THE BIBLE: The Word of God
Used by express permission of the author, Shaun Willcock, Gospel Minister . . . Ambassador for Christ (II Cor. 5:17-20)
The Scriptures claim to be "able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus" (2 Tim. 3:15); yet, if they are not the words of God, but merely the words of weak, sinful men, then how can they make anyone wise unto salvation? How can anyone be certain they are trustworthy?
If the Bible is not the Word of God, then what fools Christians are!
Yet if the Bible IS the Word of God, we can expect to find abundant evidence of this fact. And, indeed, there IS abundant evidence. That evidence is the subject of this article.
The Bible itself claims to be the Word of God; given by divine inspiration. This it does over and over again, in both the Old and the New Testaments. Just two excellent examples from the New Testament will be given. The first is from 2 Tim. 3:16: "All scripture is given by inspiration of God". And the second is from 2 Pet. 1:21: "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 Ghost."
However, it will be argued, by those who do not believe that it is God's Word, that it is a simple matter for a man to declare that what he writes is "the Word of God". Evidence must be available, if this claim is true. How do we know that the Bible is the Word of God? How can we be certain?
There IS abundant evidence that the Bible is God's Word, apart from its own claims; and some of it will be given here. But at the end of this article, it will be seen where the full persuasion and assurance of this truth comes from.
Here, then, is some of the incontestable evidence that the Bible is the Word of God.
1. If the Bible is nothing more than the work of men, then it was either written by good men, or by evil men. Now, if it was written by good men, they would not have lied about its origin. Paul, who wrote 2 Timothy, declared that all Scripture is given by inspiration of God (3:16). And in 1 Cor. 14:37 he wrote, "the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord." And Peter, in his second epistle, wrote that the Scriptures were given by men "moved by the Holy Ghost" (1:21). Many other examples could be given. If these were good and honest men, they would not have lied.
Therefore, if the Bible was written merely by men who were not inspired of God, then it was written by evil men. But evil men would have written it to their liking! And they would have written it to the liking of other evil men! The truth is, however, that it is NOT written to the liking of evil men. It is not to their taste at all. It speaks of sin; it declares that sinners will spend eternity in the lake of fire; it calls the worldly pleasures so beloved of evil men, sin; it exalts the grace of God, and lays low the works of men; it calls Christians to holy living, to the mortification of the works of the flesh; etc., etc. Such teachings are not to the taste of evil men. They hate them!
It must, then, be what it claims to be: not the word of man, but of God.
2. The Bible reveals God: his character, attributes, etc., in a way that no other "god" is revealed in any other writing. A holy, just, pure God – not a god who is little better than men, subject to like passions as men! This is how the gods of the heathen are represented, but not the Lord God of the Bible. This proves its divine origin.
3. The Bible's account of Christ proves its divine origin. The Gospels are simply written; honestly; matter-of-factly. They do not bear the marks of fiction, but of fact. What purpose would Matthew, Mark, Luke and John have had in writing fiction? What did they stand to gain, apart from persecution from Jew and Roman and Greek alike? Take John as an example: he suffered persecution for his faith (see Acts 3 and 5), even exile to a lonely isle (Rev. 1:9). Would he have suffered all that he did suffer over a character of fiction? A character who, if fictional, was one whom he partly invented?
No – the Christ of the Bible is TRUE. Hear the admission of Rousseau, a man who was an infidel:
"I will confess to you further, that the majesty of the"Which of you convinceth me of sin?" asked Jesus (Jn. 8:46). Nobody ever has – not in 2000 years.
Scripture strikes me with admiration, as the purity of the gospel hath its
influence on my heart. Peruse the works of our philosophers, with all their pomp
of diction – how mean – how contemptible – are they, compared with the
Scripture! Is it possible, that a book at once so simple and sublime should be
merely the work of man? Is it possible that the sacred personage whose history
it contains should be himself a mere man? Do we find that he assumed the air of
an enthusiast or ambitious secretary? What sweetness, what purity in his manner!
What an affecting gracefulness in his delivery! What sublimity in his maxims!
What profound wisdom in his discourses! What presence of mind! What subtilty!
What truth in his replies! How great the command over his passions! Where is the
man, where the philosopher, who could so live and die, without weakness and
without ostentation? Shall we suppose the Evangelic History a mere fiction?
Indeed, my friend, it bears not the marks of fiction. On the contrary, the
history of Socrates, which nobody presumes to doubt, is not so well attested as
that of Jesus Christ. The Jewish authors were incapable of the diction, and
strangers to the morality contained in the gospels; the marks of whose truth are
so striking and invincible, that the inventor would be a more astonishing
character than the hero."
4. There is no lie, or contradiction, in the Scriptures; they are, therefore, "the word of truth", as they claim to be (Eph. 1:13; Dan. 10:21). And they contain no unholy doctrine, but promote holiness in men; they are, therefore, "the holy scriptures", as they claim to be (Rom. 1:2).
5. The method of salvation revealed in the Bible proves its divine origin. It is absolutely unique. All other religions in the world proclaim some form of salvation by human works; by man's own efforts. The Bible declares that salvation is of the LORD. It emphatically asserts that, if the LORD does not save a man, he cannot be saved. Indeed, 1 Cor. 1:17-31 says that this teaching is "foolishness" to those who perish. The method of salvation revealed in the Bible is NOT one which men would have invented: election in eternity; the incarnation of Christ, who was God manifest in the flesh; his death for the elect; effectual calling; etc.
6. The marvellous unity, and harmony, of the Bible, proves that it is of God. It was not written down by one man, at one time; but it was written over a period of 1500 years, by all sorts of men, from all sorts of backgrounds, in all sorts of places, on all sorts of topics. And yet it forms a unit, with one central theme, and no contradictions. Could such a work be the product of the uninspired minds of men? Impossible! This Book is the revelation of God.
