I have in my hand right here, and as many of you do as well a book that contains an account of how the world came into being and how humans were created. The story of a particular group of people, beginning with a man named Abraham who lived in what is now called Iraq.
And following the descendants of this man to a point in history where they inhabit a small strip of land called Israel, all that story is in this book. This book also tells of their development from a tribal group to a nation with kings and armies.
It describes their politics and especially their religion. And then the final third of this book concentrates on events that took place in the first century and focuses on one particular person, Jesus of Nazareth and His followers who were called Christians. It describes the life, the death and the reported resurrection of Jesus, and the story of the disciples who followed Him and their lives as it was during that time.
It is a book that is divided into two parts, the Old and the New Testament and contains 66 individual books. It was composed by over 40 authors, written over a period of 1500 years. The 27 books of the New Testament have been recognized as inspired and circulated in the early church in an informal way as early as the 1st century AD with all 66 books accepted as one unit by the 4th century AD and remaining the same to this day. The Bible was originally written in the Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic languages.
It was first translated from these languages into Latin and then later on into other languages, including English. It was the first book ever printed on the printing press 1456. And it is the most translated, most widely distributed, most read book in all of history.
Now all of these facts are interesting and true, but when you are reading this book, what exactly are you reading? Are you reading a collection of stories and histories written by ancient holy men and religious zealots as many claim today? Or are you reading a book actually conceived and written by God himself, one or the other? It's important to answer this question because if the Bible is the work of human thinking, even well-meaning intelligent pious human thinking, it is in the end only literature, a very old book, a religious book, like other religious books but not something that has any authority, perhaps influence, big difference between influence and authority in our lives.
If the Bible, however, is just another book, then Christianity is just another religion without any more power or authority than any other religion in the world. However, if the Bible is written by God then it is an immense treasure.
The mind of the creator, the purpose of God for us to know and to understand. If the Bible is inspired, it becomes our moral and spiritual guide, through it, we can know how the world began, through it, we can know why we are the way that we are, we can know what happens after death, and also most importantly, we can know what is God really like.
So it's important to be able to answer this question and to be able to give the reasons why we believe what we do. Now, instead of going to outside experts or modern-day scholars to prove this point, to answer this question, I think that the best place to begin to answer this question, who wrote the Bible? Is inside the Bible itself.
In other words, what does the Bible say about who its author is. In order to do this, we're going to ask this question to three people who were in the Bible, Moses, Peter and Paul. These three men are all historical characters and all agree that they did live and are not fictional.
In other words, we know that Peter was a real person who lived and Paul was a real person who lived, and Moses was a real person. Everybody, even if they don't believe that the Bible is inspired by God, they do believe that these men actually lived.
If we were to ask them, who wrote the Bible? What would their answer be?
Who Wrote the Bible According to Moses
We begin with Moses, a great Jewish leader who lived about 1500 BC and led the Israelites out of Egypt, out of slavery. If asked about the author of the Bible, he would answer that God told him what he should write.
1Then He said to Moses, "Come up to the Lord, you and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu and seventy of the elders of Israel, and you shall worship at a distance. 2Moses alone, however, shall come near to the Lord, but they shall not come near, nor shall the people come up with him." 3Then Moses came and recounted to the people all the words of the Lord and all the ordinances; and all the people answered with one voice and said, "All the words which the Lord has spoken we will do!" 4Moses wrote down all the words of the Lord. Then he arose early in the morning, and built an altar at the foot of the mountain with twelve pillars for the twelve tribes of Israel.
- Exodus 24:1-4
The Bible teaches us that Moses was the first one to begin writing down the information coming from God.
Like Moses, the prophets and the kings who wrote the majority of the Old Testament portion of the Bible, repeat the same answer. God is the one who told them to write what they wrote down.
Who Wrote the Bible According to Peter
Let's ask a second individual the same question: Jewish Apostle of the first century, Peter.
Peter is a more recent witness and Apostle of Jesus Christ. He lived in the first century AD. His answer to the question of the authorship of the Bible is contained in II Peter:
20But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, 21for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.
- II Peter 1:20-21
Peter is answering this very question, who wrote the Bible? And his answer to this question is contained in this passage, prophecy when he says, but know this, first of all, no prophecy, prophecy here means not only future prophecy but any words spoken by man on behalf of God.
No one ever woke up that morning and says, you know what? I think tomorrow this morning I'm just going to write something from God. I'm going to write something about what God is telling me. No one did that according to Peter.
No prophecy was made because man decided to speak for God. "Men were moved," he says. And the Greek word here means like a wind that moves a sailboat, that powers a sailboat, same idea. The Holy Spirit moved men, powered men to say what God said.
