I. Two types of Revelation
General, Natural revelation, Psalms 19:1-4; Romans 1:20. God has revealed the fact of His existence through His creation. In the same way we can look at a watch and conclude there is a watchmaker, so we can look at the universe and the intricacies of the world around us and conclude that it all could not have happened by chance any more than a watch could be formed by chance.
Supernatural revelation, first given to apostles then to us when we read what they wrote, Ephesians 3:3-5. This passage clearly tells us that not every Christian or every person in the world has received direct revelation from God. Paul states that what was revealed to him and the other apostles was written down. How did the Ephesian Christians come to know what was revealed to the apostles? Verse 4 tells us that when they read they can have the same understanding as Paul. We gain that same understanding today when we read the scriptures. It is a mistake to “listen” for some message from God apart from the Bible.
II. New Testament Contains Eyewitness Accounts
No hint of mythical characters. The writers saw, heard and touched Jesus. I John 1:1-2; Acts 1:1-3; I Corinthians 15:6-8. Even if we were unsure of the inspiration of the New Testament, this book still deserves our careful consideration. Few historical books have been written by eyewitnesses. If what the apostles wrote is not from God then we must conclude that the apostles are liars since they all claimed that what they wrote was given to them by God.
Even unbelievers could not deny the things done, John 11:47; 12:9-11; Acts 4:13-16. There is more evidence that Jesus lived than there is that Americans landed on the moon. How do you know that men landed on the moon? Did you see it on television or read it in a book? We believe men went to the moon because we were told of it by men who had a reason to lie to us. When America went to the moon, it was during the Cold War and a moon landing gave America a great advantage over the Soviet Union. Though I believe we actually landed on the moon, those who testified to us had some credible reasons to lie. On the other hand, the apostles had no reason to lie about Jesus. They were martyred for their testimony. Further, even the enemies of Jesus testified to His miracles and they certainly would not have had a reason to lie.
III. Verbal Inspiration
“Inspiration” (II Timothy 3:16-17) THEOPNUESTOS “God-breathed”. The Old and New Testaments claim inspiration nearly 4000 times. Claims do not prove a fact but claims tell us something about those who have made the claim. If I told you I could bench press 1000 pounds, you would learn something about me. I am either the strongest man who ever lived (not likely), or I am a liar or a lunatic. The same thing can be said concerning the writers of the Bible. Either they told the truth when they claimed to be inspired or they were liars or they were lunatics. We cannot simply say they were good men and the Bible is a good book, but it is not inspired. No, this is not a good book if the men who wrote it lied 4000 times! It is especially not a good book if it is not inspired when we consider that we are told that if we do not obey its commands we will spend eternity in hell! So, here are our options: (1) the Bible is the word of God; (2) the Bible was written by liars; (3) the Bible was written by lunatics. If either of the latter two options are true, how could the greatest words and the greatest standard of morality ever written have been penned by such men?
I Corinthians 2:6-13 Revealed verbally; man could not learn it by his senses. Paul claims that he and the other apostles wrote the actual words taught by the Holy Spirit and that they did not use “words taught by human wisdom.”
II Peter 1:16-21 The Word is confirmed by the seeing and hearing of the apostles. It was not of any private disclosure. Peter also claims that the words penned by the prophets did not come by their own will, but revealed the words given them by the Holy Spirit.
John 10:34-36 The scripture cannot be broken. Jesus often argued from the written word and in this passage even claims that the scripture is infallible. Jesus was not saying one could not violate commands written in scripture, but that the scripture could not be changed in any way.
Matthew 22:29-33 Jesus believed in every word of scripture being inspired. Jesus argued the resurrection from the dead based on the verb tense used in Exodus 3:6. God had said, “I am the God of Abraham…”not “I was the God of Abraham.” If the written word was not inspired, Jesus could not have made an argument based on the verb tense of a word.
IV. The Bible Shows Evidence Of Divine Authorship
Its continuity: It was written over a period of 1600 years, through 60 generations, and by 40 writers from every walk of life. It was written on three continents and in three languages: Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. The writers discussed hundreds of the world’s most controversial subjects and yet there is a unity without contradiction binding the whole together. Try that with just 10 writers today.
The Bible is the only book ever written that contains a large body of prophecies relating to individual nations, cities, peoples, and a messiah. In all of Greek and Latin literature there is not one specific prophecy of a great historic event to come or of a savior to come. There are hundreds of specific prophecies concerning the coming of Christ that Jesus fulfilled perfectly. But where are the prophecies of the coming of Mohammed or Buddha or any other religious leader?
V. Our Bible Is Reliable
Many claim that the manuscript copies were polluted by Catholicism or by miscopying. However, our earliest New Testament manuscript was 130 AD and our earlies complete manuscript was penned 325 AD, long before the Roman Catholic church came into existence. Besides, the entire New Testament can be reproduced from the quotes of Christian writers between 100 AD and 200 AD.
When we compare the Bible manuscripts to the manuscripts of other classical writings, we cannot doubt Bible accuracy. The New Testament manuscripts are as old as 130 AD, only 30 years after the last apostle died. But manuscripts of Plato’s writings appear 1000 years after Plato lived, and we have only 7 copies of his writings. If we can trust the manuscripts of Plato’s writings, we can certainly trust the Bible. No other book of classical writings has even one-tenth of the manuscript evidence behind the New Testament.
Concerning the copying done, of 14,000 manuscripts, there are 150,000 variant readings. However, these represent only 10,000 places in the New Testament (the same word misspelled in 3,000 manuscripts is 3,000 variants). Of these, all but 400 are questions of spelling in accord with accepted usage, grammatical construction, or order of words. Of the 400 only 50 are of any great significance. And of the 50, not one alters even one article of faith which cannot be abundantly sustained by other undoubted passages.
The Dead Sea Scrolls prove the accuracy of the copying done. Dated 300-100 BC, they are nearly identical to the 900 AD manuscripts used to translate the King James version of the Old Testament.