The Holy Bible is the single most important book on the face of the earth. There is quite simply nothing else like it among the Sons of men. It is God’s word. It is God’s revelation of that which he willed to make known to his people, whether it be historical, doctrinal, or practical in nature. Yet the vast majority of mankind do not believe in the Bible, having neither care nor concern for it. And indeed, they cannot so long they remain dead in sin. But further, even the majority of such that claim to be followers of Jesus Christ and call themselves Christians, do not truly believe in the Bible. For many follow in the steps of the higher critics, denying the infallibility of God’s word, thereby reducing it to a mere production of fallible men. Others hearken to the principles of the historical—critical school, lending credit to no part of the Scriptures until it can be corroborated by some extra—biblical source. These attitudes in turn lead to an utter disavowal of both the doctrinal and practical authority of the Scriptures. For indeed, if the Bible is not believed to be the infallible word of God, what doctrinal and practical weight will it carry with those holding to such views? None at all!
But the situation is quite the reverse with regard to the elect of God. Next to the salvation of their souls, the Holy Bible is the most prized possession the elect have on earth. The divine character of the Scriptures, along with its concomitant elements of infallibility and inerrancy, doctrinal and practical authority, is something the Holy Spirit powerfully convicts the elect of once they have been regenerated. By the grace of God the elect believe the Bible is God’s word, love God’s word, read and study God’s word, and strive to live according to God’s word all their lives. The elect of God will ever avow that a genuine and valid Christianity cannot be predicated upon anything less than a Bible that is both divine and authoritative in nature (with the former being absolutely indispensable to the latter). With this in mind, let us consider the following few thoughts.
Why The Holy Bible Is God’s Word
In dealing with the issue as to why the Bible is God’s word, or what it is that makes the Scriptures divine in nature, the answer is a simple one. The apostle Paul declares in 2 Timothy 3:16 that all Scripture is God—breathed. The reason why the Bible is God’s word is that it originates with God. It comes forth from God. It is, as Paul writes, God—breathed. This term is the literal rendering of the Greek word theopneustos (a compound term made up of theos [God] and pneo [to breath or blow]). that appears nowhere else in the Greek New Testament, nor for that matter, anywhere in the Greek Old Testament (Lxx). The term essentially relates the point of origin for the Scriptures, the source from whence the Bible comes. Thus, notwithstanding the fact that the Bible represents the work of many different men over a period of many centuries, incorporating a great variation of style, vocabulary, subject matter, and literary genre, it is fact that all of these elements together had their origin in God, and that apart from God would never have come into being. Further, the fact that all Scripture is God—breathed is one which is utterly and absolutely independent of man. This is an extremely important point to make. There are many people in the world who will make the following statement: “Well, you may believe the Bible is God’s word, but I do not.” The implication in such a statement being, relative to the divine status of the Bible, that the reason why the Bible is God’s word is that certain people in the world believe it to be so. And the reason why the Bible is not God’s word is because certain people in the world do not believe it to be so. Hence, the God—breathed nature, or lack thereof, of the Scriptures is made to stand or fall in conjunction with the belief or unbelief of men. It is obvious that both of these positions cannot subsist simultaneously; the Bible is either God’s word or it is not. Now Paul declares all Scripture is in fact God—breathed. But this fact is true regardless of man, true even if Paul had never written 2 Timothy 3:16. The divine status of the Bible is not something that requires man’s belief in order for it to be true. The Bible is not God’s word because people believe it to be such, nor can it cease to be God’s word because people deny it to be such. It is God’s word because it originates with God himself. And this fact would hold true if not so much as a single soul believed it.
But an objection now arises relative to this God—breathed character of the Scriptures. Many point out that many other religious books in the world also lay claim to a divine origin. This being the case, many argue that Paul’s statement regarding the God—breathed nature of all Scripture does little or nothing to set the Bible apart as uniquely divine as compared to these other religious works. What then is our response to this objection? It is threefold. First, it is one thing for a religious work to claim a divine origin for itself, but it is quite another for it to be of divine origin. Secondly, it is imperative that we bear in mind that the objection being made here is one made by unbelievers. The elect of God are not perturbed by the fact that other religions books claim a divine origin like the Bible, for Proverbs 14:12 states that “there is a way [appears] right before man, but its end the way of death.” It is but consistent with sinful nature to set up counterfeit rivals to the Bible (Cp. 2 Cor. 11:13—15). Further, the divine character of the Bible, as compared to its would—be competitors, is not something that can be proven to an unbeliever. This is not because the Christian lacks argument and evidence, but because a saving belief in the God—breathed nature of the Scriptures is impossible apart from the regenerating grace of God.
