When I was a kid we went to church a few times. I marveled at the person in front with the black book. It baffled me why he did not read a more interesting (to me at that time) book about cowboys or shining knights in armor. Years later at the age of 31, I did meet the Man the Bible is about – Jesus. Today, many, many years later I cannot understand how a person could be interested in cowboy stories or knights in armor compared to the most precious book of all times, the Bible. What follows is part of what I learned through the years, going from zero knowledge about the Bible to 100% confidence in it.
Books, books, all over
History has yielded an impressive amount of books. Name almost any subject, and there will be books about it. In the remote past, people had to rely on their memories and later they developed writing. It grew from primitive writing on clay tablets, to papyrus and vellum, to the vast output of books by modern printing presses. With the e-book and other means, even more books are written.
Books range in content from fairy tales to fiction, biographies, romantic stories, science, history, medical science, psychology, paleontology, science fiction, et cetera. Then there are also religious books like the Koran, Vedas, Upanishads, et cetera.
We can put the millions of books written in the course of history, in categories. However, there is one book that is in a category all of its own. There is no other book like it and no book will ever be written like it. It is the Bible, also known as the Holy Scriptures or the Word of God. It is a unique book.
How the Bible and ‘normal’ books differ
# The Bible is an Old Book.
The first five books of the Bible, from Genesis to Deuteronomy, called the Pentateuch, written down by Moses, have a date of about 1,400 BC. It is necessary to understand that,
- The dates are not precise, which should be understandable.
- Every aspect of the Bible, doesn’t matter from where, will be disputed by some unbeliever or even some ‘theologians.’ That is a trap one can easily fall into. I came to the conclusion that it was not worth it to spend hours, days or even weeks to try to discover who wrote which book when? The easiest way to handle it is to reject all the endless speculation and accept the Bible is Holy Spirit inspired,
‘All Scripture is God-breathed….’ 2 Timothy 3:16
The last book of the Bible is Revelation written down by John. Again, there are a variety of differences, from 70-100 AD.
A period of about 1,500 years separates the writing of the first book, Genesis, from the last, Revelation. To help us understand it better, let’s say Genesis was written in 500 AD. Then Revelation would be finished in 2,000 AD. Think about the changes that occurred during those ages. World powers came and went. There were social changes, different fashions, great advancements in industry and science, et cetera. Yet the theme of the Bible is constant: the Kingdom of God and the role of His Son, Jesus, in it. This is a miracle in itself and a testimony to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
# The Bible’s real Author
While all other books have human authors, this book claims to come from an Extra Terrestrial Highly Intelligent Being called God. The Holy Spirit inspired the different writers like Moses, David, Jeremiah, Matthew, Paul, et cetera to pen down what God wanted to reveal to us about the Triune God and their plans with the creation of the universe.
The ‘writers’ of this best selling book all came from a small country, Israel, with a relatively small population. They were not from the mighty Roman Empire or other world powers like the Greeks or even the Aztecs. No, from the small country, Israel, came the most important book of all time.
God is the real Author,
- ‘You [God] spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David….’ Acts 4:25 – referring to Psalm 2:1,2.
- “For to which of the angels did God ever say, ‘I will be His Father, and He will be my Son.”’ Hebrews 1:5, referring to 2 Samuel 7:14.
Although God is the real Author, we use the names of the human writers for practical reasons. It would be difficult and time consuming to refer to a passage in book 29, chapter 31, line 29. It is much easier to say, Jeremiah 31:29. The chapter and verse numbers were added later to make it easier to study and write about the Bible.
# The Bible is a Single edition Book.
The Bible is different and unique because the message has never been updated or revised. From the original Hebrew and Greek it has been translated into many different languages.
Doesn’t such and old book need updating? After all, we now live in Post Modern times and the Bible is the product of the Prescientific Age. Nevertheless no updates have so far been received from the Author. Why? Two reasons:
‘All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field. The grass withers and the flowers fall, because the breath of the Lord blows on them. Surely the people are grass. The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands for ever.’ Isaiah 40:6-8
Second: All people will be judged by the standards of the Bible. Therefore it is fixed and final.
# The Bible forms part of the Biblical Canon.
The 66 books of the Bible were written at different times, but they were formally accepted around 367 AD when Athanasius mentioned that they formed the Canon of the Bible.
# Criticism against the Bible
The Bible is probably the only book that is systematically criticized on every important aspect in it – on God the Creator, God the Savior, God the Judge, God’s brilliant plan, the Divine nature of the Bible, the inspiration of the Bible, the flood of Noah, the young age of the earth and universe, the creation of the universe. There are hardly any aspects of the Bible that are not hotly disputed, discussed, denied and argued about. The Bible is always, but always controversial. It has been under threat of destruction almost from the beginning whether as the complete 66 books or individual books. Somewhere, somehow somebody has a gripe about it. That is strange because no one is compelled to accept it. It is a ‘take it or leave it’ book. All the Bible does is to warn against those who reject it. They do it at the risk of an eternity of loss.
Please take note!
We write about our personal journey with the Bible. Because of how I grew up, I was very dubious and distrustful of this ‘Word of God.’ In time the Holy Spirit answered all my questions and doubts about the Bible. The Bible is the Word of God, flawless, the truth and absolutely wonderful because,
‘God is not a man, that He should lie, nor the son of man that He should change His mind. Does He speak and then not act? Does He promise and not fulfill?’ Numbers 23:19