Scripture clearly expects the reader to understand it is inspired and presents absolute truth (2 Timothy 3:16,17). Moreover, “much of the New Testament is evidentiary in nature” in order to verify its claims./1
Luke writes, “it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write to you an orderly account, most excellent Theophilus, that you may know the certainty of the things in which you were instructed” (Luke 1:3,4, NKJV).
Luke’s account is inspired of God (2 Timothy 3:16,17) and based on what has been taught by “ministers of the word,” “eyewitnesses” and “what has been delivered to him” (Luke 1:2). These proofs are sufficient in the mind of Luke to guarantee the “certainty” or “undoubted truth” of what he is presenting./2
Luke writes in the introduction to Acts that he is continuing the story of “all that Jesus began both to do and teach” (Acts 1:1). Jesus taught the Apostles “through the Holy Spirit” (John 14:26). “Luke makes it plain that it is by the power of the same Spirit that all the apostolic acts which he goes on to narrate were performed.”/3
Luke then notes that Jesus “presented himself alive to the apostles by many infallible proofs, being seen by them forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God” (Acts 1:3). These “infallible proofs” mean “a fixed or sure sign or token” of the heavenly authority of what Jesus taught./4 “In Greek authors it denotes an infallible sign or argument by which anything can be certainly known. Here it means the same, evidence that he was alive which could not deceive, or in which they could not be mistaken.”/5
As we summarize Luke’s argument, we see the apologetic nature of his writings. His narrative in Luke was ordered, certain, and based on authoritative teaching and eyewitness accounts. Acts was also based on the inspired teachings of Christ and his apostles as led by the Holy Spirit.
These “infallible proofs” were the foundation for the preaching of the disciples and writers of the remaining New Testament books. Clearly, Scripture expects the benefit of the doubt to be given to its words.
The inspiration of Scripture is presented to the reader as undeniable. The prophet Samuel said, “The Spirit of the Lord spoke by me, And His word was on my tongue” (2 Samuel 23:2). Repeatedly, the prophets say, “the word of the Lord came to me.” This is sufficient, in their minds, to authorize the words that they would speak. “The characteristic ‘thus says the Lord’ and similar expressions are found here (in the prophets) and in other parts of the New Testament hundreds of times.”/6
Scripture commends those who accept the validity of the word of God (Acts 17:11; Luke 8:21). On the other hand, those who twist the Scriptures and misuse them are condemned (Galatians 1:8; 2 Peter 3:16). Clearly, Scripture expects to be trusted and obeyed. Those who fail to do so, will miss the truth contained within the pages of God’s Word.
Faith and an acceptance of the inspired nature of Scripture should lead us to accept its teachings at face value. Yet, we are a suspicious people in this scientific age. “We have become so suspicious of the power of words … the first assumption we make is that we’re faced with spin of some kind, with an agenda being forced on us.”/7 And it is sad how this is affecting people’s appreciation of, and obedience to, God’s Word.
2/ Joseph Thayer, Greek English Lexicon of the New Testament (Broadman: Nashville, 1977), 82.
3/ F. F. Bruce, The Book of the Acts (Eerdmans: Grand Rapids, 1988), 31.
4/ Vincent?s Word Studies in the New Testament (Peabody: Hendricksen, n.d.), 1:442.
6/ Josh McDowell, The New Evidence that Demands a Verdict (Nashville: Thomas Nelson,1999), 335.
Scripture Expects to Be Given the Benefit of the Doubt