The Bible Is Inspired
Garreth L. Clair
That the Bible is a divine revelation has often been a subject of some dispute. The following article, I pray, may shed some light on this subject. We do not contend that this small article will settle anything, although we pray it might be of some assistance to those honest students of the Bible, who are seeking material in this area.
We shall begin our study into this subject by using the Bible itself. We would not try to prove we had oil on a certain piece of property in Texas by sinking a hole in the state of Arizona for confirmation of our suspicions. To the contrary, we would look for proof of our suspicions at that point above which we supposed oil was under the earth. So, we will not go anywhere but to the Bible to prove that it (the Bible) is an inspired book by its very nature.
Let us now consider some of the symbols or figures under which the Bible is set forth, and we will see here, as in every other branch of Bible investigation, marks of its divine authorship. These symbols will appear very significant to the student of the Holy Writ.
1. A CRITIC.
The Greek of Hebrews 4:12 reads, "The word of God is a critic of the thoughts and intents of the heart."
This is what God says of His Word. It is the only place in the Bible where the word "CRITIC" appears. How presumptuous then, for men to dare call themselves critics of the Bible, when the book has been given to criticize them, as well as us. Until we accept this we can never approach the Bible aright.
As, however, it will be necessary for us, in some of the following statements, to refer to these critics and to test some of their criticisms, I would like to make it perfectly clear at the outset that biblical criticism is of two distinct varieties - one which is lawful and of inestimable value;' the other which is unlawful and is filled with the most soul-ruining and God-dishonoring consequence.
The first is that of the Greek or Hebrew scholar, who, with tremendous labor and patience, searches the ancient manuscripts in order to ascertain for us, as nearly as is humanly possible, what were the actual words used, in any particular passage, by those inspired authors.
To these scholars we owe a debt of gratitude which we can never properly repay, and concerning whose work no words of praise would be too high.
The other kind of critic mentioned, is the man, who, being unable to reconcile certain parts of Scripture with his own idea of what inspired writings should be, even when no question is raised as to the accuracy of existing documents, would nevertheless, have us strike out such passages as uninspired, leaving us with nothing but a fragmentary Bible, which might well be entitled, "The Book of God revised and improved by man."
The work of such men is completely destructive; they never show us any new beauty in 'the Scriptures, nor aid us in grasping more firmly any of its truths.
Such critics, we condemn as agents of Satan. They are never seeking after truth neither will they allow truth to long exist once it has been realized by an honest study. May we all recognize these critics for what they are and avoid any of their doctrines and influences upon our lives.
2. A LAMP OR LIGHT (Proverbs 23: Psalms 119:105, 130).
There are no facts more evident to the child of God, and certainly nothing more clearly taught upon the pages of the Bible, than that of the darkness of the natural mind and heart. It is under "the power of darkness" (Col. 1:13). It is controlled by "the rulers of the darkness of this world" (Eph. 6:12). Its works are "works of darkness" (Eph. 5:11). It cannot see "because that darkness hath blinded his eyes" (I John 2:11) and unless enlightened, it will, like Judas, go to its own place, "the blackness of darkness forever" (Jude 13), to spend eternity with him whose "kingdom is full of darkness" (Rev. 16:10).
This darkness of the natural heart is likened to the chaos that existed upon the earth before light, life, and order were established (2 Cor. 2:11). This darkness, moreover, is so gross that no light, of earth can dispel it. But Almighty God has provided an unfailing light; that light is His Word. Like the star in the East, it can enlighten those who seem to be furtherest away, and will lead any honest seeker to Christ, as did the seven-branched candlestick in the Tabernacle of Moses. It shines with a perfect light upon divine things, as the fiery pillar. It lights up the whole pathway of the child of God through his wilderness journey.
Sooner or later every earthly light, upon which men are so prone to rely, must fail (I Peter 1:24), while this lamp will never cease to shine, but will shine more and more unto the perfect day of our God.
