How May We Know the Bible is of God?
by Abraham Smith
Can you trust your Bible? Is the Bible a book of God or a book of man? If we doubt the Bible's trustworthiness, we lose it as:
- an infallible standard of truth;
- an authoritative basis for obedience or hope;
- "living and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword" (Hebrews 4:12); and
- as a "discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart" (Hebrews 4:12).
For itself, the Bible claims to be "given by inspiration of God, profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be....thoroughly equipped for every good work" (II Timothy 3:16-17).
Still, to know for ourselves the Bible is God's holy word, we -- above all things -- must be honest. While evidence in favor of it is abundant and available, we will only be moved by it if we are willing to choose it (John 3:16-17) and not refuse it (John 5:40). It would be impossible in this small space to supply the facts needed (and given) for confidence in its true nature. One who is sincerely interested can find many scholarly and conservative books written to provide those facts. He must be ready to encounter much hostility and falsehood, because so much depends upon seeing the Bible as it truly is -- Satan understands that faith in the divine origin of Scripture will defeat him, and so he has done much to try to influence men against its teachings. God has given adequate reasons for believing, but it is up to us to be fair and thorough in our evaluation of it.
The only way we can know the will God (the "mind" of God) is for Him to reveal it to us (I Corinthians 2:10-13). Reason tells us that if God is there, and He does care, then He would reveal Himself to us. In fact, He has done so abundantly. Evidence for the true nature of the Bible as inspired of God is vastly superior to evidence to support any other alleged "revelation," whether the Koran or anything else. As one Old Testament scholar says, "These books (of the Old Testament) exhibit a remarkable singleness of purpose and program, most reasonably explained as the operation of a single mind, the mind of the divine Author Himself" [Old Testament Survey].
Archaeology (the science of uncovering the past) supports the divine origin of the Scriptures. Joseph P. Free says, "inaddition to illuminating the Bible, Archaeology has confirmed countless passage which have been rejected by critics as unhistorical or contrary to known facts." (Archaeology and Bible History).
In the area of life and nature, the Bible is both accurate and predictive. Long before men understood it, Moses said "the life of the flesh is in the blood" (Leviticus 17:11). Earlier doctors actually practiced "blood letting" as a remedy for various human ills, but we know today that when we give blood to the Red Cross we truly "give the gift of life."
Job tells us that God "stretches out the north over empty space; He hangs the earth on nothing" (Job 26:7). The religions of his time (and much later, for that matter) supposed the earth was supported by something -- the giant, Atlas, a tremendous turtle, etc. Man now knows that Job was right. Actually, many things referred to in the last four chapters of the book of Job indicate a familiarity with the nature of the earth and man, totally unknown at the time the book was written. These and many other such facts lead us to realize that only God could have given them.
Prophecy and its fulfillment is an excellent example of the divine origin of the Bible. Jesus appealed to prophecy as supportive of His claims (Luke 24:25-27). Over 300 Old Testament prophecies find their fulfillment in the life of Christ, and the time of the New Testament. Passages like Isaiah 52:13-53:12, and Micah 5:2 are too specific to be a coincidence, and are only two among many. The facts of Jesus' life are confirmed from non-Christian sources, like the Jewish historian Josephus, and many of them were foreseen in prophecy. Some say Christ tried to fit himself into the prophecies, but who can plan his own birth (many details of which occur in prophecy)? Even the most liberal of Bible critics must admit that these prophecies were given hundreds of years before Christ came (the Septuagint version of the Bible is acknowledged to have been completed almost two hundred years before Christ).
Some claim that the disciples of Jesus wrote lies about the resurrection, the miracles, and other events of Jesus life. As a matter of interest, most of the writings which detailed the life and death of Christ were in circulation while contemporaries of Jesus were still alive. The fact that none of them denied it, even the enemies of the Lord (and they were in a position to do so). The gospel of Luke has been given intense scrutiny, and has proven to be accurate on every checkable detail, event, and artifact -- this being true, what reason is there to doubt any other part of his testimony? As the human instrument God used to record the book of Acts, Luke tells us that Peter said, "..nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men, by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). Dare we doubt it?
The testimony of the Bible is Jesus arose from the dead. Thank God! When He did, He gave us the opportunity for hope. Not perishable hope, but everlasting hope (I Peter 1:3-5).