The Bible is Gods manual for living. It is inspired, not by human genius like the works of Shakespeare, Tennyson or Handel, but divinely inspired. We believe in the verbal (every word) and the plenary (free from error) inspiration of Scripture, as given to the prophets and apostles in the original languages. Thanks to the meticulous and painstaking care of scribes and translators, the general reader can have confidence in our English mainstream versions, particularly the King James Version. "The word of God liveth and abideth forever" (1 Pet 1.23) - divine authority and inspiration is stamped on every page. In this simple outline of the subject we will let the Bible speak for itself; it needs no external proof - it is its own interpreter.
A library of 66 books with different authors, at different times (written over a period of 1,600 years), with different occupations and social status, covering history, biography, poetry, typology, theology, morality and prophecy, the Bible is unique as literature. But it is more it is a progressive and consistent revelation of God in creation, redemption, principles, precepts and prophecy. The Old Testament is like the first half of a sentence, while the New Testament completes the sentence: "the New is in the Old concealed, the Old is in the New revealed". There is an integrated unity in the Holy Scriptures; they speak everywhere with one voice, and they never contradict themselves. Scripture, properly understood, is consistent in its histories, prophecies and doctrines (of God, man, sin, salvation, judgment). The doctrines of Scripture are beyond the scope of human reason and imagination - they could only be made known by divine revelation: "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man " (1 Cor 2.9); "The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever" (Deut 29.29).
Christ is the supreme authority in all spiritual matters. When I was converted I knew little about the Bible, but I could say, "One thing I know" (Jn 9.25), that Christ was the Son of God. This great fact settled many of my early so-called intellectual problems. He who is the Truth accepted without question the Scriptures as the Word of God. "O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself"; again, "all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses and in the prophets, and in the psalms" (Lk 24.25,27,44). He constantly referred to Old Testament Scripture as the final court of appeal using the phrase, "it is written". As for the New Testament, the Lord affirmed its inspiration by the Holy Spirit: "he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance...and he will shew you things to come" (Jn 14.26; 16.13). Of His own words He said, "Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away" (Lk 21.33); there is more foundation for our faith than for our feet!
The Bible itself claims to be divinely inspired. It is full of expressions like, "thus saith the Lord"; "God spake all these words, saying "; "spoken by the Lord"; "the word of the Lord came unto me"; "hear the word of the Lord"; "the Spirit of the Lord spake by me, and his word was in my tongue"; "the things that I write are the commandments of the Lord". Hebrews 1.1 confirms such claims: "God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son". Verses 5-14 that follow declare that they are the words of God!
There are also definite statements of inspiration. "All scripture is given by inspiration of God" (2 Tim 3.16); literally "God breathed", indicating that the very words proceed out of the mouth of God, they are warm and vibrant with His breath (see Mt 4.4). Again, "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" (2 Pet 1.21). The words are inspired, not merely the thoughts. Consider: "I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me" (Jn 17.8); "words which the Holy Ghost teacheth" (1 Cor 2.13); "the form of sound words" (2 Tim 1.13).
The Bible is Gods full and final revelation to men. There are solemn warnings not to add or take away anything from this divine book: for example: "Ye shall not add unto the word neither shall ye diminish ought from it" (Deut 4.2), and see also Proverbs 30.6 and Revelation 22.18-19. The Scriptures are complete and inviolable, as affirmed by the Lord Jesus Himself: "the scripture cannot be broken" (Jn 10.35); they cannot be reinterpreted to suit the notions and sins of a modern society. The following details help to bear out the completeness of Scripture.
Important doctrines are confirmed by the tense, gender or number of a word: for example, note the present tense of the verb in John 8.58 - "before Abraham was, I am" ("I was" would be grammatically correct, but "I am" is doctrinally correct), and in Matthew 22.32 "I am the God of Abraham...God is not the God of the dead but of the living". The singular, not plural, is essential in Galatians 3.16: "He saith not, and to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ". The Lord even stressed (Mt 5.18) the importance of every "jot" (the smallest letter) and "tittle" (the small point used to distinguish between letters).
Note also the significance of silences in Scripture e.g. the reference to Melchisedec in Hebrews 7.3. It has been well said that the silences of Scripture, like the pauses in music, add to its harmony.
Another remarkable feature is that careful details of events and time marks are often recorded - the time of day, the day, month and year are all specified. Another feature is the diversity and variety of characters described and the multitude of names and lengthy genealogies. This realism and attention to detail is credible and valid evidence of the historicity, accuracy and veracity of the Bible.
The writers did not act as secretaries mechanically recording the words. God used their distinct personalities and human feelings. Thus the divine and human are combined to produce the infallible Word of God. These writers did not always understand the things they had written (see Dan 12.8-9; 1 Pet 1.10-11); they were thus conscious of divine inspiration that overruled their human fallibility.
The existence of the Bible is a miracle. It has survived the scrutiny of the ages, and of the wise and learned, and has triumphed over its deadly opponents who have unsuccessfully tried to distort, deny and destroy it. Millions of lives have been changed and blessed through its pages, good laws were based upon it, and it has inspired education, medicine, charities and many of the good things in society. Men have suffered and died in its cause. Written mainly in Hebrew and Greek, languages which are precise and constant, the Bible converts, cleanses, consecrates, commands, and comforts. The divine signature appears on every page; it is well described as "the impregnable rock of Holy Scripture" (Gladstone). The Bible gives meaning to the past, guidance for the present, and hope for the future; it is the "Wonderful Word of God"!
"Thy word is settled in heaven" (Ps 119.89)
How do we know the sun is shining? We see its light and feel its warmth! So the divine Word sheds its rays and beams which lighten our eyes, warm our hearts, and change our lives.