Why I Believe the Bible #01 (The Bible's Claims About Itself)

Wayne —  August 12, 2009 — 1 Comment

BIble

Let’s look first at the claims the Bible makes about itself.  Some might argue that this entry involves some circular logic.  Clearly, they will assert, you are trying to use what the Bible says to prove that the Bible is true.  Far from it actually!  I do not believe the Bible simply because the Bible says it is true.  As you will see in future posts (this is Part 1 of 25), there are innumerable reasons to believe the inerrancy and validity of the Bible. The purpose of this post is merely to lay the foundation for future posts by setting out what the Bible says about itself.

However, given that my assertion is that the Bible is the supernatural word of God inspired by the Holy Spirit and recorded by men chosen by God for the task, it seems logical that we would start with what claims the Bible makes about itself.  Indeed, given that the Bible is God’s Word, one would expect that it would make any number claims about itself.  Indeed, if the Bible did not make such claims about itself, we would be left to make those claims on behalf of the Bible.  So, let’s have a look at what the Bible claims.

God Spoke to Man in the Old Testament

There are many examples of this, and the following are just a couple.  When God led the Israelites out of Egypt he spoke to them:

And God spoke all these words, saying, “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. “You shall have no other gods before me. “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.  [Exodus 20:1-4]

God spoke directly to the prophet Isaiah:

And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.” And he said, “Go, and say to this people: “‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand; keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’ Make the heart of this people dull, and their ears heavy, and blind their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed.” Then I said, “How long, O Lord?” And he said: “Until cities lie waste without inhabitant, and houses without people, and the land is a desolate waste,  [Isaiah 6:8-11]

God Commanded That His Word Be Written Down

God did not simply talk to man and let it go.  He commanded them to record what they had been told.  The book of Exodus records God’s command to Moses to write down what God had said:

Then the LORD said to Moses, “Write this as a memorial in a book and recite it in the ears of Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven.”  [Exodus 17:14]

It also explains why God gave the command that his words be recorded:

And the LORD said to Moses, “Write these words, for in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel.”  [Exodus 34:27]

And, it tells us that Moses was obedient to God’s command to record his word:

And Moses wrote down all the words of the LORD. He rose early in the morning and built an altar at the foot of the mountain, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel. [Exodus 24:4]

God Commissioned Prophets to Spread His Word to the People

God did not always speak to his people directly.  More often he commissioned prophets to speak for him.  Again, the instances are too numerous to include them all, but the following are a handful of examples.

God commissioned the prophet Nathan to talk to David about building a temple:

But that same night the word of the LORD came to Nathan, “Go and tell my servant David, ‘Thus says the LORD: Would you build me a house to dwell in?  [2 Samuel 7:4-5]

God commissioned Isaiah to take his word to King Hezekiah:

Then the word of the LORD came to Isaiah: “Go and say to Hezekiah, Thus says the LORD, the God of David your father: I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears. Behold, I will add fifteen years to your life.  [Isaiah 38:4-5]

God commissioned Jeremiah to go and speak to his people in Jerusalem:

“Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Go and say to the people of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, Will you not receive instruction and listen to my words? declares the LORD.  [Jeremiah 35:13]

The Human Writers of Scripture Were Aware That They Were Writing God’s Word

Many people claim that the Bible is not the work of God but simply the work on man.  Some even claim that the writers of the Bible never even claim that they are writing an inspired book.  Scripture clearly shows this to be false.  In fact, there are numerous Old Testament passages where the writers explicitly state that they words they were recording came directly from God.

