Why the Bible Is God’s Inspired Gift
THE Bible says that “God is love” and ascribes wisdom and power to him. (1 John 4:8; Job 12:13; Isaiah 40:26) It tells us that “all his ways are justice.” (Deuteronomy 32:4) According to the Bible, God also displays such qualities as mercy and compassion.—Exodus 34:6; Romans 9:15.
Because the Bible ascribes such qualities to Jehovah God, it draws groping humans to him. This book speaks of creation, the origin of sin and death, and the means of reconciliation with God. It presents an enthralling hope of Paradise restored to the earth. But all of this is of value only if it can be proved that the Bible is an inspired gift from God.
The Bible and Science
The Bible has consistently triumphed over criticism. For instance, when it is read with an open mind, it is found to be in harmony with true science. Of course, the Bible was prepared as a spiritual guide, not as a science textbook. But let us see if the Bible agrees with scientific facts.
Anatomy: The Bible accurately says that ‘all the parts’ of a human embryo are “in writing.” (Psalm 139:13-16) The brain, the heart, the lungs, the eyes—these and all the other body parts are ‘written down’ in the genetic code of the fertilized egg in the mother’s womb. Contained in this code are internal timetables for the appearance of each of these parts in proper order. And just think! This fact about the development of the human body was recorded in the Bible almost 3,000 years before scientists discovered the genetic code.
Animal life: According to the Bible, “the hare . . . is a chewer of the cud.” (Leviticus 11:6) François Bourlière (The Natural History of Mammals, 1964, page 41) says: “The habit of ‘refection,’ or passing the food twice through the intestine instead of only once, seems to be a common phenomenon in the rabbits and hares. Domestic rabbits usually eat and swallow without chewing their night droppings, which form in the morning as much as half the total contents of the stomach. In the wild rabbit refection takes place twice daily, and the same habit is reported for the European hare.” In this regard, the work Mammals of the World (by E. P. Walker, 1964, Volume II, page 647) states: “This may be similar to ‘chewing the cud’ in ruminant mammals.”
Archaeology: Biblical kings, cities, and nations have come to life with the discovery of clay tablets, pottery, inscriptions, and the like. For instance, such people as the Hittites mentioned in the Scriptures actually did exist. (Exodus 3:8) In his book The Bible Comes Alive, Sir Charles Marston said: “Those who have shaken popular faith in the Bible, and undermined its authority, are in turn undermined themselves by the evidence that has been brought to light, and their authority destroyed. The spade is driving destructive criticism out of the field of questionable facts into that of recognized fiction.”
Archaeology has supported the Bible in many ways. For example, discoveries have confirmed the places and names found in Genesis chapter 10. Excavators have uncovered the Chaldean city of Ur, the commercial and religious center where Abraham was born. (Genesis 11:27-31) Above the spring of Gihon in the southeastern part of Jerusalem, archaeologists found the Jebusite city taken by King David. (2 Samuel 5:4-10) The Siloam Inscription carved at one end of King Hezekiah’s conduit, or aqueduct, was discovered in 1880. (2 Kings 20:20) Babylon’s fall to Cyrus the Great in 539 B.C.E. is related in the Nabonidus Chronicle, unearthed in the 19th century C.E. Details in the book of Esther have been confirmed by inscriptions from Persepolis and the discovery of the palace of King Xerxes (Ahasuerus) at Shushan, or Susa, between 1880 and 1890 C.E. An inscription found in 1961 in the ruins of a Roman theater at Caesarea proved the existence of Roman governor Pontius Pilate, who handed Jesus over for impalement.—Matthew 27:11-26.
Astronomy: Some 2,700 years ago—long before people in general knew that the earth is round—the prophet Isaiah wrote: “There is One who is dwelling above the circle of the earth.” (Isaiah 40:22) The Hebrew word chugh here translated “circle,” may also be rendered “sphere.” (A Concordance of the Hebrew and Chaldee Scriptures, by B. Davidson) Then, too, “the circle” of the earth’s horizon is clearly seen from outer space and sometimes during high-altitude airplane travel. Incidentally, Job 26:7 says that God is “hanging the earth upon nothing.” This is true, for astronomers know that the earth has no visible means of support.
