What is the origin, inspiration, and inerrancy of the Bible?
Also How our present English text came into being from Hebrew and Greek?
This is two questions. I will deal with them separately.
In this epistle, we will deal with the first question, but I rephrased it a little bit.
How can we be assured of the Authenticity of the Bible? How do we know that what we have is really the words of God?
You ask a very important question. Not because it is difficult to answer, but because it is so fundamental to our faith. If we are not firmly convinced of the authenticity of the Holy Scriptures, then our faith will be weak and our obedience will be incomplete.
And it is difficult to find material to answer the question, but it is hard to pick and choose from the wealth of material available.
In this study then, let’s consider three principle sources of evidence that the Bible is the Divinely inspired Word of God:
1. The Testimony of Jesus Christ 2. Why Should We Believe Jesus Christ? 3. The Life Of Paul As An Evidence of the Resurrection
First let’s look at:
THE TESTIMONY OF JESUS CHRIST
Christ is the key to it all. And it is appropriate that we base our faith on Christ, because He is our ultimate authority in all things —
Matt 28:18-20 18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. (KJV)
As Jesus has all power (all authority), why should He not be our authority here?
We know that the Bible is authentic because He quoted from it. Remember when He kept saying “It is written …” when He was tempted in the wilderness? It is that, and His many other references.
Consider that at the time of Jesus the Jews regarded what we call the Old Testament in three parts:
The “Law” —
Genesis Exodus Leviticus Numbers Deuteronomy
The “Prophets” —
Joshua Judges I Samuel II Samuel I Kings II Kings Isaiah Jeremiah Ezekiel Hosea Joel Amos Obadiah Jonah Micah Nahum Habakkuk Zephaniah Haggai Zechariah Malachi
The “Writings” —
Psalms Proverbs Job Song of Solomon Ruth Lamentations Ecclesiastes Esther Daniel Ezra Nehemiah I Chronicles II Chronicles
[An interesting detail here, the Saducees (they did not believe in the resurrection — they were “sad you see”) they only accepted the Law as authoritative. Notice how many times Jesus rubbed their nose in it as He referred to the Law and the Prophets as authoritative!]
Anyhow, the point is that the Divine Son of God quoted from and referred to the Old Testament scriptures in His teaching, and He considered them authentic.
Consider here — Some Old Testament References by Our Lord
Get out your Bible and check these out. See if Jesus did not refer to these passages as if everybody knows that they are authentic.
Matt 4:4 Man shall not live by Bread Alone Deut. 8:3
Matt 4:7 Thou shalt Not Tempt God Deut. 6:16
Matt 4:10 Worship God Deut. 10:20
Matt. 5:27 On Adultery Ex. 20:14
Matt. 5:33 Thou shalt Not Swear Num. 30:2
Matt. 5:38 An Eye for an Eye Lev. 24:19-20
Luke 11:51 Abel Gen. 4
Luke 17:26-29 Noah, Lot & Sodom Gen. 7 & 19
Matt. 12:3 Hungry David I Sam. 21:6
Matt. 12:7 Mercy vs. Sacrifice Hos. 6:6
Matt. 12:38-40 Sign of Jonah Jonah 1:17
Luke 19:46 Den of Thieves Isa. 56:7 & Jer. 7:11
Matt. 13:13-14 Hearing not Hear Isa. 6:9-10
Matt. 22:41-45 David’s Lord Psa. 110:1
Mark 12:10 Chief Cornerstone Psa. 118:22
Luke 11:51 Zechariah II Chronicles 24:20-21
The Law and the Prophets
Matt 5:17 Jesus Came to Fulfill the Law & Prophets
Matt. 7:12 Golden Rule — this is the Law & Prophets
Matt 22:40 On the Two Greatest Commandments hang the Law & Prophets
Luke 16:16 Law & Prophets Were Until John
Luke 24:44 Christ Fulfilled all the Law & Prophets
Did you look at these? [Remember that chapter and verse divisions did not exist in the first century. They did not come along until the 14th century or so.]
Next let’s look at
WHY SHOULD WE BELIEVE JESUS CHRIST?
Everyone believes that Jesus Christ was a good person. No one back then could convict Him of sin, try as they did. The only thing resembling sin which they could pin on Him was His claim to be Deity. Blasphemy is an extremely serious sin. But, since He was (is) Deity, then it cannot be sinful for Him to claim it!
Jesus claimed to be Deity. Now if He was not Deity, then He lied. If He is a liar (and lying about claiming to be Deity would be a large size lie), then He could not be a “good person.” Which all are in agreement that He was!
What evidence do we have to support our belief in the words of Jesus Christ? Many. Let’s look at just a few.
