Is the Bible God-authored or man-authored?

Questions about God, the Bible and the Christian culture

Question: How can I trust "God's" bible when it was written by men?

Answer: That’s a great question — especially since we Christians place our faith in the Bible, that it is God’s Holy Word — and if it turned out to be merely the words of men…well, we’d just be wasting our time.

I'll issue an overhead caution before we continue with the particulars. Do not apply the logical restriction called mutual exclusivity to the issue of biblical authorship. Just because men “wrote” the Scriptures does not mean that God did not write them too. Biblical authorship is not an either/or — it’s also/and. I’ll explain.

God is the primary author of the Bible. Although the human writers of the Bible’s books were also called authors, they were neither the driving force nor the creative energy behind the writings. God was. So, although it is true that men wrote the Scriptures, it is not true that mere men wrote them as mere men write books. These men were protected from error in a process called inspiration and by a person no less than the Holy Spirit of God. The apostle Peter describes this perfectly.

“For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” (2 Peter 1:21, ESV).

Picture, if you will, a sailing ship moving through the water. The man-made vessel makes progress — but only under the unseen force of the wind. This is the picture of humankind advancing God’s revelation — but only under the power and influence of God, the Holy Spirit. As Jesus’ time on earth was coming to a close, he spoke of some of the changes that would soon affect how the Holy Spirit ministered. And these changes would profoundly affect believers — but particularly those chosen to write the New Testament.

“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” (John 14:26, ESV).

From creation up until the Pentecost after Jesus’ ascension, the Holy Spirit worked with the righteous but not within the righteous — except by special visitation. After Pentecost (which was the birth of the true Church, the Body of Jesus Christ), the Holy Spirit began to indwell all believers. Jesus called him the Comforter or Helper — an appropriate name since Jesus would no longer be with us in the flesh, and the Holy Spirit was about to take over the teaching job.

But not only would the Holy Spirit teach, but he would also, by way of specially gifting them, cause the soon-to-be authors to remember what Jesus taught them. In fact, they understood it all better when they wrote it down than they did when Jesus was with them! By intervening with the Holy Spirit, God guaranteed that the resultant Scriptures would be exactly as he intended them to be — perfect and sufficient.

I realize that it’s with some awkwardness that we offer the Scripture’s own words as evidence for its own veracity — but we must! After all, the Bible itself says “thus saith the Lord” more than 3,000 times! The Apostle Paul taught that “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,” (2 Timothy 3:16, ESV). Since God created (breathed out) the Scripture, and since he protects it forever (Isaiah 40:8), the fact that he used human beings in the writing process cannot sully the result.

Additionally, Jesus Himself quoted the Old Testament Scripture as authoritative. He thereby taught that the Scriptures were God’s word. So, if an earnest seeker gives the person of Jesus Christ any historical credence, then he must give his words their due weight. But for any who believe that Jesus was who he said he was — God — the stakes are even higher. God cannot lie. So, if Jesus is true, then his words are true. And if Jesus’ words are true, then the Bible stands as God’s authoritative word.

Even if we step outside of scripture we find that the Bible is a remarkable book. The Bible is not a single book; it is a divine library of 66 books. They were written over 1600 years, by 40 different people who represented different times, cultures and nations. Yet, the Bible is a unified work, revealing the dealings of God with humankind from before the creation to the end of days. The Bible is historically accurate, and archaeology continually adds artifacts to the Bible’s facts.

I’d like to close and summarize by including ten points from R.A. Torrey’s work, Ten Reasons Why I Believe The Bible Is The Word Of God. (Only the points are listed below, but their explanations are readily available on the Internet.)

FIRST, on the ground of the testimony of Jesus Christ.
SECOND, on the ground of its fulfilled prophecies.
THIRD, on the ground of the unity of the book.
FOURTH, on the ground of the immeasurable superiority of the teachings of the Bible to those of any other and all other books.
FIFTH, on the ground of the history of the book, its victory over attack.
SIXTH, on the ground of the character of those who accept and of those who reject the book.
SEVENTH, on the ground of the influence of the book.
EIGHTH, on the ground of the inexhaustible depth of the book.
NINTH, on the ground of the fact that as we grow in knowledge and holiness we grow toward the Bible.
TENTH, on the ground of the direct testimony of the Holy Spirit.

There! Dr. Torrey has given ten reasons why he believes in the Bible. I wonder how many non-believers could refute these... or even just give ten reasons why they don't believe that the Bible is true. The stakes are enormous. Do not let this moment pass! Begin reading the Bible today.

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