How We Know the Bible Is the Word of God
How We Know the Bible Is the Word of God
How do you know the Bible is true? This question is not new. Humanity’s first temptation began with an attack on God’s Word. The devil, in the form of a serpent, challenged Eve, “Did God really say. . . ?” (Genesis 3:1). Today, the devil presents similar doubts.
But God’s Word is our defense against the devil. When Jesus was tempted by Satan, Jesus’ defense against the enemy was the Word. We also use the Word to help others who are assailed with doubts and fears. And we use God’s Word to guide those who sincerely question and seek after God. Peter
advises, “In your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15).
In the last two lessons, we learned about the content of the books of the Bible. Now let us discuss why we believe the Bible to be God’s Word.
Effects of Scripture
The supernatural effects of the Bible are evidences of its supernatural origin. The fulfillment of its promises proves that these are true and authentic. Miraculous healings, deliverance from drugs and alcoholism, the transformation of lives, and millions of answers to prayer are all evidence that God made the promises in the Bible.
Variety and Unity of Scripture
Imagine forty men writing the Bible: doctors of law and medicine, fishermen, kings, farmers, poets, soldiers, businessmen, and shepherds. They wrote over a period of sixteen hundred years, Moses wrote the Law fifteen hundred years before Christ; John wrote Revelation one hundred years after the birth of Christ. It would seem that the various backgrounds and the wide range of time and location of the biblical authors would prevent unity or harmony in their books. But the unity of theme and harmony of teaching by such a variety of writers is evidence that they received their inspiration from the same source, God.
Inerrancy of Scripture
The Bible’s inerrancy, or freedom from mistakes, includes its historical accuracy in events, people, places, genealogies, social customs, and political developments.
Textbooks have to be changed as knowledge increases and mistaken ideas are discarded. But not the Bible. Its writers were exposed to the mistaken beliefs popular during their times, but God kept them from putting any of these errors in the Bible. He kept it free from error, and its advice is practical today. Although no two persons think identically, God also kept these writers from contradicting each other as they presented different phases of their theme.
Writers of secular history may purposely hide the guilt of their leaders or their nations. But the Bible is impartial and accurate, showing facts as they were. The Bible records not only the uprightness of a people, but their failure and sin as well. The Bible is written that we may learn from the mistakes of others. Since the Bible does not try to hide anything, its inerrancy shines through.
Discoveries about Scripture
Archaeology, the science that studies ancient cultures, has discovered manuscripts and monuments which prove biblical records are true.
For instance, Sargon, mentioned in Isaiah 20:1, was thought of as a legend by critics of the Bible. But his palace was discovered by a French archaeologist in 1843. Isaiah 20:1 tells the story of Sargon conquering Ashdod, the Philistine city. This very story was found painted on one of the walls of Sargon’s palace!
Scoffers can no longer laugh at historical accounts in the Bible because too many of them have been proven through archaeological discoveries.
Philology is the science of languages. By assessing language, the way words are used and spelled—philologists have verified that Bible prophecies were predicted before the events took place. One example found in the Dead Sea Scrolls, discovered in the 1940’s, gave positive proof that the
prophecies about the captivity were written before it happened.
Other sciences are also discovering how true the Bible is. Men exploring for oil have based their findings on biblical history; medical doctors have learned from the health laws given to the Jewish people. Hearing of more discoveries in the future would not surprise believers because the Bible is God’s Word. We know it does not need to be proven, but for the doubter there is ample evidence of its authenticity.
Excellence in Scripture
A book that is inspired by an all-wise, holy, and loving God should excel all other books in its moral teaching. The Bible does. The simple expression of its stories invites children to read it. At the same time brilliant scholars cannot fully comprehend the depths of its truths. If you read the Bible hundreds of times, you will still find something new to appreciate, something you never saw before. God continues to speak to you through His Book.
The laws Moses received from God were far superior to any others of that day. In the centuries that have followed, many countries have based their statutes on those given so long ago. The Bible’s literary excellence has been recognized by scholars in universities. The teachings of its proverbs, the
uplifting of its psalms, and the honesty of its history are still reaching people today and being used as examples of what good literature should contain.
The excellence of the Bible, so superior to anything else produced, also leads us to believe that its concepts are from God.
Name of Author in Scripture
The Bible names God as its author and tells how He inspired it. Second Timothy 3:16 says, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.”
Completion of Prophecy in Scripture
As in a moving picture, the prophets of the Bible described the rise and fall of empires, the destruction and rebuilding of Jerusalem, and other future events. The things they saw and wrote down were prophecies, or the telling of what would happen in the future. The completion or fulfillment of the prophecies points to their inspiration.
But it is more than just fulfillment that proves a prophecy is inspired of God. The Bible prophets were devout men of God. Many of the prophecies for people were warnings of punishment for their bad ways but also promises that if they changed, they would not be punished. All their prophecies came
true. Bible prophecies are evidence that the Bible is the inspired Word of God, not only because they came true but because they always pointed people to a closer relationship with God.
Elimination of Alternatives in Scripture
There are three possibilities, or alternatives, in deciding what the writers of the Bible were like: Men writing their own ideas, Men inspired by Satan who told lies,Men inspired by God to share the truth.
First, the Bible could not have come from self-deluded minds, for its wisdom and inerrancy indicate superior, nonhuman thought. Furthermore, sinful men would not willingly have condemned their own sin and promoted the concept of a holy, unseen God who imposes His standards
Second, the Bible combats evil, condemns Satan, and predicts his final failure and punishment. Satan could not have inspired the writing of the Bible because he would not promote good and condemn evil as the Bible does.
Also, the impossibility of humanity’s foreseeing the future accurately makes us rule out self-proclaimed prophets without supernatural inspiration. The accurate fulfillment of Bible prophecy eliminates the possibility of either good, bad, or deluded men promoting their own ideas. By the logical process of the elimination of alternatives, we arrive at the conclusion that men inspired by God were most likely the writers of the Bible.
Survival of Scripture
The Bible’s survival shows God’s care for His Word. Parts of the Bible are at least thirty-five hundred years old. The newest parts are over nineteen hundred years old.
Time is the worst enemy of most books. They become out-of-date and old-fashioned, lose their popularity, and then disappear. Not so with the Bible. The fact that the Bible, as old as it is, has the solution for twenty-first century problems is one evidence that the Bible is truly God’s Word. It has stood the test of time.
Famous French writer Voltaire (1694–1778) predicted that within one hundred years his words would be read everywhere and the Bible would be found only in museums. But the Bible is read more widely now than ever.
No book has been copied, translated, and printed more carefully than the Bible. In ancient times, before there were printing presses, the copier had to throw away the entire page and begin again if he made one mistake. Today, scholars work on every translation and printing to make sure it is accurate and free from error.
Some kings have tried to destroy every Bible in their countries and have sentenced its readers to death. Critics have attacked it savagely. But the Bible outlives its enemies. First Peter 1:24–25 affirms, “‘All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the
flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever.’ And this is the word that was preached to you.”