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Part Ib: REVELATION — Chapter Two: Answering the Challenge

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Preparing the Way

  1. In what three ways does the Bible claim to be a direct revelation from God?
  2. In what sense can we say all the Bible is a revelation of God, even parts recorded by eyewitnesses?
  3. What evidence is there that Genesis 1-11 is historically accurate and reliable, and not mythological?
  4. Any book, of course, can claim to be a revelation of God. What evidence is there to support this claim of the Bible?
  5. Explain: The Bible is not the kind of book men would write if they could; nor is it the kind of book men could write if they would.

How do you know the Bible is true? How do you know the Bible is true? How do you know the Bible is true? How do you know the Bible is true? Regardless of where the emphasis falls, the question is a challenge. The small huddle of football players and wives who attended that Bible class in Dallas waited for an answer.

I simply said, “I know the Bible is true because it is a revelation from God.”

But this is hardly sufficient. How can we demonstrate that it is, indeed, a revelation from God?

The Bible: A Divine Revelation

I. The Claim

One of the surest things to be said about the Bible is that it claims to be a divine revelation. This is expressed in at least three ways.

A. By Its Direct Statements

More than 3,800 times the claim that the Bible is a revelation of God occurs in phrases with the ring of a “thus saith the Lord.”

The first such statement occurs in Genesis 15:1, “After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, saying, . . .” In 1 Kings 17:14, Elijah the prophet says, “For thus says the lord God of Israel, . . .” David declares in Psalm 103:7, “He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the sons of Israel.” Many other verses speak to this point. “God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world” (Heb. 1:1, 2). “For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, . . .” (1 Thess. 4:15). “For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread . . .” (1 Cor. 11:23). “As He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from of old . . .” (Luke 1:70). “And Moses wrote down all the words of the lord. Then he arose early in the morning, and built an altar at the foot of the mountain with twelve pillars for the twelve tribes of Israel” (Ex. 24:4). “Thus says the lord the God of Israel, ‘Write all the words which I have spoken to you in a book’” (Jer. 30:2). “Then the lord stretched out His hand and touched my mouth, and the lord said to me, ‘Behold, I have put My words in your mouth’” (Jer. 1:9). “Which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words” (1 Cor. 2:13).

It is not the dogma of a denomination or the claim of the creed. It is not an isolated text or a veiled illusion. The entire Bible is permeated with direct statements that it is a divine revelation.

B. By Attributing the Words of Men to God

Frequently the Scriptures actually attribute to God words that men have previously spoken. This is a much more subtle claim to revelation but it cannot be avoided. From many possible examples consider the one in Hebrews 1:7: “And of the angels He says, ‘Who makes His angels winds, And His ministers a flame of fire.’”

Here the author of the epistle to the Hebrews quotes from Psalm 104:4, obviously written originally by the psalmist. But wait a moment. Our text reads, “And of the angels He says ...” (emphasis added). The antecedent of this pronoun is God, as is clear from the preceding six verses. Here is no small claim! The writer attributes to God the words of the psalmist. This illustration could be multiplied by the dozens from the pages of Scripture.

C. By Our Lord’s Attitude toward the Old Testament

Surely one of the Bible’s most forceful claims to divine revelation is our Lord’s attitude toward the Scriptures. If He is to be believed, His attitude must be respected.

He authenticates the Old Testament Scriptures by His word.

Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill.

For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass away from the Law, until all is accomplished. (Matt. 5:17, 18)

He authenticates it, further, by His life. In approaching the cross, He said, “The Son of Man is to go, just as it is written of Him ...” (Matt. 26:24). Here is a clear confession of His recognition of the Old Testament as divine revelation.

Reflecting upon His crucifixion, He said:

These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.

Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and He said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and rise again from the dead the third day; ...” (Luke 24:44-46)

What remarkable words! Here is His stamp of certification upon the Scriptures of the Old Testament. He acknowledges that they were a divine revelation not only in His teaching, but also in His living. He ordered the details of His life according to the Scriptures.

In one form or another the claim appears on virtually every page of Scripture. It is impossible to escape the fact that the Bible claims to be a revelation of God. This was the point I made with my challenger. I believe the Bible to be true because it claims to be a revelation from God.

To assert that, in its entirety, the Bible is a revelation from God is to arouse the critics with their guns loaded. In unison the skeptics of the Scriptures scream out against the early chapters of Genesis. Here are events that, if true, could only be known by revelation. But today the historicity of those chapters is jettisoned in favour of a mythological interpretation. Yet the evidence from the Bible is that these chapters are historical and the contents were known by revelation.

John Gerstner has marshalled a convincing list of evidences:

First, on the surface of it, these three chapters, as the other chapters of Genesis, purport to be genuine history. Second, the Church universal has so understood these chapters up to this very time, with the exception of the dialectical theologians and their converts. Third, it is extraneous factors (geological and anthropological theories) and not biblical exegesis that have produced this deviation. Fourth, Genesis 1-3 is integrated with the rest of Genesis, which is typical history (virtually everyone admits this of Genesis 12-50, at least). Fifth, Genesis 5:1-5 specifically mentions Adam as does 1 Chronicles 1:1, in an indisputably historical sense. Sixth, the New Testament also mentions Adam in historical genealogy in Jude 14 and Luke 3:38. Seventh, Paul compares and contrasts Adam with Jesus Christ as the first and second Adam. There is a dualism here, as the demythologizers contend, but not a cosmic dualism—simply the dualism of two historical persons in representative roles. Eighth, if Adam can be “demythologized,” we see no reason to stop Bultmann from demythologizing the entire Bible, as he seems intent on doing. Ninth, if we were to demythologize, then not only can Bultmann do it to the entire Bible, but he or anyone else can interpret the demythologized Bible as he pleases.1

Whatever else is to be said, the claim that is made for the rest of the Bible surely applies to these chapters as well. They claim to be a revelation from God! And this is the first step toward answering the challenge, toward demonstrating that the Bible is a revelation from God—it claims to be just that.

Project Number 1

1. List the three ways in which the Bible claims to be a revelation from God.

2. List three verses you would use to demonstrate to the challenger the claim the Bible makes for itself.

But we can hardly expect any thinking person to be satisfied with such an answer. How could such contents ever be made known by God? We are overwhelmed by the apparently insuperable chasm between a thought in the mind of God and a thought in the mind of a human author. What means were used by God to communicate His revelation? Here is the second step toward answering our challenger.

II. The Means

The great Princeton theologian, B. B. Warfield, has suggested two classes under which the media used by God may be considered: Internal Suggestion and External Manifestation.2 Each of these has three primary avenues.

Using this wide variety of means, the Bible claims God communicated His thoughts in the minds of the human authors of Scripture.

Project Number 2

Under which of the above six avenues should each of the following references be placed?

a) Daniel 9:2

________

d) Genesis 15:1

________

b) 1 Kings 18

________

e) Acts 2:22

________

c) Daniel 2

________

f) Hebrews 2:4

________

But, our challenger might object, what evidence can we offer to support that the Bible is a revelation from God? Take a careful look at the third step. This is the most important step of all. Here is some of the very material I used that night with the ball players.

III. The Supporting Evidence

A few years ago Dr. Cyrus Hamlin of Robert College, Constantinople, was asked by a Turkish colonel to give him just one sure proof that the Bible is God’s book. Dr. Hamlin asked if the colonel had ever visited the ruins of ancient Babylon. “Yes,” he replied, “and let me tell you my experience. I hired a rich sheik and his men to take me there to hunt. We found that all manner of wild animals, owls, and birds were dwelling there among the ruins, so we had the best hunting of our lives. It was so good that we were annoyed when the Arabs told us they must go miles away to pitch their tents for the night. We tried to bribe them to camp right there, but they refused, saying that no Arab had ever been known to camp there, because it was haunted after dark by all manner of evil spirits.” Then Dr. Hamlin opened his Bible to Isaiah 13:19-21 and the colonel read:

And Babylon, the beauty of kingdoms, the glory of the Chaldeans’ pride, will be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. It will never be inhabited or lived in from generation to generation; Nor will the Arab pitch his tent there, nor will shepherds make their flocks lie down there. But desert creatures will lie down there. And their houses will be full of owls, ostriches also will live there, and shaggy goats will frolic there.