There are more than 300 prophecies fulfilled in the life of Christ. Micah 5:2 spoke of Bethlehem. Matthew 2:5 referred back to this prophecy of Micah. And the Jews at that time (see context of Matt. 2:5) understood the passage to be a prophecy of where the Messiah was to be born!
The study of the fulfillment of prophecy in the life of Christ is a very rewarding study. I will leave it to you.
The End He Proposed
The Jews were looking for a Messiah to deliver them. They had seen the many prophecies and other references in the Old Testament. But they were looking for an earthly kingdom. Jesus was that Messiah. It would have been so easy for Him to accept the crown as king on earth. Because that was what the people wanted.
But He did not do it that way. He chose the way of perishing to accomplish His mission. He gave His life freely. Look at the accounts of His crucifixion, and it is striking how He so willingly gave His life, without resisting.
There is no way that He could gain anything by His death. Unless, of course, His death was Divinely appointed by His Divine Father!
The Testimony of His Father
The Hebrew writer, in warning us to not miss the boat, mentions that God provided signs and wonders (miracles) so that we would believe that Jesus Christ is Divine.
Heb 2:1-4 1 Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. 2 For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward; 3 How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; 4 God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will? (KJV)
John 20:30-31 30 And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: 31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name. (KJV)
No body could disprove His miracles, then or now. From turning water to wine in John chapter two to raising dead, stinking Lazarus from the dead in John chapter eleven. There were just too many witnesses for Jesus’ miracles to be a fraud. The only other possibility, then, is that Jesus Christ is Divine.
The greatest of Jesus’ miracles, He did not even do Himself, but God did for Him. That is His resurrection from the dead.
No one could disprove it back then. And they had the most powerful reason to disprove it if at all possible. He was cramping the style of the local leaders, and making their life difficult. But they could not disprove it.
Some today try to disprove the resurrection. Long distance (time). I have not read all their arguments, but that seems silly. If the Jewish leaders could not disprove it back then, when they had the most reason to, how does anyone today expect to be able to disprove it when any evidence and eyewitness accounts are long gone?
But we do have eyewitness accounts and evidence in the Holy Scriptures which substantiates the fact that Jesus Christ was raised from the dead.
The Changed Apostles and other Christians
One of the greatest testimonies to the truth of the resurrection is the change in the life of the apostles. They were hicks from the sticks, and yet they turned the world upside down with their teaching and testimony. And for what earthly reason? None whatsoever. What was the effect on their lives?
They lost everything, they lived in poverty, they died horrible deaths in torture (all except John, who died a natural death). And why would they do all that, if it was not for the fact that they could see a greater, eternal reward. They had seen the resurrected Christ, and He changed their lives.
As He promised them in John chapters 14 through 16, He send the Holy Spirit to teach them all things. Right after Christ was crucified, they were scattered and confused. But shortly after the church was established on the day of Pentecost in Acts chapter two, they got their act together and “turned the world upside down” with their teaching about the risen Christ.
How could all this have happened at all if it were not for the fact that Christ was (is) Deity, and He was actually raised from the dead?
There are more arguments along these lines; and I am sure that the above argument could be presented in a more convincing manner, but I trust that you get the idea.
Finally let’s look at:
THE LIFE OF PAUL AS AN EVIDENCE OF THE RESURRECTION
[Before we get into the meat of the following argument, be sure you are familiar with the conversion of Saul of Tarsus, as recorded in Acts chapter nine, and also as he retold it in Acts chapters 23 and 26.]
This is Lesson 27 from Homer Hailey’s Internal Evidences of Christianity, copyright 1964 (so don’t sell any of this).
—– Start of Homer Hailey’s Material —–
Proof From The Conversion Of Saul
This is an outline of the argument made by Lord George Lyttelton, which first appeared about 1747. Lyttelton and his friend, Gilbert West, were “Fully persuaded that the Bible was an imposter and determined to expose the cheat. Lord Lyttelton chose the conversion of Paul and Mr. West the Resurrection of Christ for the subject of hostile criticism … the result of their separate attempts was, that they were both converted by their efforts to overthrow the truth of Christianity.” (The Fundamentals, vol. V, p. 107, Reprinted in Evidence Quarterly, I:2, p. 9.)
Lyttelton lays down four propositions which he considers exhaust all the possibilities in the case:
1. Either Paul was “an imposter who said what he knew to be false, with an intent to deceive;” or
2. He was an enthusiast who imposed on himself by the force of “an overheated imagination;” or
3. He was “deceived by the fraud of others;” or finally
4. What he declared to be the cause of his conversion did all really happen; “and, therefore, the Christian religion is a divine revelation.”
