Bible Part 1 -
Is The Bible?
As we begin to
explore the subject of the Bible there
are a few introductory matters that need
to be considered regarding the makeup and
purpose of this sacred Book.
Bible Means Book
Our English word Bible means book. It is
derived from the Latin word biblia
and the Greek biblos. From the
second century A.D. the Christian church
has used the term Bible to refer
to the sixty-six books that they hold to
be sacred Scripture. Consequently the
Bible has been called the Divine Library.
The Bible is made up of two testaments,
the Old and the New. There are
thirty-nine books in the Old Testament
and twenty-seven in the New Testament.
The Old Testament was composed from about
1400 to 400 B.C., while the New Testament
was written from approximately A.D. 40 to
A.D. 80. From a human standpoint the
Bible was written by about forty
different authors. Though made up of
sixty-six separate books the Bible is, in
actuality, one book.
The Bible claims to be the Word of God,
that is, His communication to humanity.
Over three thousand times in the Old
Testament alone we find such phrases as,
Thus says the Lord, or God said. In
addition, Scripture claims to be God's
only revelation to humanity. The Bible is
the only sacred book where the One
True God has revealed Himself.
Answers To Life's Questions
For centuries people have turned to the
Bible for the answers to the basic
questions of life: Where did we come
from? Why are we here on Planet Earth?
What will happen to us when we die? The
Bible records the history of the world
from its beginning until the time when
God creates a new heaven and new earth.
Scripture explains that a personal
infinite God originally created a perfect
world and how sin entered and spoiled its
The Nature Of God
The Bible also tells us about the
character of God. Within its pages we
find God who created the entire
universeand created humankind in
His image. The Bible tells us what God is
like and what He expects from us.
Purpose For History
The Bible also gives a purpose for
history. History is not merely a series
of unrelated events, as the Bible records
it; history has meaning. The Bible shows
a progression to an end, and promises
that the world in which we live, with all
its corruption, will one day be made into
a new world without sin.
Basis For Science
Though this may surprise some, the Bible
served as a basis for modern scientific
pursuits. Modern science was born in the
seventeenth century because of a belief
in an unchanging God of order, purpose
and consistencythe God portrayed in
A Standard Of Right And Wrong
Our modern concepts of law and order are
also based on the Bible. The Bible says
that God has set standards of right and
wrong behavior. Many of our current laws
are based upon biblical morality.
Daily Needs Of Believers
Millions of Christians have depended on
the Bible's promises that God would meet
their daily needs. The Apostle Paul
And my God
shall supply all your needs according
to His riches in glory by Christ
Jesus (Philippians 4:19).
The Book of Hebrews assures the believer:
For He Himself
has said, I will never leave you nor
forsake you (Hebrews 13:5).
Thus the Bible is not just a building
block of our society, it is a practical
help to countless individuals.
Written To Create Belief In God
The Bible was written for the purpose of
creating belief in God. The Apostle John
Jesus did many other signs in the
presence of His disciples, which are
not written in this book; but these
are written that you may believe that
Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God,
and that believing you may have life
in His name (John 20:30,31).
John informs us that his book was
composed for the purpose of creating
belief in God through the person Jesus
True But Not Exhaustive
Yet the Bible never claims to be
exhaustive. The Apostle John told his
readers that he did not record all the
acts of Jesus that he witnessed.
And there are
also many other things that Jesus
did, which if they were written one
by one, I suppose that even the world
itself could not contain the books
that would be written (John 21:25).
The Bible does not promise to tell us
everything we want to know, just
everything we need to know. It is
a sufficient revelation from God. The
Bible is the record of God acting in
history. It tells us enough that we need
to know concerning God, ourselves, and
how we can enter into an eternal
relationship with God. But it does not
reveal to us every mystery of His
kingdom, or recall every detail of the
events therein, nor does it prophesy
every future event.
Summary On The Nature Of The Bible
The Bible, though consisting of sixty-six
books, is actually one book. It claims to
be God's Word to humanity. The Bible
offers answers to life's basic questions.
These include the existence and nature of
God, the identity and purpose of man, the
meaning of history, and scientific
questions about the nature of the
universe. The Bible also provides a basis
of right and wrong as well as a practical
guide for daily needs.
Important To Consider The Claims
Whether or not we accept its claims, we
must recognize its importance. Throughout
the centuries, the Bible has wielded
great influence. We could reasonably call
it the most important book in the world.
It is of the utmost importance,
therefore, that we understand its makeup,
contents and claims.
