Reliability is the extent to which an experiment, test, or any measuring procedure yields the same result on repeated trials.
Validity refers to the degree to which a study accurately reflects or assesses the specific concept that the researcher is attempting to measure. While reliability is concerned with the accuracy of the actual measuring instrument or procedure, validity is concerned with the study’s success at measuring what the researchers set out to measure.
Using a scientific approach, can we say that the Bible is true via reliability and validity? The world of secular research and science usually holds to this regimen. They MUST demonstrate reliability and validity of results in order to confirm its reported results.
Let’s begin with Reliability? Question: Is the Bible reliable to the extent that it produces the same results regardless of the text used to support or make a point? Let me explain this as the world would use and accept the results per this part of the measure.
I recently went in for a hearing test. I do have severe hearing issues, deaf in my left ear and limited hearing in my right ear. The test results from this test were the same minus a few exceptions with a test I had two years earlier by another audiologist. This would suggest that the testing method is reliable; it yields the same results on repeated trials. But this is also contingent upon all other variables being constant in that means the testing circumstances are controlled in similar manners. But it also means that the client (me in this scenario) is also unchanged.
The Bible has similar conditions and pre-conditions. Can over time the scriptures be reliable? Let’s consider the simplest yet most important verses in Scripture, that which concerns salvation. This is also where the word faith (pistis in the Greek) comes into the equation. As early in the New Testament as one can go (The Book of Mark) salvation comes only through faith, belief in Jesus, and a committed heart. Belief is not simply accepting the facts as presented, but acting upon them. Faith that a well-tuned piano can produce some of the most beautiful music is more than looking at a piano and making such a statement. It requires the good works of application by a true pianist. If my brother who was a concert pianist played the keyboard and another applied pianist did the same thing, we would prove two things; the piano was reliable and a true pianist was valid. For me to sit at the ivory keys, we would still have reliability per the piano, but no longer valid beauty in the sound results.
This is true of the Christian faith. True believers demonstrate time after time that Christ makes a difference in his or her life. This is reliability. We get similar changes in lives. To prove the validity of this measure, one would need to see if this same “improvement” occurred in all measured subjects. These measures would be Galatians 5:22 “ the fruit (evidence) of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, fruitfulness, gentleness, self-control i.e. indwelling of the Holy Spirit. There must be consistency between those measured with only occasional blips. When it is the blips that are more often revealed in this example research, the measure is somehow wrong.
When a by-mouth-only so stated Christian tries to sit at the ivory keyboard of Christianity, s/he would soon prove to be a fraud or invalid as a true believer in and follower of Christ; thus reliability of inconsistent living AND little to but no validity. Put the two side by side and our Christianity study or measure would demonstrate different results meaning something is invalid.
Want a check list for yourself? Okay here is one. If you don’t’ want to personally know about validity and reliability in Christian living, stop reading here. The rest of this blog or article may be too truthful to accept. Remember that true results must have both measures.
- Do you thirst for bible knowledge or are the simple “stories of the Bible” good and deep enough for you?
- Do you pray on a continual basis for more things than a blessing on the food you are about to eat, and then only if in private and NOT in a public place? Do you forgive others as you want the Lord to forgive you your sins?
- Do you want to share what God has done for you or are you still wondering IF God has done anything for you?
- Do you seek to be with other believers in fellowship and WORSHIP or is Sunday attendance good or close enough?
- When was the last time you picked up, opened and STUDIED the bible other than to possibly carry it to church?-
- Is a Bible devotional to you the same thing as bible study?
- Are you more worried about the ball game next weekend than the salvation of your neighbor, friends and/or family?
- Do you pray for the healing of others so that you yourself may be healed?
- Is a little gray sin, a little deceit, or little lie not a sin in your opinion?
- What does the word HOLY mean to you? Just a special word or do you grasp its true depth?
These are enough measures to test one’s Christian reliability and validity. Here is how the Biblical addresses each of the above questions. If we believe in Jesus Christ, live the above and the Bible commands it, one is a reliable and valid Christian. See you here, there, or in the air.
- Matthew 5:5 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
- Matthew 6:9-13, Daniel 9:3-19 (forgiveness of sin) Adoration of God’s Holy Name and His holiness, His goodness, His omnipotence, His sovereignty. The Lord’s Prayers says “Hallowed be your name.” also read), Daniel 6:10
- Acts 1:8, Matthew 28:19-20, Luke 8:39John 4:28-29.
- Hebrews 10:25, Matthew 18:20
- Luke 4:4, Exodus 24:3, Deuteronomy 6:6, Acts 17:11
- 1 Timothy 4:15, John 5:39, 1 Corinthians 2:13
- Acts 10:1-8, Acts 16:20-34, Luke 23:39-43
- Matthew 7:7, Psalms 107:28-30, James 5:16, Ephesians 6:18
- Romans 6:23 simply calls sin, SIN, James 2:10, Matthew 12:31-32
PS: There is an old song and saying that goes like this:
“God said it, I believe it, and that’s good enough for me.” On the surface this seems to be good enough. But the validity is missing; i.e. evidence. Now if one can relate to this… “God said it; I LIVE it, and that’s valid enough for a witness,” then we have a true Christian life after which one can model his or her own.