HAVE YOU WONDERED?: Is the Bible really the word of God?
Christians believe that God communicates with us through the Bible. How do we judge whether this is true or not? What evidence is there that the Bible is trustworthy, reliable and any different than other sacred religious books?
In my next few articles, I will explore the following two questions:
If God wrote a book, what sort of qualities would you expect from it?
Does the Bible display the qualities and characteristics we would expect if it is from God?
In my last article, three points were explored:
If God wrote a book, we would expect that he would tell us that he wrote it.
If God wrote a book, we would expect it to be perfectly coherent and consistent throughout.
If God wrote a book, we would expect that it would change lives and society for the better.
On each of these points, we have seen that the Bible does in fact display the qualities and characteristics we would expect if it is from God. In this article, I will explore the following point:
If God wrote a book, we would expect that it would be powerful.
The Bible makes the claim that it will never be destroyed: “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” (Mark 13:31)
“… All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever.” (1 Peter 1:24-25)
Theodore Beza, the 16th century Swiss theologian, wrote, “The Bible is an anvil that has broken many hammers.” These words are proven true when we consider that many people, empires and governments throughout the ages have tried to destroy, extinguish, suppress and discredit the Bible, yet it survives and continues to flourish.
In 100 B. C., Antiochus IV (King of the Seleucid Empire who brutally persecuted the Jews) burned all the scriptures he could find and decreed death to all owners — yet, the scriptures survived.
In A.D. 301-304, the Roman Emperor Diocletian burned thousands of copies of the Bible, commanded that all Bibles be destroyed and decreed that any home with a Bible in it should be burned. In fact, he even built a monument over what he thought was the last surviving Bible. He then proudly proclaimed, “The Christian name has been extinguished!” The very next emperor, Constantine, made Christianity the state religion of Rome. Five hundred years after Diocletian’s death, his grave (a huge mausoleum) became a Christian church.
The Roman general and nephew of Constantine named Julian proclaimed that his book entitled “Refutation of the Christian Religion” would destroy the Bible forever. Have you ever heard of this book?
Voltaire, the great French Philosopher (1694-1778) once declared, “In 100 years, the Bible would be a forgotten and unknown book.” A hundred years later, the Geneva Bible Society occupied his home. In 1778, Voltaire proudly boasted, “It took 12 men to start Christianity; one (referring to himself) will destroy it.” Later, that very year, he died.
The American political leader Robert G. Ingersoll (1833-1899) once proclaimed, “In 15 years, I will have this book (the Bible) in the morgue.” Fifteen years later, Robert Ingersoll was in the morgue.
Lew Wallace (1827-1905) who served as a writer, a Civil War general, a governor of the territory of New Mexico and U.S. ambassador to Turkey, was a known atheist. For two years, he studied at the leading libraries in Europe seeking information for his book that he believed would disprove the Bible and “forever destroy Christianity.” While writing the second chapter of this book, he found himself on his knees praying to Jesus. Because of the indisputable evidence, he could no longer deny that the Bible was the word of God. Later, he wrote “Ben Hur,” one of the greatest English novels ever written concerning the time of Christ.
During the 1950’s, the Soviet government (who outlawed owning or studying the Bible) built a majestic building in Kiev, Ukraine, to house the Communist headquarters for that region. In 1994, I had the privilege of teaching the Bible to the entire freshman class in this very building, which then housed one of the first Christian universities in the former Soviet Union.
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
Russ Whitten is minister of Destin Church of Christ. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.