The very first verse in the Bible is: 'In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth' (Genesis 1:1). That means God created time, space and people (Genesis 1:26). If God is true, the Bible should have His creative acts reverberating through the pages and ages of the Bible. Remember the Bible is almost 2000 years old. God gave us a book that rings true, but is not so far removed from our experience that we cannot fathom it (like applied mathematics or nuclear physics that can only be understood by the initiated). God revealed Himself and His plan for man in a format that all people could understand, regardless of their level of education. To accomplish that He used the historical format. So we should find references to time, places and people in the Bible (just like in ordinary history). Is it there? Yes.
The Bible consists of 66 books, written over a 1500 year period (from Genesis to Revelation, the first and last books) by around 40 different writers from various occupations and places. Is there evidence in all 66 books of the three main 'components' of history, namely time, places and people? Yes. God chose to use the country of Israel as the main backdrop of His-story. He specially created a people to live there and, in a sense, we see the drama of the history of God's plan for man acted out there. To make sure that we understand His ways and purposes, the Holy Spirit inspired the writers to explain the significance of what happened to God's people through hundreds of years.
Yet this brings us to a very important distinction. It is easy to write a book and claim that it contains the words of a deity. To write a book set in the historical context of a country and real people, with God as the commentator, is something quite different. That is so difficult that there are no other books like it. Neither the Koran, the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Book of the Mormon, Scientology, or others have this type of unique historical revelation. Their deities did not reveal themselves to a nation over hundreds of years to show that they are real, powerful and know the future. For example, if a book like the Koran was on the same level as the Bible, we should find many references to times and places in the history of Ishmael and his descendants in Arabia. It should even contain predictions that the prophet, Mohammad, would be born, and how he would serve humanity. Yet there is nothing like that. The Koran was a revelation to only one man in his life time over a period of 23 years.
Obviously we cannot investigate all 66 books in detail to show the historical 'stamp' of God on the Bible, so we will only refer to some.
- Abraham was called out of Ur of the Chaldees, went to Haran and eventually to Canaan. Ur has been excavated and the high level of society revealed. Double storey houses, toilets and a well developed commerce was found. It must have been quite an adjustment for Abraham to become a nomad living in tents.
- The apostle John wrote down God's revelation of what will happen in the last days. He sent letters to 7 churches (like Ephesus, Laodicea, Sardis and others) and we know that they all existed, because some of those places are still there today and others have been excavated. Besides that, he wrote about a star from heaven falling on the sea (Revelation 8:10). Today, with warnings of meteorites striking the earth, it is not such a fanciful idea.
- Solomon began to build the temple in the four hundred and eightieth year after the Israelites had come out of Egypt. We are told that the second temple was much smaller than his. Nevertheless, Herod the Great spent money and energy on beautifying the second temple, only to have the Romans destroy it in 70 AD. On the Arch of Titus in Rome there is an image of soldiers carrying away a menorah (the golden lampstand with 7 arms used in the temple of the Israelites).
The Bible is about real life. Why? Because we have to realize that it is not a myth or a fairy tale, but history. One of the facts is that there is an invisible world where God lives, and He showed John, that at the end of time He will renew the heavens and the earth and live there with His followers (Revelation 21:3). All people, through the ages, are invited in the pages of the Bible, to share that eternal kingdom with God. It is free of charge, but demands loyalty and relationship with God, perseverance and filling with the Holy Spirit.
The lesson? The uniqueness of the Bible testifies to a unique God who has a unique plan for each individual on earth. Yet that plan can only come to fruition if you accept Jesus Christ as your Savior.