The Bible’s Proof
Updated and englarged April 6, 2011, David Cloud, Fundamental Baptist Information Service, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061, 866-295-4143, firstname.lastname@example.org)
The individual must accept that the Bible is the Word of God by faith, for “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).
At the same time, Bible faith is not a blind leap into the dark. It is confidence in a believable Record that God has given, for “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). The writers of the Bible explain to us that they were not delivering cunningly devised fables but an inspired record based on “many infallible proofs” (Acts 1:3; 2 Peter 1:16).
Following are some of the objective, time-proven reasons why we can have complete confidence in the Bible:
1. Christ’s resurrection proves that the Bible is the Word of God.
Christ’s resurrection was witnessed by hundreds of people (1 Corinthians 15:5-7). Paul wrote this only 20-30 years after the resurrection, and many eyewitnesses were still alive. Were they all lying? On numerous occasions, the resurrected Christ was seen by many people at once, and on one occasion He was seen by more than 500 people. Those who saw Him talked with him, touched him, walked with him, and ate with him (Luke 24:36-43).
Before the resurrection, the apostles were hiding from the authorities (John 20:19). After they saw the resurrected Christ with their own eyes, they became bold and fearless and were willing to lay down their lives for the gospel.
Before Paul saw the resurrected Christ, he hated and persecuted Christians, but afterwards he loved them and willingly suffered the loss of money and prestige and even his own life for Jesus’ sake.
It took a powerful event to cause such changes.
2. The Bible’s unique construction proves that it is the Word of God.
The Bible was written by 40 different authors representing some 19 different occupations (shepherd, soldier, farmer, fisherman, tax collector, medical doctor, king, etc.) who lived during a period of some 1,600 years. That is approximately 50 generations. The first 39 books of the Bible were written in the Hebrew language over a period of about 1,000 years. There was then a 400-year gap when no Scriptures were written. After that, the last 27 books of the Bible were written in the Greek language during a period covering roughly 50 years. The writers could not have collaborated, because they did not live at the same time. Yet the product is one book that fits together perfectly and contains no contradictions or errors. There is nothing else like this in all of man’s history. Some have claimed to have found mistakes in the Bible, but I have studied it for 37 years and each time I have considered a supposed error or contradiction, I have found that the Bible is true and the critic is wrong. (See our book Things Hard to Be Understood: A Handbook of Biblical Difficulties.)
3. The confidence and sincerity of the Bible’s authors prove that it is the Word of God.
The Bible testifies that “holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (2 Peter 1:21), and an examination of the lives of the Bible’s writers rings true to this testimony. These were serious men. They came from all walks of life. They were men of good reputation and sound mind. Many of them were viciously persecuted and killed for the testimony they held. They were not enriched by the prophecies they gave. Far from it; many were impoverished. Moses, the author of the first five books of the Bible, chose to live a life of terrific hardship in the service of God as opposed to the millionaire’s life he could have lived as the adopted son of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. Many Bible writers made similar choices. Their motivation certainly was not covetousness and worldly advantage. These were not perfect men, but they were holy men. They claimed that God had put His hand upon them to speak His Word. The lives they lived, and the testimonies they held, and the deaths they died gave mighty evidence that they were telling the truth.
4. Fulfilled prophecy proves the Bible to be the Word of God.
The Bible contains a vast amount of prophecy, much of which has been fulfilled. The Encyclopedia of Biblical Prophecies by J. Barton Payne lists 1817 specific prophecies, 1239 in the Old Testament and 578 in the New. The predictions are precise and detailed, and the fulfillment is exact.
The Bible prophets use prophecy to prove that their message is from the true God (Isaiah 42:8-9; 46:9-10).
Prophecies Pertaining to Jesus Christ
Jesus’ entire life was written down in the Old Testament part of the Bible before He was born. There are 191 Messianic prophecies. These described His birthplace (Micah 5:2), virgin birth (Isaiah 7:14), sinless life (Isaiah 53:9), miracles (Isa. 35:5), wonderful speech (Isaiah 50:4), rejection by the Jewish nation (Isaiah 53:2), crucifixion (Psalm 22:16), burial in a rich man’s tomb (Isaiah 53:9), resurrection (Psalm 16), and many other things.
We know that these prophecies were written before Christ was born, because copies of the Old Testament books were found in the Dead Sea caves dating to 100 and more years B.C.
