The Internal Claims of the Bible

Introduction

Once we have established the soundness of the actual words of the Bible, we must now turn our attention to the value and worth of these words.  Is the Bible unique from all other so-called "revelations from God"?  What distinguishes it from books used by other religions and other cultures?  Is the Bible just another book, from another religious culture?

We will begin this investigation by focusing on the uniqueness of the signs and miracles associated with the Bible.  It is only fair to expect that true messengers from the true God would have some sign or means of showing that they were sent by God.  Throughout both the New and Old Testament, prophets from God worked miracles to establish any new or additional message from God.  These miracles were undeniable and immediate, unlike many unverifiable "miracles" that are worked today.  Second, the prophets foretold events hundreds of years into the future, which have been fulfilled without fail.  While the miracles were more compelling to people during the prophets' lifetimes, the fulfilled prophecies are more compelling for us today.  We can easily date the writing of the prophecies, and their fulfillment is easily confirmed.  Only God and messengers sent by Him would have the power to foresee specific events hundreds of years into the future.

The Bible teaches that faith should be based upon the Word of God (Romans 10:17).  We are never expected to have blind faith, emotions, feelings, or intuitions as the basis of our faith.  If we resort to such a criterion, then we must recognize that one person's feelings are just as good as anthers.  This is true because we have no means to confirm that our feelings are from God.  This was the point of miracles, and no one is able to work miracles today, especially of the magnitude of those performed by Christ and His apostles and prophets. 

Now, let's turn to the Bible to see if it is different from other “messages from God”.  If it is truly God's Word, then we must determine if it allows for future revelations, conflicting gospels, or corruption of its message. We begin with the fundamental, common sense tests of fulfilled prophecies and miracles to determine if the prophets of the Bible were truly sent and inspired by God.  Once the Bible's claims are presented, further scriptures are used to answer questions concerning latter revelations. 

Outline

  1. The test of a Prophet
    1. Fulfilled prophecy shows prophet is from God (Deuteronomy 18:20-22; Isaiah 41:23)
    2. Miracles and signs show prophet is from God (Exodus 4:1-9)

  2. Security of O.T. - Its prophets were proven and their message was preserved
    1. Fulfilled prophecy (II Peter 1:19-21)
      1. Named Persian nation and ruler, Cyrus, that overtook Babylon before Babylon was even a world power (Isaiah 44:28; 45:1-3)
      2. Destruction of Babylon (Isaiah 13:1-14,23; 21:9; 47:1-5)
      3. Jesus (Micah 5:2; Isaiah 9:1; 50:6; Psalm 22:18; Isaiah 53:9,12)
    2. Miracles performed
      1. Moses (Exodus 4:28-31; 7:1-5; 10:1-2)
      2. The young prophet of God (I Kings 13:1-6)
    3. It was preserved
      1. The Jews religion depended and focused on preserving O.T. (Romans 3:2)
      2. Textual Criticism - hundreds of collaborating, pre-Christ copies of O.T.

  3. Security of N.T. - Its prophets were proven and their message was preserved
    1. Jesus proved He was the foretold Messiah (Matthew 3:1-6,13-17; 17:1-13; John 5:31-47; 10:37-38; 20:30-31; Acts 2:22)
      1. He fulfilled hundreds of prophecies about the Messiah (II Peter 1:16-21)
        1. Born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2; Matthew 2:1)
        2. His hands and feet would be pierced (Psalm 22:16; John 20:24-29)
        3. No bones would be broken (Psalm 34:20; John 19:31-36)
      2. He foretold future events showing His divine Authority
        1. His crucifixion and resurrection (John 2:18-22; Matthew 17:22-23)
        2. Judas would betray Him (John 13:21-30; Matthew 26:45-56)
        3. Fall of Jerusalem (Luke 21:20-24)
      3. He performed indisputable miracles proving He was from God (Acts 1:3)
        1. Healed many people (Matthew 15:30-31)
        2. Raised Lazarus from the dead (John 11:32-45)
        3. Cast out demons (Matthew 8:28-34)
    2. Apostles are Christ's authorized ambassadors (II Corinthians 5:18-20; Matthew 10:40)
      1. Jesus promised He would guide the apostles into all truth (John 14:16-17,26; 16:7-15)
      2. After Christ's ascension, they claimed to have all truth - even the very mind of Christ (I Corinthians 2:6-16; II Peter 1:3)
      3. They proved they were from God and were teaching God's message through miracles (I Corinthians 2:4-5; Romans 15:18-19; Acts 5:12-16; II Corinthians 12:12; Hebrews 2:1-4)
      4. Through inspiration, they preached their knowledge of God's mystery (I Corinthians 2:13; Matthew 10:20; I Thessalonians 2:13)
      5. Their writings also contained this same knowledge (II Peter 1:16-21; Ephesians 3:2-5; II Timothy 3:16-17)
    3. Their inspired writings were preserved
      1. N.T. Christians made a practice of copying and circulating inspired texts (Galatians 1:2; II Corinthians 1:1; I Peter 1:1; I Corinthians 1:2; Colossians 4:16)
      2. Textual Criticism - thousands of ancient, proven manuscripts

  4. Security of the whole Bible - It is all we will ever need
    1. Unity of the Bible - There are no contradictions in the Bible
      1. It was written by about 40 different writers over a period of about 1500 years.
      2. God cannot lie or contradict Himself (Hebrews 6:16-18; I Corinthians 14:33)
    2. When we read the writings of the apostles and prophets, we can have the same understanding that they had (Ephesians 3:2-5; II Peter 3:1-2)
    3. It is complete, lacking nothing (II Timothy 3:15-17)
    4. It was given only once, and for all time (Jude 3; Hebrews 10:17)
    5. It will abide forever; it is incorruptible; it cannot be undone; and it cannot pass away (I Peter 1:22-25; John 10:35; Matthew 24:35; Matthew 5:18)
    6. It is trustworthy to the very word
      1. Jesus' argument depended on the tense of a single word (Matthew 22:29-32)
      2. Paul's argument rested on singularity of a single word (Galatians 3:16)
    7. No other message can rightfully be taught (Galatians 1:6-9)
    8. God's Word is the source of truth and the message of salvation (John 17:17)

  5. WARNING: We may be condemned already by our attitude
    1. We must never let this be said of us:
      1. Without love of truth (II Thessalonians 2:8-12)
      2. Forming conviction without investigation (Proverbs 18:13)
      3. Hardened heart, unable to recognize truth (Matthew 13:14-15)
    2. The Remedy - Sincere love of truth
      1. Study God's Word (II Timothy 2:15)
      2. Pray (James 1:5,25)

Conclusion

Although this outline does not consider in detail the historical evidence or evidence external to the Bible, it is essential for us to understand the internal claims that Bible makes for itself.  If we do believe that the Bible is God's Word, then we must also believe that it is complete, uncorrupted, and relevant today.  This eliminates room for additional revelations or conveniently believing only the parts of the Bible.  Therefore, with a strengthened faith let us redouble our efforts to study and obey the Bible "as it is in truth, the Word of God" (I Thessalonians. 2:13).  Having established the Bible as the sole revelation from God for us today, we must now turn our attention to the question of establishing Bible authority - how do we establish what the Bible teaches as right and wrong.  This is the next step in our search for truth.


Next:  Biblical Authority

Unless otherwise noted, all quotations are from the New King James Version, copyright © 1994 by Thomas Nelson Publishers.

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