|"A GREAT RETURN TO THE BIBLE" |
by Dr Pence Dacus
(Church History Correspondence Course)
THE BIBLE IS THE WORD OF GOD
Our first lesson was on the nature and existence of God. Today, we will discuss the topic -- the Bible -- the Word of God.
The Bible says, "... he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him" (Heb. 11:6). It is this part (that He is a rewarder) that man wants to know more about. As a creature who begins dying the day he is born, man has some unsettled "longings" which are his by nature. Unlike the animals, he possesses a love for life and the dread of death. His natural questions are: Why am I here? Where did I come from? Where am I going? He does not find the answer in Pantheism (nature worship) which only makes a god out of self. Epicureanism (pleasure is the only good) and Stoicism (ascetic living is the way to happiness) are fatalistic. Theism presents a God of indifference. So man rushes on towards the grave, wanting to live, certain of death, his searching questions unanswered. But, God having made man a creature of moral qualities, will surely not leave him alone to seek his own instructions as to how to use them.
Most people who know the Bible and its teaching want to believe it. They realize they will die some day and knowing this they would like to think they will live again. The Bible tells men they will live again and that the next life can be far better than the present one. With these comforting thoughts, the dread and fear of death is greatly decreased. But, wanting to believe something is insufficient grounds for believing it. The believer is often asked, "When proof do you have that the Bible is a book from God? He may answer." "I believe by faith." But the problem is to convince the person who has no faith that there is much evidence at his disposal upon which faith can be firmly fixed. True faith is the "Substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" (Heb. 11:1). Thus, it is not blind but rests upon reasonable foundations in many respects.
What the Bible Claims of Itself
*II Timothy 3:16 -- "All scripture is inspired ..."
* II Peter 1:20, 21 -- "... holy men of God spake..."
* Jeremiah 13:1, 14:1 -- "The word of the Lord..." "Thus saith the Lord..."
* Psalms 119:89 -- "Forever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven."
* Psalms 119:160 -- "Thy word is true from the beginning."
* Psalms 119:129 -- "... thy testimonies are wonderful, therefore doth my soul keep them."
* Christ quoted from the Old Testament calling it the Word of God. (John 10:35; Matt. 4:1-10; 5:17, 18). He said He was a fulfillment of the Scriptures.
* New Testament was referred to as Scripture also -- Paul's writing was called Scripture. (II Peter 3:15, 16)
Reasons for Believing the Bible is the Word of God
Because of Its Obvious Origin
The Bible is in the world -- how did it get here? Where did it come from? Men? There are two kinds of men -- those whose basic motives are good and those whose basic motives are bad. Good men would not have written the Bible and made it to lie by having it say, "Thus saith the Lord," if it was strictly their invention. Bad men would not have made a book which commands good duties, forbids sin and condemns their own souls to eternal punishment. Thus, the Bible must have come from another source, a supernatural source -- God.
Because of Its Wonderful Unity
* The Bible comes to us in two major divisions: Old Testament and New Testament. There are 39 books in the Old Testament and 27 in the New Testament. These books were written over a period of approximately 1,600 years by about forty men. Most of them never saw each other, yet there is perfect harmony in all they wrote.
* There is a unity of doctrines concerning sin, salvation, God and man.
* Its unity of purpose is to find man, to befriend man, to benefit man, and to redeem man from sin and death.
* A unity of attitude is always apparent in its not hating man but condemning his sin.