By this one fulfilled prophecy that Turkish colonel was convinced that the Bible is a God-inspired book. Here is the first and greatest evidence in support of the supernatural character of the Bible. It demands the verdict that the Bible is indeed what it claims to be—a revelation from God. And what is this evidence?

A. The Evidence of Fulfilled Prophecy

1. Evidence from the life of Christ

Let’s chart the evidence. Here are thirty-three specific prophecies from the Old Testament referring to the birth, life, death and resurrection of Christ. These came from several different prophets, and five centuries apart (1000-500 B.C.)

B.C.

Prophecy

Prophesied

Fulfilled

1.

487

Sold for 30 pieces of silver

Zech. 11:12

Matt. 6:14, 15

2.

487

Money given to potter

Zech. 11:13

Matt. 27:5-10

3.

487

Side of Lord pierced

Zech. 12:10

John 19:34-37

4.

487

Forsaken by His disciples

Zech. 13:7

Matt. 26:56

5.

787

Darkness over the earth

Amos 8:9

Matt. 27:45

6.

1047

Christ suffered for all

Ps. 2:1, 2

Luke 23:8-12

7.

1047

Christs forsaken cry

Ps. 22:1

Matt. 27:46

8.

1047

Christ was ridiculed

Ps. 22:7

Matt. 27:41-43

9.

1047

Christs heart broken

Ps. 22:14

John 19:34

10.

1047

His hands and feet pierced

Ps. 22:16

Luke 23:33

11.

1047

To be the seed of a woman

Gen. 3:15

Matt. 1:1

12.

712

To be born of a virgin

Isa. 7:14

Matt. 1:23

13.

4000

To be a Jew

Gen. 12:3

Matt. 1:1

14.

712

Birth to be miraculous

Isa. 9:6

Matt. 1:18-25

15.

1000

To be of the House of

David Ps. 132:11

Rom. 1:3

16.

710

To be born at Bethlehem

Mic. 5:2

Matt. 2:1-6

17.

4000

To be of the tribe of

Judah Gen. 49:10

Matt. 2:6

18.

1451

To be a prophet

Deut. 18:18

Acts 3:22

19.

606

To make a new covenant

Jet. 31:31, 33

Heb. 8:7

20.

712

A light to all nations

Isa. 49:6

Luke 2:30-32

21.

487

Riding on an ass

Zech. 9:9

Matt. 21:1-7

22.

742

To be a stumbling block

Isa. 8:14 1

Cor. 1:23

23.

698

To perform miracles

Isa. 61:1, 2

Matt. 11:2-6

24.

1000

Rejected by the rulers

Ps. 118:22, 23

Acts 4:11

25.

758

Christs teaching rejected

Isa. 6:9, 10

Matt. 13:14

26.

600

Cleansing of the temple

Jer. 7:11

Matt. 21:13

27.

740

As a babe carried into Egypt

Hos. 11:1

Matt. 2:15

28.

1520

Promised Redeemer

Job 19:25

Gal. 4:4

29.

712

To come to His Own

Isa. 40:3

Luke 3:4

30.

712

Rejected by His Own

Isa. 53:3

John 1:11

31.

712

Christs burial foretold

Isa. 53:9

Matt. 27:57

32.

1047

Christs resurrection foretold

Ps. 16:10

Acts 2:24-33

33.

1047

Christs ascension predicted

Ps. 110:1

Acts 7:55

2. Evidence in Haifa

Some time ago Moody magazine drew our attention to a prophecy that was uttered sixteen centuries before Christ, the fulfillment of which transpired recently.3 The prophecy relates to the future of Zebulun, one of the twelve tribes of Israel, and what should happen to their tribal allotment in Palestine. It was uttered by Jacob, in his blessing to the tribes, and later by Moses, as follows:

Zebulun shall dwell at the seashore;

And he shall be a haven for ships,

And his flank shall be toward Sidon. (Gen. 49:13)

And of Zebulun he said, “Rejoice, Zebulun, in your going forth,

And, Issachar, in your tents.