You see, when we read in the Old Testament, Moses tells us who is the one that told him to write down the words. Peter is the one who tells us how those words were written, they were done through the power of the Holy Spirit.
According to Peter, God chose the men and what they were to say and breathed into them what to speak and to write through the power of the Holy Spirit. A little bit like you have a colored markers, if you wish, and you write with different markers, different textures, different colors, different designs.
But if I'm the one using the markers, it's my thought that's going into these things. Well, in the same way, men of different languages, different cultures were used by God to record His thoughts. They kept their language, they even kept their level of education.
For example, if you read Isaiah, the prophet's writing, and if you know about Hebrew literature, you realize here's a very educated man. His writing is of a very high quality and caliber. And then you read Peter, the Epistles of Peter, of course, they're inspired by the same Holy Spirit but the language and the grammar and the vocabulary and so on and so forth is not at the same level as Isaiah's.
You can see that it is an ordinary educated man who is writing what Peter is writing. So God maintain the character of the individual in the language of the individual and the ability of the individual, but gave them the words that they were to write.
Who Wrote the Bible According to Paul
Let's ask a third man, and this is Paul. Who wrote the Bible? Well, Paul rounds out our list of witnesses about the authorship of the Bible. He was another Apostle of Jesus, chosen after Jesus's resurrection.
He wrote many letters to the churches in the first century. What does he say? Well, in II Timothy 3:16, he talks about this very subject.
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;
- II Timothy 3:16
It says, if he's answering the question directly, Paul, who wrote the Bible and not to be mistaken. So there'd be no misconceptions. Paul says, all Scripture, all of it, is inspired by God. Inspired, meaning God-breathed. Paul taught that everything in the Bible was from God, not man. So if we look at some of the major characters in the Bible, real people who actually lived, they all taught that the Bible was the work of God.
This is what they believed, this is what they taught, this is what they recorded. And for many of them, this is what they died for. And so the next question would be, well, why believe them? Why believe what they say? After all, I could write a book and say, well, it's from God.
Do you think people would believe me? A lot of people have done it. A lot of people have said, "I was in a cave and I found this inspired discs." Or I was always, it's always, I was by myself, but I was over here and God spoke to me and I wrote down what he said, many, many men have claimed that they themselves were inspired writers and started their own religious groups, which are large groups that have a lot of influence in the world.
But aside from the internal witness that is what the Bible actually says about itself, there are some other powerful reasons to believe that the Bible is from God and not just another book. And these reasons that I'll give you now, no other book can use.
The point I'm making is the authors of the Bible themselves say that it's an inspired book just as perhaps some modern-day individuals say, well, I wrote an inspired book myself, but the following reasons I'm going to give you, no other person could give other than the Bible itself.
Well, why should we believe that the Bible comes from God? Well, first of all, because it contains fulfilled prophecy. Other books may claim that they're inspired, but they don't contain any fulfilled prophecy.
In other words, they don't contain reasons to actually believe the claim other than the claim of the author. But the Bible claims to have fulfilled prophecy. Many of the men in the Old Testament period who lived several centuries before Christ, not only spoke the word to the people of their times, but they also predicted events that would occur in the future.
Some of it the near future, for example, Jeremiah, who predicted that the Jewish people would be taken into captivity for 70 years. That's in Jeremiah 25:11. And then several years later, they were taken off into captivity.
And Ezra records this in chapter one of his book. Only after Jeremiah's death were they released and returned to their homeland. And that was 70 years after they were captured and sent off into exile.
How could Jeremiah do that without God? Man cannot know the future. Then there are those prophets who spoke of events to come far into the future. Isaiah, and this morning I taught that class in Isaiah 53:5-6, where Isaiah consciously is talking about the Messiah and what he would be like and what he would do and how he would do it.
Not just what he would do, the attitude and the spirit in which he would actually do His ministry is recounted in detail in the Book of Isaiah. Isaiah describes the nature and the reason for the Lord's death, and he does so six centuries beforehand.
And then there's Daniel who predicted accurately, the rise and the fall of all the world powers from his own time until the last great empire of Rome, 700 years later, we read about that in Daniel 2:31-45.
Now these are just a few examples. The big neon-lit up examples, but there are hundreds of prophecies about people about places, about events where predictions were made and later on they were accurately fulfilled.
Remember, it's fulfilled. A lot of books have prophecies (laughs). But we ought to believe that the Bible is written by God because the Bible has fulfilled prophecy. Meaning in one part of the book, historically, something is said that's going to happen many centuries later, and then in another part of the book, many centuries later, an author describes the fulfillment of that prophecy.
