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6 ways you can know the bible is from God

Christianity stands or falls on the single claim that the bible is the word of God.

I’m going to be honest – this is not easy to believe. When you consider how just plain weird some parts of the bible are, when you consider the ‘messiness’ of the bible’s presentation: containing (among other things) ancient poetry, social history, descriptions of military strategies, dimensions for a ship, letters written by a political prisoner, the rantings of a desert wanderer, and the dreams of an exiled hermit… it seems a strange collection of literature to call God’s word.

And yet, throughout the ages, billions of people from all cultures have agreed that this strange group of documents is no less than God’s perfect word to humans. Here are six reasons why…

(drawn from J.C. Ryle’s “Is all Scripture inspired?” available from Banner of Truth Trust)

The bible’s CONTENTS¬†

The bible throws more light on the most important subjects of our world than all the other books in the world put together. While human books make unconvincing speculations about the subjects of life and death and meaning and purpose, the bible presents bold and clear answers to all these questions. Through its apparent ‘messiness’ the bible reveals more to the average churchgoer about the big issues of life than could ever be uncovered by Socrates, Plato and Cicero put together. But we take this for granted. Because we live in a world that has absorbed the teachings of the bible for two millennia we hardly notice how much the bible has provided a framework for our worldviews, just like “We hardly know the value of the air we breathe, and the sun which shines on us, because we have never known what it is to be without them.”

The bible’s UNITY

In a murder investigation, detectives determine the true account of events through hours of interviewing suspects and eyewitnesses. It soon becomes clear, depending on whether these various accounts line up, whether they’re hearing a true representation of events or a fabricated one. The more independent witnesses who tell a coherent story, the better it’ll stand in court.

In this way, the bible, as a testimony of true events, surpasses even the strictest requirements of a court of law. It was written by no less than thirty people, from all walks of life – a king and a herdsman, a physician and a fisherman, a warrior and a priest – who lived over a period of fifteen centuries, most of whom never met each other. And yet, they all tell the same story. Their varied writings give one single, harmonized and unfolding story about God, man, salvation, and the truth of the human heart.

You just can’t make this stuff up.

The bible’s STYLE

It’s not easy to create a true masterpiece. But the bible has long been recognized as a literary masterpiece. It’s the world’s greatest bestseller, and anyone who gives it a decent read will see why. And yet it was written, mostly, by very ordinary people with no special advantages. They lived in a remote and disconnected corner of the world, they had few books, no formal learning, and little importance in the world’s eyes. But, without knowing, they produced a piece of writing unrivaled by anything before or anything since.

The bible’s ACCURACY

Since the bible was completed, a little under two thousand years ago, the world has seen some of the greatest scientific discoveries, the most profound social revolutions, the biggest changes in how humans live and think. There has been nothing in the past in which flaws have not been discovered and improvements made.

Except the bible.

In every age men have been trying to find flaws or inaccuracies in the bible, but have failed. This despite it’s hundreds of specific prophecies of future events… something that no other ‘holy text’ would dare risk, because to show one unfulfilled would be to disprove the whole lot. And yet, try as they may, men have never been able to disprove a single statement in the bible as being inaccurate or unfulfilled.

The bible’s SUITABILITY

Every book ever written has at best only appealed to certain people in certain times.

Except the bible.

The bible is the only book in existence which is never out of place and out of date. It suits the spiritual needs of all people everywhere. It is understood by the simplest minds, and yet it satisfies the most intellectual. It has been studied cover to cover, with millions of sermons preached on it and books written about it. Yet it’s as fresh today as it ever was, always with something new to discover and always containing what you need to hear today, whoever you are.

The bible’s EFFECTS

No book has had nearly as much effect on nations as has the bible. It was central in the history of the Roman Empire, mankind’s emergence from the Dark Ages, the spread of civilizations overseas, the establishment of ethics and law and order in modern societies, as well as the building of numerous orphanages, hospitals and schools. Along with its national effects it has profound effects on the individual lives of those who absorb it. People become willing to give up everything to make its truths known, despite the danger of imprisonment and persecution. At last count, churches are being actively persecuted in no less than fifty different countries. Yet despite this suffering, these churches continue to grow because the bible has irreversibly changed people to do what they would never have done before.

However, at the end of the day, the only way you can ever be convinced that the bible is really the word of God is to discover it yourself. To find out more, click here. But if you are convinced that the bible is from God, then you’ve got to make sure you don’t neglect it… “What greater insult to God,” writes J.C.Ryle, “can a man be guilty of than to refuse to read the letter God sends him from heaven?… You have no time to read it? But you make time for eating, drinking, sleeping, getting money and spending money… You find it too troublesome to read? You had better say at once it is too much trouble to go to heaven.”

 

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About Nick

Nick is the Pastor of St Mark's church in Plumstead, a suburb of Cape Town.

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