Believing the Bible
We. want now to discuss some of the reasons why we believe the Bible is a divinely inspired Book. The Bible is the world's most remarkable book. It consistently is the world's best-seller. Men, even the most intellectual of men, yearly spend their greatest efforts in trying to produce a great book. But each year,, the same volume continues to be purchased by more individuals. This marvelous book continues profoundly to influence our society. It is about this book that we wish to speak.
There are many who try to deny the inspiration of the Scriptures. If the Bible can be successfully refuted, then there remains no divine communication from God to man. And if God has not communicated to man, He has not given man anything to do. Therefore, man has no moral responsibility. So if the Bible is not the Word of God, man has no ethical obligations whatever.
Relevance of Verbal Inspiration
I am undertaking to prove that the Scriptures are verbally inspired. By that I mean that even the words used in the Scriptures are given by the Holy Spirit. Actually, if one does not believe the words are inspired, he has no guarantee that he has the divine revelation. For if God merely inspired the thoughts of the apostles, and left man to convey these divine thoughts in uninspired language, we can never be sure that we have the revelation of God at all. Quite often a man will intend to convey certain thoughts either in speech or writing, and after hearing or seeing what he said or wrote, will find that, actually, he did not convey the idea he intended to transmit at all. God did not leave us in the hands of fallible men. He revealed the message, but he also revealed it in words. If the Bible is inspired at all, its very words are inspired. Listen to Paul's declaration of this truth, when he says, in 1 Cor. 2:12, 13: "But we received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is from God; that we might know the things that were freely given to us of God. Which things we speak, not in words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Spirit teacheth; combining spiritual things with spiritual words." The thoughts were God-breathed, and then these divine thoughts were clothed in Spirit-given words. Such is the revelation we have. If it is not so inspired, if the very words are not inspired, the Bible is not inspired at all. An inspired book could not declare an untruth, and the Bible unequivocally declares its very words are inspired.
There are many who believe the Bible is inspiring, but not inspired. They think it is a book that will build one up, but do not believe it is God-breathed. They compare it to the works of Shakespeare, or some of the great poets. Their works are often inspiring, but none would affirm that they were God-inspired. A sermon preached by man may be inspiring, but the man is not inspired of God in what he says. Too many teach doctrines contradicted by God's Word for one to affirm all preachers are inspired. But the Bible is not only an inspiring book. Yet it is inspiring, because it is inspired. No less than 1500 times in the Old Testament we have statements indicating that this is the "word of Jehovah." If it is not a divinely inspired book, the Bible is not even a good book, for it teaches it is inspired, and if it is not, it teaches that which is not true, which is not a quality of a good book.
But at least theoretically, we live in a Bible loving land. Almost every home has at least one Bible in it. Many have several. This is a good sign. But the tragedy is that, while we have Bibles in almost every home, we do not always have the Bible teaching imbibed in the people who comprise the home. But in religious matters, millions throughout the world recognize the Bible as the source of authority. So we want to inquire into the "why" of this honorable recognition rightly given unto the sacred scriptures. There must be reasons for our faith in the Bible. Truly there are so many that, one hardly knows where to begin in an article as brief as this one must be.
Our first argument in proving the divine inspiration of the Bible is taken from the vast number of prophecies in it. In my judgment, prophecy is the strongest proof of the miraculous inspiration of the Bible. Man cannot know the future; only God can know beforehand what will happen. When men can picture in minute detail events centuries before they occur, we know they had a divine guide. I have no idea just how many prophetical statements are contained in the Scriptures. But there must be literally thousands of them.
When one considers the Messianic prophecies, and their fulfillment in Christ, this alone should persuade one that the Old Testament writers who predicted Christ's coming were not writing merely by human intuition. They had divine guidance. There are over three hundred prophetical statements concerning Christ made in the Old Testament, which have their fulfillment, shown by statements found in the New Testament. These did not just happen. One might guess a few things, but many different prophets, living in different centuries would not be able to guess over three hundred separate details about a person who would not live yet for several hundred years, and declare all of these details beforehand with such astounding accuracy. In Jeremiah 28:9, we read: "The prophet that prophesieth of peace, when the word of the prophet shall come to pass, then shall the prophet be known, that Jehovah hath truly sent him." If a prophecy is fulfilled, when there is no possible natural explanation as to how one could have such knowledge, Jeremiah says, we must therefore account the prophet as sent by God. And in another passage, God warns people of false prophets and gives instructions as to how to recognize them. He says: "when a prophet speaketh in the name of Jehovah, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which Jehovah hath not spoken: the prophet hath spoken presumptuously" (Deut. 18:22). So if a prophecy is fulfilled, the prophet is of God; if the prophecy is not fulfilled, the prophet is not sent of God.
