Evidences of the divine inspiration of the Scriptures

Inspiration is God's superintending of human authors so that, using their own individual personalities, they composed and recorded without error in the words of the original autographs his revelation to man. With regards to the inspiration of the Bible, the church uses these two terms to describe its belief in the nature of inspiration.

Plenary. That is, all the books of the Bible, without exception, and in every part, treating whatever subject (directly religious, scientific, geographical or otherwise) are inspired. Plenary is derived from a Latin term meaning "full." This we hold over against those who throw doubt over some parts of Scripture as being unworthy or in error (the Neo-Orthodox, the cults, and so on). Scripture proof: 2 Timothy 3:16 ("ALL Scripture is inspired of God...").

Verbal. By this term we affirm that inspiration extends to the very words employed in the original Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. The words chosen by the human authors were consistently the words the Holy Spirit wanted to employ to express his thoughts. So nothing in Scripture is redundant, no words are unimportant or misplaced. Scripture proof: 1 Corinthians 2:13 - "Which things we also speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual."

External scientific evidences The Bible is inherently authoritative and strictly speaking does not need external evidences. The Bible confirms science whereas science can never confirm the Bible. If the latter were so, then we would be admitting that we are unsure of what the unlying God has said. True, science can help the faithful to better interpret the Scripture, but it so happened that the church more commonly twisted the plain testimony of Scripture to accommodate to unbelieving so-called scientists (vide the evolution controversy following the publication of Darwin's The Origin of Species in the mid-nineteenth century). Having said this, we are not to conclude that we become obscurantists.

On the contrary, Scripture is the starting point for a truly God-honouring scientific endeavour. Following the Reformation, many scientists (Newton, Linneaus, Copernicus, Brahe, Kepler, Boyle, Kelvin, Pasteur, Faraday, were all believers in God). The believed that God is the author of intelligent design, not of caprice and confusion; thus they were encouraged in the scientific pursuits. Among the more common disciplines, we find investigative scholarship in the following fields:

1. The starry heavens, seen through a modern giant telescope, pictorially emphasises the Biblical teaching of the tremendous number of stars, anticipating modern astronomy by 3,000 years. Ptolemy of ancient Greece believed that there were about four thousand stars. That was the established science of his day. If only he had listened to their Maker (cf. Genesis 15:5; 13:16). Today astronomers have statistically estimated that there are about 10 million billion billion stars in the known universe, virtually numberless as the Scripture declares with ease and absolute accuracy.

2. In God's address to his servant Job, many "laws of nature" are mentioned, only they are all referred to as "the laws of God," the God who created is the same God who sustains and preserves his universe. Using poetic language (which incidentally is more meaningful than literal language), the Lord challenges Job by saying, among other things, "Canst thou send lightnings, that they may go, and say unto thee, Here we are?" (38:35). There is more to it than it first appears, as science is discovering continuously.

3. An amazing declaration is given in Job 26:7 to the effect that the earth is spherical, a ball that hangs in empty space. It seems that up to the end of the Middle Ages, no one seriously considered this fact: virtually all people believed that the earth was flat. How could the biblical authors have known the truth except that God revealed it to them?

If the Bible failed in any one of these (verifiable) areas, how could we trust it in metaphysical areas? But it has never been contradicted, and it never will. This then is a pointer towards the divine origin and inspiration of the Bible.

Preserved intact throughout the ages What about the marvellous preservation of the Scriptures? Those acquainted with the history of the Bible, the way it was copied by hand for centuries, the way it was protected from extinction by the hand of Almighty God, against the ragings of Satan and Antichrist against it, how it was burned and destroyed both by imperial and papal Rome, will surely be impressed by the fact that this is no ordinary book. It has been preserved against all odds, both as a volume and in the purity of its contents.

Its antiquity Scripture is the oldest written document extant. With all the progress and change that continually takes place around it, we might normally expect the Bible to becomes outdated and irrelevant for people on the eve of the third millenium. Not so! For God's people the Bible continues to be fresh, challenging and "a light unto my path, and a lamp unto my feet." Time does not deface God's will, and God's will is recorded black on white. "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away" (Mark 13:31).

Its moral power We must consider the life-transforming power of the Bible. No other book has wrought such far-reaching changes both in civilisations and in the individual soul of man. As a Christian I have experienced this for myself. I know what I'm speaking about. I love literature, but the Bible is not merely literature; it stands on its own, it is incomparable (Psalm 19). If we have to judge by the results then surely the Bible passes the tests with flying colours. In whatever country the Bible has entered its influence has been tremendous. Protestant countries are far more advanced in every respect than Romanist countries. .

Internal evidence in favour of inspiration Who could have written the Bible? One or more of the elect angels? Impossible, for good angels don't lie, and the Bible repeatedly says, "Thus says the Lord...". Evil spirits? No, for demons and Satan do not like to be exposed for what they are and they don't command men to "Worship the Lord thy God and him ONLY shalt thou serve" (Matthew 4:10). Evil spirits don't want men to repent, as the Bible commands. Was it then evil men? But evil men certainly would not write such scathing denunciations of sin as we regularly find in the Scriptures.

Was it then good men? No, for good men, by themselves, cannot write about such sublime things, which eye hath not seen nor ear heard. Besides, good men don't lie; they won't write such things as this, "All scripture is theopneustos..." (2 Timothy 3:16), if it were not the truth. Was it God who gave it, then? This is the only alternative left, and the one the Bible itself claims.

Prophecy in the Bible: a unique feature A unique mark of the Bible is the strong element of prophecy it contains. Most of the Old Testament prophetic utterances have already been fulfilled in the coming of the Son of God, tabernacling among us. This confirms our faith that we have a message that originated with God and came from God, for nobody but God can know the future and tell us with accuracy what is going to happen centuries hence.

The prophecy of Scripture is not mere progrostication such as it offered by statisticians; neither is it so vague and malleable that it could be fitted in any event happening later, such as is the character of Nostradamus' Centuries.

Miracles attest to its inspiration The miracles recorded in the Bible confirm both its authenticity and its origin. Miracles are the works of God, special, supernatural works that draw our attention to his message. Thus we find prophets, apostles and our Lord himself performing signs and wonders and mighty works, "that ye may know that I am in the Father and the Father in me." A Christian is a Christian because he believes in miracles, among which are the incarnation and the resurrection of Christ. He has to believe in miracles.

Miracles are interpreted to be God's special intervention for the redemption of his people. So what is helpful for the believer is a stumblingblock for the cynic and sceptic and infidel. We do not marvel why David Hume attacked the concept of miracles in such a systematic way. He knew their value.

How Christ regarded Scripture The Lord Jesus Christ teaches us the proper approach to the Scripture. He, being the Son of God, submitted himself to Scripture and all its precepts. Evidently Christ valued the ancient Scriptures as authoritative, with no other authority in competition to it. Consider the following:

His speeches were full with words, phrases and expression borrowed from the Old Testament. The beatitudes, for instance, are an echo of the following: Psalms 17:15; 25:13; 37:9; 73: Isaiah 57:15; 61:3).

His whole life was regulated by Scripture. In Gethsemane he quotes Psalms 42:6,11; from the cross he prays in the language of Psalms 22:1; 31:5.

Jesus treats Scripture as the only rule of faith and practice. Never does He in any way denigrate it or casts a negative shadow upon it. He says, "The Scripture cannot be broken." This is an affirmation of its infallibility (see John 10:35); he bases his argument upon Scripture.

He therefore wanted the Scripture to be known, and regulative for the lives of the people. "Search the Scriptures...." Questions about divorce, the resurrection, and anything else, can be determined by Scripture. Jesus did so. "It is written," or, "Have you never read?" were constantly on his lips.

According to the Lord Jesus, man does not need visions, or sanhedrins, or councils, or dreams, or whatever, but the writings of Moses and the Prophets (see Luke 16:29-31). Much more can be said; but suffice it to point out that Christ had full reverence towards the Scriptures; he read them, prayed over them, fulfilled them, obeyed them, and urged others to submit to them, and to nothing else. Obeying Scripture virtually means loving God.

Scripture testifies concerning itself Scripture claims to be inspired, that is, that it proceeded from the mouth of God. It is not man's invention, it is rather God's message to us. For many hundreds of times, the Old Testament repeats the phrase, "Thus saith the Lord..." or "The Word of Jehovah came unto me, saying..." Simple, and yet so strong and inescapable. Now as soon as we admit its inspiration (for devils would not write a book that seals their condemnation, angels would not lie; and mere men would not and cannot be so sincere about their own shortcomings which they recorded) then we are also recognising its supreme authority.

If it came immediately from God then its contents, nothing more and nothing less, are above us, and we are to be governed by them. Scriptura sola et Scriptura tota. In its completeness it is the unique message of God written for our understanding. It is nothing less than an imperial decree: "Thus saith the Lord." This becomes all the more evident when we weigh the fact that many authors of Scripture said something to the effect that "what we write to you is the commandment of the Lord." As soon as Scripture was written it was generally recognised to be Scripture. In the Old Testament, the Jews had a reverence for Scripture (Romans 3:1,2; 9:4; Acts 7:38; Psalms 147:19,20). They called it the oracles of God.

Christ himself never contradicted Scripture, and never disobeyed it! Priests, Levites, governors, and prophets had no right to act against it (Deuteronomy 17:18; 31:9-13; cf. 2 Chronicles 17:8-10; Nehemiah 8:9; Ezekiel 44:23). All religious authorities were duty-bound to teach according to Scripture (Leviticus 10:11; Deuteronomy 33:10). God is the supreme King and Teacher of his people, and he governs and teaches us through Scripture. Nothing more is needed (Proverbs 30:6; Deuteronomy 12:32).

Its authority is enduring (Psalm 119:89), imperial (Romans 1:16), and therefore to be obeyed (Acts 5:32; Romans 2:8; 10:16; 2 Timothy 1:8; Hebrews 5:9; 1 Peter 4:17); its power is sanctifying (John 17:17; Ephesians 6:17; Jeremiah 31:33; Psalms 119:9,11; 19:7-11). It is accurate, inerrant and therefore trustworthy (Matthew 5:18).

Final comment This more than enough to convince the gainsayer, yet because of sin and moral blindness in the heart, the unregenerate man will not be convinced of the inspiration of the Scripture unless the Holy Spirit is pleased to illuminate his mind and convict Him of its heavenly origin.