Is the Bible reliable? Is it the result of man or the result of the almighty creator of this universe?
Jer 15:16 "Thy words were found, ... and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts."
Ps 119:16 "I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word."
Ps 119:81 "My soul fainteth for thy salvation: but I hope in thy word."
Ps 138:2 "...thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name."
John 17:17 "Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth."
There have been hundreds of books written on the subject of the evidences of the divine inspiration of the Bible, and these evidences are many and varied. Most people today, unfortunately, have not read any of these books. In fact, few have even read the Bible itself! Thus, many people tend to go along with the popular delusion that the Bible is full of mistakes and is no longer relevant to our modern world.
Nevertheless the Bible writers claimed repeatedly that they were transmitting the very Word of God, infallible and authoritative in the highest degree. This is an amazing thing for any writer to say, and if the forty or so men who wrote the Scriptures were wrong in these claims, then they must have been lying, or insane, or both. But, on the other hand, if the greatest and most influential book of the ages, containing the most beautiful literature and the most perfect moral code ever devised, was written by deceiving fanatics, then it is hopeless to look elsewhere for meaning and purpose in this world!
If one will seriously investigate these Biblical evidences, he will find that their claims of divine inspiration (stated over 3,000 times, in various ways) were amply justified.
Today, we will look at ten reasons that you and I can and should believe in the Bible.
1. Its Honesty
Why is that we tend to exalt the position of the Presidency of our great nation, but deride the person who holds that office. I believe "honesty" is a key factor.
Why is it that we brace ourselves whenever we enter a car sales room? Honesty. Imagine an advertisement for a car that goes something like this: "For Sale, used beat up old car. Uses oil; A/C is on the frizz; mileage stinks (that's one of the reasons I'm trying to ditch the clunker); new paint covers most of the rust."
The Bible is painfully honest. It shows Jacob, the father of God's "chosen people," to be a deceiver. It describes Moses, the lawgiver, as an insecure, reluctant leader, who, in his first attempt to come to the aid of his own people, killed a man, and then ran for life to the desert. It portrays David not only as Israel's most loved king, general, and spiritual leader, but as one who took another man's wife and then, to cover his own sin, conspired to have her husband killed. At one point, the Scriptures accuse the people of God, the nation of Israel, as being so bad they made Sodom and Gomorra look good by comparison (Ezekiel 16:46-52). The Bible represents human nature as hostile to God. It predicts a future full of trouble. It teaches that the road to heaven is narrow and the way to hell is wide. Scripture was clearly not written for those who want simple answers or an easy, optimistic view of religion and human nature.
2. Its Preservation
Just as the modern state of Israel was emerging from thousands of years of dispersion, a Bedouin shepherd discovered one of the most important archeological treasures of our time. In a cave on the northwest rim of the Dead Sea, a broken jar yielded documents that had been hidden for 2,000 years. Additional finds produced manuscripts that predated the previous oldest copies by 1,000 years. One of the most important was a copy of Isaiah. It revealed a document that is essentially the same as the book of Isaiah that appears in our own Bibles. The Dead Sea scrolls emerged from the dust like a symbolic handshake to a nation coming home. They discredited the claims of those who believed that the original Bible had been lost to time and tampering. God's word can with boldness make the claim for itself that it does in Ps 12:6-7 "The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever."
3. Its Claims For Itself
It's important to know what the Bible says about itself. If the authors of Scripture had not claimed to speak for God, it would be presumptuous for us to make that claim for them.
We would also have a different kind of problem. We would have a collection of unsolved mysteries, embodied in historical and ethical literature. But we would not have a book that has inspired the building of countless churches and synagogues all over the world. A Bible that did not claim to speak in behalf of God would not have become foundational to the faith of hundreds of millions of Christians and Jews.
2 Pet 1:16-21 "For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. (speaking of his experience on the Mount of Transfiguration in Matt. 17) 17 For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. 18 And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount. 19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: 20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. 21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost."
With much supporting evidence and argument, the Bible's authors did claim to be inspired by God. Because millions have staked their present and eternal well-being on those claims, the Bible cannot be a good book if its authors consistently lied about their source of information.
4. Its Miracles
Man cannot thwart the sovereign purposes of God. Heathen nations tried to destroy Israel, the nation through which the Redeemer would be born, but the Lord intervened to preserve His people. Sometimes He did this through a dramatic display of His power, like dividing the Red Sea or opening the earth to swallow Israel's enemies (Deut. 11:2-6). At other times He used small, natural means, such as attacking hornets (Josh. 24:12). In either case, His will was accomplished.