“They shall call peoples to the mountain;

There they shall offer righteous sacrifices;

For they shall draw out the abundance of the seas,

And the hidden treasures of the sand.” (Deut. 33:18, 19)

For nearly 3,600 years since the prophecy was uttered, no port of consequence was ever built on the coast of Zebulun. But in October 1933 the British high commissioner of Palestine opened at Haifa a magnificent new harbour, which is actually under the shadow of Mount Carmel. This he did in preparation for the opening of the pipeline that has been laid to convey oil from the great oil wells of Iran 1,100 miles east.

The line is now in operation and it is declared that more than 4,000,000 tons of oil annually will be delivered to the sea at Haifa for transport. Not only has this made Zebulun increasingly “a haven of ships,” but the commercial development of the land itself calls for the harbour.

The article continues to point out that Jaffa (old-time Joppa) was more suitably situated in relation to Jerusalem. But “all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, Zebulun shall ... be a haven for ships.” Little did those in authority know when they built the harbour at Haifa that they were the instruments of God, fulfilling what the prophet had predicted more than 3,600 years ago. How could he have known that? Only by divine revelation.

3. Evidence in ancient history

Someone has succinctly surveyed the scene:

More than a century before Nineveh was sacked and burned by Nebuchadnezzar, while Assyria was still the greatest power in the world, and men thought it would never be overthrown, Nahum, the prophet, wrote, “She is emptied! Yes, she is desolate and waste!” (Nah. 2:10)

While Babylon was in its prime and all the world marveled at its wealth and might, Jeremiah dared to foretell its doom in these striking words, “And Babylon will become a heap of ruins, ... without inhabitants.” (Jer. 51:37)

In the days of Tyres supremacy in the Mediterranean, when her island fortress still proudly defied the world and her ships ruled the waves, Ezekiel dared to declare, “And they will destroy the walls of Tyre and break down her towers; and I will scrape her debris from her and make her a bare rock. She will be a place for the spreading of nets in the midst of the sea....” (Ezek. 26:4, 5)

While Egypt was still a power to be reckoned with in world affairs, the same prophet announced, “It will be the lowest of the kingdoms; and it will never again lift itself up above the nations. And I shall make them so small that they will not rule over the nations.” (Ezek. 29:15)

Of the beautiful temple that was standing in Jerusalem in the days of the Lord, He Himself foretold, “And He answered and said to them, ‘Do you not see all these things? Truly I say to you, not one stone here shall be left upon another, which will not be torn down.’” (Matt. 24:2)

As for the city itself, He said, “... and Jerusalem will be trampled under foot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” (Luke 21:24)

A glance over history demonstrates how every word of these predictions has come true. The site of Nineveh is a sandy waste. All that remains of Babylon is a heap in the desert. Fishermen today spread their nets on the rocks where Tyre once stood. Certainly Egypt has never again exalted itself above the nations. As for Herod’s temple, it was thrown down within forty years of the prophecy.

No wonder H. L. Hastings once wrote, “So long as Babylon is in heaps; so long as Nineveh lies empty, void, and waste; so long as Egypt is the basest of kingdoms; so long as Tyre is a place for the spreading of nets in the midst of the sea; so long as Israel is scattered among all nations; so long as Jerusalem is trodden under foot of the Gentiles; so long as the great empires of the world march on in their predicted course—so long have we proof that one Omniscient Mind dictated the predictions of that Book ...”4

4. Evidence of current events

There are at least eight major movements before our very eyes that not only indicate the fulfillment of prophecy, but also proclaim the imminence of our Lord’s return.

First, the statehood of Israel. Daniel 9:27 assumes the existence of Israel as a state in the last days—the days of the Tribulation. The Tribulation begins with the confirming of a covenant between Israel and the Western alliance. This one prophecy assumes the existence of Israel as a state, in the land, with a covenant, aligned with the Western powers. The covenant that will be confirmed could well be the United Nations document of 1948 calling Israel into existence. If so, all that is assumed in Daniel 9:27 for the initiation of the Tribulation is true as of 1948.

Second, the alignment of the nations. In the last days there will be the king of the north (Dan. 11:15), the king of the south (Dan. 11:14), the kings of the east (Rev. 16:12) and the Western alliance of nations (Dan. 9:27). North, south, east and west in the Scriptures are always in relation to Jerusalem and Israel. These four alignments of nations around Israel are today a reality!

