Are The Scriptures The Words of God ?
There’s a lot of people who believe that the bible is a complete “fake”, and that it was simply written by man, or actually, by many men. Obviously, many men must have been involved in the actual writing of the scriptures, because of the simple fact that some parts of the bible are of much older composition than other parts. There are two silver scrolls, that were discovered in a burial cave in Jerusalem, in 1979, that contain these words from Numbers chapter 6, verses 24 -26; “The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious unto you. The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.”
The form of the writing on these scrolls, is commonly dated from 600 BC. If that’s correct, that would be the oldest fragment of scripture ever found. It’s from a period of time when the original Temple that Solomon had built, was still standing. Now although it’s commonly thought that Moses actually wrote the first five books of the old testament, beginning around 1450 BC, these silver scrolls are physical PROOF, that the old testament had at least begun to be written by 600 BC.
Now, the new testament was written much later than that. The new testament is the story of Jesus Christ, who didn’t even live until the first century AD.
There are said to be at least eighteen new testament fragments that date from the second century. That’s somewhere between the years 100, and 200 AD. A fragment is some piece of writing material, usually papyrus fore the new testament, which contains at least some portion of the scriptures. Those eighteen fragments all put together though, make up about 43% of the new testament.
There is a relatively new discovery of a papyrus fragment that at least one paleographer claims, “he is certain” it is from the first century AD. The last half of the first century is when the new testament was originally written. Now this man who makes the claim of first century origin for this fragment, could of course be mistaken, and the fragment may be from the second century, just like many other fragments are dated.
But the main point that I want you to consider, is that there’s at LEAST a seven hundred year span of time, from the earliest physical evidence of old testament writing, to the time when the new testament was written. That’s a long time isn’t it? Can you imagine men, human beings, making a co-ordinated effort, to first produce the old testament, and then to produce the new testament to “compliment” the old, and to further corroborate what the old has said, and then to make both of those bodies of writing, the old testament and the new testament, blend together to reveal one fluid “story”, such as the bible reveals?
And then to make sure that throughout all of those seven centuries of time, that the integrity of the words, and the high standards, remained the same from start to finish, unaffected by social changes and intellectual changes, and changes of opinion on morality, from not only one man to another, but from one generation to another, and changes of one culture to another.
That would be, without a doubt, the most profound accomplishment by mankind, without exception.
As a matter of fact, that would be absolutely impossible, wouldn’t it? To get various men, over a period of 700 years, to be in that kind of agreement? You might be able to get one man to begin a “work” such as the bible, over HIS lifetime, and then for his son, to possibly continuing that work during his lifetime, and have the total work turn out to be completely harmonious and fluid in idealology, and in all details. You might even get a grandson to continue such a work, without interruption in the flow of the work. But you know what? Anything beyond that, would simply be fantasy, to even imagine that it would be possible.
But yet, here we have in this “work” that we call the bible, one complete book, that from start to finish, from beginning to end, tells a story that’s fluid and coherent, and reasonable, and believable. And we have a story where all the facts are corroborated, and where predictions are made, and then fulfilled, without contradiction, and without mistakes. And we have a story who’s statements and facts are constantly being “proved”, by science and by archeology. And so we have here a “work” that is utterly impossible for man to have created.
Written by Men, Inspired by God
Although this work was indeed “written” by many different men, throughout many centuries of time, it’s impossible for them to have “conspired together”, or to have “colluded” (there’s a popular word right now), to produce the bible. So then what’s the answer? Although men did the writing, where did the words come from?
2 Tim chapter 3, verse 16, makes it perfectly clear; “ALL scripture is inspired by GOD..”
And 2 Peter chapter 1, verses 20 & 21, also make it clear; “But know this first of all, that NO prophecy of scripture is of one’s OWN explanation. For NO prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit, spoke from God.”
Even though men did the writing, GOD did the dictating! How else could 66 different “books”, written over a period of at least 700 years, and maybe over as much as 1600 years, come together as the one “bible”, capable of telling us everything we need to know about “life and godliness”? (2 Peter 1, verse 3)
Keeping with the fact that the bible is NOT the word of man, this is what God tells us about His word; He says in, 1 Cor 2, verses 9 – 11;
“Things which eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, and which have not entered the heart of man; All that God has prepared for those who love Him. For to us God revealed them through the Spirit, for the spirit searches ALL things, even the depths of God. For who among men, knows the thoughts of a man, except the spirit of the man? Even so, the thoughts of God, no one knows except the Spirit of God.”
In other words, the things which are written about in the bible, man would have absolutely NO idea of, if God hadn’t revealed them to us. Man would never have seen nor heard them, and the thoughts would never had entered into his heart.
Verse 12 & 13 say, “Now we have received NOT the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from GOD, that we might know the things freely given to us from God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.”
So in other words, God has communicated with us, His spiritual truths, by using His own spiritual words, inspiring men, to write down those spiritual words, and then by bringing together all His words to make up the bible, THE word of God.
The Plain Simple Truth
Focusing on the new testament, and specifically the four gospels and the book of Acts, there is a particular characteristic displayed throughout all the writings. There’s an unusual calmness, and a matter-of-factness displayed in describing all the events that have been written about. Whether the bible is talking about the everyday life of the men that Jesus called to be His apostles, or of the baptism of Jesus, and the voice of God coming out of the heavens, declaring Jesus to be the Son of God, and then the glorious sight of the spirit descending upon Jesus as gracefully as a dove, and even the crucifixion of Jesus. The scriptures tell it all, in simple straightforward manner, without emotion of excitement.
John wrote in his gospel, as a simple “matter of fact”, in chapter 2, and verses 33 & 34; “And I did not recognize Him, but He who sent me to baptize in water said to me; He upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him, this is the one who baptizes in the Holy Spirit. And I have seen, and have borne witness, that this is the Son of God.”