Are The Contents Of The Bible?
The Bible is a
record of the beginning of the creation
of the present heavens and earth until
the future when God creates a new heaven
and new earth. We can simply state its
contents as follows:
The Book of Genesis explains that God
created the world perfect and created man
and woman perfect. He placed them in a
perfect environmentthe Garden of
Eden. However the first couple chose to
rebel against God and bring sin into the
world (Genesis 3). This caused a
separation between God and His creation.
Genesis then speaks of God's promise to
reconcile Himself with His fallen
creation. Genesis also tells us of a
Flood that God sent to the world as well
as the beginning of the nation Israel.
The history of Israel is recorded in the
books of Exodus through Esther. This
brings us up to the four hundred silent
yearsfrom the end of the Old
Testament until the time of Christ. The
rest of the Old Testament can be divided
up into the poetical books (Job through
Song of Solomon) and the prophetical
books (Isaiah to Malachi). The prophetic
books contain God's promises to the
nation Israel concerning their present
state as well as their ultimate destiny.
The New Testament begins with the four
gospelseach of which presents the
life of the Lord Jesus from a different
perspective. They record His public
ministry, death, and resurrection.
The Book of Acts chronicles the beginning
of the churchfrom its birth on the
Day of Pentecost until the Apostle Paul
Romans To Jude
From Romans to Jude we have writings to
both churches and individual concerning
the truth of the Christian faith.
Finally, we have the Book of Revelation
which speaks of God's dealings in the
future. It records Christ coming back to
this earth to set up His kingdom. The
paradise that was lost in the Garden of
Eden will be restored when Christ
All About Jesus
The entire Scripture, from Genesis to
Revelation, is ultimately about Jesus
Christ. He said to the religious leaders
of His day.
You search the
scriptures because you think that in
them you have eternal life; and it is
they that testify on my behalf. If
you believed Moses, you would believe
me, for he wrote about me. (John
The central message of the Old Testament
is that Jesus is coming. The central
message of the Gospels is that Jesus has
come. The central message of the rest of
the New Testament is that Jesus is coming
again. The central message of Scripture
The Bible Claim To Be Gods Word?
The claim that the
Bible is the Word of God has not been
invented by the Christian churchit
is the claim of the Bible itself. We find
in the Bible the claim that the words and
deeds it records come from the living
God. In hundreds of passages, in both
Testaments, the Bible plainly declares,
or assumes either explicitly or
implicitly, that it is the very Word of
God. Some thirty-eight hundred times the
Bible declares, "God said," or
"Thus says the Lord. We will
consider specific passages in both the
Old and New Testament.
The Old Testament claims to record the
words of God:
spoke all the words which the Lord
had spoken to Moses (Exodus 4:30).
Benefit Future Generations
The Old Testament was recorded for the
benefit of future generations.
As for Me,
says the Lord, 'this is My covenant
with them: My Spirit who is upon you,
and My words which I have put in your
mouth, shall not depart from your
mouth, nor from the mouth of your
descendants, nor from the mouth of
your descendants' descendants . . .
from this time and forevermore
The words of God, as recorded in the
Bible, is an infallible guide to
God is not a
man that He should lie, nor a son of
man, that He should repent. Has He
said, and will He not do it? Or has
He spoken and will He not make it
good (Numbers 23:19).
Eternal And Unchanging
The Word of God, is eternal and
withers, the flower fades, but the
word of our God stands forever
Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled
in heaven (Psalm 119:89).
God's Word is powerful:
My word like a fire? says the Lord,
and like a hammer that breaks
the rock in pieces? (Jeremiah 23:29).
The Old Testament records things that are
Your law is
truth (Psalm 119:142).
The law of the Lord is
perfect, converting the soul (Psalm
So shall My word be that goes forth
from My mouth; it shall not return to
Me void, but it shall accomplish what
I please, and it shall prosper in
the thing for which I sent it
Guide For Daily Living
The Old Testament is a guide for living a
Your word is
a lamp to my feet and a light to my
path (Psalm 119:105).
Summary For Old Testament
From these statements contained in the
Old Testament, we can see that it claims
to record the words and deeds of God. We
also observe that the statements made
about God's Word assure us that we can
place our trust in His promises.
God's revelation to humanity was not
finished with the Old Testament
More To Come
Jesus stated plainly that more revelation
was to come after He left this world.
I have much
more to say to you, more than you can
now bear (John 16:12).
From this statement we discover that He
would leave unfinished the revelation of
God's truth to humanity. This opened the
door for God to reveal a "New"
Testament to the world.
