Chapter 1. The Divine Origin and Authority of the Bible

I. The first proof that the Bible is of divine origin and possesses divine authority is the testimony of Jesus Christ to this fact. It is very common for "advanced thinkers" to say that they do not believe the Bible as a whole to be the word of God, but they do accept the authority of Jesus Christ. Now, this statement is utterly illogical. For if we accept the authority of Jesus Christ, we must accept the whole Bible as being the Word of God, of divine origin, and of absolute divine authority. In Mark 7:13, Jesus calls the law of Moses "the Word of God," and sternly denounces those who set up their speculations against its authoritative proclamation of God's will. Here, then, Jesus sets His seal to the divine origin and authority of the first five books of the Old Testament. This is the very portion of the Bible about which there is the most bit-ter controversy today. If that portion will stand, there need be no concern about the rest. In Matthew 5:18 (R. V.), Jesus says, "Till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass away from the law, till all things be accomplished." A jot is the Hebrew character "jodh," the smallest character in the Hebrew alphabet, less than half the size of any other character in the Hebrew alphabet, and a "tittle" is the little horn put on a consonant, less in size than the cross we put on a "t." So Jesus says that the law of Moses is of inviolable divine authority, down to its smallest part. In John 5:47, He asks, "If ye believe not his (Moses') writings, how shall ye believe My words?"—thus showing the utter folly of those who say, "We will not accept the authority of the Pentateuch," but claim to accept the authority of Jesus Christ. In Luke 16:31, He exposes the hopeless blindness of those who will not yield to the divine authority of the teaching of the law and the prophets by saying, "If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead." In John 10:35, Jesus says, "The Scripture cannot be broken." He has just built an argument on a single word used in the Psalms, and He thus sets His seal to the absolute verbal inerrancy of the Old Testament Scriptures. In Luke 24:27, we read that "beginning at Moses and all the prophets, He expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself." It is evident from this that He regarded the testimony of the Old Testament as of divine origin. But still more plainly does he declare their absolute authority and inerrancy in the forty-fourth verse, by saying, "All things must be fulfilled which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning me."

It is a well-known fact that the Jew divided the books of the Old Testament into three divisions: the Law, the Prophets (the books we call prophetical and some of the historic books), and the Psalms (the remaining books of our Old Testament). Jesus here takes up each of these divisions, and sets His seal to its absolute divine authority, asserting "all things" therein written "must be fulfilled." So it is plain that if we accept the authority of Jesus Christ, we must accept the divine origin and authority of the entire Old Testament.

But how about the New Testament books? Does Jesus testify to their divine origin and authority? He does. This might appear at the first thought impossible; for not a single one of those books was written until after Jesus had spoken His last word on earth. But when we turn to John xiv.26 (R. V.) we hear Him saying to the apostles, "The Comforter, even the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said unto you." Here, then, Jesus testifies to the inspiration and completeness of the apostolic teaching. He sets His seal to its divine origin and authority. Further than that He certifies to the accuracy and completeness of their recollection of what He Himself had said. The question is often asked, "What guarantee have we that in the reports of the apostles we have an accurate record of the words of Jesus? Might they not forget what He said, and thus misreport it?" Undoubtedly they might forget, but Jesus Himself tells us that they should not be left to their own fallible memories, but that the Holy Spirit should bring to their remembrance all that He had said unto them. So in the gospels we have not the apostles' recollection of what Jesus said, but the Holy Spirit's recollection, and He never forgets. In John 16:12, 13 (R. V.), Jesus goes still further in His indorsement of the apostolic teaching. He says, "I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit, when he, the Spirit of Truth, is come, he shall guide you into all the truth." Here Jesus says that the teaching of the apostles would not only be as true as His own, but that it should be even more complete than His own. There were many things to be said which He must keep back in His personal ministry, for they were not yet ready for them, but when the Holy Spirit was come He would lead them "into all the truth." So if we accept the authority of Jesus Christ, we must accept the authority of the apostolic teaching, and that teaching as being a more perfect revelation of the truth than His own, as, indeed, being an absolutely perfect and complete revelation, containing "all the truth." One of the favorite cries to-day of those who would minify the authority of apostolic teaching is "Back to Christ;" but when we get back to Christ we hear Him crying: "Forward to the apostles! In their teaching you will find a more complete revelation of truth than in the words I uttered while on earth, for I kept back some things because men were not ready for them. But in the Spirit-taught apostles you will find 'all the truth.' "

