“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is
profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in
righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished to
all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16-17 AKJV).
The Bible has come under increasing attack from its enemies and pretended friends. Perhaps you've seen programs on the television which attempt to disprove the Bible and relegate it to myth. Perhaps you've heard a professed clergyman claim that the Bible is not the inspired, written Word of God and is outdated, etc. Perhaps you've heard a teacher in class degrading the Bible in front of their students and ridiculing those who read and believe it. Perhaps you've heard someone claim that the Bible is nothing more than hate literature and ought to be banned, or that it is one of the “literary greats. Perhaps you've been told that the Bible is full of errors and cannot be trusted.
I am here to tell you that the Bible IS the inspired, written Word of God and CAN be trusted! I'm here to tell you that it is more than just one of the “literary greats!” Of all the other writings claimed as scripture by the world's religions, the Bible alone stands unique. It is different from all the other religious works, having no equal.
The Bible is unique as to its continuity. It was written over a span of 1600 years, covering roughly 40 generations and had approximately 40 human authors from virtually every walk of life who wrote under divine inspiration and in complete unity with each other when they touched on the same subject matter.
Within the pages of the Bible there is harmony and continuity. For example, the paradise lost in Genesis becomes the paradise regained in the Book of Revelation. What Daniel sealed in his Book, John reveals in the Revelation. The tree of life is closed in Genesis, but is forever opened in the Book of Revelation. Each Book of the Bible comprises a unified whole and each Book is in perfect harmony with each other. Just imagine the confusion and disharmony you would come up with if you took ten authors, one from each walk of life, one generation, one place, one continent, language, etc., and had them write on just one controversial subject! You would have varying opinions and each writer would no doubt, contradict the other, but not so with the Bible, for each author wrote under the guidance of the Holy Ghost, who gave them what to write! The word “inspiration” in our opening text is translated from the Greek word theopneustos and literally means “God-breathed” thus we can rightly refer to the Bible as the God-breathed Book. God had a direct hand in what was to be written and saw to it that His written Word was protected and not corrupted during its transmission. It correctly reflects the mind of God on diverse subjects and is a reliable guide for us to follow.
The Bible is unique in its survival. It has been
viciously attacked, banned, burned, desecrated, etc., yet it survives. It was
written on highly perishable materials, yet ancient copies survive to this day,
either whole or in part. God declared that His Word would endure forever (1
Peter 1:25). It has survived the efforts of its enemies to destroy it and
discredit it and has proven true historically and where it touches on
scientific matters, it has proven true. It has been copied and recopied by hand
for hundreds of years and the copies remain faithful to the originals. Its
style, correctness, and existence did not diminish one iota, and compared with
other ancient writings, the manuscript evidence for the Bible is far greater
than any ten pieces of classical literature combined! The manuscript evidence
is sufficient to ensure that we are reading the words of the original writings.
As I mentioned previously, there have been many attempts to burn the Bible, ban it, outlaw it, etc., by its enemies, many of whom have pretended to be its friend. From the days of the Roman Emperors to the present day Communist-ruled countries, there have been efforts to wipe the Bible out of existence. For example, in 303 A.D., the Roman Emperor Diocletian issued an edict to stop Christians from worshiping, and to destroy the scriptures. But 25 years later, the Emperor Constantine called for 50 copies of the Bible to be printed at government expense! The famous French atheist Voltaire who died in 1778, predicted that Christianity would be swept from existence and pass into history within 100 years of his time, but 50 years after his death, the Geneva Bible Society used both his house and printing press to produce stacks of Bibles! Voltaire was wrong, and God was right!
The Bible has survived the criticism of infidels who for 1800 years have been trying to refute and overthrow it, yet it stands today solid as a rock and unscathed. Its circulation increases, and it is more loved, cherished, and read today than ever before! H.L. Hastings once commented that "Infidels, with all their assault make about as much impression on this book as a man with a tack hammer on the pyramids of Egypt." I am certianly not phased by, nor impressed with the fraudulent claims of the critics/enemies of the Bible! They impress me about as much as a pimple on the tip of my nose! Bernard Ramm has said, "What book on philosophy or religion or psychology ...has been subject to such a mass attack as the Bible? With such venom and skepticism? With such thoroughness and erudition? Upon every chapter, line, and tenet? And yet, the Bible is still loved by millions, read by millions, and studied by millions."
The Bible is unique as to its teaching. In the first place, it is a Book of prophecy. Wilbur Smith once said, “It is the only volume ever produced in which is to be found a large body of prophecies relating to individual nations (more than ten in Isaiah alone), Israel, all the peoples of the earth, certain cities, the coming Messiah and His kingdom.” No other religious book provides so many explicit prophecies so distant in the future which came to pass! Bible prophecy has proven to be so accurate that its enemies have tried to discredit the Bible by falsely claiming the prophecies were written AFTER the events took place. Cyrus the Mede was mentioned by name in prophecy as the one who would overthrow ancient Babylon and effect the release of the captive Jews well over 150 years before he was born (Isaiah 44:26-45:7). Jeremiah also prophesied the fall of Babylon, and in this prophetic utterance, he mentioned a unique detail that play a key roll in Babylon's destruction: “A drought is on her waters; and they shall be dried up: for it is the land of graven images, and they are mad on their idols” (Jeremiah 50:38). He also prophesied that “The mighty men of Babylon have declined to fight, they have remained in their holds: their might has failed; they became as women: they have burned her dwelling places; her bars are broken” (Jeremiah 51:30). The Greek historian Herodotus records that Cyrus placed a portion of his army at the point where the Euphrates river enters the city, and another body of soldiers at the back of the place where the river issues forth, with orders to march into the stream as soon as the water became shallow enough. He diverted that waters of the river into trenches, thus lowering the river to the point that it was only about thigh deep, enabling his forces to enter the city through a channel. Now, what about the part of the prophecy recorded in Jeremiah 51:30? Well, the Greek historians Herodotus and Xenophon, as well as the Bible itself record that the Babylonians were actually feasting when Cyrus' forces entered the city and attacked and did not put up much of a fight. They were drunken and caught off guard. The Nabonidus Chronicle, which is an official cuneiform inscription records that Cyrus' forces entered the city “without battle” in fulfillment of Jeremiah 51:30.
The historicity of the Bible has been called into question
by its enemies, but they have largely been silenced as archeology has proven
the historic accuracy of the Bible. In fact, William Foxwell Albright stated, “There
has been a general return to appreciation of the accuracy, both in general
sweep, and in factual detail, of the religious history of Israel...To sum up,
we can now again treat the Bible from beginning to end as an authentic document
of religious history” (History, Archaeology, and Christian Humanism, by
William Foxwell Albright, 1964, pp. 294-296). Archaeologist Nelson Glueck once
commented, “...in all of my archaeological investigation, I have never found
one artifact of antiquity that contradicts any statement of the Word of God.”
Yes, the Bible IS a reliable historical record.
The Bible is unique in how it deals with personalities. It deals in a very frank manner with the sins of its characters. For example, it shows Adam and Eve putting off responsibility on to others. It records Noah's sin of drunkenness. It records Abraham's cowardice and lying to save his own life. It records Moses own disobedience to God. It records David's lying, murder, and adultery. It records Peter's denial of the Lord, and causing division in the young Church through his hypocrisy. It records the problems that plagued early local churches such as division, arrogance, and materialism. The Bible does not mince words and tells it like it is. It does not attempt to white-wash the faults and sins of its characters, but lays them out in the open.