To my graduating senior: When the world says the Bible isn’t true

To my sweet daughter (and so many others) as you head to college, thank you for indulging these rather last-ditch efforts to launch you well. I hope these words encourage you when the world says you’re not good enough, or the Bible isn’t true, or when you face challenges to the core truths of our faith and family.

You already know there’s resistance that comes with living fully and authentically for the Lord in today’s culture. And often that resistance comes with challenges to the Bible sounding something like this:

· The Bible is full of contradictions

· It’s not relevant because it’s too old

· It’s inconsistent with science

· There’s no way to prove God and Jesus exist

Rest assured I’m not trying to answer all the complex questions you will face (couldn’t do it if I wanted to), but to simply give you a few thoughts since we’re called to always be prepared with an answer for the hope we have in Christ (1 Peter 3:15).

So start by considering how the Bible was written over 1,500 years ago by more than 40 authors over a span of 1,000 years. These authors came from every walk of life including shepherds, tax collectors, doctors, military generals, and kings. The Bible was written on three different continents in a variety of locations ranging from jail cells to the wilderness.

Even so, all 66 books were miraculously preserved and provide a singular narrative of God’s redemptive love for his people. It’s a comprehensive story of a God so in love with his fallen creation that he replaced all that was lost in the garden in Genesis with the hope of Jesus found on the streets of gold in Revelation. From beginning to end, through author to author, it’s a consistent story of love and salvation for all who choose to place their faith in Jesus.

In addition to the continuity, there’s also overwhelming historical and archeological evidence pointing to the Bible’s reliability and authenticity. There’s things like the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls confirming the Bible’s accuracy going as far back as the 5th century BC. There’s also secular sources confirming events in the Bible such as Jesus’s crucifixion, darkness falling over the earth, and his followers seeing Jesus after he rose from the dead. There’s even the testimony of a Jewish archaeologist (Nelson Glueck), who wrote “no archaeological discovery has ever controverted a biblical reference.”

But even so, all the “right” answers in the world will never save lives —only God does that. Historical or archeological evidence will never be as compelling as the stories of ordinary lives transformed by an extraordinary God.

Genuine faith stories draw people to Jesus. We’ve seen it first-hand in how your dad came to know the Lord because of a few high-school boys who lived differently and invited him to a Bible study. Or how your youngest brother came to our family because God’s word called us to to care for orphans, and we entered the foster care journey.

These are the stories that change lives. These are the real-life testimonies of faith that show up when we’re less intent on winning arguments, and more burdened by lost souls. God will only be as real to others as he is in our own daily lives.

Theodore Roosevelt once said “[a] thorough knowledge of the Bible is worth more than a college education.” My prayer is that you experience this truth every moment of the next four years.

Remember to chase the God things, sweet one. Chase after truth. And may your life be the greatest evidence to those around you that God’s word is not just true, but transformative.

Cynthia Yanof is a wife, mom, blogger, and the host of the Pardon the Mess podcast. She loves Jesus, her family, foster care, and having lots of friends around her as often as possible.

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