That's one of the strongest reasons to believe that the Bible is written by God. And so the point here I'm making is that no other book, religious or otherwise contains fulfilled prophecy that can be verified historically.
Many books contain predictions of what people think may happen but none of them have the prophecies detailed in one century and then accurately and historically fulfilled in another century. Only the Bible has this, and this is why we believe that it comes from God because it could not have been produced by man.
If man couldn't produce it, well, who did? Our answer to that question is, well, God did. Another reason to believe, and that is eyewitness testimony. Another reason why we as Christians believe that the Bible is from God is that those who wrote it were themselves eyewitnesses of God's work here on earth.
The events of Jesus's life and His miracles, His resurrection, these things didn't happen in a vacuum, there were people who saw and heard and recorded their eyewitness testimony of these events. I believe Peter and Paul when they say that the Bible is from God, because they saw God in the flesh and they recorded their experience, and I accept their witness.
Time doesn't change the truth of what they say no matter how long ago it took place. Their writings can be trusted because while they live, no one was able to prove them to be false. And so if no one could discredit them when they lived, we have much less chance today, hundreds of years later to discredit them.
Their stories were collaborated by others throughout the empire who had similar experiences. We read, for example, in I Corinthians 15, Paul says,
3For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; 7then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles; 8and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also.
- I Corinthians 15:3-8
To Paul, of course. So Paul is saying there is a lot of eyewitness testimony to the fulfillment of the prophecies that we read about in the Bible.
Normally, something which is a hoax, something that's a lie is eventually revealed. But 2000 years of trying by the very best experts have not been able to shake the credibility of the apostles and their witness.
Even death could not dissuade them from their witness because many of them died as martyrs. They didn't kill these guys because they were morally upright. They didn't kill these guys because they refuse to harm anyone.
They killed them because they refuse to worship false gods. They refused to recant on their witness of being witnesses of the resurrection of Christ. I mean, you won't die for a lie. You won't give up your life in a horrible way for a hoax.
People would not die for a lie or open deception. And so I believe their witness because it was sincere and enduring and for many, it costs them their lives. And then of course there are many more reasons but I pick one, I believe the Bible is written by God because of its direct impact on the world.
There are many reasons to believe that the Bible is from God. But the last one I'd like to mention is its impact on the world. Philosophers and crusaders and idealists, they come and they go and their impact is felt for a while, and then it is replaced by the newest idea.
Four years ago, whole lot of people, you know, they thought that the incoming government, you know, would ruin this country. And then four years went by and we have a new government. And a lot of people are thinking, oh, the present government is going to ruin this country.
Politicians, they come and they go. Philosophers, they come and they go. Political correctness is here one day and it's gone the next. But the witness of the resurrection remains, generation after generation, century after century.
The Bible has literally changed the world and it continues to change individual lives 2000 years after it began to be circulated. The idea of helping the poor, you know, we think, well, that's a no brainer.
Helping the poor, having social programs. Of course, you know, haven't we always done that? Huh, no! Caring for the aged, no! Protecting the helpless, providing health care and education for the masses, assisting poorer nations, these were not ideas that came from the Greeks or the Romans (laughs).
If you were weak and helpless, that was good, we could just take all of your stuff (laughs). And you wouldn't put up much of a fight (laughs). That's all that that meant to them. These ideas, these benevolent ideas did not come from.
We say the Greek civilization brought us many things. Well, it did bring us many things but not all the things that Christianity has brought us. These ideas conceived and nurtured in the Bible, and then like salt flavored the philosophies and the politics of the world since Jesus Christ.
Only a book from God could endure time, could transcend culture, could overcome attacks and continue to be productive in effecting our lives century after century, nation after nation. No man or woman in all of history has been able to come close to effecting the world for good Like the Bible has for evil.
Oh my, yes! You know, yes! Every generation tries to outdo itself in producing evil in this world, but nothing has ever come close to the Bible to producing good in the world, change for good. Now, I haven't mentioned the accuracy of the writing.
I haven't discussed the sublimeness of its ideas, the coherency of its complex parts as other proofs that the Bible is God's word, that it is a supernatural work suffice to say that I believe that this book comes from God is God's word because that's what it says about itself.
That's what it says about itself. And the fulfilled prophecy, it contains proves that there is a supernatural power at work in producing this work. And no one has been able to prove as liars those who claimed its inspiration.
Many have tried but have failed. One good example of this, a recent one is a Voltaire, the great French writer and philosopher and atheist who once said that he would bury the Bible with his insight and with his criticism.
