If God Wrote a Book... "To whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life..."
If God wrote a book... Imagine for a moment or two that you never heard of the Bible, but you still believe in God since you have seen His work in the creation of nature and there is also that sense of a deeper, spiritual part within you that causes you to think about your purpose and ponder the reason you exist at all. You want to know more about Him. How would you determine if a book was a message from Him? What would you expect from a book given to man by the creator of the Universe? What are some of the questions that it would answer?
You are approached by someone carrying a Bible who tells you that this Book contains many of the answers to the questions you have. As you read it for the first time, what would you find?
The Book About the One Whom You Seek is Inspired
The Bible claims inspiration. "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness..." (2 Timothy 3:16). So, you learn that these writings claim that they exist because God Himself "breathed" these words through the human writers. This does not prove anything in itself, but if a book was from God you would expect it to say so.
But then again, the Bible, or any other writing, just saying it was from God would not convince me that it really was. I hope you're not so gullible as to believe a message is really from God just because it says so.
"But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God." (2 Peter 1:20-21). This claim is certainly worth investigating to see if it is a reasonable claim. In fact, the Scriptures repeatedly issue the challenge for us to use our reason to investigate its trustworthiness. It commends those who do so. There is none of this "just believe it but don't ask any questions" nonsense in the Bible. (Acts 17:11; 19:8; 2 Timothy 2:15; 1 Peter 3:15).
The Book About the One Whom You Seek is Indestructible
Certainly this Book will be among man's most valued possessions! But, I would learn, that is not necessarily so. Many have tried to destroy the Bible. There have been political, social, military and religious campaigns waged against it, hoping to destroy it from the face of the earth. It has been, and in many places still is today, illegal to own a copy of it. In some places, if you are caught telling someone else what it says you could be thrown into prison. But in spite of the best efforts of very powerful enemies and rulers of the world, be they Caesars or dictators or false prophets or narcissists or religious leaders, the Bible still exists and is freely available in many parts of the world. In other places, there are still those who risk everything to have a Bible that they can read.
At the very beginning of the gospel age, a respected teacher who was not a believer in Jesus by the name of Gamaliel had some advice for early enemies of the gospel. They wanted to kill the apostles. Gamaliel's advice to them is worthy of consideration: "So in the present case, I say to you, stay away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or action is of men, it will be overthrown; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them; or else you may even be found fighting against God." (Acts 5:38-39; cf. vs. 33-39). Here is a movement that has no chance of success if it is not of God! The group's Founder and Leader is dead (not really, He had risen, but the council's position states that He is dead). The apostles are not scholars; they are "unlearned". Also, they have no weapons; and they don't even fight back even if they did. They have little financial backing and the movement is not widespread. If it is just a fad it will pass because there is nothing to keep it going.
That may well have been true, but it did keep going in spite of the odds against it. In fact, Jesus had said "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away." (Matthew 24:35) The teachings of Christ will endure even if (when) heaven and earth pass away! Seasons change; men come and go. God's word remains (see also 1 Peter 1:24-25).
The Book About the One Whom You Seek is Unified
"...(and the Scripture cannot be broken)," (John 10:35b). Jesus taught that the "scriptures cannot be broken". In other words, they are consistent in their teaching when properly understood and applied. They mean what they mean and those who would seek to manipulate them for their own purposes are endangering themselves and others (2 Peter 3:16).
How could 40 writers, over a period of 1500 years write 66 books in two large sections on so many subjects and have no real contradiction therein-if they wrote on their own rather than inspired by God? The unity of the Bible is one of the greatest marks of inspiration!
The Book About the One Whom You Seek Has a Higher Code of Living
Look at the moral code of those who are not affected by the Bible. "Do unto other, before they can do to you." or, "Do unto others as they do to you." Then look at the moral code of the Bible. (Matthew 7:12; Romans 12:17-21). If people in large numbers ever actually started treating one another as instructed in the teachings of Jesus Christ, think about what wonderful changes in our daily experiences there would be... all of us loving our neighbors as ourselves. It is unfortunate that this has never been done on a large scale.
The Book About the One Whom You Seek Has Prophetic Accuracy
In Daniel, there is a prophecy about the events surrounding the life of Christ written centuries before. God specifies through Daniel that there will be four great empires including the Babylonian Empire which was in power as Daniel prophesied. This one would be followed by three others, and then it would be during the days of "these kings" (the rulers of the fourth empire) that the Messiah would come (Daniel 2:44). The fourth empire turned out to be the Roman Empire, and Jesus was born into the world during that time (Luke 3:1). We could also mention the prophecies concerning the fall of Babylon, Nineveh, and Tyre and Sidon. But most impressive is the dozens of detailed prophecies concerning the coming Messiah which were written hundreds of years before Jesus, yet were completely fulfilled in his coming, life, death, and resurrection.
It is the Bible. It is God's word. To obey it is to obey God. To reject it is to reject God. That is the end of the matter. Believing the Bible is God's Word is important, but still inadequate unless coupled with obeying God's book, living by it every day, and allowing the teachings of His Son to mold us and make us what we ought to be.
By Jon W. Quinn
From Expository Files 16.4; February 2009