Is The Bible From God Or From Men? Guest Editorial: Andrew Smellie – Evangelist, New York, NY

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”  – 2 Timothy 3:16-17

This article will examine the validity of the Bible as the Word of God through historical, prophetic and scientific proofs, so that we can discover the “living proof” by applying the Bible to our lives! (John 7:17)

In Acts 26:22-29, Paul says his teachings are “true and reasonable.” Paul appeals to King Agrippa’s belief in the Prophets – the Old Testament was accepted as truth. There are 263 Old Testament quotes contained in the New Testament! In 1 Timothy 5:18, Paul quotes Luke 10:7 as “Scripture.” In 2 Peter 3:15-16, Peter refers to Paul’s writings as Scripture, “wisdom God gave him.” So we can see from these passages that the Old Testament, the Gospels and Paul’s writings were all seen as “inspired by God” Scriptures.

The following passages were all quoted by Jesus as true stories, not parables: Matthew 12:39-40 (Jonah and the fish); Matthew 19:4 (creation story); Luke 4:27 (Naaman’s leprosy healed). We must accept the entire Bible as inspired or else we must throw it all out. We cannot pick and choose what we believe to be true or false, or else we destroy the purpose of the Scriptures – which is to use them as a standard for all.

The Bible contains 66 books (39 OT, 27 NT) written by 40 authors in three different languages (Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek) on three different continents (Africa, Asia, Europe) in over 1500 years! Let’s jump in and examine the proof of its claims!

Historical Proofs:

1.  Non-Christian writings
Gaius Cornelius Tacitus
Gaius Cornelius Tacitus

Thallus (A Samaritan historian – 52 AD): Thallus claimed that the darkness that covered the land in Mark 15:33 was an eclipse. But in so doing, he inadvertently proved and preserved the fact that it did happen!

Cornelius Tacitus (Historian that chronicled Nero’s reign in Rome): Tacitus chronicles the fact that Jesus was killed during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of Pontius Pilate – Matthew 27:24 verified. He also writes that in 64 AD the Christians were made scapegoats for the great fire of Rome. Suetonius (Court official during reign of Hadrian – 120 AD): Suetonius documented the life of Claudius and his reign. He documents that Claudius expelled the Jews from Rome – Acts 18:1-2 is verified.

Titus Flavius Josephus
Titus Flavius Josephus

Flavius Josephus (Jewish General and Historian): His books include “The Jewish Wars” and “Antiquities.” These books chronicled many events and peoples just as the Bible did: Pilate, Quaranius, the Herods, Annas and Caiaphas the high priests, Governor Felix and Governor Festus. Most amazing are his writings about Jesus in Antiquities 18:63.

The Talmud: Mishna, Gemera, all refer many times to Jesus, although in negative ways. But in so doing, we have more proof that He lived and of the claims He made.

2.  Christian writings and evidences

i) 2 Peter 1:16-21 – Peter states that he and his fellow apostles were “eyewitnesses of [Jesus’] majesty.” The most convincing proofs of Jesus, His life and His teachings are the lives and deaths of His followers. When Jesus was arrested they all ran and hid like cowards. (John 20:19) So why, 50 days later, would these cowards suddenly become bold preachers of His resurrection, even to the point of being killed for their claims? Many writers outside of the Bible have chronicled the deaths of His followers as martyrs. Only an eyewitness of a resurrected Jesus would suddenly change from a coward to a martyr; why would 11 of the 12 all be killed for a lie?

Rylands Papyri
Rylands Papyri

ii) John Rylands Papyrus of “John’s Gospel” (“P-52”) is dated 125 AD. 5,300 Greek manuscripts of New Testament have been found, some dating within 30 years of original writings. Compare this to Caesar’s “Gallic Wars” or Plato’s writings, in which only nine or 10 copies have been found, the closest to the original writings that we have date 500-600 years later. There are now a total of 40,000 copies of the New Testament including other language copies.

Dead Sea Scrolls
Dead Sea Scrolls

iii) The Dead Sea Scrolls – found in the Bedouin caves of the Wadi Kumran in 1947 by a shepherd boy. They contained many scrolls, including an almost whole “Isaiah” scroll. The transmission of this scroll, dated 200 BC as compared to what we have today is basically flawless. Unfortunately, most of the scrolls were fragmented by thieves to gain more money.

3.  Archeological finds

i) Late 1960’s – Jovani Petono and Paulo Mateo discover the Biblical city of “Eblah” in North Syria. Its library contained 20,000 clay tablets that talked about many Biblical characters such as Abraham and the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.

ii) In 1967 in Northwest Jerusalem, at the “Givat Hammad Var” site, a tomb containing a coffin was found. In it, a skeleton with a foot long spike through its feet was found along with metal remains in the wrist bones (just as crucifixion was described). The back and ribs were damaged just as in flogging. (Matthew 27:26)

iii) In 1906, Hugo Winkler discovers proof of the long disputed Hittite nation of Genesis 23, in Turkey. Also, Ahab’s ivory house of 1 Kings 22:39 was found in Samaria.