Words Of God
The New Testament, like the Old
Testament, claims to record the words of
God. In what was probably the earliest
letter of the Apostle Paul to a church,
received the word of God which you
heard from us, you welcomed it not
as the word of men, but as it is in
truth, the word of God (1
As was true with the Old Testament, God's
Word was conveyed through human
we also speak, not in words which
man's wisdom teaches but which the
Holy Spirit teaches (1 Corinthians
The New Testament says this about itself:
The Word of God is presented as the final
authority on all matters, as Jesus
demonstrated in response to His
said to him, Away with you, Satan!
For it is written, 'You shall worship
the Lord your God, and Him only you
shall serve' (Matthew 4:10).
Jesus said His words were everlasting:
earth will pass away, but My words
will by no means pass away (Matthew
Jesus also affirmed that God's Word
is true in all that it says:
by Your truth. Your word is truth
In both testaments the Bible claims to be
God's revealed Word to humanity. Thus it
is the assertion of Scripture itself that
it is more than a mere human bookit
is the very Word of God.
Terms Does The Bible Use To Describe
We find the Bible
assuming itself to be the Word of God in
the terms it uses to describe itself. The
following terms are used in Scripture to
The term scripture comes from the Greek
word grafay meaning, a writing, or
that which is written. The noun form of
the word occurs about fifty times in the
New Testament and it is used mostly of
the collection of sacred
writingsthe Old Testament. For
example, the Apostle Paul wrote:
The gospel he
promised beforehand through his
prophets in the Holy Scriptures
Have you never
read in the Scriptures: 'The stone
the builders rejected has become the
capstone; the Lord has done this, and
it is marvelous in our eyes? (Matthew
The singular form of the grafay is
also used at times when referring to the
entire collection of sacred writings.
What does the
Scripture say? Abraham believed God,
and it was credited to him as
righteousness (Romans 4:3).
One Specific Passage
The word is sometimes used of a specific
passage in the sacred writings:
and he [Jesus]
began by saying to them, "Today
this scripture is fulfilled in your
hearing." Luke 4:21).
Specific Portions Of Scripture
The term Scripture is even used of
specific New Testament portions. In 1
Timothy 5:18, Paul quoted the words of
Christ recorded in Luke 10:7 and called
it Scripture. This is the earliest
instance of Jesus' words being quoted as
In 2 Peter 3:16, Peter specifically
refers to Paul's writings as Scripture.
He writes the
same way in all his letters, speaking
in them of these matters. His letters
contain some things that are hard to
understand, which ignorant and
unstable people distort, as they do
the other Scriptures, to their own
The verb form of grafay
is used about ninety times. It is often
found in a form meaning it is written.
1.The Word Of God
The Word of God is another title used
of the Bible in both Testaments. This
expression emphasizes the nature of the
Bible as the revelation of God in written
form. In Matthew 15:6, this expression is
used specifically of the Law of Moses.
So, for the
sake of your tradition, you make void
the word of God (Matthew 15:6).
In Mark 7:13, the word of God is used of
Moses' command regarding honoring father
void the word of God through your
tradition that you have handed on.
And you do many things like this
In John 10:35, the phrase is used of the
entire Old Testament.
If he called
them 'gods,' to whom the word of God
came and the Scripture cannot
be broken (John 10:35).
Finally, in Hebrews 4:12, the phrase word
of God is used of all Scripture. In this
context it seems to refer to both
word of God is living and active,
sharper than any two-edged sword,
piercing until it divides soul from
spirit, joints from marrow; it is
able to judge the thoughts and
intentions of the heart (Hebrews
A term often used in the New Testament
for the Old Testament Scripture is the
Law. The expression often refers to the
entire Old Testament while at other times
it is speaking the Law of Mosesthe
first five books of the Bible. In John
12:34, for example, we find it referring
to the entire Old Testament.
answered him, We have heard from the
law that the Messiah remains forever.
How can you say that the Son of Man
must be lifted up? Who is this Son of
Man? (John 12:34).
4.The Law And The Prophets
Another New Testament expression used for
the entire Old Testament is the law and
the prophets. It looks at the Old
Testament from the standpoint of how it
is dividedthe law, the prophets,
and the writings. In Luke's gospel we
Then he said
to them, "These are my words
that I spoke to you while I was still
with you that everything
written about me in the law of Moses,
the prophets, and the psalms must be
fulfilled." (Luke 24:44).
5. The Oracles Of God
Another term for the holy writings is logion.