7. The men who wrote the Bible, themselves, being the human instruments God used, are proof that it is divine in origin. Though some, like Moses and Paul, were educated men, others were fishermen (Matt. 4:18), "unlearned and ignorant men" (Acts 4:13). And yet they wrote in a manner and style beyond their natural abilities or education. Obviously, they were "moved by the Holy Ghost" (2 Pet. 1:21).
8. The prophecies of the Bible prove its divine origin. These prophecies are not the ambiguous mutterings of the "prophets" of heathenism; they are authentic revelations, given by men as they were moved by the Spirit of God. Hundreds of years before the Lord Jesus Christ was born, the prophets of the Old Testament foretold his birth, events of his life, his death, his resurrection. It is manifestly absurd to assert that this was all coincidental. An impostor could have succeeded in "fulfilling" some of them, but never ALL of them – and there are a great many. Jesus Christ perfectly fulfilled them all.
And there are other prophecies, too: for example, prophecies in Daniel, Revelation, 2 Thess. 2, Matt. 24, and elsewhere, which have been wonderfully fulfilled by events of history over the past 2000 years. No, this is no mere book written by man. Fulfilled prophecy is one of the most powerful witnesses to the divine origin of the Scriptures. Only he who declares "the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done" (Isa. 46:10) could have moved men to foretell such things.
9. The accuracy of the Scriptures as to details of chronology, history, geography, astronomy, etc., is yet further proof that this is the Word of God. Science attests to this accuracy in all sorts of ways. And the extent of this accuracy includes the account of the creation, and that of the worldwide flood! The false theory of evolution has absolutely NO solid evidence to support it, but there is abundant evidence that the universe was created by God. There is also abundant evidence that the world was destroyed by a flood, exactly as the Bible says it was.
10. The attacks upon the Bible through the centuries prove its divine origin. No other book has been so hated and assaulted – no, not since the world began. It has been criticised, burnt to ashes, locked away, forbidden to the people, scorned – why? If it is merely a book written by uninspired men, like any other book, then why have men hated it so? Why have they sought, with everything in their power, to destroy it from off the face of the earth? What is it about this Book that has so enraged men? It can only be that it is GOD'S Book, and because men hate God, they hate his Word. And this leads to the next point –
11. The preservation of the Scriptures proves their divine origin. Despite the mad assaults of those who have hated the Lord and his Word through the centuries, the Lord has wonderfully preserved it down to this very day! Jesus said, "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away" (Matt. 24:35). And it is written in 1 Pet. 1:25, that "the word of the Lord endureth for ever." In a number of places, the Lord has promised to preserve his Word. In the Old Testament, Antiochus Epiphanes "cast down the truth to the ground", when he took the books of the law, and burnt them (Dan. 8:12); and in this, the New Testament age, his antitype, the Antichrist – the Roman Papacy – did precisely the same thing, burning copies of the Bible, and burning those who translated or distributed it. The Papacy has produced corrupt versions of the Bible, as have other groups. And yet despite all this – it survives! Like the very existence of the Church of Jesus Christ itself, the preservation of the Bible is a miracle of God.
12. Finally, one of the greatest of all evidences that this Book is the Book of books, the very Word of God, is that it has transformed the lives of countless numbers of people through the centuries. Men who were once idolaters, murderers, adulterers, liars, thieves, drunkards, sodomites – to list just a few – have been transformed into holy, godly men, and all because of the teachings of this Book. Men who, like Paul, could describe themselves as the chief of sinners (1 Tim. 1:15), became saints of God. The effects of the Bible, then, prove its divine origin. What other book that has ever been written has had such an effect? Wherever it has gone, it has transformed lives, even whole societies. Its teachings have changed vile, wretched sinners into the very salt of the earth (Matt. 5:13). It has transformed men from being weak, timid individuals into mighty men of valour, prepared to suffer unspeakable agonies, and even to die, for the Lord who is revealed in its pages. What a Book this is!
And this, after all, is its purpose: to make souls "wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus" (2 Tim. 3:15). It was written "that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name" (Jn. 20:31). As Peter said, when many of Christ's disciples left him, and he asked the twelve if they, too, would leave, "Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life" (Jn. 6:66-68). He does indeed – and they have been recorded in this Book.
All that has been said above, abundantly testifies to the fact that the Bible is the divinely-inspired Word of God. Proof upon proof has been given. The evidence is overwhelming and incontestable. And yet, something more is needed, if the corrupt, depraved heart of man is ever to believe it.
Oh, these infallible proofs must be given. They must be made known! But, just as miracles were performed in the apostolic age in order to confirm, to authenticate, the Word (Mk. 16:20; Heb. 2:3,4), and yet many rejected it; so something more is needed, today, to persuade corrupt and sinful men of its divine origin and truth. And that is the inward work of the Holy Spirit, bearing witness in the hearts of men! Since "the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God" (1 Cor. 2:11); and since "the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God" (vs.14); God must reveal them unto us by his Spirit (vs.10), or we will never know them.
In conclusion, then: the Bible is the Word of the living God. It claims to be; it is proved to be; and it is fully seen to be, when the Holy Spirit enlightens the eyes and opens the heart.
Book of books! Inspired, inerrant, infallible, utterly dependable. THE WORD OF GOD.
Shaun Willcock is a minister of the Gospel, and runs Bible Based Ministries. He lives in South Africa. For other pamphlets (which may be downloaded and printed), as well as details about his books, tapes, news articles, etc., please visit the Bible Based Ministries website. If you would like to be on Bible Based Ministries’ electronic mailing list, please send your details.
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