By Ken Overby | 

Since God is the highest authority, then the Word of God is its own authority. “For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself.” 1 David penned, “thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.” 2 Some contend that the Bible is not the Word of God and textual critics claim that the Bible is flawed with errors and contradictions. We firmly believe in scripture’s inspiration and inerrancy. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God.” 3 This means that is was literally “God breathed.” With what scriptural evidence can we effectively refute them? Peter challenges us to “be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you.”4 Christian apologetics is giving a reasoned defense of the faith. Four key lines of evidence are the testimony of scripture, the unity of scripture, the testimony of archaeology and the testimony of prophecy. These four rest on the foundation of the divine inspiration and preservation of scripture.

Testimony of Scripture

Dr. Norman Geisler points out that there are three elements of inspiration. First, there is God’s causality. By “His promptings the prophets were led to write.” The second factor is the prophetic agency. “The Word of God comes through the men of God.” Finally, the written prophetic utterance is invested with divine authority. “The prophet’s words are God’s Words.”5 Inspiration is threefold. It is verbal in that the words were given by God. It is plenary, or full, so that no part of scripture is without inspiration. Finally, there is the inerrancy of God’s words. Whatever God utters is true, therefore, it is without error. “The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.” 6 There is another critical element – preservation. Jesus said, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” 7 “Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” 8 This is based on God’s character of immutability. “For I am the Lord, I change not.” 9

The first defense is the internal evidence of scripture. The Bible speaks with divine authority, claiming origin from God, “Thus saith the Lord.” This is referred to as prima facia, literally, first face or evidence visibly evident. “Not only does the Old Testament claim inspiration for itself, but that claim is overwhelmingly supported by the New Testament use of…references to sections of the Old Testament.”10 Jesus and the New Testament writers referred to the complete Hebrew canon of their day as inspired.11 He and His disciples rested their faith and message totally on the Jewish scriptures. On the road to Emmaus, even after He was “declared to be the Son of God with power…by the resurrection from the dead,” 12 He concealed His physical identity to establish their faith on inspired scriptures. “beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.” 13 Paul established the foundation stone of Jesus’ authenticity – “Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.” 14 What scriptures? “When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture, [Law and Prophets] and the word which Jesus had said.” 15 His divine identity was not revealed to them by flesh and blood but by the Law and Prophets.

The predictive identifiers in the Old Testament about a resurrected Messiah authenticated that the “Anointed One” was God in flesh who was promised, would die, and would live again.16 No greater rebuke came across the lips of Jesus to his followers than when on the evening of resurrection day. He said, “O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken.” 17

If the Old Testament was not inspired, then Jesus and His message have no credibility. “First, there are many terms in the New Testament, such as Scripture, Word of God, Law, and Prophets, which are used to refer authoritatively to the Old Testament as a whole.” “Twenty-two books of the Hebrew canon have their claim for inspiration confirmed individually by the New Testament writers, who regard the record of events or teachings therein as authentic and/or divine in origin.”18 The writer of Hebrews states that the authoritative inspiration of Moses’ words not only applies to but is superseded by Jesus’ inspired words. “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son.” 19

Jesus is the key in that he affirmed the inspiration of the Jewish scriptures and promised the divine inspiration of yet revealed “truth” that the Holy Spirit would give to his Jewish apostles.20 In John chapter ten, He promised them that God would speak through them. Those who believed their words and placed their faith in Jesus for salvation “continued in the apostle’s doctrine.” 21 The church was “built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone.” 22

If the Law and Prophets were not inspired, then neither was He nor his apostles. Since the Hebrew Scriptures were inspired and Jesus fulfilled the Law and the prophecies, both the inspiration of His words and the inspired Word of his apostles, stand on equally solid ground.

Three key passages explicitly claim the New Testament is inspired by God. Paul affirms to Timothy, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God.” 23 The writer of Hebrews claims that New Testament doctrine of the apostles are, “the oracles of God.” 24 John the apostle gave the last word on the authority of the entire canon of the Old and New Testaments. “If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life.” 25

Unity of Scripture

If an author were to assemble a team of forty writers and assign to them the task of writing one chapter each on a theme of their choice, the chances of a novel with a unified plot would be zero. How astonishing is it that God chose over forty penmen, covering a time-period of more than 1500 years from various cultures and languages, to write not one but sixty-six books. Yet the Bible has one consistent theme – the redemption and reconciliation of man back to God through the sacrificial atonement by the promised Messiah and Savior Jesus.