This is a diminutive form of the Greek
word logos and means an oracle,
divine response, or utterance. It is used
of the sacred writings in Romans 3:2 and
Much, in every
way. For in the first place the Jews
were entrusted with the oracles of
God (Romans 3:2).
He is the one who was in the
congregation in the wilderness with
the angel who spoke to him at Mount
Sinai, and with our ancestors; and he
received living oracles to give to us
The word testament is also used for the
sacred Scripture. The Greek word diathaykay
translated testament, means covenant,
testament, or will. It is used to
distinguish between the Old and New
Covenants the Old Testament and the
New Testament. The Apostle Paul wrote
about reading the old covenant.
minds were made dull, for to this day
the same veil remains when the old
covenant is read. It has not been
removed, because only in Christ is it
taken away (2 Corinthians. 3:14).
These six biblical termsScripture,
the Word of God, the Oracles of God, the
Law, the Law and the Prophets, and
Testamentare used for the
collection of writings that were
considered sacred by the writers of the
Bible. This demonstrates the attitude
that was taken toward these
booksthey were the Word of God.
Both testaments claim to record the words
and deeds of God. The New Testament uses
terms such as Scripture, Oracles and
Testament when referring to the Old
Testament. Each of these terms shows that
the writings were considered to be sacred
or divinely inspired. It is, therefore,
the claim of the Bible that it is the
revealed Word of God. Consequently the
issue that is raised by these claims is
clear, Are the claims of the Bible true?
Do We Know The Bible Is The Word Of God?
The Bible claims
to be God's communication to humanity;
but is that claim true? We have seen that
there are many other approaches that
people take with respect to the Bible.
How can we test it out?
Two approaches exist as to the
credibility of the scriptural revelation.
There are those who believe that the
Scripture and the revelation it contains
is self-authenticating, The infallibility
of the Bible must be presupposed and can
be because the Scripture says it is
inspired and the Spirit accredits it.
On the other hand, there are those who
stress the intrinsic credibility of the
revelation of the Bible as being worthy
of belief, that is, The Bible's claim to
authority is not in itself proof of its
authority; rather there exist factual,
historical evidences which constitute the
Bible's credentials and validate the
truth of its message.
Arguing In A Circle?
Many opponents of Christianity complain
that Christians try to prove the Bible by
quoting the Bible. They are thus
reasoning in a circle and still begging
the question of the Bible's reliability.
There is some validity to this complaint.
Although it is important to understand
what the Bible says in order to test its
internal consistency, it is also possible
to establish the Bible's authority on
Assume To Be True?
Some Christians believe the only way to
know for sure that the Bible is the true
Word of God is to try it out, to believe
it, to trust it. Once a person is inside
God's truth, they say, the reliability of
it becomes apparent. This has been true
for many people, but it overlooks the
fact that the Bible stands up to
objective scrutiny. We can investigate
the Bible from the inside or from the
outside, and we find it to be true, if we
honestly evaluate the evidence.
Centers On Jesus Christ
This book presents some of the
evidence for the Bible's reliability. At
the center of the investigation is Jesus.
Jesus claimed to be the unique Son of
God, God in human flesh. And He backed up
His claim with the most remarkable event
in history, He came back from the dead,
as He said He would. We can reasonably
accept His resurrection as a historical
fact not only because of the
multi-faceted testimony of the early
Christians, which was collected in the
New Testament, but because no one has
successfully disproved it. Christianity
had many enemies in its first few
decadesenemies who would have been
thrilled to show the errors of
Christianity, if they could. They would
have rushed to dig up Jesus' body and
thoroughly debunk the resurrection, but
they could not because He had risen.
Christianity Makes Sense
It is thus reasonable to believe that
Jesus was whom He said He was. In that
case, we would expect His followers to
collect His public and private sayings
and deeds and record them
faithfullywhich is exactly what the
Gospels claim to be.
In the Gospels, we find that Jesus not
only accepted but advanced the Jews' idea
that God had spoken to them in their
Scriptures. Thus Jesus Himself affirmed
the divine origin of the Old Testament.
He also promised that God's Spirit would
help His followers remember His own words
and works. So it makes sense that God
would inspire the New Testament as He had
the Old Testament. Jesus repeatedly
taught that the Hebrew Scriptures
prophesied about Him. Certainly God would
take as much care in communicating the
fulfillment of those prophecies as He had
in the prophecies themselves.
