What Is the Bible’s View?
Why Did God Author a Book?
WHY did God choose to author a book to communicate with the human family? That God did so, we read in these words: “All Scripture is inspired of God.” (2 Tim. 3:16) And the prophecies contained in those Scriptures were “at no time brought by man’s will, but men spoke from God as they were borne along by holy spirit.”—2 Pet. 1:21.
But why did this communication need to be in written form? There are a number of reasons. Consider, for example, what the Bible is—God’s revelation to the human family. Among other things, it gives us the only accurate account of the creation of the earth and mankind. It tells us why God put humans on earth, and what went wrong so that suffering, sickness and death now plague the human family. It also tells us what the solution will certainly be, so that God’s purpose for this earth and mankind will finally be realized in full.
Such information comes from the One who is in the best position to know—the Creator himself. This kind of insight could not be obtained from human sources. It required a divine revelation.
The Bible also contains the complete record of God’s dealings with his people and with the nations down through the ages. And it includes God’s laws and principles for human behavior.
This large body of vital information accumulated over the centuries could not be left safely for oral tradition to hand down from one generation to another. For instance, would the word-of-mouth transmission by the scribes and Pharisees who opposed Jesus be a safe source of information about his life and works?
Or would any large nation permit its constitution or law codes to be preserved only by oral repetition? No, but such law codes are carefully committed to writing so that they can provide reliable guidance, allowing for study and application.
Since God knew that the human family would spread around the world, he knew that oral tradition would be an unsafe reservoir for his communications to mankind. By committing his thoughts to writing, his message would be best preserved. That is why the apostle Paul counseled: “Do not go beyond the things that are written.”—1 Cor. 4:6.
Having God’s communication in a readable form enables sincere searchers for truth to examine its contents carefully. A person does not have to depend upon someone with special qualifications to tell him details of God’s purposes by word of mouth, which can be distorted or forgotten. Having His Word in a book gives us the opportunity of checking what others say about Him. That is what was done in the first century, for some “received the word with the greatest eagerness of mind, carefully examining the Scriptures daily as to whether these things were so.” (Acts 17:11) We can do the same today because we have God’s Word in written form.
God is economical, too, as well as considerate of human limitations. His written communication to us is not found in huge sets of encyclopedias that would be difficult for most people to obtain, and difficult to read as well. Instead, God has provided one simple volume that can be easily handled and is well within the financial reach of everybody. Yet it is comprehensive enough to give us what we need. It answers all our basic questions about who God is, what the purpose of life is, and what the future holds for us.
True, in times past God did communicate in other ways. With our first parents God dealt more directly. (Gen. 3:8-13) He did the same with Noah. (Gen. 6:13-22) At various times, he sent angels to deliver certain messages to a particular person or group.—Gen. 22:11-18; Acts 12:6-11.
As long as the family of God’s servants was small, this was practical. But with increase of God’s servants through the line of Noah and Shem, more was needed. In time, the favored nation of Israel came to number several million people, when they left Egyptian captivity. No longer was God’s relationship with his servants like that of a father dealing with just a few children. With such a large family now, written instructions were required.
Bible writing began with God’s “finger” carving out the Ten Commandments for Moses on stone tablets. (Ex. 31:18) Then, over a period of some 1,600 years, about forty writers were directed by God’s active force to contribute to the sixty-six books now making up the Bible. These individuals who were “entrusted with the sacred pronouncements of God” were all faithful servants of Jehovah.—Rom. 3:2.
The practicality of having God’s message in book form was made more evident when Jesus told his followers: “You will receive power when the holy spirit arrives upon you, and you will be witnesses of me both in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the most distant part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8) He also said: “This good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come.”—Matt. 24:14.
Having God’s communication in written form meant that it could be translated into all languages. That this was proper can be seen by the fact that God himself directed a change in languages from Hebrew to Aramaic and Greek when he inspired the writing of the Bible. And with God overseeing the spread of his Word, he saw to it that regardless of how many languages it was translated into, his message would remain intact. So today, his written Word is available in a practical, usable, dependable form in hundreds of languages. It is available to people of all nations.
That God’s hand was in the origin, transmission, and preservation of his Word can be seen in the care and extent to which the Bible copying was done. Hebrew scholar W. H. Green stated of the Hebrew portion: “It may be safely said that no other work of antiquity has been so accurately transmitted.” And of the Greek portion, scholar Jack Finegan wrote: “The close relationship in time between the oldest New Testament manuscripts and the original texts is also nothing less than amazing . . . the certainty with which the text of the New Testament is established exceeds that of any other ancient book.”
But all of this was to be expected, since the Bible came to us “not as the word of men, but, just as it truthfully is, as the word of God.” (1 Thess. 2:13) So today, for the faith of those who sincerely desire to worship God correctly, we have God’s loving provision of the book that he authored, which is “a lamp to my foot, and a light to my roadway.”—Ps. 119:105.