House of the Righteous
  Why Read It?
  Questions and Attacks Against the Bible
  The Unique Nature of the Bible
  The History of the Biblical Record (Canon)
  The Divine Origin of the Biblical Record
  Inerrancy of the Biblical Record
  Reliability of the Old Testament
  Reliability of the New Testament
   
  Bibliography
  Additional References and Resources
   
   


Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet,
and a light unto my path.

~ Psalm 119:105

Related Articles
Meditating on the Word of God
 
Why Read It?
 

Randall Niles states in his article, Introduction To The Bible (3), "Before this journey began, I had no interest in reading this "convoluted" mythology book. However, I was really enjoying my study of archaeology, and the archaeology books kept referring to the Bible as an historical and geographical resource. Therefore, I felt the need to at least read the Bible as an "intellectual exercise" to help connect the dots with respect to people, places and events mentioned in the other books I was reading... "

 

 
Back to the Top
Questions and Attacks Against the Bible
 

* The Bible is no different from any other ancient book? It's just and ancient text like the ancient Indian Sanskrit text of Hinduism, The Vedas

* How do you know that the text of the Bible as we have it today is authentic after so many transcriptions and translations over the centuries?

* There's no guarantee that deletions and embellishments over the centuries did not obscure the original message of the Bible.

* The Bible is simply a collection of pre-scientific myths and pious forgeries.

* The Bible is factually inaccurate.

* How do you know some of the other ancient texts should not be included in the collection of Biblical books?

* What difference does the historical accuracy of the Bible make?

 
Back to the Top

The Unique Nature of the Bible

 
  • The last book of the Bible is almost two thousand years old
  • The earliest book is over three thousand five hundred years old
  • It is being used worldwide and has been for centuries
  • It has the most esteemed spiritual status of any other book in history
 
Back to the Top
The History of the Biblical Record (Canon)
 

‘Canon’ means measuring rod and refers to a collection of written material which forms the standard by which the theories of a particular field is measured. (5)

Christianity is firmly founded upon its history

The collection of historical books that comprise the Bible forms the foundational theology and doctrines of Christianity.  The theology of the Christian faith is intricately related to the historicity of these books and cannot survive without its history.  This is one very important aspect which separates the Bible from other books claiming ancient origin. (5)


Entrusted to the Jews

The inspired Word of God was originally entrusted to the Jews. The were meticulous guardians of these writings and knew which books were canoninical and which writings were pure historical in nature.

"What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God." ~ Romans 3:1-2


Historical preservation of the Biblical Canon

Priests and Jewish leaders handled the texts of the Bible with great care and respect right from the beginning, because they recognized that it is the inspired Word of God.  The texts were transmitted and preserved from generation to generation until highly trained priest-scribes, like Ezra, began to copy and transmit the text (Nehemia 8:9).  Many Jews became more concerned about the preservation of Scripture after the Babylonian captivity which led to an increase in professional scribes and elaborate rules and regulations for their profession. (5)

Due to the later replacement of ancient Hebrew with a more modern version, and the translation of text into Greek, copyists developed various additional techniques (such as adding vowel marks), and rules (such as vertical and horizontal checking, destruction of texts containing any error, cleanliness and self-preparation).  The purpose of this was to ensure the continued accuracy of copying the Old Testament manuscripts. (5)

The accuracy of these copyists were confirmed when the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered and scholars were able to compare it with the Masoretic Texts, which were the earliest manuscripts used for translation at that time.   The Dead Sea Scrolls are as much as 1200 years older than the Masoretic Text and a comparison between the two texts demonstrated the unusual accuracy of the Masoretic Text. (5)

 

The sequence and scope of the Canon

How do we know which books are suppose to be in the Biblical Canon?

 

Jesus spoke of the Hebrew Canon

Jesus referred to the full breadth of the Hebrew Old Testament from Genesis to Chronicles (the last book in the Hebrew TaNakh (8)

http://biblelight.net/hebrew-canon.htm ENTIRE SECTION: CHRIST DECLARED the Hebrew Canon the Word of God

 

 

 
Back to the Top
The Divine Origin of the Biblical Record
 
Christians claim that the Bible is the inspired Word of God, but just saying so doesn't necessarily make it so. How would you answer if someone were to ask you what you base this assertion on?
 

