Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
February 22, 1951
NUMBER 41, PAGE 1,11b

Internal Excellencies

Pat Hardeman, Tampa, Florida

Evidences of Biblical inspiration are of two kinds—internal and external. The external evidences are complete because the Bible agrees with every known event or fact outside itself. Secular history, archeology and physical science continue daily to unearth external confirmations of the Bible. Though these studies are essential to a knowledge of external evidences, nothing but a prayerful study of the text itself can lead to an appreciation of the internal excellencies of the Bible. This study reveals many internal beauties of the Word, among which are the following:

1. The duties—moral and spiritual—which Christ enjoined are unquestionably Divine in their origin, scope and rewards. "He spake as one having authority." He proved his Holy Mission by miracles of Divine splendor, physical and moral. Statements of men relative to ethical duties cannot safely be made into universal principles, but the duties Christ announced are universal in scope. And the rewards—the fullness of eternity, the height of heaven, being "like Him"—are not simply rewards of duty, though we must do our duty to obtain them. Love, mercy, grace, righteousness—all of these attributes and activities of God teach us how to prepare for "the free gift of God...eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."

2. If one reads the Bible he is impressed with the super-human nature of the method Christ used in reforming human character. His was not a method of coercion nor an appeal to the curiosity or passion of humanity. He appealed to a standard of sincerity, greatness and holiness, but this appeal always had its ultimate basis in Divine authority. His statement of his power is: "of my own self I can do nothing." Basing his appeal on Divine authority he attracted men by his promises of salvation from sin, freedom from bondage, providential care and a home in heaven. This method of reforming human character is beyond all the methods of man. The Mohammedans used coercion. Also they held out the promise of a heaven which consisted of gratification of human passion. Christ appealed to all that was good in the people he taught, and sought to uproot all the evil within them. He emphasizes the power of truth over error, but he never departed from the standard expressed in his prayer: "Sanctify them through thy truth; thy word is truth."

3. The personal character of Christ as outlined by the writers of the Bible reveals his Deity. It is strange that anyone, knowing beforehand that our knowledge of the character of Christ is wholly dependent on the written word, would decry the written word in an appeal for more adequate comprehension of, and love for Jesus our Lord. Jesus was aloof from the prejudices and follies of his age, and of all ages of man. Only Deity is capable of being the timeless and eternal Son that he was and yet coming in the fullness of time and rooted and grounded in historical circumstances. Two propositions relative to this are practically self-evident. (1) Neither the Jewish nation nor the nations about them were able to produce such a character as that of Christ. The Jewish nation had too many weaknesses, too much pride and too little holiness, to produce this person. The nations about them had too much worldly wisdom and not enough divine wisdom to produce Christ. (2) It is further evident that the writers of the Bible were wholly unable to invent the person of Christ. To begin with, the consequences of such an invention would have forbidden it had it been possible, and the magnitude, or impossibility, of such an invention would have forbidden it had it been desirable. Haygood has shown in his admirable book, The Man of Galilee, that the Jewish dramatists could not possibly draw men higher than ourselves. Thus their picture of Christ is a picture of reality. Facts gave rise to records, records were sealed with inspiration and, testimony, miracles and providence confirmed the inspiration given.

4. There is an air of truthfulness that blows across every page of the Biblical literature. These men wrote as truthful men still write—admitting their follies, confessing their vices, exalting their Superior. Collusion on all these matters would have been impossible if desirable and undesirable, in view of the circumstances, if possible. What motive could have supported their testimony to facts which were decidedly against their pride and prejudice as Jews. What reward could they expect?

5. There is a harmony—both of moral and historical agreement—that pervades the entire body of Divine truth. Long ago Paley called attention to the many undersigned coincidences that appear in these writings. A list of these yet appears in McGarvey's Evidences of Christianity. Better still you read the text and notice how every sentence, every word "every jot and tittle" falls into its proper place, all together comprising Divine revelation. For a group of forgers, it would be an impossible task to produce what the writers of the Bible produced. All facts, both natural and miraculous, were against the production of the Bible as a forgery.

6. As one reads the book of Acts, the spread of the Gospel from Jerusalem to Judea, Samaria, Galilee and the uttermost parts of the earth until it had been preached to every creature under heaven declares its Divine origin and Super-human character. Facing the odds they faced, undergoing the sufferings they did, lacking the facilities they lacked, they could not have carried the banner of Christ into all the nations by their own power. They could conquer Judaism only because the Divine purpose was for Judaism to fall before the Gospel of Christ. They could conquer world wisdom only because God held this wisdom as foolishness. They could conquer heathenism only because the "Gods many and lords many" were destined to fall before the rising "Sun of righteousness." In all of these they were "more than conquerors" through the power they derived from Christ. Their miracles logically came from him as from a major promise. Their lives were patterned after his as through a divine mirror. Their knowledge was not their own because of inspiration. Hence the spread of Christianity against oppression in overcoming the enemies through love and with weapons that were not carnal testifies as to their supernatural character.

7. As one reads the epistles especially such as Romans, Hebrews and Galatians he is impressed with the Deity underlying the whole scheme of redemption. Paul's exposition of justification by faith, in the first five chapters of Romans, his delineation of the steps in the sanctification and ultimate glorification of believers, in the next three chapters, his vindication of God's righteousness in holding the Jews in the hollow of his hand for fifteen centuries, then casting them off in the sight of the whole world to receive the Gentiles into the fold, in the next five chapters—all of these, plus his illumination of the new covenant against the background of the old, portrayed in the book of Hebrews, and the sweeping allegory in the midst of his arguments in the book of Galatians—all of these radiate Divine splendor, as incorruptible excellencies of the Holy Word. If one reads the Bible he hears the books of the Bible, like the works of nature: "forever singing as they shine, the hand that made us is Divine."