The story is told of a Christian professor holding a question and answer session at a speaking engagement in a secular University. A skeptical university student opened up the questioning, “Why do you believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God?” Now this is a very interesting question; and probably one of the most important questions any Christian could ask themselves. What is so special, so unique about the Bible that Christians believe it is literally the inspired word of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit — the Living God?
In answering this student’s question, the professor encouraged her to consider the following facts about the Bible:
“First, the Bible is not just one single book. This is a more common misconception than many people realize, especially with people who do not come from a Judeo-Christian background. Rather than being a single book, the Bible is actually a collection of 66 books, which is called the canon of scriptures. These 66 books contain a variety of genres: history, poetry, prophecy, wisdom literature, letters, and apocalyptic just to name a few.”
“Second, these 66 books were written by 40 different authors. These authors came from a variety of backgrounds: shepherds, fishermen, doctors, kings, prophets, and others. And most of these authors never knew one another personally.”
“Third, these 66 books were written over a period of 1500 years. Yet again, this is another reminder that many of these authors never knew or collaborated with one another in writing these books.”
“Fourth, the 66 books of the Bible were written in 3 different languages. In the Bible we have books that were written in the ancient languages of Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic; a reflection of the historical and cultural circumstances in which each of these books were written.”
“And finally, these 66 books were written on 3 different continents: Africa, Asia and Europe. Once again a testament to the varied historical and cultural circumstances of God’s people.
Then the professor continued with a brief summary, “Think about the above realities: 66 books, written by 40 different authors, over 1500 years, in 3 different languages, on 3 different continents. What’s more, this collection of books shares a common storyline — the creation, fall, and redemption of God’s people; a common theme — God’s universal love for all of humanity; and a common message that salvation is available to all who repent of their sins and commit to following Jesus with all of their heart, soul, mind and strength. In addition to sharing these commonalities, these 66 books contain no historical errors or contradictions. God’s word truly is an amazing collection of writings!
After sharing the above facts with this student, the professor offered her and every other student present the following challenge, “If you do not believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God, if you do not believe that the Bible is of a supernatural origin, than I challenge you to a test.”
The professor continued, “I challenge you to go to any library in the world and find 66 books which match the characteristics of the 66 books in the Bible. You must choose 66 books — written by 40 different authors — over 1500 years — in 3 different languages — written on 3 different continents. However, they must share a common storyline, a common theme, and a common message, with no historical errors or contradictions.”
Then he said, “If you can produce such a collection of books, I will admit that the Bible is not the inspired word of God.” The student’s reply was almost instantaneous, she emphatically stated, “But that’s impossible!”
It truly is impossible, for any collection of human writings. However — our Bible passes this test. The Bible contains 66 books, written by 40 different authors, over 1500 years, in 3 different languages, on 3 different continents, with no historical errors or contradictions. The entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation bears the mark of Divine Inspiration from the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
The next time you encounter someone who asks you why you believe the Bible is the inspired word of God — try sharing this challenge with them. Better yet, don’t wait until you’re asked, just go ahead and share this challenge with a friend today. You don’t even have to mention the Bible up front — just ask them:
Do you think it would be realistic to assemble a collection of books in any library in the world that meet this criteria?
66 Independent Books– history, poetry, prophecy, wisdom literature, letters.
40 Different Writers- no collaboration – shepherds, fishermen, doctors, kings, prophets, and others
1500 Years of Writing
3 Different Languages- Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic
3 Separate Continents -Africa, Europe, Asia
1 Common Story Line – the creation, fall, and redemption of God’s people; a common theme — God’s universal love for all of humanity; and a common message that salvation is available to all who repent of their sins and commit to following Jesus with all of their heart, soul, mind and strength.
1 Common Theme
1 Common Message
0 Historical Errors
Of course you know the answer is the Divinely Inspired Bible — but you just might be surprised by what the Holy Spirit does with those you challenge!
Scripture: 2 Timothy 3:16
“All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for showing people what is wrong in their lives, for correcting faults, and for teaching how to live right.” NCV
Prayer: Father thank you for providing the Divinely Inspired Bible as a personal letter for me to conduct my life. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen!
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