Confidence in the Bible, Part 1

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

What is wrong with the Bible?

The clamor about how wrong the Bible is, never stops.  It will only stop when the devil is permanently removed, 

‘Then the devil, who deceived them [the nations] was thrown into the lake of burning sulphur where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown.  They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.’  Revelation 20:10

What do the critics have to say about the Bible?  Lots and lots.  One wonders why the Bible hinders them since they do not believe it.  Those who believe the Bible are not a threat to either society or their specific nation.  Yet God’s enemies never sleep. 

There is, however, one ‘hostile witness’ to the truth of the Bible.  Satan who was in God’s service became a rebel.  He set up his own kingdom from where he influences people to resist, smear and spread fake news about the Bible.  The Bible reveals how the devil deceived Eve with one question, 

‘Did God really say?’  Genesis 3:1

This specific question is the devil’s standard ‘weapon’ against the Bible, God’s Word.   

He teaches his followers to ask questions like, 

  • Is Jesus really God?
  • Will there really be a New Jerusalem of that size?
  • Is there really life after death?
  • Are the 66 books of the Bible really God’s Word?

The answer in all cases is the affirmative.  How do we know the Bible is true?  If the Bible was not the truth, there would be no reason for the devil to attack and insult it.  Then the Bible is just a book with no specific relevance.  Yet history records attacks on the Bible through the ages. 

What is wrong with the Bible?

The Bible is not a book that promotes terrorism, coups against governments, lawlessness against the state and fellow citizens.  It does not promote murder, rape, theft, corruption, et cetera.  Yet the attitude of a part of society is very obvious, or subtle.  It says: stay away from the Bible because it is a dangerous, a  very very dangerous book with a horrible message and content. 

The Bible is a free choice book: believe or leave!  Nobody is forced to believe it.  Yet the war against it never stops.  Think of our modern world.  There are many non-believers, skeptics, atheists and others who attack the Bible.  China persecutes Christians and does its best to get rid of the Bible and replace it with their own version.  In many other countries, through the ages, the Bible was burned, banned and brandished as evil.  Yet it has no violent message (unless you distort Scripture as so many enemies of God like to do).  In spite of all that the Bible does not flinch.  It is written, 

‘The Word of the Lord stands forever.’  1 Peter 1:26

Why believe the Bible critics?

Many voices in our time call for the rejection of the Bible.  They maintain that it is only a human document.  Are these critics of the Bible qualified to give an opinion?  Let’s see what a qualified Bible theologian says.

#  The opinion of a Bible expert

Dick Wilson was one of the older generation theologians who still loved the Lord.  He was at home in some 45 languages and dialects to prove the accuracy of the Old Testament. 1  He said:

  • ‘…I contend that our text of the Old Testament is presumptively correct, that its meaning is on the whole clear and trustworthy, and that we can as theists [people who believe in one God] and Christians conscientiously and reasonably believe that the Old Testament as we have it is what it purports to be and what Christ and the apostles thought it to be, and what all churches have always declared it to be — the Word of God and the infallible rule of faith and practice.’ 2
  • ‘…we are scientifically certain that we have substantially the same text that was in the possession of Christ and the apostles and, so far as anybody knows, the same as that written by the original composers of the Old Testament documents.’ 3
  • ‘In conclusion, let me reiterate my conviction that no-one knows enough that the true text of the Old Testament in its true interpretation is not true.’ 4 

# The Old and New Testaments are a unit

Dick Wilson concentrated mainly on the Old Testament.  Yet the Old and the New Testaments form a unit.  The following quotes demonstrate it.

  • Acts 4:25, ‘You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David…..’
  • For to which of the angels did God ever say, ‘You are my Son, today I have become your Father?’”  This quote in Hebrews 1:5 comes from Psalm 2:7.
  • Romans 9:17a:  ‘For the Scripture says to Pharaoh….’  It comes from Exodus 9:12-16 where God told Moses to go to Pharaoh with His message.
  • Don’t you know what the Scripture says in the passage about Elijah….’ Romans 11:2-3 refers to 1 Kings 19:10,14.

In the examples we see how the Old and New Testaments are connected.

Conclusion

Whatever the critics claim, it is way more advantageous to trust the Lord and study Scripture with the help of the Holy Spirit.  There are too many voices that want to lead us astray and destroy our future hope:  ‘…Now the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live with them.  They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God.’ 5

References

  1. D Wilson,  A Scientific Investigation of the Old Testament, Moody Press, 1959, p 22
  2. Ibid  p 9  
  3. Ibid  p 10
  4. Ibid  p 13
  5. Revelation 21:3
%d bloggers like this: