Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
May 10, 1962

Is The Bible The Word Of God

H. Osby Weaver

We are living in an age today in which it is common practice to ask questions, to investigate, to want the facts. This is a commendable trait and has been practiced all too sparingly in the religious realm.

We are not asking whether or not the Bible contains the word of God. It might do that and also contain some things which are not God's word, but our question has to do with whether or not it is the word of God.

The Bible either is or it is not God's word. There is no middle ground. If the Bible is not the word of God, then of course it is the work of man and has man as its originator and author with all of his human limitations. If it be found to be of human origin, we would be forced to brand it as a gross deception, because of its false affirmation, for it claims to be by inspiration given from beginning to end. It contains the expression, "Thus saith the Lord," some 2000 times. 2 Peter 1:20, 21 says, "No prophecy of scripture is of private interpretation. For no prophecy ever came by the will of man: but men spake from God, being moved by the Holy Spirit." Did they speak from God as they were moved by the Holy Spirit, or is this statement false? If they spoke from God as the Spirit moved them to speak, then God is the author of what they said, and He merely used human agents to declare His message. From Galatians 1:11, 12 we read: "For I make known to you, brethren, as touching the gospel which was preached by me, that it is not after man. For neither did I receive it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came to me through revelation of Jesus Christ." Here the apostle Paul affirms that the gospel which he preached did not have man for its author; that he did not receive it from man nor was he taught it — he did not have to learn it. Well, where did he get it? He said it "came through revelation of Jesus Christ." Did it, or was he misrepresenting the truth? This same writer further said, "How that by revelation was made known to me the mystery, as I wrote before in few words, whereby, when ye read, ye can perceive my understanding in the mystery of Christ; which in other generations was not made known unto the sons of men, as it hath now been revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit." Ephesians 3:3, 4. Was it made known to him by revelation? Did the Spirit reveal it to the apostles and prophets? Can we depend upon such statements or is their honesty questionable?

These statements are sufficient to set forth what the Bible claims for itself. We recognize that such claims do not in themselves establish their veracity, anymore than such an assertion from some modern prophet would establish the truth of his claim, but we believe there are "many infallible proofs" which can be introduced that will establish beyond a doubt that "holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit, hence the Bible is God's word.

Those who affirm that the Bible is a product of human wisdom are immediately placed in an embarrassing dilemma which was aptly stated in a challenge hurled by the late William Jennings Bryan against atheists and materialists. In an address delivered in Orchestra Hall, Chicago, Illinois, on May 4, 1911, Mr. Bryan said:

"Is the Bible the work of man or is it an inspired book? Is it the product of human wisdom, or did its authors speak as they were commanded by the Lord?

"Atheists and materialists declare that it is merely the work of man; that it was written under the limitations that apply to human wisdom. Taking this position, they must necessarily contend that, unless man has degenerated in ability and declined in wisdom, he can now produce a book equal to the Bible. Let them produce it.

"Judged by human standards, man is far better prepared to write a Bible now than he was when our Bible was written. The characters whose words and deeds are recorded in the Bible were members of a single race; they lived among the hills of Palestine in a territory scarcely larger than one of our counties. They did not have printing presses, and they lacked the learning of the schools; they had no great libraries to consult, no telegraph wires to bring them the news from the ends of the earth, and no newspapers to spread before them each morning the doings of the day before. Science had not unlocked Nature's door and revealed the secrets of rocks or stars above. From what a scantily supplied storehouse of knowledge they had to draw, compared with the unlimited wealth of information at man's command today! And yet these Bible characters grapple with every problem that confronts mankind, from the creation of the world to eternal life beyond the tomb. They have given us a diagram of man's existence from the cradle to the grave, and they have set up sign posts at every dangerous point along the path. We turn back to the Bible for the Ten Commandments, which form the foundation for our statute law and for the Sermon on the Mount, which lays down the rules for our spiritual growth. The Bible gives us the story of the birth, the words, the works, the crucifixion, the resurrection, and the ascension of Him whose coming was foretold in prophecy, whose arrival was announced by the angelic voices, singing, Peace and Good-will — the story of Him who is the growing figure of all time, whom the world is accepting as Saviour and as the perfect example.

"Let the atheist and the materialists produce a better Bible than ours, if they can. Let them collect the best of their school to be found among the graduates of the universities — as many as they please, and from every land. Let the members of this select group travel where they will, consult such libraries as they please, and employ every modern means of swift communication; let them glean in the fields of geology, botany, astronomy, biology, and zoology and let them roam at will wherever science has opened a way: let them take advantage of all the progress in art and in literature, in oratory and in history — let them use to the full every instrumentality that is employed in modern civilization: and when they have exhausted every source, let them embody the results of their best intelligence in a book and offer it to the world as a substitute for this Bible of ours. Have they the confidence that the prophets of Baal had in their god? Will they try? If not, what excuse will they give? Has man fallen from his high estate, so that we cannot rightfully expect as much of him now as nineteen centuries ago? Or does the Bible come to us from a source that is higher than man — which?"

