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2 Timothy 3:16,17 says: "All Scripture is inspired of God, and beneficial for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight, for disciplining in righteousness, that the man of God may be fully competent, completely equipped for every good work." So what do you think? How do you view the Bible?
Is it: A work of fine literature
One of several equally acceptable sacred texts
A book of legends with underlying moral lessons
The Word of God
Does it matter what you believe? The Bible says about itself in Romans 15:4 "All the things that were written aforetime were written for our instruction, that through our endurance and through the comfort from the Scriptures we might have hope." From these 2 scriptures we can see the Bible is designed to instruct and comfort us, give us hope.
If the Bible were merely a work of literature or just one of many holy books, would you trust it to instruct you and guide your family, especially if its message differed from what you thought to be right? If the Bible were a collection of myths, would you derive comfort and hope from its promises?
And yet millions who have studied the Bible are convinced that it is the unique Word of God. Why? What distinguishes the Bible from other books?
A lawyer, Irwin H. Linton examined the Bible he said: "Bible prophecies are...so numerous as to make accidental fulfillment almost infinitely improbable." Ancient oracles were notoriously ambiguous and unreliable, modern horoscopes are no better. Futurology is based on current trends and rarely even attempt to predict specific events centuries in advance. By contrast, Bible prophecies are detailed and always come true, even if they tell "from long ago the things that have not been done."-Isaiah 46:10.
The prophet Daniel, in the 6th century B.C.E., foretold the rapid defeat of Medo-Persia by Greece. And that as soon as the victorious king of Greece 'became mighty', his kingship would be 'broken', and replaced and 4 kingdoms from his nation would stand up, though they would not be as powerful. Daniel 8:5-8,20-22.
Over 200 years after Daniel's time, Alexander the Great became king of Greece. Within 10 years, Alexander defeated the Medo-Persian Empire & extended his rule as far as the Indus River (Pakistan.) He died suddenly at the age of 32. His empire was dissolved in a battle near Ipsus in Asia Minor. The 4 victors divided his empire among themselves.
What do you think? Can any other book claim such a record of fulfilled prophecy? Or is the Bible unique?
Luke, physician, historian, wrote in Luke 1:3 "I have traced all things from the start with accuracy." Legends and myths relate fanciful tales that omit specific locations, dates, and names of historical figures. The Bible includes countless historical details that have been verified by archaeologists thus assuring readers that its "sayings are supremely true."--Psalm 119:160
Among the ruins of ancient Babylon, archaeologists uncovered adminsitrative documents dated to the reign of Nebuchadnezzar II, listing rations given to prisoners & others dependent on the royal household verifying the Bible account at 2 Kings 24:11,15;25:27-30. It also verified the existence of Nebuchadnezzar's successor, Evil-merodach.
What do you think? Is any other ancient religious text as specific and accurate when it touches on history? Or is the Bible unique?
The Manual of Tropical Medicine, by Drs. Aldo Castellani & Albert J. Chalmers said, "No one can fail to be impressed by the careful hygienic precautions of the Mosaic period." Ancient books often feature unsound & dangerous ideas that have been thoroughly debunked by modern science. Even today, authors must update textbooks to harmonize with new discoveries. But the Bible claims that it was authored by the Creator and that his Word. "endures forever."-1 Peter 1:25. The Mosaic Law commanded the Israelites to dispose of sewage in a covered hole "outside the camp." (Deuteronomy 23:12,13) If they touched a dead animal or human, the Israelites had to wash with water. (Leviticus 11:27,28;Numbers 19:14-16) Lepers back then were quarantined until a physical examination confirmed that they were no longer contagious.--Leviticus 13:1-8. Today it is acknowledged that proper sewage disposal, hand washing, and quarantine remain effective ways to fight disease. If there are no latrines or other sanitation systems nearby, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends: "Defecate at least 30 meters (100 feet) away from any body of water and then bury your feces." When communities dispose of excrement safely, they reduce diarrheal disease by 36%, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Less than 300 years ago, physicians discovered that they infected many patients when they did not wash their hands after handling corpses. The CDC still calls hand washing "the single most effective way to prevent the transmission of disease." What about the quarantine of lepers or those with other diseases? The Saudi Medical Journal in a recent article said: "In the early stages of an epidemic, isolation and quarantine may be the only and last resort to effectively control infectious diseases." What do you think? Would you expect any other ancient holy book to harmonize with modern science? Or is the Bible unique?
James Orr wrote in The Problem of the Old Testament "When these writings are put together, they constitute, structurally, one book...There is nothing exactly resembling it, or even approaching it, in all literature." Peter told us in 2 Peter 1:21: "Prophecy was at no time brought by man's will, but men spoke from God as they were borne along by holy spirit." Even contemporaneous records from ancient times often contradict one another. Books written by different men, in different places, at different times rarely harmonize completely. Yet, the Bible claims that all of its 66 books have but one Author--presenting a unified and harmonious message.--2 Timothy 3:16. Moses, a shepherd of the 16th century B.C.E., wrote in the Bible's first book that a "seed" would come to save mankind. This book later foretold that the seed would be a descendant of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. (Genesis 3:15;22:17,18; 26:24; 28:14) About 500 years later, the prophet Nathan revealed that the seed would be in the royal lone of David. (2 Samuel 7:12) A thousand years later the apostle Paul explained that the seed would be made up of Jesus and a group of his chosen followers. (Romans 1:1-4; Galatians 3:16,29) By the end of the first century C.E., the last book of the Bible prophesied that members of the seed would bear witness to Jesus on earth, be raised to heaven, and rule with him for 1,000 years. This composite seed will destroy the Devil and save mankind. Revelation 12:17; 20:6-10. A Bible commentator, Louis Gaussen in Theopneusty--The Plenary Inspiration of the Holy Scriptures, after a thorough investigation of the Bible's 66 books wrote that he was astonished by "the imposing unity of this book, composed during sixteen hundred years by so many authors,...who yet pursued one and the same plan, and advanced constantly, as if they themselves understood it, towards that one great end, the history of the world's redemption by the Son of God." What do you think? Would you expect a book written over a span of more than 1,600 years by some 40 different men to be totally harmonious? Or is the Bible unique?
Howard Kelly, M.D., Founding Faculty Member of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine wrote: "The Bible appeals to me strongly...because it is such excellent medicine." Psalm 119:105 says: "Your word is a lamp to my foot, and a light to my roadway." How is the Bible different? Literary works may be considered classics, but they are hardly guidebooks. And modern instruction manuals need to be revised constantly. The Bible, on the other had, claims that "the things that were written aforetime were written for our instructions."--Romans 15:4. Though not a medical guide, the Bible contains practical suggestions on good emotional and physical health. It states that "a calm heart is the life of the fleshly organism." (Proverbs 14:30) The Bible also warns: "One isolating himself will seek how own selfish longing; against all practical wisdom he will break forth." (Proverbs 18:1) On the other hand, it states that "there is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving."--Acts 20:35. Research reveals that calmness, strong friendships, and generosity can improve your health. The Journal of the American Medical Association reports:
Men who experience outbursts of anger have twice the risk of stroke as men who control their tempers." A 10-year study in Australia found that elderly people who had "better social networks with friends and confidants" were more likely to live longer. And in 2008, researchers from Canada and the United States learned that "spending money on others promotes happiness more than spending money on oneself." So what do you think? Would you trust advice on health issues from any other book completed almost 2,000 years ago? Or is the Bible unique?