Is the Bible Really God's Word?

What would you expect from a book that people claimed to be written by God?

Provide and answer for each question below in regards to your views regarding a book claimed to be the word of God.

Would the book remain relevant over a specific duration of time?

Would the book contain writings that indicate it to be inspired or written by God' ?
Would the book contain errors in its facts, figures, dates?

Would the book provide revelations about things we might never know?

Would the book contain unprovable scientific theories?

Would the book be reliable as to translation, historical accuracy, and content?

If the book contained prophecies, would they be accurate?



The Relevance of the Bible

Have you ever noticed that some things relevant to one generation are completely outmoded and useless to another? Can you imagine how incredibly difficult it would be to write a book that would be applicable, not only to all cultures and nationalities but to all generations as well... The only reason the Bible can be relevant today, as well as at all other times, is that it is true. It claims within itself to come from an all-knowing, all-powerful, personal and only existing God. If it did not come from the one, true, living God, we could not expect it to be true or relevant to all people for all time. RD pg. 23.

The Uniqueness of the Bible

Surely, if God wrote the Bible then it should stand out from all other literature as to its uniqueness.

The Bible is unique in its continuity.


Here is a book...

  1. written over a 1500 year span ;
  2. written over 40 generations ;
  3. written by more than 40 authors , from every walk of life including kings, peasants, philosophers, fishermen, poets, statesmen, scholars, etc.(Moses, a political leader, trained in the universities of Egypt: Peter, a fisherman: Amos, a herdsman: Joshua, a military general: Nehemiah, a cupbearer: Daniel, a prime minister: Luke, a doctor: Solomon, a king: Matthew, a tax collector: Paul, a rabbi)
  4. written in different places :(Moses in the wilderness: Jeremiah in a dungeon: Daniel on a hillside and in a a palace: Paul inside prison walls
    Luke while traveling: John on the isle of Patmos: others in the rigors of a military campaign)
  5. written at different times :(David in times of war: Solomon in times of peace)
  6. written during different moods :(some writing from the heights of joy and others from the depths of sorrow and despair)
  7. written on three continents :(Asia, Africa, and Europe)
  8. written in three languages :(Hebrew, the language of the Old Testament: Aramaic, the common language of the Near East: Greek, the New Testament language)
  9. written to include hundreds of controversial topics , yet all the authors spoke in harmony and continuity from Genesis to Revelation. Writings include history, law (civil, criminal, ethical, ritual, sanitary), religious poetry, didactic treatsies, lyric poetry, parable and allegory, biography, personal correspondence, personal memoirs and diaries, in addition to distinctively biblical types of prophecy and apocalyptic.

The Bible is unique in its circulation.


The Bible has been read by more people and published in more languages than any other book. There have been more copies produced of its entirety and more portions and selections than any other book in history. Some will argue that in a designated month or year more of a certain book was sold. However, over all there is absolutely no book that reaches or even begins to compare to the circulation of the scriptures.
Encyclopedia Britannica says that "by 1966 the whole Bible had appeared...in 240 languages and dialects...one or more whole books of the Bible in 739 additional ones, a total of 1,280 languages."

The Bible is unique in its survival.

  1. Survival through time . Being written on material that perishes and having to be copied and recopied for hundreds of years before the invention of the printing press did not diminish the style, correctness, or existence of the Bible. Compared with other ancient writings, it has more manuscript evidence than any ten pieces of classical literature combined. Jews preserved it as no other manuscript has ever been preserved. With their massora (parva, magna, and finalis) [methods of counting] they kept tabs on every letter, syllable, word and paragraph. They had special classes of men within their culture whose sole duty was to preserve and transmit these documents with practically perfect fidelity scribes, lawyers, massoretes. Who ever counted the letters and syllables and words of Plato or Aristotle?
  2. Survival through persecution . The Bible has withstood vicious attacks of its enemies as no other book has. Many have tried to burn it, ban it, and "outlaw it, from the days of the Roman emperors to present-day Communist-dominated countries."
  3. Survival through criticism . No other book has been so chopped, knifed, sifted, scrutinized, and vilified. What book on philosophy or religion or psychology or belles lettres of classical or modern times has been the subject to such a mass attack as the Bible? with such venom and skepticism? with such thoroughness and erudiation? upon every chapter, line, and tenet?

