“All scripture is given by inspiration of God.” 2 Timothy 3:16
“Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” 2 Peter 1:21

The Bible is the most remarkable book ever written, a miracle in our hands transcending every other writing. Its source is the God of Israel, the Creator of heaven and earth: it is divine not human. No one can find acceptance in God’s sight who does not believe it is God’s Word, true, wholly inspired and infallible. If not held in the highest esteem there is no way to find out about God and His purpose. The Bible is essentially one book, though made up of sixty-six components. It unveils the purpose of God from the beginning, Creation, to its culmination in the Apocalypse. It is and has been God’s witness throughout the ages.

The Bible is progressive in its revelation of God’s purpose: though His purpose is stated in the first chapter of Genesis (v26), details of how it will be accomplished are unfolded in increments in an astounding way. Christ was in God’s mind from the beginning but the details concerning him are gradually made known by the “seed” promises, by the lives of prominent servants of God like Joseph, Moses and David which are enacted parables. Looking back from the vantage point of days after Christ’s advent, these are compelling facts making it plain that the outworking of history is controlled by God’s hand.

The other incontestable truth is that the Bible is wholly consistent, reliable and harmonious. Whilst we may resort to the witness of archaeology and the fulfilment of prophecy to convince our contemporaries that the Bible is what it claims to be, by far the greatest evidence is internal, not external. J Blunt wrote a book called “Undesigned Scriptural Coincidences”, in which he demonstrated the internal consistency of the Bible because the writers had no possibility of collusion being separated by time and distance.

It is the intention of this editorial to look at some of the astounding facts that demonstrate the unity of the Bible and hence its inspiration by God. Before doing so it should be noted that this wonder of complete harmony will only be seen by those who are familiar with the Bible, who drink deeply and daily of its life-giving streams. Ignorance gives rise to doubts and makes one vulnerable to the sophistry of humanism and the ‘wisdom’ of the world. The righteous man finds “delight … in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night” (Psa 1:2): the wicked hate instruction, and cast God’s words behind them (Psa 50:17).

Answers life’s great questions

The Bible furnishes answers to the bewildering questions of life: Is there a God? How did life originate? Has He a purpose with man and the earth? Does everything happen in a random unstructured way? Why does man die? Is there a hope beyond the grave? Is there an explanation for war and suffering? These and all other perplexing anomalies in life are resolved by the Bible in a satisfying and reasonable way – but only to those who respect and heed its message. The Bible has a lot to say about acceptable morality in God’s eyes: the ten commandments and the Sermon on the Mount make it clear what will be the basis of judgment in that day.

Why inspiration is a necessity

It was important that God’s Words, spoken to Israel by Moses and others, should be preserved in written form so that His people might have recourse to the knowledge of Him in a more permanent form. For this, inspiration was essential. Inspiration is seen in the nature and style of the book; in its selection and treatment of topics; in its conciseness and brevity; in its chasteness, and its consistent reprobation of sin; in the majesty of its style, seen for example by reading Isaiah 40; seen in its unsparing impartiality, the sins of its great men are not concealed, for example in the case of David and Peter; and finally there is a keeping of God foremost and a suppression of matters of mere human interest.

If the Bible was ‘of man’ the above would be impossible and essential parts would have been left out. The record of failure and sin would be prejudiced one way or another for the lack of authoritative judgment; there would be the insertion of that which is immaterial and of no consequence; there would be inclusion of the mere political gossip of the age, but instead there is definitive prophecy, a forth-telling of events by which the truth of the Bible can be put to the test. If the Bible was derived from the human mind it would be liable to err in its representations, and be marred by glaring inconsistencies – think about it! It is written by so many authors over such a long time, scattered over the then known world, and yet it is progressive, harmonious and consistent. Compare this with the writings of man, ancient and modern.

In summary, if the Bible was a human creation it would be unreliable for the children of God, but it is commended to their unsparing trust. No trust was to be put in purely human agency, as seen, for example, in the construction of the Tabernacle for Moses cautioned, “… look that thou make them [its furniture] after their pattern, which was shewed thee in the mount” (Exod 25:40); and lest there should be error, Aholiab and Bezaleel, the artisans, were “filled … with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship” (Exod 31:2–6).

Old and New Testaments – “the promised seed”

The Bible is made up of these two parts which complement each other in extraordinary ways. This again can only be appreciated if you stop and think about it: and how true this will be proportional to our knowledge of and familiarity with the Word. Take, for example, the three covenants about the promised seed. The first great covenant promises salvation from sin through the seed of the woman. There are two other covenants relating to this coming seed: in the promises to Abraham the prospect of eternal inheritance of the land in which he dwelt, through his seed, is given and this is elaborated in the promise to David where his seed, who will also be God’s Son, is to be king and rule from David’s throne in Jerusalem forever.

What is the linkage of the three ‘seed promises’ to the New Testament? Well, the first verse informs us that the seed of the woman, of Abraham and David is Jesus Christ: “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham” (Matt 1:1). He has come “to confirm the promises” (Rom 15:8). A simple matter for Christadelphians? But not understood by Christendom at large. But the point being made is that here we have the consistency, unity and integrity of the divine Word demonstrated on a grand scale! Think about it. There is every reason to put our utmost trust in the Bible, its Author and its revelation.

Quotations: illuminating and unifying

The New Testament is full of citations and allusions from the Old Testament, particularly in relation to Jesus Christ. He was the Word made flesh. With his birth prophecy was fulfilled and promises became reality. All that was written aforetime became relevant. His coming into the world was history’s greatest event. But what is notable about the New Testament, apart from how the shadows, types and prophecies were fulfilled in the advent of the Son of God, is the reverence and authority accorded the Word of God, the Old Testament. All Scripture was regarded as inspired by God and respect for it was absolute and beyond question. The Lord cited it to settle matters: thrice rebutting the tempter’s wiles with, “It is written …”; Pharisees were told to go “learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice” (Matt 9:13; Hosea 6:6); while on a later occasion Jesus ratified the authority of Scripture by saying (when arguing on the basis of the one word in the Old Testament), “and the scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:34,35; Psa 82:6).

This is the confidence that we can vest in the Bible today. It is popular to ridicule the Bible, to mock the Creator’s record, to scoff at its morality and relevance today but the day is at hand when the Almighty will humble mankind. It is preposterous for feeble mortals to fulminate against the Bible: “Woe to him who strives with his Maker, an earthen vessel with the potter! … Does the clay say to him that fashions it, ‘What are you making?’” (Isa 45:9 rsv).

Daily readings

The institution of daily readings, introduced as a practice by Brother Robert Roberts, was probably his greatest legacy. We are well-advised to do our daily readings. How else are we going to combat the flood of worldly, often degrading and corrupt information to which we are exposed? The fact iswe cannot live without the Bible. We desperately need more time with our Bibles, comparing Scripture with Scripture, prayerfully reflecting upon the wonder of its saving truths, upon the grace of our loving heavenly Father in providing us with a Redeemer, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

It is the time spent reading, meditating upon and memorizing its sacred words that will convict us of its inspiration and develop within us that faith which comes by hearing (Rom 10:17), which will in turn empower us to overcome the world (1 John 5:4).