Even a casual reader of the Bible will
soon discover he is reading a very
unusual book. Even though he may not
accept its claims, a careful and
reflective reading will demonstrate, for
most at least, that this book is not only
unique, but makes some very unique
We Can Know
A person, therefore, can know the Bible
is God's Word by first examining the
claims of Scripture and then personally
accepting the challenge of Scripture to
taste and see if these things be true.
Do We Need A Written Revelation From God?
There is the issue
as to why God gave us His revelation in
writing. There are a couple of ways in
which God could have chosen to reveal
Himself to humanity.
Personal Revelation Not Practical
God could have chosen to personally
reveal Himself to each individual, yet,
He did not. There would have been
insurmountable problems if He would have
done it this way.
First, not everyone would have been
willing to receive what God wanted to say
Second, God would have had to have
repeated the same message over and over
again to each of us. This would seemingly
be a waste of time and effort.
Finally, this method would lead to
confusion. People would not agree with
each other as to what God had revealed to
them. This being the case, then who would
decide which person had the correct
revelation from God? Obviously some other
method of God revealing Himself to
humanity is necessary.
There are at least six reasons why a
written revelation is necessary.
1.Message Could Be Changed
First, if we were given only an oral
communication from God, then we would
have a message that could be changed and
misinterpreted when repeatedly told. The
more the story was repeated orally, the
more the story could be changed. This
would not give us much confidence in the
2.Which Version To Trust?
Moreover, if the message began to differ
considerably, how would anyone know which
version to trust? A revelation from God
based upon oral communication would be
beset with many problems.
3.Message Could Be Preserved
Once the words and deeds have been
committed to writing, the message can be
preserved. This allows succeeding
generations to have the benefit of seeing
what the original writers said. By
putting the messages in a book, such as
the Bible, the truth can be preserved for
future generations. God continues to
speak, though the original receptors of
the message have died.
4. Solve Doctrinal Issues
A written revelation also solves
doctrinal controversies. If there is a
question of Christian belief, the written
Bible can be studied as an authoritative
source. Therefore all questions have a
final authority in which to resolve them.
5. Transmitted To Others
Once a revelation is committed to
writing, there is a greater possibility
of transmitting it to those of a
different language. The message can be
spread and copied with the assurance that
the original thoughts will stay intact.
6.Incapable On Our Own
Furthermore, the Bible says that human
beings are not able to understand God
through their own reasoning powers. When
Adam and Eve disobeyed God's commandment,
the communication between them and God
was severed. God had warned them of the
But of the
tree of the knowledge of good and
evil you shall not eat, for in the
day that you eat of it you shall
surely die (Genesis 2:17).
The main idea behind death is separation.
When Adam and Eve disobeyed God, they
suffered a spiritual separation from God.
Before that time, man had direct access
to God. This is no longer true.
God Is Unapproachable
God, by His very nature, cannot be
approached by sinful man. The Apostle
Paul described God in this way:
Who alone has
immortality, dwelling in
unapproachable light, whom no man has
seen or can see (1 Timothy 6:16).
Thus, by His very nature God is separated
The Bible designates our sinful condition
by calling us natural man. The natural
man, who is blinded by sin, cannot know
God through his own wisdom or insight.
natural man does not receive the
things of the Spirit of God, for they
are foolishness to him; nor can he
know them because they are
spiritually discerned (1 Corinthians
Because of these factorsthe
broken communication between God and
humanity, the inaccessibility of God, and
the fact that sinful humanity cannot know
the things of Goda revelation from
God is absolutely essential.
Without God's divine revelation in the
Bible, we are left to our own ideas about
who God is and who we are. Any attempt to
explain God is doomed to failure because
each of us would merely project our own
thoughts about who God is and come up
with the type of God we think should
exist. There would be no consensus of
opinion and no basis of knowing who, if
anybody, is right in his opinions about
God. With God's divine revelation as it
is written in the Bible, there is no
confusion surrounding God's character.
It Logical To Think That God Would
Communicate To Humanity?
Some people have
ruled out the possibility of God
communicating with humanity. They believe
a revelation from a divine being to man
is not possible. However, the idea that
God would communicate to humanity and
leave a written Word makes sense for the
The Bible reveals that the God who exists
is a personal God; that is, He has the
characteristics of personhood. He thinks,
feels, and can give and receive love. He
also has the ability to communicate. The
Bible says that God loves His people.
2.We Can Communicate
God made humanity in His image and
likeness. Part of that likeness is the
ability to give and receive
communication. Since both God and man
have the ability to communicate, it is
perfectly logical to assume that He would
communicate with us.
