During a question and answer session at a recent speaking engagement, a university student asked, “Why do you believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God?” Now this is a very interesting question, and one of the most important ‘any’ Christian could ask. In other words what is so special, so unique, about the Bible that Christians believe it is the literally the inspired word of God?
To answer the student’s question, I encouraged him to consider the following facts:
First, the Bible is not just one single book, which is a common misconception especially among people who do not come from a Judeo-Christian background. The Bible is actually a collection of 66 little books called the Bible ‘canon’. These 66 books contain a variety of genres; history, poetry, prophecy, wise literature, letters, and apocalyptic, to name a few.
Secondly; these 66 books were written by 40 different writers from a variety of backgrounds; shepherds, fishermen, doctors, kings, prophets, and others. Most of them never knew one another personally.
Third; these 66 books were written over a period of 1500 years. In other words many of the writers were not even living at the same time, and were therefore unable to collaborate with each another in their writings.
Fourth, the 66 books of the Bible were written in 3 different
languages, ancient Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic; another reflection of the different historical and cultural circumstances in which each of these books were written.
And finally, these 66 books were written on 3 different continents: Africa, Asia, and Europe . Once again, a testament to the varied historical and cultural circumstances of Bible writers.
Think about those facts: 66 books, written by 40 different people, spread over 1500 years, in 3 different languages, on 3 different continents. What makes this so remarkable is the common storyline, namely; the creation, fall, and redemption of God’s people, with a common theme, the Creator’s universal love for all of humanity, and a common message… salvation is available to all who first humbly acknowledge they are sinners, then exercise genuine faith in the ransom God has provided for forgiveness by fully submitting to the authority of His anointed son.
In addition to sharing those commonalities, these 66 books contain no historical errors or contradictions. Yes, the Bible is a truly amazing collection of ‘little books’.
After I had shared the above facts with this student, I offered him the following challenge: “If you do not believe the Bible is the inspired word of God, I challenge you to a test. Go to any library in the world, you can choose any library you like, and find 66 books that match the characteristics of the 66 books in the Bible. Choose any 66 books, written by 40 different authors, over 1500 years, in 3 different languages, written on 3 different continents. They must share a common storyline, a common theme, and a common message, with no historical errors or contradictions.” I went on to say, “If you can produce such a collection of books, I will admit that the Bible is not the inspired word of God.” The student’s reply was almost instantaneous, he emphatically stated, “That’s not possible!”
Indeed it is impossible for unrelated human authors. However, the Bible passes this test! It contains 66 books, written by 40 different writers, over 1500 years, in 3 different languages, on 3 different continents, with no historical errors or contradictions. Therefore the complete Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, clearly bears the mark of divinely inspired Authorship.
So the next time anyone says; “Why should I believe the Bible is the (inspired) word of God?” Try sharing this challenge with them. Better yet, don’t wait until you’re asked, just go ahead and share this challenge with a friend today. You don’t have to mention the Bible up front, just ask them if they think it would be possible to assemble such a collection of books. After they say, “No way!” you have a good opportunity to share the truth of God’s word with them.