Because of Its Fulfillment of Old Testament Prophecy
|Old Testament Prophecy||Fulfilled|
|1. Babylon to be destroyed -- (at the time it was unbelievable, since Babylon was so powerful).||Jeremiah 51:58; 50:26; Isaiah 19:22||It was destroyed, never again to be inhabited.|
|2. Jerusalem to be destroyed||Deuteronomy 28||It was fulfilled 1500 years later, 70 A.D.|
|3. Jericho to be rebuilt at the cost of the lives of the oldest and youngest sons of the builder.||Joshua 7:26||It happened 500 years later -- I Kings 16:34|
|4. One to come -- despised and rejected of men.||Isaiah 53:3||Jesus, Luke 22:18|
|5. ...........bruised for our iniquities.||Isaiah 53:5||Jesus, Luke 22:63-64|
|6. ...........with His stripes we are healed.||Isaiah 53:5||Jesus, John 19:1-2|
|7. ...........oppressed and afflicted, but silent.||Isaiah 53:7||Jesus, Luke 23:9|
|8. ...........make his grave with the wicked, and with a rich man in his death.||Isaiah 53: 12||Jesus, Luke 23:50-53|
|9. ...........he was numbered with the transgressors.||Isaiah 53:12||Jesus, Mark 15:28|
|10. ..........from the town of Bethlehen.||Micah 5:2||Jesus, Matt. 2:4-6|
|11. ..........to be born of a virgin.||Isaiah 7:14||Jesus, Matt. 1:23-25|
Over 100 such prophecies made in the Old Testament were fulfilled in the New Testament (all of them were at least 400 years old, many over 800 years old, and some over 1,000 years old). These prophecies were fulfilled through the hand of God. Man cannot predict the future and control future events in this manner.
Because Man Unaided Could Not Have Written It.
If the Bible were from men, some man at sometime would have completely mastered its contents. But, the greatest scholars of all ages have failed to do so.
What man has done, man can do again and do a better job next time. If the Bible came from men only, with his past experiences to help him he could produce another one like it, or superior to it. However, history reveals that no one has ever come near duplicating the Bible.
Because of Its Superhuman Impartiality
One of the most significant features of the Bible concerns the unbiased way in which certain facts are set forth. The good and bad qualities of man are revealed. This feature makes it all the more remarkable. What man in writing a book about his own life would publish his mistakes along with his successes?
* Adam sinned and was expelled from his home.
* Noah's intoxication was related with all of its repulsion.
* David's transgression was revealed as an orgy of lust.
* Peter's denial was mentioned as a trait of cowardice.
Because of Its Doctrine of God
Someone has said that the greatest evidence of the truthfulness of the Bible is the Jews (Israelites). The Jews, a peculiar people, were worshippers of one God (monotheism). How do you account for the monotheism of the scriptures? The world of the Israelites was one given to polytheism (worship of many gods), and they had every inducement to become polytheistic worshippers.
The polytheism of the Egyptians was exactly what they made it since they produced it. However, the monotheism of the Jews was not what they made of it since they seldom chose to live by it. Yet, the Israelites followed a monotheistic scripture which constantly condemned them for their idolatry. Thus, the doctrine could not have been an evolvement from the prevalent religious traditions. It must have come from a supernatural source -- God.
Because of Its Accuracy in Relating Topographical and Geographical Information
Accuracy in these things is extremely difficult for writers and travellers to maintain. However, in both the Old Testament and New Testament, the writers are never at fault. When it says, they "went up to Jerusalem", "down to Gaza", "down to Jericho", the statements are in complete accord with geographical requirements of the land.
Because of Its Foreknowledge of Scientific Matters
* In 150 B.C., Hipparchus counted 1022 stars and announced that was all. In 120 A.D., Ptolemy counted 1026 stars. Today, powerful telescopes count over 400, 000, 000 but it is believed by the best authorities that the number exceeds two septillion (too many to count). The Bible has had this information for thousands of years. (See Gen. 15:5 and 22:17).
* It has been proven scientifically that the world is round. Yet, as late as the 15th century many people accepted the view that the world was flat. But, more than 2000 years before man sailed around the world, Biblical writers described the shape of the earth. In Isaiah 40:20, we read: "It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers." Even the man who wrote these words might not have understood the full significance of what he was writing. Now, however, that it has been proved we can see that there is perfect harmony between what God revealed in His word and what man has discovered for himself.