The above statements do not prove that the Bible is the word of God but it proves that the Bible is unique ("different from all others, having no like or equal").
The Reliability of the Bible

If you ask most people what they feel about the Bible, they will say that it is a good book, but it is not reliable. They would continue to say that we have no idea who it was that put the Bible together, no supporting evidence for the information contained within its pages, and we can't believe that the Bible is the way it was 2000 years ago.
There are three tests which are used on historical documents to prove their reliability, the bibliographical test, the internal evidence test, and the external evidence test.

  1. The bibliographic test is an examination of the textual transmission by which documents reach us. In other words, since we do not have the original documents, how reliable are the copies we have in regard to the number of manuscripts and the time interval between original and existing copies?
    The bibliographic test on the New Testament tells us that we have more than 5,300 known Greek, 10,000 Latin Vulgate, 9,300 other versions, and more than 24,000 manuscript copies of portions of the New Testament. No other document of antiquity even begins to approach such numbers and attestation. In comparison, the Iliad by Homer is second with only 643 manuscripts that still survive. This same test shows us that the earliest copies of the New Testament date to around 125 A.D., a mere 25 years after the last documents were supposed to be written. In comparison, Caesar's Gallic Wars, composed between 58 to 50 B.C. have only 9 or 10 good copies and these earliest copies date from around 900 A.D., a gap of nearly 950 years and yet scholars generally agree that these documents are reliable.


In regards to the bibliographic test for the Old Testament, until recently the earliest copies we had were from around 900 A.D. and yet it was estimated that the Old Testament writings were completed around 400 B.C. This gave us around 1,300 years for things to be changed or altered. When the Dead Sea Scrolls were found with Old Testament books dating from before Christ we were able to compare what we have today with copies from 2000 years ago and we jumped from a gap of 1,300 years to a mere 200 or so. But what did this enormous gap in years do to our copies of the Old Testament?
Even though the two copies of Isaiah in Qumran Cave 1 near the Dead Sea in 1947 were a thousand years earlier than the oldest dated manuscripts previously known (A.D. 980), they proved to be word for word identical with our standard Hebrew Bible in more than 95 percent of the text. The 5 percent of variation consisted chiefly of obvious slips of the pen and variation in spelling.

  1. The internal evidence test shows us that there are many places within the New Testament where the authors attest to the witness of events and many refer to historical landmarks of the times, such as years, places, and names of people which can be verified outside of the Bible.
    Despite the prejudices and theological preconceptions of the evangelists, they record many incidents that mere inventors would have concealed the competition of the apostles for high places in the kingdom, their flight after Jesus' arrest, Peter's denial, the failure of Christ to work miracles in Galilee, the references of some auditors to His possible insanity, His early uncertainty as to His mission, His confessions of ignorance as to the future, His moments of bitterness, His despairing cry on the cross; no one reading these scenes can doubt the reality of the figure behind them. That a few simple men should in one generation have invented so powerful and appealing a personality, so lofty an ethic, and so inspiring a vision of human brotherhood, would be a miracle far more incredible than any recorded in the gospels. After two centuries of higher criticism the outlines of the life, character, and teaching of Christ remain reasonably clear, and constitute the most fascinating feature in the history of Western man.
  2. The external evidence test shows that two friends of the apostle John confirm the internal evidence from John's accounts. These writings can be read on page 54 of "A Ready Defense."