Erastus inscription

iv) In Corinth, the roadway to the temple of Artemis contained a sign inscribed: “Erastus, Director of Public Works” as told us in Romans 16:23.

v) In Jericho, the walls were found to be blown inward as told us in Joshua 6:20, not naturally eroded as most would be.

vi) Professor Joseph P. Free of Wheaton College found discoveries confirming census of Quirinius in Luke 2:2. Also, the edict by the governor in 104 AD confirmed the need to go to hometown for a census.

vii) Luke 1:1-4 states that the Gospel of Luke was carefully investigated. The writings of the Gospel of Luke are especially highly regarded by historians, because of the many checkable details. In the Gospel of Luke are references to 32 countries, 54 cities, 9 Isles, 95 people.

viii) Sir William Ramsey stated that because the New Testament was written in a time-space dimension, it provided many checkpoints for confirmation or for disproving.

ix) Louis Cassels of the U.P.I. stated that the many names, places and dates used leave the New Testament open to the true acid test of historical writings, check ability and the chance to be refuted at the time of the writings by those who were there.

The historical proofs of non-Christian writings, Christian writings and archeological finds are amazing when viewed objectively.

Prophetic Proofs:

1.  Short Term Prophecies

Prophecy: Isaiah 44:28; 45:1-4 – Cyrus will say “rebuild Jerusalem.” Fulfillment: Ezra 1:1-11 – 200 years later – “Cyrus” decrees the rebuilding of Jerusalem.

Prophecy: 1 Kings 13:2 – “Josiah” is prophesied by name. Fulfillment: 2 Chronicles 34:1-5 – 300 years later – “Josiah” fulfills the prophecy to abolish paganism.

Prophecy: Jeremiah 29:10 – 70 years of Babylonian captivity of the Israelites is decreed. Fulfillment: Daniel 5:30-31 – 70 years later, King Darius the Mede frees Israel from Babylon.

2.  Long Term Prophecies

Prophecy: Isaiah 7:14 – Virgin birth of Emmanuel. Fulfillment: Luke 1:34-35 – Virgin Mary conceives Jesus.

Prophecy: Micah 5:2 – Ruler from “ancient times” will be born in Bethlehem Ephrathah. Fulfillment: Luke 2:4 – Jesus is born in hometown of Joseph in Bethlehem Ephrathah.

Prophecy: Psalm 22 – Hands and feet will be pierced (Messianic prophecy). Fulfillment: Luke 23:33 – Jesus is crucified.

Prophecy: Daniel 9:25-27 – 483 years till sin is atoned for (Christ crucified), from the decree to restore Jerusalem is made (457 BC). Fulfillment: Luke 23:33 – Jesus is crucified around 33 AD, and because the Roman calendar we use is four years off the true date, His death coincides perfectly with the prophecy.

Scientific Proofs:

1. AstronomyIsaiah 40:22 – 2,200 years before Columbus, God tells us the world is a circle. The Hebrew word “khug” means sphere – three-dimensional object! Job 26:7 – God says the “earth is suspended over nothing.” Hinduism says the earth is suspended on the back of elephants standing on a turtle’s back! Buddhism says the world sits on a catfish. Greek mythology states that “Atlas” is holding up the world. Only the Bible backs up science!

Ocean floor hot springs
Ocean floor hot springs

2. OceanographyJob 38:16“springs of the deep” Long believed a mistake, oceanographers now know there are fresh water springs in the ocean floor!

3. BoatingGenesis 6:15 – God’s directions to build the ark are perfectly seaworthy dimensions – 30 x 5 x 3.

4. MedicalLeviticus 17:11-14“Life of the flesh is in the blood.” (Red blood cells contain life giving oxygen.) George Washington actually died from “blood-letting!” Genesis 17:12 – God says to circumcise babies on the eighth day. Vitamin K levels and prothrombin, which aid in blood clotting to stop bleeding, are not high enough to allow cutting until the eighth day of life. Today, doctors inject vitamin K so that they’re able to circumcise sooner.

5. Physics – The Laws of Thermodynamics (facts) support a creation. These Laws stand opposed to the theory (unproven) of macro-evolution. The First Law of Thermodynamics, or the “Conservation of Energy” Law, states that no new matter is being created or lost. Genesis 2:1 is verified. The Second Law of Thermodynamics, or the “Entropy” or “Growth Disorder” Law states that things in the universe are growing more disorderly and will eventually die a heat death. This supports a creation theory since scientists agree that the universe is expanding and dying, growing as from a central beginning point. Also to be considered, Genesis 1:1 is an undated verse. The age of the earth is not standing opposed to the Scriptures. After God created the heaven and the earth, it could have been a billion earth years before He began His creation week. Science and the Scriptures stand in amazing harmony!

Living Proof:

John 7:17 – The bottom line proof is that God’s way works! Try it and see! There are no better moral standards of life! The challenge for us now is to apply the Bible to our lives. We will not be judged by our own standards, but by the Word of God! Jesus states this to us in John 12:48: “There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; that very word which I spoke will condemn him at the last day.”

Let’s make sure we’re prepared for the biggest final exam of our lives! If we hold to the truth of God’s Word, we will be set free from the bondage of sin, ignorance and even our own mortality! Discover the truth today!