ITS SUPERNATURAL ORIGINS
Forever, O Lord,
Thy word is settled in heaven. (Psalm 119:89).
Many people today will admit that there must be a God somewhere in the universe who created all things. They will admit to the possibility of a supernatural force that transcends the physical cosmos. However they are completely in the dark about who He is or how they can know Him.
To add to this confusion, there are a number of major religions in the world. Each of these religions has a book that is claimed to be sacred, divine and inspired. Is the Bible just another of these books or is it truly inspired?
We must note at the outset that the Bible claims to be from God. It teaches that the Lord used human authors to write the exact words that He desired while using their vocabulary, style and backgrounds.
But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, 21 for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God. (2 Peter 1:20-21).
It is not that these men were anything special. In fact, if we were to study their lives, we would find that many were quite ordinary. It is the Scriptures themselves that are from God. These writings are the very breath of God.
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
Three observations can be noted from this passage:
ALL Scriptures are the object of Inspiration. It is not as though some of the Scriptures are inspired while others are not.
It is the SCRIPTURES themselves that are inspired rather than the writers of the Scriptures. Neither is it the translations that have been inspired. It is the Scriptures themselves that are the word of God.
The Scriptures are INSPIRED. The Greek word used here is Theopneustos - it literally describes that which is "God-breathed."
The Bible is a unique book. Not only does it claim to be the Word of God, it also presents the evidence to back up those claims.
THE SUPERNATURAL CONTINUITY OF THE BIBLE
When I read a book that has been written by a single author, I expect it to have a flow of continuity. It will have a central theme and purpose running through its pages and all of its chapters will support that same theme and purpose.
The Bible is such a book. This doesnít seem very impressive until we consider the following points of distinction.
Moses was a political leader, trained in the highest schools and universities of Egypt.
Amos was a simple herdsman.
Joshua was a military general.
Nehemiah was a royal cupbearer.
Daniel was a prime minister.
Solomon and David were kings.
Matthew was a tax collector for the Roman Empire.
Luke was a physician.
Peter was a fisherman.
Paul was a rabbi.
Many of these writers did not know each other and so would not have been able to compare notes.
Moses wrote the Torah in the Sinai wilderness living the life of a desert nomad.
David wrote some of his Psalms in the midst of military campaigns.
Jeremiah wrote portions of his book during a terrible siege.
Daniel wrote from the city of Babylon.
Solomon wrote from the palace at Jerusalem.
Paul wrote some of his epistles from a prison, some from Greece and one from Rome.
John wrote from the Isle of Patmos.
If I were to take a cross-section of people from the United States and ask them to write their views on topics like these, the responses would be varied and differing. It is virtually impossible to get 40 men to agree on where to have dinner, let alone what God is like or how man can find acceptance in His sight.
In spite of this, the Bible stands as a complete book, without contradiction or disagreement within its unity. The theme of redemption runs through its entire length from beginning to end. The book of Genesis begins with the story of paradise lost and this story is not completed until the end of the book of Revelation where we see paradise restored. This continuity is an evidence of the supernatural origin of the Bible.
THE SUPERNATURAL SURVIVAL OF THE BIBLE
Although the Bible is a book of antiquity, it has survived time and persecution to come into our hands today.
1. Survival through Time.
In ancient times, all books had to be written by hand and copied by hand. There were no word processors or printing presses. Copying a book was a long, tedious effort and the expense was costly. This in itself points to the significance of the Bible as literature.
By contrast, there have been many books that have been written but which have not survived. Archaeology has uncovered many ancient writings, but many more are forever lost to us.
Of those books that have survived, many of the extant manuscripts are highly questionable.
Time Span Between original & Copies
Number of Copies
Writings of Plato
Julius Caesarís Gallic Wars
On the other hand, the Bible can be verified by literally thousands of manuscripts, portions of which can be dated a hundred or more years before the birth of Christ. This means that the authenticity of the Bible is the most attested in all of history.
When the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in 1948, they demonstrated that the Bible had not significantly changed in a thousand years of being copied and recopied.
2. Survival through Persecution.
The Bible has come to us through a history of intense persecution. From the days of the Roman emperors to the advent of atheistic communism to a strangling intolerance of the Muslim world, there have been those who outlawed the Bible and who have attempted to obliterate the Word of God.
Voltaire, the famous French unbeliever predicted that within one hundred years of his day Christianity would cease to exist and the Bible would be a forgotten relic of the past. A hundred years later, the Geneva Bible Society was using his house and his printing press to produce Bibles.
3. Survival in Translations.
The Bible has also survived through translations. In addition to the original Greek and Hebrew texts, there have been thousands of translations made of the Bible into other languages.
The earliest recorded translation was the Septuagint. This was a translation of the Hebrew Old Testament into Greek, the universal language of that day.
Since that time, portions of the Bible have been translated into over a thousand different languages. Almost every tribe and nation on earth has had the word of God translated into its own language.
The Bible has withstood the ravages of time. It has endured persecution. It has overcome the barrier of language. It is the unique book.
THE SUPERNATURAL TEACHINGS OF THE BIBLE
The Bible is unique in its teachings. The truths that it contains give evidence of the fact that it is from God.
1. Prophetic Accuracy.
One of the most outstanding evidences of the supernatural origins of the Bible is in the area of its fulfilled prophecies. The Lord presents this challenge to anyone who would question His existence or His power.
3I declared the former things long ago
And they went forth from My mouth, and I proclaimed them.