~ The Original versus The Copies
~ Inspiration: What does it mean?
~ The Scripture itself claims to be the inspired Word of God
~ Prophecy in the Bible
~ Scientiically proven statements

 
The Original versus The Copies
 

When we declare that the Bible is the inspired Word of God, do we refer to the Bible on our nightstand or the original documents? And does it really matter?

A foundational principle to understand when questioning the inspiration of the Bible, is that Christianity asserts that the original writings, the autographs, were without error in everything they addressed. The copies of these documents are not inspired. (7) Although errors in copying the original Biblical documents may have crept into some of the copies it does in no way negate the trustworthiness of the Bible.

The historical accuracy, however, does not in itself prove that the Bible is inspired by God. (1) For example, the reports of a burglary taking place yesterday in a neigboring town proves it as historically accurate, but it does not imply divine inspiration.

 
Inspiration: What does it mean?
 

The Christian Doctrine of Inspiration is founded on 2 Timothy 3:16:

"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness" ~ 2 Timothy 3:16, KJV
The word 'inspiration' is derived from the Greek word 'theopneustos' which consists of two words, 'Theo' meaning 'God' and 'pneu' meaning 'blow'. Theopneustos thus means 'God-breathed', or 'inspired by God'.  
theopneustos

McDowell (1) gives a thorough definition of 'inspiration' in his book, The Evidence That Demands A Verdict, quoting Norman L. Geisler :

"Inspiration can be defined as the mysterious process by which God worked through human writers, employing their individual personalities and styles to produce divinely authoritative and inerrant writings."

 

 
The Scripture itself claims to be the inspired Word of God
 

The Bible declares that it is without error, authoritative, and that it is sufficient to meet all of our spiritual needs. It encourages us to examine ourselves based on its message and does not defend itself. (6)

"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness" ~ 2 Timothy 3:16, KJV

Divine Inspiration signifies that God Himself is authored of the Bible, using human writers to communicate to us.

"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." ~ 2 Peter 1:20-21, KJV

 
Old Testament Books
 

Approximately eighteen of the twenty-four Old Testament books declare clearly that they are inspired by God.


~ The Law

The first five books of the Old Testament, also known as 'The Law', 'The Torah', or 'The Pentateuch' are understood to be written by Moses.

 

1. Genesis
Genesis does not contain any distinc citation about being inspired by God, however, since Genesis is considered part of The Law, written by Moses, it is assumed to carry the same divine authority as the other four books.

2. Exodus
"And the tables were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, graven upon the tables." (Exodus 32:16)

3. Leviticus
"And the LORD called unto Moses, and spake unto him out of the tabernacle of the congregation, saying.." (Leviticus 1:1)

4. Numbers
"And the LORD spake unto Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the tabernacle of the congregation, on the first day of the second month, in the second year after they were come out of the land of Egypt, saying.." (Numbers 1:1)

5. Deuteronomy
"And it came to pass, when Moses had made an end of writing the words of this law in a book, until they were finished, that Moses commanded the Levites, which bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD, saying, take this book of the law, and put it in the side of the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, that it may be there for a witness against thee." (Deuteronomy 31:24-26)

 

The five books of Moses became known to the people as God's Law and troughout the Old Testament the people regarded Moses' voice as God's voice. (1) Moses' successor, Joshua, began his leadership under God's authority:

"Now after the death of Moses the servant of the LORD it came to pass, that the LORD spake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses' minister, saying, .." (Joshua 1:1)

"Only be thou strong and very courageous , that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest . This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous , and then thou shalt have good success." (Joshua 1:7-8)


~ The Prophets

Generally "The Prophets" are considered to be only the books of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezra, Nehemia, and other prophets. However, historically the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) had a two-fold division, 'The Law' comprising the first five books of Moses and the rest, called "The Prophets' or "Writings'. (1)


The high regard that the latter prophets had for their earlier counterparts offer evidence of the divine authority of their writings:

* God spoke to Daniel through the writings of Jeremiah - Compare Daniel 9:2 with Jeremiah 25:11