Archeological Evidence for the Bible

Archaeological evidence substantiates many Biblical accounts. To quote Millar Burrows of Yale. "...archaeological work has unquestionably strengthened confidence in the reliability of the scriptural record. More than one archaeologist has found his respect for the Bible increased by the experience of excavation in Palestine." Nelson Glueck, reformed Jewish scholar notes: "It is worth emphasizing that in all this work no archaeological discovery has ever controverted a single, properly understood Biblical statement." What follows are example a just a few of the previously controversial claims that the Bible had made and have been proven since.
Archaeological discoveries have proved the accuracy of Bible accounts that had long been considered inaccurate by scholars who had insufficient information. Because of Luke's detailed descriptions of historical events, some of his writings -- and thus the credibility of the entire New Testament -- had been in dispute for over a century by Bible scholars who didn't believe the details supplied by Luke were accurate. Bible scholars thought that Luke's writings were a fraud, written in the second century by someone who didn't know the history or geography of the time. For example, in Acts 14:6, Luke relates that Paul and Barnabas fled from Iconium to the cities of Lyconium. Bible scholars had believed that Iconium was located in the province of Lyconium -- thus the statement made no sense. It would be like saying someone fled from Miami to Florida. An inscription was later found that proved that when Paul and Barnabas fled from Iconium, the city was part of the province of Phrygia, proving Luke's writing was correct.
Bible critics also believed that the circumstances of Jesus' birth were concocted to fulfill the prophecy in Micah that states the Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem. They doubted that there had been a census (Luke 2:1-3) which caused Joseph and Mary to travel to Bethlehem. A Roman edict was later discovered in Egypt, which stated: "The enrollment by household being at hand, it is necessary to notify all who for any cause soever are outside of their administrative districts that they return at once to their homes to carry out the customary enrollment..." Other discovered documents confirmed that this census was taken every fourteen years. Luke had stated that Quirinius was the Governor of Syria at the time of Jesus' birth, however secular records showed that Saturninus was the governor at that time. An inscription was later found in Antioch which showed that Quirinius indeed was governor of Syria at the time.
Pontius Pilate's historical authenticity was in doubt until 1961, when an inscription was found "Pontius Pilate, Prefect of Judea, has presented the Tiberium to the Caesareans", thus proving his existence.An interesting archaeological discovery appears to document a Roman governor's reaction to the resurrection of the dead. Matthew 28:11-15 describes the reaction of the chief priests and elders when the guards around Jesus' tomb told them about the resurrection: "When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, telling them, "You are to say, 'His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.' If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble." The governor must have heard the report and it must have upset him, because he issued a decree instituting capital punishment for the crime of violation of sepulcher, a crime which had never previously had such a severe penalty. A white marble slab inscribed with this decree was found in Nazareth in 1878.
In the Old Testament, Joshua followed the Lord's instructions and the walls of Jericho collapsed with a shout from the people, allowing Joshua to take the city c.1400 BC, (Joshua 6:5, 6:20). Archaeological evidence found the walls of Jericho, fallen outward, even though they were 15 ft. high and 10 ft. thick. From pottery and ceramic evidence, the city was destroyed c. 1400 BC.

Fulfilled Prophecy of the Bible

The Bible stands alone among literature. Prophecies written hundreds of years before an event have been fulfilled with 100% accuracy. There are approximately 2500 prophecies in the Bible, 2000 of which already have been completely fulfilled -- the remaining 500 speak of future events. 2 Peter 1:20-21 describes how Bible prophecy can be so accurate: "Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit." Being a Hebrew prophet in ancient times was a serious and unenviable position. The prophet was purporting to speak for God and the penalty for any error was death. "But a prophet who presumes to speak in my name anything I have not commanded him to say, or a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, must be put to death." -- Deut. 18:20. Prophets had to be 100% accurate. Deuteronomy 18:21-22 gives a test to determine whether the prophet is speaking for God: "You may say to yourselves, "How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the LORD?" If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the LORD does not take place or come true, that is a message the LORD has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously."

