Is the Bible the Word of God? (Part 3)

How can you prove that the Bible is God's word? Isn't this what you promote as fact? Isn't it based on faith? Pure 100% faith.

In the past two columns I began answering your question by examining the external evidences of the authenticity of the Bible.  The Bible has withstood the test of time and by applying the normal tests of historical criticism it has shown itself to be far superior to any other ancient writing as a historical document.  Many want to apply one standard to test secular literature and another for the Bible but the abundance of external evidences supporting the Bible makes denying them a double standard.  In addition, archaeology has and continues to confirm the truthfulness and accuracy of the Bible.  Now, having established the Bible as a superior historic record we can examine the claims it makes about itself.  In other words, instead of just claiming that the Bible is the inspired Word of God because it says it is, we can now be confident that the Bible is basically reliable and trustworthy.

The Bible claims to be the Word of God about 2600 times in the Old Testament alone.  About 40 different authors claimed to be recording the Word of God with statements such as, "And the Lord spoke to Moses saying…," "The word of the Lord came unto me saying…," and "It is written."  Jesus himself considered the Old Testament to be wholly and completely the Word of God.  For example in Luke 24:25-27, "And He [Jesus] said to them,  'O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!  Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?'  And beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures."  Then in verse 44 Jesus says, "These are My words which I spoke to you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled."

One of the strongest objective internal evidences that the Bible is the Word of God is fulfilled prophesies.  Unlike modern prophets these are not lucky guesses but specific prophecies with specific fulfillments.  Jeanne Dixon, for example, prophesied whom the presidential candidates would be for the elections held in 1952, 1956 and 1960.  She missed all the candidates and all of the winners of all the elections.   In the Old Testament alone there are over two thousand specific and detailed prophecies.  In many cases the fulfillment did not come for years after the prophets death.    In about 500 B.C. in Zechariah 9:9-10 the "triumphal entry" of the promised King of Israel "mounted on a donkey" it is prophesied.  His virgin birth is prophesied in Isaiah 7:14 and in several other passages.  The ministry of John the Baptist is described in Isaiah 40:3 and Malachi 3:1.

Many details of the crucifixion of Christ occur in the Old Testament.  For example, that He would suffer thirst, Psalm 22:15; that gall and vinegar would be offered to Him, Psalm 29:21; and that His side would be pierced Zechariah 12:10.  Also, Psalm 34:20, "He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken."  This is fulfilled in John 19:33 "…But coming to Jesus, when they saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs."

The resurrection of Christ is also predicted in Psalm 16:10; Hosea 6:2; Psalm 30:3; Isaiah 53:10; Psalm 40:1-2 and in other places. 

Henry Morris in his book, Many Infallible Proofs calculates the probability of just three out of over 300 prophesies concerning the coming of Jesus coming true.  In Genesis 49:10 Jacob, while dying, prophesied that Judah would rule and from him the Messiah would come.  In Micah 5:2 the prophet Micah prophesied that the birthplace of Christ would be, of all the hundreds of towns and villages in Judah, a place called Bethlehem.  Finally in Daniel 9:24-26 the time of the Messiah's birth is predicted leading some scholars to believe that the exact date is indicated.  The probability that all these prophesies, each independent of each other by a different prophet in a different time in history, would be fulfilled by chance would be "one chance out of two billion!"

Believing that the Bible is God's Word is, therefore, not just a faith position.   The evidence both in the Bible and outside the Bible indicate that it is, in fact, what it says it is.  Proof of something does not mean 100 percent absolute certainty.  I cannot demonstrate to you with 100 percent absolute certainly that I drove my car yesterday.  However, I can use evidence to prove it happened beyond a reasonable doubt.   The standard of proof used historically in the courts of law is that which puts a matter beyond a reasonable doubt.  The evidence of the overwhelming superiority of the Bible as a historic document, the confirming evidence in archaeology and the evidence within the Bible of specific fulfilled prophecy point to the only conclusion that the Bible is, beyond a reasonable doubt, the Word of God.

8/26/01
Page 79

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©Tom Carpenter
Originally published in the Rockdale/Newton Citizen