* Ezra recognized the divine authority of the writings of Jeremiah (Ezra 1:1), Haggai and Zechariah (Ezra 5:1)

* Zechariah writes about the law and words God spoke by His Spirit through the former prophets (Zechariah 7:12)

* Nehemia also speaks how God testified by His Spirit through His prophets (Nehemia 9:30)


The prophets made specific statements about God speaking to and through them:

* God instructed Jeremiah to take another scroll and "write on it" (Jeremiah 36:28)

* Isaiah wrote that God commanded him to "take a large scroll, and write on it" (Isaiah 8:1), and again later "Now go, write it before them in a table, and note it in a book, that it may be for the time to come for ever and ever:" (Isaiah 30:8)

* Habakkuk was instructed by God to "write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it" (Habakkuk 2:2)

* The statement "Thus says the LORD" and similar expressions are found hundreds of times in the Old Testament


~ Books authored by men who were considered "Men of God"

* David proclaimed that God spoke through Him (2 Samuel 23:2), which lends credibility to the divine inspiration of the most part of Psalms.

* Solomon posessed God-given wisdom (1 Kings 4:29), which would extend to the books he authored, Proverbs, Song of Solomon and Ecclesiastes.

*
1 and 2 Kings were written by Jeremiah who posessed well-known credentials as a prophet from God (Jeremiah 1:4, 17)

* Chronicles, Ezra and Nehemia were written by Ezra who functioned as a prophet (Jeremiah 1:10, 13)

 


~ Books that do not clearly declare their divine origin

McDowell (1) offers three reasons why these books are considered divinely inspired:

* The section that they are in (either The Law or The Prophets) contain distinct and indisputable claims of being divinely inspired.

* The historic books contain God's words about the concrete events taking place at that time

* The poetic books represent God's words that are expressed through the hearts and inspirations of individual people

 

The following table outlines all the books of the Old Testament and the evidence of divine inspiriation:

Old Testament Book Author Proof of Inspiration
Genesis Moses  
Exodus Moses Exodus 32:16
Leviticus Moses Leviticus 1:1
Numbers Moses Numbers 1:1
Deuteronomy Moses Deuteronomy 31:24-26
Joshua Joshua Joshua 1:1,7-8
Judges    
Ruth    
1 Samuel Samuel  
2 Samuel Samuel  
1 Kings Jeremiah Jeremiah's credentials as a prophet who spoke for God is well-known
2 Kings Jeremiah
1 Chronicles Ezra Ezra operated as a prophet, interpreting the law of Moses and influencing civil and religious reforms (Jeremiah 1:10, 13)
2 Chronicles Ezra
Ezra Ezra
Nehemia Ezra
Esther    
Job Job  
Psalms David in part David testified that God spoke through him (2 Samuel 23:2)
Proverbs Solomon Solomon was accredited to be a "Man of God" with God-given wisdom (1 Kings 11:9)
Ecclesiastes Solomon
Song of Solomon Solomon
Isaiah Isaiah Isaiah 1:2; 8:1; 30:8
Jeremiah Jeremiah Jeremiah's credentials as a prophet who spoke for God is well-known (Jeremiah 1:11)
Lamentations Jeremiah
Ezekiel Ezekiel Ezekiel 1:3
Daniel Daniel God spoke to Daniel through the writings of Jeremiah (Compare Daniel 9:2 with Jeremiah 25:11)
Hosea Hosea Hoseah 1:1-2
Joel Joel Joel 1:1
Amos Amos  
Obadiah Obadiah  
Jonah Jonah  
Micah Micah  
Nahum Nahum  
Habakkuk Habakkuk Habakkuk 2:2
Zephaniah Zephaniah  
Haggai Haggai Ezra recognized the divine origin of Haggai's writings (Ezra 5:1)
Zechariah Zechariah Ezra recognized the divine origin of Zechariah's writings (Ezra 5:1)
Malachi Malachi  
 
Clear declaratin of divine inspiration Assumed to be inspired based on the credentials of the author
       
Recognized by another author    

 

 
New Testament Books
 

~ Christ's message through the disciples

The author of the book of Hebrews testified that Christ's message through His disciples is God's voice today just as much as His message through the prophets was in times past. (1)

"God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds" (Hebrews 1:1-2)

 


~ The doctrine of the apostles and prophets were followed

After Christ's assention and Pentecost, believers continued to observe, teach and testify to the authority of the apostolic teachings.

