Here’s what we find in our Bible: bears who eat boys, donkeys that talk, burning bushes, a fish that swallows a man and that man makes it out alive after three days in it, dead men rising to life, staffs that turn into serpents, a talking serpent, a prophets who kills a bunch of people with a jawbone of a donkey, parting of the Red Sea, a boy who kills a nine-foot giant, a man who kills the husband of a woman he slept with, an earth that suddenly opens up and swallows some people, a man who claimed to be God, a man who walks on water, a man who turns water into wine, prison gates that suddenly just open up, a sword that gets swallowed up by the fat of another person…
Oh, and this dude who claimed to be an Apostle (fell off a horse, was blinded, got his sight back, and wrote nearly half the New Testament) wrote, “All Scripture (everything written above and more) is breathed out by God and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction and for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). Emphasis mine.
Then we have another dude, Peter, that wrote, “For no prophecy was every produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (1 Peter 1:21). So, basically, the Bible was written by God, through the personality traits of real mortal men…and is everything that God intended for us to have today. What we have here is the mystery of a Bible, where the words were breathed out by God, not dictated by God, and have this remarkable power reveal to us everything God intended about Himself.
The Bible consists of 66 books. It’s authored by 40 different people. And it was written over the course of about 1,500 years…with the last book of the Bible (Revelation) written just under 2,000 years ago.
And, Christians hold to the belief that the Bible is relevant to us today, is inspired (breathed-out) by God, is remarkably consistent (despite variants), reliable in all aspects, is inerrant (without error in the original autograph), and is infallible (the Bible is trustworthy and useful).
Now, you might get some friends who will look at you with that ‘eye look’ and think you’re plain crazy for believing all of this stuff, but let’s talk about it. The first thing is this: The Bible is obviously a supernatural book especially since it contains a resurrection, of which, without it, our faith would be futile. If the resurrection is true, Scripture is true. But let’s look at the supernatural element of the Bible:
First, there is an overall consistency. How can a Bible, that has 66 books, written by 40 plus authors, over the course of 1,500 years be so remarkably consistent? There is a theme of a Redeemer promised and delivered from Genesis to Revelation. You have all kinds of separate stories throughout the Bible, but if you take away those separate stories, you have a grand narrative that begins to not make sense. In Genesis, mankind screwed up pretty badly. In Genesis, God promised a remedy to their situation and that remedy is the sending of Jesus. In Genesis through Malachi, there is a constant reminder that a Redeemer will indeed show up on the scene. In the Gospels, this Redeemer shows up and lays down his life for us and resurrects. Oh, and then this Jesus, who is God himself, promises to come back and make all things new. In Acts, there is the explosion of a church based on this resurrection. There is this profound hope. In the rest of the New Testament, there is this call to remain faithful to the teachings of Christ and hold on to this future hope of Christ who will come back one day. We are now waiting. But notice what is happening in this waiting period: Transformed lives, which we turn to now, but first, remember that Moses, author of the first five books of the Bible didn’t buddy up with Paul a thousand years later to conspire this Bible. How could they?
Second, there are transformed lives over this Bible. Millions upon millions of people are being radically transformed over this Bible. Millions are giving up security, safety and comfort for the service and love of others over this Bible. Millions are being transformed from hopeless enemies of the cross to hopeful ambassadors of the cross because of this Bible. How is this? No one does this over Plato’s writing or Aristotle’s writings?
But then you also have this idea that the New Testament writers are claiming that what they wrote is true, and is indeed, the Word of God. Most of them suffered greatly. Most of the disciples of Jesus suffered greatly. Would they really do this for something that might not be true? Would you suffer willingly for Aesop’s Fables? I didn’t think so.
Third, the Bible stays around. For thousands of years, people have tried to stamp out the Bible. Even French-philosopher Voltaire said that the Bible would be completely eliminated and gone within his lifetime. Jokes on him. Still here. Every time people have tried to stamp out the Bible and make it illegal, as well as church stuff, guess what? The Bible is like, “Sike!” And the church explodes in growth! Explain that.
Fourth, if you’re going to write a book and claim it to be true and really want others to believe you, wouldn’t you write it with themes consistent with the times? For example, women, during this time were considered unworthy for the most part, yet, the Bible has women playing some pretty remarkable, important roles in its overall narrative. I’m not sure the authors were willing to put in this kind of details into their writing, unless it was…actually…true.
Fifth, the Old Testament has over 2,000 specific prophecies that were all fulfilled in the stories found in the New Testament. And I’m talking specific prophecies such as Micah prophesying that Jesus would be born in a small village of Bethlehem. How would Micah know this?! And how can you concoct a story like this to actually happen in the midst of a lunatic Herod wanting to kill all the two-year-olds in order for this Jesus to not be alive?
Sixth, it has yet to be proven that the Bible is historically inaccurate. You got this guy, Lee Strobel, who was an atheist, who made it his mission, as an investigative journalist, to dispute and prove that the Bible is not accurate in its descriptions. He found that every one of Luke’s 32 countries, 54 cities, and 9 islands didn’t contain a single mistake. He then became a Christian, risking his career potential.
Now, let’s talk canon, or simply put, the make-up of the Bible. Most of the attacks on the Bible are on the last 27 books (The New Testament). The Old Testament was already established way before the early church councils. And, not to mentioned, Jesus already recognized the Old Testament as God’s Word (John 5:39; Matthew 5:17; Luke 24:44-46; Luke 10:26-28).
Much to the discredit of the Da Vinci Code, it wasn’t a council (Nicaea) who came up with a list of what books would make it into the Bible. The council was held in 325AD and the Bible (all 66 books) was already formed a couple hundred years before this council convened. The council, instead, simply affirmed the canon since there were some men who popped up teaching heresies.
You may have a professor one day in school that’ll bring up so-called 80 other ‘gospels’ that didn’t make it into the canon. Here’s the thing thought: Those 80 so-called gospels came into existence a hundred or two years after the canon was closed. Get’s you thinking though: why would so many other ‘gospel writers’ try so hard to get into the canon to begin with? Why the big deal? Could it be that the Bible (the 66 already accepted books) were indeed true and accepted by the worldwide, universal church?
Either way, in order for NT books to be accepted as biblical, it had to past 4 tests. If it didn’t, all of which were fair, it wasn’t even considered as God-inspired.
It had to be apostolic (written by an apostle of Jesus or by a close companion of Jesus), antique (it had to date the first century), orthodox (had to be in agreement with the standard of truth reflected in the doctrinal tradition handed down from Jesus himself), and it had to be universal (had to be recognized by Christians from every part of the world…if a book or gospel appeared on scene that was only used by a small sect such as the Book of Mormon, it was discredited).