September 25, 2014.
From time to time I find it very interesting to take a step back out of the details of the scripture and stand in amazement of the bible as a whole. One apologetic tool I use to relate to people that the bible is the inspired word of God is the bible itself, as a document, beautifully and wonderfully crafted under the oversight of the Holy Spirit. The book itself is truly a miracle.
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”
(II Timothy 3:16-17)
And that is so true. Today I would like to look at some things that make the bible stand out from any other book, especially religious book, written throughout history. These are subtle things that so often we take for granted, but when you think about them, it may truly bring wonder. I know it has for me.
1. The size of gospels.
When you consider what the gospels are in essence, you will find that they are not like other books in their genre. The gospels are a biography of the life of Christ. When you think of a biography, what would you think of? A big, boring book with a lot of facts about some person that you probably don’t really care about, but you are being forced to read it for school. Or maybe you are really interested in the person and their life story, so you grab the bibliography that is sure to inform you all about them.
But that’s not the picture that is painted in the gospels. Save a few chapters about a limited amount of events that happened in the life of Christ, the gospels mainly focus on Jesus’ public ministry that was started when he was around 30 years old. His ministry only lasted for 3-3 ½ years, and even of this ministry, the gospels mostly focus on the very last week that Christ walked this earth before he was crucified, and then some stories after the resurrection.
What does this make for? A relatively short biography. Granted, we have four different accounts. However, each account is short and even all together it makes for a pretty short biography. Now, let me ask you a question. If you were going to write a book about the Son of God who came to earth to save man, making Him the central figure of history, how long would your story be? How much of the book would be dedicated to His life? I know that the whole bible does indeed point to Christ, but there are a lot of other things in it, and the section that is dedicated to His life is just a small portion of the whole. This is not the way the human mind would think to craft a book that would last through the ages.
The size of the gospels, in my opinion, points heavily to the inspiration of God. I believe that God knew that the majority of people would not read a biography of Christ that was as long as the entire bible itself. Yet, He was indeed capable of packing the gospels with so much that we are still amazed and get a good picture of Jesus’ ministry. How He orchestrated this, I can’t give an answer, but I think it is certainly awe inspiring.
2. The cohesiveness of the bible.
As I noted above, the entire biblical narrative basically has one theme when you boil everything down to the core: Christ. He was in the beginning, the prophets of Old prophesied about the Christ, the children of Israel ever looked for the coming of the Christ, the story of Christ is central and the apostolic writers continually emphasize the risen savior in His glorified form. The whole bible, though it was written over a span of thousands of years by many different people, tells a cohesive story from start to finish. And what a story that is!
Have you ever seen the exercise where someone starts off a story and then other people add on sections until it finally (hopefully) reaches a conclusion? Whereas I find this to be a fun exercise, it points out that even people who live in the same time period and culture can’t really write a fluid story that flows with a central theme as the bible does. Some may object that the bible is fluid, but when I look at the big picture, I see an interesting novel of the story of the history of God’s people and the good news of salvation, which rectifies the fall in the beginning. I cannot express how amazing this is to me.
“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”
3. The perseverance of the bible.
Perhaps what is most interesting and amazing about the bible as a whole is the fact that it is still here, and that people, many people, still live their lives according to the scriptures. What other religious book is there that can claim this? The Holy book of Islam was at best written in 622 AD. The other two major world religions don’t have all that much of a consensus as to what the Holy Scriptures for their religion are (that’s not to say that they don’t have Holy Scriptures, it’s just that different groups disagree as to what those Scriptures are).
I suppose you could object that the Hebrew Scriptures (or the Old Testament in the eyes of a Christian) are older, but the Christian bible includes them and the relationship between Judaism and Christianity is much more complicated and would take much more time to sort through. Perhaps I will deal with that topic on another day. For the sake of this post, I will consider the Christian scriptures to include the Old Testament, which makes it one of the oldest religious texts in existence. And it’s still here, and practiced worldwide. Isn’t that amazing? How many people still worship the Greek or Roman gods? Which of the ancient religions has survived to be a major world religion today? I think this speaks volumes to the bible being the word of God.
“Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; for
“All flesh is like grass
and all its glory like the flower of grass.
The grass withers,
and the flower falls,
but the word of the Lord remains forever.”
And this word is the good news that was preached to you.”
(I Peter 1:22-25)
Now I know that these three things don’t outright prove that the bible is the inspired word of God, but they do give evidence for this concept. And this evidence is not alone, for there is so much more beyond these three ideas. I hope this post has sparked your interest and you will do a little more research on your own.
Suggested Daily Reading: II Timothy 3, I Peter 1-3.
Grace and peace.