Suddenly I acted, and they came to pass.
4Because I know that you are obstinate,
And your neck is an iron sinew,
And your forehead bronze,
5Therefore I declared them to you long ago,
Before they took place I proclaimed them to you,
Lest you should say, "My idol has done them,
And my graven image and my molten image have commanded them."
6You have heard; look at all this.
And you, will you not declare it?
I proclaim to you new things from this time,
Even hidden things which you have not known. (Isaiah 48:3-6).
The Lord says that He has proclaimed what is going to take place in the future so that, when these things happen, we will know that it was God who brought them about.
No other religion can point to a book that is full of fulfilled prophecies that have come to pass with complete accuracy. The Koran does not contain hundreds of prophecies about Mohammed. The Hindu Vita does not accurately predict the rise and fall of nations. The writings of Confucius make no claim to supernatural knowledge. The predictions made by Karl Marx in his Communist Manifesto have failed to come to pass. The Bible stands in startling contrast by presenting hundreds of prophecies that have been fulfilled to the letter.
Modern soothsayers and seers have been remarkable only in their failure to attain to such a standard of accuracy.
In contrast, the distinctive mark of Godís prophecies have been that they are completely accurate in their fulfillments. This is an obvious evidence of the supernatural origins of the Bible.
2. Historical Accuracy.
Over the past 200 years there have been many liberal scholars who have ridiculed the Bible as an ancient fairy tale with no basis in truth. Discoveries of modern archaeology continue to mitigate against such ridicule.
The excessive scepticism shown toward the Bible by important historical schools of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, certain phases of which still appear periodically, has been progressively discredited. Discovery after discovery has established the accuracy of innumerable details, and has brought increased recognition to the value of the Bible as a source of history. (William F. Albright; The Archaeology of Palestine, 1960).
It was only in the 1990's that some archaeologists were adamant in their teaching that David and Solomon were only figures of mythology and had no basis in reality. Then within a period of ten years, there were discovered four different inscriptions that mentioned the name of David in a context that pointed to his kingship.
Historians have often had to change their views to match the findings of archaeology. Textbooks on ancient history that were written a hundred years ago can no longer be used because they have proven to be in error. But the Bible has needed no such update. It has retained its historical accuracy in the face of tremendous opposition by liberal scholarship.
3. Scientific Accuracy.
This is probably one of the harshest attacks against the Bible. It is charged that "the Bible does not agree with science!" But we must then ask the question, "With which science does the Bible disagree? Is it the science of Plato and Aristotle? Or is it the science of the Dark Ages? Is it the science of 20 or 30 years ago?"
The truth is that science is always changing. Science is always findings itself in need of an update. As time passes, its errors are uncovered and so it is constantly in need of correction.
The Bible is not like science. It has existed for 2000 years without any need of revision or correction. It has stood the test of time. It is as accurate today as it was in the day when it was penned. It speaks of the circular nature of the world and the fact that it is hung in space in a day when "modern science" taught something quite different.
Modern science has changed. The Bible has needed no change. The accuracy that the Bible exhibits when it does mention data within the realm of science bears evidence to the fact that it is the word of God.
4. The Revealing Nature of the Bible.
The Bible is known for its revealing nature. It is graphically vivid in its recording of the truth. It teaches that which would otherwise be unknowable with the same authority of that which is common knowledge.
At the same time, the Bible is not prejudiced in favor of man. It presents man as he really is. Man if pictured in all of his sinfulness and his weakness and his continuing unfaithfulness.
Davidís sin with Bathsheba.
Lotís failure at Sodom.
The lack of faith of the disciples of Jesus.
All of these and more are described with complete frankness. In contrast to this dark view of the nature of man is the righteous character of God.
It has been said that man would not write this kind of book if he could and could not write this kind of book if he would.
The moral standards of the Bible are nothing short of absolute perfection. The ethics set forth in the Sermon on the Mount are unsurpassed. And yet, if the Bible is not truly from God, then it is a book of outright lies and hoaxes as it attempts to pass itself off as divine revelation.
You cannot accept the Bible as a mere "good book." It is either the truth of God or else it is the lie of Satan. It is either the greatest good or else it is the most malevolent evil ever penned. There is no middle ground. Its claims are too specific. You must either believe it as the greatest and most wonderful treasure or else you must discard it with yesterdayís garbage.
THE SUPERNATURAL INFLUENCE OF THE BIBLE
The Bible has changed the lives of men and women as no other book ever has. It may be argued that this kind of evidence is very subjective. But we have already seen that the Christian has an objective reality to back up his subjective experience.
In his book, Evidence that Demands a Verdict, Josh McDowell gives this illustration:
A student comes into the room and says, "Guys, I have a stewed tomato in my right tennis shoe. This tomato has changed my life. It has given me a peace and love and joy that I never experienced before, not only that, but I can run the 100 yard dash in 10 seconds flat.
It is hard to argue with a student like that if his life backs up what he says (especially if he runs circles around you on the track).
The point is well made. A subjective experience can provide evidence for an objective reality.
Have you experienced the work of God in your life? Have you placed your faith in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, trusting in Him alone and recognizing Him as the perfect sacrifice who died upon the cross in your place, taking the guilt of your sins upon Himself?
He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (John 3:18).
This is where Biblical Christianity departs from every major religion of the world. They invariably point to something that you must do in order to earn and deserve Godís favor. The Bible teaches that the work of salvation has been done on your behalf. He is the Savior who saves. Trust and rest in Him alone.