  1. Isaiah 44:28,54:1, 700 BC prophecy: Cyrus is the king who will give the command to rebuild the temple. When this prophecy was made Jerusalem was fully built and the temple was standing. In 586 BC the temple and city were destroyed by Babylon. Prophecy fulfilled 538-540 BC: After Jerusalem was taken by the Babylonians, it was conquered by the Persians in 539 BC. Shortly after, a Persian king Cyrus gave the decree to rebuild the temple.
  2. Daniel 2,7, c.605-530 BC prophecy: Daniel interprets Nebuchadnezzar's dream to mean that four kingdoms were to be on the earth. Also, Daniel dreams of four beasts (four kingdoms) which will come upon the earth (c. 1000 BC). When this prophecy was made, the Babylonian kingdom (the first kingdom in the dreams) was in existence. Prophecy was fulfilled as the four kingdoms appeared as prophesied: 626 BC - Babylonian; 539 BC - Medo-Persia, 330 BC - Greece, 63 BC - Rome.
  3. Daniel 9:24-27 530 BC prophecy: At the end of 69 weeks (69 7-year periods) after the decreed to restore and rebuild Jerusalem, the Messiah will come to Jerusalem. When the prophecy was made, the temple had been destroyed in 586 BC. Prophecy was fulfilled as follows: Nisan 1, 44 BC - in Nehemiah 2, Nehemiah asks the king for an order to rebuild Jerusalem, which the king gives (this started the 69 7-year count). On Nisan 10, AD 33 Jesus entered into Jerusalem, exactly as prophesied, 483 years (173880 days) later.
    To calculate this, remember that the Hebrew calendar has 360-day years. 444 BC+33 AD=477-1=476 solar years (1 BC to 1 AD is 1 year, not 2). 476 * 365.24219879=173855 (from Nisan 1 (March 5) 444 BC to March 5 33 AD). 173880 days - 173855 days = 25 days needed to make 483 years. March 5 33 AD + 25 days = March 30 33 AD (which was Nisan 10 33 AD)
  4. Zechariah 11:12-13 c. 500 BC prophecy: The Messiah would be betrayed for the price of a slave (30 pieces of silver) and this money would be used to buy a burial ground for poor foreigners. This prophecy was made five centuries before the Messiah was born. Prophecy fulfilled in AD 33: Matthew 27:3-10 (and also secular historians). Thirty pieces of silver were paid to Judas Iscariot for betraying Jesus and the money went to purchase a "potter's field" for the burial of poor foreigners.
  5. Psalm 22, 34:20 c. 300 BC prophecy: Crucifixion method of death described, lots to be cast for His clothing. When this prophecy was made, the crucifixion death method was unknown (it was invented by the Romans). Prophecy fulfilled in AD 33: Matthew 27:32 Jesus was crucified in the manner described in Psalm 22, lots were cast for His clothing.
  6. Luke 20:43,44 AD 33 prophecy: Jesus prophesies the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple (not one stone upon another left). When this prophecy was made, the temple was standing. Prophecy fulfilled in AD 70: Romans destroyed Jerusalem and the temple; nothing was left but the foundation.

Scientific Theories in the Bible

The Bible, although not detailed in its scientific explanations, is in agreement with what we know today about life and our universe. It is far more accurate than any other ancient books and even many recent ones. For example, Hindu sacred writings say the following about creation:-the moon is 50,000 leagues higher than the sun and shines by its own light-the earth is flat, triangular, composed of seven layers (including honey, sugar, butter, wine) and is held up by elephants, whose stumbling produces earthquakes.In contrast, the Bible is so accurate that the Science Research Bureau has for years publicly offered a reward to any person who can prove the existence of a scientific blunder in the Bible. The offer was made in 27 countries and still remains uncollected.
Long before the time of Jesus, the Bible reported that the earth was round and was suspended in space. It accurately described the second law of thermodynamics (c. 1000 BC) in Psalms 102:26 "They[the earth and the heavens] will perish, but you[God] remain; they will all wear out like a garment."