This is the "sure word of prophecy: whereunto ye do well that ye take heed as unto a light that shineth in a dark place" (2 Pet. 1:19).
When then, is it such a great task for men in darkness to comprehend the value of this marvelous light? I leave you, the reader, to answer this question.
3. A MIRROR (2 Cor. 3:18; James 1: 2 5).
This can be said of no other book. Like a mirror it shows me myself, not as I think I am, but as I really am, "guilty before God" (Rom. 3:19). This is why the natural heart of man shrinks from looking into its pages, as even the backslider fears to face it. Yet to see oneself as revealed in this mirror is the first step in the true way that leads to God.
We may be proud, self-righteous, filled with ego and far from God in every respect, and yet not know it. Then when we turn to the Bible we see ourselves pictured in its mirror-like pages as God sees us, and weep., "Oh, wretched man that I am."
The story is told of a missionary to India. The missionary once read to a large audience the first chapter of Romans. When he had finished the reading, an Indian came and said he thought it very wrong and unfair for this foreign devil (as missionaries were called) to come and find out all their secret sins, then write them down in a book, and read them out in public that way!
Yes, the Bible is a mirror - "Mine to teach me what I am."
4. FOOD (JOB 23:12).
The instant an awakened soul cries, "I perish with hunger," he may find in the Bible food sufficient for him. Oh, that the sinful world did but know this fact! Those who do know it can, or should, say, "I have esteemed the Word of His mouth more than my necessary food."
Now this food is of varied kinds:
(a) MILK FOR BABES (I Cor. 3:2; Heb. 5:13).
Oh, how blessed it is to know that there are parts of the Bible so simple that, like milk, they are suitable for little children. While we are yet children spiritually, we can study the Holy Scriptures and increase our knowledge of spiritual matters, growing from baby to full grown man, as a final result.
(b) BREAD FOR THE HUNGRY (Deut. 8:3; Is. 60:10).
"Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." This bread, like the milk and honey of John the Baptizer, may be had without money or price.
"Wherefore (then) do ye spend money for that which is not bread, and your labour for that which satisfieth not? Hearken diligently unto Me and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness" (Isa. 60:1, 2). ,
(c) STRONG MEAT FOR THOSE WHO ARE FULL GROWN. (I Cor. 3:2 and Hebrews 5:12-14).
It is in reference to this strong meat of the Word that the Apostle John wrote (1 John 2:14), "1 have written unto you young men because ye are strong and the Word of God abideth in you."
We should never forget that the Bible is no mere milk-and-water book, for while there are parts of it which are so simple that a little child may understand them (2 Tim. 3:15), there are, nevertheless depths so profound that, although they have engaged the attention of the mightiest intellects of all ages, they have never been universally fathomed.
5. A SWORD (Eph. 6:17).
Some have an extremely cunning nature, avoiding every blow of the workman's hammer. To such the Word is needed as a sharp sword in the hand of a skillful soldier. Such skill, however, can only be acquired by patient and prayerful study; and much of the usefulness, in service to Christ will depend upon the way in which we wield this sword of the Spirit (2 Tim. 2:15). With what reverent awe should we then, discharge our commission as good soldiers of Christ, as we remember that, when handled correctly, this sword pierces the conscience and leads to an awakening (Heb. 4:12). It pricks the heart (Acts 2:37), and leads to conversion (Acts 2:41). It cuts the heart (Acts 7:54), and sometimes leads to increased bitterness (Acts 7:51, 57); and finally it will smite, with an eternal stroke, those who continue to rebel against its divine authority (Rev. 19:15).
6. SEED (Luke 8:11; Is. 55:10).
"Being born again . . . of incorruptible seed by the Word of God" (I Peter 1:23), it should be said of us, as we go forth to our ordinary vocation day by day, "Behold, a sower goes forth to sow" (Matt. 13:3). And though we may often be discouraged as the seed seems to fall on unfruitful soil, and at times we may be tempted in our folly to select our own time for sowing, nevertheless, we should remember it is written:
(a) That we should sow everywhere.
