|Vol. 15 No. 3 March 2013||
Before we start to study the Bible, we need to recognize that it is God’s Word. Such recognition will help us to study with a more serious attitude.
The Bible Claims to be Inspired
The Bible lays claim to inspiration. Paul told Timothy, “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 complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Paul used the Greek word theopneustos in the place where we find “inspiration.” Theo means “God” and pneustos means “breathed,” thus, God breathed, or God breathed out. The idea is that God spoke, since we exhale or breathe out through the vocal cords to speak.
Peter explained inspiration when he wrote, “For prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21). The writer of Hebrews must have recognized this as he often penned God said a certain thing, when we know man did the actual writing (see Hebrews 1:5, 8; 5:5-6).
Many Old Testament writers claimed inspiration, as did some New Testament writers (see Isaiah 1:1-2, 10, 24; Jeremiah 1:1-2; 2:1; Ezekiel 1:1-3; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Peter 3:2). Jesus considered Old Testament Scriptures inspired and used them as authoritative (Matthew 4:4, 7, 10). His whole purpose in coming to earth was to do God’s will by fulfilling Old Testament prophecy (Matthew 5:7-18; John 15:25). The New Testament writers considered Old Testament writers inspired (Acts 1:15-16; 4:25; 28:25-27; Galatians 3:16-19).
The writers of the New Testament also claimed inspiration for other New Testament writers. Jesus said the apostles would be guided by the Holy Spirit (John 14:25-26; 16:12-13; Hebrews 2:1-4). The clearest and perhaps most intriguing of all these statements is that made by Peter about the writings of Paul. “And consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation – as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures” (2 Peter 3:15-16).
Scientific Foreknowledge Proves the Bible Is from God
However, such internal claims would be meaningless if they were not supported by evidence. In fact, such claims force us to test their validity. We can know the Bible is from God because of the scientific facts that were written in it long before man recognized them or knew about them. In Genesis 1:11-12, 21, 24-25, we find the expression “after his kind” in reference to the grasses, trees, fish, birds, cattle and other beasts. These statements are made despite the fact that man, even hundreds of years later, believed in spontaneous generation. Only recently some doctors think they have found certain special elements in the blood of a boy baby eight days old which help to heal. Yet, Moses, thousands of years ago, wrote by inspiration that boy babies were to be circumcised the eighth day (Leviticus 12:3).
Long before modern medicine thought of putting people with highly contagious diseases in isolation, God’s Word, in Leviticus 13:45, instructed the children of Israel to do just that with lepers. “Now the leper on whom the sore is, his clothes shall be torn and his head bare; and he shall cover his mustache, and cry, ‘Unclean! Unclean!’” In George Washington’s time, doctors believed “bleeding” a patient would rid the body of impurities. Now, doctors realize that the blood is the life of the body, just as Moses wrote in the long ago (Genesis 9:4; Leviticus 17:11, 14).
Thompson and Jackson note that the Mississippi River dumps over 6 million gallons of water per second into the Gulf of Mexico (A Study Course in Christian Evidences. Montgomery: Apologetics Press, 1992). One might ask, “Where does it all go and why is the land not flooded?” The answer was revealed by God through Solomon. “All the rivers run into the sea, Yet the sea is not full; To the place from which the rivers come, There they return again” (Ecclesiastes 1:7). In 11:3a, He fleshed out the explanation by saying, “If the clouds are full of rain, They empty themselves upon the earth.” Amos concurs with Solomon when he described God by writing, “Who calls for the waters of the sea, And pours them out on the face of the earth, The Lord is His name” (Amos 9:6b).
Specific Prophecies Fulfilled Prove the Bible Is from God
Specific prophecies about an event hundreds of years in the future could only come true if they were inspired of God. The Bible has many examples of such specific prophecy that was fulfilled. Just in the case of Christ, we find prophecies made from 400 to 700 years before the event which are true in details that could not have been guessed. The place of His birth and fact that His mother would be a virgin are found in Micah 5:2 and Isaiah 7:14. Matthew tells us He was born of a virgin in Bethlehem (Matthew 1:20-2:1). His triumphant entry into Jerusalem is foretold in Zechariah 9:9 and fulfilled in Matthew 21:1-5.
Miracles Prove the Bible Is from God
The miracles worked in the Bible prove the spokesmen who worked them were from God. God gave Moses certain miraculous signs to use in proving to the Israelites that he was from God (Exodus 4:1-5). The miracles worked in bringing the ten plagues upon the land of Egypt were done to prove there was one God in the world and He was with Moses and the people (Exodus 7:5, 17; 8:10, 22; 9:14, 29; 10:2; 11:7; 13:3; 14:14). Christ was raised from the dead to prove He was God’s spokesman (Romans 1:4). That the apostles were speaking by God’s direction is clear because of the signs they were able to work (Mark 16:14-20; Hebrews 2:3-4).
Geography Proves the Bible Is from God
The Bible is also geographically correct. When it says someone or a group went up, the reader can be sure they went from a lower elevation to a higher elevation. For instance, in the Parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus said, “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead” (Luke 10:30). A simple glance at a topographical map is very revealing. Jerusalem is in a mountainous area, with the Mt. of Olives being 2,680 feet high. In contrast, Jericho is near the mouth to the Dead Sea. It is actually below sea level, at approximately -500 feet. So, one truly would go “down” from Jerusalem to Jericho!
Other areas of proof could be explored, such as: the historical accuracy of the Bible; the unity of 66 books written by about 40 writers in different languages, over 1,600 years and the greatness of the message. However, I believe we can already see that the Bible claims to be “God-breathed” and there are undeniable proofs that it is.