3.We Have A Communication
With these factors considered, a final
point to emphasize is that we do, in
fact, have a written communication that
claims to be from God. That
communication, the Bible, shows us a God
who loves to reveal Himself. The prophet
heavens, and give ear O earth! For
the Lord has spoken (Isaiah 1:2).
Simon Peter said to Jesus:
Lord, to whom
shall we go? You have the words of
eternal life (John 6:68).
There is no doubt that the Bible presents
a consistent portrait of God as a
communicator. The Bible itself is His
Not Circular Reasoning
This may look like circular reasoning to
some: the Bible proving itself. But
that's not really the case. If we grant
that the Bible has any validity at all,
we have to recognize that it is filled,
from cover to cover, with this sense of a
communicating God. Within itself, it is
consistent. If we, on the other hand,
maintain that it is illogical to think
that God communicates to us, then our God
has little relation to the God of the
Bible. Our system is closed. We are
shutting out evidence that may prove
It is logical to think that God
communicates with us. From a purely
objective standpoint, it would be unwise
to dismiss the possibility of a
We conclude that a divine revelation from
God to humanity in written form is not
only something we should logically
expect, it is also absolutely necessary
if the message is to be kept intact and
spread to those who need to hear it.
Whom Was The Bible Written?
The appeal of the
Bible is universal, addressed to all
humanity. It is a book that everyone can
understand. The Bible says that when
Jesus spoke, the common people heard Him
gladly (Mark 12:37). The multitudes
listened and followed Him. Jesus
encouraged the children to be brought to
Let the little
children come to Me, and do not
forbid them; for of such is the
kingdom of heaven (Matthew 19:14).
Certain parts of the Scripture are
written to individuals and specific
groups, but even these have both special
and universal application.
One way that we know the Bible was
written for everyone is the language in
which it was composed. As recently as one
hundred years ago, we did not possess any
Greek writings that were contemporary
with the New Testament. The Greek of the
New Testament was different from the
classical Greek of Plato and Sophocles.
Most scholars speculated that it was some
kind of Holy Ghost language. In 1863
Bishop Joseph Barber Lightfoot, with rare
insight, conjectured about the language
of the New Testament. He wrote that New
been part of the common speech all
along. I will go further, and say
that if we could only recover letters
that ordinary people wrote to each
other without any thought of being
literary, we should have the greatest
possible help for the understanding
of the language of the New Testament
generally (cited by George Milligan, Selections
from Greek Papyri, Chicago: Ares,
Since Lightfoot's time, the letters of
ordinary people have been found written
on pieces of pottery, papyrus, wood, and
stone. His prediction was correct. It
became clear that the New Testament was
written in the common, everyday language
of the people, not some special language.
This reinforces the idea that the Bible
was written to the masses, not just to an
Everyone Held Responsible
The Bible claims to have universal
authority over all people everywhere.
There are only two categories of people
according to the Bible, believers and
unbelievers. The New Testament says:
believes in the Son has everlasting
life; and he who does not believe the
Son shall not see life, but the wrath
of God abides on him (John 3:36).
We conclude that the Bible was written to
everyone, not just a select few.
Scripture has been composed in such a way
as to be understandable to the masses.
Furthermore, God will hold everyone
responsible as to how they receive His
There Other Written Sources Of Religious
Truth Apart From The Bible?
The Bible clearly
says that it is the sole source of our
knowledge about the one true living God.
It is the only written revelation that He
has given humanity.
Not To Add Or Subtract
There are warnings contained in Scripture
not to add or subtract from what God has
You shall not
add to the word which I command you,
nor take anything from it,
that you may keep the commandments of
the Lord your God which I command you
Every word of God is pure; He is
a shield to those who put their trust
in Him. Do not add to His words, lest
He reprove you, and you be found a
liar (Proverbs 30:5,6).
Other Ways False
The Bible warns its readers of false
prophets and false teachings.
not believe every spirit, but test
the spirits, whether they are of God;
because many false prophets have gone
out in the world (1 John 4:1).
Jesus warned of those who offer other
ways to approach God:
I am the door
of the sheep. All who ever
came before Me are thieves and
robbers, but the sheep did not hear
them. I am the door. If anyone enters
by Me, he will be saved (John
It is clear, then, that the Bible does
not present itself as one of several
options for religious truth. It claims to
be God's authoritative Word, and it
maintains that any work, religious or
otherwise, which teaches any thing to the
contrary is, at that point, wrong. As far
as the Bible is concerned, it's all or
nothing. If we accept it, we must accept
it as ultimately authoritative. It must
be the standard by which we judge all
The Bible Have A Unique Makeup?
