Because of the absolutely fundamental nature and obvious significance of this first question in the "Max Says" feature of the DCBTM, Inc. website, we have chosen to answer it in considerable detail…

CAN I EVER REALLY BE SURE THE BIBLE IS THE WORD OF GOD?

Often people bring the Bible to the bar of human reason and then reject it because God's thoughts do not coincide with their own. God's Word speaks humankind's personal sin and need for a Savior. It identifies Jesus Christ as the ONLY Savior and Way to God. It sets forth a high and holy standard of living required by God. All this flies in the face of human thinking and opinion. It is not well received. Indeed, as a result, no other book in the entire world has been attacked so bitterly and so persistently as the Word of God.

The human heart holds a curious prejudice against the Bible. Scientists' statements are seldom questioned; the records of historians like Josephus (Jewish historian of first century and considered an authority on Hebrew history) or Herodotus (an ancient Greek historian, known as the Father of History) are taken at face value. But if their remarks happen to contradict the Bible, so much the worse for the Bible. This prejudice is all the more remarkable when we remember that human opinions vary greatly, often change, and are frequently based on incomplete knowledge. And so the question persists, "Can one ever really be sure the Bible is the Word of God?" Is there any objective evidence indicating that it is?

While the truthfulness of God's Word cannot be proved by mere argument; nevertheless, there are valid evidences for the Bible's inspiration and authenticity. Taken separately none of these evidences proves the Bible to be God's Word, a Book like no other; however, collectively they build an impressive case for its trustworthiness.

Biblical Christianity is not built upon absurd reasoning or subjective religious experience; rather it is rooted in verifiable, historical fact. Faith is believing what upon excellent testimony appears to be true. The Bible is the Word of God. Consider these seven reasons for accepting it as such.

  1. THE BIBLE CLAIMS TO BE THE WORD OF GOD - It is significant that the Bible itself claims to be the Word of God, for then when an individual says that the Bible is the Word of God, he is not claiming more than the Bible claims for itself. More than 3000 times, in both the Old and New Testaments, the Bible says it is the Word of God.

    1. The Old Testament Claim - The Old Testament writers claimed to be writing the very Word of God. Expressions such as "God said," "The Lord spake saying," "The Lord commanded," and "The Word of the Lord" occur nearly 700 times in the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Old Testament) and more than 2600 times throughout the entire Old Testament. See 2Sam23:2-5; Joshua 1:1-19; Jeremiah 1:1-10.

      Speaking primarily of the Old Testament, 2 Timothy 3:16 declares, "All Scriptures is given by inspiration (meaning literally "God breathed") of God." "Hebrews 1:1 states, "God...spake in time past unto the fathers by he prophets." Second Peter 1:21 affirms that in the Old Testament, "...holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost."


    2. The New Testament Claim - Many New Testament writings are letters. These naturally lack the Old Testament prophet's "Thus saith the Lord," yet it is evident that the writers knew their work was inspired.

      Paul called his own words "commandments of the Lord" (1Cor14:37), and thanked God that his hearers received the word from him, "...not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God" (1Thess2:13). Peter included himself and his fellow servants of Christ on the same level as Old Testament prophets (2Pet3:2), and included Paul's epistles (letters) with "the other Scriptures" (2Pet3:16). John claimed to write what was given him by God (Rev1:1).

      The Bible is what it claims to be or else it is a book written by a most consistent group of liars. If, as some claim, the Bible is only great literature, it lies more than 3,000 times. Would such a book really be "great"?

      As we will see momentarily, the Bible's truthfulness can be demonstrated through archaeology, history, scientific accuracy, and fulfilled prophecy. All these evidences encourage us to believe it speaks the truth when it claims to be God's Word.


  2. THE BIBLE CANNOT BE DESTROYED - The Bible is unique because of its age. Rarely are books known or reprinted 25 years after their original publication. Indeed, approximately eighty percent of all books published are forgotten after the first year; only one half of one percent are in demand seven years after publication. However, parts of the Old Testament were written over 2500 years ago, and the New Testament, over 1900 years ago. How do you explain that?