Third, the Western alliance often kings. Revelation 17:12, 13 anticipates a confederacy of ten Western powers of Europe in the last days. The European Economic Community could well be the first stage of fulfillment.

Fourth, the central control of economy. This is clearly predicted of the last days in Revelation 13:17, where we are told that no man will be able to buy or sell without the mark of the beast. The decade of the ‘70s saw “controls” as never before.

Fifth, the abounding of lawlessness, described in Matthew 24:11.

Sixth, the profusion of war, forecast in Matthew 24:6, 7.

Seventh, the threat of famine, spoken of in Matthew 24:7. Two of the greatest social problems of our day are the population explosion and the destruction of our environment. Both are major factors in the threat of famine.

Eighth, the condition of the professing church in the last days, as predicted in Revelation 17-18. According to these chapters three primary features will characterize the professing church in the last days: universality (17:1, 10; 18:3), apostasy (17:3-6) and political activism (17:1, 3, 18). Remarkably, these are the features of the professing church today with the ecumenical movement and World Council of Churches.

Our purpose has not been to develop any of the above areas. Many others have done that in great detail recently. These are mentioned merely to point out that we are eyewitnesses to the setting of the stage for the fulfillment of myriad prophecies relating to the great drama of the last days. How could these things be known and recorded thousands of years ago? Only by revelation.

Jeanne Dixon hits about .500 by her own confession. Maurice Woodriff, who claims to have a third eye in his forehead, also engages in prophesying. Some time ago he predicted that Joe DiMaggio would remarry. When phoned, Joe denied it, but said if there was a man with a third eye he would sign him immediately to hit clean-up for his ball team!

The unerring accuracy of fulfilled prophecy witnesses to the fact that the Bible is a divine revelation.

Project Number 3

Research fully the details in the fulfillment of the following prophecies:

  1. Tyre (Ezek. 26:4, 5)
  2. Destruction of Jerusalem (Luke 21:20-24)

B. The Evidence of the Unity of the Scriptures

The sixty-six books of the Bible were written over a period of 1,500 years by more than forty human writers working in three languages. They were written in many different countries by men of every degree on the social scale. Yet there is such a unity here that it is one book. Three tremendous threads tie together the pages of the Bible.

There is the thread of the Person of Christ. It is so interwoven throughout the pages of Scripture that it binds the prophecies to the fulfillments and the types to the antitypes in one beautiful mosaic of the Son of God.

There is the thread of the Plan of Redemption, which begins with the first proclamation of the gospel in Genesis 3:15 and concludes with the redeemed in eternal blessing. The uniform testimony of the Scriptures is that man’s salvation is based upon the shedding of the blood of Christ in death. It is by means of God’s grace and it is through faith alone.

There is also the thread of the Program of the Ages. The Bible is not a confused mass of isolated events. It records the progressive unfolding of God’s plan for the ages as ordained in His eternal decree (Eph. 1:11).

There is a hidden character to the unity of the Bible. It does not lie on the surface. It is ferreted out only by diligent study and spiritual enlightenment.

More than this, there is an organic character to the unity of the Bible. The seeds are planted in the first book. They grow throughout the Bible. The culmination, the ripened fruit, is in the last book.

In giving his reasons for believing the Bible is the Word of God, R. A. Torrey suggests,

Suppose a vast building were to be erected, the stones for which were brought from the quarries in Rutland, Vermont; Berea, Ohio; Kasota, Minnesota; and Middletown, Connecticut. Each stone was hewn into final shape in the quarry from which it was brought. These stones were of all varieties of shape and size, cubical, rectangular, cylindrical, etc., but when they were brought together every stone fitted into its place, and when put together there rose before you a temple absolutely perfect in every outline, with its domes, sidewalls, buttresses, arches, transepts—not a gap or a flaw anywhere. How would you account for it? You would say, “Back of these individual workers in the quarries was the mastermind of the architect who planned it all, and gave to each individual worker his specifications for the work.”