Prophecies about Israel
The continued existence of Israel is one of history’s most amazing stories, and it was prophesied in Scripture in great detail.
Israel’s history was prophesied by Moses and recorded in the book of Deuteronomy about 4,000 years ago. God warned that if Israel broke His law she would be “plucked from off the land” and scattered “among all people, from the one end of the earth even unto the other” (Deut. 28:63-64). There the Jews would “find no ease, neither shall the sole of thy foot have rest: but the Lord shall give thee there a trembling heart, and failing of eyes, and sorrow of mind: And thy life shall hang in doubt before thee; and thou shalt fear day and night, and shalt have none assurance of thy life” (Deut. 28:65-66).
This is an accurate description of Israel’s history from the first century until now. Jerusalem was conquered in 70 A.D. by the Roman armies under Titus. The Jewish temple was destroyed and the city walls were torn down. Sixty-five years later Jerusalem was plowed under on the order of Emperor Hadrian in response to the Jewish rebellion led by Bar Kochbar. The Jewish people were scattered to the ends of the earth and found no rest. They were hated by the Muslims and hounded and persecuted by the Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholic Church for a thousand years. Hitler’s regime tried to destroy them. Giving preference to the Arabs, England tried to keep them from returning to their land after World War II. They are the object of hatred until this very day. Most of the world is opposed to Israel and the reporting in secular publications about the Middle East crisis is generally slanted against her.
All of this was foretold in Bible prophecy, but the prophecy also said that Israel would be brought back into her land and that she would remain a nation even after all of this, and that is exactly what happened in 1948. Never before in the history of the world has a nation of people been scattered throughout the world and persecuted for 2,000 years and then come back together as a nation with their ancient language intact. This is a divine miracle.
Bible prophecy describes the restoration of Israel in two parts. First, she would return to the land in a position of unbelief. Then she would be converted. The amazing prophecy in Ezekiel 37:1-14 describes Israel’s restoration in these two stages. She is described as a valley of bones that are resurrected.
“Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the LORD. Thus saith the Lord God unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you and ye shall live. And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the Lord” (Ezekiel 37:4-6).
In verses 11-14, Ezekiel states that this vision pertains to the restoration of Israel to her land and to her repentance toward God. The dry bones symbolize Israel in her scattered, spiritually dead condition. When Ezekiel prophesies, the bones are brought back together and given life and become a great army, and this happens in two stages (verse 7-10). First the bones are given sinews and flesh, and next God breaths upon them and they live.
The first part of the prophecy has been fulfilled. Israel has been back in her land as a nation since 1948, but she is there in unbelief and spiritual death. She continues to reject her Messiah, Jesus Christ. She has no temple and priesthood and no true worship. She lives in constant fear.
But she is back in the land just as the Bible prophesied. In 1800 there were only six thousand Jews in Palestine, but by 2000 there were over five million (John Ecob, Amillennialism Weighed and Found Wanting, Herald of Hope, p. 44-45).
During the Great Tribulation God will grant repentance unto Israel and will breathe spiritual life into her and she will live.
The continued existence of Israel is a fulfillment of Bible prophecy. It is a very great miracle and an irrefutable evidence of the divine inspiration of the Bible. (For more on this see our illustrated book Israel: Past, Present, and Future.)
5. The Bible’s factualness and scientific accuracy proves that it is the Word of God.
Everything the Bible says is true and factual.
For example, the Bible says man is a sinner, and that is not difficult to confirm. Just look at the world! When asked for his opinion on original sin, Samuel Johnson, the famous British lexicographer, replied, “With respect to original sin, the inquiry is not necessary, for whatever is the cause of human corruption, men are evidently and confessedly so corrupt, that all the laws of heaven and earth are insufficient to restrain them from crimes.” David Berlinski, a Princeton-educated “secular Jew,” says, “One need hardly be a Christian to appreciate the wisdom in these remarks” (The Devil’s Delusion, p. 33).
The Bible is true not only in its statements about man, but also in its statements about everything. Though the Bible is not a scientific manual, it is scientifically accurate, even from its earliest pages, which were written nearly 4,000 years ago.
