by Dick Innes
Have you ever wondered why the Bible is one of the best selling books of all time and why almost every home has a copy?
Some, I suppose, have a Bible as a sort of lucky charm. Others have a copy to maintain a form of religious acknowledgment. And many millions have a copy because they believe the Bible is God's Word.
But is the Bible God's Word and his special message to mankind, or is it simply a compilation of man-made messages? How can we know whether it is one or the other? What evidence is there to support the Bible's own claim that it is "inspired by God?"1
Let us examine the following evidence:
Support from Jesus Christ. The fact that Jesus accepted the Bible as God's Word is important to note. In his day, only the Old Testament section of the Bible had been written. It was then known as the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms, or simply as the Law. Referring to these writings Jesus said, "Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms."2
He also said, "Do not think I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law [the Bible] until everything is accomplished."3
Peter's confirmation. The New Testament section of the Bible was written immediately following Christ's time on earth. A large part was written by the Apostle Paul. In speaking about Paul's writings, Peter—one of the better-known disciples of Jesus—equates what Paul wrote with the rest of the Bible.4
Evidence from fulfilled prophecy. The Bible boldly foretold events of major historical significance hundreds of years in advance—many of which have already been fulfilled.
For instance, at least fifteen hundred years B.C., God gave the first hope of a Savior (the Christ) who would come from Israel through the tribe of Judah.5
A thousand years B.C.., the Bible said that Christ would come through the family of David.6
Seven hundred years B.C., Bethlehem was named by the prophet Micah as the birthplace of Christ.7
About the same time the prophet Isaiah wrote that Christ would be born of a virgin,8
and six hundred years B.C., the prophet Daniel predicted the time of Christ's coming.9
All of these predictions were fulfilled exactly as stated in the Bible.
Hundreds of years before Christ came to earth both David and Isaiah predicted in specific detail the sufferings of Christ and the manner of his death. David, referring to and "speaking for" Jesus Christ, wrote in the Psalms, "They pierced my hands and my feet."10
This is precisely what happened when Jesus was crucified on a Roman cross.
Isaiah also predicted the fall of the then mighty Babylonian Empire, saying it would be conquered by the nation of Media. This happened in 539 B.C.11
Evidence from Israel. The nation of Israel is one of the clearest evidences for the validity of God's Word, the Bible. Its history is a continual story of biblical prophecy being fulfilled.
Some fifteen hundred years B.C., God said through Moses that Israel would turn from him [God] and be driven by enemies from their homeland. God said, "I will bring the land into desolation ... I will scatter you among the nations ... your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste."12
The result? In 721 B.C., the ten northern tribes of Israel were taken into captivity by Assyria and in 586 B.C. the two southern tribes were taken by Babylon. Seventy years later a small remnant of 40,000 Jews returned to Israel while the rest were scattered throughout the world. In A.D. 70 Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans, and the remnant of Israelites was dispersed among the nations. Israel then became desolate as predicted 1,600 years before.
God's word also stated that the nation of Israel would be restored, saying, "Neither will I destroy them utterly."13
"For I will take you from among the nations, and gather you out of all countries and will bring you into your own land."14
"I will restore the fortunes of my people Israel, and they shall rebuild the ruined cities and live in them again,"15
and the nation "will blossom as the rose."16
The people of Israel have survived heinous atrocities committed against them by the Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Greeks, the Romans, Hitler and others. And even today there are those who would like to "wipe Israel off the map." Their repeated survival against overwhelming odds and the rebuilding of their nation—which is still taking place at this time, twenty-five hundred years after God said that it would happen—is irrefutable evidence of the validity of the Bible.
In considering whether on not the Bible is the inspired Word of God we have considered the following evidences: Support from Jesus Christ; the Apostle Peters confirmation; evidence from fulfilled prophecy; and evidence from Israel. In conclusion let us discuss two more affirming evidences: The continuity of the Bible, and evidence from science and archaeology.
The continuity of the Bible is further confirmation of its authenticity. Through it was written over a period of fifteen hundred years by thirty-five to forty different writers with sixty-six different books, it has only one major theme—the salvation of lost mankind. This supports the claim that there is only one author—God.
Evidence from science and archaeology. While the Bible isn't intended as a scientific text book, scientific facts that have been in its pages for at least thirty-five hundred years have come to light only in recent times. For example, many of the statutes and regulations in the Old Testament were given for health and hygienic purposes—knowledge that was unknown to the ancient world.
As I've quoted before, in his book, None of These Diseases, Dr. S.I. McMillen wrote, "When God led the Israelites out of afflicted Egypt, he promised them that if they would obey his statutes, he would put 'none of these diseases' upon them [diseases from which Egypt and other nations were suffering]. God guaranteed a freedom from disease that modern medicine cannot duplicate."17
Dr. McMillen continues, "I am confident that the reader will be intrigued to discover that the Bible's directives can save him from certain infectious diseases, from many lethal cancers, and from a long gauntlet of psychosomatic diseases that are increasing in spite of modern medicine."18
In the final analysis, however, it is up to each individual as to whether or not he or she chooses to accept or reject the Bible as God's Word. For those who want to believe it is, there is more than sufficient evidence to support this belief.
Furthermore, all who have accepted the Bible as God's Word, and have responded to Jesus Christ's invitation to receive him as Lord and Savior and live according to biblical principles, have a deep assurance that the Bible is God's Word, that it is true, and that they have been given the gift of eternal life.19
The greatest quest of man over the ages has always been to know: "Where did I come from? Why am I here? And, where am I going?" Only God's Word, the Bible, can give him the answers to these questions.
1. 2 Timothy 3:16 (RSV). 2. Luke 24:44 (NIV). 3. Matthew 5:17-18 (NIV). 4. See 2 Peter 3:15-16. 5. Genesis 3:15 and 49:10. 6. 2 Samuel 7:12-16. 7. Micah 5:2. 8. Isaiah 7:14. 9. Daniel 9:25, 26. 10. Psalm 22:16 and Isaiah 53. 11. Isaiah 13:5-22 and The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, p. 621. 12. Leviticus 26:32-33. 13. Leviticus 26:44. 14. Ezekiel 36:24. 15. Amos 9:14 (TLB). 16. Isaiah 35:1. 17. McMillen, S.I., None of These Diseases (Westwood, New Jersey; Fleming H. Revell Company, 1963), p. 17. 18. Ibid, p. 18. 19. See John 17:17 and 1 John 5:13.