Is the Bible truly God’s Word? Our answer to this question will not only determine how we view the Bible and its importance to our lives, but also ultimately will have an eternal impact on us.
What is the canon of Scripture? The basis of Christianity is found in the authority of Scripture. If we can’t identify what is Scripture, then we can’t properly distinguish any theological truth from error.
What does it mean that the Bible is inspired? While there are different views as to what extent the Bible is inspired, there can be no doubt that the Bible itself claims that every word, in every part of the Bible, is inspired by God (1 Corinthians 2:12-13; 2 Timothy 3:16-17).
Does the Bible contain errors, contradictions, or discrepancies? If you read the Bible, at face value, without a preconceived bias for finding errors - you will find it to be a coherent, consistent, and relatively easy-to-understand book.
Is there proof for the inspiration of the Bible? Among the proofs for the divine inspiration of the Bible are fulfilled prophecy, the unity of Scripture, and the support of archeological findings. Its most important proof, however, is in the lives of those who read it, believe it, and live according to its precepts.
Bibliology teaches us that the Bible is inspired, meaning it is "breathed out" by God. A proper Bibliology holds to the inerrancy of Scripture—that the Bible does not contain any errors, contradictions, or discrepancies. A solid Bibliology helps us to understand how God used the personalities and styles of the human authors of Scripture and still produced His Word and exactly what He wanted to be said. Bibliology enables us to know why other books were excluded from the Bible. For the Christian, the Bible is life itself. Its pages are filled with the very Spirit of God, revealing His heart and mind to us. What a wonderful and gracious God we have! He could have left us to struggle through life with no help at all, but He gave His Word to guide us, truly a "lamp to my feet and a light to my path" (Psalm 119:105).
A key Scripture on Bibliology is 2 Timothy 3:16-17, "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."
The fact that God gave us the Bible is an evidence of His love for us. God communicated to mankind what He is like and how we can have a right relationship with Him. These are things that we could not have known had God not divinely revealed them to us in the Bible. The Bible contains everything mankind needs to know about God in order to have a right relationship with Him.
How can we know that the Bible is the Word of God and not just a good book? What is unique about the Bible that sets it apart from all other books ever written? Is there any evidence that the Bible is truly God’s Word? These types of questions must be seriously examined. There can be no doubt that the Bible does claim to be the Word of God. This is seen in Paul’s commendation to Timothy: “From infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:15–17).
There are both internal and external evidences that the Bible is truly God’s Word.
Internal Evidence that the Bible is God’s Word
Internal evidences are those things within the Bible that testify of its divine origin. One internal evidence that the Bible is truly God’s Word is its unity. Even though it is really sixty-six individual books, written on three continents, in three different languages, over a period of approximately 1,500 years, by more than 40 authors who came from many walks of life, the Bible remains one unified book from beginning to end without contradiction. This unity is unique from all other books and is evidence of the divine origin of the words that God moved men to record.
Another internal evidence that indicates the Bible is truly God’s Word is prophecy. The Bible contains hundreds of detailed prophecies relating to the future of various nations, certain cities, and all mankind. Other prophecies concern the coming of the Messiah, the Savior of all who would believe in Him. Unlike the prophecies found in other religious books or those by men such as Nostradamus, biblical prophecies are extremely detailed. There are over three hundred prophecies concerning Jesus Christ in the Old Testament. Not only was His lineage foretold and where He would be born, 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 citing divine origin. There is no other religious book with the amount of detailed predictive prophecy the Bible contains.
A third internal evidence of the divine origin of the Bible is its unique authority and power. While this evidence is more subjective than the first two, it is no less a powerful testimony that the Bible is God’s Word. The Bible’s authority is unlike that of any other book ever written. This power is seen in the way countless lives have been supernaturally transformed. Drug addicts have been cured by it, homosexuals set free by it, derelicts and deadbeats transformed by it, hardened criminals reformed by it, sinners rebuked by it, and hate turned to love by it. The Bible does possess a dynamic and transforming power that is only possible because it is truly God’s Word.
External Evidence that the Bible is God’s Word
There are also external evidences that indicate the Bible is truly the Word of God. One is the historicity of the Bible. Because the Bible details historical events, its accuracy is subject to verification like any other historical document. Through archaeological evidence and extrabiblical writings, the historical accounts of the Bible proved time and again to be accurate and true. In fact, all the archaeological and manuscript evidence supporting the Bible makes it the best-documented book from the ancient world. That the Bible accurately records historically verifiable events helps substantiate its claim to be the very Word of God and supports trust concerning other matters the Bible addresses.