He was on a lifelong crusade to destroy the Bible. He is dead now and the house you see in the picture that he lived in is presently used by the World Bible Foundation as an office and a distribution point for Bibles.
Of course, the book as I mentioned, has always done and continues to do what it claims, changed the lives of people because it's content comes from God. I could push away all the things that I've just said, not as untrue, but just move them aside and say just the changes that it made in my own life would be enough for me to believe that the Bible is God's word.
I believe that God has provided adequate proof of His authorship of this book. And I gladly and I humbly accepted as His word, amen. - Amen. - Amen. Well, if this is so, those of you who said, amen, what does this mean for you personally? Only two things, really? Number one, you have a personal responsibility to read it.
It doesn't matter how, daily Bible reader, you read it from front to back or back to front, a chapter at a time, a book at a time, it doesn't matter how. If God is speaking to you, you need to pay attention.
If you don't read His word regularly, then decide this evening that you're going to change that particular thing about yourself. If you can't say I'm not really a regular Bible, I'll read a once in a while.
But if that's your attitude and you actually believe that it was written by God, then you need to change your attitude. The book written by God, expressly for us, needs to be read by us on a regular basis.
God has something to say to us. And then number two, you have a personal responsibility to obey it. Reading it will reveal to you God's promises and His character, especially His mercy in sending Jesus to die on the cross for your sins, for my sins, for the sins of all.
Reading it will also reveal your essential character as a sinner and God's offer of forgiveness through faith and obedience to Jesus expressed in repentance and baptism. If you believe that God is speaking to you in the Bible, then you have the responsibility of obeying the Bible when it does speak.
The only way that you'll get something out of this lesson tonight will be, if you leave here believing that the Bible is God's word and you leave here ready to obey what it says. Remember, Jesus's harshest criticism was reserved for those who heard His word, but they didn't obey His word.
I think He called them hypocrites. And so I encourage you to believe and to stand firm in your belief, in the inspiration and authority of the Bible as God's revealed word, especially in this day of doubt and criticism.
Brothers and sisters, we have no friends out there. We have no friends out there. I was speaking to someone in the church here, we're just talking about things in general. And we were saying there was a time when you would send your children to school, and generally, what you were teaching your children at home would be reinforced by what they were learning in school.
Not just necessarily the teacher himself or herself but I mean would be reinforced by the curriculum and the attitude and the rules and all that kind of stuff and the discipline. You know, what was happening at home could, you know, was happening at school.
I remember when I grew up, if I got in trouble with the teacher, I was automatically in trouble with my parents, but we can't depend on that anymore. We can't depend that what our children are learning from social media or popular entertainment in any way helps them to be believers.
It helps them to be believers in things that are not true but to be sincere believers in Jesus Christ, no. Not at all. That's what I mean when I say we have no friends out there. Our friends are in here.
Stand firm, be careful to teach diligently to your children and to your children's children the importance of God's word. And that it is God's word. You're a grown up, you've been in church all your life, you're taking for granted that this is God's word, but your child has a host of individuals that are teaching the exact opposite in school, online, on TV.
They're not teaching them that this is God's word. Give yourself over to that. Life is busy, there's soccer games, there's this, there's that, there's the teacher's meeting and all that kind of business.
But I guarantee you, the most pleasure you have as you grow up and grow older as many of you already know is to watch and observe your own children, passing their faith on to your grandchildren. You talk about a spectator sport, something you like to watch.
That's something to watch that is incredibly gratifying to see a second generation learning and obeying and understanding that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. I've mentioned it before, and I believe I'll take the opportunity to say it again.
One of my prayers and I've prayed it for many, many years is that when the Lord comes, someone from my family will still be calling on Lord, whether that'd be five days from now, five years from now, or 5,000 years from now, someone from our family will still be calling and waiting on Jesus Christ.
The power of that kind of faith only comes only begins when we accept and pass on the truth that this is God's word. And only this is God's word. And of course, I encourage you to read it regularly, obey it's commands, especially the invitation to repent and be baptized because that's the beginning of your Christian life, the beginning of your forgiveness.
And so as we close our service tonight, I invite all those who wish to respond to the invitation in any way, some may have to come forward and, you know, repent and be baptized. But many more may have to say inwardly, yes, I will begin to read, yes, I will begin to obey, yes, I will begin to pass on my faith in a diligent manner to those who are coming after me.
If you need to respond, or if you need prayers in order to respond, then we encourage you to come forward now as we stand and as we sing our song of encouragement. Shall we do that now, please?