By: Mark Tabata (Evangelist)
Christianity is the only religion which truly honors the law of rationality.
This basic and irrefutable law simply points out that we should only draw those conclusions which are warranted by the evidence; or, stated another way, we must justify our conclusions with adequate evidence.
Of all the religions, Christianity is unique in honoring this law.
For example, the Apostle Paul pointed out that Christianity is not based upon “madness” but rather upon words of truth and “reason” (Acts 26:25).
In investigating the definition of the word "reason," we learn:
""Paul has not lost his mind but speaks “true and prudent words” ( ἀληθείας καὶ σωφροσύνης ῥήματα , alētheias kai sōphrosynēs rhēmata ), or “the sober truth.” The combination of “true” and “prudent” is common in Greek, as is a contrast between “prudent” and “mad” (Lucian, Timon 55; Xenophon, Memorabilia 1.1.16; P.Oxy. 1.33; Plato, Phaedrus 244D; Barrett 1998: 1168). In this context, where Paul has been accused of being crazy, his reply is that his words are truth. He has not lost control of his thoughts; they are quite sober and thought through. "The metaphor of things not being done in a corner refers to no hidden events tucked away somewhere in the corner out of public sight (BAGD 168; BDAG 209; Malherbe 1985–86; Epictetus, Discourses 2.12.17; Plutarch, Moralia 777B; Fitzmyer 1998: 764).
The idiom means not doing one’s philosophical reflection in a way that is disengaged from the public. Paul can speak boldly and say that these events were public enough that anyone paying attention could appreciate them.
Paul asks the king if he believes the prophets, who declare that such things are possible and a part of God’s plan. The issue Paul wants to focus on is God’s teaching as set forth in the prophets.
"Paul is a model witness and evangelist here. Agrippa is capable of understanding and appreciating what Paul claims (Acts 26:2–3)." (Darrell L. Bock, Acts: Baker Exegetical Commentary On The New Testament,17597-17611 (Kindle Edition); Grand Rapids, Michigan; Baker Academic)
Thus, Christianity is a religion which truly honors the law of rationality in providing sufficient evidences to establish its' claims (cf. Luke 1:1-4; 1 Peter 3:15; 1 Corinthians 15:1-8; John 20:30-31; Acts 1:1-3).
With that in mind, I want to suggest to you one of the great evidences we have that the Bible is truly the Word of God.
In this article, we will notice one of the evidences of the inspiration of the Bible which may be drawn from studying the supernatural unity of this great Book.
Our argument could be stated in this fashion:
1. If the Bible contains traits which may only be explained by Divine inspiration, then the Bible is the Word of God.
2. The Bible contains traits which may only be explained by Divine inspiration.
3. Therefore, the Bible is the Word of God.
Please notice that this argument is set forth in valid format; as such, if the propositions are proven to be sound, then the truthfulness of the conclusion MUST follow.
In previous lessons, we have noticed how several other lines of evidence have established the Divine inspiration of the Bible (e.g., evidences from prophecy and fulfillment, the scientific foreknowledge of the Bible writers, the genuineness and credibility of the Bible writers-especially as demonstrated through the continuing findings of archaeology-etc.).
At this moment, let's think about the unity of the Bible as proof of its' Divine inspiration.
To understand what we are talking about clearly, we must understand the various circumstances of the formation of the Bible.
The Bible is actually a Book of 66 Books.
It was written by forty different men over a period of some sixteen hundred years.
It was written in three languages (Hebrew, Greek, and parts in Aramaic), and its' writers lived during different eras of history.
Some lived in times of peace and prosperity; some in times of war and despair.
Some lived under monarchies, enjoying freedom as citizens of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah; some lived as captives to various nations (Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, and Rome).
Some received no formal education, while some were scholars; some were fishermen, and some stood as advisors to kings.
Some lived during times of famine, others during times of abundance. Some were poor, some were rich; some were married, and some were single.
Some lived during times when the people were faithful to God, and others during times of great national apostasy.
You would think that when you join these Books together, they would be one huge mass of contradictions that would make no sense whatsoever.
However, what you find instead is that these Books go together and manifest a unity of thought, theme, and character that may only be explained by Divine inspiration!
This supernatural unity is manifested from the beginning of Genesis all the way to the end of Revelation.
Now, we are not saying that because a book manifests unity, that it must be supernatural.
Not at all!
If that were the case, then many Steven King books could be called "inspired."
No, what we are saying is that the unity found in the Bible, despite its' many diverse characteristics of formation, may only rightly be explained by a Guiding Hand that was involved in its' creation and completion.
Consider the following illustrations:
"The same person, Jesus Christ, is the central theme of the Bible: it is about Him. It builds to His coming, describes it, and interprets what it means. The golden thread is the redemption of sinful man by the grace of God through faith in the shed blood of the Redeemer. Keep in mind that no human publisher commissioned the writing of such a book. No editor set forth a plan; no editorial committee oversaw its development; no one distributed an outline to the different authors. Despite these facts, there is every sort of literature in the Bible, including prose and poetry; history and law; biography and travel; genealogies, theologies, and philosophies. And somehow, all of these elements combine to provide an incredible unity from Genesis to Revelation.1 Suppose that forty different artists were to paint a picture without having any idea what the others might be doing—or that others were doing anything at all. Imagine someone collecting these pieces and arranging them all upon a huge wall, and the result was a perfect picture that displayed all the features of Jesus Christ. Or suppose that forty different sculptors, without any knowledge of what the others were doing, each decided to create a piece of sculpture. And when the pieces were brought together, they formed an exquisite statue of Christ. These outcomes are incomprehensible, yet the Bible is a greater accomplishment by far. No other book in all the world has ever been made in this way. Having written a number of books, I know what publishers and editors and editorial committees do. None of this process was involved in writing the Bible. But we see in this book an incredible unity that testifies that the hand that made this book is divine. Writer James C. Hefley says, “The sixty-six books are a perfect whole, a purposeful revelation, a progressive proof that the Bible is more than the work of fallible men.”2 (D. James Kennedy & Jerry Newcombe, What If The Bible Had Never Been Written? 181-194 (Kindle Edition); Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers)
Not only have no contradictions ever been found in the pages of the Bible, but we see within its' sacred pages a continual theme: the redemption of man through the justification of Jesus Christ to the glory of God the Father and by the manifestation of the Holy Spirit.
