‘Is the Bible The Word of God?’ This was a question that bombarded my brain after someone asked me to prove why it is His word and not just accounts of humans finding a deity. He asked me why it contains errors, why God contradicts himself and why the perfect, sovereign God allows a book that He says is His word has many revelations of Him and of Christian living?
I have read vast about the accuracy of the Bible to try and debunk the myth that the Bible is
- Contradicts itself and
- Is not the word of God
Ravi Zacharias, a reknowned Christian apologetic says that no book has ever been scrutinized than the Bible in history. It is not just an idea but a supernatural book. He continues to say that one should ask themselves, “How do I know it is not true? Give a series of contradictions, falsify it.”
The 66 books of the Bible was written by nearly 40 authors over a period of 1500 years. “The Bible is a very distinctive piece of literature to any other religious piece of scripture,” Ravi says. Most people have compared the Bible to the Koran in their flaw finding mission. Ravi states that the Bible is incomparable to the Koran. “Any muslim would tell you that the Koran is perfect and that is the perfect revelation of Allah, it is the perfect expression of Allah himself as dictated to Mohammed who recited it.” He says.
“The Bible as we know it doesn’t affirm that verbal perfection. I myself have a great deal of difficulty with verbal perfection.” – Ravi Zacharias
So how do we address the issue of bias in the Bible?
Many people say that the Bible is biased and that cannot be trusted. Others say it contradicts itself famously by the question, ‘Who first saw Jesus after resurrection’ as denoted in Matt 28:9; Mark 16:9; Luke 24:15-18; John 20:14; 1 Cor 15:3-5. According to the Resurrection Chronology it is evident that the Bible doesn’t contradict itself on who first saw Jesus. The fact that the apostles give different occurrences of the same doesn’t mean that what they say is contradictory. The books of the Bible are explicitly stated, “Gospel according” to Mark, Matthew, Luke etc. Why the Bible?
“Unity of belief doesn’t necessarily mean uniformity of expression” – Ravi Zacharias
Many people disapprove the Bible by saying it is just accounts of people trying to find meaning in a deity. Of the harshest topics discussed is the biasness of the writers. They ask why the New Testament writers were biased on what they wrote though we say they are inspired. We ought to know that these writers were biased towards honesty and truth–not deceit. Licona states that:
Each biographer usually had an agenda in writing. Accordingly, they attempted to persuade readers to a certain way of political, philosophical, moral, or religious thinking about the subject. Just as with many contemporary historical Jesus scholars, persuasion and factual integrity were not viewed as being mutually exclusive. It was not an either/or but a both.
However we also ought to understand that not every word in the Bible was spoken from God. Scripture records the speech of hundreds of different people. Some of them spoke for God and some of them said things that were contrary to the truth of God (1 Kings 13:17-18, Jeremiah 14:14, Ezekiel 13:9). The context must determine whether something in Scripture is a Word from God or the mere words of humans.
The Christian church has not invented the claim that the Bible is the Word of God-it is the claim of the Bible itself. Some thirty-eight hundred times the Bible declares, “God said,” or “Thus says the Lord.” – www.blueletterbible.org
How then do we know that the Bible in Infallible? How does it in itself claim to be the word of God yet God doesn’t speak all through the scripture?
Discovered in 1475 by Copernicus, astronomers found that the earth hangs literally on nothing, or is free floating in space. The book of Job was written between the 7th and 4th centuries BCE yet we see Job understanding that the world is round.
The Truth of the Word of God tells us that God “hangeth the earth upon nothing” (Job 26:7). How did Job know that the earth hung in space before the age of modern astronomy and space travel? The Holy Spirit told him. – www.blueletterbible.org
The book of Isaiah was written sometime between 740 and 680 B.C. This is at least 300 years before Aristotle suggested, in his book On the Heavens, that the earth might be a sphere. But he says:
Isaiah 40:22 “It is he that sits upon the circle of the earth”
The word ‘circle’ in this verse is translated from a Hebrew word ‘chuwg’ that denotes a ‘compass’ or ‘circuit’ and indicates something spherical, rounded, or arched and not something that is flat or square.
The Bible also adheres to meterological laws when it describes a ‘cycle’ of air currents even before scientists discovered them.
“The wind goes toward the south, and turns about unto the north; it whirls about continually, and the wind returns again according to his circuits” (Ecclesiastes 1:6).
There are tons of other scientific accuracies that can be found here.
Ravi Zacharias gives an example from the book of Daniel which was written 500 years BC which talks about how a massive empire will come into being. It talks of how it will be led by a strong leader from the west who will be marching several nations on the foot but will suddenly be cut off from his empire which will be divided into four. Those four empires emerge into two and the two emerge into one. He continues to say that if you put this proforma onto Alexander the great in 300BC you see Alexander suddenly cut off in his 20s. Four kingdoms emerge given to his four generals, those four come to the two which come up to form the the Roman Empire.
