The Bible claims to have been inspired by God :-
All scripture is given by
inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for
reproof, for correction, for instruction in
For the prophecy came not in
old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as
they were moved by the Holy Spirit.
God, who at sundry times and
in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the
prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his
The Son of God, Jesus Christ,
…the scripture cannot be broken…
The above are from the New Testament, but the Old Testament abounds also with claims that it is an inspired record of God's dealings with mankind - we read how Nehemiah reproved Israel:-
Yet many years didst thou
[God] forbear them [Israel], and testifiedst against them by
thy spirit in thy prophets…1 (Neh.9:30)
Now these claims are either true
(and the Bible is therefore reliable) or they are false and
the Bible is a fraud. There can be no half measures. The
argument that the Bible can be merely regarded as 'containing
truth' cannot be sustained because, if parts of it are not
inspired, then we have no means of knowing which parts are
reliable and which are not and therefore we have no guidance
…doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for
instruction in righteousness... Life then becomes a
'free for all' existence in which men do what is right in
their own eyes.2
It is important to understand that, when reading the Bible, not everything should be taken literally. For example; it contains stories, or parables, which, although they teach divine truth, this is nevertheless achieved by fictional means. Figurative, symbolic and poetic language is also used. The Bible also contains untruths! Examples of this are to be found in the book of Job where it is testified that Job's three friends did not speak right things about God. So care must be taken when considering the utterances of these men that, although they are reliably reported, they are not necessarily true. This underlines the need to be clear on the context of what one is reading.
Of course, most readers have to
make do with imperfect translations and even Greek and Hebrew
scholars only have access to copies of the original sources
with their many and variant readings. None of these
considerations is sufficient to undermine the reliability of
the Bible - indeed; study of different translations and
sources often leads to greater understanding of a particular
passage or theme. God is well able to protect His word, and
indeed has testified to that effect,
… So shall my word
be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto
me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it
shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
There are many ways in which the claims of the Bible can be shown to be true, such as fulfilled prophecy, the portrayal of human nature in contrast to God's ways and, ultimately, the setting out of the whole purpose of the creation and its future redemption.
The Bible is not out of date, nor is it concerned only with a religious few. It is relevant for all people at all times and shows that God actively channels the activities of world leaders to bring about his purpose. These points are proved by the following quotations,
…God our Saviour; Who will
have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of
the truth. (1Tim.2:14)
Say unto them, As I live,
saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the
wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live...
…the most High ruleth in the
kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will.
Let every soul be subject
unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the
powers that be are ordained of God...
The burden of the word of
the LORD for Israel, saith the LORD, which stretcheth forth
the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and
formeth the spirit of man within him. Behold, I will make
Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about,
when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and
against Jerusalem. And in that day will I make Jerusalem a
burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves
with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the
earth be gathered together against it. (Zech.12:1-3. The
rest of this chapter shows that this prophecy, in its
fullness, has yet to be fulfilled - it has great relevance to
And when all
things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also
himself be subject unto him that put all things under him,
that God may be all in all (1Cor.15:28).
It is only by reading this wonderful book in the light of its claims that we can gain the faith that leads to salvation.
So then faith cometh by
hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Rom.10:17).
Hearing the word also includes understanding, remembering and
acting upon it (see Jas.1:22-25).
The authority of the
prophets' utterances may be met with scepticism in today's
secular climate. Indeed there is good reason to reject the
testimony of those today who are so sure they are doing the
work of their god that they impose their will on others, even
to the extent of perpetrating all sorts of dreadful acts. The
prophets of the Bible however, for the most part, lived in
fear of their lives and in no way were imposing their own
will on their people, who in any case mostly ignored their
admonitions. One example will suffice for illustrating the
reassurances which would be necessary for them to carry out
God's work faithfully. The 'Word of the Lord' came to
Jeremiah along with some instructions that, the following
day, his uncle's son would ask him to buy his field. When
this came to pass, Jeremiah records, “Then I knew that
this was the word of the LORD” (Jer.32:8). This was a
witness to Jeremiah rather than to his hearers. The witness
to them and to us is all that Word of the LORD contained in
the Bible, much of which has already come to pass and which
also testifies to us,
For my thoughts are not your
thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For
as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways
higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your
Some people reject the complete authority of the bible because it ascribes, to God, acts which they regard as abhorrent: a prime example being the genocide which the children of Israel were commanded to perpetrate upon the tribes in the land of Canaan. This is not a valid argument and, in effect, places human understanding of morality above what God has decreed (cf Isa.55:8-9 above). In this particular example the Canaanite tribes had been given 400 years in which to mend their ways (Gen:15:16) yet they grew more corrupt until the only remedy was their destruction (Deu.9:4). The corrupting influence of mankind following its own ways is a recurrent theme throughout scripture and the time approaches when the world will not only need to be morally cleansed yet again, but actually saved from the destruction of the planet which otherwise would occur due to the the misdoings of man (Rev.11:15,18).
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