"Blessed are ye that sow beside all waters" (Isa. 32:20).
(b) That we should sow at all times.
"In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand: for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good" (Eccles. 11:6).
(c) That the ground should be duly prepared by the warmth of our love and the tears of our, compassion; then fruit will be assured.
"He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with" him (Psalms 126:6).
7. THE SUN (Psalms 19:1-6).
Here we get in symbol:
(1) The silent but unanswerable testimony of the Scriptures of God.
(2) The Book like a strong man running to every part of the habitable globe, being destined to cover the earth with the knowledge of God (Is. 11:9; Hab. 2:14), reaching even to its darkest places, for "He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good" (Matt. 5:45). Blessed are they who, having left the comforts of a secure life to take an active part in this tremendous work!
(3) Its warm, life-giving rays, melting hard hearts with the old, old story of the Cross, or burning the unrepentant sinner with unquenchable fire; for it shall yet be seen that "there is nothing hid from the heat thereof" (Psalms 19:6).
8. THE WORD OF GOD.
There is yet one other symbol, which we mention with profound reverence. We read of one in the apocalyptic vision - one to whom all others bend the knee - "And His name is called the Word of God" (Rev. 19: 13); and seeing that God Himself associated the LIVING GOD with the WRITTEN WORD, I call your attention to this wonderful fact. Thus: BOTH ARE THE EXPRESSIONS OF THE MIND OF GOD.
CHRIST - "The brightness of His glory and the express image of His person" (Heb. 1. 3).
BIBLE - "I have written . . . the great things of My law" (Hosea 8:12).
BOTH HAVE ETERNAL EXISTENCE.
"Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and for ever" (Heb. 13:8).
"The word of God which liveth and abideth forever" (I Peter 1:23).
BOTH CAME AS GOD'S MESSENGERS TO BLESS A LOST WORLD.
CHRIST - "God, having raised up His Son Jesus, sent Him to bless you" (Acts 3:26).
BIBLE - "Blessed are they that hear the word of God and keep it" (Luke 11:28).
BOTH ARE FAULTLESS.
CHRIST - "In Him is no sin" (1 John 3:5).
BIBLE - "Every word of God is pure" (Proverbs 30:5).
BOTH ARE SOURCES OF LIGHT.
CHRIST - "I am the light of the world" (John 8:12).'
BIBLE - "The commandment is a lamp, and the law is light" (Proverbs 6:23).
BOTH ARE SOURCES OF LIFE.
CHRIST - "I am . . . the life" (John 14:6).
BIBLE - "The word -of God is quick (LIVING) and powerful" _(Heb. 4:12).
BOTH ARE TRUTH.
CHRIST - "I am the way ... the truth" (John 14:6).
BIBLE - "Thy word is truth" (John 17:17).
BOTH MUST BE RECEIVED IN ORDER TO RECEIVE SALVATION.
CHRIST - "As many as,received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God" (John 1: 12).
BIBLE - "Receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls" (James 1:21).
THE REJECTION OF EITHER ENTAILS IRREPARABLE LOSS.
CHRIST - "If ye believe not that I am He, ye shall die in your sins" (John 8:24).
BIBLE - "If they hear not Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead" (Luke 16:31).
BOTH WILL JUDGE US AT THE LAST DAY.
CHRIST - "He will judge the world in righteousness, by that man whom He hath ordained" (Acts 17:31).
BIBLE - "He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my word, hath one that judgeth him; the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day" (John 12:48).
In view of these symbols represented upon the pages of the Bible, how is it possible for man to appreciate the consistency of these proofs, without full and complete acceptance of the Bible as an inspired book? You be the judge!
TRUTH MAGAZINE, XII: 9, pp. 16-20