Many today are demanding that the Bible prove itself as divinely inspired and authentic. The legitimacy of the Scripture is questioned, and its great worth as a meta narrative is tarnished.

Sure there are profound interpretive issues which we must navigate, but Jesus esteemed the Scriptures of His day and so should we. Jesus never criticized Scripture, He only criticized how arrogant men wrongly approached them. These men, in His estimation, though they were the presumed Bible scholars of their day, “KNEW neither the Scriptures nor the power of God.” Matthew 22:29. Thus, knowing Scriptures is coupled here with knowing God’s power in our lives. That’s a nice combination.

Jesus taught us that the “Scriptures must be fulfilled.” Mark 14:49. But the wonderful thing is, Jesus Himself is THAT fulfillment. Jesus is the SOLE hermeneutic for proper Bible reading. Jesus’ Spirit is the SOLE agent of translation which must inspire the reader to properly internalize the truths of Scripture. Jesus’ over-arching meta narrative is the interpretive key to understanding every Scripture.

On the road to Emmaus, Jesus told the two disciples “And beginning from Moses and from all the prophets, He (Christ) INTERPRETED to them in ALL THE SCRIPTURES the things concerning HIMSELF…And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight. And they said one to another, Was not our HEART BURNING WITHIN US, while he spake to us in the way, while he opened to us the scriptures?” Luke 24:26-27, 31-32. Thus, it must be Jesus opening all the Scriptures to us, or we will miss both Him as its message and Him as the revealed power of God.

However, I believe that the REAL issue behind the Bible doubting today is an epistemological one rather than an empirical one, that is to say, “HOW do we KNOW anything about anything when it comes to Scripture?” Some are now demanding that natural reasoning empirically prove what many others believe to be a supernaturally inspired document. And that can’t work.

If we carried that same guideline to it’s logical extreme, very little documentation of distant history would be credible beyond an educated guess, which by its nature always leaves room for a reasonable doubt. We can usually insert some level of reasonable doubt into anything we ourselves haven’t directly eye-witnessed. The fact that Jesus even actually walked the earth in supernatural power can’t be proven empirically beyond the writings a few witnesses who claim to have seen him or heard about Him in His day.

As a lawyer, given time to prepare, I could cross-examine and shred most any ancient historical document as dubious and of limited reliability IF I used strictly natural reasoning and empirical standards of proof. Eyewitness testimony today has been empirically proven by psychologists to be notoriously unreliable.

History is basically just sketchy hearsay, providing a basis for educated guessing. Nothing ancient can be proved beyond all empirical doubt. It is certainly interesting hearsay, but it is ultimately opinion-based and largely un-provable. History is continually rewritten, challenged, disputed and adjusted, with the absolute consensus being the rarest of things. Obviously, the more recent the history, the more it allows for video and audio confirmation, but even these are capable of being forged, partial or misinterpreted.

As far as the Bible though, we have no such confirmation other than the eyewitness documents and the hearsay of the day. This is why hearsay in a court of law is inadmissible. And even if we could meticulously establish the chain of custody of every Scripture from pen to scroll to now, it would still depend ultimately on the hearsay accounts of the writers and preservers of the texts, all of which are not provable.

The ancients didn’t have evidence lockers, videotape cameras recording all the Scribes’ actions or meticulous peer review procedures. The empirical proof many ask for in is ultimately impossible to provide, not only for the Bible but for any ancient sacred document.

Authentication has to come from another source. All any Bible writer had was inspired faith. Or, as Kierkegaard famously termed it, it was a “leap of faith” into the arena of divine things, an arena where empiricism and logic are secondary spices but are not the primary meat in the stew.

So, when it comes to epistemology (how we KNOW anything to be true), I subscribe to Henri Bergson’s Vitalism, which essentially says that there are two types of knowledge– 1) RELATIVE KNOWLEDGE obtained through our natural faculties which is always subject to change, and 2) INTUITIVE APPREHENSION of eternal truth which is not subject to change. The latter “intuitive truth” is the only way any divine knowledge can be grasped, by an immediate and spontaneous apprehension of it.

