Has anyone ever challenged you about how you know the Bible is true? What do you say when they state that anyone could write a book and in it claim inspiration? No one doubts that the Bible claims to be inspired by God, but so do other ‘holy’ books. How do we know the Bible is the one true book from God to man? This is the way I explain it:
|2. In A Series on Apologetics
by Jerry Schmoyer
Starting with the acceptance that there is a God (article 1 in this series), then it is reasonable that God would reveal Himself to man. If he didn’t man could never know anything about Him. God has revealed some things about Himself in creation, but that is just a rough sketch. For man to really know God it is necessary for God to reveal Himself to man, for man could never find God without God making the first move. If God has truth to reveal, if man is accountable, and if God wants a relationship with man that must start from God’s side. Not only is this necessary, it is also possible for God to reveal Himself to man. Were He really God it would be totally within His possibility to communicate truth to us and keep it accurate down to our day. That would not be too hard for Him at all. Thus we accept that a revelation from God to man is both possible and necessary. But is the Bible that revelation? I say it is.
18 REASONS FROM OUTSIDE THE BIBLE PROVING IT IS GOD’S WORD
1. The Bible is theocentric (God-centered), not anthropocentric (man-centered). If man wrote the Bible, he would be the leading character. In the Bible God is sovereign and absolute authority (I Chronicles 29:11; Isaiah 43:7). Man’s highest good is submission to His will. The purpose of all we do is for His glory (Revelation 4:11). All other ‘holy’ books focus on man and build up man, not God.
2. The Bible is monothiestic (one God), not polythiestic (more than one god). ‘Scholars’ say that man started with many gods and eventually evolved to having just one. The Bible, at the beginning of man, says there was just one. If man were writing the Bible he would have one God evolve out of many. Even the fact that the Jews were worshipping the golden calf and other gods at the time the first commandment was written (saying God was the only god, Exodus 20:1-6) show that even they believed there was more than one God.
3. The fact of the Trinity helps prove man didn’t write the Bible. Would natural man write about something that he could not understand, something with no parallel or analogy in nature? No finite mind has ever comprehended how 3 separate persons could form one essence/substance. If man wrote the Bible he would NOT write about a Triune God.
4. If man wrote the Bible, would he say that the world was created from nothing (Hebrews 11:3)? Nothing is a state man has never known. He would come up with some rational explanation, as evolution tries to do today.
5. If man wrote the Bible would he say his basic nature is evil and sinful (Romans 3:23)? Would man say there was nothing he could do but accept God’s cure for sin (Ephesians 2:8-9). Every religion man has developed or ‘holy’ book man has written has something man must do to earn/deserve removal of sin, but not the Bible.
6. The extent of revelation in the Bible shows it is beyond what man could or would write. How could man write of things beyond his own senses and experiences? Yet the Bible speaks authoritatively about heaven, hell and eternity without hesitation (I Corinthians 2:9-12; II Corinthians 5:8; Luke 16:19; Revelation 19:20-21).
7. If man wrote the Bible, its ethics would be based on individual, relative decisions (Judges 17:6) rather than absolutes. Because man is a child of wrath (Ephesians 2:3) by nature his ethics would be corrupt (as they are today apart from the Bible) and would end in chaos. One example: the Bible tells us to use things (I Corinthians 7:31) and love people (Romans 12:10). Man’s ethics are the opposite.
8. It is humanly impossible for 44 authors over a period of 1500 years unknown to each other and from vastly different backgrounds and cultures to arrive at 66 books so internally systematic and consistent as the Bible. It would be like 44 men each tossing a stone on a pile over 1500 years and the finished product being a modern hospital. There must have been one Author behind it all.
9. The fantastic number of fulfilled prophecies in the Bible show that it is no book authored by mere man. Experts in probability mathematics have come up with these statistics concerning the following prophecies:
7 prophecies against Tyre in Ezekiel 26:3-4,7-8,12,14,21 coming true: 1 in 7.5 x 107
5 prophecies against Samaria in Hosea 13:16 & Micah 1:6 come true: 1 in 4 x 104
5 prophecies against Gaza & Ashkelon in Amos 1:8, Jer 47:5, Zeph 2:4-7: 1 in 1.2 x 104
3 prophecies against Moab & Ammon in Ezek 25:3-4, Jer 48:47; 49:6: 1 in 103
9 prophecies against Edom in Isa 34:6-15, Jer 49:17-18; Ezek 25:13-14; 35:5-7: 1 in 104
8 prophecies against Babylon in Isa 13:19-22; 14:23; Jer 51:26,43: 1 in 5 x 109
9 prophecies about Jerusalem in Jeremiah 31:38-40: 1 in 8 x 1010
7 prophecies about Palestine in Lev 26:31-33; Ezek 36:33-35: 1 in 2 x 105
9 prophecies about Petra & Edom in Isa 34:6-18; Ezek 25:13-14; 35:5-7:1 in 2 x 105
4 prophecies about Thebes & Memphis in Ezek 30:13-15: 1 in 103
4 prophecies about Nineveh in Nahum 1:8,10; 2:6; 3:10,13,19: 1 in 102
The probability of these 11 prophecies coming true is 1 in 5.76 x 10 ! This is almost impossible to visualize. Suppose this number were silver dollars. There would be enough to fill 10 suns! Or think of it like this. In the universe there are about 2 trillion galaxies, each containing about 100 million stars. From our 5 x 10 we could make all of the stars in all of the galaxies 2 x 10 times! Only one silver dollar in all of these stands for the chance a writer could have guessed all these prophecies correctly! Even more astounding is the fact that these are only 11 prophecies. There are literally hundreds and hundreds of others which have already come true. (For more information about this see “Evidence That Demands A Verdict” by Josh McDowell).
10. The exceptional literary value of the Bible cannot be attributed to the natural ability of human writers. How could such unlearned men write such a surpassing piece of literary genius beyond their own ability? The Bible far exceeds the intellectual and moral qualifications of other books being written in its time such as the Talmud (Jewish), Apocrypha (Christian) and Koran (Islamic). The living quality of the words, reaching to all ages and social positions of people for century after century show its uniqueness. The Bible is deep enough for the most gifted scholar to spend a lifetime in one small part of it and never get out all there is, but also simple enough for a young child to read and understand. One of the greatest truths expressed is just 7 monosyllables, each 3 letters or less: “You in me and I in you” (John 14:20). The Bible stories are never hurried or cramped, neither are they drawn out and boring. The Bible does not gloss over the sins of its heroes, neither does it overemphasize them. The values and opinions of the individual writers are not the focus, just the story they are telling.
11. Another proof for the Bible not being written by man is its enduring freshness. Voltaire said 150 years ago: “Within 100 years the Bible will be obsolete.” It has not happened, in fact his home now houses a Bible society! The Bible never grows old. No other book in the world not only invites but sustains a ceaseless re-reading. Other books come and go, but the Bible has remained for thousands of years. It remains a fresh, up-to-date book, not an old book.
12. If man wrote the Bible would he say to further spiritual ends by love & reliance on divine power or by political force? The Inquisition and Crusades in Christianity as well as the history of Islam, Shintoism, Nazism, etc., all show man used political force to spread their beliefs. The Bible commands to do it in a way that is not natural for man, the opposite way.
13. No human scientist has been able to avoid being obsolete in a later time. Science is always changing but the Bible is scientifically infallible in all ages. The Bible spoke accurately of scientific truth thousands of years before man ‘discovered’ them, while the very writers often believed the opposite of what they were writing. For example, the Bible says the life of the flesh is in the blood (Leviticus 17:11) yet until recent times doctors bled people to cure them. The Bible says the physical world is basically non-physical in its ultimate essence (Hebrews 11:3; Colossians 1:16-17), something no human writer could or would have guessed at. The Bible has always said the earth was round (Isaiah 40:22), rotates (Job 38:12,14), has gravity (Job 26:7), and the whole solar system orbits in the universe (Psalm 19:16). Man believed the moon was greater than the earth for many centuries but the Bible says opposite (Genesis 1:16). Even atomic energy and its results is found in II Peter 3:10-12 (the Greek word means to “loose” or “set free” as what happens when atoms are released). The laws of thermodynamics are there, too: #1 (Genesis 2:1-2; Hebrews 4:3,10) and # 2 (Psalm 102:25-27; Hebrews 1:10-12; Romans 8:20-22). There are hundreds of other examples, too.
14. The number and accuracy of the ancient manuscripts of the Bible that have come down to us today show God’s work in giving and keeping the Bible for us. Of Caesar’s “Gallic Wars” we have only 9 manuscripts, the oldest 900 years after the original. Of the “History of Thucydides” and “History of Herodotus” we have only 8 manuscripts each, from 1300 years after they happened. Yet of the Old Testament we have 1,700 manuscripts, the oldest 100 years after the original. The variation percentage between them is one minor difference every 2,000 words! Evidence for the New Testament is even greater: 13,000 manuscripts with the oldest portion 10 years after the original and the variation percentage being only one minor difference every 200,000 words! Manuscripts have come down in many different languages and large portions come to us quoted in the works of hundreds of authors. The recent discover of the Dead Sea Scrolls pushed back the date of the earliest Old Testament manuscripts 1,000 years, yet there was no difference between them and what we had before they were discovered!
15. The study of archaeology continues to prove there are no historical inaccuracies in the Bible. William F. Albright, one of the greatest archaeologists ever, said, “The Bible’s incredible historical memory has been many times validated by the process of discovery. No archaeological discovery has contradicted a Biblical reference.” For many years scholars thought the Bible in error about the Hittites for no trace of that vast and great civilization had ever been found. In recent years, though, much has been found about them, again validating the truth of the Bible.
16. The preservation and regathering of the nation Israel after 2,000 years is proof of the greatness of the Bible. It has never happened, nor was it ever thought possible to happen, for a group of people to survive 2,000 without a homeland yet stay a separate cultural unity. That has happened with the Jews. Where are the Ammonites? Philistines? Hittites? Not only that, but the Jews are now back in their homeland, truly a sociological miracle!
17. The inner testimony of the Holy Spirit inside His people gives us assurance that the Bible is true. He gives us peace and assurance within that the Bible indeed is God’s book.
18. The life and resurrection of Jesus also give validity to the Bible. If everything about Him, His deity and His resurrection is true, then the Bible is true. If it is not true the Bible cannot be from God. This will be considered in the next article about the deity of Jesus.
This is one in a series of article on Apologetics: Other subjects include “How Do We Know There is a God?” and “How Do We Know Jesus Is Really God?” For more information about any of these subjects contact Jerry Schmoyer at 348-8086 or write to 252 W. State St., Doylestown, Pa. Any and all inquiries are welcome.
If there is this great body of evidence, why do so many deny the Bible as being God’s Word? Let me answer that with a story. Many years ago, while on a visit to England, a wealthy man was fascinated by a powerful microscope. Looking through its lens to study crystals and the and the petals of flowers, he was amazed at their beauty and detail. he bought one and took it home. He thoroughly enjoyed using it until one day he examined some food he was planning to eat for dinner. He discovered tiny living creatures were crawling in it. He was especially fond of this food and didn’t know what to do. Finally he concluded there was only one way out of this dilemma: he smashed the microscope to pieces. That is what man tries to do to the Bible when it shows up his sin. Like bugs under a rock run from the light when the rock is turned over, so man in sin runs from the light of God’s truth about him.
18 REASONS FROM OUTSIDE THE BIBLE PROVING IT IS GOD’S WORD
- FULFILLED PROPHECIES
- LITERARY VALUE
- ENDURING FRESHNESS
- ANCIENT MANUSCRIPTS
- NATION OF ISRAEL
- INNER TESTIMONY OF HOLY SPIRIT
- LIFE & RESURRECTION OF JESUS