There are many details about the Bible itself that many people don’t stop to consider. In fact many Christians aren’t even aware of some of these truths. For the non-believer these facts should greatly challenge your notion that the Bible is merely a man-made book like all the rest, and for the believer these facts should greatly strengthen your faith.
The Bible is composed of 66 books, written in different languages over a period of roughly 1,500 years by over 40 men on three separate continents. (Africa, Asia and Europe)
One must consider that the various writers of the Bible were from vastly different backgrounds and had very different perspectives. They ranged in occupation from fishermen to military men, kings, shepherds, a royal cupbearer, a doctor, a tax collector, a tentmaker and others. Some wrote while in prison and others wrote from a palace. Since the Scriptures were written over such a lengthy period of time and most of the writers didn’t know each other or live in the same era; they couldn’t come together to plan what they were to write.
Imagine trying to write a novel where you, along with dozens of others from different cultures and generations, each contributed a single chapter without having an outline or overall storyline to go by. To say it’s logically impossible for such an endeavor to result in a coherent finished product conveying a central theme from start to finish would be an understatement! Yet this is the reality of the nature of the Holy Bible.
The writings cover numerous different topics but the unity found throughout the books is unprecedented. Since no individual writer had the explicit knowledge of the overall layout and structure of the book to to see the amazing coherence despite all these facts, I believe proves the book is divine in origin and was overseen by God Himself.
Next consider the Bible’s preservation and survival throughout the centuries.
The books of Moses (aka the Pentateuch–Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers & Deuteronomy) were written at least 500 years before the earliest Hindu scriptures. The book of Genesis was written at least 2,000 years before Mohammed wrote the Koran. During all that time, no other book as been as loved or as hated as the Bible, no other book has been as consistently bought, studied and quoted–by far. While the Bible has been quite often ignored by many who are uncomfortable with what it teaches, it is still the central book of Western civilization.
In 1947, one of the most important archaeological discoveries was made in the caves of Qumran near the Dead Sea. A broken jar revealed documents that were hidden for two millennia. The Dead Sea Scrolls provided manuscripts, about one third of which were scrolls containing copies of portions of every book of the Old Testament (minus Esther), that predated the oldest manuscripts by at least 1,000 years.
While human skeptics want to discredit the Bible because they believe its true message was lost to time and tampering, the Dead Sea scrolls proved that the Old Testament was copied very accurately over the centuries. The differences were extremely insignificant and showed that we can be confident the Bible we have today is faithful to the original, and God has held true to His promise to preserve His word throughout the millennia.
“The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.” – Psalm 12:6-7
Also consider the brutal honesty of the Bible.
Look at the Biblical accounts of many of God’s chosen people like Jacob, Moses, David and Saul or Paul the Apostle. The Bible doesn’t hold the patriarchs of the faith or Christ’s apostles in high esteem, but instead displays them and the rest of humanity as hostile toward God and prone to sin and error. The Bible very explicitly shares the sins and horrible mistakes of many of God’s important servants thoughout. The Bible teaches that the road to heaven is very narrow and hard to find and the way to hell is very wide. (Matthew 7:14) The Bible was very clearly not written for those who want simple answers or an easy and optimistic view of human nature or how to connect with God.
Consider also the Bible’s claims for itself and consider it’s miracles.
It would be quite presumptuous for us to make the claim that the authors of the Bible were speaking for God Himself if they had not openly made those claims.
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” – 2 Timothy 3:16-17
“Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For 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 Peter 1:20-21
The Apostle Paul openly admitted that he saw the risen Christ as he named the list of witnesses and did so within a timeframe that enabled those claims to be tested. (1 Corinthians 15:1-8) He even said that if Jesus didn’t actually raise from the dead, then the entire faith is built upon a lie.
“And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.” – 1 Corinthians 15:14-17
Why should all this matter and be seriously taken to heart? Well, mainly because many of the witnesses and most of Christ’s apostles ended up as martyrs, not for abstract moral or spiritual convictions but for their explicit claims that Jesus had risen from the dead.
Martyrdom is certainly not unusual; it’s estimated that as many as 70 million people have been been martyred since Jesus’s time, and that at approximately 100,000 Christians a year, in present time, lose their life prematurely. However the basis for the martyrdom of Christ’s witnesses is what’s most important because they died for what they believed to be the truth. People do not willingly choose a premature death over something they know to be a lie.
Do any of these points challenge your notion that the Bible is merely a book of myths and fables? If you already believe in the divine authorship of the Bible what are some other points you believe point to it being God’s handiwork?