Botany: Some wrongly conclude that the Bible is inaccurate because Jesus Christ spoke of “a mustard grain” as “the tiniest of all the seeds.” (Mark 4:30-32) Likely, Jesus meant the seed of the black mustard plant (Brassica nigra or Sinapis nigra), which is only about 0.039 to 0.063 inch [1 to 1.6 mm] in diameter. Though there are smaller seeds, such as fine-as-powder seeds of the orchid, Jesus was not talking to people who grew orchids. Those Galilean Jews knew that of the various types of seeds sown by local farmers, the mustard seed was the tiniest. Jesus was talking about the Kingdom, not teaching a lesson in botany.
Geology: Regarding the Bible account of creation, the noted geologist Wallace Pratt said: “If I as a geologist were called upon to explain briefly our modern ideas of the origin of the earth and the development of life on it to a simple, pastoral people, such as the tribes to whom the Book of Genesis was addressed, I could hardly do better than follow rather closely much of the language of the first chapter of Genesis.” Pratt noted that the order of events in Genesis—the origin of oceans, the emergence of land, and then the appearance of marine life, birds, and mammals—is essentially the sequence of the principal divisions of geologic time.
Medicine: In his book The Physician Examines the Bible, C. Raimer Smith wrote: “It is very surprising to me that the Bible is so accurate from the medical standpoint. . . . Where treatment is mentioned, as for boils, wounds, etc., it is correct even by modern standards. . . . Many superstitions are still believed by large numbers of people such as, that a buckeye in the pocket will prevent rheumatism; that handling toads will cause warts; that wearing red flannel around the neck will cure a sore throat; that an asafetida bag will prevent diseases; that every time a child is sick it has worms; etc., but no such statements are found in the Bible. This in itself is remarkable and to me is another proof of its divine origin.”
Reliable in Historical Details
In his book A Lawyer Examines the Bible, attorney Irwin H. Linton observed: “While romances, legends and false testimony are careful to place the events related in some distant place and some indefinite time, thereby violating the first rules we lawyers learn of good pleading, that ‘the declaration must give time and place,’ the Bible narratives give us the date and place of the things related with the utmost precision.”
To prove this point, Linton cited Luke 3:1, 2. There the Gospel writer mentioned seven officials so as to establish the time when Jesus Christ began His ministry. Notice the details Luke provided in these words: “In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was district ruler of Galilee, but Philip his brother was district ruler of the country of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias was district ruler of Abilene, in the days of chief priest Annas and of Caiaphas, God’s declaration came to John the son of Zechariah in the wilderness.”
The Bible is filled with similar details. Moreover, such portions of it as the Gospels were penned during a period of highly developed Jewish, Greek, and Roman culture. It was a time of lawyers, writers, administrators, and the like. Surely, then, if the details found in the Gospels and other parts of the Bible had not been factual, they would have been exposed as being fraudulent. But secular historians confirmed such points as the existence of Jesus Christ. For example, concerning Jesus and His followers the Roman historian Tacitus wrote: “Christus, from whom the name [Christians] had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus.” (Annals, Book XV, 44) The Bible’s historical accuracy helps to prove that it is God’s gift to mankind.
The Greatest Evidence
Though archaeology, astronomy, history, and other fields of knowledge support the Bible, faith in it does not rest on such confirmation. Among the many proofs that the Bible is God’s inspired gift to us, no greater evidence can be presented than the fulfillment of its prophecies.
Jehovah God is the Source of true prophecy. Through his prophet Isaiah, he said: “The first things—here they have come, but new things I am telling out. Before they begin to spring up, I cause you people to hear them.” (Isaiah 42:9) Moreover, the Bible says that its writers were inspired of God by means of his holy spirit, or active force. For example, the Christian apostle Paul wrote: “All Scripture is inspired of God.” (2 Timothy 3:16) The apostle Peter wrote: “No prophecy of Scripture springs from any private interpretation. For prophecy was at no time brought by man’s will, but men spoke from God as they were borne along by holy spirit.” (2 Peter 1:20, 21) So let us look at Bible prophecy.