It is perfectly clear, then, that if we accept the authority of Jesus Christ, we must accept the divine origin and authority of all the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments. But every candid investigator must accept the authority of Jesus Christ. Why? Because Jesus Christ Himself is accredited to us by five testimonies which are clearly divine. He is accredited to us by the testimony of the divine life He lived; for He lived as never man lived. Any one who will put away all prejudice, and carefully study that unique life, must consent to the judgment of him who knew men so well, and said, "I know men, and Jesus Christ was not a man." Jesus Christ is accredited to us again by the testimony of the divine words He spake; for whoever studies those words will consent to the verdict of those who were sent to arrest Him and could not, saying, "Never man spake like this man." Jesus Christ is accredited to us again by the divine works He wrought. The gospel stories of Jesus' works have been subjected to the fiercest and ablest attacks, in the vain hope of discrediting them. But the ingenious theories of David Strauss and Ernest Renan and a host of less gifted imitators have gone utterly to pieces. At least the substantial accuracy of the gospel narratives has been established beyond the possibility of candid doubt. That is enough for our present purpose. Jesus, then, not only healed the hopelessly sick, which, it may be said, many others have done, and opened the eyes of those born blind, but He displayed creative power, turning water into wine, feeding to the full more than five thousand people with five loaves and two small fishes, and He raised the dead. These beyond a question are divine works, and He is thus accredited by the divine works He wrought. Jesus Christ is accredited to us again by the divine influence He has exerted upon the whole subsequent history of the race. Jesus Christ is accredited once more by the divine attestation of His resurrection from the dead. It is not, of course, possible in this place to go into a consideration of the evidence for the resurrection of Christ from the dead. This, however, the writer has done, and he knows that any one who will candidly and fully consider the evidence in the case, without predisposition for or against, will be forced to conclude that the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is one of the best proven facts of history. It is, then, a direct attestation of God to Jesus Christ. So we see Jesus Christ is accredited to us by five testimonies which are clearly divine. We must, then, accept His testimony. But we have already seen that if we accept His testimony, we must accept the divine origin and authority of the whole Bible, for to this He clearly certified. Therefore, the divine origin and authority of the Bible is proven.

2. The second proof of the divine origin and authority of the Bible is its fulfilled prophecies. Fulfilled prophecy is a fact, and a fact that every honest and intelligent and serious-minded person must face and account for. There are many prophecies in the Old Testament of things that were to occur hundreds of years in the future. These prophecies, in many instances, were most plain, minute, and explicit, and they have been fulfilled to the very letter. The average man and woman, and even the average Christian, knows little or nothing about prophecy. When the writer undertook the study of prophecy some years ago, he was amazed at the number and explicitness of the prophecies that had been literally fulfilled. So is every one else that goes into the subject with any thoroughness, fairness, and candor. Many are the skeptics and infidels who have been converted to a faith in the Bible as the Word of God by the study of Bible prophecies. The subject is a very large one, and the fullness of the proof can only be hinted at in a book like this. There are three lines of prophecy in the Old Testament; prophecies about Israel, prophecies about the Gen-tile nations, and prophecies about the Messiah. We will confine ourselves by way of illustration to prophecies about the Messiah, and to four of the many of these. In Micah 5:2, Jeremiah 23:5, Isaiah 53, Daniel 9:24-26, we have very explicit predictions as to the place where the Christ should be born, the family of which He should be born, the state of the family at the time of His birth (a state entirely different from that existing at the time of the prophecy), the way He should be received by men and by His own people (a way entirely contrary to all human probability), His death, the precise manner of His death, His burial with its accompanying circumstances minutely given, His resurrection and victory subsequent to His death. These predictions were literally fulfilled with the utmost exactness in Jesus of Nazareth. The attempt has been made over and over again by the rationalists to break the force of the argument by denying that Isaiah 53 refers to the Messiah, but the attempt has broken down utterly. Not only has it been completely proven from their own works that the Jewish rabbis interpreted it of the Messiah, but furthermore, when the question has been asked, if it does not refer to the Messiah, to whom does it refer, the best answer that they can give is, "It refers to suffering Israel," But any one can see this is impossible, if he will study the chapter for himself. The sufferer of Isaiah 53 is an innocent victim, suffering for the sins of another, to whom the stroke was due (vs. 4-8; see especially Am. R. V.), and this other than himself for whom he was suffering was "my people"—i. e., Israel. So evidently the sufferer cannot be Israel. There are many other reasons why the sufferer cannot be Israel, but this is conclusive and sufficient. By any theory of authorship that any one has ever ventured to propound, these prophecies were made centuries before Jesus of Nazareth. How, then, do we account for their fulfillment in Him? Man can look a few years ahead and predict in a general way to what result causes now operant will lead. But no man can look centuries ahead and predict many specific things about a specific individual and have them come true to the letter. Only the all-knowing God can do that, and proven fulfilled prophecies of this sort prove a divine origin of the Book. To quote the words of another: "Whenever we detect a power of foresight which has been able to penetrate the dark centuries that were lying before it, and to declare with unfailing accuracy the things that should come to pass, we know that such powers must have proceeded from God, and from God alone."