Following are some examples of the Bible’s scientific accuracy, beginning with statements from the pages of Job, probably the oldest book in the Bible. The late Henry Morris, who had a Ph.D. in geology, said:
“These references are modern in perspective, with never a hint of the mythical exaggerations and errors characteristic of other ancient writings … perhaps of even greater significance is the fact that in a 4000-year-old book filled with numerous references to natural phenomena, there are no scientific mistakes or fallacies” (The Remarkable Record of Job).
Job said the earth is hung upon nothing (Job 26:7). This is obvious to our modern generation, as we have seen the actual pictures of the earth hanging in space, but to previous generations it was not obvious and there were many commonly-held myths about the earth sitting on the back of Atlas or a turtle or an elephant, etc.
Job said the air has weight (“the weight for the winds,” Job 28:25). It was not until the 17th century that Galileo discovered that atmosphere has weight, and the modern science of aerodynamics is based on this scientific fact. Further, the weight of air is important in the function of the earth’s weather. “The ‘weight of the winds’ controls the worldwide air mass movements that transport the waters evaporated from the oceans inland over the continents” (Morris, The Remarkable Record of Job).
Job described the springs of the sea (Job 38:16). Man had no way to know about the fresh-water springs on the ocean floor by firsthand observation until recent times. Modern science has discovered that there are thousands of underwater springs that add millions of metric tons of water into the oceans each year.
Job understood that light has a way and that darkness has a place (Job 38:19). “That is, light is not to be located in a certain place or situation. Neither does it simply appear, or disappear, instantaneously. Light is traveling! It dwells in a ‘way,’ always on the way to someplace else. Though usually traveling in waves, sometimes it seems to move as a stream of particles, but it is always moving. When light stops, there is darkness. Thus, darkness is static, staying in place; but light is dynamic, dwelling in a way” (Morris).
The Bible says that the light creates wind (Job 38:24), but it is only in recent times that modern weather science has discovered that wind is created as the sun heats up the surface of the earth, causing the hot air to rise and cooler air to fall, creating weather systems.
Job describes the amazing hydrological cycle (evaporation, atmospheric circulation, condensation, precipitation, run-off) (Job 36:27-28; Ecc. 1:7; Jer. 51:16). The process of evaporation and condensation was not discovered until the 17th century and not well understood until the 20th.
The Bible says plants and animals reproduce after their kind (Genesis 1:11, 12, 21, 24, 25). This is in perfect harmony with everything that can be observed and tested by modern science. There is great variety within kinds, different types of roses and dogs, but there is no reproduction between kinds, between roses and dandelions or dogs and penguins. Breeding experiments have demonstrated that there are genetic barriers that restrict change. The fruit fly has been used in genetic experiments since the early 1900s. Tens of millions of fruit flies have been artificially bred, bombarded with x-rays, doctored, and poisoned. The result has been a variety of mutant fruit flies but no evidence that the fruit fly could evolve into some other type of insect or animal. This is proof of the Bible’s 3500-year-old statement that all creatures reproduce according to kind.
The Bible says the heavens cannot be measured and the stars are without number (Genesis 22:17; Jeremiah 31:37). Before the invention of the telescope, man could see only a few hundred stars with the naked eye. Yet today we know that the stars are innumerable, just as the Bible says. There are 300 billion stars in our Milky Way galaxy alone. In 1999, observations by NASA astronomers, using the Hubble Space Telescope, suggested that there are 125 billion galaxies in the universe. The most up-to-date star count was announced in July 2003 as 70 sextillion observable stars (70,000,000,000,000,000,000,000). This was the conclusion of the world’s largest galaxy study, the Two-Degree Field Galaxy Redshift Survey, which is considered 10 times more accurate than previous ones. The team of scientists did not physically count the stars. Instead they used some of the world’s most powerful telescopes to count all of the galaxies in one region of the universe and then to estimate how many stars each galaxy contained by measuring its brightness. They then extrapolated these figures out to the whole universe visible through telescopes. This massive figure, of course, probably covers only a tiny percentage of the actual stars.
The Bible says there are paths in the sea (Isaiah 43:16; Psalm 8:8). Since the 19th century the ocean currents or paths have been charted and ships travel these paths just as trucks travel on roads. Writing in the mid-1800s, Matthew Fontaine Maury, Superintendent of the U.S. Navy’s Depot of Charts and Instruments in Washington, D.C., observed, “There is a river in the ocean: in the severest droughts it never fails, and in the mightiest floods it never overflows; its banks and its bottom are of cold water, while its current is of warm; the Gulf of Mexico is its fountain, and its mouth is in the Arctic Seas. It is the Gulf Stream” (Maury, The Physical Geography of the Sea, 6th ed., 1856, p. 25). Since then, other sea paths have been discovered.
