“These are Written that You May Believe”

by Steven Chan

God through His Spirit inspired the writers of the Scriptures to write so that we can read and understand His will and have facts-based faith in God as opposed to the oft claimed “better felt than told” approach to belief in the truth of the gospel. We believe because we read and understand the facts/evidence provided. We do not believe “in spite” of the facts/evidence! We ought to believe “because of” the facts/evidence provided.

Paul wrote so that all may “read and understand” his knowledge in the mystery of Christ (i.e. the gospel of Christ):-

“For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for you Gentiles—if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you, how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ” (Col 3:1-4)

Paul wrote so that “when one reads what he had written”, one will “understand” his knowledge in the mystery of Christ. By the way, this is no longer a mystery. It has been revealed to Paul and the apostles: “which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets: that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel” (Col 3:5-6)

John wrote so that all may read and believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God:-

“And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.” (John 20:30-31)

Luke wrote so that one may “know the certainty of those things of those things which had been taught orally”:-

“Inasmuch as many have taken in hand to set in order a narrative of those things which have been fulfilled among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word delivered them to us, 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 those things in which you were instructed”. (Luke 1:1-4)

The apostle Peter wrote to “remind us” that their preaching was not based on “cunningly devised fables”. It is truly sad that some believers have somehow been deceived into claiming that the bible narrative is not based on facts but on “stories, fables and legends” that are used to teach truth about God. Listen to the testimony of the apostle Peter in I Peter 1:12-21:-

“For this reason I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things, though you know and are established in the present truth. 13 Yes, I think it is right, as long as I am in this tent, to stir you up by reminding you14 knowing that shortly I must put off my tent, just as our Lord Jesus Christ showed me. 15 Moreover I will be careful to ensure that you always have a reminder of these things after my decease. 16 For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. 17 For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” 18 And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain. 19 And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; 20 knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, 21 for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God[c] spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.”

As God has given us evidence for faith in Him, He reasons with man:-

“Come now, and let us reason together,” says the Lord, though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”

That’s why the apostle Paul reasoned with the people. He believed that there are sound reasons to believe the gospel of Christ:-

“Then Paul, as his custom was, went in to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures” (Acts 17:2)

“Therefore he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and with the Gentile worshipers, and in the marketplace daily with those who happened to be there.” (Acts 17:17)

“And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded both Jews and Greeks.” (Acts 18:4)

“And he came to Ephesus, and left them there; but he himself entered the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews.”(Acts 18:19)

“And he went into the synagogue and spoke boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading concerning the things of the kingdom of God.” (Acts 19:8)

“But when some were hardened and did not believe, but spoke evil of the Way before the multitude, he departed from them and withdrew the disciples, reasoning daily in the school of Tyrannus.” (Acts 19:9)

“Now as he reasoned about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and answered, “Go away for now; when I have a convenient time I will call for you.”(Acts 24:25)

“But he said, “I am not mad, most noble Festus, but speak the words of truth and reason.” (Acts 26:25)

Finally, Paul wrote that he has “reason to glory” in Christ: “Therefore I have reason to glory in Christ Jesus in the things which pertain to God.”

Paul’s faith was based on well-reasoned thinking. He spoke the “words of truth and reason”. It behooves us all therefore to read and understand the written revelation of God, His inspired Scriptures, so that we may strong conviction in God’s truth being assured of the certainty of those things in which we have been instructed (Luke 1:4; Acts 17:11). Then we must pass on the same teaching to faithful men so that they may teach others in like manner (2 Tim 2:2)