The period covered by New Testament history was characterized by frequent and complicated changes in the political affairs of Judea and those countries round about. None of these are accurately described in the New Testament and yet it contains many allusions to them in an incidental way. Josephus gives a detailed account of them all. This fact affords a most excellent opportunity to test the accuracy of the sacred writers. Agreement can be accounted for on no ground except perfect information on both sides. The New Testament reader who has no other source of information is left in great confusion.
The Bible declares itself to be the very words of God. This makes the Bible very unique. Other documents shy away from making such a declaration because if the document contains the words of God, then those words must be flawless. As humans, we know we make mistakes and do not want to make a claim that one can go through our writings with a fine-toothed comb and not find an error or problem. Yet that is exactly what the Bible declares. Man alone has not declared the Bible to be the word of God, but the Bible itself makes that very claim.
The Old and the New Testaments claim inspiration nearly 4000 times. Claims do not prove a fact, but the claims tell us something about those who have made the claim. For example, if I told you I could benchpress 1000 pounds, you immediately learn something about me. You would learn that I am either the strongest man in the world, I am a liar, or I am a lunatic. The same thing can be said concerning the writers of the Bible. Either the writers of the Bible told the truth when they claimed to write down the very words of God, they were liars, or they were lunatics. It is not possible for us to say that the writers were good men and the Bible is a good book, but the Bible is not inspired. This is not a good book if the writers lied nearly 4000 times. The Bible is certainly not a good book if it is not inspired when we consider that we are told that if we do not obey its commands we will spend eternity in hell. Therefore, we are left with three options: (1) the Bible is the word of God, (2) the Bible was written by a bunch of liars, or (3) the Bible was written by people who were completely deluded and were lunatics. If either of the last two options is true, then we cannot ever say that the Bible has the greatest words or that it has the greatest standard of morality.
Proving inspiration by the Bibles claims
(16) We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.
(17) For he received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”
(18) We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.
(19) And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.
(20) Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophets own interpretation.
(21) For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. (2 Peter 1:16-21; NIV)
2 Peter 1:16-21 probably contains the most extensive argument made by the scriptures for its inspiration. Peter declares that he and the other writers did not follow cleverly invented stories when they wrote about Jesus. In fact, they were eyewitnesses to things they recorded. In referring to the transfiguration of Jesus, Peter declares that they heard the voice that came from heaven when they were with Jesus on that mountain. In verse 20, Peter makes a very emphatic point. None of the writers ever penned something by their own will nor did any writer pen their thoughts or interpretation of Gods words. Instead, men spoke the very words of God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit moved them to write the very words of God. No writer was moved by his own will to write something down.
Everything written down are the very words of God. This is the other point of the argument in 2 Timothy 3:16: “All scripture is breathed out by GodÃ¢â‚¬Â¦.” The Greek word for “scripture” is the word graphe which literally means “piece of writing.” Not only did God affirm the very words spoken by the apostles and prophets, but God also affirmed the words the apostles and prophets wrote down. If we read these words literally in 2 Timothy 3:16, we would say “All of the writings of the apostles and prophets are breathed out by God.”
Further, even the content of the writings repeatedly show these words to be the very words of God. In Acts 12 we read about the death of the apostle James. How much would we have written about the murder of an apostle of the Lord? We would have written volumes about this monumental event, recording the impact it made on the Christians and what the Christians did in honor of James. Yet the Bible records that James was killed by the sword and nothing else is said.
How much would a human have written about the death of Jesus? We would have recorded how many beatings and whippings Jesus endured. We would have recorded all the details about the arrest, trial, and crucifixion of Jesus. Instead we are left with simple statements like “and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered Him to be crucified” (Matthew 27:26). Each of the gospel writers only record about three chapters worth of material about the death of Jesus. The average person would have written far more.
How much would a person write about the birth of Jesus? Today we see large elaborate scene about the birth of Jesus. Stories are told today concerning his birth, embellishing and adding material that was not originally recorded. What would you have written about the birth of the one who would take away the sins of the world? How much would you write about the one who would fulfill all prophecy? Two gospel writers record nothing, Matthew records about 25 verses, and Luke records about 39 verses. Scant information exists about the birth of Jesus. The content of the Bible shows it to be the very words of God.
In the next article, we will prove the Bible to be the very words of God without using the Bible itself for argumentation.