Archaeological Testimony to Scripture’s Inerrancy

With the vast amount of archaeological evidence unearthed over the last century, “There has been no shred of evidence yet discovered that contradicts the Word of God.”26 As to the preservation of inspired scripture no greater evidence has been unearthed than the recovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls. From 1947-1956, thousands of manuscripts were discovered in caves at the Dead Sea. These date as early as 135 BC27 and constituted the archives of a monastic, Messianic sect of Judaism. The manuscripts included the complete scroll of Isaiah and thousands of fragments which represent every book of the Old Testament, except the book of Esther. Regarding the scroll of Isaiah, Gleason Archer observed, “This Hebrew text which we call Masoretic, faithfully represents the Hebrew text as originally written by the authors of the Old Testament.”28 It was no coincidence that this unknown time capsule of holy writ was discovered at the same time that God fulfilled His 2,600 year-old promise to reestablish the nation of Israel. The Dead Sea Scrolls are the greatest archaeological evidence that God inspired and preserved His inerrant, written Word.

Cave at Qumran in Israel where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found (above)

The Testimony of Prophecy

Isaiah wrote that prophetic oracles are the ultimate test of scriptural authenticity as a challenge to false prophets. “Let them bring them forth, and shew us what shall happen: let them shew the former things, what they be, that we may consider them, and know the latter end of them; or declare us things for to come. Shew the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that ye are gods.”29 Josh McDowell relayed the statistical probability of one person fulfilling the Messianic prophecies as per the research of Peter Stoner, Professor Emeritus of Science at Westmont College. He calculated the probability of one man fulfilling just eight of the three hundred plus Messianic prophecies. “He conservatively estimated that the chance of one man fulfilling all eight prophecies was one in 10^17.”30 To illustrate how large the number 10^17 is (a figure with 17 zeros), Stoner gave this illustration; “Suppose that we take 10^17 silver dollars and lay them on the face of Texas. They will cover all of the state two feet deep. Now mark one of these silver dollars and stir the whole mass thoroughly, all over the state. Blindfold a man and tell him that he can travel as far as he wishes, but he must pick up one silver dollar and say that this is the right one. What chance would he have of getting the right one?”31 In Jesus, not just eight but over three hundred were fulfilled!

Jesus, the incarnation of God’s word, is the foundation stone of our faith. His life is the keystone of prophetic fulfillment. His inerrant life and words are the touchstone of our assurance. He said, “for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth.” 32 Pilate asked Jesus, “What is truth?” The question is, “Who is Truth?” He said, “I am the way, the truth and the life.” 33 “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” 34

1. Hebrews 6:13
2. Psalm 138:2
3. 2 Timothy 3:16
4. 1 Peter 3:15
5. A General Introduction to the Bible Revised and Expanded, Norman L. Geisler and William E. Nix, Moody Press, Chicago, 1986 P 192
6. Psalm 19:9
7. Matthew 24:35
8. Matthew 5:18
9. Malachi 3:6
10. Geisler and Nix, P 77
11. Ibid, P 79
12. Romans 1:4
13. Luke 24:27
14. 1 Corinthians15:3,4
15. John 2:22
16. Isaiah 53:9,10
17. Luke 24:25
18. Geisler and Nix, P 88
19. Hebrews 1:1,2
20. John 16:13
21. Acts 2:42
22. Ephesians 2;20
23. 2 Timothy 3:16
24. Hebrews 5:12
25. Revelation 22:18,19
26. Why I preach that the Bible Is Literally True Dr. W. A. Criswell, Broadman Press, Nashville, Tennessee, 1969 P 38
27. Geisler and Nix, P 366
28. Ibid, P 367
29. Isaiah 41:22-23
30. Science Speaks, Peter Stoner, Chicago: Moody Press, 1969, P 4
31. Josh McDowell, Evidence that Demands a Verdict, California: Campus Crusade for Christ, 1979 P 175
32. John 18:37,38
33. John 14:6
34. John 1:14

Rev. Ken Overby

Rev. Ken Overby

Ministry Representative

Discover more from Jewish Awareness Ministries

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading