Defending a Lion
Vol: 29 Issue: 21 Wednesday, December 21, 2016
Simply as a book of history, the Bible is an amazing document. It begins before the beginning of the universe, and ends with its destruction and replacement. In between is the story of mankind.
There are those who recognize the Bible’s greatness but believe it is nothing more than that — a great book written by holy men. But they draw the line at calling the Bible the ‘Divinely Inspired Word of God.”
Indeed, that is the official position of the primate of the world-wide Anglican congregation, Archbishop of Canterbury Dr. Rowan Williams.
Dr. Williams believes the Bible is the foundational religious document of Christianity and Judaism, but he believes it was written by men. Not by God Himself.
(It must be terribly difficult to devote one’s life to serving what one believes in his heart is a lie. Or maybe not. Archbishop of Canterbury is a pretty good gig.)
But the Bible is more than a collection of historical documents and letters written by men. It claims of itself that every word contained within its pages is “God-breathed” — Divinely-Inspired by the Holy Spirit of God.
“Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” (2nd Peter 1:20-21)
The word ‘prophecy’ as used here, isn’t limited simply to foretelling the future. Prophecy actually means ‘speaking Divine Truth’ — or, more formally, “discourse delivered under Divine inspiration.”
In that sense, when Moses writes of events of the distant past, such as relating the Creation Story, he is actually delivering prophecy. It was not published as riddles subject to private interpretation by a cabal of wise men, as was the custom of the pagan religions of the time.
Neither was it something either invented by its authors nor by their whim. Peter tells us the writers of the Bible were ‘holy’ men — men ‘called out’ by God and ‘moved’ (inspired) by the Holy Spirit to record what they were told.
Thus, the Prophet Daniel could pen the entire history of the world from the perspective of Israel, from Babylon to Rome, and finally, through the Tribulation Period to come, and not have a clue what he was talking about the whole time.
(“And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things?” (Daniel 12:8)
Alone among the sacred writings of the world’s religions, the Bible claims for itself the mantle of infallibility. Even the Koran dare not make that claim — in fact — it’s writers knew it already contained contradictions and made allowances for them.
The Koran says that if a later verse contradicts an earlier verse, the later mention is Allah’s final word on the subject.
Thus, while the Koran says ‘there is no compulsion in religion’ that is nullified by the later verses that require non-Muslims to submit, either by conversion or dhimmitude, or be put to death.
But the Bible allows for NO contradictions, from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21. So, the Bible says of itself that it is infallible, Divinely-inspired and, most significantly of all, a completed work. When the Holy Spirit’s Divine dictation session was over, He ended it with a ‘period’ (Amen) and signed off with a warning:
“For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the Book of Life, and out of the Holy City, and from the things which are written in this Book.” (Revelation 22:18-19)
Even if one has never actually read it, the mere continued existence of the Bible stands as the most convincing and undeniable proof of its contents. No Book in history has withstood greater opposition, both to its existence and to its purported accuracy. Uncounted millions have perished in fires kindled by stacks of Bibles.
Over the centuries, the Bible has been sliced and diced and pureed and dessicated by philosophers, scientists, panels of experts, self-appointed ‘rationalists’, religious unbelievers, writers, lecturers and thinkers, all seeking to become that most famous of all thinkers — the One Who Proved The Bible Wrong.
My own journey to Christ began along that same road. One of my sisters had read Hal Lindsey’s “The Late Great Planet Earth” and started babbling on about Jesus and salvation.
I determined to set her straight by proving Lindsey’s conclusions were as wrong as the Bible he based them on. The harder I tried to disprove either, the more obvious it became. One cannot disprove the truth.
The history of the Book itself defies any claim of human inspiration. The Old Testament consists of 39 separate ‘books’ — the New Testament another 27.
The story of man’s rebellion against God is equal to the ‘number of man’ — 66 books. The authorship of 55 of them are well-accepted by history and tradition.
The other 11 (Judges 1 and 2 Chronicles, Ruth, Samuel 1 and 2, Kings 1 and 2, Esther Job and Hebrews cover such long periods of time they likely represent collections of ancient records brought together and edited the way that Moses ‘edited’ the Pentateuch covering the period from Creation to the Giving of the Law. Psalms and Proverbs also have several authors.
All the authors were Jews except possibly Luke, and all wrote from the context of Judaism. But the Bible has more universal appeal to all men in all nations across all time frames than any words ever written.
David and Solomon were kings. Jeremiah and Ezekiel, priests. Luke was a doctor, Paul a Pharisee, Matthew a tax collector, Daniel a politician, Peter and John fishermen, Ezra a scribe, Joshua a soldier and Nehemiah was a butler.
Some, like Moses, were highly educated. Others, like Peter and John, were probably semi-literate at best. The various ministries of the writers of Scripture cover a period of more than 1,500 of the most violent and turbulent years in human history.
With all this diversity, the books they wrote are necessary elements in a perfect whole product; each book seamlessly flowing to the next, each developing the same original theme, never contradicting each other, with such perfect economy of language as to speak to the hearts and minds of men with every single word.
Not only does it relate God’s Word as it applies to human conduct, it also contains historical, scientific, medical and ethical data centuries ahead of its time, and some of the best dramatic and poetic passages ever written.
It is therefore unique among all the sacred writings of all the religions of the world from antiquity to the present in six distinct ways.
1) It is the only sacred text to give an account of what came BEFORE the creation of the universe and the future account of its destruction.
2) It is the only book of antiquity to contain a running narrative from the first human being to the present era.
3) It is the only sacred text that not only relates history, but EXPLAINS its purpose in detail.
4) Ethically, the Bible stands alone among all the ancient and modern texts of the world in terms of standards of pure morality.
5) The Bible is the ONLY text among the world’s religions that contains detailed prophecies of future events.
6) The Bib
le is the ONLY Book that has the power to convict men of their sin and lead them to the ONLY One Who can free them from that sin.
According to somebody who took the time to count, the Pentateuch (the first five Books of Moses) claim Divine inspiration 680 times — the Prophets, 1,307. The Historical Books make 418 claims of Divine inspiration, Poetical, 195.
In all, according to Dr. Henry Morris, the Old Testament makes more than 2,600 claims of Divine inspiration. We already noted the warning not to add to the Scriptures at the end (Revelation 20:19) — note also that Moses gave a similar warning at the beginning. “Ye shall not add to the Word that I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it. ” (Deuteronomy 4:2)
The Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” (2nd Timothy 3:16-17)
The Bible could NOT have been written by men. Neither could it have been edited after the fact. It was preserved miraculously through the centuries, and then, just as the Final Generation was about to kick off, its preservation was confirmed by the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls.
There is NO ‘rational’ explanation for the Bible. No historical explanation. In fact, apart from Divine inspiration and preservation, there is no explanation at all.
The only way it COULD be explained would be if it could somehow be compared to a similar book of antiquity. Out of all the literary works of all the men who ever lived from the beginning of time to the present era, the Bible remains unique and incomparable.
Ray Comfort once quoted the great 19th century evangelist, Charles Haddon Spurgeon; “Scripture is like a lion. Who ever heard of defending a lion? Just turn it loose; it will defend itself.”
Said Comfort, “Notice that it does not deny that lions sometimes need defending; it merely recognizes that the best way to do that is to turn a lion loose and it will defend itself.”
Featured Commentary: One Fat and Sassy Church ~Wendy Wippel