* There have been many strange ideas about the earth's support such as how the earth rested on the back of a giant turtle or the shoulders of Atlas. All the time the Bible said, "He... hangeth the earth upon nothing" (Job 26:7).
* In the north, astronomers have discovered a great empty space with no stars or planets. But, the Bible had the information long ago --" He stretcheth out the north over empty space" (Job 26:7).
Because Archaeology Testifies to Its Credibility
* Skeptics doubted the existence of Sodom and Gomorrah for a long time, but they have been discovered at the bottom of the Dead Sea.
* The walls of Jericho have been found and they did fall outward as the Bible states.
* Skeptics said no such a city as Nineveh ever existed, but its remains have been unearthed.
* In 1872, the Babylonian tablets were found by George Smith of the British Museum. They tell of the Flood and uphold the Bible record. They were dated at 688-626 B.C. There are many other examples of how the archaeologist's spade has provided evidence of the truth and validity of the Bible as a record of human history.
Because of Its Power Over Its Enemies
* Near the close of the 3rd century, the Roman Emperor, Diocletian, launched a relentless attack against the Bible. After two years of burning Bibles and portions of the Bible, he erected a monument on the ashes of a burned Bible, with the inscription, Extincto Nomine Christianorum -- "Extinct is the name Christian." Twenty years later, Constantine asked for copies of the New Testament -- 500 copies were brought out of hiding and presented to him within 24 hours. The Bible and the name Christian have existed 1600 years after Diocletian's death.
* Voltaire, the famous French infidel, boasted that within 100 years the Bible would be a forgotten book. Within 100 years of his death, his home had been turned into a depot for the distribution of Bibles.
* The American agnostic, Robert Ingersoll, once held a Bible in his hand and stated that in "fifteen years he would have that book in the morgue". Within 15 years Ingersoll was dead: but the Bible still lives. (See Matt. 24:35).
* Lew Wallace, striving to discredit the Bible, in the final analysis wrote Ben Hur in its defense.
* Rousseau, the French infidel admitted, "the majesty of the Scriptures amazes me."
Because of Its Editions and Translations
Most books come out in editions. After a few years, the number sold decreases and in a short time they usually drop out of print. A few editions are issued later as reprints, such as Shakespeare's works. But, the Bible has never gone out of print. Millions of copies are sold annually. Also, the Bible exists in over 1000 different languages and dialects -- rarely is a book by man translated into as many as ten languages.
Conclusion For these reasons and many more YOU can believe the Bible is from God. Each fact proves its point to the unbiased mind and when these certain facts are tied together, they form an unbreakable cable. The Bible is no mere man's book. Its supernatural revelations and majestic truths show us the infinite Power, Mind and Love of an Almighty God. Please read II Peter 1:20-21.
Dacus, Pence (ed), New Testament Christianity, Vol. 1, No. 1, June, 1964.
Wallace, Foy E., Jr., Bulwarks of the Faith, Vol. II, Wallace Pub. Co., Okla. City, 1951.
Hardeman, N.B., Hardeman's Tabernacle Sermons, Vol. III, Gospel Advocate Company,
Nashville, Tennessee, 1960.
____________________, mimeographed Bible Lesson, Author unknown.
1. Study the lesson text carefully till you understand its meaning. Then answer the Questions to this lesson.
2. Submit your answers to us through the Internet. Your graded answers will be returned to you through your e-mail address.
3. Make sure that you save each lesson [including your answers] you completed or simply print a copy for future reference.
4. "Bookmark" our web site or "add to favourites" so that you may readily return for future lessons.
QuestionsYour answers will be graded and returned to you through your e-mail address. Thank you for your interest in God's Book. May He bless you in the study of His Word.
Please answer the following questions by typing your answers into the spaces provided or, where a choice of answers is given, click against the button for the correct answer.
You will find answers to the questions in the lesson material as well as the Scripture references that are cited.
When you have completed all the required answers and information, simply click "Submit Form" and your answers will automatically be sent to us.