Is the Bible the Word of God?
When it comes to the truth of the Bible, modern people often think like George Gershwin: “The things that you’re liable to read in the Bible, it ain’t necessarily so.” After all, says the skeptic, this book is so chock full of fanciful stories and over-the-top miracles that no reasonable person could believe it. Why should we think the bible is actually from God?
Of course, it needs to be acknowledged that convincing the skeptic of the divine origins of Scripture is no easy task. Since “the natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God” (1 Cor. 2:14), it is not as simple as just presenting the facts. The Bible is a spiritual book, so the Spirit must work for us to see it for what it is.
Our arguments may not always convince the skeptics, but that does not mean our arguments are invalid. God has provided ways that we can know these books are from Him.
First, we must recognize that the biblical books have internal qualities that demonstrate that they are from God. Just as natural revelation (the created world) has characteristics that show God is the author of nature (Ps. 19; Rom. 1:20), so we should expect special revelation (Scripture) to have such characteristics that show God is its author.
One example is the efficacy and power of Scripture. It’s not just that Scripture says things, but the Scripture does things. It convicts (Heb. 4:12–13), it encourages (Ps. 119:105), it comforts (v. 50), and it brings wisdom (v. 98). In short, this book is alive. Even more than this, the Bible brings understanding in regard to the biggest questions of life (v. 144). It provides a coherent and compelling worldview that explains reality like no other book.
Another example is the unity and harmony of Scripture. It is incredible to behold how so many different authors—writing in different times, locations, and cultures—can weave together a single, unified, coherent story of the redemption of all things through Christ. Such harmony is not man-made but evidence of a divine origin.
In short, Christians know the Scriptures are God’s Word because in them they hear the voice of their Lord. As Jesus declared, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27).
In addition to the internal quality of these books, we can also look to the historical origins of these books as evidence of their unique character. These books come from God’s authenticated messengers, prophets and Apostles who were authorized to speak for Him. The Scriptures contain not just the words of human beings but the words of human beings who were called to be God’s mouthpieces (2 Peter 1:21).
Of course, we are not always certain of the particular author of every biblical book (for example, the book of Hebrews). But, even in such cases, we have solid historical evidence that situates these books in time periods and circumstances where we know God was actively working among His people to reveal His Word.
Moreover, it should be noted that the books of the Bible have been subjected to the keenest scrutiny and the most rigorous examination by modern scholars. And time and time again, the books of the Bible have proved themselves to be historically reliable and worthy of our trust.
RECEIVED BY GOD’S PEOPLE
A final reason to take the Bible as God’s Word is that God’s Spirit-filled people, for generations and generations, have recognized these books are from God.
Even when Paul explains the inspiration of Scripture to Timothy, he first reminds him to remember “from whom you learned it” (2 Tim. 3:14), namely, his mother and grandmother.
It is not just the testimony of biological family, but also God’s family, His church throughout the ages. The Bible contains the books that God’s people have been using, trusting, reading, and applying for thousands of years. And that testimony should be given its due weight.
In the end, these three reasons provide a great basis for believing that the Scriptures are the Word of God. But, even more than this, we have the testimony of the Lord Jesus Himself. Not only did Christ know and use the Scripture, but He unequivocally affirmed its divine power: “Scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35).
So, yes, if we believe the Bible, we will believe in Jesus. But it is also true that if we believe in Jesus, we will believe the Bible.