See Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5 for the rest of this series.
Many people claim the Bible contains myths and old rules for an ancient society. They disbelieve that it is the inspired and infallible word of God. Yet, this book has endured through millennia despite being confronted by controversy.
I believe those who reject the Bible either have not read it or misunderstood it. But also the Bible does state that the Word of God seems foolish to nonbelievers. Many people even rejected Jesus’ teaching when they heard him in person. When Apostle Paul preached in some Greek cities, both Jews and Greeks rioted in the streets (See the book of Acts).
I would like to encourage the nonbeliever to take another look at the Good Book by considering the following reasons to believe that the Bible is the Word of God. May this list also help believers develop a stronger faith and increase their ability to communicate what they believe to others.
1. Internal Evidence: The Bible claims within itself that it is God’s word.
2. Fulfilled Prophecy: The Bible records the fulfillment of many of its earlier predictions.
3. Unity: Though written by about 40 human authors over a period of 1600 years, the Bible presents a unified message.
4. Testimony of Jesus: Jesus references the Old Testament as the Word of God.
5. Accepted by the Early Church: The church accepted the Old Testament as the Jews did and even recognized Paul’s letters as scripture during his lifetime.
6. Preservation: The Bible has endured centuries of opposition and survived.
7. Archaeological and Historical Verification: Many discoveries have corroborated biblical accounts.
8. Transformed Lives: God’s word has changed the lives of millions throughout the centuries.
1. Internal Evidence
I grew up in the Evangelical Covenant Church, which still continued the tradition of providing confirmation classes as a carryover from its Lutheran roots. I recall that the first catechism question we memorized was “What do we believe about the Bible?” Its answer was 2 Timothy 3:16.
“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness.”
Other verses that describe the Bible as the word of God include:
- First, there is the classic “Thus saith the Lord…” throughout the Old Testament.
- “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).
- “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13).
- “For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe” (1 Thessalonians 2:13).
2. Fulfilled Prophecy
Old Testament Prophecy
The Old Testament contains numerous prophecies, many of which have been already fulfilled and some others that have yet to happen. The Mosaic Law even provides a guideline to test a prophet.
“When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.” —Deuteronomy 18:22
One of my favorite prophecies concerns Cyrus, the ancient king of Persia, because proper names aren’t commonly used in prophecy. The prophet Isaiah, who lived in Judah from 739 to 681 B.C., named Cyprus, who lived 556 to 530 BC, nearly two hundred years later.
“Thus says the Lord to Cyrus His anointed,
Whom I have taken by the right hand,
To subdue nations before him
And to loose the lions of kings;
To open doors before him so that gates will not be shut.” —Isaiah 45:1
Prophecy about Jesus
The Jesus fulfilled over 100 prophecies from the Old Testament. Here are a few:
Prophecy about his birth and lineage:
“But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
Too little to be among the clans of Judah,
From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel.
His goings forth are from long ago,
From the days of eternity.” —Micah 5:2
“For it is evident that our Lord was descended from Judah…” (Hebrews 7:14).
Prophecy about Jesus’ ministry:
“Then the eyes of the blind will be opened And the ears of the deaf will be unstopped” (Isaiah 35:5).
“The BLIND RECEIVE SIGHT and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the POOR HAVE THE GOSPEL PREACHED TO THEM” (Matthew 11:5).
Prophecy about his death:
“They divide my garments among them, And for my clothing they cast lots” (Psalm 22:18).
“Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took His outer garments and made four parts, a part to every soldier and also the tunic; now the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece. So they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it, to decide whose it shall be”; this was to fulfill the Scripture: “THEY DIVIDED MY OUTER GARMENTS AMONG THEM, AND FOR MY CLOTHING THEY CAST LOTS.” —John 19:23-24
Prophecy about his resurrection:
“For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol; Nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay” (Psalm 16:10).
“He is not here, but He has risen. Remember how He spoke to you while He was still in Galilee” (Luke 24:).
The New Testament also has some prophecies, most of which haven’t yet been fulfilled, but Jesus’ prophecy of the destruction of the temple (see Luke 19:43-45) came to pass in AD 70 when the Roman army led by Titus laid siege to Jerusalem.
Some people look at the diverse elements that comprise the Old and New Testaments and view them as an eclectic collection of ancient Jewish writings. The authors came from all levels of society: kings, scholars, peasants, and fishermen over a period of 60 generations. They lived in Asia, Africa, or Europe.
The original Scriptures were written in three different languages, Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. The writing styles varied considerably: historical narrative, poetry, parables and allegory, essays, and letters in addition to the distinctively biblical literary forms of prophecy and apocalyptic.
Yet despite this broad background, through God’s miraculous guidance each of the 66 books fits into the meta-story of God’s redemption of man. It begins with Adam and Eve. After they rebel against God, God gives them a promise of future redemption in Genesis 3:15.
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.”
Redemption in the Old Testament
- Next, God rescues Noah’s family from the worldwide flood.
- Later in Genesis, God rescues Joseph from prison. Then God uses Joseph to rescue his family and all of Egypt from a seven-year famine.
- In Exodus, God calls his people out of slavery in Egypt, an event Jews still celebrate as the Passover. The Passover foreshadows Jesus’ sacrifice.
- In Judges, God rescues his people several times from Gentile oppression.
- In 1 Samuel, God brings peace to the people of Israel through King David and King Solomon.
- Because of their disobedience, God allows other nations to destroy the nations of Israel (2 Kings 17:6) and Judah (2 Kings 25:11-12). But through the prophets, he gives them promises of future restoration and redemption.
- During the exile period, the book of Esther describes how God saved his people from annihilation through the bravery of Queen Esther.
- In 538 BC, King Cyrus delivered his proclamation to the Jews for them to return to Jerusalem. The books of Ezra and Nehemiah cover this story.
Redemption in the New Testament
The four gospels tell the ultimate story of redemption—Jesus. All the evil and brokenness of the world is a result of sin. Sin is refusing to follow God’s will for our lives (Romans 1:21). We have all sinned (Romans 3:23). Sin blocks us from having a relationship with our Creator. Sin leads to death and eternal separation from God (Romans 6:23).
But God designed us to have a relationship with him forever. He didn’t want us to die (John 3:16). His answer to restoring our relationship was to send Jesus to earth (Romans 5:8). Jesus, the Son of God, lived a sinless and died in our place so we could be declared righteous before God (Romans 5:21). His death conquered the power of sin and his resurrection overcome the power of death.
Now God seeks to rescue everyone. Do you want to be rescued from the effects of sin and death?
“…if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.” —Romans 10:9-10
The rest of the New Testament explains how to live the new life in Christ and continues the story of redemption by pointing to the end of time when Jesus will return to earth as the King of kings and Lord of lords and restore all things (Revelation 21:3-5).
A helpful resource for understanding the unity of the Bible message is The Big Picture Story Bible by David Helm and illustrations by Gail Schoonmaker. Though written for children, the book will assist anyone in a better understanding of God’s meta-story of redemption.
Please leave a comment if you find this post helpful.
In Part 2, I discuss the testimony of Jesus and the acceptance of Scripture by the early church.
All scripture comes from the New American Standard Bible.