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“How do we know the Bible is from God?” — P. H., Birmingham, England
What evidence would a confirmed skeptic or atheist accept as proof that the Holy Bible is the Word of God? At the end of the day, it is really a matter of faith as to whom you are willing to believe. A person must first have an open mind and be willing to accept the words of Jesus Christ and the other writers of Scripture.
Even those who were actually there during the ministry of Jesus Christ had difficulty believing He was the Messiah, the Son of God. It took real faith to accept that fact. Some did, but many did not (John 8:30-46 John 8:30-46 30 As he spoke these words, many believed on him.
31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If you continue in my word, then are you my disciples indeed;
32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
33 They answered him, We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how say you, You shall be made free?
34 Jesus answered them, Truly, truly, I say to you, Whoever commits sin is the servant of sin.
35 And the servant stays not in the house for ever: but the Son stays ever.
36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.
37 I know that you are Abraham’s seed; but you seek to kill me, because my word has no place in you.
38 I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and you do that which you have seen with your father.
39 They answered and said to him, Abraham is our father. Jesus said to them, If you were Abraham’s children, you would do the works of Abraham.
40 But now you seek to kill me, a man that has told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham.
41 You do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God.
42 Jesus said to them, If God were your Father, you would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.
43 Why do you not understand my speech? even because you cannot hear my word.
44 You are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and stayed not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
45 And because I tell you the truth, you believe me not.
46 Which of you convinces me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do you not believe me?
American King James Version×). Christ said: “He who is of God hears God’s words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God” (John 8:47 John 8:47He that is of God hears God’s words: you therefore hear them not, because you are not of God.
American King James Version×). But those who belong to God will believe the words of His Son and follow Him.
The Jews of Jesus’ day asked the question: “How long do You keep us in doubt? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly.” But Jesus replied: “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me. But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep … My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me” (John 10:24-27 John 10:24-27 24 Then came the Jews round about him, and said to him, How long do you make us to doubt? If you be the Christ, tell us plainly.
25 Jesus answered them, I told you, and you believed not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me.
26 But you believe not, because you are not of my sheep, as I said to you.
27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
American King James Version×).
Are we willing to listen to the voice of Jesus Christ? If you accept Christ who spoke as the Son of God with divine authority, we can then proceed to answer the question: “How do we know the Bible is from God?” Because it is Jesus Himself who gives the answer.
He spoke with authority and often appealed to the Old Testament Scriptures as a source of inspired truth. He quoted at least 36 passages from the Hebrew Bible and on many other occasions referred to the Old Testament without directly quoting it. He accepted its accuracy and authority without question, telling others to believe what Moses and the prophets said.
The apostle Peter wrote: “No prophecy ever came by the impulse of man, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God” (2 Peter 1:21 2 Peter 1:21For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
American King James Version×, Revised Standard Version). Peter showed that the prophetic word came from God Himself who guided human instruments through the power of the Holy Spirit. What the prophets wrote was considered by the apostle Paul to be “Holy Scriptures” (Romans 1:2 Romans 1:2(Which he had promised before by his prophets in the holy scriptures,)
American King James Version×). They are holy because God Himself was involved in their production.
On one occasion after His resurrection Christ appeared to His disciples and said: “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you [as a human being], that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me” (Luke 24:44 Luke 24:44And he said to them, These are the words which I spoke to you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.
American King James Version×). How many times Jesus said or did something to fulfill the prophecies relating to His life and ministry!
Clearly He accepted the Old Testament as the inspired Word of God. In Matthew 19:4 Matthew 19:4And he answered and said to them, Have you not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,
American King James Version×Christ said to the Pharisees, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female’ …” Then what follows is a quotation from Genesis 2:24 Genesis 2:24Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall join to his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
American King James Version×, written by Moses. Yet Jesus said the Creator God was the One who spoke these words.
After Jesus Christ fasted for 40 days Satan tempted Him to turn stones into bread. Christ defended Himself by appealing to the Hebrew Scriptures, which said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4 Matthew 4:4But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.
American King James Version×, quoted from Deuteronomy 8:3 Deuteronomy 8:3And he humbled you, and suffered you to hunger, and fed you with manna, which you knew not, neither did your fathers know; that he might make you know that man does not live by bread only, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD does man live.
American King James Version×).
Christ knew the Old Testament scriptures by heart and accepted all that was revealed to the patriarchs and prophets. He acknowledged the past reality of the events recorded in the Hebrew Bible, such as the creation of the heavens and the earth, the historicity of Adam and Eve, Noah’s flood, and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Before ascending to heaven, Jesus Christ delegated His authority to the apostles to make disciples of all nations, teaching them to observe everything He had commanded them (Matthew 28:19-20 Matthew 28:19-20 19 Go you therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20 Teaching them to observe all things whatever I have commanded you: and, see, I am with you always, even to the end of the world. Amen.
American King James Version×). Wherever they went, they preached the Word of God. As a result many were converted and “continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship” (Acts 2:42 Acts 2:42And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
American King James Version×).
Testimonies of Christ’s life and teaching were written and circulated. These accounts eventually became the Gospels, a part of the New Testament scriptures.
Paul said that he received the gospel through the revelation of Jesus Christ (Galatians 1:12 Galatians 1:12For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.
American King James Version×). Peter affirmed that some of the epistles of Paul were considered part of the Scriptures (2 Peter 3:15-16 2 Peter 3:15-16 15 And account that the long-suffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given to him has written to you; 16 As also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, to their own destruction.
American King James Version×).
So the Bible is the inspired Word of God. The books it contains were written by human authors, but it was God’s Holy Spirit that inspired their words. Their authority came from God!