Must Christians believe the Bible?

Maryann from Columbia asked, "How do you respond to someone who professes to be a believer but doesn't know what to believe in the Bible because Christians interpret things differently?

Thank you for writing to us. This is an important issue. 

When interacting with someone who claims to be a Christian but struggles to believe the Bible, I would try and focus the conversation on their salvation. Paul told us in Romans 10 that “faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” There is a direct connection between the Bible and saving faith. We must believe the Bible in order to understand and believe the gospel. 

I’ll come back to salvation in a moment. First I want to address your friend’s concern. 

Yes, there are areas where Christians disagree on how to interpret parts of the Bible. But true Christians, even those who disagree on an interpretation, believe the Bible. They believe it is true and it is the Word of God. In other words, the problem is not with the Bible. The problem is with the human interpretation of the Bible. 

There are men with whom I disagree on some areas of biblical interpretation. One of us is wrong. (It’s possible that both of us are wrong.) But the Bible is never wrong, and so we work hard at interpreting it properly. 

But back to salvation, I encourage you to try and make sure your friend's faith is real. When I’m talking to people about their faith, I find that questions are usually the best approach. My favorite question is this: “On a scale of 1 to 10, how sure are you that you are saved?” The reason I like that question is because if they say anything other than 10, I know they need help understanding the gospel. I also ask something like “How do you know that you are a Christian?” 

Diagnostic questions like this can help clarify where a person really stands in relation to the gospel. But the reason I encourage you to explore the gospel with your friend is because believing in the Bible is where we find the gospel. So anytime someone doubts the truthfulness of the Bible, we should assume that the person may not be truly saved. 

I hope this helps.

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