So in the marvelous temple of God’s truth which we call the Bible, those stones have been quarried at periods of time and in places so remote from one another, but where every smallest part fits each other part, we are forced to say that back of the human hands that wrought as the Master-mind that thought.5

Project Number 4

1. Trace the unity of the Scriptures in their predictions of the birth of Christ. What is prophesied in each of the following verses?

Genesis 3:15

Genesis 12.1-3

Genesis 49:10

2 Samuel 7:14

Isaiah 7:14

Micah 5:2

Matthew 1:1

Matthew 1:23

Matthew 2:5

Luke 1:35

2. Trace through the Scriptures one other theme of your own choice to demonstrate the unity of the Bible.

C. The Evidence of Accuracy in History and Science

Here is the third line of evidence in support of the Bible’s claim to be a divine revelation. There are literally scores of examples that could be offered.

From the early nineteenth century to very recent times, the story of the invasion of Chedorlaomer and the kings of the East (Gen. 14) was viewed by critical scholars as legendary and unhistorical. Why would these invading armies ever go so far south before turning north and launching their attack on Sodom? They supposed it to be a fictional story created by Israel to honour their hero Abram. Archaeologist W. F. Albright says he once considered the extraordinary line of march that took them as far south as Kadesh before they turned northward to invade Sodom as being the best proof of the essential legendary character of the narrative. But in 1929 Albright himself discovered a line of buried cities dated at that very time along that very route. It was a well-used trade route known at that time as “The Highway of the King” (Num. 20:17). Today we know there were valuable deposits of copper, manganese, gold and other minerals in the area. There is no doubt it was this wealth that attracted the kings of the East southward. Today archaeology confirms the historical accuracy of Genesis 14.6

There is no doubt that archaeology has confirmed the substantial historicity of the Old Testament tradition.

Italian archaeologists working with the Israeli Department of Antiquities recently discovered in the ancient theater at Caesarea a tablet bearing the names of Pontius Pilate and Tiberius. This is the first archaeological find to mention the Roman governor. Until this discovery our knowledge of Pontius Pilate was limited to the gospel narratives and the writings of the Jewish historian Josephus.

Dr. Abraham Biran, Director of Antiquities, stated, “Once again the veracity of the Old and New Testaments has been established.”7

Dr. R. V. D. Magoffin, a past president of the Archaeological Institute of America, said, “Archaeology has converted both laity and clergy. No longer do they fear that archaeological investigation will overturn the Bible statements. Thus far the finds have confirmed them, or have opened confirmatory possibilities.”8

In 1615, William Harvey discovered the circulation of the blood and that the life principle resided therein. Scientists regarded this as an amazing discovery, revealed over three hundred years ago. Says the Bible, “The life of the flesh is in the blood” (Lev. 17:11). “This is the most comprehensive and up-to-date physiological generalization that has ever been made. The life and well-being of every organ, gland, and tissue depends upon the condition and rate of the blood stream,” writes a modern scientist.9

The truth of Leviticus 17:11 could only be known by revelation.

Isaiah 40:22 speaks of Him “who sitteth upon the circle of the earth.” The word translated “circle” means an arch or a sphere. How could this have been known but by revelation?

Project Number 5

  1. List the names of several prominent scientists who also are Bible-believing Christians.
  2. Study the historical accuracy of the fall of Jericho (Josh. 6).
  3. Study the scientific accuracy of Jeremiah 33:22, Leviticus 17:11, Jonah 1:17, Joshua 10:13.

Here are the three lines of supporting evidence for the Bible’s claim.

This was the very tack I took that night with the ball players. One of them had challenged me with a question that has slain thousands and silenced tens of thousands. Frankly, I was amazed at the interest and respect these giants of the gridiron showed in the answer. Although my challenger was not convinced, he immediately became cautious. I suspect it was the first time he had even received an answer to his question.

And there is an answer. Get a handle on it before you move forward.

How do you know the Bible is true?

  • It claims to be a revelation from God.
  • The revelation was given through six various means.
  • Its claim is supported by its prophecy, unity and accuracy.

Someone has said the Bible is not the kind of book humans would write even if they could; nor is it the kind they could write even if they would. We would not write such a book because it is too condemning. It categorically condemns every person as a lost and helpless sinner under the condemnation of God, and shuts us up entirely to God’s grace apart from any self-righteousness and works. This is not the way we view ourselves naturally! Humans could not write such a book because of its unity, fulfilled prophecy and historical and scientific accuracy.

