or group did is equally fallacious.

Notice that in every single case the Bible position is superior to the alternative. The more we study each of the choices, the more wisdom and logic we see in what the Bible teaches. We hope you will do some study and thinking on these concepts.

Jesus made the statement that "ye shall know them by their fruits" (Matthew 7:16). When the biblical principles have been followed, the results have inevitably been good, positive, and uplifting; but the alternatives have spelled disaster for many. Think of the starvation and agony that has resulted from pantheism--the belief that nature is God and should not be used or controlled for man’s benefit. Surely the wisdom of God’s command to "subdue" the earth and "have dominion over" the fish and the birds and every living thing (Genesis 1:28) is obvious. This does not mean that man is to exploit, mismanage, and pollute the earth. On the contrary, he was told to take care of the Garden, to dress it and keep it (Genesis 2:15). The wisdom in carefully and intelligently managing all things on the earth is obvious.

Likewise, the wisdom of monogamy as opposed to polygamy or polyandry is also obvious to the thinking person. Many people have never comprehended what a beautiful and special thing it is when a man and a woman are joined into "one flesh" (Genesis 2:24). A marriage is far more than a sexual union. A multiple-mate system does not allow the beauty and joy to be known. It would take many pages to discuss each of the areas listed in the chart, but each of them shows wisdom and design that did not come from man. They are strikingly different from what is offered by all other religious systems on this earth. (See Appendix B -in PDF format)


What is it about the Christian system that motivates its adherents to do the things that they do for their fellow man? Even when partially followed, the Christian system brings incredible benefits into the lives of men and women. All over the world, one can see devices to serve the needs of man, such as hospitals, built by various “Christian’’ groups totally motivated by the philosophy and teachings of Jesus Christ. Alcoholic treatment centers, drug rehabilitation programs, educational institutions, jail ministries, programs for the poor and orphaned, and a host of other organizations have been built by people expressing their faith in the teachings and example of Jesus Christ in totally unselfish service. These groups do not agree on all points of doctrine, and some of their theology is not consistent with the Bible; but even when partially followed, the biblical system brings great fruit of a beautiful and indisputable nature.

How many Muslim, Buddhist, Bahá'í, Hindu, or any other religious facilities do you find serving people this way? Even when there are such centers you often find that others have taken over a program initiated by followers of Christ, as is the case in nearly all Muslim countries today. There is something different about Christianity. The biblical message produces different fruit.

A subject we will touch on only briefly as we end this lesson is the fact that there is a power in Christianity that is not found anywhere on the earth in any other system. This is a power to overcome problems and temptations in our lives that we cannot handle alone. This is hard to convey to a person who has never tried it, but when people who are committed to serving God try to overcome a negative or deficiency in their lives, they see incredible things happen. Alcoholics and drug addicts are able to overcome their addictions. Prostitutes are able to escape useless lives of exploitation. People with moral problems are able to overcome them.

What is the source of the power to live a victorious life? How can Christianity change lives when no other system on the earth can? At the end of this course, your author would like to share with you some of his own experiences in this regard. I would submit that the uniqueness of Christianity to accomplish renovation in shattered, meaningless lives is another testimony to the fact that there is one true and living God--the God of the Bible.

(Appendices A and B can be viewed and printed as booklet in PDF format by clicking Appendix A-booklet and Appendix B-booklet.)
© 2009, John N. Clayton
Lesson 4 cover picture: iStockphoto.com/hidesy

Lesson 4 Questions

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