The Divine Authority of the Scriptures

Special Evidences of Divine Authorship

The truth of the Bible is apparent from its nature, but its authority is dependent altogether upon its source. The more carefully and reverentially we study the sacred Scriptures, the more deeply are we impressed with the fact that they have proceeded from one source. True, the Bible consists of many books, penned by various writers during a period of fifteen hundred years, but there exists throughout a grand unity and harmony that suggest divine inspiration. The writers themselves did not claim to be the authors of the messages they delivered, but, as the Apostle Peter affirms, they “spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (II Pet. 1:21). Their writings encompass a variety of subjects—the origin of things, history, prophecy, biography, law and government, moral philosophy, ethics, theology, and poetry; still there exists a remarkable harmony of sentiment and teaching such as can be found in no other collection of books.
The revelation that the Scriptures make of the one true and living God testifies to its source. While the idea of a Supreme Being is universal, his nature and his relations with men are necessarily subjects of revelation. The history of all heathenism fails to disclose in one single instance the conception of a pure, holy God kindly disposed toward the human race. On the other hand, the mythologies of heathen nations abound with the most shocking and disgusting details of the actions of the gods whom they worship. The history of the Hebrew people given in the Bible shows that they, like other nations, were prone to evil of the deepest and blackest type. Whence, then, did they derive the idea of a God of holiness, a God who was opposed to all their evils, and yet gracious and full of mercy? When even Athens was devoting thousands of her choicest women to the lustful service of Venus; when Corinth, according to Strabo, had a thousand sacred prostitutes in one temple—who, I ask, taught the Israelites the principle of holiness and gave them such exalted moral conceptions of God?
Many of the special messengers of God by whom the Bible was written were given the power of performing miracles, by which their inspiration was attested and their messages made authoritative; but the “more sure word of prophecy” (II Pet. 1:19) furnishes the greatest external proof of its inspiration. To this, more than to anything else, Christ and the Apostles made their constant appeal. Matthew, narrating the deeds of the Savior, gives us the standing phrase, “that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet”; Peter affirms, in words unmistakable, that “holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (vs. 21). From such facts as these Paul adduces his conclusion relative to the authority of the Bible, in these words: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (II Tim. 3:16).
The marvelous prophecy which Christ made concerning the destruction of Jerusalem and the ruin and dispersal of the Jews has been fulfilled with such unquestionable exactness that the boldest infidels dare not deny the agreement.
The fifty-third chapter of Isaiah describes Christ’s crucifixion and atonement work with such accuracy of detail that the inspiration of the prophet is assured.

Other Proofs of Divine Authorship

There are many other proofs of the divine authorship of the Bible, but I shall refer to only a few.
While the Bible speaks of the lowest forms of sin in the plainest language, they are named only to be condemned. No unprejudiced person can read the sacred pages without realizing that the Book stands for all that is good and is forever opposed to all that is evil. It pronounces the last word on moral character. The mind of man has never conceived anything so noble, so elevating, so inspiring, so grand, as the Sermon on the Mount. Search through all the religions of the ages, glean out every choice moral precept and delineation of human character and conduct, place the findings together in one collection, and they will bear no real comparison with the divine beauty and the infinite wisdom here expressed by the Christ of the Bible. Here is given the spiritual essence of the Law and the Prophets. Here truth is pressed home to the human soul, and character and conduct are defined by the secret springs and motives of the heart. Here all pride, hypocrisy, and self-seeking stand condemned; while all the finer virtues of which the soul is capable find free expression and infinite encouragement in the incomparable Beatitudes. Here a restraining influence is brought to bear upon wicked men by the solemn assertion of a future state of punishment in hell, while the righteous are assured of a great reward in heaven.
Another beautiful feature of God’s Word is its simplicity. Though it contains the choicest wisdom of the ages, still it meets the wants and requirements of the unlearned and illiterate. “The wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein” (Isa. 35:8). The way of salvation, though straight and narrow, is not hidden, and there is nothing to hinder any seeking soul from coming in contact with its Maker. Blessed thought!
One of the clearest proofs that the Bible is the Word of God is the fact that it now transforms human character and accomplishes the regeneration of society. The promises of salvation and deliverance contained in its pages are, in millions of instances, proved to be living realities. The words of men have never accomplished such results as these. The Bible bears on its face the stamp of divine inspiration, and through belief in its message the work of God is performed in the world. Millions of redeemed men and women have given their lives in its defense, and today it is loved and reverenced by the worthy ones of earth.

The Bible Claims Divine Authorship

Furthermore, the Bible claims divine inspiration. “Hear the word of the Lord,” cries Isaiah; “Give ear, O earth: for the Lord hath spoken” (1:2). “The Lord said unto me” are the words of Jeremiah (1:7). “The word of the Lord came expressly unto Ezekiel” (1:3). “Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (II Peter 1:21). (See also John 5:39, 46; Luke 16:31; Heb. 10:7; II Pet. 1:19).
The Apostles themselves were specially inspired by the Spirit. (See Matt. 10:19-20; I Thess. 2:13; I Cor. 14:37; II Pet. 3:15-16; II Tim. 3:16).
The Bible emerges from every legitimate test, external and internal, with glories undimmed, bearing every evidence that its message is indeed the word of God; hence its absolute authority is forever settled.

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