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Who wrote the Bible, God or man?
|Created by Gerard de Vos|
Category: Bible related
In these confusing times that we live in, there is one sure, unchanging message and that is the Bible. Through 2000 years it has never been necessary to update its contents. Only the language has repeatedly been simplified and adapted to be more comprehensible. The importance of the Bible is that it gives us information that determines our eternal destination. But the authority of the Word depends on who wrote it, God or men? It is either the product of God, or of men. It cannot be a mixture of both. Then we wouldn’t know which words are the important ones from God, or which just the opinions of men.
A. Men could not have written it.
With the fall of Adam the relationship between God and man was broken. The Bible is God’s message to us about the restoration of that broken relationship (as descendants of Adam all men inherited rebellion against God). The different books of the Bible are written in a historical background. In God’s revelation, the Bible, we read of the Jews, Hittites, Assyrians, Arameans, Babylonians and others. Yet the Bible is not just historical narratives, but history with a goal. (‘For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope, Romans 15:4). Certain aspects of history were chosen for building faith, giving hope, teaching us about the importance of God’s Word, and warning us about other gods. Only God was able to decide which parts of history were necessary to fulfill those goals. That is the reason for the ‘skewed’ narratives. For example:
- Very little attention is given to the ￼magnificent dynasties of the Egyptians. Even in the book of Exodus we read more about the Israelites as slaves than the culture in the land of Egypt.
- A lot of space is given to the building of the tabernacle (13 chapters). The creation of the universe gets only 1 chapter! Human understanding would change this around and give comprehensive details about the methods of creation. For God, the tabernacle which is pointing to Christ, is more important. The missing details about creation are not necessary in getting us to heaven.
- Another example is David and Solomon. They both reigned 40 years, but David’s work takes up many chapters, while that of Solomon, the wealthiest, wisest king only a few chapters. David loved God, and many chapters are devoted to his organization of the temple worship and the priesthood.
God couldn’t trust men to write the books of the Bible. Even if the authors were special men, they were still fallible. Look at the flaws of the following writers of Bible books:
- Moses. He got so cross with the murmuring Israelites when they wanted water in the desert, that he struck the rock that gushed water, twice. God had told him to ‘speak to the rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water.’ Because he disobeyed he was not allowed to enter the promised land (Numbers 20:1-12).
- Nehemiah got violent with fellow Jews, rebuking them, calling curses on them, beating them and pulling out their hair (Nehemiah 13:25).
- David sinned with Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11) and gave instructions which caused her husband to be killed. He was incited by the devil to count the fighting men of Israel (2 Samuel 24).
- Solomon deserted God, had many wives and sacrificed to idols (1 Kings 11:1-10).
- Paul had a violent quarrel with Barnabas (Acts 15:36-39).
- Peter betrayed Jesus after being warned that he would be unfaithful (Matthew 26:31-35 & 69-75).
- James and Jude only believed after the resurrection (John 7:5).
- Matthew was a tax collector and it is well known that they were frauds and cheats (Matthew 10:3).
- Mark was a quitter who went home in the middle of Paul’s first evangelistic campaign (Acts 15:37-40).
Why should we stake our eternal destinations on what these fallible people wrote? Then we might as well believe some of the theologians who say that these people wrote about their experiences of God. That is just as much help as when we read the writings of Mohammed, Joseph Smith, or any other writer. Then the Bible is just one book among many, which are products of man and there is no real reason to give attention to it. Then all faiths are right, whether it is atheism or humanism or polytheism. Then we would have no way of knowing what the real truth, or who the real God, is.
B. If the Bible was the product of men it wouldn’t be so highly valued.
- It is ‘flawless,’ ‘like silver purified seven times’ (Psalm 12:6).
- ‘The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul’ (Psalm 19:7).
- ‘God, whose word I praise’ (Psalm 56:4,10).
- ‘Your word, o Lord is eternal, it stands firm in the heavens’ (Psalm 119:89).
- ‘The law from your mouth is more precious to me than thousands of pieces of silver and gold’ (Psalm 119:72).
- ‘in His word I put my hope’ (Psalm 130:5).
- ‘For you have exalted above all else your Name and your word (Psalm 138:2).
- ‘Hear the word of the Lord, you who tremble at His word’ (Isaiah 66:5).
C. The Bible shows supernatural insight that could only come from God.
- Who told Moses what God was thinking at the time of the apostasy of Genesis 6:6, ‘The Lord was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain.’ Or 11:6, ‘the Lord said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them”’?