We must distinguish between a rational guess and a prophetical statement. I might prophecy that Mr. Ford will be re-elected, and that prophecy could come to pass without my being divinely inspired. One might be able to guess that. But if one were to attempt to describe the ruler of a country a thousand years hence, and should make numerous specific declarations about this ruler, and if they should all come to pass, this would not be an accident.
Prophecies of Nations and Cities
Not only does the Bible contain prophecies about Christ, but it also has numerous prophetical statements about certain nations mentioned in the Bible, all of which have had exact fulfilments. Prophecies are made concerning Israel (Num. 23, 24); Egypt (Isa. 19: Ezekiel 29, 30); Nineveh (Book of Nahum and Isa. 10:12-14); Babylon (Jer. 50, 51); Sidon (Ezek. 28:20-24); and the city of Tyre (Ezek. 26:1-28). Historical proof could be shown of the fulfillment of each of these events, but space will only permit us now to look at one, and so we have chosen the last one cited, the city of Tyre. Read Ezekiel 26. It contains a prophecy of the destruction of the city.
The prophecy was fulfilled a few years later when the Babylonian armies under Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the city. But afterwards the inhabitants moved their possessions to an island about a half mile from the shore of the mainland. Ezekiel had prophesied that in the destruction of the city of Tyre, "they shall lay thy stones and thy dust in the midst of the water" (26:21). Two hundred and fifty years later (333-332 B.C.), when Alexander the Great came to attempt to conquer Tyre, he found himself unable at first to do so. The city was at this time built on the island we just mentioned. A short distance away lay the ruins of the first city of Tyre. Alexander took the stones, timbers, and debris of the destroyed city of Tyre, and put them in the water between the mainland and the island, building a causeway over which his armies passed to capture the city. Ezekiel had said they would lay their stones, timbers and dust in the water, so the prophecy was fulfilled to the letter (J. P. Free, Archaeology and Bible History, pp. 262-64). The prophecy also said that the city should become a place where fishermen would dry their nets, which also has been literally fulfilled. So fulfilled prophecy has become a strong argument proving the inspiration of the prophets and the Scriptures.
The unity of the Bible is another point that makes us realize its writers were divinely guided. It is usually a very easy thing for other men to go through a book written by man and find points in which the writer contradicted himself. Yet there is a plausible solution to every alleged contradiction in the Bible. In fact, there are no contradictions in the divine word at all. Yet one man did not write the Bible. No less than forty different men wrote sections of the Bible. Three different languages were employed in the original writing. Almost two -thousand years were occupied in its composition. Many, different subjects are discussed in it. And even though the most of these men never saw each other, yet their messages all fit perfectly into the whole, without contradictions at all. This implies to me that there was a great superintending Mind. God was guiding in the writing of the Bible, else these men could not have discussed such sublime themes, all having a united insight into them. In the 66 books of the Bible "are to be found variety and diversity, history and poetry, laws and lyrics, prophecy and symbol. Yet they unite to declare one grand theme: God and human redemption" (Homer Hailey, Internal Evidences, Notes). There are some who attempt to show a disparity between Paul's teaching and Peter's, and others who labor to show that Paul preached one gospel and James another, but Paul, Peter, James and all other inspired men preached the same soul saving message. They were united in doctrine.
The third and final proof we shall have time now to observe, proving the divine inspiration of the Bible, is its moral system. The ethics of the Bible are without a peer. They are unsurpassed. The responsibility devolving upon man as a result of the Biblical declarations indicates that man did not, of his own ability, conceive the statements contained therein. In fact, many of them are the very opposite of the natural response of man. It is not natural for man to love his enemies, yet this is what Jesus commands he must do (Matt. 5:43,44). In order to comply with this command, the ordinary man must bend his will so as to make it conform with the divine will of Christ as expressed in this statement.
Once again Jesus says: "whosoever smiteth thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man would go to law with thee, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go one mile, go with him two" (Matt. 5:39-41). To obey these commandments is not the natural response of man. In fact, had it been so, there would have been no reason why Jesus would have commanded it. Men already would have been obeying the commandments. These commandments are not the concoctions of men. They represent a law higher than man. They portray the divine mind, and the will of God to man. Man must control his natural passions in order to comply with the laws of God. Hence we conclude that the great moral instructions of the Bible are not the result of the natural impulses of man, but of the divine teachings of God to us.
One might have noticed the scientific accuracy of the Bible, the historical trustworthiness of the Bible, the diversity of the Scriptures, the power of the Word, and many other proofs as to why we believe the Bible is the word of God, but these are enough. It is a book filled with prophecies which have now been fulfilled; it is a book of unity; and finally its moral system is one unsurpassed, and never even equaled. Surely God hath spoken!
Truth Magazine XIX: 20, pp. 307-309