The Word of God or a good book?
On the surface the Bible’s claim to authority may appear to be self-proclaimed. Innumerable verses contain phrases that designate the Lord as the source of that which is being expressed. However, going just a little deeper will reveal that the evidence declares God’s revelation is not just an empty claim.
Throughout the Old Testament, God spoke to His people through His prophets. Today’s prophets, psychics, and guides would not have faired well in that environment: “But a prophet who presumes to speak in my name anything I have not commanded him to say, or a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, must be put to death.” Dt 18:20. The law required false prophets to be stoned to death, if even one statement they made “in the name of the Lord” was not fulfilled perfectly: “If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the LORD does not take place or come true, that is a message the LORD has not spoken.” Dt 18:22 The reason for this seemingly harsh punishment is that fulfilled prophecy was, and is today, the authentication of God’s word. If it was not perfect, it was not from God. He declared this Himself: “I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come.” Is 46:9&10.
Through predictive prophecy and revelation of knowledge alone God provides much more evidence for the truth of His word than any court would need to satisfy a “reasonable doubt”. Predictive prophecy, simply put, is telling the future. Unlike the riddled quatrains of Nostradamus; or the “percentage predictions” of an Edgar Cayce or a Jean Dixon, the Bible is 100% perfect in fulfilled prophecy. Approximately one third of the Bible was predictive prophecy when written. Over 300 specific prophecies about Jesus alone were fulfilled perfectly by Him when He came over 2,000 years ago. They named specific cities, methodology, events, character traits, persecutions, betrayal, resurrection, etc. One example in Psalm 22 says, “a band of evil men has encircled me, they have pierced my hands and my feet.” This describes part of the crucifixion, a penalty that would not be known to the world for another 600 years at the time it was written. No other book in the world attempts to authenticate itself by telling the future, because it is too easy to be proved wrong. In Isaiah 44:6-8 God challenges this very thing of any “other” gods. God is unique, and the Bible alone stands perfect, with its testimony of God’s inspiration intact.
Revealed knowledge, simply defined, is being told of a truth before man, science, the fossil record, or anything else has proved it by another means. Each time the world has set out to disprove the Bible using scientific evidence or any other means, it has only proved its own lack of knowledge. Once again, the Bible stands perfect with not one statement disproved. It is interesting to me that Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492, over 500 years ago, to prove to a disbelieving world that the Earth was round; yet Isaiah, some 2700 years ago wrote, “He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth…” Is 40:22. Before the earth was proved in fact to be round, “Flat Thinkers” may have pointed to this verse while trying to prove God was not the author of the Bible; thinking they had found an obvious error.
Early in the 20th century people were claiming that the Bible had to have been written long after the dates declared because the historical information given was too specific and accurate to be foretold. Shortly after this, in 1947, the “Dead Sea Scrolls” were discovered, establishing, even to scholars with no interest in God, the dates of the writings to be well before the events in question.
Today we have The THEORY of Evolution. It’s taught as fact even though all the actual evidence supports the contradicting Biblical account. It seems dishonest scientists will scramble for any explanation they can dream up to avoid accountability to a universe creating, man ruling, God. BANG!!! The only thing evolving is Darwin’s theory itself. The latest version is that everything “evolved” in huge leaping changes thus explaining the total lack of skeletal evidence for ANY transitional creatures. Their problem is that this variation itself is completely contrary to the small long-term changes that define evolution.
The Bible is God’s revealed message to us, His creation. There is not one thing in all of history, archeology, the fossil records, scientific discoveries, astrology, or anything else, that proves the Bible wrong on any single point. Overwhelmingly, the evidence in this world (and beyond) supports the Bible’s account of creation, history, wisdom, and revelation. The evidence declares that the Bible is inspired by God.
We know from the Bible that God is holy, perfect, unable to lie or contradict Himself. So then, we can safely conclude that anything that disagrees or contradicts the Bible is NOT from God. This is the most important fact that needs to be understood in discovering the truth. The Bible is the only thing in this world that we know with certainty to be from the only true God. Everything and everyone claiming God’s inspiration needs to be “checked out” by the only verifiable authority of God. Even the teachings of Paul (who was inspired to write most of the New Testament) was “examined” against the Scriptures by the Bereans; and they were praised for doing so: “Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” Ac 17:11
If fallen man had misunderstood God’s inspiration, you would think that God would have corrected the errors while He was with us, but instead, Jesus quoted the Old Testament continually and declared of His own words: “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” Mt 24:35, Mk 13:31, & Lk 21:33. See also Mt 5:17-20 “…not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished…”
Jesus declared His words as well as the Scriptures of His day (the Old Testament) to be the eternal truth of God: “If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.” Lk 9:26. His words were also promised to be reminded by the Holy Spirit to His servants, which foretells of the inspiration of the New Testament: “All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” Jn 14:25&26.
Even in the first century shortly after Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection, it was recognized that God was inspiring Scripture; Peter said of Paul’s writings: “He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.” II Pe 3:16. Notice Peter says, “other Scriptures”.
So apparently, fallen man did not misunderstand God’s perfect message, but was “carried along” by the Holy Spirit to give us God’s perfect message: “Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” 2Pe 1:20&21
The Bible was written in the common language of the day, to be understood and used for daily living as the authority of God: II Timothy 3:16 boldly states that: “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
Our enemy knows well what the Bible is and tries to undermine our trust in it at every turn. Recently, a big deal has been made of “missing verses”; which comes with an accusation that modern translators have an agenda that causes them to leave out certain verses when compared to the KJV. The exact opposite is in fact true. Since the 1600’s (when the KJV was originally translated) many thousands more copies of original manuscripts have been discovered, dated even closer to the events being reported than was available to translators in the 17th century. The so called missing verses are actually clearing up verses that should not have been included in the earlier translations; which were simply derived from less accurate texts. Whatever translation you use, the Author, God Himself, is available to teach you what it all means, if you allow.
To help us better understand who this mysterious God is, God the Son, The Word, came and lived with us, revealing God to us: “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” Jn 1:14 Yes, God is very personal, just as your mother or spouse is very personal (not just any mother is your mother). God is personally offended when we make other things or people our god and put them in His place.
This barely scratches the surface of the available evidence for the truth of the Bible as God’s inspired word, but, hopefully, this gives you enough information to see that it is worth considering more deeply if you so choose. There are many excellent books that deal with this subject specifically and in more detail. The best however, is the Bible itself. Read it for yourself and let God reveal its truth to you personally. Also, check out some other topics in this series now that you may have a better understanding of what the Bible is.