- Did David really know what he wrote in Psalm 110:4: ‘The Lord has sworn, and will not change His mind. Your are a priest for ever in the order of Melchizedek’? We find the explanation of his words at least a thousand years later in Hebrews 5:6; 7:1-17. Jesus is described as the priest in that order of Melchizedek. Did Moses have foreknowledge about what is going to be said about Christ? He didn’t but God the Holy Spirit knew it and told him what to write.
- Luke was a physician, and we have no record that he knew Jesus personally. Yet he wrote two books, often quoting Jesus’ words. For example: ‘Why do you call Me Lord, Lord, and do not do what I say’ (Luke 6:46; Acts 9:5)? Many people will object and say that he got the information from reading the gospels of Mark, Matthew and John. If we compare the Gospels, we see that they each present a different aspect of Jesus’ life: Matthew - Jesus the King; Mark - Jesus the suffering Servant; Luke - Jesus the perfect Man; John - Jesus, the holy Son of God (J Bickersteth and T Pain, The Four Faces of God, Kingsway Publications, 1992).
- John quotes Jesus’ words in detail in his gospel (more that the other 3 gospels). We can only accept it if we remember that Jesus said the Holy Spirit would remind them of all He taught them (John 14:26). It is only the Holy Spirit who knows what is in God’s heart, and Jesus is God (John 10:30). They didn’t know that thousands of years later their names would still appear as the writers of the books, inspiring millions of people. The reason is clear: it is the product of God, not of man.
- What about Jesus’ brother, James? Both he and Jude must have been present when the Holy Spirit was poured out (Acts 2:1-5). They could both claim that they were filled with the Spirit and wrote under His inspiration.
- The Counsellor was promised to all believers. Does this means we all write? No, God chose His authors of the Bible books and some of them were very unlikely candidates. The Pharisees scoffed at the uneducated fishermen from Galilee (Act 4:13). Yet Peter as God’s instrument is remembered as one who recorded God’s words.
D. The writers heard from God:
- Peter uses the words ‘In Scripture it says’ (1 Peter 2:6). He was quoting from Isaiah 28:16. The way he states it, it sounds as if Scripture talks, but it is God talking and Isaiah writing what He is saying to him.
- Acts 4:25. ‘You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David.’ Luke was quoting Psalm 2:1-2. David wrote what he heard from God.
- Acts 10:33. ‘You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, telling the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.’ This message we find in the Gospels. Who sent the message and was therefore the real author? God!
- Acts 28:25b. ‘The Holy Spirit spoke the truth to your forefathers when He said through Isaiah the prophet.’ The quote is from Isaiah 6:9,10.
- Hebrews 1:1-2. God spoke through the prophets and lastly through His Son. So, God spoke, but who wrote? Men did the writing, but it was God’s words. He spoke through Jesus not only in the Gospels. What about Jesus’ words in Luke 24:44 ‘Everything must be fulfilled that is written about Me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.’ Does that mean that mere humans who lived thousands of years before Christ knew and conspired to write about the coming Saviour? Does it mean that these human authors had the ability to make their predictions come true hundreds of years later? For example the virgin would give birth to a son who would be born in Bethlehem, would later do miracles, and eventually be killed. For people living 1500 years apart in different parts of the country of Israel, under widely different circumstances, it is definitely impossible. The only explanation is that they were given these details by the Holy Spirit.
- In Hebrews 1:5, 6, 7, 10 and 13 we find the same message: ‘to whom did God ever say?’ The quotations come from 2 Sam 7:14; Psalms 45:6-7; 102:25-27, 2:7; 104:4. It is wonderful to know that God is in command of the universe, which includes the writing of the most important book in the history of mankind.
- 2 Peter 1:20-21. ‘All prophecy of Scripture came by the Holy Spirit.’
- Another reason we can recognize that the Bible was inspired by the Holy Spirit is that the different books make statements about God, Jesus, the cross, the resurrection, the commands of God, holy living, the judgement and eternal Eden, that are in accord, do not contradict each other and lead to a unified progressive movement of history that culminates in the book of Revelation.
Application: You will hear many negative things to destroy your faith. Besides the obvious battle of evolution, which incidentally is not about science but about souls, you will meet ‘theologians’ and other uninformed writers that will confuse you with vague and general statements. The best defense is to listen to what God says in His Word. From the time of Adam, the message of God to us is this: will you believe what I tell you?
Until the day the devil is thrown into the lake of burning sulphur, God’s Word, the Bible will always be vilified and opposed, as the devil hates the Word. Do not be led astray by it.