In 1 Peter 3:15, we are exhorted to “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” In today’s world where knowledge is king, more people are seeking solutions to their questions through science and logic. Can we still be sure that our faith is grounded upon truth? In Part Two of tackling this question, KALLOS seeks to discover who the author of the Bible is, and why we can trust it.
The Bible has many different books but they all tell one grand story — the story of who God is, His plan to save us from our sin, and how then we should live. In 2 Timothy 3:16, we read that all Scripture is “God-breathed”. Thus, the holy book is inspired by God. He is the ultimate Author behind each book of the Bible, orchestrating one story, even though the books of the Bible were written at different times by different people.
Imagine having to explain what the ocean is to an ant. You would have to speak in ant language and use the ant’s experiences with drops of water to help the ant understand what the ocean is. Similarly, we are like the ant! In His love, God used our ‘ant language’ to communicate His divine thoughts to us. Some may think that God must have literally dictated the Bible word for word to each writer, but this is not how He chose to speak to us. Instead, He inspired a variety of writers from different times and places, with unique personalities and styles, to express His thoughts. The writers are from many backgrounds — there are poets, fishermen, masters, servants, shepherds, and many others. They wrote in different genres — songs, prophecies, letters, stories, and more. Using the full range of our ‘ant language’, the Bible was completely guided by God and turned out the way He intended. Though physically penned down by man, God inspired the books, and thus together they tell a consistent story of one God who loves all of humankind.
The Old Testament books were not a selection of random writings. They were recognised among other writings by the leaders of Israel as divine. They were seen to hold divine authority because they recorded divine visions and commands, fulfilled prophecies, and miracles — real experiences with a real God. Most importantly, the books were recognised by Jesus, the Son of God, as sacred. In Matthew 22:40, Jesus states that “all the Law and Prophets” (a phrase used to refer to the Old Testament) hang on the two greatest commandments of loving God and loving our neighbours as ourselves. In Luke 24:27, He refers to “Moses and all the Prophets” as part of “all the Scriptures” that spoke of Him. (“Moses” is another way of referring to the first five books of the Old Testament.) Both references show that Jesus himself saw the Old Testament as Scripture and submitted to their authority.
New Testament writings were also recognised as divine by the early church if they were written by one of the 12 apostles of Jesus, or someone closely related to them. They were seen as reliable because they had the closest contact with Jesus and his teachings. The books were consistent with other recognised Scriptures on the power and love of God. Internally, the books themselves affirmed one another. For example, the apostle Paul treats the apostle Luke’s writings as Scripture (see 1 Tim 5:18 and Luke 10:7). Similarly, Jude (a brother of Jesus) does the same with the writings of the apostle Peter (see Jude 18 and 2 Pet 3:3).
All in all, the validity of the Bible is proven by how a single story is told through the words of many. It is a collection of 66 books written by many diverse writers over a period of more than a thousand years. Imagine that! There is so much room for error, and yet the Bible still has a consistent storyline through different writings concerning God and His relationship with humankind. In His sovereign wisdom and love, God divinely inspired many writers to put this book together for all humankind to learn of His ways and truths.