The Bible says the life is in the blood (Leviticus 17:11). This was written about 3,500 years ago, but it was not understood scientifically until recent times. For centuries doctors used “blood letting” as a healing method. George Washington, America’s first president, probably died because of this bogus practice. Modern medicine has learned what the Bible has taught all along, that the life of the flesh is in the blood. The amazing system of blood vessels and capillaries carries the life-giving oxygen and other necessary elements to every part of the body. The blood also forms a major part of the infection fighting and clotting systems, which are necessary for the “life of the flesh.”
The Bible is not a book of science, but wherever the Bible touches on science it is accurate. This proves its divine origin, because all other ancient books are filled with scientific errors. Even science books just 100 years old are filled with errors.
6. The Bible’s candor proves that it is the Word of God.
When men write biographies of their heroes, they commonly omit or whitewash their faults; but the Bible exhibits its divine quality by showing man as he is. Even the best of men in the Bible are described with all their faults. We read of Adam’s rebellion, Noah’s drunkenness, David’s adultery, Solomon’s apostasy, Jonah’s pity party, Peter’s disavowal of his Master, Paul and Barnabas’ petty strife, and the disciples’ unbelief in the face of Christ’s resurrection. The Bible was written by Jews, yet it candidly describes the faults of the Jewish people: their stubbornness and unbelief that caused them to have to wander in the wilderness for 40 years; their idolatry during the period of the judges; their rebellion that caused them to be rejected from the land and scattered throughout the earth for two millennia; their rejection of the Messiah.
7. The Bible’s indestructibility proves that it is the Word of God.
Above all other books combined, the Bible has been hated, vilified, ridiculed, criticized, restricted, banned, and destroyed, but it has been to no avail. As one rightly said, “We might as well put our shoulder to the burning wheel of the sun, and try to stop it on its flaming course, as attempt to stop the circulation of the Bible” (Sidney Collett, All about the Bible, p. 63).
In A.D. 303, the Roman Emperor Diocletian issued an edict to stop Christians from worshipping Jesus Christ and to destroy their Scriptures. Every official in the empire was ordered to raze the churches to the ground and burn every Bible found in their districts (Stanley Greenslade, Cambridge History of the Bible). Twenty-five years later his successor, Constantine, issued another edict ordering fifty Bibles to be published at government expense (Eusebius).
In 1778 the French infidel Voltaire boasted that in 100 years Christianity would cease to exist, but within 50 years the Geneva Bible Society used his press and house to publish Bibles (Geisler and Nix, A General Introduction to the Bible, 1986, pp. 123, 124).
Robert Ingersoll once boasted, “Within 15 years I’ll have the Bible lodged in a morgue.” But Ingersoll is dead, and the Bible is alive and well.
The communist regimes in Russia and China tried to destroy the Bible and its influence, but they have been completely unsuccessful. There are more churches in Russia today than ever before in its history, and printers cannot print enough Bibles to satisfy the insatiable demand in China.
In fact, many who set out to disprove the Bible have been converted, instead. The following are a few examples:
Gilbert West, an English poet who was included in Samuel Johnson’s Lives of the Most Eminent English Poets, while a student at Oxford set out to debunk the Bible’s account of Christ’s resurrection. Instead he proved to himself that Christ did rise from the dead and published Observations on the History and Evidences of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
George Lyttelton, an English Statesman, author, and poet who was educated at Oxford, determined to prove that Paul was not converted as the Bible states. Instead, Lyttelton wrote a book providing evidence that Paul’s conversion was real and that it is evidence that Jesus actually rose from the dead. The book was titled Observations on the Conversion and Apostleship of St. Paul.
Frank Morison, a lawyer, journalist, and novelist, set out to write a book to disprove the resurrection of Christ. Instead he was converted and wrote a book in defense of the resurrection entitled Who Moved the Stone?
