In today’s world, the Bible is under continual attack, whether it be from the skeptical, secular humanist and academic worldviews or from other religions such as Islam, Mormonism or New Age. Oddly enough, sometimes the Divine Authorship of the Bible is even questioned inside the church. Since one of our central claims as Christians is that the Bible is the Word of God, we need to be prepared to defend that assertion. It is not good enough to just say that the Bible is God’s Word because it says so, unquestioningly assuming it is true because that is written in the text of the Bible. We have to be able to demonstrate this view as being the most reasonable inference from the evidence.
So, here I will give you 3 reasons that you can trust that the Bible is Divine rather than simply human in origin.
1. Indestructibility of the Bible
From Got Questions website:
“Because of its importance and its claim to be the very Word of God, the Bible has suffered more vicious attacks and attempts to destroy it than any other book in history. From early Roman Emperors like Diocletian, through communist dictators and on to modern-day atheists and agnostics, the Bible has withstood and outlasted all of its attackers and is still today the most widely published book in the world.”
The Christian Courier (Jackson, Wayne. “The Holy Scriptures–Indestructible.” ChristianCourier.com. Access date: January 10, 2016. https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/31-holy-scriptures-indestructible-the) records the following attempts to eradicate the Bible or portions of it:
Antiochus Epiphanes 175-164 B.C.
After the death of Alexander the Great, the Greek empire was divided into four segments (cf. Daniel 8:8), and the Jewish people fell under the control of a remarkably evil ruler whose name was Antiochus Epiphanes. Antiochus, known popularly as “the madman,” launched a bloody persecution against the Hebrew people. One aspect of his vendetta was an attempt to destroy copies of the Jewish Scriptures. An ancient document records this episode:
And [the officials of Antiochus] rent in pieces the books of the law which they found, and set them on fire. And wheresoever was found with any a book of the covenant, and if any consented to the law, the king’s sentence delivered him to death (The Apocrypha, 1 Maccabees 1:56-57).
The historian Josephus comments upon this event:
And if there were any sacred book of the law found, it was destroyed, and those [Jews] with whom they were found miserably perished also (Antiquities of the Jews 12.5.4).
The heathen plan backfired, however, for it was this very persecution that generated more intense examination of the divine writings. Out of this circumstance the genuine books of the Old Testament canon were formally separated from contemporary spurious documents that feigned inspiration (McClintock and Strong 1968, 76).
Diocletian, Roman Emperor from A.D. 284-305
Following the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth from the dead, Christianity was introduced into the Roman world. It spread like wildfire in the stifling environment of ancient paganism. Not many decades passed before Rome came to view the Christian system, with its New Testament Scriptures, as a threat to the security of the empire. And so history repeated itself. A determined effort to eradicate the Bible from antique society was initiated by the Roman ruler, Valerius Diocletian.
Diocletian occupied the imperial throne from A.D. 284-305. In A.D. 303, he inaugurated a series of merciless persecutions upon those who professed the religion of Christ. Hurst notes:
[A]ll assemblies of Christians were forbidden and churches were ordered to be torn down. Four different edicts were issued, each excelling the preceding in intensity. One edict ordered the burning of every copy of the Bible—the first instance in [Christian] history when the Scriptures were made an object of attack (1897, 175).
Julian the Apostate (Roman Emperor from A.D. 361-363)
The year he assumed Roman rule, at the age of thirty, he openly declared his hostility to the Bible (hence he became known as Julian the Apostate). Three centuries of bloodshed (prior to Julian) had not enhanced the cause of heathenism. Persecution had merely accelerated the spread of the Christian cause. Julian thus determined that he, with logical argument, would destroy the influence of the Scriptures… Now, in a period of greater tranquility, Julian would renew the assault. Shortly before his death, he wrote a bitter attack against Christianity, the only remains of which are to be found in a refutation produced by Cyril of Alexandria (ca. A.D. 432). The “Apostate” merely regurgitated the arguments of Celsus and Porphyry in a modified form, expanded somewhat by his larger acquaintance with the Bible (Schaff 1981, 75). While this literary effort was doubtlessly effective with some, a skeptical historian, Edward Gibbon (1737-1794), penned this curious remark: “[T]he Pagans . . .derived, from the popular work of their Imperial missionary [Julian], an inexhaustible supply of fallacious objections”.
The Bible has had to survive not only the persecution of its enemies, but has had to weather the opposition of its so-called “friends” as well. Though some historical revisionists attempt to exonerate the Roman Catholic system of efforts to suppress the Holy Scriptures, the plain facts are undeniable. On numerous occasions in centuries past, church authorities had committed the Bible to flames under the guise that the translation was vulgar. The Fourth Rule of the Council of Trent stated that the indiscriminate circulation of the Scriptures in the common vernacular would generate “more harm than good.” Therefore, those reading or possessing the Bible “without . . . permission may not receive absolution from their sins till they have handed [copies of the Scriptures] over to the ordinary” (Schroeder 1950, 274).
Persistent effort was made by the Romanizers to suppress the English Bible. In 1543 an act was passed forbidding absolutely the use of Tyndale’s version, and any reading of the Scriptures in assemblies without royal license (Newman 1902, 262).
