God Has Joined Himself to the Bible
Everything depends upon our attitude toward the Word of God. Do we view it as the Word of Almighty God? Clearly there are passages that tell us Jesus intended for His Word, the Word of God, to endure for all time to come. In Matthew 24:35, Jesus says,
Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.Peter writes in I Peter 1:25,
[T]he word of the Lord abideth for ever.In 2 Tim. 3:16-17, the apostle Paul affirms,
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.(KJV) Nothing is left out; everything we need is furnished through the Word of God.
There really is no comparison between the Bible and other writings. The works of Homer have come down to us in 20 modern languages, Tolstoy’s work in 40 languages, Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress lives today in 118 languages. But, the Bible, in whole or in part, has been translated in over 1,300 languages and dialects. The French philosopher, Voltaire, predicted that, in less than 100 years from his time, Christianity itself would have passed into history. Well, the house in which he lived was later a depot for the Geneva Bible Society, and it was said that his old printing press was actually used to print Bibles. Voltaire was wrong, because Jesus was right when He said,
Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.
These words have been written about the Bible: “It has weathered all the storms of hate. It has withstood all the thunderbolts of wrath. It has triumphed over the edicts of tyranny. It has endured all the anathemas of infidelity. It has conquered all the gnawing teeth of time. It has outlived, out-lifted, out-looked, out-loved, out reached, out ranked, and out-blessed all other books.”
But the Bible has its critics—those who have leveled, and continue to level, attacks against it, yet, without foundation. Let us look at some of the great truths of the inspiration of the Word of God, the inspiration of the Bible. Each of these points will begin with a “P” and, hopefully, will be easy for us to remember. The arguments will clearly tell us God has joined Himself to this book. It’s His book, His word. He inspired the writing of it through His Holy Spirit.
How can there be such unity and harmony in the word of God, considering that it was written over a period of some 1,500 years by more than 40 different men? Well, it was all orchestrated or directed by the inspiration of Almighty God.
We might liken that to a block of stone from which 40 different sculptors each took away a piece. Each would work on his piece for a time; and, then, when all the pieces were brought back together, they formed a beautiful statue, a great work of art. How could that be done? The only way would be to have someone masterminding it, according to a pattern or a plan that had been given them.
That’s exactly what we have with the Bible. We have Someone masterminding its preparation. We have the Master of the Universe, the God of Heaven, through the Holy Spirit, inspiring the 40 or so writers of this book over a period of 1,500 years to write it just as God wanted it written, with perfect harmony, absolute unity, and with a great theme of redemption, or the salvation, of mankind, through, ultimately, the shedding of the blood of Jesus Christ.
Oh, what preparation has gone into the producing of this book, and how it speaks to the inspiration of every page, of every word, recorded by the inspiration of God, thus, completely accurate in every way!
The people depicted in the Word say something about the inspiration of this Book. When man is writing about a great person, he tends to gloss over the inadequacies or the wrongs of that great man, but not the Bible. It depicts both the good and the bad qualities of its characters with complete and absolute fairness and objectivity, as no other book would do. Think of the great king of old, David, one who was called “the man after God’s own heart.” He was a great man, yet, he sinned. His sins are pointed out. His shortcomings are set forth in fairness and objectivity. Such is the case with every character depicted in the Bible. Man would not write a book in this way, but the people depicted in the Bible show it is written by the inspiration of God.
How many prophecies there are that are fulfilled in the greatest detail in the Bible! Many Old Testament prophesies are fulfilled in complete detail in the New Testament. We see the principle of the fulfillment of prophesy and that it shows God is the author of the book in Isaiah 41:21-23. God, writing through the prophet, says,
Produce your cause, saith Jehovah; bring forth your strong reasons, saith the King of Jacob. Let them bring forth, and declare unto us what shall happen: declare ye the former things, what they are, that we may consider them, and know the latter end of them; or show us things to come. Declare the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that ye are gods: yea, do good, or do evil, that we may be dismayed, and behold it together.