Ravi gives another example of Prophet Zechariah who talks about the crucifixion of Jesus that came to pass.
“They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son.” (Zechariah 12:10)
BlueLetterBible emphasizes the prophesy by stating:
Did you know the Bible is the only book in the world that has accurate prophecy? When you read the prophecies of the Bible, you simply have to stand back in awe. There are over 300 precise prophecies that deal with the Lord Jesus Christ in the Old Testament that are fulfilled in the New Testament. To say that these are fulfilled by chance is an astronomical impossibility. Not only was it foretold where He would be born and His lineage, but also how He would die and that He would rise again. There simply is no logical way to explain the fulfilled prophecies in the Bible other than by divine origin.
It is also key to note that there are over 300 prophecies about Jesus in the old testament that were fulfilled in the new testament.
The following in an excerpt from www.christiancourier.com
(1) During His personal ministry, Jesus once passed through the region of Samaria. Near Sychar, the Lord stopped for a brief rest at Jacob’s well. He engaged a Samaritan woman in conversation, during which He suggested that He could provide the woman with water that could perpetually quench her thirst. Misunderstanding the nature of the Master’s instruction, the woman, alluding to Jacob’s well, declared: “Sir, you have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep” (Jn. 4:11). The statement is quite correct, for even now, some twenty centuries later, Jacob’s well is approximately 80 feet deep — the equivalent of an eight-story building!
(2) Reflect upon another example. In Acts 10 there is the account of Peter’s visit in the city of Joppa. Luke declared that Peter was staying in the home of Simon, a tanner of animal hides. Then the historian said, almost as an afterthought, “whose house is by the seaside” (Acts 10:6). Hugh J. Schonfield, author of the infamous book, The Passover Plot (and certainly no friend of Christianity), has commented on this passage as follows:
“This is an interesting factual detail, because the tanners used sea water in the process of converting hides into leather. The skins were soaked in the sea and then treated with lime before the hair was scraped of” (The Bible Was Right, New York: The New American Library, 1959, p. 98).
(3) Consider another interesting case of Bible precision. When Paul was en route to Rome for trial, the ship upon which he sailed became involved in a terrible storm. When it eventually became apparent that the vessel was in a very dangerous circumstance, the crew cast the ship’s anchors into the water. At the same time, they “loosed the rudder bands, hoisted up the foresail, and aimed the ship towards the beach” (Acts 27:40 KJV).
There is an interesting and subtle point in the Greek text that is not apparent in the King James Version. The original language actually says that they “loosed the bands of the rudders” (plural – see ASV). This is amazingly precise, for in ancient times, ships actually possessed two paddle-rudders, not a single rudder as with modern vessels. In 1969, a submerged ancient ship was discovered in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Cyprus. An examination of the ruins gave evidence of dual rudder-oars by which the boat was steered (see National Geographic, November 1974), thus demonstrating the remarkable accuracy of Luke’s record.
The Bible can be tested — historically, geographically, scientifically, etc. And it always passes the test. Its incredible accuracy can be explained only in light of its divine inspiration.
Evidence in the Bible
So what evidence in the Bible states that the Bible is true?
God’s Words Are Infallible – The words of God, as recorded in the Bible, are an infallible guide to humanity. Moses wrote.
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)
They Are Eternal And Unchanging – The Word of God is eternal and unchanging. Isaiah wrote.
The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever (Isaiah 40:8).
The psalmist said.
Forever, O Lord, your word is settled in heaven (Psalm 119:89).
God’s Words Are True – The Old Testament records things that are true. The psalmist wrote.
The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul (Psalm 19:7).
The psalmist also wrote.
Your law is truth (Psalm 119:142).
We Are Not To Add Or Subtract To God’s Word – Because the Old Testament is the Word of the Lord people were not to add or subtract from it. The Lord said.
See that you do all I command you; do not add to it or take away from it (Deuteronomy 12:32).
Jesus’ Words Are Eternal – Jesus said His words were everlasting:
Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will by no means pass away (Matthew 24:35).
His Words Were Given By God The Father – When Jesus prayed to God the Father, He said that His words were the words that God the Father had given Him.
For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me (John 17:8).
His Words Were True – Jesus also affirmed that God’s Word is true in all that it says. He prayed to God the Father.
Sanctify them by your truth. Your word is truth (John 17:17).
So how do we finally know that the Bible is true? Ravi says that unity of belief doesn’t necessarily mean uniformity of expression.
We need to measure the interpretation by the facts of the texts that they are interpreting that’s how you check against the referent. We don’t have one statement extent ever written to us by Socrates. We think he said all those things because Plato tells us that. The difference between what Homer wrote and the first extent copy is over a thousand years. The bible is the lone document we have that within a century of its articulation of these major truths we have extent copies and by the first 300 years we have a complete corpus of material of the old and the new testament.
Have any questions? Have compelling evidence that the Bible is not the word of God? Think the Bible is contradictory and cannot be relied upon? Kindly respond in the comments section below.