THERE is no book used more widely as a source book of information for guidance in Christian living than the Holy Bible. Indeed, there is no other book more worthy of this general usage!
The Bible — and only the Bible — serves as the guide to the Church of God in matters pertaining to salvation and godly living. “The Holy Bible (consisting of the two parts commonly known as the Old Testament and the New Testament) is the divinely inspired Word of God. No other writing is of such divine origin. The Bible is infallible in teaching, and it contains the complete revelation of the plan of salvation and of the instruction and will of God for man,” quoted from Doctrinal Beliefs of the Church of God (Seventh Day).
Much doubt is cast upon the Holy Bible in many circles. Faith in the Bible is undermined in college classrooms, through political isms, and even by churchmen in the pulpit. Yet, the Scriptures abide, unshaken, eternal, as the Word of God. How can this be? Because “all scripture is given by the inspiration of God . . . “1 This means the writers were inspired, motivated, directed by God so that in reality the Bible is God’s workmanship. And God’s Word is just as indestructible and eternal as He is.
The Bible ever remains true and reliable, for its Author is true and reliable. “God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?”2 ” . . . The scripture cannot be broken.”3
The Bible is not the work of man; it is the inspired product of God. It is Godbreathed from the first to the last word. “. . . Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”4 “God . . . spake in time past unto the fathers by the pro phets.”5 “. . .He spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began.”6 Men were used as mouthpieces and as recorders of whatever “. . . the Spirit of Christ which was in them”7 moved them to write.
About 2,000 times the Bible states its own claim to divine origin in such expressions as: “Thus saith the Lord,” . . . The Lord said unto me,” ‘The Lord appeared to me in a vision, saying, “. . . As the Lord commanded,” “And the Lord said unto Moses, Thus thou shalt say.” All of these claims, however, would be insufficient to prove the inspiration of the Bible without the additional evidence found in analyzing its character and content, and without the abundant external evidence available, some of which follows.
First, the unity and consistency of
the Bible speaks for its inspiration. The sixty-six books in your Bible were written over a period of approximately 1,500 years by about 40 writers; yet, its harmonious message follows the central theme of “Salvation through Christ.” The writings of those “holy men of God,” coming from varying occupations, with drastically different surroundings and background, and under a multitude of circumstances reveal such unity and consistency that human authorship cannot reasonably be credited.
This historical character and accuracy of the Bible is further evidence of its reliable worthiness. For example, the precision with which Luke dates the ministry of John reveals a sincere concern for accuracy:
“Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judaea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee. . . . Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness.”8
The straightforwardness with which Luke approached his account of the gospel depicts still more the reliable character of the writer (as a single example of the several writers); “Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us, even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word; it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus, that thou mightest know the CERTAINTY of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed.”9
Another striking evidence of super-human inspiration is the frankness and realism of the Bible. With no attempt to conceal the shortcomings of even the leading characters, the writers gave the factual accounts of episodes that involved God’s dealings with man. For this, critics of the Bible have branded it obscene, indecent, lewd, immoral.
Bad men could not have written the Bible because they would not have exposed the ugly characters in their lives. Good men could not have written the Bible on their own for they would not have been good while pretending to be inspired if they were not inspired. Thus, it had to be that “holy men of God” were used of God to record the facts as they were, whether commendable or shameful.
A most convincing internal evidence of the inspiration of the Bible is the fact that the Bible fits human needs. Multitudes of ordinary people testify to the reality of the Bible’s effectiveness. All hearts desire an acquaintance with higher power: the Bible satisfies this natural longing. In its more serious moments of meditation every heart cringes at its degeneracy: the Bible complements this conscious weakness of human nature by the doctrine of regeneration. In times of sorrow, distress, anxiety, the human heart seeks a solace: the Bible affords comfort in every trial. When a complexity of problems develop and the heart desires a stable support to lean on, the Bible gives promise of a solution to every human problem (whether now or in the hereafter). And when hearts quake because of uncertainties of the future, the Bible cancels all fear of death and satisfies the hope and desire for immortality. All this is beyond mortal man to offer in works of mere human origin.
Then, outside the Bible there is evidence aplenty to verify the Bible’s claim to divine authorship. Outstanding among them is the support of archaeology, which in recent times has become a highly developed and captivating science. Not one authentic archaeological discovery has contradicted the Bible. To the contrary, everything has served to strengthen the accuracy of the Bible. Where there are doubts about the Exodus record (chapter 5) regarding Israel’s slavery in Egypt, Professor Kyle, the noted archaeologist, wrote this in his book, Moses and the Monuments, about the 1883 discovery of the ruins of Pithom, Egypt, where the Israelites were compelled to make bricks:
“The bricks are laid in mortar contrary to the usual Egyptian custom and contrary to the observation of explorers in Egypt previous to the time of Naville’s discovery at Pithom. The lower courses in at least some of the store-chamber work are laid with brick filled with good chopped straw: the upper courses are made of brick having in them no binding material whatever: and the middle courses are made of brick filled with stubble pulled up by the roots. The impress of the routs is as plainly marked in the brick as though cut by an engraver’s tools.”
Where the Jews have for centuries claimed that some Christian scribe polluted the Scriptures by inserting Isaiah 53, the Dead Sea Scrolls, discovered in the 1940’s and 50’s have put a silence to that. Fragments of Isaiah were found that antedated the time of Jesus and INCLUDED chapter 53.
For a second external evidence of, great strength to verify the inspiration of the Bible there are the ancient writings outside the Bible. Writings like those of the Jewish historian, Josephus, testify to the facts and conditions of people as the Bible gives them. And Josephus was not a Christian; yet, his history accords with the Gospels, the Acts, and the Epistles. Then there are the histories by the Romans: Tacitus, Pliny, Hadrian, Marcus Aurelius, Celsus. And there are the writings by early Christians like Clement of Rome, Ignatius, Polycarp, Justin Martyr, and Iranaeus for example. These make no pretense at being inspired, but they do support the accuracy of the Bible which IS inspired.
Another most outstanding evidence of inspiration is the accuracy in fulfillment of Bible prophecy. The life of Jesus is a striking example of this. Practically every phrase of His life was foretold in the Old Testament. A more current topic of Bible prophecy is the present upbuilding of the land of Israel and the return of the Jews to their homeland. This that is happening in the present generation was prophesied centuries ago, and with such striking accuracy that it almost appears to be a historical account rather than a prophetic prediction.
And last among the evidences of inspiration for the Bible is the Christian experience. Uncounted multitudes can attest to the fact that the “newness of life” in Christ, as offered in the Bible, is a real thing. They have tried the test of applying the teachings of Jesus and have found that they do produce the results promised. What other volume that proposes the way to life and happiness can hold this acclaim?
It calls for too much imagination to suppose that all these valid evidences of inspiration could be held by the Holy Bible without its rightly being the product of inspiration. These evidences suffice to prove that the Bible is, indeed, God-breathed — the only such book in all the world.