    Throughout history the Bible's enemies have been aggressively hostile. Unbelievers have been attacking the Bible for 1800 years, and yet it stands today solid as a rock. It's circulation increases; it is more loved and cherished and read today than ever before. Emperors and popes, kings and priests, princes and rulers have all tried their hand at outlawing and destroying the Bible; they die and the Book lives on!

    The treat of opposition to the Bible can be traced from early times to the present. Today opposition comes from sources such as Communism, present-day thinkers who demand that Biblical absolutes and standards be thrown out, and critics who claim the Bible is full of errors and contradictions. How long could a school textbook survive such a concerted attack to undermine its credibility, to destroy it? Nevertheless, the Bible remains the world's best selling book year after year. Millions of copies are published and sold annually. Throughout the entire 20th Century the Bible outsold it's nearest competitor by 1 billion, 200 million books! Incredible, no other book was even close. At least part of the Bible has been translated into over 2197 of the 2796 languages of the world. How do you explain that?

    One additional note, the eighteenth century French philosopher Voltaire dared to predict the Bible would be a forgotten book found only in museums by the nineteenth century. Ironically, however, within 25 years of Voltaire's death, the Geneva Bible Society was using his home and his printing presses to public the Word of God. The Bible cannot be destroyed. Doesn't this suggest it deserves our special attention? But there is more.


  3. THE BIBLE IS A UNIFIED WHOLE - One basic unifying theme runs throughout the Bible---Jesus Christ. The Old Testament looked forward to His coming; the Gospels record His birth and life; the rest of the New Testament explains the significance of His life, death, resurrection, and return.

    The Bible's unity is also illustrated by its single moral standard. For example, adultery was condemned by Moses in the Old Testament (Ex20:14) as well as by Jesus in the New Testament (Matt5:27-32).

    The Bible's unity becomes even more impressive when we consider it was written by nearly 40 different men of varied backgrounds (including shepherds, fishermen, prophets, kinds, soldiers, scholars, professional men, and common laborers) representing thirteen countries and three continents. David and Solomon were kings, Jeremiah and Ezekiel were priests, Moses and Amos were shepherds, Paul was a theologian, Matthew was a tax collector, and Peter and John were fishermen. Collectively they wrote over a period of 1600 years and utilized at least three different languages (Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek). That such a culturally, geographically, educationally diversified group over a period of 1600 years could maintain the same theme and moral standard with no contradiction while dealing with many controversial subjects (morals, ethics, child training, family roles, etc.) can be explained only in terms of God---the true Author of the Bible.


  4. THE BIBLE IS CONTINUALLY VERIFIED BY ARCHAEOLOGY - Archaeology has proved the accuracy of many of the Bible's historical statements. Consider the case of Belshazzar in Daniel 5. The Bible's claim that Belshazzar was the king killed that fateful night---when God's hand wrote on the wall and Babylon was captured by the Medes and Persians---was long considered an error. Secular history recorded Nabonidus as the last king of Babylon, never mentioning Belshazzar. But in 1853 the Biblical account was verified. Archeologists discovered a cylinder, which showed there were actually two kings of Babylon, a father and a son. Belshazzar had been made co-ruler by his father Nabonidus. On the night of the invasion, Nabonidus was at this oasis retreat in Arabia; Belshazzar was captured and killed.

    Additionally, the fact that father and son reigned as co-regents helps to explain Daniel 5:7 and 29 where Daniel was made "third ruler" in the kingdom.

    Famed Jewish archaeologist Nelson Glueck in his book, Rivers in the Desert, observes that no archaeological discovery has ever contradicted the Bible.


