Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
November 12, 1953
NUMBER 27, PAGE 3,5a

The Bible Is Inspired

Hoyt H. Houchen, San Antonio, Texas

If you should ask a skeptic or an infidel the question, "Do you believe in the inspiration of the Bible?" the answer in almost every case would be, "Yes." Upon hearing an explanation of his answer, however, you would learn that he merely believes that the writings of the Bible were animated just as any other great epic of literature. To him the Bible is a great book, or even the greatest, but he discredits God as its author.

The word "inspire" is derived from a Latin source and literally means, "to blow or breathe into." By inspiration of the Bible, then, we mean that God has directed its writings and thereby has "breathed into them." Paul wrote in 1 Cor. 2:13, "Which things also we speak, not in words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Spirit teacheth; combining spiritual things with spiritual words." Not only, then, were the thoughts of Bible writers inspired but also their exact words. This is a verbal inspiration.

I. Its Divine Inspiration

The Bible declares itself to be of divine origin. Paul says in 2 Tim. 3:16, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness . . . ." (AV) Peter wrote, "For no prophecy ever came by the will of man: but men spake from God, being moved by the Holy Spirit." (2 Peter 1:21)

These two statements front the Bible force us into one of two conclusions: either the Bible is a lie and cannot even be placed in the category of good books, or it is indeed the word of God. Since the guilt or innocence of a defendant depends upon testimony, let us examine some of the evidence in support of the Bible.

II. Its Unity

The Bible was written during a period of approximately 1600 years. During this span of centuries, there were changes in modes of travel, customs, and government, and yet the writings of the Old and New Testament, like the halves of a circle, fit perfectly together, making one grand masterpiece. By careful reading, one can well see that the Old Testament is the New Testament concealed and that the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed. About forty men wrote the Bible in separate intervals of time, under varying circumstances and for different groups of readers, yet one thread (the theme of human redemption) runs through the entire 66 books. From Genesis to Revelation, Christ is the central figure. This surprising fact is to be explained only by divine inspiration.

III. Old Testament Prophecies Fulfilled

All scholars are in agreement that the canon of the Old Testament was closed at least 200 years before the writing of the New Testament. There are hundreds of prophecies in the Old Testament that have accurately found their fulfillment in the New. Suppose that an archer should stand in a darkened room and shoot arrows one by one aimlessly at a target several hundred yards away. Each time the light is turned on, we find that his arrow has found its mark in the center of the target. In all, 500 are shot and each one has found its mark in the center. An occasional hit might be explained as an accident, but not 500! So in the Old Testament we have not one, but hundreds of prophecies which have found accurate fulfillment in the New Testament and in the centuries following.

Isaiah said of Christ (Isa. 7:14) that He was born of a virgin. This prediction was 742 B.C. and fulfilled in Matthew 1:23. In Isaiah 53 we learn that Jesus was to be despised and rejected of men, we are told about His vicarious suffering and sacrificial death, we learn that He was to be buried in the tomb of a rich man, and that He was to be numbered with the transgressors. How could such a detailed prophecy find its accurate fulfillment almost 750 years later? Such explicit predictions could not have been accidental. These supernatural revelations show the hand of God in the writing of the Bible.

IV. Its Knowledge Before Science

We have examined internal evidence which favors the inspiration of the Bible; now let us turn to the external. The skeptic is bewildered by the fact that the Bible reveals scientific truths hundreds of years before scientists discovered them. In fact, true science and the Bible are in perfect agreement, and much that we have learned in the field of science is based upon facts revealed in the Bible. Nearly all of our great scientists accept the Bible as the word of God. Among these are to be found such men as Joseph Priestly, Pasteur, John Dalton, Robert A. Millikan, and many others. Isaac Newton said, "I count the scriptures of God the most sublime philosophy."

Modern science recognizes that the universe had a beginning. The very first verse of the Bible, Genesis 1:1, says: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." This truth was stated in the Bible long before science acknowledged it.

Laplace, the French astronomer who lived in the early part of the 19th century, made the startling discovery that light existed before the sun. Upon turning to the Bible account of creation, we learn that light was created by God on the first day, whereas the sun, moon, and the stars were not made until the fourth day. How was the Bible able to state this truth before its actual discovery by science?

Science has admitted man's inability to count the stars of the sky. Hipparchus, a Greek astronomer (c. 160-125 B.C.) counted 1,022. Ptolemy, an Egyptian astronomer who lived in the 2nd century, A.D., counted 1,026. The Bible, however, long ago declared that the stars could not be counted. (Gen. 15:5; Jer. 33:22) How did these ancient writers know that the stars are innumerable? There can be but one answer: God told them what to write!

V. Its Indestructibility

Men have tried to supplant the Bible but have failed. The Bible has successfully withstood the hammer beats of its critics, and today it is still the world's best seller. Thomas Paine once wrote a book entitled, "Age of Reason," which he thought would supplant the Bible. Today, only a handful of scholars know or even care anything about Paine's "Age of Reason" yet the book which he sought to destroy is the world's most universal book and still influences the lives of countless millions.

The Bible is not of human origin because: (1) man would not have dared to write a book which condemns man as it does, and (2) man could not have written it if he had wished. Even though many passages are simple enough for a child to understand, there are sublime truths that the wisest of the earth cannot fully comprehend. Its ideals and eloquence of style outshine all the works of men as the sun outshines the stars. Everything in the Bible revolves around the central figure — Christ. Surely man's imagination could not have pictured a life so pure, so truly human, and so influential as that of Jesus. The Christ of the Bible who "spake as never man spake" could not have been an imaginary character created by ignorant fishermen. They must have written "as they were moved by the Holy Spirit."

As the Bible has been the most loved book in the world, it has at the same time been the most universally attacked. Its critics have in every way possible tried to destroy it, but all these have utterly failed, and the Bible constantly grows in circulation and influence. These facts prove beyond a doubt the statement in the Bible itself that "the grass withereth, and the flower falleth: But the word of the Lord abideth for ever."