In other words, in challenging false prophets, or false gods, God says through His prophet Isaiah, “You predict the future. You show us the things that are to come. Let this be clear evidence that you have divine power.” They could not do so, but God has done so. Prophecy is a tremendously powerful proof of the inspiration of the Word of God. It’s interesting this same prophet Isaiah could mention a man by the name of Cyrus, King of Persia, call him by name as the one who would ultimately issue the decree that would allow God’s people to return from Babylonian Captivity under the Persian reign. When did he mention Cyrus by name? More than 100 years before Cyrus was ever born! How could it have been done? Only by the inspiration of God. Hundreds of prophecies relating to Jesus Christ are made in the Old Testament and fulfilled in minute detail in the New.
The Bible makes statements concerning science, geography, or medicine that could not have been made, other than by the inspiration of God, because these statements reveal things not known until hundreds or thousands of years later. This is called scientific foreknowledge. In Leviticus 17:11, Moses says,
For the life of the flesh is in the blood; and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh atonement by reason of the life. Blood has always been important in God’s scheme of redemption. There were animal sacrifices made under the old covenant that pointed to the ultimate shedding of the precious blood of Jesus Christ, which would take away the sins of the world (as we respond and are obedient to the teachings of the Gospel).
How could Moses have known the life of the flesh is in the blood? Haven’t we always known the life of the flesh is in the blood, that if we drain the blood from the body we die? No. In fact, in one point in our history, during the time George Washington, the “father of our country,” lived, bloodletting was still practiced. It was believed that by letting out the blood, one let out the disease. Of course, this was not true, but George Washington was bled to death in the process. It was not helpful, but harmful. How did Moses say
the life of the flesh is in the blood, when we really didn’t understand that concept for hundreds upon hundreds of years thereafter? By the inspiration of God.
In Job 26:7, the writer says,
He stretcheth out the north over empty space, And hangeth the earth upon nothing. How did the ancient writer of Job know that God has hung the earth upon nothing, that it is suspended by gravitational forces? Have we always known that? Certainly not. We have had fanciful ideas such as Atlas’ supporting this earth on his strong shoulders, or the earth’s swimming in a cosmic sea on the back of a giant turtle—neither idea very scientific and both certainly false. How did the writer of Job so long ago say the Lord hangs the earth upon nothing? By inspiration, and only by inspiration.
The fact the Bible has been preserved down through time, despite its attackers and critics, despite those who would have set it aside, despite those who predicted it would never last, is a proof of its inspiration. How has it survived? How has it been preserved? Through the providence of Almighty God. We don’t have the original manuscripts of the Bible, but we don’t need the original manuscripts. More than 5,000 copies of the New Testament are available and have been compared, so that we can know with absolute certainty the text we have of the Word of God is truly accurate.
Why was it preserved as it was? Why has it come down through generation after generation as it has? Because Jesus said,
Heaven and earth shall pass away but my word shall not pass away. God, in His providence, has preserved for us down through time accurate translations of His inspired Word given to the original writers, that we might know with certainty there is abundant proof for the validity, the accuracy, the genuineness of the Bible text we have. Without question, there is more manuscript evidence for this book than any other great book written by mere man.
The product of the Word is a pure life of peace, the result of a complete transformation that can only come through obedience to the inherently powerful, inspired Word. Paul urged the Roman Christians to continue to transform their lives by feeding upon the Word of God. He commended the Ephesian elders to the Word of God, which is “able to build you up, and to give you the inheritance among all them that are sanctified.”
As H. L. Hastings put it, “There are men who study philosophy, astronomy, geology, geography, and mathematics. But, did you ever hear a man say ‘I was an outcast, a wretched inebriate, a disgrace to my race, and a nuisance in the world, until I began to study mathematics, and learned the multiplication tables…since that time I have been happy as the day is long. I feel like singing all the time. My soul is full of triumph, and peace and health and blessing have come to my desolate home once more’?”
The Word of God will cause one to say,
I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I that live, but Christ living in me: and that life which I now live in the flesh I live in faith, the faith which is in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself up for me. (Galatians 2:20). The word of God will cause me to say,
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give to me at that day; and not to me only, but also to all them that have loved his appearing. (2 Timothy 4:7-8). The Word of God will cause me to say that I look forward to the heavenly home of the soul as a result of my sweet and continual obedience to the word of God, which is able to build me up and to give me an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.