  5. THE BIBLE IS SCIENTIFICALLY ACCURATE - The Bible, though not a textbook on science, is nonetheless accurate in its scientific detail. For example, in Isaiah 40:22 the Bible refers to the earth as being a circle or, literally, a sphere (see also Prov8:27, NAS). In Luke 17:34-36 Jesus implied the earth was not flat when He noted that at His return some people would be sleeping (nighttime), some would be grinding grain (early morning), and some would be working in the field (daytime). This could be possible only in the earth were round. Yet as late as 1492 Columbus was advised against seeking new sailing routes lest he fall from the edge of the earth.

    Leviticus 17:11-14 states, "The life of the flesh is in the blood." Today we know that blood is essential and indispensable to the body. Yet in 1799 doctors followed the accepted medical practices of the times and used leeches to bleed George Washington in an attempt to cure a virus. He died. The Bible had contained the correct information all the time!

    The Bible contains scores of now-known scientific facts written long before men recognized them in nature.


  6. THE BIBLE SUCCESSFULLY PREDICTS THE FUTURE - The Bible's hundreds of predictions concerning places, people, and events are so detailed and definite no individual could have guessed or even anticipated how they would happen. Some predictions have even been fulfilled by men who were ignorant of them (e.g., Isa44:28-45:4; compare Psalm 22:16 with Luke 23:33). While many still await fulfillment, each prediction that has been fulfilled has come true exactly as the Bible said it would. Modern-day "prophets" cannot make such a claim; they are often mistaken.

    For examples of fulfilled Bible prophesy, look at the facts surrounding the life of Christ. More than 300 prophecies concerning this one event were made in the Old Testament and fulfilled in the New Testament. 29 specific detailed predictions involving the events of the 24 hours surrounding Jesus' death all came true to the letter. Note the following predictions with their corresponding fulfillments: Bethlehem would be Christ's birthplace (Mic5:2; Matt2:6); He would be betrayed by a friend (Ps41:9; Matt26:47-50); thirty pieces of silver would be involved (Zech11:12-13; Matt26:14-15); no bones in His body would be broken at the crucifixion (Ps22:17; Jn19:331-36; Ps22:16; Luke213:33); He would rise from the dead (Ps16:9-10; Acts2:27-31) Each prediction came true to the smallest detail! How do you explain that except in terms of God?


  7. THE BIBLE INFLUENCES THE WORLD AS NO OTHER BOOK - The Bible has inspired some of the world's greatest art, literature, music, and architecture. Consider Leonardo da Vinci's "The Last Supper," Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, Handel's "Messiah," and Michelangelo's St. Peter's Cathedral in Rome.

    The Bible also had profound influence on law. The laws upon which the United States was founded can be traced back through the English Common Law, the Magna Carta, and the Twelve Tables of Rome to the Mosaic Law as set forth in Exodus, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy.

    True social reform has always followed proper understanding and genuine acceptance of Biblical principles. Pagan practices such as cannibalism and human sacrifices cannot and do not coexist with Biblical standards. High regard for women and their role as individuals find their origins in the Bible (Gal 3:28; Eph 5:25-33). The Bible has also provided inspiration for such humanitarian efforts as the founding of schools, hospitals, and orphanages.

    The Bible's greatest influence, however, has been upon the world's spiritual life. Only the Bible points out man's sinfulness and sets before him God's standards of purity and holiness. Only the Bible reveals how men can be changed by Jesus Christ (2Cor5:17). Only the Bible provides meaning and direction for life.


  8. CONCLUSION

    In light of the evidence, we must conclude the Bible is something special. The "specialness" demands our careful attention and consideration. To ignore the Book with such an incredible record is utter foolishness! When it says the only way to know God is through Jesus Christ (Jn 14:6), we had best believe it. When it says all things work together for good (to make us like Jesus Christ) for them that love God (Rom8:28-29), we ought to take it at face value. Because it says we reap what we sow (Gal 6:7-8), we should evaluate our living patterns accordingly.

    The Bible is the most remarkable book in the work, truly the living Word of God. It deserves our earnest, lifelong consideration and application!

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