Another external evidence that the Bible is truly God’s Word is the integrity of its human authors. In studying the lives of the authors of Scripture, we find them to be honest and sincere. The fact that they were willing to die often excruciating deaths for what they believed testifies that these men truly believed God had spoken to them. The men who wrote the New Testament and many hundreds of other believers (1 Corinthians 15:6) knew the truth of their message because they had spent time with Jesus Christ after He had risen from the dead. Seeing the risen Christ had a tremendous impact on them. They went from hiding in fear to being willing to die for the message God had revealed to them. Their lives and deaths testify to the fact that the Bible truly is God’s Word.
Another external evidence that the Bible is truly God’s Word is the indestructibility of the Bible. The Bible has suffered more vicious attacks and attempts to destroy it than any other book in history. From early Roman Emperors like Diocletian, through communist dictators and on to modern-day atheists, the Bible has withstood a constant onslaught from detractors. Yet it endures and is still today the most widely published book in the world.
Throughout history, skeptics have regarded the Bible as mythological, but archaeology has confirmed it as historical. Opponents have attacked its teaching as primitive and outdated, but its moral and legal concepts have had a positive influence on societies throughout the world. It continues to be attacked by pseudo-science, psychology, and political movements, yet it remains just as true and relevant today as it was when it was first written. This should not surprise us. After all, Jesus said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away” (Mark 13:31).
The Bible, unique among books, has transformed countless lives and swayed whole cultures. After looking at the evidence, one can say without a doubt that God has spoken and that, yes, the Bible is truly God’s Word.
Here are some evidences that the Bible is inspired (God-breathed), as declared in 2 Timothy 3:16:
1) Fulfilled prophecy. God spoke to men telling them of things He would bring about in the future. Some of them have already occurred. Others have not. For example, the Old Testament contains more than 300 prophecies concerning Jesus Christ’s first coming. There is no doubt that these are prophecies from God because of manuscripts dated from before the birth of Christ. These were not written after the fact but beforehand.
2) The unity of Scripture. The Bible was written by approximately 40 human authors over a period of approximately 1,600 years. These men were quite diverse. Moses, was a political leader; Joshua, a military leader; David, a shepherd; Solomon, a king; Amos, a herdsman and fruit picker; Daniel, a prime minister; Matthew, a tax collector; Luke, a medical doctor; Paul, a rabbi; and Peter, a fisherman; among others. The Bible was also written under a variety of circumstances. It was written on 3 different continents, Europe, Asia, and Africa. Yet, the great themes of Scripture are maintained in all the writings. The Bible does not contradict itself. There is no way, apart from God the Holy Spirit supervising the writing of the Bible, that this could have been accomplished.
Contrast this with the Islamic Qur’an. It was compiled by one individual, Zaid bin Thabit, under the guidance of Mohammed’s father-in-law, Abu-Bekr. Then, in A.D. 650, a group of Arab scholars produced a unified version and destroyed all variant copies to preserve the unity of the Qur’an. The Bible was unified from the time of its writing. The Qur’an had unity forced upon it by human editors.
3) The Bible presents its heroes truthfully with all of their faults and weaknesses. It does not glorify men as other religions do their heroes. Reading the Bible, one realizes that the people it describes have problems and do wrong just as we do. What made the heroes of the Bible great was that they trusted in God. One example is David, who is described as “a man after God’s own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14). Yet, David committed adultery (2 Samuel 11:1-5) and murder (2 Samuel 11:14-26). This information could have easily been omitted from Scripture, but the God of truth included it.
4) Archaeological findings support the history recorded in Scripture. Though many unbelievers throughout history have tried to find archaeological evidence to disprove what is recorded in the Bible, they have failed. It is easy to say that Scripture is untrue. Proving it to be untrue is another matter. In fact, it has not been done. In the past, every time the Bible contradicted a current “scientific” theory, the Bible was proven later to be true and the scientific theory wrong. A good example is Isaiah 40:22. All the while that science declared the earth to be flat, the Bible stated that God “sits on the circle [sphere] of the earth.”
The Bible’s claims of being from God should not be understood as circular reasoning. The testimony of reliable witnesses—particularly Jesus, but also Moses, Joshua, David, Daniel, and Nehemiah in the Old Testament, and John and Paul in the New Testament—affirms the authority and verbal inspiration of the Holy Scriptures. Consider the following passages: Exodus 14:1; 20:1; Leviticus 4:1; Numbers 4:1;Deuteronomy 4:2; 32:48; Isaiah 1:10, 24; Jeremiah 1:11; Jeremiah 11:1–3; Ezekiel 1:3; 1 Corinthians 14:37; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Peter 1:16–21; 1 John 4:6.
Also of interest are the writings of Titus Flavius Josephus, a Jewish historian who wrote during the first century A.D. Josephus records some events which coincide with Scripture. Considering the evidence given, we wholeheartedly accept the Bible as being from God (2 Timothy 3:16).