The Young Adults Class started the year with a series of lessons on “Reasons to Believe the Bible”. I am sure that everyone has encountered this topic in some shape or form. In this article, I will share the 2 things that strike me most when I reflect on the reasons why I believe the Bible is from God.
The Bible, which comes from the Greek word biblos, is a book of books. As we know it today, it is a book of 39 Old Testament books and 27 New Testament books. That is a whopping 66 books covering some 31,102 verses in total. Depending on the font size of print, it spans some 1000 pages and is certainly not a thin book. Indeed, there is so much wisdom and knowledge contained in the Bible.
As a History student, what strikes me most is how the Bible is in perfect harmony even though it was written by about 40 authors. Sometimes, it is hard even for 2 people to agree. How is it that 40 people can agree, and more remarkably, agree on contentious issues such as our purpose on this Earth, good and bad, as well as what happens after death?
The best part? There was virtually no way of collusion. Firstly, the authors lived across the 1,500-year period that the Bible was written over. Secondly, the authors came from different backgrounds in terms of culture, education and occupation. Moses was well-educated in Egypt (Acts 7:22), Luke was a physician (Col 4:14) and Amos was a farmer (Amos 7:14). Thirdly, the authors wrote their books in different parts of the region. Moses wrote the book of Deuteronomy on the eastern banks of the Jordan river (Deu 1:1), Ezekiel wrote at the river of Chebar (in Babylon) (Eze 1:1) and John was writing on the island of Patmos (off the coast of Asia Minor) (Rev 1:9). Lastly, the Bible was written in 3 different languages - Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic.
With the Bible written across such a long time-span, by authors of such diverse backgrounds, writing in different parts of the region, and writing in different languages, it is a mammoth task to put together the Bible, let alone have it contain a flawless and perfect narrative with no contradictions. This is certainly no brainchild of Man; the Bible is a product of God, or in other words, the Bible is God-breathed (Tim 3:16).
The other thing that strikes me is how the prophecies in the Bible are fulfilled time and time again. There are plenty of prophecy-fulfillment pairings littered throughout the Bible but one stood out to me - the foretelling of Cyrus the Great.
In c. 700 B.C., Isaiah spoke of Cyrus allowing the Jews to rebuild the temple (Isaiah 44:28). Who was Cyrus? What do you mean by rebuild the temple, when we already have one standing in Jerusalem? These were likely the kind of questions the Jews had back in c.700 B.C., for they were safely inhabiting Jerusalem with the magnificent temple built by Solomon still standing. We know that all that would change with a series of attacks by the Babylonians which resulted in the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 B.C. The Jews were taken into Babylonian captivity and would remain so until Babylon fell to the Medo-Persians in c.539 B.C. Jerusalem and the temple would remain in ruins until Cyrus, king of Persia, issued a decree in 536 B.C. permitting the Jews to rebuild Jerusalem (Ezra 1:1-3).
Isaiah was able to predict the fall of Jerusalem and name the king of a kingdom that was not yet in existence. How was Isaiah able to foretell events that were 160 years ahead of his time? 160 years would be the equivalent of about 4 generations and it is as good as asking: would you know the name of your great great grandchildren who are yet to be born? That is impossible to know for sure, based on our human wisdom and understanding. The only logical conclusion was that God must have told Isaiah.
If anyone were to ask me why I believe the Bible is from God, I would lay out 2 key reasons: the harmony of the Bible, despite all the factors that work against it, and its ability to foretell with accuracy and specificity. There is no other logical reason for both of these to occur without the Bible being from God.