Divine Inspiration of the Bible
By Arthur W. PinkChristianity is the religion of a book, the Holy Scripture, the Word of God. Upon the foundation of the Divine inspiration of the Bible stands or falls the entire edifice of Christian truth. That the Bible has its origin in heaven is attested to by many features, one of which, as this message shows, is the unmistakable honesty of the writers.
II Peter 1:21
Take, to begin with, the Old Testament. Had its historical parts been a forgery, or were they the production of uninspired men, their contents would have been very different.
For instance, all the books were written by descendants of Abraham, yet nowhere do we find the bravery of the Israelites extolled and never once are their victories regarded as the outcome of their courage or military genius; on the contrary, success is attributed to the presence of Jehovah, the God of Israel.
Furthermore, along with their victories, the men that have chronicled Israel's history have faithfully recorded their defeats as well, and have attributed such defeats not to an inexorable fate, nor to bad military failures, but to the sins of the people and their wickedness against God. Such historians were not actuated by the common principles of human nature.
Moral decay recorded. That's not all. Contrary to the universal leaning towards ancestral adoration, those historians have not at all avoided to record the moral backsliding and spiritual declensions of the Jews. A prime Old Testament truth is the Unity of the God of the Bible, so that paying homage to any other god is guilty of the sin of idolatry. Well, the Jewish writers have not hesitated to record that their ancestors and contemporaries were both guilty of this great wickedness. They have even pointed out that some of their biggest heroes were guilty of this sin Aaron and the golden calf, Solomon and the later kings being notable examples.
Nor is there any attempt to excuse their wrongdoing; instead, their acts are openly censured and condemned. Human historians are inclined to conceal or extenuate the faults of their favorites. A forged history would hardly uncover the vices of its distinguished personages. Here then is displayed the uniqueness of Scripture history. Its characters are painted in the colors of truth and nature. But such characters were never sketched by a human pencil. Moses and the other writers must have written by Divine inspiration.
Apostasy unveiled. The sin of idolatry, while it is the worst of which Israel was guilty, is not the only evil recorded against them. In fact, their whole history is one long story of apostasy from Jehovah their God. After their emancipation from the bondage of Egypt, they commenced their journey towards the Promised Land. Between them and their goal lay a march across the wilderness, and here the depravity of their hearts was fully manifested.
Although Jehovah, by overthrowing their enemies, had plainly demonstrated that He was their God, yet no sooner was the faith of the Israelites put to the test than their hearts failed them. First, their stores of food began to give out and they feared they would perish from hunger. Trying circumstances had banished the Living God from their thoughts. They complained of their lot and murmured against Moses.
Murmuring. Yet God did not deal with them after their sins nor reward them according to their iniquities. In mercy, He gave them bread from heaven, a daily supply of manna. But they soon became dissatisfied with the manna and lusted after the flesh pots of Egypt. Still God dealt with them in grace.
Shortly after that, the Israelites chided with Moses, complaining that they had no water to drink. Moses cried unto the Lord, saying, "What shall I do unto this people? they be almost ready to stone me" (Exo. 17:4) What was God's response? We read in verses 5 and 6:And the Lord said unto Moses, Go on before the people, and take with thee of the elders of Israel; and thy rod, wherewith thou smotest the river, take in thine hand, and go. Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink.Persistent unbelief. The above incidents were but sadly typical and illustrative of Israel's general conduct. When the spies were sent out to view the Promised Land and returned and reported, ten of them magnified the difficulties which confronted them and advised the people not to attempt an occupation of Canaan. And though the remaining two faithfully reminded the Israelites that the mighty Jehovah could easily overcome all their difficulties, nevertheless, the nation listened not but heeded the words of their skeptical advisers. Time after time they provoked Jehovah, and in consequence the whole of that generation perished in the wilderness.
When the succeeding generation was grown, under the leadership of Joshua they entered the Promised Land and, by the aid of God, overthrew many of their enemies and occupied much of their territory. But after the death of Joshua we read in Judges 2:10-13:There arose another generation after them, which knew not the Lord, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel. And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and served Baalim: And they forsook the Lord God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them, and provoked the Lord to anger. And they forsook the Lord, and served Baal and Ashtaroth.Repetitive apostasy. There is no need for us to follow further the fluctuating fortunes of Israel. As is well known, under the period of the judges their history was a series of returns to the Lord and subsequent departures from Him; repeated deliverances from the hands of their enemies, and then returning unfaithfulness on their part, followed by being again delivered unto their foes.
Under the kings it was no better. The very first of their kings perished through his willful disobedience and apostasy; the third king, Solomon, violated God's law and married heathen women who turned his heart unto false gods. Solomon, in turn, was followed by a number of idolatrous rulers, and Israel ran farther and farther away from the Lord, until He delivered them over unto Nebuchadnezzar, who captured their beloved Jerusalem, destroyed their Temple, and carried away the people into captivity.
