Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Is the Bible Really the Inspired Word of God?
Is the Bible the Word of God? Or is it just a collection of human writings? How can we know for sure? Any google search on the inspiration of the Scriptures will bring up a surprising amount of results from people who do not believe so. These people can be convincing. However, these arguments are merely the opinions of their authors, with no evidence to back them up. In fact, the evidence stands against these convincing arguments--and evidence always speaks louder than persuasive words.
Perhaps the most compelling evidence for the inspiration of the Scriptures is the unity of the Bible, especially when one considers all the writers involved. The Bible does not have a single contradiction. Not even one. Yet several people, over the course of thousands of years wrote it! Most of these people did not know each other, and they came from a variety of backgrounds. If I asked ten people today to write down their thoughts about God, chances are, there would be some contradictions. Yet forty people wrote the Bible! The odds of forty people over thousands of years writing a book as vast as the Bible are astronomical. The only logical explanation is that all were inspired by one God to pen the words of what we now know as the Bible.
Another compelling reason to believe the Bible is the Word of God is because of its scientific and historical accuracy. The Bible mentions many scientific principles that were not known until long after it was written. For example, the earth was generally believed to be flat until the time of Columbus. Yet Isaiah 40:22 mentions "the circle of the earth." This is but one of many examples. Keep in mind, the Bible writers were not scientists! In addition, archaeological finds continue to verify many of the historical facts mentioned in the Bible. Archeology has yet to find anything in history that contradicts Scripture.
One of the more fascinating proofs of Biblical accuracy is the fulfillment of prophecies in the Bible. Archeology has verified that the book of Isaiah was written hundreds of years before the coming of Christ, yet Isaiah accurately described the crucifixion, the promise of salvation, and many detailed aspects of Jesus' life. Many other prophecies in the Bible have come true also. For example, the Bible predicted the rise and fall of the Persian and Roman empires in Daniel. The book of Daniel also talks about the increase of knowledge in the last days, and vast amounts of travel. And this is the tip of the iceberg. Literally, hundreds of prophecies have been fulfilled.
Some argue that the Bible isn't inspired because man decided which books would be considered "inspired" and which wouldn't. They also argue that some of the books that have been left out were recognized by the original disciples as Scripture. While it is true that these other books were well-known to the disciples, it is important to remember that these writings were considered Jewish literature, and the original twelve were all Jews. They were historical documents.
The men involved in the canonization of the Scriptures did not "decide" which Scriptures were inspired. They simply recognized the Scriptures that were inspired. To be considered inspired, they had to pass certain criteria. For example, any prophecies that should have come true by that time had to be fulfilled. The work had to be accepted by the church at large as inspired. The work had to be a first-hand account, or very close to it. While this sounds like man "deciding" what qualifies as Scripture, one has to remember that these men were chosen by God before they were born, to canonize Scripture, just as the Bible writers were chosen to write what would later become Scripture. Time has shown that these men correctly identified those books that were inspired, and those that were not.
In fact, the book of Isaiah foreshadowed the final Holy Bible as we know it today. Amazingly, the Bible has 66 books, 39 in the Old Testament, and 27 in the New Testament. The Old Testament takes place before the coming of Christ, when men were still in bondage to the law, while the New Testament begins with the birth of Christ and focuses on the freedom we now have in Christ. In Isaiah, the first 39 chapters are parallel to the Old Testament, in that they talk of judgment and captivity (bondage), while the last 27 chapters contain the messianic promises, which were fulfilled in the New Testament. One could perhaps write this off as coincidence or accuse the men who canonized the Bible of setting it up that way on purpose. However, the Bible is so full of these types of "coincidences" that the odds are against it
No one can prove the Bible is the inspired word of God. However, the evidence is compelling. In the end, we must make a decision to accept the Bible as the inspired Word of God by faith. This is necessary to live a victorious Christian life. Either the Bible is completely true or completely unreliable. If one little line is untrue, the whole Bible becomes unreliable. Throughout history, the Bible has consistently been the best-selling (and most controversial) book of all time. It has been the most enduring book, passing every test of time. Yet no one has ever been able to prove a single line or even word of the Bible to be false. For a book as vast and complex as the Bible, this seems to be far outside the powers of man to accomplish, especially the powers of forty very different men who didn't know each other and who didn't realize they were writing the Bible.