Study 1 THE BIBLE: GOD’S MIRACLE BOOK
What Every Christian Should Know
by Francis Dixon
(Scripture Portion: Psalm 119: 89-104)
The Bible is a very wonderful book. It is a composite library of 66 books, of which 39 comprise the Old Testament and 27 the New Testament. The Bible is unique, for it is no mere haphazard collection of writings, but is an organic whole, each of the 66 books being necessary to the whole ‘library’. Any careful reader will quickly discover that there is a plan behind the arrangement of the books, and a unity about the Bible that is nothing less than miraculous. That is why we have entitled this study ‘The Bible: God’s Miracle Book’. The Bible is inspired, authoritative and entirely trustworthy. What are the grounds for believing this? Consider the following:
1. THE WONDER OF ITS FORMATION.
The Old Testament may be divided into four sections: The Pentateuch (Genesis to Deuteronomy); the historical books (Joshua to Job); the poetical books (Psalms to Song of Solomon); and the prophetical books (Isaiah to Malachi). In the New Testament the historical books are Matthew to Acts; the doctrinal books are Romans to Jude; and the great book of prophecy is The Revelation. But from where did these 66 books come? How were they written, and by whom? How were they brought together in one volume? Here is a miracle of tremendous significance!
The 66 books of the Bible were written by some forty different writers, who lived in different countries, spoke different languages and came from different backgrounds. The writers included a king, a doctor, a herdsman, a tax gatherer, a theologian, a scribe, a fisherman, etc., and their writings spread over a period of 1600 years, so there could be no collusion or communication. Think of it - 40 different writers, spread over 55 generations, producing 66 books; and yet when these books are placed together there is a perfect unity and harmony about them and they all fit together like a jigsaw. What is the explanation? There is only one explanation: the Bible is God’s miracle book.
2. THE CLAIM OF ITS WRITERS.
God is the Author of the Bible, but He employed many human writers. These forty writers claimed to be writing down the words of the Lord. ‘This is what the Lord says ’ and similar expressions occur hundreds of times in the Bible - compare Exodus 20:1 and 24:4. ‘In the twenty-seven chapters of Leviticus there are fifty-six assertions assigning its authorship to the Lord Himself.’ The same is true of the historical, the poetical and the prophetical books of the Old Testament. What about the New Testament? The Old Testament is woven into the New Testament. Literally scores of Old Testament sayings are quoted in the New Testament, and Jesus, the Gospel-writers, Paul, Peter, James and John all accepted the divine authority and authorship of the Old Testament – look up 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21. What is the explanation of the fact that the writers in the Bible claim to have written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit? The explanation is this: the Bible is God’s miracle book.
3. THE ACCURACY OF ITS STATEMENTS.
It is commonly held that the Bible is full of errors and mis-statements. Let us understand that there are many things in the Bible about which we need fuller light; but let us also state confidently that the Bible is accurate and reliable. What seem to be discrepancies are often cleared away after careful and prayerful investigation - look up Psalm 119:160. There is not one single proved inaccuracy in the whole Bible. The Bible is accurate historically, geographically, genealogically, scientifically, psychologically, typologically, and verbally. What is the secret of this amazing accuracy? The Bible is God’s miracle book.
4. THE PROGRESSIVENESS OF ITS REVELATION.
The revelation of truth we have in the Bible is progressively given, and by the time we get to the Book of Revelation we have a perfect and complete body of truth. In the 66 books there is everything we need to know about ourselves, sin, death, Heaven, human destiny, human relations and, above all, about God and His nature, about Christ and His love, and about redemption. The revelation in the Bible is complete - look up Jude 3. There is everything we need in the Bible: the Bible is God’s miracle book.
5. THE FULFILMENT OF ITS PROPHECIES.
Two-thirds of the Bible is made up of prophecies. Prophecy is history written in advance. Only a small portion of these prophecies has so far been fulfilled, but all fulfilled prophecy has been literally fulfilled. In the Bible we have prophecies relating to places, events and people. A most helpful approach to this subject would be to study the Old Testament prophecies relating to the Person of Christ and see them literally fulfilled in His birth, life, ministry, death, resurrection and ascension. Note also that over thirty prophecies relating to His arrest, trial and crucifixion were all literally fulfilled within 24 hours when He died. What is the explanation of the power of this book to predict the future? The Bible is God’s miracle book.
6. THE INSISTENCE OF ITS MESSAGE.
One message runs right through the Bible - the message of God’s great love for sinful humanity; of the gift of His Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; of His provision of salvation, and of His righteous claims perfectly satisfied at Calvary - Genesis 3:15. Throughout the Bible we trace the message of John 3:16, until we come to the final appeal to sinful men to accept the Gospel invitation - Revelation 22:17. What is the explanation of this one insistent message running through the Bible? The Bible is God’s miracle book. But as we conclude this study, notice one final evidence of the Bible’s unique nature, inspiration and authority: it is to be found in:
7. THE EXPLANATION OF ITS AUTHOR.
What is the explanation of the miraculous nature of the Bible? The answer is stated in 1 Timothy 3:16 and 2 Peter 1:21. These verses proclaim the inspiration of the Old Testament scriptures; while John 14:26 and 16:13 refer to the inspiration of the writers of the books of the New Testament.
Thank God, the Bible is God-given, fully inspired, completely authoritative and absolutely trustworthy! It truly is God’s miracle book. Let us love it, believe it, learn it, practise it, defend it and pass it on to others.