In reading Israel's recurring sins recorded in the Old Testament, we discover, in light as clear as day, the absolute honesty and candor of those who recorded Israel's history. No attempt whatever is made to conceal their folly, their unbelief, and their wickedness. Instead, the corrupt condition of their hearts is made fully manifest, and this, by writers who belonged to, and were born of, the same nation. In the whole realm of literature there is no parallel.
The careful reader of Israel's history in the Bible might at first conclude that it was a nation more depraved than any other. But further reflection will show rather that in reality the history of Israel has been more faithfully transmitted than that of any other nation.
Ditto the New TestamentComing now to the New Testament we begin with the character of John the Baptist. He is presented as a most eminent prophet. We are told that his birth was due to the miraculous intervention of God so that he was "filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb" (Luke 1:15).
John the Baptist was himself the subject of an Old Testament prophesy. The office that he filled was the most honorable for any member of Adam's race: he was the harbinger of the Messiah; he was the one who went before our Lord to prepare His way; and he had the honor of baptizing the Blessed Redeemer.
Where would human wisdom have placed him among the attendants of the Lord Jesus? What position would it have ascribed to him? Surely he would have been set forth as one of the most distinguished among our Lord's followers.
John Doubted. Yet what do we find? We discover that he had no familiar discourse with the Saviour. Instead, he was treated with apparent neglect. We find him represented as occupying the position of a doubter who, as the result of his imprisonment, was constrained to send a message to his Master to enquire whether or not He was the promised Messiah.
Had his character been the invention of forgery, nothing would have been heard of this lapse of faith. Indeed, this is so opposed to the dictates of human wisdom, that many have been shocked at the thought of ascribing doubts to the eminent forerunner of Christ, and have taxed their ingenuity to the utmost to force from the obvious meaning of the record some other and some different signification. But all these ingenuity of human sophistry are dissipated by the reply which our Lord made to John's inquiry. Recorded in Matthew 11:4-6, it was a reply that shows very plainly that the question was asked not for the benefit of his disciples, but because the Baptist's own heart was harassed with doubts.
Divine honesty. Again, we say, no human mind could have invented the character of John the Baptist. The biography's faithfulness and honesty is another proof that the writers of the Bible were moved by something higher than the principles of human nature.
Another striking illustration of the theme of this message is the treatment the Son of God received while He tabernacled among men. For two thousand years Israel's hope had all centered in the advent of their Messiah. The height of every Jewish woman's ambition was that she might be selected of God to have the honor of being the mother of the promised Seed. For centuries, every pious Hebrew had looked and longed for the day when He should appear who was to occupy David's throne and rule and reign in righteousness.
Messiah rejected. Yet, how was the Promised One received when He did appear? He was "despised and rejected of men" (Isa. 53:3). "Hecame unto his own, and his own received him not" (John 1:11). Those who were His brethren according to the flesh "hated" Him "without a cause." The very nation which gave Him birth and to which He ministered in infinite grace and blessing demanded that He should be crucified.
The startling thing that I particularly desire to emphasize is that the narrators of this awful tragedy are all fellow countrymen of those upon whose heads rested the guilt of its perpetration. It was Jewish writers who recorded the fearful crime of the Jewish nation against their Messiah! Note further that in the recording of that crime, no attempt whatever is made to palliate or extenuate their wickedness. Instead, it is denounced and condemned in the most uncompromising terms. Israel is openly charged with having taken and, with "wicked hands", slain the "Lord of Glory."
Such an honest and impartial recital of Israel's crowning sin can only be explained on the ground that what these men wrote was inspired of God.
Disciples persecuted. One more illustration must suffice. After our Lord's death and resurrection, He commissioned His disciples to go forth carrying from Him a message first to His own nation and later to "every creature." This message, be it noted, was not a malediction called down upon the heads of His heartless murderers, but a proclamation of salvation by grace. It was a message of good news, of glad tidings. The Gospel of forgiveness was to be preached in His name to all men.
How then would human wisdom suppose such a message will be received? It is further to be observed that those who were thus commissioned to carry the Gospel to the lost, were vested with power to heal the sick and to cast out demons. Surely such a beneficent ministry will meet with a universal welcome! Yet, incredible as it may appear, the Apostles of Christ met with no more appreciation than did their Master.
Like the Master. They, too, were despised and rejected. They, too, were hated and persecuted. They, too, were ill-treated, imprisoned, and put to a shameful death. And this, not merely from the hands of the bigoted Jews, but from the cultured Greeks and from the democratic and freedom loving Romans as well. Though these Apostles brought blessing, they themselves were cursed; though they sought to emancipate men from the thraldom of sin and Satan, yet they were themselves captured and thrown into prison; though they healed the sick and raised the dead, they suffered martyrdom.
Surely, it is apparent to every impartial mind that neither the New Testament nor the Old Testament is mere human invention. Surely, the honesty of their writers in so faithfully portraying the enmity of the carnal mind against God confirms that which we are told in II Peter 1:21: "For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit." o
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