SPECIAL TOPIC: THE BIBLE (it's uniqueness and inspiration)
Although the statement, "the Bible is unique and inspired," is presuppositional, as is all human knowledge, it does not mean that there is no credible supportive evidence. At this point let us examine some of this evidence.
A. The Bible contains very precise predictions (historical, not typological [i.e., Hosea 11:1] or apocalyptic [i.e., Zechariah 9]) about future events, not in vague formulations, but in specific and often shocking preciseness. Two good examples follow.
1. The area of Jesus' ministry was predicted to be in Galilee, Isa. 9:1. This was very unexpected by Judean Jewry because Galilee was not considered to be quite Kosher because of its physical distance from the Temple. Yet, the majority of Jesus' ministry was spent in this geographical area.
2. The place of Jesus' birth is specifically recorded in Micah 5:2. Bethlehem was a very small village whose only claim to fame was that the family of Jesse lived there. Yet, 750 years before the birth of Jesus the Bible specifically pinpoints this as the birthplace of the Messiah. Even the rabbinical scholars of Herod's court knew this (Matt. 2:4-6). Some may doubt the 8th century b.c. date for both Isaiah and Micah, however, because of the Septuagint (which is the Greek translation of the Hebrew Scripture, which was begun about 250-200 b.c.), even at the very minimum these prophecies were made over 200 years before their fulfillment.
B. Another evidence relates to the modern scientific discipline of archaeology. The last few decades have seen a tremendous amount of archaeological discovery. To my knowledge there have not been any finds that have repudiated the Bible's historical accuracies (Nelson Glueck, Rivers in the Desert, p. 31, "No archaeological discovery has ever been made that contradicts or controverts historical statements of Scripture"), quite the contrary. Archaeology has facilitated confidence in the historicity of the Bible over and over again.
1. One example is the use of Mesopotamian names in the Nuzi and Mari Tablets of the second millennium b.c., which also occur in Genesis. Now these are not the same people, but the same names. Names are characteristic of a particular time and place. The names "Terah" and "Nahor" are common to the biblical record and in these ancient tablets.
2. The existence of a Hittite civilization in Asia Minor is another example. For many years (19th century) secular history had no references to the stable, highly developed culture known by this name. However, Genesis 10 and the historical books of the Bible mention them many times (2 Kings 7:6,7; 2 Chr. 1:17). Archaeology has since confirmed, not only their existence, but their longevity and power (i.e., 1950, archeologists found royal library of 2,000 cuneiform tablets where the nation was called both Anatolia and Hittite).
3. The existence of Belshazzar, the last Babylonian king (Daniel 5), has often been denied. There are ten lists of Babylonian kings in secular history taken from Babylonian documents, but none contain Belshazzar's name. With further archaeological finds it became obvious that Belshazzar was co-regent and the official in charge during that period of time. His father, Nabonidus, whose mother was the high priestess of the moon goddess, Zin, had become so involved in the worship of Zin (Nana) that he had moved to Tema (Arabia), her holy city, while on a ten-year military campaign against Egypt. He left his son, Belshazzar, to reign in the city of Babylon in his absence.
C. A further evidence for a supernatural Bible is the consistency of its message. This is not to say that the Bible does not contain some paradoxical material, but it also does not contradict itself. This is amazing when one considers that it was written over a 1600/1400 year period (depending on the date of the Exodus, i.e., 1495, 1290 b.c.) by authors of radically different educational and cultural backgrounds from Mesopotamia to Egypt. It is composed of various literary genres and is written in three separate languages (Hebrew, Aramaic, and Koine Greek). Yet, even with all of this variety, a unified message (i.e., plot line) is presented.
D. Finally, one of the most marvelous evidences for the Bible's unique inspiration is the permanently morally changed lives of men and women from different cultures, different educational levels, and different socio-economic levels through history. Wherever the Bible has simply been read, radical, permanent lifestyle changes have occurred. The Bible is its own best apologist.
E. See three of Dr. Utley's teaching sermons about this online at www.freebiblecommentary.org in the first paragraph of the home page.
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