John Wesley was holding a meeting in a small town, and an ungodly man who was fond of music decided to attend. He wanted to hear the "good singing," but he planned to stop listening when Wesley began to preach. He sat quietly until the song service ended. Then he covered his ears. Suddenly a fly landed on his nose. He tried to shake it off, but to no avail. The tickling effect was so irritating that he finally had to use one hand to shoo away the insect. At that precise moment Wesley was quoting Jesus' words, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear!" Startled, the unbeliever kept listening, and through the gospel message he was converted. God had used a fly to reach a rebellious sinner!
Israel's exodus from Egypt provided a historical basis for believing that God revealed Himself to Israel. If the Red Sea did not part as Moses said it did, the Old Testament loses its authority to speak in behalf of God. The New Testament is just as dependent upon miracles. If Jesus did not rise bodily from the dead, the apostle Paul admits that the Christian faith is built on a lie (1 Cor 15:14 "And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain."). To show its credibility, the New Testament names its witnesses, and did so within a time-frame that enabled those claims to be tested (1 Corinthians 15:1-8). Many of the witnesses ended up as martyrs, not for abstract moral or spiritual convictions but for their claim that Jesus had risen from the dead. While martyrdom is not unusual, the basis on which these people gave their lives is what's important. Many have died for what they believed to be the truth. But people do not die for what they know to be a lie.
5. Its Unity
Forty different authors writing over a period of 1,600 years penned the 66 books of the Bible. Four hundred silent years separated the 39 books of the Old Testament from the 27 of the New Testament. The individual writers, at the time of writing, had no idea that their message was eventually to be incorporated into such a Book, but each nevertheless fits perfectly into place and serves its own unique purpose as a component of the whole. Anyone who diligently studies the Bible will continually find remarkable structural and mathematical patterns woven throughout its fabric, with an intricacy and symmetry incapable of explanation by chance or collusion. The one consistent theme of the Bible, developing in grandeur from Genesis to Revelation, is God's great work in the creation and redemption of all things, through His only Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
From Genesis to Revelation, they tell one unfolding story. Together they give consistent answers to the most important questions we can ask: Why are we here? How can we come to terms with our fears? How can we get along? How can we rise above our circumstances and keep hope alive? How can we make peace with our Maker? How can I know right from wrong with certainty? What happens to me at death? The Bible's consistent answers to these questions show that the Scriptures are not many books but one. They provide hope. They provide security. They provide you something that satisfies your innermost longings.
The Bible gives you security in where you will spent eternity. I read a story of a man who had a near death experience that changed him forever. The other day, he went horseback riding. Everything was going fine until the horse started bouncing out of control. He tried with all his might to hang on, but was thrown off. Just when things could not possibly get worse, his foot got caught in the stirrup. When this happened, he fell head first to the ground. His head continued to bounce harder as the horse did not stop or even slow down. Just as he was giving up hope and losing consciousness, the Wal-Mart manager came and unplugged it. Thank goodness for heroes. Folks, we have an even bigger hero who will save us from the real death experience and his name is Jesus.
6. Its Historical And Geographical Accuracy
Down through the ages, many have doubted the historical and geographical accuracy of the Bible. Yet modern archeologists have repeatedly unearthed evidence of the people, places, and cultures described in the Scriptures. Time after time, the descriptions in the biblical record have been shown to be more reliable than the speculations of scholars. The modern visitor to the museums and lands of the Bible cannot help but come away impressed with the real geographical and historical backdrop of the biblical text.
The historical accuracy of the Scriptures is in a class by itself, far superior to the written records of Egypt, Assyria, and other early nations. Archeological confirmations of the Biblical record have been almost innumerable in the last century. Dr. Nelson Glueck, probably the greatest modern authority on Israeli archeology, has said: "No archeological discovery has ever controverted (disproven) a Biblical reference. Scores of archeological findings have been made which confirm in clear outline or in exact detail historical statements in the Bible. And, by the same token, proper evaluation of Biblical descriptions has often led to amazing discoveries."
Another striking evidence of divine inspiration is found in the fact that many of the principles of modern science were recorded as facts of nature in the Bible long before scientist confirmed them experimentally. A sampling of these would include the roundness of the earth (Isaiah 40:22), the almost infinite extent of the universe (Isaiah 55:9), the law of conservation of mass and energy (II Peter 3:7), the hydrologic cycle (Ecclesiastes 1:7), the vast number of stars (Jeremiah 33:22), the law of increasing entropy (Psalm 102:25-27), the paramount importance of blood in life processes (Leviticus 17:11), the atmospheric circulation (Ecclesiastes 1:6), the gravitational field (Job 26:7), and many others. These are not stated in the technical jargon of modern science, of course, but in terms of the basic world of man's everyday experience; nevertheless, they are completely in accord with the most modern scientific facts.
It is significant also that no real mistake has ever been demonstrated in the Bible, in science, in history, or in any other subject. Many have been claimed, of course, but conservative Bible scholars have always been able to work out reasonable solutions to all such problems.
7. Its Endorsement By Christ
Many have spoken well of the Bible, but no endorsement is as compelling as that of Jesus of Nazareth. He recommended the Bible not only by His words but by His life. In times of personal temptation, public teaching, and personal suffering, He made it clear that He believed the Old Testament Scriptures were more than a national tradition (Matthew 4:1-11 --- under temptation by the Devil, He continually quoted the Old Testament).
Matt 5:17-19 "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. 18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. 19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven."
In his classic work The Master's Indwelling, Andrew Murray tells an interesting story. He wrote, "When a man is giving a lecture, he often uses a long pointer to indicate places on a map or a chart. Do people look at that pointer? No, that only helps to show them the place on the map, and they do not think of it. It might even be of fine gold, but the pointer cannot satisfy them. They want to see what the pointer points at." Jesus is pointing at the Bible and saying you can trust what is written in this book.
He believed the Bible was a book about Himself. To His countrymen, in John 5:39-40, He said, "Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. 40 And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life."
8. Its Prophetic Accuracy
In all the writings of Buddha, Confucius, and Lao-tse, you will not find a single example of predicted prophecy. In the Koran (the writings of Muhammad) there is one instance of a specific prophecy --- a self fulfilling prophecy that he, Muhammad himself, would return to Mecca. Quite different from the prophecy of Jesus who said that He would return from the grave. One is easily fulfilled, and the other is impossible to any human being.
From the days of Moses, the Bible predicted events no one wanted to believe. Before Israel went into the Promised Land, Moses predicted that Israel would be unfaithful, that she would lose the land God was giving her, and that she would be dispersed throughout all the world, regathered, and then re-established (Deuteronomy 28-31). Central to Old Testament prophecy was the promise of a Messiah who would save God's people from their sins and eventually bring judgment and peace to the whole world.
Hundreds of Bible prophecies have been fulfilled, specifically and meticulously, often long after the prophetic writer had passed away.
For example, Daniel the prophet predicted in about 538 BC (Daniel 9:24-27) that Christ would come as Israel's promised Savior and Prince 483 years after the Persian emperor would give the Jews authority to rebuild Jerusalem, which was then in ruins. This was clearly and definitely fulfilled, hundreds of years later.
There are extensive prophecies dealing with individual nations and cities and with the course of history in general, all of which have been literally fulfilled. More than 300 prophecies were fulfilled by Christ Himself at His first coming. Other prophecies deal with the spread of Christianity, as well as various false religions, and many other subjects.
There is no other book, ancient or modern, like this. The vague, and usually erroneous, prophecies of people like Jeanne Dixon, Nostradamus, Edgar Cayce, and others like them are not in the same category at all, and neither are other religious books such as the Koran, the Confucian Analects, and similar religious writings. Only the Bible manifests this remarkable prophetic evidence, and it does so on such a tremendous scale as to render completely absurd any explanation other than divine revelation.
In the Old Testament alone there are two thousand predictive prophecies. Unlike modern prognosticators, they often predicted the very opposite of the natural expectations of human beings. In hundreds of instances, the fulfillment of the prophecy did not take place until hundreds of years after the death of the prophet.
Just pretend for a moment that you are 16 and single. I want you to take out an imaginary piece of paper and write down eight predictions concerning your future. You are to write down 1) exactly when you will have a baby, 2) where that baby will be born, 3) what the babies father will be doing for a living, 4) where the baby will be raised, 5) when he will die, 6) how he will die, 7) where he will die, 8) and what will happen to him after his death. Sounds like a tough task, right? Do you know what the probability is that all eight of your predictions will come true? State of Texas, 3 feet deep with quarters, mark one, blindfolded, walk into state, reach down and pick out the marked one. But, that is exactly what the Old Testament predicted about Jesus. That's just eight of the over 300 dealing with Jesus. Let alone the other 1,700 prophecies.
