By Herschel E. Patton
The Bible is a book of books (66) by forty different writers who lived in different periods of history, dealing with one general theme. It is uniquely harmonious. It has continually been a “best seller.” The Bible is the most printed book in various languages; it is circulated throughout the world.
Bible teaching has played an important role in the shaping of lives and nations. It is admittedly the most influential book ever printed. It is also the most attacked and ridiculed book of all time.
Today, atheism, better known as the religion of secular humanism, with its denial of deity, creation, the miraculous, a divine moral standard, and man possessing a never dying soul (spirit), has successfully destroyed the faith of thousands. This organized, godless religion has through its organization and legal arm — the ACLU — infiltrated the school system with its doctrine that there is no authority higher than the individual — not god, the Bible, parents or anything else (see Values Clarification school document). This teaching, with the help of the ACLU and U.S. Supreme Court, has banished prayers, any Bible quotations, and mention of God from our schools.
Your response to Bible teaching will depend on whether the Bible is the inspired Word of God, divinely revealed to man, or simply the product of human philosophy. If human, there is no reason for anyone accepting it as a standard.
Is It Inspired?
Inspiration has to do with the divine guidance of the revelator, a human agent. God inspired chosen ones to reveal, through the Holy Spirit, his will without error, and gave them power to miraculously confirm their message. This claim is made in the Scriptures (see 2 Pet. 1:21; 2 Tim. 3:16; 1 Cor. 2:9-13).
Revelation involves an unveiling — making known — God’s will through human agency. God revealed his will in various ways — directly, angels, dreams, visions, trance (Heb. 1:1). Revelation involved human agency and language, by an inspired person. We believe the Bible to be the inspired revelation of God’s will, though many do not believe this, and even deny it.
What Is the Evidence?
The Bible’s own claim of inspiration is rejected by unbelievers. There is, however, both internal and external evidence that is conclusive.
The fact that the Bible has continued despite the concerned, organized efforts to discredit and destroy it, while all other great literary works have perished or become unknown, strongly suggests that someone, with the power to make it so, purposed and said, “My word shall not pass away.” The writers of Scripture were men who did live and write of what they saw and heard from the original source, claimed to speak for God being guided by the Holy Spirit, and had the power to prove their message was from God by the miracles which they did.
The unity of the Bible has long been a marvel to serious students. It was written by some 40 writers over different periods of world history, dealing with one general theme (the redemption of fallen man by the grace of God through the promised Messiah), yet there is not a single contradiction or false statement in their combined writings. Of course, enemies of the Bible have pointed to many seeming contradictions and apparent errors, but careful examination has proved each assumption to be nothing more than just that.
Prophecy and its fulfillment ever stand as proof of inspiration and credibility. Prophecies concerning persons, places, and events hundreds of years in the future, even naming persons and places, were all fulfilled and confirmed by secular history. Not one failed or was proven to be inaccurate.
The Bible contains a lot of geography. Years ago J.W. McGarvey wrote in his book, Lands of the Bible (a study of the geographical precision of the Scriptures), “that unlike other comparable bodies of literature, the Bible is always unfailingly correct in its geographical and topographical in-formation.”
In our day, archaeologists have, in their digs at various places, uncovered numerous places (cities) and artifacts that confirm places and persons mentioned in the Bible but lost to secular history. In fact, nothing in this realm has been found that conflicts with the Bible. Every valuable find only confirms Scripture.
Has It Come Down to Us Accurately?
There are no original manuscripts, written by inspired writers; Only ancient copies made from the originals, and copies of these copies. The scribes were not inspired, so here is a place where human error could exist. A study of numerous copies, in comparison, reveals a startling accuracy of content, and evidences the great care and accuracy of the scribes.
Besides these ancient manuscripts, there have been numerous writers who quoted Scripture in their works (Clement of Rome, Ignatius, Justin Martyr, Barnabas, Irenaeus, and many others — 95-200 A.D.) and these quotes harmonize with the manuscripts from which they quoted. It has been said that if every Bible was destroyed, it could be accurately reproduced form the quotations found in numerous books.
What About Translations and Versions?
Ancient Scripture was written in Hebrew (O.T.) and Koine Greek (N.T.). Many hand-written copies of Scripture were made and circulated by scribes. Translations were made from these ancient manuscripts, which still exist.
The Septuagint Version (O.T.) existed in Jesus’ day. It was translated from Hebrew into Greek in 280 B.C.
The Syriac Version and old Latin Version (Latin Vulgate) existed until 350 A.D.
The printing press was invented by Gutenburg in 1450. Tyndale’s New Testament was published in 1525 A.D. Many others followed — the Geneva Bible in 1560; Douay Bible in 1609, and others.
In 1611 the King James Version was published. The king commissioned 48 scholars to make this version from available ancient manuscripts. Being translated by this many scholars, men who valued their scholarship, from those ancient manuscripts (copies of that which was written by inspired men), it was, and still is today, considered a credible account of what God revealed by inspired men.
The American Standard Version that came out in 1901 was made by 100 scholars, from existing ancient manuscripts, and has been called the most literal translation of what was originally written to ever be made.
There have, across the years, been revisions of these translations, due to the changing of the meaning of words over time, but no change was made in the message originally delivered.
Many versions have been published in more recent years, some by scholars, some by one man or by some religious body that had some special doctrine or theology to inject into the Bible, and some by a publishing company to make money — something that would sell. Some of these versions are little more than a commentary by man on the Scriptures and not a translation. All such “Bibles” should be rejected.
Those versions, produced by numerous scholars from the ancient manuscripts, with a desire or aim to pass on in our language, the message originally delivered are credible and reliable. Such a Bible is indeed the divinely revealed Word of God. Since it is the Word of God, you as an answerable person to God, have a responsibility to submit yourself to its teaching.
“How precious is the book divine, By inspiration given: Bright as a lamp its precepts shine To guide my soul to heav’n.” — (Song, L.O. Sanderson).
Guardian of Truth XXXV: 1, p. 16
January 7, 1993