To see a glimpse of this theme, consider this fascinating fact.
Within the space of Genesis chapter 5, we are told about ten Patriarchs (very important men who lived from the time of Adam to that of Noah).
One of Moses' purposes' in writing Genesis was to document the Bloodline through whom the Messiah of God would eventually arrive.
With that in mind, it is very interesting when one looks at the etymology of the names of the men listed in Genesis 5.
To quote from one scholar on the subject:
"Since there is such significance in Methuselah’s name, let’s examine the other names to discover what may lie behind them. (Bear with me on this: it’ll be worth it!) The first name, Adam, , adomah, means “man.” As the first man, that seems straightforward enough. Adam’s son was named Seth, , which means “appointed.” “When he was born Eve said, “For God hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew.”15 Seth’s son was called Enosh, , which means “mortal,” “frail,” or “miserable.” It is from the root anash: to be incurable, used of a wound, grief, woe, sickness, or wickedness. It was in the days of Enosh that men began to defile the name of the Living God.16 Enosh’s son was named Kenan, from which can mean “sorrow,” “dirge,” or “elegy.” (The precise denotation is somewhat elusive; some study aids unfortunately presume that Kenan is synonymous with “Cainan.” Balaam, looking down from the heights of Moab, employed a pun upon the name of the Kenites when he prophesied their destruction.17) We have no real idea as to why these names were chosen for their children. Often they may have referred to circumstances at their birth, etc. Kenan’s son was Mahalalel, from , which means “blessed” or “praise”; and El, the name for God. Thus, Mahalalel means “the Blessed God.” Often Hebrew names included El, the name of God, as Dani-el, “God is my Judge,” Nathani-el, “Gift of God,” etc. Mahalalel’s son was named Jared, , from the verb yaradh, meaning “shall come down.” Some authorities suggest that this might be an allusion to the “Sons of God” who “came down” to corrupt the daughters of men, resulting in the Nephilim (“fallen ones”) of Genesis 6.18 Jared’s son was named Enoch, , which means “teaching,” or “commencement.” He was the first of four generations of preachers. In fact, the earliest recorded prophecy was by Enoch,…Enoch was the father of Methuselah, whom we have already mentioned. Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah.19 Apparently, Enoch received the prophecy of the Great Flood, and was told that as long as his son was alive, the judgment of the Flood would be withheld. The year that Methuselah died, the Flood came. Methuselah’s son was named Lamech, , a root still evident today in our own English word, “lament” or “lamentation.” Lamech suggests “despairing.” (This name is also linked to the Lamech in Cain’s line who inadvertently killed his son Tubal-Cain in a hunting incident.20) Lamech, of course, is the father of Noah, , which is derived from nacham, “to bring relief” or “comfort,” as Lamech himself explains..“Man (is) appointed mortal sorrow; (but) the Blessed God shall come down teaching (that) His death shall bring (the) despairing rest.” Here is a summary of God’s plan of redemption, hidden here within a genealogy in Genesis!…The implications of this discovery are far more deeply significant than may be evident at first glance. It demonstrates that in the earliest chapters of the Book of Genesis, God had already laid out His plan of redemption for the predicament of mankind. It is the beginning of a love story, ultimately written in blood on a wooden cross which was erected in Judea almost 2,000 years ago. This is also one of many evidences that the Bible is an integrated message system, the product of supernatural engineering. This punctures the you presumptions of many who view the Bible as a record of an evolving cultural tradition, noble though it may be. It claims to be authored by the One who alone knows the end from the beginning.21 It is astonishing to discover how many Biblical “controversies” seem to evaporate if one simply recognizes the unity—the integrity—of these 66 books. Every number, every place name, every detail—every jot and tittle—is part of a tightly engineered design, tailored for our learning, our discovery, and our amazement." (Chuck Missler, Hidden Treasures In The Biblical Text, 1443-231 (Kindle Edition); Coeur d’Alene, ID; Koinonoia House)
The names of these men highlight the very foundation of God's plan to save mankind.
Yet these men lived in a time when the Word of God had not yet revealed that the Messiah would be the Son of God; nor had it been revealed that through the very DEATH OF GOD mankind would find peace!
Yet, here we see the entire Gospel message portrayed powerfully in a remarkable way.
Now, I have studied various religious texts through the years. I have set myself to reading various parts of the Quran, the book of Mormon, the Hindu Vedas, and recently the writings of various Egyptian religious texts.
How do they compare?
Very simply, and with no insult intended, there is absolutely no comparison.
The supernatural unity of the Bible is indeed one of the strongest evidences that this Book truly is the Word of God.
The grace of The Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.