"And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers" (Acts 2:42)

The Apostle Paul wrote that the believers of Ephesus were "fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God" founded upon the teachings of the apostles and prophets.

"are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone" (Ephesians 2:20)

 


~ New Testament authors' writings considered as "Scripture"

Peter referred to Paul's writings as "Scripture":

"..even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; 16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest , as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction." (2 Peter 3:15-16)

Timothy references Luke and Deuteronomy

"For the scripture saith , Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward." (1 Timothy 5:18) He quotes Deuteronomy 25:4, "Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn", and Luke 7:10, "for the labourer is worthy of his hire".



~ Christ testified to the inspiration and authenticity of the Hebrew scriptures

During His temptation in the wilderness, Christ responded to Satan by quoting the scriptures. "It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." (Matthew 4:4 quoting Deuteronomy 8:3) Also, verse 7 and verse 10 of Matthew 4.

Christ acknowledged the Law and the

 
Prophecy
 

(1) Secular Prophecies

(2) Messianic Prophecies

 
Scientifically Proven Statements
 

(1) The Shape of the Earth

(2) The Earth is suspended in nothing

(3) The Existence of valleys in the seas

(4) The existence of springs and fountains in the seas

(5) The existence of water paths (ocean currents) in the seas

(6) The hydrologic cycle

 
Back to the Top
Inerrancy of the Biblical Record
 

For Christians the historical authenticity of the Bible alone is not enough, the spiritual message, which is inextricably linked with its historicity is crucial.

The Science of Textual Criticism

The science of textual criticism is employed to examine the credentials and reliability of the 66 books of the Bible. Thus, it is the act of comparing copied editions of a text with the original version, and identifying errors.

 
Alleged Bible Difficulties and Contradictions
Back to the Top
Reliability of the Old Testament
 
 
 
Back to the Top
Reliability of the New Testament
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Back to the Top
Bibliography
 

1. McDowell, Josh. The Evidence That Demands A Verdict. Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville. 1999
2. Little, Paul E. Know Why You Believe. Cook Communications Minisstries, Colorado Springs. 1999
3. Niles, Randall. Introduction To The Bible. All About The Journey. 2002-2010. <http://www.allaboutthejourney.org/introduction-to-the-bible.htm>
4. Mullings, Gordon. The Bible: Authenticity & Authority in an Age of Suspicion. Originally Created 1985. Adapted by UCCF 2002. <http://www.angelfire.com/pro/kairosfocus/resources/Mars_Hill_Web/bible_authenticity.htm>
5. Philip, Dr. Johnson C., Cherian, Dr. Saneesh. Reliability of the Canon. A Calvin Research Group Academic Resource Module 004A1.
6. Niles, Randall. How Do We Know The Bible Is The Inspired Word Of God? All About The Truth. 2002-2010. <http://www.allabouttruth.org/how-do-we-know-the-bible-is-the-inspired-word-of-god-faq.htm>
7. Slick, Matthew J. Evidence of Biblical Inspiration. CARM - Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry. 1995-2010. <http://carm.org/apologetics/evidence-and-answers/evidence-biblical-inspiration>
8. Scheifler, Michael. How Many Books Are In The Old Testament? How Can We Know For Sure? Bible Light. <http://biblelight.net/hebrew-canon.htm>

 

 
Back to the Top
Additional References and Resources

Authenticity of the Bible
Evidence for God
An extensive list of articles on the reliability and archaeology of the Bible.


   
 
 

 

 

 

 
 
Last Updated: September 23, 2012
Home 
About Us  
What We Believe  
Blog 
Free Books  
Study Resources  
Topic Studies  
 
 
 

 

 
 
Free Book
The Sovereignty of God
The Sovereignty of God
by John Murray
 
 
 
 
Copyright © 2012 House Of The Righteous. All Rights Reserved