Yes. It is one
book, with one author behind it - God.
The Bible, as it now stands, has a unique
makeup. This can be seen as follows:
Fifteen Hundred Years In The Making
From the composition of the first
biblical book until the last, a period of
fifteen hundred years elapsed. The Old
Testament was written between 1400 and
400 B.C. The first book composed was
either the Book of Genesis or the Book of
Job. The books of the New Testament were
written approximately A.D. 40 to A.D. 80.
Many Authors, Many Occupations
Over forty different human authors wrote
the books of the Bible. These writers
came from a variety of backgrounds and
occupations. They included shepherds
(Hosea and Amos) fishermen (Peter and
John), kings (David and Solomon), a tax
collector (Matthew), a prime minister
(Daniel), a doctor (Luke), and a military
The books of the Bible were composed upon
three different continents - Africa,
Asia, and Europe. For example, the
writings of Ezekiel were composed in
Babylon (Asia), Moses wrote the first
five books of the Bible in the Sinai
desert (Africa), and the Apostle Paul
wrote the letter to Philippi while in
There was a variety of circumstances in
which the Biblical books were composed.
Moses, for example, wrote while leading
the children of Israel through the
wilderness. Jeremiah wrote while in a
dungeon in Israel. Ezekiel composed his
book while a captive in Babylon. The
Apostle Paul wrote several of his works
while in a Roman prison. John the
evangelist wrote the Book of Revelation
while banished to the island of Patmos.
Obviously there was not a particular
place or instance in which all of the
biblical books were composed.
Can Reveal Himself Anywhere
Though many other religions had a certain
place where the divine word was revealed,
this is not the case with the Bible. This
is to point out that God could reveal
Himself in many different places over an
extended period of time.
Different Languages Employed
The Bible was written in three different
languages. The Old Testament was written
mostly in Hebrew with some parts being
composed in Aramaic; the New Testament
was originally written in Greek.
Different Subjects Covered
The Bible also covers a variety of
subjects, including the existence and
nature of God, the creation of the
universe, the meaning of man, the purpose
of our existence, and the final destiny
of man and the planet earth.
One Complete Story
Hence, the Bible was written over a
period of fifteen hundred years, by forty
different human authors from various
backgrounds who wrote in different
languages, upon different continents, in
different circumstances, and upon
different subjects. Yet the Bible is a
unity, one unfolding account from
beginning to end in complete harmony and
continuity. The Old Testament is
incomplete without the New Testament and
yet the New Testament does not make sense
without the Old. Together the two
testaments give a harmonious account of
the dealings of God with humanity. This
is one of the remarkable features of the
Bible - its magnificent continuity.
Influence Has The Bible Had On Humanity?
Because the Bible
claims to be God's Word written for all
humanity, we ask what influence it has
had since its composition. The answer is
clear. Since its completion the Bible has
had an influence upon our world as no
other book before or since. Samuel Taylor
Coleridge correctly said:
For more than
a thousand years the Bible,
collectively taken, has gone hand in
hand with civilization, science, law
. . . with the moral and intellectual
cultivation of the species, always
supporting and often leading the way.
Most Widely Read
The Bible has been read, studied, and
loved more than any book in human
history. Henry Van Dyke put it this way:
Born in the
East and clothed in Oriental form and
imagery, the Bible walks the ways of
all the world with familiar feet and
enters land after land to find its
own everywhere. It has learned to
speak in hundreds of languages to the
heart of man. Children listen to its
stories with wonder and delight, and
wise men ponder them as parables of
life. The wicked and the proud
tremble at its warnings, but to the
wounded and penitent it has a
mother's voice. It has woven itself
into our dearest dreams; so that
love, friendship, sympathy, devotion,
memory, hope, put on beautiful
garments of its treasured speech
(Henry Van Dyke, Companionable
Books, New York: Charles Scribner
and Sons, n.d., p. 65).
The Bible has had this influence because
it contains the testimony of Jesus
Christwhich changes lives.
However, the Bible has also been the most
criticized book ever written. Bernard
times over, the death knell of the
Bible has been sounded, the funeral
procession formed, the inscription
cut on the tombstone, and committal
read. But somehow the corpse never
stays put. No other book has been so
chopped, knived, sifted, scrutinized,
and vilified. What book on philosophy
or religion or psychology
. . . of classical or
modern times 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?