  1. Job 26:7 "He stretcheth out north over the empty place and hangeth the earth upon nothing." c. 2000 BC. Scientific interpretation: the earth is suspended in space. Until this century, space "ether" was believed to hold up the earth.
  2. Isaiah 40:22 "It is He that sitteth upon the circle ("sphericity" or "roundness") of the earth"... c. 680 BC. Scientific interpretation: The earth is round. In 680 BC earth was thought to be flat. Many believed earth was flat until Magellan's circumnavigation in 1522AD.
  3. Ecclesiastes 1:6 "The wind blows to the south and turns to the north; round and round it goes, ever returning on its course. c.1000 BC. Scientific interpretation: Description of wind circulation, modeled in 1735AD by George Hadley.
  4. Ecclesiastes 1:7 All streams flow into the sea, yet the sea is never full. To the place the streams come from there they return again." c. 1000 BC. Scientific interpretation: Accurate description of the water cycle, depicted in 1931 AD by R. Horton.
  5. Isaiah 40:31 "They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." c. 680 BC. Scientific interpretation: 1971 AD - discovery that aerodynamics of eagle's wings make them able to fly without becoming weary.
  6. Jeremiah 33:22 "As countless as the stars of the sky..." c. 600 BC. Scientific interpretation: Scientists in the past regarded the number of stars as countable. Ptolemy said there were 1056, Kepler 1005, and Tycho Brahe 777. Modern science has shown there are "billions and billions" of stars -uncountably many.
  7. Leviticus 17:11 "For the life of a creature is in the blood". c. 1440 BC. Scientific interpretation: Life depends on the supply of oxygen, water and food to the cells of the body by the blood. Circulation discovered by W. Harvey in 1616 AD.
  8. Psalm 102:25,26 "In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment..." c. 1000 BC. Scientific interpretation: Second law of thermodynamics (law of entrophy - c 1800AD). In any energy conversion, although the total amount of energy remains unchanged, the usefulness and availability of the energy is always decreased. Since all activities of nature involve such energy transfer, the energy supply for the universe as a whole must be decreasing The sun and stars will burn out eventually, the universe is growing old, wearing out, running down.

Inspiration of the Bible

We have reviewed just a few of the characteristics of the Bible that prove beyond any doubt that the Bible is truly unique and in many ways we could be justified by our study to admit that the Bible is God's word. But, in order for the Bible to be considered the word of God we need to ask some basic questions. Does the Bible say it is God's word? Did Jesus, who claims to be the son of God, believe the scriptures were divinely inspired? Did the authors say that they were writing God's words?

  1. This is the claim of the classical text (2 Timothy 3:16)
  2. It is the emphatic testimony of Paul that he spoke in "words...taught by the Spirit" (1 Corinthians 2:13)
  3. It is evident from the repeated formula, "It is written."
  4. Jesus said that what was written in the whole Old Testament spoke of Him (Luke 24:27,44; John 5:39; Hebrews 10:7).
  5. The New Testament constantly equates the Word of God with the Scripture (writings of the Old Testament; cf. Matthew 21:42; Romans 15:4; 2 Peter 3:16).
  6. Jesus indicated that not even the smallest part of a Hebrew word or letter could be broken (Matthew 5:18).
  7. The New Testament refers to the written record as the "oracles of God" (Romans 3:2; Hebrews 5:12).
  8. Occasionally the writers were even told to "diminish not a word" (Jeremiah 26:2, AV). In fact, John pronounced an anathema upon all who would add to or subtract from the "words of the prophecy of this book" (Revelation 22:18,19).

Charles Wesley wrote

The Bible must be the invention either of good men or angels, bad men or devils, or of God. Therefore:

(Robert W. Burtner and Robert E. Chiles, A compendium of Wesley's Theology, p.20.)


 



The following information came to me via email concerning where this writing came from.
This whole page is from a book.

"
Evidence  That Demands a Verdict "isbn #0-918956-46-3
40-06-30 pages 15-19

End
 

 

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