Thousands of copies were burned. “Of the estimated 18,000 copies printed between 1525-1528, only two fragments are known to remain” (Thiessen 1949, 84).
Francois Marie Arouer (Voltaire)
In France, Rationalism found a champion in Francois Marie Arouer—popularly known by his pen-name, Voltaire—a deist who produced several volumes brimming with hatred for the Bible. No one in Europe did as much to destroy faith in the Word of God as Voltaire. France rejected the Scriptures, tied a copy of the Bible to the tail of a donkey, and dragged it through the streets to the city dump, where it was ceremoniously burned. But, as Coffman notes, “since that time, the government of France has fallen thirty-five times” (1968, 343-344). Voltaire predicted that within a hundred years of his death (1778) Christianity would be swept from existence and pass into history (Collett n.d., 63), yet two centuries have come and gone, and today, rare is the person who owns a copy of Voltaire’s writings, while almost every home is adorned with a Bible.
In America, the battle against the Bible was led by men like Thomas Paine and Robert Ingersoll. Paine (1737-1809) came out of a Quaker background and gained considerable prominence as a result of his writings (e.g., Common Sense) advocating America’s independence from Britain. Eventually he went to France. There he yielded to the influence of French deism, and so composed his infamous tome, The Age of Reason, which was a passionate attack against the Bible. His qualification for such a task may be illustrated by the following admission. In discussing a passage in the book of Job, Paine says: “I recollect not enough of the passages in Job to insert them correctly . . . for I keep no Bible” (n.d., 33). Again: “[When] I began the former part of The Age of Reason, I had, besides, neither Bible nor Testament to refer to, though I was writing against both” (Ibid., 71). So much for scholarship. Paine died a bitter and lonely old man, having lost most of his friends due to his political views and his hostility towards Christianity (Cross 1958, 1005). His trifling little volume is mostly ignored today. In this writer’s city (Stockton, California), of more than a quarter-of-a-million people, the public library’s only copy of The Age of Reason has been checked out sixteen times in the past ten years!
2. Continuity of the Message of the Bible
Despite the geographic, cultural, lingual and historical separation of its human authors, amazingly, the Bible has a unity and continuity of its message throughout. This is evidence of the Bible’s Divine origin.
From Got Questions web site:
“One of the first internal evidences that the Bible is truly God’s Word is seen in its unity. Even though it is really sixty-six individual books, written on three continents, in three different languages, over a period of approximately 1500 years, by more than 40 authors who came from many walks of life, the Bible remains one unified book from beginning to end without contradiction. This unity is unique from all other books and is evidence of the divine origin of the words which God moved men to record.”
From Answers in Genesis:
“Among all the books ever written, the Bible is absolutely unique. Actually, it is not just a book—it’s 66 books. And one of its most remarkable qualities is the complete unity of the overall message despite having so many different authors writing over many centuries on hundreds of controversial subjects. Natural explanations fail to account for the supernatural character and origin of Scripture… Shepherds, kings, scholars, fishermen, prophets, a military general, a cupbearer, and a priest all penned portions of Scripture. They had different immediate purposes for writing, whether recording history, giving spiritual and moral instruction, or pronouncing judgment. They composed their works from palaces, prisons, the wilderness, and places of exile while writing history, laws, poetry, prophecy, and proverbs. In the process they laid bare their personal emotions, expressing anger, frustration, joy, and love. Yet despite this marvelous array of topics and goals, the Bible displays a flawless internal consistency. It never contradicts itself or its common theme.”
3. Fulfilled of Prophecy in the Bible
From Answers In Genesis:
“Biblical prophecy is different from all other predictions. With incredible detail, forthright clarity, and impeccable accuracy, the Bible has consistently unveiled the future for centuries. Critics of the Bible, for instance, have squirmed over the prophetic insights of Daniel, the sixth-century BC Jewish prophet in Babylon. With eye-opening precision, Daniel interpreted two sets of dreams, one by a pagan ruler (chapter 2) and the other by the prophet himself (chapter 7), thereby forecasting the entire course of Middle East history over the next five centuries. Daniel describes the exact ebb and flow of four empires from Babylon to Medo-Persia to Greece to Rome. He even foresaw the meteoric rise to power of the Greek conqueror Alexander the Great, as well as the final division of his Greek empire by four of his surviving generals (Daniel 7:6, 8:5–8, 11:2–4). Desperate to counter the implications of this prophetic phenomenon, nineteenth-century skeptics concocted dating schemes that placed the time of Daniel’s writing after the events. Careful research by modern textual scholars, however, has validated the early origin of this prophecy, establishing Daniel as the authentic author.1 Daniel’s prophecy is a genuine ‘Wow,’ which clearly gives evidence of the Bible’s divine nature.”
Although some of these prophecies are vague and could have been deliberately fulfilled, many are very specific:
- Place of birth (Micah 5:2).
- Date of birth (Daniel 9:25).
- Manner of birth (Isaiah 7:14).
- Manner of death (Zechariah 12:10; Psalm 22:16 prophesied before the invention of crucifixion).
- Piercing in side (Zechariah 12:10).
- Burial (Isaiah 53:9).
There are additional reasons why one could infer divine involvement in the creation and preservation of the Bible, but this sampling of 3 reason ought to give us enough data to believe that to be true beyond a reasonable doubt!