In a previous post I mentioned that most mornings as I pray I thank God for his revelation in creation, Scripture, and Christ. I suggested a thought experiment that encourages us to see God’s invisible qualities as we encounter creation every day, his eternal power and divine nature in everything. As we see the invisible God made visible in creation, we are driven to God’s further revelation of himself in Scripture, in our Bibles. As I’ve delved deeper into Scripture over the years, I’ve come to see God’s revelation of himself in the text of his word as even more amazing than his revelation in creation, and that is saying something. I used this phrase speaking creation: “The beauty, majesty, the improbable incomprehensible preposterous complexity of it all.” I suggested it should always and often leave us dumbfounded. I’ve come to feel this way about the Bible; it continually blows my mind. You would think that after 43(!) years as a Christian who has engaged the Bible almost daily that I might be a bit tired of it, you know, the same thing over and over and over. Nope! I find, literally every day, amazement on every page. It’s almost as if this book that claims to be the word of the invisible God who created the universe is as infinite and boundless and profound as its author! It is. The deeper I go, the more I realize . . . there is no bottom! Could any other merely human writing endure such scrutiny, and criticism, and passion for thousands of years, and convince millions, even billions of people, that it is divine? 

Here is our thought experiment. As you read the Bible ask yourself: could this really all just be made up, merely invented out of human imagination? That’s what the critics and skeptics and our secular culture says. Either they are right, or it is God’s inerrant, holy infallible word. There is no in between. I think the more familiar you get with the Bible, the more you’re realize, you just can’t make this stuff up!

What is it that makes God’s revelation in Scripture so compelling? Before I get to the theological reasons, one of the things that amazes me is just how unlikely it is that we even hold this book in our hands. It is actually a collection of 66 different writings by 40 or so human authors primarily in two languages with a little Aramaic thrown in. These 66 “books” were written over 1,500 years, and faithfully copied by hand until Gutenberg invented the printing press around 1440. Many ignorant people (those without knowledge) think that being able to copy manuscripts accurately over 3,000 years is impossible. It is not, as the science of textual criticism has proved.  I learned not too long ago something that proved to me that scribes were very good at copying a text accurately. Prior to the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in the 1940s, the oldest manuscript of the Old Testament was from about 1000 AD. A complete manuscript in those caves of the book of Isaiah was discovered, and it was dated from around 200 BC. It was practically identical to the manuscript from over a thousand years later! Scribes were very good at their job. We can trust that the text we have in our Bibles today is pretty much the text that was written by the original authors.

A couple paragraphs can hardly do justice to the theological reasons we know the Bible is God’s word, but a few powerful points can be made in a short space. First, we must understand and accept the concept of revelation, that God reveals and can reveal himself to us in words through human agents. This is a hang-up for people who assume that God is not the Almighty and sovereign ruler of the universe. The key word is assume, something not proved or reasoned to, simply taken for granted as if it were true. Assumptions are sneaky little buggers, and if we’re not aware of them they’ll allow lies to pass that sound reasonable, as if they were true. But let’s try another assumption. If God exists, by definition he is the Almighty sovereign ruler of the universe, and communicating his will and purposes accurately through human beings is a piece of cake. God’s revelation in creation makes this is a pretty safe assumption.

The question becomes, then, how does God do this? Believing revelation is possible leads to the logical theological conclusion of biblical inspiration, the concept that “All Scripture is God breathed . . . ” And that “men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” If God is God, then this is a no brainer.  We don’t believe this, however, for logical or philosophical reasons, but because this is the testimony of Scripture, of what the Bible claims about itself. This is far too big of a topic to go into here, but if you want to dig deeper into this profound subject, you could not do better than to read B.B. Warfield’s Inspiration and Authority of the Bible. After all, that’s what it comes down to, what authority will we choose to submit to. There is no escaping that question. We all believe what we believe, and that about an infinite variety of things, based on authority, who or what we trust. The age of COVID should make that very clear. What do we really know about that, or anything else? Pretty much nothing; we trust what others tell us to one degree or another.

After 300 years of the Bible’s critics trying to destroy it’s credibility, the Bible’s authority as the true record of God’s revelation of the history of the redemption of his people stands stronger than ever. We can trust it with our life and our eternal destiny. The question for each one of us is will we do that, and seek to do what Jesus exhorted us to do: “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” It is written.

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