The Bible is still loved by millions,
read by millions, and studied by
millions (Bernard Ramm, Protestant
Christian Evidences, Chicago:
Moody Press, 1957, pp. 232,233).
The nature, condition, and cure for man's
sin. Only the Bible describes man's
condition in sin as it really is and
demonstrates the impossibility for man to
deal with his sin and sinfulness apart
from God's grace solution in the person
and death of His Son. Every other
religion in the world, past and present,
has man seeking to obtain his own
salvation or gain God's favor by some
form of human works or religious
activity. Only the Bible presents a
solution for man's sin that is truly life
changing, when properly embraced and
We conclude that the Bible has been the
most loved book in all of history as well
as the most studied and criticized. It
has had an influence that no other book
has had upon humanity.
What Ways Has The Bible Been Criticized?
The Bible has been
examined by various means. The discipline
of examining Scripture is known as
biblical criticism. Biblical criticism
can be divided into three different
categories: textual, historical, and
1. Textual Criticism
Textual criticism has to do with
establishing what each of the books of
the Bible initially said. It asks
questions such as: Is the text of today
the same as that which was originally
written? How has the text been changed
2. Historical Criticism
The second line of criticism deals with
the determination of the historical
accuracy of the Bible, such as whether
the Bible accurately reflects what
happened in history and whether it can be
trusted as a valid historical source.
3. Literary Criticism
The third line of criticism has to do
with the authorship and sources of the
Biblical book. It asks, Was the author of
the book really the person who is
traditionally believed to have written
it, or could someone have forged a
particular book? What sources did the
author use? Literary criticism deals with
these and other related questions.
Textual, historical and literary
criticism are the three main ways the
Bible has been criticized.
Biblical Criticism Valid?
many who practice biblical criticism
assume nothing in the Bible is true
unless it is proved correct by some
outside source. Scripture is assumed to
be in error until some evidence can be
brought up to substantiate its
Benefit Of Doubt
The opposite approach, however, should be
taken. The benefit of the doubt should be
given to the Bible, not to the critic,
and the work should be assumed to be
correct until some evidence is brought
forth contradicting what has been said.
This is the method used in determining
the reliability of any piece of
literature, whether it be ancient or
modern. If any document has been
transmitted in a reliable manner and
demonstrates itself to be historically
correct, the burden of proof is on those
who question its trustworthiness.
Times Have Changed
About one hundred years ago, J. B.
McClure wrote the following referring to
the attacks of the famous atheist Robert
faith at present so generally
pervades the civilized world that it
seems almost amazing that anyone
should dare speak as Mr. Ingersoll
does in his several lectures about
the Bible. . . . That the Bible is in
the least endangered is out of the
question. It is too late now for that
(J. B. McClure, Mistakes of
Ingersoll and His Answers, Chicago:
Rhodes and McClure, 1889, p. 3).
It is interesting how times have changed.
McClure stated that the matter of the
Bible's authority was beyond question. In
the minds of the people, it has been
firmly established as God's Word.
Today the opposite is the case. Most
institutions of higher learning do not
take the Bible seriously. Its authority
on all matters of faith and practice have
been severely challenged.
A Word Of Warning
Sir Walter Scott wrote about those who
criticize the Bible with a desire to find
fault with it.
Within that awful volume lies, the
mystery of mysteries!
Happiest are they of human race,
To whom God has granted grace,
To read to fear to hope, to pray,
To lift the latch, and force the way,
And better had they ne'er been born,
Who read to doubt or read to scorn.
(The Monastery, ch. 12).
The criticism of the Bible is a
legitimate discipline when the critic
attempts to establish the text, history,
and literary styles of the biblical
documents. Criticism of the Bible,
however, has gone far beyond that, for
too many writers criticize the Bible
using a different standard from the one
they use with other historical documents.
This is neither a scholarly or fair way
of dealing with the subject.
As we have looked at some introductory
issues concerning the Bible we can
conclude the following:
1. The Bible, in both
testaments, claims to be Gods
communication to humanity.
2. There is sufficient
evidence that the Bible is exactly what
it claims to bethe Word of God.
3. The Bible is necessary
because human beings cannot know God from
their own reasoning.
4. Scripture was written
in plain language to communicate to
5. The Bible claims to be
Gods only written communication to
humanity. All other revelations are
6. The Bible is the most
influential book that has ever been
7. More criticism has
been directed toward the Bible than any
8. Because of its claims
and influence, the Bible is the most
important book that has ever been