It’s a fair question: “Can I trust my life to what the bible says?” Wasn’t it written by men? And yet, it, and Christians say it is God breathed. Let’s test the claims made about the bible.
Okay, so the bible is the bestselling book of all time. There’s no denying it has stood the test of nearly 2000 years, but what about the things Christians claim to be true about the bible? They say it is the inspired and the inerrant word of God, and that it is God’s special revelation of Himself to mankind. In fact, the bible itself makes these same claims about itself, but that certainly proves nothing.
This preliminary post, introduces a topic of fiery debate that can bring human emotions to the brink, and is the first in a new series, Lord willing. Today we merely want to peel back the first of multitudinous layers of discovery. Throughout this series we shall attempt to either nullify or verify the claims made about the bible, and my hope is that we may set aside all bias on both sides of the table, and simply examine the facts.
A scholarly or scientific mind can either verify or nullify these claims simply by applying the principles of logic, research, testing and study in discovering whether or not the bible truly came from a personal, all-powerful, Creator God.
“That’s precisely what we intend to accomplish.”
Logically, there are definitive qualities and characteristics one would expect to find if God breathed out the message of the bible, and if inspired holy men of God really did record it at His command, as the bible indicates. We will be checking some historical documents and studying the bible’s history. The first order of business would be to delineate answers to the normal, simple queries of who, what, when, where and how.
- The bible, as we know is not a singular book, but a compilation of 66 books.
- It was written by 40 different authors.
- It was written over a period of 1500 years.
- Moses began recording the Torah (law) which is the Pentatuech (first five books) 3500 years ago. Most believe this was during the 40 years of wandering in the wilderness. The last book (Revelation) was written between 94 & 96 AD.
Some other easily verified facts are as follows.
- The bible was originally composed in three different languages: Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek.
- It addresses hundreds of various topics.
- It utilizes multiple genres, which include; historical, poetic, didactic, parabolic, allegorical, apocalyptic, and epic literary constructs.
It is interesting to note that the 40 men who did the physical writing were from a wide variety of backgrounds and stations in life, from royal monarchs to homeless vagabonds residing in the wilderness—from the formally educated, to those with only a rudimentary grasp of written language.
Sauer, in The Dawn of World & Redemption and The Triumph of the Crucified, writes: “In spite of all this vast diversity, the Bible reveals an amazing unity. First, it is one continuous unfolding drama of redemption from Genesis to Revelation; from paradise lost to paradise regained; from the creation of all things to the consummation of all things.”
Sauer was absolutely correct. Having read the bible through multiple times, I can attest to the accuracy of his statement. It is strange indeed that 40 different people who were vastly different from each other (most of them never met any of the other authors) that their writing would form a mosaic of one, single unfolding dramatic story. Most of them lived centuries apart. Some spoke different languages, and were of differing occupations. Not a single one of these 40 men ever received any form of monetary compensation for their contributions. Not one. It would be nigh onto impossible to perpetrate such an elaborate hoax spanning one and a half millenniums. The information they recorded was compartmentalized so as none of them had the complete story, and often did not have an inclination as to what significance the things they were writing would have in the overall storyline. That in itself is amazing.
Though it takes some correlating in our minds we will find that the bible has one centralized theme which centers around the person of Jesus Christ. He is referred to early on, yet this main character is not personally identified until we get to the New Testament. In the opening book of Genesis this redeemer of mankind: Savior, Messiah or Christ, though not directly identified, is spoken of as the seed (offspring) of the woman. Jesus of Nazareth is the only human person to be the offspring of a woman, and yet not the seed of a man. Speaking to the serpent the devil used to tempt Eve, God said:
“And I will put enmity between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel.” Genesis 3:15 This was God prophesying to Satan, alerting Him that a Champion would come from the woman’s womb and purchase people back to God.
Theologians confirm that this prophetic statement from God prefigures the virgin birth, or Immaculate Conception. Further, it alludes to the defeat and overthrow of Satan (the serpent) and the redemption of mankind from the hand of death and sin through the Redeemer. He (the seed of woman) would inflict a head blow upon the devil, signifying complete victory over the enemy, who, at the time God spoke this, had just deceived mankind into rebellion against God’s rule over them. According to Christians and the bible, Christ’s work: His death, burial, resurrection and ascension, is the head shot that won the victory.
Approaching this study from a neutral perspective, however, let’s be fair. If God had a book written, there are certain things one would expect to be true of that book. Granted, some particular things could also be true of other books, but of a divinely ordained book, these things would be necessary. Let’s look at the first ten items that would be true of a book from God.
- It would be historically accurate when it speaks on historical matters.
- Its authors would be trustworthy.
- It would be thematically unified and without contradictions.
- We would have received accurate copies of the original manuscripts (God would preserve His book).
- It would have unique characteristics which no other book has.
- The words of the book would have power to change people.
- It would predict future events with 100% accuracy.
- A book from God would reveal knowledge beyond that of the time it was written.
- Those whom God would use to record His word would be confirmed by miracles.
- Scholars agree that it definitely should claim to be God’s Word.
Now that we’ve identified the first layer of this research’s content, we’ll be putting the bible to the test with these and other essentials, as we seek the truth. For the sake of brevity, we’ll leave off here to ruminate until the next post, when we’ll see how many of these 10 things are true of the bible, and expose the second skin of study.
If all goes well, we will continue into increasingly deeper research with each post.
Have a productive and a peaceful day.
Nice to see you again Sheldon! 🙂
A worthy aim but i fear you will find it very difficult, bordering upon impossible, to give an unbiased examination of the facts. As will any atheists who may comment here. All of us will show our inbuilt biases merely in determining what constitutes a ‘fact’ that is going to be examined. All human beings to some degree or other are compelled to think under the influence of confirmation bias, which is to give greater weight to ideas that conform to our current belief and give less weight to those that contradict that belief, whatever belief we currently hold. But lets see what comes up 😉
As a precursor, i would point out that while i agree with the basic ‘facts’ about the Bible that you stated, it is important to remember that the 66 (some would say 70 and some even more) books written over 1500 years were not the only books ever written over this period and all were VERY carefully selected by the Roman Church in the 4th century AD.
They did not choose books that they believed might allow people to find fault and thus prove that it was clearly not the Divinely Inspired Word and this in itself is a little problematic as it is an obvious source of bias.
One other point for now… Pentateuch which begins the sage was written by Moses.
The only actual proof we have of Moses is the 5 books he ‘wrote’. No contemporary commentator mentions his existence to the best of my knowledge. If we cannot prove that Moses exists, at the least, that makes the time they were written a little hard to prove.
I have more questions but lets deal with those as they come up.
Thank you for your comments, Iwbut.
You are correct, we are hardwired towards what we believe, and any upset of our understanding, especially when it is faulty, upsets our entire belief system. You are also right about the establishment of facts. But this never precludes discussion and discovery. I am only opening the subject from a nuetral perspective. My intention is to show what I believe, and why I believe it, aside from faith. I am supremely biased on this issue, as the Lord has revealed truth to us. I believe the Lord God has preserved His word to us. Not sure how much you know about it, but there was more than one council selecting the books to be cannonized. Do you rememmber the qualifications for the author of each book chosen? That in itself is a long and an important study. And I don’t mean study from Wikipedia, lol ☺ I will address the other things later, as duty calls at the moment..
Thanks again. Grace and Peace to You!