By Nathan Jones
Q) How do we know that the Bible really is from God as opposed to it being man's search for God and therefore full of myth, legend and superstition?
To answer this tough Bible question, Dr. David Reagan and I on a Christ in Prophecy television episode interviewed Dr. Ron Rhodes. Dr. Rhodes is the founder and director of Reasoning From the Scriptures Ministries. With nearly 50 books penned and decades of public teaching, he is an expert on the Bible. As a former "Bible Answer Man," he specializes in easy to understand answers to the really tough questions about the Bible and the defense of the Scriptures.
I'll tell you what got my attention big time. I didn't become a Christian until I was 18, and what got my attention was Bible prophecy. I had never heard of Bible prophecy. I had gone to a liberal church all my life. As it happened, I was out in Hollywood at the time and these Christians I ran into started talking to me about Bible prophecy and I asked, "What's that?" They showed me over a hundred prophecies that came literally true in the First Coming of Christ, such as He's going to be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2), that He was going to be crucified (Zechariah 12:10) and for our sins (Isaiah 53). All these prophecies came literally true!
They next talked to me about prophecies of the Second Coming and how events are starting to line in our own day, laying the foundation for the fulfillment of those verses. That led me to believe the Bible that I'd just been ignoring for the first eighteen years of my life truly must be the Word of God. Only God can declare the end from the beginning, and so I became a Christian out of that.
We're talking about very specific prophecies. A lot of the circumstances could not be controlled by Jesus. For example, Jesus could not pick His birth place. Micah 5:2 is very clear that He would be born in Bethlehem. When you look at all of those prophecies there are over a hundred prophecies converging on a single person. What are the odds? What are the odds of one person fulfilling well over a hundred prophecies from the Old Testament? The statisticians tell us it's astronomical!
I had no concept that so much of the Bible was prophecy. As far as I knew, prophecy might just have been a little minor thing in the Bible. Instead, prophecy virtually permeates the book from Genesis to Revelation.
I think the whole reason why God put prophecy in the Bible is because there's a lot of false prophets and false apostles claiming to speak for God, but they cannot tell the future from the beginning like the true prophets and apostles.
When people question whether or not the Bible could really be from the God of the universe, what their heart's actually asking is, "Can I really trust what this book says?" They are not sure, especially in this day and age, if there really is absolute truth.
Man may have been involved in the development of the Bible, but it was truly written by the Holy Spirit, as 2 Pet 1:20-21 states, "Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit."
God wrote the Bible over 1,500 years through more than 40 human authors from various backgrounds and places in three languages (Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic), all with one unifying theme — Jesus will reign and restore mankind to Him.
Between the super-strict copying rules the priests had, to archeological corroboration, to the Dead Sea scrolls showing there has been no changes to the Old Testament texts in 2000 years, to the amount of fragments and full copies in existence dating back as far as the Second Century — no book or writing in history can stand more verified than the Bible.
There were other writings whose followers claim they should be included in the Bible, but those books didn't make it into the canon of scriptures because their authorship was questionable, they were known forgeries, their doctrine was so inverse to what the Bible taught, or they held no spiritual message. Various councils which met over the centuries after Christ sought God in much prayer and debate for guidance on what books to compile into what we know today as the Bible based on this criteria, and books such as the Apocryphal books couldn't make the cut.
I personally trust that God wouldn't have left out any book in the compilation process, as He wants us clearly to know Him and accept Jesus' salvation.