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What is the origin of the Bible?

How was the Bible written and preserved? Is it truly from God? 

Thanks for your question. In the Library section of the website you will find some literature which deals with this important question. One is called "The Miracle of the Bible" and the other is entitled "The Divine Origin of the Bible

Here is the introduction to the pamphlet: "The Divine Origin of the Bible” You may find the entire booklet at: The Divine Origin of the Bible

THE authority of any religion depends upon its origin. Who is pronouncing what is truth? If the origin is purely human, why should we take any notice? The opinions of any man, or group of men, are of no more authority than those of any other men. Though they may appear more logical and be founded upon more reasonable grounds, they are still the products of the human mind. They carry no guarantee of absolute truth.

The major religions of the world are founded upon the writings of men. Buddhism is founded upon the teachings of Buddha, who lived in India in the 6th Century BC. It was some centuries later that his adherents made him a god. Hinduism, originating in ancient Vedism about 1500 BC, evolved through Brahmanism into early Hinduism in the 2nd Century BC, revering the gods Vishnu and Shiva.

Confucianism arose from Chinese moral philosophy, which was systematized by Confucius in the 5th century BC. Confucius himself became an object of worship in the 1st Century AD. In each of these religions the worship of the god arose centuries after the promulgation of the original principles. The Muslim religion is in a different category. It arose from the writings of Muhammad in the 8th Century AD and has obvious connections with the ideas of Christianity, which existed centuries before Muhammad.

All these widespread religions claiming millions of adherents, are based upon the original pronouncements of men. Despite all their subsequent philosophical refinements, they have originated in the human mind.

The Christian Religion

 But is not the same true of Christianity? Are not its teachings accepted because they are found originally in the writings of men, which make up the Bible?

At first, this appears a reasonable comment. But when we come to examine the writings found in the Bible, we discover that they are in a totally different category from the foundation documents of the religions referred to above. In fact they are so different and manifest such remarkable characteristics that the question arises, Who is really responsible for them? Men did the actual writing, but whose was the thinking that lies behind all of them? The more the writings of the Bible are studied, the more convinced one becomes that there must have been a Mind behind it all, different from and greater than the mind of men. One 19th Century student, after such an examination, came to the striking conclusion that the Bible is not "such as men would have written if they could, nor could have written if they would" (Henry Rogers, The Superhuman Origin of the Bible, 1872).

Let us then take a careful look at the Bible and note its special characteristics. We shall find them so exceptional as to make the Bible unique in the world - a book in fact that we cannot ignore.

There is one important principle to observe in our quest: we must note what the Bible writers say about themselves and their message, and be very wary of what has subsequently been said about them. It is very common today for people to say, "Well, we live in a more enlightened age and we know better". This common error arises from relying alone on human judgement. We shall find good reason seriously to question that assumption.

Many Books, yet One

The Bible exists among us as one book. Yet it is in fact composed of more than 60 books, written by over 40 different authors, and its compilation extended from the days of Moses (1400 BC) to the days of the apostle John (end of 1st Century AD), a period of 1,500 years. Its narrative goes right back to the origin of man. It presents the Lord God of heaven and earth as Creator of all, who has a purpose with the human race, which extends through history right up to the present day; and then goes further and tells what will happen to that race in the future. There is no other book in the world which has such a range and scope as this.

But its writings are not just philosophical predictions. They are rooted in human history, dealing with actual nations and real people. The Bible deals with man's early career, passes a devastating judgement on him at the Flood, and proceeds to detail God's purpose with a particular people, the descendants of faithful Abraham, in their deliverance from the oppression of Egypt and their inheritance of the land of Canaan. It faithfully records the history of that people, the lives of their men of faith, their constant failure to do God's will, the judgements which came upon them through the Assyrians and the Babylonians, and the eventual overthrow of their kingdom. It takes up in the New Testament the record of the coming of Jesus Christ, the preaching of the gospel by his apostles, and ends with their writings to the early communities of believers in the 1st century AD. But the word of prophecy they spoke extends in time into the future.

Now the remarkable fact is that over this long period of 1,500 years the Bible speaks of one God, having one purpose. The earliest books of the Old Testament and the latest of the New are bound together by one outlook and one conviction, so that they become in fact one revelation. How this could be in a world of human fallibility is something we must seek to understand.

The Inspired Word

There is one common affirmation, found in all the writers of the books of the
Bible: it is that they were not writing their own words, but the words and thoughts of God.

"The LORD said unto Moses, write these words ..." This becomes the keynote for all subsequent writers. The prophets of Israel all proclaim, "Thus said the LORD . . ." "The word of the LORD came unto me saying ..." The Lord Jesus Christ (whose "Old Testament" was the same as ours, as we know from details given by Josephus in the 1st Century AD) acknowledged the authority of "the law and the prophets"; he used them constantly in his preaching, as did his apostles after him. So there has arisen the principle that the writings of the Bible are the inspired word of God, not produced by the will of man but by the will of God (2 Peter 1:21). The apostle Paul wrote that all Scripture is "God- breathed" (2 Timothy 3:16). The breath of God in them is His very thoughts and His mind.

Testimony to Bible Truth

For the first 300 years of the early Church the unanimous view was that the Old and New Testaments were alike the word of God. John Urquhart (The Inspiration and Accuracy of the Holy Scriptures, 1895) adopted a very striking method of demonstrating the point He cited evidence from the writings of prominent men in the early Church, commencing with the 3rd Century and working steadily backwards till he arrived at the very days of the apostle John. Thus he began with Origen (3rd Century); Cyprian, bishop of Carthage (3rd Century); Clement of Alexandria (end of 2nd Century); Tertullian (2nd and 3rd Centuries); lrenaeus, bishop of Lyon, Theophilus, bishop of Antioch, Justin Martyr (all of the 2nd Century); then Ignatius, bishop of Antioch and Polycarp, both martyred in the 2nd Century; and finally Clement, bishop of Rome in AD 91.
Urquhart concluded his survey with this comment:

"The meaning of all this testimony is plain. There is no conflict in it. There is but one view of the Scriptures - both of the Old and the New Testament - they are alike the Word of God ... There is one thing more of the utmost importance to our inquiry. This view has not grown. It is not a product of Christian evolution. It has been handed down right from the apostolic times.

Were there no other evidence extant as to what the Apostles taught about the Scriptures, I cannot see how the conclusion could be escaped that they must have regarded both the New Testament and the Old as the very Word of God. These disciples of the Apostles would never have spoken so emphatically and unanimously, unless their masters had been equally emphatic and unanimous." (page 31)

But there is still one more comment to be made. The actual writers of these scriptures - the Law, the Psalms and the Prophets, the Gospels and the Epistles and the Revelation - must also have been convinced that they were writing not their own words but the words of God Himself. In fact they say so themselves.

And this was maintained in one set of writings for 1,500 years, from Moses to the apostle John, and it is found in no other set of writings anywhere in the world.

But this view of their own words is most unusual. Men do not willingly ascribe the authority of their words, and especially of their ideas, to someone else.

They are only too eager to claim the credit for what they write. How then could this unique attitude have been preserved without wavering in the writers of the Bible? There is only one reasonable explanation: there was a Mind behind it all, directing what was written and taught. No men of themselves could have maintained this most unnatural view of their own work over so many centuries.


There is much more information in this booklet which will be of interest to you. Click on this link to be taken directly to it: The Divine Origin of the Bible

God bless and keep you,
Mike 

 

 
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