by Deaconess Pat Haynes
This blog is about Bible Basics ~ what every Christian Believer ought to know. I am writing this blog to the women of our church family who may not be attending our ongoing Women Bible Study (WBS). I am aware that there may be several reasons not to attend a WBS. It may be time, or you may feel you don’t know your bible well enough or maybe you had a negative experience with study groups. Whatever the reason, I would like to encourage you to try to make it a priority to find time to attend a regular study because bible study isn’t about how much you know, it’s about how much you grow. Furthermore, our WBS is a loving, caring and safe environment – whatever is shared in WBS stays in WBS.
When we discuss Bible Basics a good starting place for every Christian is to have an understanding about the authority of the Bible. How do I know that the Bible is truly God’s Word? There are several reasons why it is so important that as a Christian you know, without a doubt, that the Bible is the Word of God. First, it is important because your salvation depends on your understanding the gospel message of the Bible. Second, because your assurance depends on resting in the truth of His Word. Third, your spiritual growth depends on your living by the principles set forth in the Bible. And finally, your effectiveness as a witness depends on the confidence you have in the Word of God. So, you see it is very important that you and I are certain that the Bible is the Word of God. The Bible is unlike any book ever written – it is not just another book, or the book of the month – it is the book of the Ages. The Bible will never change – it is “Absolute Truth”. You might ask, how can one be so sure ~ let’s look at a few ways. We can trust the Bible to be the Word of God because of its scientific accuracy; historical truthfulness; wonderful unity and transformative power; and fulfilled prophecy.
Let’s discuss the first of these – the scientific accuracy. When we look at science, we would have to agree that it is ever advancing. What was accepted in science yesterday is not necessarily the science of today. There is a library in the Louvre in Paris that is reported to have three and a half miles of books on science. Most every one of those books today is obsolete as new discoveries have been made and knowledge advanced. The point is science is ever changing but God’s Word will never change. Once upon a time, long ago people thought the world was flat. Do you remember saying in school, “In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue”? People warned Columbus to be careful or he might sail off the edge of the earth. Even as late as 1492, people thought the earth was flat. Yet Isaiah, in 750 BC, said, “He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers” (Isa 40:22). The word for circle in Hebrew is chuwg, which means “globe or sphere,”. How did Isaiah know 750 years before Christ that the Earth is round? Scripture says “For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit (2 Pet 1:21).
Now let’s consider the Bible’s historical accuracy. In the book of Daniel there is a story about handwriting on the wall. King Belshazzar saw handwriting on the wall during a feast he gave for a thousand of his Lords and Ladies. The handwriting wasn’t good news. You may remember the story. However, some scholars laughed at the story and called it a fabrication that never happened because there are records of the ancient Babylonians that shows that Belshazzar was not the last king of Babylon. The records showed that the last king of Babylon was named Nabonidus. Well, one day a British archeologist by the name of John George Taylor in 1854 uncovered a cylinder in Southern Iraq that sure enough the name on it was Belshazzar. After more records were uncovered, they showed that the historians were right when they said that Nabonidus was the last King of Babylon, but they were wrong when they said that Belshazzar was not the last King of Babylon. Further records indicated that Nabonidus and Belshazzar were father and son and had ruled together making them both Kings at the same time. Nabonidus was an avid game hunter and was often gone, leaving Belshazzar in charge. Now, recall what the King said to Daniel in Daniel 5:16 concerning the handwriting on the wall….”if you can read this writing and tell me what it means, you will be clothed in purple and a gold chain placed around your neck and you will be made the “third” highest ruler in the Kingdom.” Apparently, it would appear that there were two Rulers already. The fact that the Bible accurately and truthfully records historically verifiable events is an excellent indication of its truthfulness when dealing with doctrines and helps substantiate its claim to be the very Word of God. The Bible has and will always be able to stand the test of time.