Nothing could be more plain and straightforward. John could have written about what a glorious sight it really was, and how thrilled he was, to have actually seen it. And he might have gone into great detail about the almost spell-binding sight of the Spirit descending as a dove, and what the very word of God actually sounded like, but he didn’t. What he did record, was the plain truth of God on the subject.. Specifically, that THIS, is the Son of God.
And there was probably not a more emotional experience recorded in all the bible, than the raising of Lazarus from the dead. The crying and grieving family and friends. Even the tears of the Lord Himself. But again, John simply states the fact, that “Jesus wept”. (John 11, verse 35)
And then we have the almost unbelievable raising of the man himself, who had been dead for four days. John does confirm that Jesus was “deeply moved” over the grief of those who loved Lazarus. (V-38)
And so Jesus was taken to the tomb, and He says in verse 39: “Remove the stone”. And then after thanking His Father in prayer, Jesus shouts out with a loud voice; “Lazarus come forth” (V-43). It was more of a command than anything else. And Lazarus hears the command, and he obeys it and comes forth. And so John records in verse 44: “He who had died came forth, bound hand and foot with wrappings, and his face was wrapped around with a cloth. And Jesus said to them; Unbind him, and let him go.”
No record of the gasps of unbelief from the people watching, as Lazarus comes out of the tomb. No words about the rejoicing that obviously must have gone on. No attempt at all to try to “capture” the emotion of the moment.
John does however add these words; “Many therefore of the Jews, who had come to Mary and beheld what He had done, believed in Him. But ,some of them went away to the Pharisees, and told them the things which Jesus had done.” (V’s 45 & 46)
God Gets Right to The Point
This simply isn’t how men, or women, tell stories! We love to tell about the emotions and the excitement of the moment. We love to elaborate, and to tell how fantastic the event was. We love to paint “word pictures”, to no end. But this is how GOD tells a story. He presents us with the facts, and then He leaves us to decide how we will act upon those facts. Within the context of this story, is the very truth that God is teaching us. Jesus said it in verse 25, when He said; “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, shall live, even if he dies.” Will we just blow it off as a fanciful tale told by some man? Or will we accept it as the word of God, and believe it, and act upon it? God always leaves it up to us, doesn’t He?
People love to elaborate. It’s kind-of like what Jesus said in Mat 6, verse 7; “..For they suppose that they will be heard for their many words.” Just look at all the commentaries of the bible, written by man. For just about every verse of scripture, man can write paragraphs of comments and explanations.
The writers of the bible had a subject matter to deal with, that is nothing short of “momentous”. They wrote about the greatest theme of all time, the salvation of man. And there were many things that could have been said, and told, but they weren’t all written. The apostle John once wrote, “If they should be written, every one, I suppose that even the world itself, could not contain the books that should be written.” (John 21, verse 25)
Man would go on forever with his writings, but the One who dictated the words of the bible, didn’t do that. The God of heaven was very direct and to the point. Each one of the four gospel writers, were limited by God’s inspiration, to an average of 25 pages each, in telling of the life of Jesus, and salvation in Him. The shortest of the gospels being 21 pages, and the longest being 36 pages.
There’s a biography of George Washington, that a man named John Marshall wrote, somewhere around 1800. Do you know how many pages it is? I don’t know how many pages it contains, but I do know that it consists of 6 volumes. That’s how man writes.
Here’s what the Apostle John wrote about Jesus
John says in 1 John 1, verses 1 thru 4; “What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have beheld, and our hands handled concerning the Word of Life; And the life was manifested, and we have seen and bear witness and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us; What we have seen and heard, we proclaim to you also, that you also may have fellowship with us, and our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son, Jesus Christ. And these things we write, so that your joy may be made complete.”
If you had walked with Jesus, and seen Him and heard Him and beheld Him and handled Him, and you were going to proclaim all this in writing; How many pages would it take you to write it all down? When John wrote his gospel account, he filled only 28 pages.
He tells about the eternal existence of Christ, and of the creation of the world through Him, and of the fact that He is the light of the world, in just 70 words. (John 1:1-4) It just took me over 50 words to ask you the last question that I asked you.
When John saw the Spirit of God, descending and resting upon Jesus, he bore witness of this with just 72 more words. (John 1:32 – 34)
He records the teaching of Jesus concerning the new birth, in just 6 sentences. (John 3:3-8)
And Jesus’ teaching concerning how true worshippers must worship in spirit and in truth; 4 sentences, 85 words. (John 4:21-24)
If you were going to try to comfort someone, with the fact that God has a place prepared for you in heaven, for eternity, where you’d be in the presence of God Himself ; How many words would it take you to say it? John does it by quoting 78 words of Jesus, in John 14, verses 1 thru 4;
“Let not your heart be troubled, believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places. If it were not so, I would have told you. For I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto Myself, that where I am, there you may also be. And you know the way where I am going.”
Those are pretty comforting words aren’t they? In God’s house there are many dwelling places, and Jesus has one prepared for you, and for me. And He’s personally coming back to receive us to Himself.
That promise is really all I need to motivate me to obey God. What about you? Aren’t those words of Jesus enough to motivate you?
That promise is yours, if you would just believe it. And if you believe it, then you’ll repent of your sins, and you’ll confess the name of Christ, and you’ll be buried in baptism, in order to have your sins washed away. And then that promise should be all we need to motivate us all, to remain faithful unto death.
So then in closing.. Who wrote the bible? Men did the writing, but the words are God’s.
In just the right amount of words, God has given us everything we need to know, to be saved eternally. If we just believe Him and obey Him.
The choice is yours.
Thanks for studying God’s word with us.
Please feel free to leave any comments or questions that you may have, in the space below.