In the final analysis, however, it is as impossible to prove to any challenger that the Bible is a divine revelation from God as it is to prove the existence of God. It is the Holy Spirit who causes us to recognize Scripture as God’s Word. This certainly comes from the testimony of the Spirit in our hearts. These evidences only serve to narrow the gulf that demands faith, to strengthen and confirm our faith and to demonstrate the credibility of our faith.

It was John Wesley who said that the Bible must have been written by God, good men, bad men, angels or devils. Then he observed it could not have been written by bad men or devils because of its condemnation of sin and its pronouncement of judgment. Further, he observed, it could not have been written by good men or angels because they would not deceive men by claiming God is the author. His conclusion: therefore, God must be the author.

Many will surely say Wesley’s approach is rather simplistic. Although our approach has been more sophisticated, our conclusion is identical. Because of its direct claims, which are clearly substantiated by its fulfilled prophecy, unity and accuracy, we conclude that the Bible is a revelation from God.

God’s thoughts were transformed, then, from His mind to the mind of the human authors of the Bible. This is the doctrine of revelation.

Think of it for a moment. That Book you hold in your hand, that Book on your bedside table, that Book on the shelf is a revelation from God! It is an unveiling of His great mind, a communication of His holy will. It is a word from God.

Art Buchwald tells about the movie epic, The King of Kings, the story of Jesus that was filmed several years ago in Spain. It seems that Richard Wald of the London Bureau of the New York Herald Tribune read a press release saying that the producer was keeping the plot a secret. He immediately asked what the release meant. The agent explained that the producer wanted it that way. “Well,” said Wald, “I know a book that has the plot in it. It’s called the New Testament.” “For Pete’s sake,” pleaded the press agent, “don’t tell the producer.”

Can you imagine such ignorance of the Book that is a revelation from God, the Book that is the very Word of God? We cannot, we must not, we dare not ignore it.

Although we have met the challenger head on we are under no illusion. We have not yet answered his questions. Actually we have only begun. Our answer immediately triggers still another question. Any curious or contentious challenger will surely ask, But how can you be sure that what the authors recorded in their writings was an accurate record of what God had revealed to them?

After all, there is a huge gap between the revelation of something to one’s mind and recording of that material in writing. This is the next gap to be bridged in the historical process. But before you proceed, a few minutes spent in review will be an investment for life.

Review

Turn back to the questions at the start of this chapter. Read them again. How many can you now answer? Surprised? I hope so. If you are still puzzled by a question go back over the chapter. Don’t go on until you have mastered these questions.

For Further Study

1. Examine carefully the following prophecies and their fulfillment.

a) Micah 5:2

b) Isaiah 44:28

c) Daniel 9:24-27

d) Isaiah 53

e) Ezekiel 26:3, 4, 12, 14; Isaiah 23:13

Demonstrate the supernatural unity of the Bible by tracing the following two themes throughout Scripture: redemption by blood and salvation by faith alone.

The historical and scientific accuracy of the Bible is seriously questioned in the account of Genesis 1-3. Isolate several of the alleged inaccuracies and answer the charges of error in each case.


1 John H. Gerstner, “The Origin and Nature of Man: Imago Dei,” Basic Christian Doctrines, Carl F. Henry (ed.), (New York, NY: Holt Rinehart and Winston, 1962), p. 91.

2 B. B. Warfield, The Inspiration and Authority of the Bible (Philadelphia, PA: The Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, 1970), p. 83.

3 Walter B. Knight, Three Thousand Illustrations for Christian Service (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1967), p. 541.

4 Ibid, p. 543.

5 R. A. Torrey, Ten Reasons Why I Believe the Bible is the Word of God, Our Bible (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, n.d.), pp. 120, 121.

6 Merrill F. Unger, Archaeology and the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1966), p. 117.

7 Walter B. Knight, Illustrations for Today (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1970), p. 25.

8 Ibid., p. 25.

9 Walter B. Knight, Knights Master Book of New Illustrations (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans).

Related Topics: Bibliology (The Written Word), Revelation

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