Such pungent questions as are here asked by Mr. Bryan can not easily be disposed of by those who love to revel in our present day intellectualism and at the same time deny that the Bible is the word of God. Surely, if the Bible is but the product of ignorant and unlearned men of nineteen hundred years ago, we should, with all our boasted progress, be able to give to the world a book that would bring more hope for the future, more comfort to the sorrowing, and more relief to the distressed, than does the Bible. The fact that such a superior substitute cannot be given by today's intellects is a strong argument in favor of the affirmation that those who wrote nineteen centuries ago moved their pens by "Him who sees with equal eye, as God of all, a hero perish or a sparrow fall.

Evidences that the Bible is the word of God falls into main classifications — Internal Evidences of the Scriptures and External Evidences. They are the types of proof which their names imply. External Evidences is going outside the Bible to find corroboration for something which the Bible says. To this type we now turn our attention.

We feel that it could not be said better than that which was spoken by Mr. N. B. Hardeman, who was at that time president of a college, in a lecture delivered in Hyman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee, October 16. 1938:

"There are statements made in this Bible as matters of prophecy that have come to pass and are verified by profane history that could not have been made with that degree of accuracy other than by the fact of inspiration. There are things revealed upon the pages of holy writ concerning which there was the densest ignorance and the greatest skepticism imaginable. I shall mention a simple one. Job lived about fifteen hundred years before Christ. In his writing he said some things that are marvelous, one of which we find in chapter 26. verse 7. When Job was enlarging upon his conception of Jehovah and picturing his grandeur and glory, and transcending superiority, in a voice and sentiment of ecstasy, he said: 'He stretcheth out the North over empty space, and hangeth the earth upon nothing.' Well, that is a very simple statement. Job just said that God stretched out the North over that vacant place and that he hung the earth on nothing. World scientists, so called, have made fun of Job for three thousand years and talked about that ignoramus discussing matters of that kind. But do you know what has come to pass? With modern science and invention, especially with the invention of the great telescope, astronomers have turned that mighty telescope upon the various parts of the heavens, and always there are stars and worlds and systems that have been brought to view — but when they have turned it directly, as Job said, to the North, to their utter surprise and chagrin, there is absolutely nothing, but an otherwise inexplicable vacancy. They have been `up in the air' trying to explain all of that. How does it happen that if you turn it East or West or South, millions of stars are beheld which are not visible to the naked eye, but when you turn that mighty lens on the North, the precise point, the biggest telescope fails to reveal one solitary thing.

"Now as a verification of this fact, just last spring, I wrote to the Scientific Research Bureau of Los Angeles, California, stated the case of Job 26:7, and raised the question: Is that statement scientifically correct? I had an answer in reasonable time that it is correct and has been one of the problems baffling the skill of the scientist with his great telescopic invention. Now then, Job was not an astronomer. He did not even have a high school diploma, and was not president of any college; but Job said that God stretched out the North over the empty space — there it is, acknowledged by modern science. They have come down from their lofty pinnacle, and now say: 'Job must have known something about this matter.' No, he did not know it — God told him! God caused him to write it.

"Well, the other part of the verse is so simple that you marvel at it. 'He hangeth the earth on nothing.' Until the days of Columbus, Sir John Mandeville and the Italian geographer, Toscanelli, everybody thought the earth was flat — that it had four literal corners. Well, what happened? By sailing on the deep Columbus demonstrated that the earth absolutely is round and that it is suspended on nothing! Why, that is as simple to us as anything — but when did we catch on? About four hundred years ago! Who found out before we did? Why, Job could say, 'You ignoramuses, I said that fifteen hundred years before the birth of Christ. I was not a geographer; nor did I claim to be a scientist; but I know that God said he hangeth the earth on nothing.

"Here it is, out in space, rotating on its axis, at the rate of a thousand miles an hour, turning in its annual revolution around the sun at the rate of about eighteen miles a second, and ever since I can remember, it has never been behind times, never had a wreck, a puncture, or a blowout, in all these years. What is the philosophy of it? God put it that way! It did not happen by chance and the very universe declares the glory of its creator."

Yes, how did Job know that God stretched forth the North over an empty space and hung the earth on nothing? If the Bible is not the word of God, then how do you account for this super-human knowledge which Job possessed? Others did not know it and did not find out for centuries later. How could he have spoken such things with such degree of accuracy? If he spoke as he was moved by the Holy Spirit of God as the apostle Peter declared, then that explains it, but who can explain it on any other hypothesis. The Bible is indeed the word of God!

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