The prophet Samuel makes the following claim:

“The Spirit of the LORD speaks by me; his word is on my tongue.”  [2 Samuel 23:2]

Another well known prophet, Jeremiah explains how, in his case, God gave him the words to record:

Then the LORD put out his hand and touched my mouth. And the LORD said to me, “Behold, I have put my words in your mouth. [Jeremiah 1:9]

The Human Writers of Scripture Made It Clear That What They Were Writing Was From God

416 times in the Old Testament records the phrase “Thus Says the Lord.” (in the NASB).  The prophets used this phrase routinely to indicate that what they were recording was not simply the words of man.  Again, the following are just a few examples taken from a variety of prophets:

Thus says the LORD: “For three transgressions of Damascus, and for four, I will not revoke the punishment, because they have threshed Gilead with threshing sledges of iron.  [Amos 1:3]

Therefore thus says the LORD: behold, against this family I am devising disaster, from which you cannot remove your necks, and you shall not walk haughtily, for it will be a time of disaster. [Micah 2:3]

Thus says the LORD, “Though they are at full strength and many, they will be cut down and pass away. Though I have afflicted you, I will afflict you no more.  [Nahum 1:12]

Now, therefore, thus says the LORD of hosts: Consider your ways.  [Haggai 1:5]

Therefore say to them, Thus declares the LORD of hosts: Return to me, says the LORD of hosts, and I will return to you, says the LORD of hosts.  [Zechariah 1:3]

The prophets also used the phrase “Declares the Lord.”  The NASB records 336 such uses in the Old Testament.  Here are a few:

“And in that day I will answer, declares the LORD, I will answer the heavens, and they shall answer the earth,  [Hosea 2:21]

“Yet even now,” declares the LORD, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;  [Joel 2:12]

Finally, the introductory phrases to many of the Old Testament prophetic books leave no doubt that the prophets were recording the word of God:

The word of the LORD that came to Hosea, the son of Beeri, in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel.  [Hosea 1:1]

The word of the LORD that came to Micah of Moresheth in the days of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, which he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem.  [Micah 1:1]

The word of the LORD that came to Zephaniah the son of Cushi, son of Gedaliah, son of Amariah, son of Hezekiah, in the days of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah.  [Zephaniah 1:1]

The Old Testament Claims the God’s Word is Completely Truthful

The Bible claims that it is inerrant in several Old Testament passages.  We’ve seen thus far that it claims to come directly from God through the human authors.  Numbers 23:19 asserts that everything that God has said or will ever say is true:

God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?  [Numbers 23:19]

A similar claim is recorded in the book of 1 Samuel:

And also the Glory of Israel will not lie or have regret, for he is not a man, that he should have regret.”  [1 Samuel 15:29]

Finally, the Psalmists leave no doubt about the truthfulness and endurance of God’s Word:

The sum of your word is truth, and every one of your righteous rules endures forever.  [Psalms 119:160]

The words of the LORD are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times.  [Psalms 12:6]

Forever, O LORD, your word is firmly fixed in the heavens.  [Psalms 119:89]

New Testament Claims About Scripture

The Old Testament is clear.  The Bible claims to have been divinely inspired by God, recorded through human agency, 100% accurate, and never changing.  But, what does the New Testament have to say?

The New Testament confirms the supernatural inspiration of the Old Testament.  The author of Hebrews explains:

Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets,  [Hebrews 1:1]

One of the most famous verses on the validity of Scripture comes in a personal letter from the Apostle Paul to his beloved disciple Timothy.  In one sentence Paul sums up the foundation and the practicality of scripture:

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 competent, equipped for every good work.  [2 Timothy 3:16-17]

In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul (who recorded a large portion of the New Testament) makes it clear were the scripture he authored had its origin.

And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.  [1 Corinthians 2:13]

If anyone thinks that he is a prophet, or spiritual, he should acknowledge that the things I am writing to you are a command of the Lord.  [1 Corinthians 14:37]

Paul clearly claims that his teaching comes from God and not from human wisdom.  The Apostle Peter makes also makes the claim for God’s inspiration of Scripture:

…no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.  [2 Peter 1:20-21]

For those who claim that the New Testament never makes the claim that it is scripture, Peter is quite clear.  In referring to Paul’s writings, Peter explains:

And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures.  [2 Peter 3:15-16]

In short, the entirety of scripture (both Old and New Testament) claims the all scripture comes from God, is recorded by authors selected by God, is inerrant, infallible and useful.  That is what Scripture claims about itself.

Return to the Why I Believe The Bible index page.

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