By Nathan Jones
Is the Bible the inspired Word of God?
This question came in from Bridget of Tennessee who wrote asking: "My friend and I have had multiple discussions about the authenticity of the Bible. I believe the Bible to be the inspired, infallible, authoritative Word of God. She does not. What references can I use to explain and prove the Bible is inspired?"
I'd begin by explaining to your friend that one of the proofs that the Bible indeed is the inspired Word of God is that there has been no book like the Bible ever made in existence.
The Bible is actually comprised of 66 books written over 1,500 years by more than 40 human authors from various backgrounds and places. It was written in three languages — Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic. Despite that multiple authors wrote in their own styles, it is easy to tell they were guided by Holy Spirit because of the unity of theme across all 66 books in the Bible (2 Pet. 1:20,21; 2 Tim. 3:16,17). That theme being the unfolding of the story of God's plan of salvation for mankind through Jesus Christ.
The Bible is also without recording error. The Old Testament books we have today can be verified as accurate translations by comparing them to the Dead Sea Scrolls, which are copies from about 2,100 years ago. In making copies over the centuries, the priests recording conditions were so strict that if they made one misprint the whole copy had to be thrown out.
No historical document has so many copies of parts of the Bible (5,500 to be exact) so closely dated to the original writings. We don't doubt Homer wrote the Odyssey, and yet the oldest existing copy of the Odyssey was copied 2,200 years after it was originally written. In comparison, the earliest fragments of the Bible we have today dates only at 120 A.D., with complete copies such as the Codex Vaticanus from 325 A.D. and the Codex Sinaiticus rom 350 A.D. The closest book to match the Bible in the way of near original copies is Homer's Illiad with 643 copies dated still nearly 500 years after Homer lived.
Archaeological finds such as the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls support every historical reference in the Bible. And, many more discoveries are found each and every day that continue to prove the Bible's historical accounts as accurate history.
Secondly, the Bible's events were testified to by those who were its own critics, like King Festus (Acts 26:24-26), the historian Josephus, and Romans like Tacitus.
Thirdly, a relationship with Christ changes lives. When people read the Bible, they learn about God's plan for salvation — Jesus Christ. When they accept Jesus as Savior and Lord of their lives, a radical transformation occurs in the way they live. Millions of lives have been radically changed by reading the Bible.
And, fourthly, we can trust that what the Bible teachings about God is the real deal because Bible prophecy has been fulfilled 100% of the time. Prophecy in the Bible has a perfect track record! For example, in the Old Testament alone there are 300 general and 109 specific prophecies concerning the First Coming of the Messiah, and 500 prophecies concerning His upcoming Second Coming. Jesus fulfilled all 300 First Coming prophecies.
Mathematicians have figured the possibility of just eight of those 300 prophesies being fulfilled in the life of one man has a probability of 1 in 10 to the 17th power. That would be equal to covering Texas in two feet deep of coins, blindfolding a person, dropping them into Texas, and they find just one marked coin on the first try. Such odds are astronomically impossible, but not if the Bible is truly God's word.
We can therefore trust that the Bible is the one true and inspired revelation of God, and put our faith and trust in Jesus Christ.
For a ton more proofs on the inspiration of the Bible, I'd recommend books like Inerrancy by Norman Geisler, and anything by Josh McDowell like Don't Check Your Brains at the Door and Evidence That Demands a Verdict. Dr. Ron Rhodes has many great proofs concerning the Bible at ronrhodes.org. In discussions with Atheists, Ray Comfort recently wrote a helpful book titled You Can Lead an Atheist to Water, But You Can't Make Him Think.