Bergson believed that we are far more than the sum of our parts. Logic and empirical reasoning are lesser parts of our thinking because we have transcendent thinking skills which greatly exceed these rational sub-parts. There is a growing movement today to establish the legitimacy of abductive (gut-led intuition) reasoning as greater than either deductive or inductive reasoning.

“An absolute can only be given in an intuition, while all the rest has to do with analysis…Some other faculty than the intellect is necessary for the apprehension of reality.” Henri Bergson, THE CREATIVE MIND: AN INTRODUCTION TO METAPHYSICS.

This tension has always been present in almost every discipline. Platonic intuition versus cold Aristotelian logic. Jungian epiphany versus Freudian reason. Quantum unpredictability versus Rules-based Newtonian Physics. This is why Einstein said imagination is more important than intelligence. He also believed intuition was a sacred gift that reason was to serve, not lead.

So here is my bottom line. I have studied how the Scriptures were providentially formed, but that’s not why I believe them. I have a ten-volume set of the Ante-Nicene fathers which tracks the providential recognition and growing dependence on the books now contained in the New Testament as they developed in the first 300 years after Christ, but that is not why I believe them. I also have numerous books and articles on the formation of Scripture, hermeneutical principles and apologetics which trace the fingerprints of providential purpose on the formation of the New Testament, but that’s not why I believe them.

Here is why I accept Scriptures. Decades ago, I had a direct encounter with the Holy Spirit where I directly “apprehended” the foundational importance and supernatural vitality of Scriptures. And they have blessed me bountifully ever since.

So, here is my point. The authority of Scripture can’t primarily come from the demands of our natural reasoning, just like our faith in Jesus can’t be reduced to “prove it” theorems of logic. This is the leap of faith. Jesus certainly showed His disapproving view of empirical demands for proof in His incident with doubting Thomas.

“The other disciples therefore said unto Thomas, We have seen the Lord . But he said unto them , EXCEPT I shall SEE in his hands the print of the nails , and PUT my finger into the print of the nails , and THRUST my hand into his side , I will NOT BELIEVE [sounds like high rationalism to me].

And after eight days again his disciples were within , and Thomas with them : then came Jesus , the doors being shut , and stood in the midst , and said , Peace be unto you . Then saith he to Thomas , REACH hither thy finger , and BEHOLD my hands ; and reach hither thy hand , and THRUST it into my side : and BE NOT FAITHLESS , but believing [here Jesus calls Thomas’ demand for empirical proof FAITHLESS].

And Thomas answered and said unto him , My Lord and my God . Jesus saith unto him , Thomas , because thou hast seen me , thou hast believed : BLESSED are they that have NOT SEEN , and YET have BELIEVED [hardly a ringing endorsement for Thomas’ skeptical empiricism].” John 20:25-29.

Honestly, the modern tsunami of doubt rising to swamp and carry the Bible away from us comes from this same type of “prove it” spirit of faithless empiricism.

Of course, WITHOUT Scripture, we would know nothing, nada, zippo, that is to say precisely squat about Jesus and the kingdom of love. Oh, we might have a vague impression, like the Greeks did, of an “unknown god.” But, we would know little to nothing of Jesus.

So, just as we need a direct intuitive apprehension of Jesus as the son of the living God we also need a direct apprehension of whether Scriptures carry a unique supernatural element of authoritative inspiration. For me, I had a direct apprehension, epiphany and intuition from the Holy Spirit that Scriptures contain the exceeding great and precious promises of God which provide us all things for life and Godliness.

Each believer can experience this direct apprehension for themselves where the Holy Spirit actually confirms within their hearts that the Scriptures are unique and foundational for their faith. But it doesn’t stop there. The believer must continue to yield to the Holy Spirit as the agent of Scriptural translation. The result will be a heightened sense of things, a better rationality that incorporates sacred intuition, abductive awe, and spontaneous epiphany.

“Intelligence” is a term no longer reserved just for academics. Intelligence is instead expanded to include “emotional” intelligence, “visceral” intelligence, and “Spiritual” intelligence. Sure reason and rationality have their part in our being, but only a part. They need to blend with with the other transcendent human qualities mentioned above.