Simon Greenleaf, Royal Professor of Law at Harvard University and one of the most celebrated legal minds of America, determined to expose the “myth” of the resurrection of Christ once and for all, but his thorough examination forced him to conclude that Jesus did rise from the dead. In 1846 he published An Examination of the Testimony of the Four Evangelists by the Rules of Evidence Administered in the Courts of Justice.
William Ramsay, a renowned archaeologist and New Testament scholar, began his historical research in Asia Minor with the assumption that he would find evidence to disprove the Bible’s historicity. He concluded, though, that the book of Acts was written during the lifetime of the apostles and that it is historically accurate. His discoveries led to his conversion to Christianity.
Josh McDowell was a skeptic when he entered university to pursue a law degree, but he accepted a challenge by some Christians to examine the claim that Jesus Christ is God’s Son. He says, “I decided to write a book that would make an intellectual joke of Christianity.” He traveled throughout the U.S. and Europe to gather evidence to prove his case, but instead he was converted to Christ and wrote the book defending the Bible entitled Evidence That Demands a Verdict.
Dr. Richard Lumsden, professor of parisitology and cell biology, was dean of the graduate school at Tulane University and trained 30 Ph.D.s. When he was challenged by a student about the evidence for evolution, he sought to refute the student by demonstrating evolution’s scientific evidence. Instead, he became convinced that the evidence is lacking. This led to an examination of the Bible, which led to his conversion to Jesus Christ.
Lee Strobel, who has a law degree from Yale, was an atheist when he worked as a journalist for the Chicago Tribune. After his wife’s conversion to Christ, he determined to use his investigative skills to prove that the Bible is not true. He says, “I plunged into the case with more vigor than with any story I had ever pursued. I applied the training I had received at Yale Law School as well as my experience as legal affairs editor of the Chicago Tribune.” Strobel became convinced that the Bible is true and that Jesus Christ rose from the dead. He has written many books defending the Christian faith, including The Case for Christ: A Journalist’s Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus and The Case for the Resurrection.
“Down through the years, the Bible has been a mighty anvil that has worn out the puny hammers of the scoffers” (Christian Home Bible Course).
8. The Bible’s universal appeal proves that it is the Word of God.
In spite of the aforementioned attacks, the Bible is the most popular book in the world, by far. Some books have been translated into a few dozen languages, but the Bible in whole or in part has been translated into every major language of the world, plus most minor ones–more than 2,450 so far. Translation work is progressing in another 2,000 languages. Compare this with other religious books. The Hindu scriptures have been translated into 46 languages, and the Muslim Quran into about 40.
9. The Bible’s doctrine of salvation proves it is the Word of God.
The Bible is the only religious Scripture that teaches the doctrine of salvation by grace. Every other one teaches salvation by works. Hinduism says salvation is through practicing dharma and working out one’s karma. Islam says salvation is by surrender to Allah and obedience to his commands. Buddhism says salvation is by reaching nirvana through life works and meditation and asceticism. If you visit the Buddhist monastery at Boudha in Kathmandu any time of the day you will find Buddhists walking clockwise, fingering their prayer beads and twirling their prayer wheels. They do this because they are trying to work out their salvation.
The Bible, on the other hand, says that salvation is God’s free gift to sinners. This gift was very costly for the Giver. It was purchased with a great price, which was the atoning sacrifice of God’s Son on the cross. But for the sinner it is free.
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:8-10).
The Bible says there is nothing that the sinner can offer God in order to atone for his sins. What could we offer? Righteous works? The Bible says our righteousness is as filthy rags before God’s great holiness (Isaiah 64:6). Money? What would the God of creation do with our pathetic currency? A pure heart? The Bible says the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9). How, then, could we purchase our own salvation?
“But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away” (Isaiah 64:6).
No, salvation is the free unmerited gift of a loving and deeply compassionate God. As the Christian hymn says, “We owed a debt we could not pay; He paid a debt He did not owe.”
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
10. The Bible’s invitations prove it is the Word of God.
The Bible invites the hearer to partake of its spiritual realities and thus prove for himself its genuineness: “O taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8); “come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden” (Matthew 11:28); “whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely” (Revelation 22:17); “ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters … come ye, buy and eat” (Isaiah 55:1); “look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else” (Isaiah 45:22).
The Bible promises that “he that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself…” (1 John 5:10).
God will prove Himself to the sincere seeker.
We have looked at nine major evidences that the Bible is what it claims to be, the very Word of God.