I. Paul Was Not An Imposter
Men act from motive and there could have been no motive for imposture:
1. Wealth could not have been the motive; wealth was on the side of those forsaken, poverty on the side espoused. Even though poor and in want, he refused to accept help when such would hinder the gospel, I Cor. 4:11-13; 2 Cor. 12:14; Acts 20:33-34. The closing picture of his life is that of an old man in a Roman prison, asking that a cloak be sent him to protect him from the cold, 2 Tim. 4:13.
2. Reputation was not the motive, for reputation lay on the side of the Pharisees, universal contempt on the side chosen, 1 Cor 1:26-29; 4:11-13.
3. Power did not motivate him; that is the desire for power. He had no eye for worldly ambition when he became a Christian. He addresses his inferiors as “co-laborers,” “fellow-workers;” he neither lorded it over individuals, nor over the churches he established. Paul preached Christ as head, hid himself behind the cross, and rebuked sin of all kinds in the churches, without fear or favor, but never with an air of superiority, Philemon 23-24; 1 Cor 1:13-17; 2 Cor. 4:5.
4. The gratification of fleshly passion could not have been the motive. Some may claim revelations in order to indulge in loose conduct, but Paul preached the highest standard of morals, and condemned all departures from such a standard, Eph. 4:17-5:33; Col 3:5-17; Gal. 5:19-25.
5. Was it simply a pious fraud? Did Paul pretend conversion simply to spread Christianity? Answer: We are back to where we started, What was the motive? Men have some motive in what they do, what was Paul’s? Where did he get his knowledge? How account for his success?
II. Paul Was Not An Enthusiast Who Imposed On Himself
1. Definition of enthusiast: “A religious madman; a fanatic. One whose mind is wholly possessed and heated by what engages it … A fervent and imaginative person.” Webster.
2. Elements of an Enthusiast:
a. Great heat of temper. Thought Paul was fervent, he was always governed by reason and discretion. Before all, his effort was to reach men with the gospel, Acts 24:24-27; 26:2-29. He had one aim only, Phil 3:13-14.
b. Melancholy. This is a mark of misguided zeal, but it is never found in Paul; he is always rejoicing, never brooding, Col. 1:24; Phil 4:4-7, etc.
c. Paul was not swept away as an enthusiast, for such men always see what they are looking for; he was looking for anything else. he was persecuting Christ, not looking for Him.
III. Paul Was Not Deceived By Others
1. Nor was he deceived by others, for such was a moral impossibility. While Paul was bitter against the disciples they could never have attempted such a feat as deceiving him in such a way — a moral impossibility.
2. It was physically impossible for them to have produced the light and the voice with which to deceive him.
3. Therefore, Paul saw Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus, Christ Raised >From The Dead.
IV. Testimony Of Paul To The Resurrection (supplementary to the above by Candler)
1. Universal belief in the resurrection;
a. Paul’s unquestioned epistles: Romans, Galatians, 1 and 2 Corinthians.
b. Claims in them: Romans 1:4; Gal. 1:1; 1 Cor 15:14-15.
c. Also, the resurrection was a matter of faith in those churches addressed, even the one Paul had not visited, i.e. Rome.
d. Paul met his opponents by an appeal to having seen Jesus, 1 Cor. 9:1. This establishes the fact that his opponents believed in the resurrection and that Paul’s having seen Jesus was requisite to apostleship.
2. Three theories by which to account for this universal belief:
a. An intended fraud by the apostles.
b. The apostles were deceived.
c. Jesus was raised from the dead.
3. A consideration of these:
a. The early disciples lacked motive and ability for a fraud so stupendous and successful. If Christ were not raised, we have here a wonderful effect without an adequate cause.
b. “These men lacked the mental conditions required for such an hallucination as the ‘vision theory’ attributed to the early followers of Jesus. One of the three mental conditions must exist before the mind can yield itself to an hallucination, viz., prepossession, a fixed idea, or a state of expectancy.” (Candler, Christus Auctor, p. 86.)
“Again, why should the same form of hallucination have possessed the minds of so many and so different persons at the same time?” (Ibid, p. 87.)
“Furthermore, if the appearances of Jesus were mere visions, why did they cease within a very limited time after the crucifixion — say forty days? What cured the visionaries of their hallucinations all at once? Why were they all cured simultaneously? Why did not the distemper last them longer?” (Ibid. p. 88)
There is only one logical answer: Jesus Christ was raised from the dead; He is the Son of God; and The Bible is a Special Divine Revelation. The evidence sustains the proposition with which the study began. It is more rational to believe than to disbelieve.
—– End of Homer Hailey’s Material —–
I am going to still see if I can get some answers to your other questions.
But I wanted to get this on out without further delay.
And I apologize for it taking so long already.
By David Baize