The Muslim view of the Bible is not the same as Jesus’
Muslims say they believe in Jesus. Muslims say they love Jesus. Muslims say the believe Jesus was a great prophet. However, Muslims do not believe what Jesus believed. Muslims do not believe everything Jesus historically taught. There are two key things Muslims do not believe about Jesus’ teaching and example:
- Muslims do not believe what Jesus taught about His death on the cross.
- Muslims do not believe what Jesus taught about Scripture.
Muslims say they believe in Jesus, but Muslims do not believe in the Jesus of history.
Muslims do not believe in the same Bible Jesus believed
Muslims do not read the same Scriptures Jesus read:
- Jesus read the Old Testament (Hebrew Scriptures).
- Jesus studied the Old Testament.
- Jesus taught from the Old Testament.
- Jesus encouraged others who disagreed with Him to go and restudy the meaning of the Old Testament.
Most Muslims do not do any of these things and yet they say the believe Jesus was a great prophet. Jesus taught the Old Testament is the Word of God and cannot be broken (John 10:35).
Muslims do not believe the Old Testament is the Word of God and they believe it has been corrupted. Is it therefore accurate for Muslims to say they believe Jesus was a great prophet? No, because Muslims don’t believe what Jesus historically believed and taught. The Jesus of the Quran is not the Jesus of history.
Jesus’ teaching about the Bible, and Jesus’ example of believing the Bible
I invite you to read the Gospels and learn from them about the Jesus of history and His teaching about the Word of God. Here is a brief summary of what you will find:
Jesus regarded the accounts of the Old Testament Bible to be true, trustworthy, and reliable (Matthew 12:39-42; Luke 17:26,28; Matthew 19:4-6).
- Jesus believed in the Old Testament teaching about the historicity of Adam (Matthew 19:4-6 with Gen.2:24) 1Muslims will point out that they also believe in Adam and the other Old Testament examples I give. However the difference I am emphasizing is that Muslims don’t believe in the Old Testament teaching about Adam which Jesus believed.
- Jesus believed in the Old Testament teaching about the rescue of Noah and his family from the Flood in the ark (Matthew 24:37-39; Luke 17:26,28 with Genesis 6-8)
- Jesus believed in the Old Testament teaching about God’s appearance to Moses at the burning bush (Matthew 22:32 with Exodus 3:4-6)
- Jesus believed in the Old Testament teaching about God’s feeding of Israelites with manna from heaven (John 6:49)
- >Jesus believed in the Old Testament teaching about Jonah in the belly of the great fish and Nineveh’s repentance (Matthew 12:40-41)
When Jesus was confronted by Satan, Jesus resisted the devil by quoting from the Old Testament Bible
When Jesus was tempted by Satan, He was able to resist the lies of the devil by quoting from Scripture.
- Matthew 4:4//Deuteronomy 8:3 (“He humbled you and let you be hungry…”)
- Matthew 4:7//Deuteronomy 6:16 (“You shall not put the LORD your God to the test…”)
- Matthew4:10//Deuteronomy 6:13 (“You shall fear only the LORD your God; and you shall worship Him…”)
Jesus’ use of the Scripture to resist the devil demonstrates the reliability of the Bible and its power.
The Bible, not the QuranicʾInjīl, was central to Jesus’ teaching
“The Muslim conception of the Gospel (Arabic Injīl) is of a revelation originally given to Jesus for the Christian community but later either corrupted in some way or lost and reconstructed and therefore no longer accessible in its original form.”2David Thomas, “Muslim Conception of Gospel”, in: Encyclopaedia of Islam, THREE, Edited by: Kate Fleet, Gudrun Krämer, Denis Matringe, John Nawas, Everett Rowson
The fact is that Jesus never received a book (Injīl) from heaven. The burden of proof rests on Muslims to prove otherwise. The message of the gospels and New Testament is that Jesus is the good news sent from heaven.3The Qur’an contradicts this at every key point of Jesus’ person and work.
There are many historical examples of Jesus’ beliefs about the Bible and how the Bible was foundational to Jesus’ beliefs and teaching,
- Jesus taught that the Bible was authoritative (Matthew 5:17-44 and John 10:30-36)
- Jesus taught that the biblical writers were inspired by the Holy Spirit (Mark 12:36)
- Jesus taught that the Old Testament Bible is a means of salvation (Luke 16:31; see Rom.10:17).
- When Jesus was disputing with the Pharisees and teachers of the Law He appealed to the Scriptures (Matthew 19:4 with Genesis 2:24; Matthew 22:41-46 with Psalm 110:1)
- Jesus taught that error comes from not knowing the Bible (Matthew 22:29).
- Jesus taught that it was necessary for Scripture be fulfilled (Luke 24:25,27,44; Matthew 26:54)
- Jesus put belief in His words on the same level as belief in the Old Testament Bible (John 5:45-47).
One of the characteristics of false prophets is that they turn people away from the Bible with contrary teaching. Some of the teaching of false prophets will correspond with what God has already done and revealed as recorded in the Bible. However, a false prophet will not affirm everything God has done and revealed; in key ways they will contradict the Bible.
Jesus said the wise man builds His house on the rock of His Word
Jesus taught that those who believe in Him would believe His Word,
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.
The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.
The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
Jesus lived by the Bible and Jesus is alive
One of the greatest evidences for the reliability of the Christian Bible is that Jesus not only lived by the Bible, Jesus is alive – His tomb is empty. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 15:
1 Corinthians 15:1–4
1Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand.
2By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.
3For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,
4that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,
The reason the Bible is true is because it is a record of what God has done in history culminating in the death of Jesus on the cross and His resurrection from the dead.
They [events pertaining to the Gospel] were true because they happened in history, and things that happen in history are not just true for direct participants, but are true for everyone. 4Michael Horton, “Heaven Came Down”; Modern Reformation, Nov./Dec. 1995, Vol. 4 No. 6
Do you believe in Jesus – the Jesus of history? Do you follow His example? Do you believe what Jesus believed about Scripture?