…most of whom are still alive

My first semester of undergrad I was taking the introduction class for a degree in communication studies. The professor of this class was a highly educated man who spoke convincingly. He had the ability to teach and communicate ideas unlike any I had ever heard.

Unknown to me at the time of my class he was also a secular humanist with no belief or regard for God and His Word. Throughout the semester he would teach and toss out these highly educated reasons for why humans have the innate ability to achieve anything we would like to and how we have lost the need for God in our society. He concluded that the Bible is unnecessary especially because he presented it as a fabricated book of myths that have evolved over the centuries.

Needless to say, at first I disagreed. I had been raised to believe the Bible was God’s Word and entirely true, but no one had ever told me why. On the other hand my professor had many reasons as to why he believed Scripture was not truly the words of Almighty God. Over the course of the semester and many personal conversations, my trust in the validity and accuracy of the Bible began to disintegrate one class period at a time.

For a several months I battled with the notion of the inaccuracy of scripture. If Scripture is inaccurate I thought, then how could the story of Jesus be true? And if I can’t trust the story of Jesus to be true, my faith is gone. As a college student battling with whether or not to believe the words of Scripture, God opened my eyes in a gloriously transformative way. Around the end of the semester I was reading in 1 Corinthians 15 (also known as the resurrection chapter), and I remember reading the first 11 verses when I came across something. Paul wrote,

Christ died for our sins in accordance to the scriptures, he was buried and raised in accordance with the scriptures, and he appeared to Cephas, then to the 12, then to over 500 brothers, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep.

Later in the passage Paul says Jesus appeared to him also. I remember thinking, “If Paul is writing to the Corinthians regarding the resurrection of Christ, and some doubt that it happened, he gives the doubters unbelievable confirmation of his word.” You see, when Paul said that Jesus appeared to him, anyone could say, “Oh it was just your imagination, you made that up.”  But when Paul said that Jesus appeared to over 500 brothers, “most of whom are still alive” Paul was saying that if you do not believe what I’m saying, go ask other people who have experienced the same thing and they will tell you likewise. Therefore this confirmed Paul’s word that Jesus is alive “according to the Scriptures.”

Paul couldn’t be making up the story of the resurrection because if he was doing so, there were over 500 people to dispute him. He therefore puts himself on the line by saying, ‘If my testimony is untrue I’ll be called a liar; but what I’m saying is so true that I give you permission to go check me on it!’ It was in that moment where God restored my faith in His Word. Not only did Jesus come to earth, live, die, and raise from the dead according to the Old Testament; Paul could not have been lying because people would have called him out on it. God used the simple but intentional phrase, ‘most of whom are still alive’ to confirm in me the validity and truth of His Word.

I want to encourage you in two ways:

  • If you struggle to believe the validity of God’s Word, ask Him to show you how true it really is.
  • The Bible is so intentional that God wants His people to know the truth of His Word; He went to great lengths to ensure that you and I can trust Holy Scripture.