When referencing the Bible as the source of truth, Christians are often accused of circular reasoning. Circular reasoning is a logical fallacy known as begging the question, where the person merely assumes what he or she is attempting to prove, or when the premise of an argument actually depends on its conclusion.[i] Begging the question fallacies are valid arguments (the conclusion follows from the premise), but are, nonetheless fallacious because they are arbitrary.
However, when appealing to an ultimate truth or authority, a certain amount of circular reasoning is unavoidable. Hebrews 6:13 records, “For when God made a promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself.”[ii] When God appealed to a higher authority, He could only appeal to Himself, for there is no one higher than God.
Man, on the other hand, always appeals to God because God is a higher authority than man and He is the ultimate source of truth. Even unbelievers instinctively know that God is the ultimate authority and source of truth. Watching T.V. this weekend, I heard unbelievers and secularists appeal to God numerous times. Specifically, with these phrases, “I swear to God,” “Oh my God,” “then God help us,” and one person, after seeing an explosion, cried out, “God Almighty.”
Secularists and other unbelievers will often ask us to leave the Bible out of discussions about truth. Or perhaps, they will accuse us of circular reasoning. But how can we know anything without the Bible? And, how could you give any kind of explanation without the Bible? Those who start with the assumption that human reasoning is sufficient apart from God’s revelation have already arbitrarily decided that the Bible is not true. It would be like trying to win an argument by saying, “Let’s start by assuming that you are wrong. And then I can prove that you are wrong.” It wouldn’t make sense to agree to those terms.[iii]
God’s special revelation, the Bible, tells us that we can know God exists by studying creation (Rom 1:20). The Bible claims to be the Word of God (2 Timothy 3:16) and, genuine knowledge must begin with God’s revelation (Colossians 2:3). Therefore, we must study God’s word to know what is true (2 Timothy 2:15).
So, in discussions, explanations, or arguments, don’t leave out the Bible. It is the ultimate source of all truth.
[i] (Lisle, 2010)
[ii] (The Holy Bible, New King James Version, 1982)
[iii] (Lisle D. J., 2008)
(1982). The Holy Bible, New King James Version. Thomas Nelson, Inc.
Lisle, D. J. (2008, December 5). Feedback: Put the Bible Down. Retrieved May 27, 2013, from Answers in Genesis: http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/2008/12/05/feedback-put-the-bible-down
Lisle, J. (2010). Discerning Truth. Green Forest: Master Books.