By C. Kelly
How is the Bible different from any other book? Look at the evidence…
"The New Testament is the best book the world has ever known and will ever know." Charles Dickens
THE BIBLE CLAIMS TO BE THE WORD OF GOD
- Many of the words and messages included in the Bible are said to be from God Himself. In fact, in II Timothy 3:16-17, the apostle Paul presents a fantastic claim made by no other writing, ancient or modern:
"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."
"The Bible is the greatest benefit which the human race has ever experienced." Immanual Kant
- In II Peter 1: 2 the process is explained. Peter writes: "Prophesy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit." In other words, God guided the writers as they wrote so that their words were His words. The writers were not spiritual word processors. God worked through each one, using that person's personality and vocabulary while creating an infallible inerrant document.
- Jesus also made some strong statements about his Bible (Old Testament). Matthew 5:18 says: "I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, nor the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished." "the Scripture cannot be broken" (John 10:35).
THE BIBLE IS A BOOK FROM GOD
In addition to Jesus, Peter, and Paul, other Bible writers claimed to be writing the very words of God. Of course these claims do not establish the fact. But they do demand that we investigate further. And there is some other evidence.
"That Bible on the table may be a book to you. It is far mare to me. It speaks to me, it is as it were a person." Napoleon Bonaparte
When reading the Bible, you get the feeling it is more than a manmade book. It just seems different. Here's why:
1. Its Unity. The Bible is composed of sixty-six books and was written during a span over 1,500 years by over forty different authors. They all wrote independently, and most of them knew little or nothing about the other writings. They include farmers, statesmen, poets, scholars, kings, physicians, and fishermen, people from every conceivable walk of life. Despite these factors, the Bible is a unified book with a running theme and purpose; it is the story of Jesus Christ.
The Old Testament predicts what the New Testament records. Even with our modern technology and massive libraries and resources no work has ever come close!
2. Its Preservation. The Bible is actually a group of books, many of which were written over 3,000 years ago. The fact that the Bible has survived and that we have an accurate copy is amazing because in those days books were copied by hand on materials not easily preserved. Yet there is more evidence for the authenticity of the Bible books than for any other ancient literature. And there are more copies of early Bible manuscripts than any other historical source. In scholarly circles there is no debate with the authorship and contents of Aristotle, Plato, Homer or Socrates. Yet there is less than 1% of historical evidences for all of these works combined as compared to the Bible! And the nearest dated manuscript for any of them is over 400 years old. The Bible has manuscripts less than a hundred years old!
3. Its Content. The message of the Bible is both timeless and timely. Consider the most important questions in life: Who am I? Where did I come from? Why am I here? How can I find meaning and purpose? How should I live? What happens after death? The Bible tackles and answers all of these profound issues and so much more. And although the Bible is not a book of science, psychology, or philosophy (and should not be approached as such), when understood in its historical and cultural setting, it is consistent with other factual information. In fact it proves scientific evidences thousands of years before science. Such as the earth rotates around the sun! (It was the Catholic Church that thought the earth was the center and discredited Galileo and Copernicus, not the Bible!)
4. Its Influence. The Bible has influenced almost every area of life, from promiscuity to politics to academics to the arts. Its message has changed lives throughout the ages. More has been written about the Bible than any other book, and it continues to be a bestseller around the world.
THE BIBLE PROVES ITSELF TO BE THE WORD OF GOD
"You can learn more about human nature by reading the Bible than by living in New York." William Lyon Phelps
- Impossible? Consider the following facts...
"The Bible is the one book to which any thoughtful man may go with any honest quest of life and find the answer of God by honest searching." John Ruskin
1. Its Accuracy. Archeology has consistently proven the Bible's historical accuracy. Critics claim that the Bible is filled with errors and contradictions. Typically, those accusations are made with very little knowledge of the Bible and no 'real' research into the areas that they attack. When I read those books on Bible contradictions, they are mostly about verses taken out of their context or using outdated King James language and misinterpreting the English word meanings (they rarely go into the original Greek or Hebrew!) because language changes over time. Just watch old TV shows from the 50's and compare it with today. And the KJV is over 400 years old! In fact, the Bible is being vindicated again and again by scholarly and scientific research that is not even from Christians!
For example, historians used to think the Bible was wrong when it said Abraham took camels with him to Egypt (Genesis 12:16). They disputed furiously because every scientific mind knows that there were no camels in Egypt at that time. Until archeologists found the bones of a camel dated to 2000 BC, (The time of Abraham). Later, other archeologists found pottery dated at 3000 B.C. with a picture of a camel's head on it. They also found a rope of camel hair woven about 2500 BC. This is just one of thousands of examples. Archeology consistently confirms the of Bible's accuracy.
2. Its Prophecy. Anyone who studies the Bible with any amount of honesty and effort and compares the prophetic statements to secular history will conclude that the Bible is a supernatural book. No group of men or women, no matter how wise, could have been so accurate in predicting the future.
As stated earlier, the theme of the entire Bible is Jesus Christ. And in the Old Testament you will find over 300 specific references to Jesus' life. Many include specific details, written over one thousand years to 400 years before He lived. Micah said He would be born in the city of Bethlehem (Micah 5:2); Isaiah said He would be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7: 14); Zechariah told of His riding into Jerusalem on a donkey while people hailed Him as King (Zechariah 9:9-10); Isaiah gave a fantastic, poetic account of the crucifixion (Isaiah 53), as in Psalm 22.
3. Its Effect. The final proof that the Bible is God's Word is the effect that it has had on its followers, such as no work or crusade has ever had. All but one of the 12 disciples died horrific painful deaths, and the one who did not was exiled on an island (see 'Foxes Book of Martyrs')! Consider the martyrs and the suffering of Christians over the centuries, and even today. A person usually will not suffer and die for a lie, sometimes as seen by terrorist groups, but not in the scale and course of time as with Christianity! And this is because the Bible works!
To get people to try their products advertisers will challenge would-be customers to test a product by trying it. The Bible invites us to do the same; for example, Psalm 34:8 states, Taste and see that the Lord is good. Those who do taste, who read and study the Bible, discover for themselves that it delivers what it promises. This is the ultimate test.
So the Bible claims to be the Word of God. It is a special book. This leads to a very personal question.