One very suggestive fact about the prophecies is that there would sometimes be two apparently contradictory lines of prophecy, and yet both be literally fulfilled in the outcome. For example, there are two lines of prophecy about the Christ. One line of prophecy set forth an all-conquering Messiah, who should break the nations with a rod of iron and be all-triumphant. (Ps. 2, and many passages.) The other line of prophecy set forth a suffering Messiah, "despised and rejected of men," slain, crucified. (Isa. 53, Dan. 9:24-26, Zech. 12:10.) So great was this enigma and apparent contradiction that this solution was proposed: that there were to be two Messiahs, one a suffering Messiah of the tribe of Joseph, and the other a conquering Messiah of the tribe of Judah. But in the outcome the enigma is solved in the two comings of the one Messiah, the first coming to suffer and make atonement for sin, the second coming to conquer and to reign. When the acts which occur centuries after make clear the prophecies uttered centuries before, and fulfill both sides to the letter, must not an honest and candid mind see God back of the prophecies?

There are in the Bible other prophecies about heathen cities which seemed improbable of fulfillment at the time, and in part contradictory and impossible of fulfillment, but they are being literally fufilled right before our eyes, in our own day. Was God back of these prophecies, or wasn't He?

But there is another class of prohecies more remarkable still, the prophecies contained in the types of Scripture. When you ask the superficial student of the Old Testament what portion of the Old Testament is prophetical, he will mention the major and minor prophets, and perhaps some of the other explicit verbal prophecies scattered through the Psalms, the historical books, and the law of Moses. But ask the man who has really gone into the study of the Old Testament thoroughly and profoundly, and he will tell you that the entire Old Testament is prophetical; that its legislation is prophetical, its history is prophetical, its personages are prophetical, its institutions are prophetical. Then if you wonder what he means, and will take time to inquire, he will show you how everything about the tabernacle—for example, its threefold division, its furniture, the table of shew-bread, the golden candlestick, the altar of incense, the ark of the covenant, the brazen altar, the laver, the boards of the tabernacle, the coverings of the tabernacle—were prophetical of great facts and truths about Jesus Christ and the plan of salvation and the church and heaven. He will show you how Joseph was a prophetic type of Christ in many marvelous ways. He will show you the same thing about David and Solomon. And so he will go on, and show you wonderful foreshadowings of Christ, and of the church, and of Israel's rejection of the Messiah, and the coming day of atonement for Israel, and the feast of tabernacles that is to follow. And if you follow him closely you will soon see that this is not at all fanciful, but that evidently the real author of these portions of Scripture intended all this. Of course, to fully appreciate the force of this, one must go deeply into it, and the more deeply he goes into it the more will he be filled with wonder and admiration. Unfortunately the destructive critics never do go into these things. They are so occupied with their ingenious literary speculations and the pursuit of methods of literary analysis and criticism that have been discredited and abandoned in other branches of literary study than the study of the Bible, that they have no time for the study of the actual contents of the literature they are analyzing and of which they are trying to discover "the sources." When the attention of the writer was first called to the types, he thought the things claimed about them fanciful. But study of them has thoroughly convinced him of his mistake. Now, how are we to account for these innumerable minute foreshadowings of facts to come to pass and truths to be revealed centuries later? Is this within the power of man's wisdom? Any candid man knows it is not. As one honestly studies these things he is led to exclaim, "Surely, this is the hand of God." As any man who is not blinded by sin studies the leaf of a tree or the dust of a butterfly's wings beneath the microscope, he sees the wis-dom and the hand of God in it, and as any one microscopically studies the types of the Old Testament, ever more and more clearly does he see the hand of God in them.

3. The third proof of the divine origin and authority of the Bible is the unity of the Book. It has been often said that the Bible is not merely a book, but a literature. This is true, and a marvelously composite literature it is. There are in it sixty-six books, composed by about forty authors, in three different languages, exhibiting many styles of literary composition—epic poetry, lyric poetry, erotic poetry, elegy, dirge, didactic poetry, rhapsody, and prose, history, prophecy, vision, allegory, parable, proverb. These books extend in the period of their composition over at least fifteen hundred years. They were composed in lands far remote from one another. The writers lived under widely differing forms of civil government, and were from every class of society, from the king upon his throne down to the shepherd, the fisherman, the herdsman, the cheap politician, and the prisoner in his cell. Now, in such a conglom-erate literature as that what would we naturally expect? The widest diversity, disagreement, and contradiction. In point of fact, what do we find? The most singular harmony and unity from the first verse of the first book to the last verse of the last book. Now here is a fact clamoring to be accounted for. How is it to be accounted for rationally and fairly, except on the ground that back of the human authors was the all-governing and superintending mind of God? And the more one studies, the more evident it becomes that this superintendence of God extended down to phrases, Words, and the minutest shadings of a word.

The character of this unity is significant. First of all, it is not a superficial, but a profound unity. On the surface there oftentimes seems to be wide divergence, and even flat contradiction, but the deeper we go below the surface the more the unity appears. It is also an organic unity. It is not a mechanical unity, but the unity of life and growth. In the early books we have the seed, the germinal truth, farther on the young plant, then the bud, the blossom, and the perfect