Among the hundreds of prophecies in the Bible are those concerning the Assyrian capital, Nineveh, “the city of bloodshed” that instilled terror throughout the ancient Middle East for more than 15 centuries. (Nahum 3:1) Yet, at the height of Nineveh’s power, the Bible foretold: “[God] will make Nineveh a desolate waste, a waterless region like the wilderness. And in the midst of her, droves will certainly lie stretched out, all the wild animals of a nation. Both pelican and porcupine will spend the night right among her pillar capitals. A voice will keep singing in the window. There will be devastation at the threshold; for he will certainly lay bare the very wainscoting.” (Zephaniah 2:13, 14) Today, visitors see that only a mound marks the desolate site of ancient Nineveh. Furthermore, flocks of sheep graze there, as foretold.
In vision, God’s prophet Daniel beheld a two-horned ram and a male goat with a great horn between its eyes. The goat struck down the ram, breaking its two horns. Thereafter, the goat’s great horn was broken, and four horns came up in its place. (Daniel 8:1-8) The angel Gabriel explained: “The ram that you saw possessing the two horns stands for the kings of Media and Persia. And the hairy he-goat stands for the king of Greece; and as for the great horn that was between its eyes, it stands for the first king. And that one having been broken, so that there were four that finally stood up instead of it, there are four kingdoms from his nation that will stand up, but not with his power.” (Daniel 8:20-22) As history has proved, the two-horned ram—the Medo-Persian Empire—was overthrown by “the king of Greece.” That figurative he-goat had a “great horn” in the person of Alexander the Great. After his death, his four generals replaced that “great horn” by establishing themselves in power in “four kingdoms.”
Scores of prophecies in the Hebrew Scriptures (“Old Testament”) have been fulfilled in connection with Jesus Christ. Some of these were applied to him by divinely inspired writers of the Christian Greek Scriptures (“New Testament”). For instance, the Gospel writer Matthew pointed out the fulfillment of Scriptural prophecies in Jesus’ birth by means of a virgin, in His having a forerunner, and in His entry into Jerusalem on the colt of an ass. (Compare Matthew 1:18-23; 3:1-3; 21:1-9 with Isaiah 7:14; 40:3; Zechariah 9:9.) Such fulfilled prophecies help to prove that the Bible is indeed God’s inspired gift.
The present fulfillment of Bible prophecy proves that we are living in “the last days.” (2 Timothy 3:1-5) Wars, food shortages, pestilences, and earthquakes of unparalleled proportions are part of “the sign” of Jesus’ “presence” in Kingdom power. That sign also includes the worldwide activity of over four million Witnesses of Jehovah, who are preaching the good news of the established Kingdom. (Matthew 24:3-14; Luke 21:10, 11) Bible prophecy now undergoing fulfillment also assures us that God’s heavenly government under Jesus Christ will soon bring about a new world of eternal happiness for obedient mankind.—2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 21:1-5.
The accompanying chart headed “Bible Prophecies Fulfilled” presents just a few of the hundreds of Bible prophecies that could be listed. Fulfillment of some of these was noted in the Scriptures themselves, but especially noteworthy are prophecies that are being fulfilled today.
Likely, you can see certain worldwide developments foretold in the Bible. But why not investigate further? Jehovah’s Witnesses will gladly provide additional details at your request. And may your sincere quest for knowledge of the Most High and his purposes convince you that the Bible truly is God’s inspired gift.
[Chart on page 7]
BIBLE PROPHECIES FULFILLED
Zephaniah 2:13, 14 Nineveh desolated in about 632 B.C.E.
Jeremiah 25:1-11; Jerusalem’s conquest begins 70-year
Psalm 16:10; Resurrection of Christ on the third day
Luke 21:10, 11; Unparalleled warfare, famine, earthquakes,
Matthew 24:3-13; pestilences, lawlessness, and so forth,
2 Timothy 3:1-5 signifying “the last days”
Matthew 24:14; Worldwide proclamation by Jehovah’s
Isaiah 43:10; Witnesses that God’s Kingdom is
Psalm 2:1-9 established and will soon conquer all
Matthew 24:21-34; International family of Jehovah’s
Revelation 7:9-17 Witnesses worshiping God and preparing
for survival of “the great
[Picture on page 8]
War, famine, pestilences, and earthquakes take their toll today, but a new world of peace and happiness is on the horizon