Thirdly, though there are other religious works which claim a divine origin as the Bible does, yet the latter possesses certain internal marks, or characteristics, that set it apart from the former. Indeed, these internal marks demonstrate the Bible is not only infinitely superior to any other religious book claiming a divine origin, but that it also must truly come forth from God. This, of course, will never convince the unregenerate, but to the regenerate it speaks unspeakable joy, comfort, and encouragement. Of the many internal marks that might be brought forth, we submit the following three. First, there is the subject of prophecy. Prophecy, or more specifically, predictive prophecy, is a subject that figures prominently in most of the world religions. It carries great authoritative weight with people, particularly when any prediction made comes to pass. Now the Bible is filled with predictive prophecy from Genesis to Revelation. There are prophecies concerning nations, events, and individuals, both proximate and remote relative to time. Now what sets the Bible apart from every other religious work relative to predictive prophecy is its 100% success rate of fulfilled prophecy. This fact not only proves the Bible is infinitely superior to any other religious book in the world, but that it also must be of divine origin. For a mere man—made book could never claim a 100% success rate of fulfilled prophecy. Though it is true that some prophecies remain as yet to be fulfilled (most notably, Christ’s return), the 100% success rate of all the others guarantees the same for those that remain to be fulfilled.
Secondly, there is the doctrine of anthropology, or more specifically, man in his fallen state. No other religious work in the world so depicts man in his sinful state as does the Bible. Many religions in the world will admit that man is less than perfect, some going as far to say he is often little better than an animal. But relative to improving himself and achieving some form of salvation, all religions outside of Christianity argue man is not so bad off that he does not possess some latent ability to better himself, to “pull himself up by the bootstraps,” and ultimately, though it be ever so difficult, by sheer will and persistence, to work his way to some form of everlasting happiness. The Bible, on the other hand, declares man is totally depraved, dead in sin, and consequently utterly incapable of bettering himself spiritually (Rom. 1:16—3:20). Even his righteous deeds are pronounced “filthy rags” (Cf. Is. 64:6). And as for works, they are pronounced a hopeless ground for salvation (Cf. Rom. 3:20; 4:1—4; Eph. 2:8, 9). The Bible neither flatters sinful man nor deceives him with a false sense of security and hope while he is in his unregenerate state. No, the Scriptures picture unregenerate man as utterly destitute and helpless by nature, not even capable of repentance and faith (Cf. Rom. 5:6; 8:6—8). No other religious book claiming a divine origin can match the Bible for its faithful and plain message regarding man in his fallen state.
Thirdly, there is the doctrine of soteriology. This doctrine, like the preceding one, is in no other religious work on earth so treated as it is in the Scriptures. The Bible is the only religious work among men that declares salvation is solely of God and that man has no part in his salvation whatsoever save as a recipient. The will of the elect does not save them. Repentance does not save them. Faith does not save them. Nor do any other Christian works save them (Cf. Jn. 1:13; Rom. 9:15, 16; Ac. 11:21; Php. 1:29). No, God alone is the Savior of his people (Hos. 13:4; Ac. 4:12). Repentance, faith, and all other Christian works are the results and evidences of saving grace and not the procuring causes thereof. The righteousness of Christ, consisting of both his active and passive obedience, imputed to his elect is how the elect are justified before God (Rom. 5:12—21). Salvation is a free gift of unmerited divine favor that is grounded in the electing love of God, and was given to the elect before the foundation of the world in accordance with God’s good will and pleasure (Rom. 6:23; Eph. 1:4,5; 2 Tim. 1:9). The Bible, and the Bible alone, declares a doctrine of salvation that is completely unconditional in nature, for there is no condition a dead sinner can fulfill. Every religious work other than the Bible, and every religion other than Christianity, argues more or less for a salvation that is conditional in nature; man contributes, yea is responsible to contribute, toward his own salvation. But the Bible says no to all this. The soteriological teaching of Scripture places it in an infinitely superior position to all other religious works — God alone will receive all the glory in the salvation of his chosen ones.