Those who say that the Bible was written by men are simply expressing their own incredible ignorance of the subject.
9. Its Survival
The books of Moses were written 500 years before the earliest Hindu Scriptures. Moses wrote Genesis 2,000 years before Muhammad penned the Koran. During that long history, no other book has been as loved or as hated as the Bible. No other book has been so consistently bought, studied, and quoted as this book. While millions of other titles come and go, the Bible is still the book by which all other books are measured. While often ignored by those who are uncomfortable with its teachings, it is still the central book of Western civilization. With confidence, we can claim with the Psalmist, "For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven." (Ps 119:89)
There is a strange bit of vegetation that grows in Jamaica called the 'life plant.' It is so named because it is almost impossible to kill or destroy any portion of it. When a leaf is cut off and hung by a string, instead of shriveling up and dying, it sends out white, threadlike roots to gather moisture from the air and begins to grow new leaves. So too, the Bible is the life plant of the moral and spiritual world. Circulate the Bible or portions of it anywhere, and it will soon take root in the affections of men and women, and send out tendrils of life. In the heart of Africa, or among the aborigines of South America, or with the Eskimos of the Arctic Circle, it has the same quickening power that no climate or degradation of heathenism has ever been able to kill.
Century follows century -there it stands. Empires rise and fall and are forgotten -there it stands. Storms of hate swirl about it -there it stands. Higher critics deny its claim to inspiration -there it stands. Infidels predict its abandonment -there it stands. Modernism tries to explain it away -there it stands Christians pick and choice from its pages -there it stands The lost world ignores its warnings -there it stands
10. Its Power To Change Lives
The Bible is unique also in terms of its effect on individual men and on the history of nations. It is the all-time best seller, appealing both to hearts and minds, beloved by at least some in every race or nation or tribe to which it has gone, rich or poor, scholar or simple, king or commoner, men of literally every background and walk of life. No other book has ever held such universal appeal nor produced such lasting effects.
Unbelievers often point to those who claim to believe in the Bible without being changed by it. But history is also marked by those who have been bettered by this book. The Ten Commandments have been a source of moral direction to countless numbers of people. The Psalms of David have offered comfort in times of trouble and loss. Jesus' Sermon on the Mount has given millions an antidote for stubborn pride and proud legalism. Paul's description of love in 1 Corinthians 13 has softened angry hearts. The changed lives of people like the apostle Paul, Augustine, Martin Luther, John Newton, Leo Tolstoy, C. S. Lewis, and C. I. Schofield illustrate the difference the Bible can make. Even entire nations or tribes, like the Celts of Ireland, the wild Vikings of Norway, or the Auca Indians of Ecuador have been transformed by the Word of God and the unprecedented life and significance of Jesus Christ.
The God who wrote this remarkable book also promised that He that believeth on the Son shall never die, but have everlasting life; and he that believerth not the Son shall not see life, but shall have the wrath of God upon him forever. The truthfulness of those words and the certainty of their fulfillment is attested by over two thousands prophecies which have already come to pass. Anyone who disregards them has no one to blame for his own destruction but himself.
TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE JESUS CAME
Twas the night before Jesus came, and all through the house, Not a creature was praying, not one in the house.
Their Bibles were put on the shelf without care, In hopes that Jesus would never come there.
The children were dressing to crawl into bed, Without ever kneeling or bowing a head.
Mom in her rocker with Sue on her lap, Was watching the Late Show while I took a nap.
When out of the East there rose such a clatter, I sprang to my feet to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash, Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
When what to my wondering eyes should appear, But angels proclaiming that Jesus was here.
With a light like the sun sending forth a bright ray, I knew in a moment this must be the day.
The light of His face made me cover my head, It was Jesus, returning just like He said.
And though I possessed worldly wisdom and wealth, I cried when I saw Him in spite of myself.
In the Book of Life which He held in His hand, Was written the name of every saved man.
He spoke not a word as He searched for my name, When He said "It's not Here," my head hung in shame.
The people whose names had been written with love, He gathered to take to His Father above.
With those who were ready, He rose with no sound, While all the rest were left on the ground.
I fell to my knees but it was too late; I'd waited too long and thus sealed my fate.
I stood and I cried as they rose out of sight; Oh, if only we'd been ready tonight!
In the words of this poem the meaning is clear: The coming of Jesus is drawing near.
There's only one life; when comes the last call; We'll find that the Bible was true after all.
Berean Baptist Church
West Palm Beach, FL
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