The earliest memories from my childhood remind me that I recognized the Bible as a very special book. In Sunday school, as well as in our home, the Bible had a place given to no other book.
While I cannot recall my father ever reading a newspaper at the dinner table, it was our family custom to read a portion of Scripture and have family prayer each day. Even before I could read I was taught to memorize short verses of the Bible. Later I joined with the rest of the family in reciting almost daily some portion of Scripture that we were learning together, such as Psalm 1, Psalm 23, or Psalm 103, which were favorite psalms. The Bible was presented to me as a holy book, the Word of God.
In more than fifty years of preaching and teaching scriptural truth, I have been impressed with the comprehensive evidence supporting the conclusion that the Bible is indeed the Word of God, absolutely accurate in its statements—a book that can be trusted to teach us spiritual truths. Many large volumes have been written in support of the inspiration and inerrancy of the Bible, but certain facts stand out in my own experience.
The Bible clearly claims to be inspired of God. According to 2 Timothy 3:16–17, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” Peter expressed the same concept in 2 Peter 1:21. “For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” These direct statements of the inspiration of the Bible are confirmed by dozens of references throughout the Old and New Testaments. The Bible is “the Word of God” and “your Word,” an assertion made in various ways over one hundred times in the Old Testament alone.
In the New Testament, whenever Christ and the apostles quoted the Old Testament, they cited it as absolute authority and often indicated that the writers of Scripture had been guided in what they wrote by the Spirit of God. We find illustrations of this in Matthew 22:43–44 and in frequent quotations of the Old Testament in the New Testament. For instance, in Acts 1:16 Peter referred to Psalm 109:8 when he said, “Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled which the Holy Spirit spoke long ago through the mouth of David concerning Judas.”
One of the most dramatic statements about the Bible’s accuracy comes from the lips of Christ Himself: “I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished” (Matt. 5:18). Here Christ referred to the smallest letter of the Hebrew alphabet—and to the smallest part of a letter that would change its meaning.
This points to an important conclusion: Those who attack the written Word of God also attack the incarnate Word of God, Jesus Christ. If the Bible is in error, then Christ is in error too. The two stand or fall together. For this reason evangelical Christians insist that the Bible is indeed the inspired Word of God and that the authors were guided by the Spirit so that they wrote the truth without any error.
Even a casual reader of the Bible becomes impressed by the uniqueness of the Bible. Where in all the world could sixty-six books be collected from more than forty authors, written over a period of more than sixteen hundred years, and yet form one united and continual presentation of divine truth? The unity of Scripture is one of the convincing evidences that the Bible is not a natural book, but a book that God Himself directed and produced through human authors.
Most Christians, while unfamiliar with many of the technical arguments for the inspiration of the Bible, are convinced that the Bible is the Word of God because of what it has done in their own lives. The influence of the Bible on millions of those who have put their trust in it is an attested fact of history. Many who have been moral wrecks and victims of drink and drugs have been marvelously redeemed through the power of the Word of God. They have been made new into intelligent, useful citizens and members of the church. The power of Scripture is described in Hebrews 4:12. “The word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”
Wherever the Bible has been constantly applied, it has dramatically changed the civilization and culture of those who have accepted its teaching. It has raised women from debased slavery to a position of honor, love, and purity. The Bible recognizes, on the one hand, humankind’s innate sinfulness and depravity, and on the other hand, the value of human life and the dignity of humanity. In civilizations where only some of the people were consistent Christians, their presence had the effect of influencing the entire social and political structure. No other book has ever so dramatically changed individual lives and society in general.
Since the Bible is indeed the Word of God, those who read it are confronted with moral decisions. The truth of the Scriptures must first be believed and comprehended, and this requires careful Bible study, proper methods of interpretation, and understanding how one portion of Scripture casts light on another.
And as the Word of God, the Bible is as essential to our spiritual life as food is to our physical life. The Bible should be read daily and its truths allowed to cast their light on our path.
The Bible, however, is more than a book to be admired and revered, more than a book to be placed in a special category as a holy book. Its moral commands and spiritual values demand commitment. People who really believe the Bible allow it to lead them to faith in Jesus Christ. The comprehensive sweep of the Bible, as it looks at history from God’s point of view and then presents the glorious future that is awaiting the Christian, gives them lives of meaningful activity. It inclues a system of values that transcends the materialism of our day, and a glorious hope in a world where there is much hopelessness.
The Bible was written for people as they are, but it points the way to what we can be by the grace of God. As we meditate on it and profit by our study of it, our spiritual lives will grow, our lives will become more fruitful in the service of the Lord, and we will be preparing for our eternal destiny.
No other book can do more for those who put their trust in its truth. No other book is inspired of God, given by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, revealing God’s truth without any mixture of error. The Bible is as trustworthy as God Himself.