In our offices we receive all types of letters and telephone calls—some simply to express appreciation for our magazine or our booklets, but others containing questions about the Bible, its teachings and how they impact our personal lives.
If you have any questions or comments about the material presented in this study course, please feel free to contact our office in your country or in the country nearest you. One of our personal correspondents will be happy to help you (see sample letter below).
Also, if you would like to counsel with a United Church of God minister, we would be glad to arrange a private appointment—without any obligation.
"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). 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). 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).
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, 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). 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). 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 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, 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, quoted from Deuteronomy 8:3).
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). 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).
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). Peter affirmed that some of the epistles of Paul were considered part of the Scriptures (2 Peter 3:15-16).
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!