Another reason we can know the Bible is the Word of God is its unity. Even though it is sixty-six individual books, written in three different languages, on three continents, over a period of approximately 1500 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. It has one story beginning with Genesis and ending with Revelation. It has one theme – redemption; one hero – the Lord Jesus; one villain – the devil; and one purpose – the glory of God. All of the parts fit together. You will find an amazing interconnectedness within the Word of God. Dr. R. A. Torrey gave a wonderful illustration of what this might look like. He said suppose you decided to build a monument honoring all of the fifty states. Stones are gathered from each state, for example from our state of Washington it might be petrified wood, from Florida it might be coral, from Georgia it might be granite, from Nevada, sandstone and so on, all of the various kinds of stones in different colors from the different states. Now let’s suppose that these stones are cut into different shapes; some are square, some are rectangular, some are cylindrical, some have a pyramid shape and some have shapes that don’t even have a name. Each stone is cut out in the quarry, put in crates and shipped to your city. The workmen begin to put them together and they all interface and all interlock. There is not one stone too many nor one too few. No stone needs to be built up nor does one need to be shaved down. And, when they finished you have a magnificent temple. Would you say that happened by chance? No, probably not, rather, you would have to agree that there would had to have been a master architect who in his mind, could see the building and had sent out the specifications to the quarry. When we get the Bible written over a period of fifteen hundred years, forty different authors, three different languages, by men from all different walks of life and bring it together, it makes one beautiful temple of God’s truth. Nothing needs to be added or taken away or embellished. The unity of the Bible is one of the wonderful proofs of the inspiration of God’s Word – that all Scripture is given by inspiration of God (2 Tim 3:16-17).
Another reason we can know that the Bible is the Word of God is by its unique power to transform. This power is best seen in the way countless lives have been transformed by the supernatural power of God’s Word. You and I may know of drug addicts who have been cured by the Word or homosexuals set free by the Word, derelicts transformed by it, hardened criminals reformed by it, sinners rebuked by it, and hate turned to love by it. The Bible possesses a transforming power that is only possible because it is truly God’s Word.
Still another reason we can believe that the Bible is the Word of God is fulfilled prophecy. The Bible contains hundreds of detailed prophecies relating to the future of individual nations, certain cities, and mankind. Prophecies concerning the coming of the One who would be the Messiah, the Savior of all who would believe in Him. In Micah 5:2 we read about a promised ruler from Bethlehem and then read about it being fulfilled in Matthew 2:1-5. In Isaiah chapters 7, 9 and 53 scripture talks about Jesus seven hundred years before He was born. And in Psalm 22 written by David ten centuries before the birth of Jesus we read a description of the crucifixion of Jesus almost as if David was standing at the foot of the cross. The Psalm tells about the piercing of His hands and feet, the gambling for His garments, the very words that Jesus would say upon the cross. This is amazing Jesus wasn’t looking back and quoting David, rather, David was looking forward and quoting Jesus. This one Psalm contains thirty-three direct prophecies that were fulfilled at Calvary, yet it was written a thousand years before the birth of Christ. And even more amazing is that in David’s time the form of capital punishment by the Jews was stoning not crucifixion. The Romans had not come into power yet. Crucifixion was a Roman thing yet Psalm 22 describes it. The Bible prophesied all of this in Isaiah 53:9-12, and it was fulfilled as recorded in Matthew 27. The Bible prophesied that Judas would betray Jesus for exactly thirty pieces of silver in Zechariah 11:12. We read about the fulfillment in Matthew 26:15. In Matthew 26:56 scripture reads “But this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Fulfilled prophecy is an incredible proof of the inspiration of the Bible.
Our Bible has withstood more 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 and agnostics, the Bible has outlasted all of its attackers and is still today the most widely published book in the world. The Bible remains just as true and relevant today as it was when it was first written. It has transformed countless lives and cultures throughout the last 2000 years. No matter how its opponents try to attack, destroy or discredit it, the Bible remains; its impact on lives is unmistakable. The accuracy which has been preserved despite attempts to corrupt, attack or destroy it is clear testimony to the fact that the Bible is truly God’s Word and is supernaturally protected by Him. After all, Jesus did say, “Heaven and earth will past away, but my words will never pass away.” (Mark 13:31). I believe ~ what about you?
In our next blog we will discuss our “Assurance of Salvation”. How do we know for sure we are saved? Is it true “once saved always saved?” Look for it mid-March – until then, May God richly bless you with His peace.
All scripture taken from NIV unless otherwise noted.