The Bible isn't like any other book that has been written. The claims of the Bible are unlike any other book -- it's not a human book! Unless you have a rock solid commitment to the truth, it will not change your life -- it will only be so many words in a sea of words. God called His Word living. You can't mess with it; it's too heavy!
You know many of the Eastern thought forms use Scripture. That's because the book is so powerful -- you can't ignore it. If you don't use it, you can't capture people's hearts. God has built life into His Word, and all of the strong cults rip it off -- steal bites out of the Bible and use it. They use the truth of it to try to justify the lies that they are talking about. Just the fact that the pieces taken out of context are powerful enough to draw men's hearts should tell you that the whole Word, used under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, can do!
So what are this book's credentials? I could say to you, "I have just written a book, and it is the Word of God. It's a great book, took me a year to write it". And you would have every right to say, "Prove it!" There are 30-40 books in the various world religions, each one claiming to be a superior revelation. Jesus said, "Heaven and Earth will pass away, but my words shall not pass away" (Matt. 24:35). How important do you think the earth is? Well, Jesus says, "Heaven and earth will pass away..".
The Bible does not attempt to defend its inspiration. You will not find any verse that says, "This book is really true, so you better believe it!!" But here is an interesting thing, Genesis opens with the words, "God said," 9 times in the first chapter. The statement, "Thus says the Lord" appear 23 times in the last book of the Old Testament - Malachi. "The Lord Spoke" appears 560 times in the first five books of the Bible alone. Isaiah claims at least 40 times that his message came directly from the Lord; Ezekiel, 60 times, and Jeremiah, 100 times! And at least 3800 times in the Old Testament, "The Lord spoke" appears. And the Lord Jesus quoted from at least 24 different Old Testament books -that's right, He just quoted.
These are facts that will be valuable for a person with an open heart -- not that you have to throw your head away in order to believe these facts; but if you do not want to believe, NOTHING will convince you. Voltaire, 250 years ago, held a copy of the Bible in one hand and said, "In 100 this book will be forgotten, eliminated". What is hilarious is that 100 years later, to the day, his house was made the headquarters of the Geneva Bible Society, and they were distributing Bibles out of his house! God has an incredible sense of humor!
Say you were going to write a book, and this is how you had to write it: Take 40 different writers for a start, totally different writers - some highly educated, even doctors. Then get some farmers. Go and dig a guy out of a ranch and say, "I would like you to help me write a book". Then you find some fishermen --you go down to the wharf --a couple of guys from San Francisco, and say, "Hey! listen, help us write a book". And they say, "Sure, fine... we will help you". And then you get them to write on the following things: religious themes, poetry, ethics, science, philosophy, the creation of the Universe and where it's going (throw in a few things about where they think it will all end.) You collect all that, and then... oh, by the way, you have to separate these people so they can't communicate by phone or telegram... only possibly by word of mouth, passed down over the years. Ah, yes, years... you collect all this stuff over about one and a half thousand years, and compile the whole thing in one book. What would you have? I suggest that you take a biology textbook from 60 years ago, and compare it with one today. And that is just 60 years! I know what you would have, you would have the most motley junk you have ever seen in your whole life --with people totally contradicting each other! But that is not what you have when you read your Bible. The more you read this book, the more incredible the unity of it. Because the more you get into it, the more incredibly detailed it is, and you find out there are not forty people who wrote it, but one person.
The Bible is scientifically accurate. The same God who created the universe wrote it. (No statement in the Scriptures is scientifically incorrect). At the time that the Bible was written, they thought that the world was flat and held up by three elephants. Big elephants. Someone asked, "What holds the world up?" Another said, "Three elephants". Then someone ventured to ask, "And what holds up the elephants??" It was answered, "A big tortoise". And so the early sciences grew.
Now, listen to what God said. Remember, this wasn't written in the last hundred years, or even the last thousand. This comes from over 2500 years ago... "Have ye not known? Have ye not heard?... Have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth? It is He that sitteth upon the circle of the earth" (Isaiah 40:21,22). The word "circle" is the word "sphere" in Hebrew. Also, "He stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing" (Job 26:7). (So much for the elephants!)
There are many other astounding scientific facts in the Scripture, presented centuries before it became man's "knowledge". Such as this..".Canst thou bring forth Mazzaroth in his season? Or canst thou guide Arcturus with his sons?" (Job 38:32). Arcturus is a run-away star system. It moves at 257 million miles a second (our sun moves at about 12 1/2 miles a second).
"The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up" (2 Peter 3:10). This very verse was used 90 years ago to prove that the Bible could not have been divinely inspired because, "How could there be a fire big enough to burn the whole world? Silly fisherman!" It took over two more generations for science to catch up to what God had spoken to Peter; that an atomic reaction could actually melt the basic building blocks of matter itself, and God was prophesying how the world would end. In fact, two verses later we find these words, "The heavens being on fire shall be dissolved and the elements shall melt with fervent heat" (vs.12). Do you know what the world "dissolve" is? It's a Greek word that literally means to untie. That is an atomic physics statement from a fisherman! These and countless other examples can show you how the Lord had hidden unsurpassed knowledge and wisdom in His Word. But wait until you see what unfathomable genius lies beneath, woven within the Word itself.
In 1882, a young immigrant from Russia was just graduating from Harvard. He had a wonderful conversion to Christ, after traveling as an agnostic who often lectured on atheism! A brilliant mathematician, multi-lingual scholar and a literary figure, Panin began to study the Scriptures as a Christian. Knowing Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek, he began reading them in the original languages. Now both Hebrew and Greek are unique in that they do not have separate characters for numbers. In other words, they do not use special symbols for their numbers (like our Arabic numerals 1,2,3,etc.) but use instead the letters of their alphabets to represent numbers.
Aware of the numerical values of the Greek and Hebrew alphabets, Panin experimented one day by replacing the letters with their corresponding numbers in Scripture. Here is Panin... a mathematical genius, a Hebrew and Greek scholar, and he loves playing with numbers. Suddenly, his trained mind saw a mathematical pattern! As he studied more intensely, his excitement grew. A few short hours of work had him utterly amazed. The verses he had studied bore unmistakable evidence of an elaborate mathematical pattern, far beyond random chance, or human ability to construct. This discovery marked the turning point in his career, and from that time until his death in 1942, he devoted his entire life to the study of Bible numerics.
He showed, first of all, that the Bible, in its original language, is a skillfully designed product of a mathematical mastermind --far beyond any possibility of deliberate structuring. He later supplied a representative of the Nobel Research Foundation with over 43,000 sheets of his studies accompanied by his statement that this was his evidence that the Bible was the Word of God. Their reply was, "As far as our investigation has proceeded... we find the evidence overwhelmingly in favor of such a statement". He then issued a challenge throughout leading newspapers of the world to offer a "natural explanation" or refute the facts; not a single person was able to do so.
"The words of the Lord are pure words; as silver tried in a furnace of the earth, refined 7 times". -- Psalm 12:6
Panin found that patterns of prime numbers, such as 11, 13, 17 and 23, but especially 7, were found in great clusters. He would add up the sum of all the numeric values for different words, sentences, paragraphs, passages, and whole books, and he found the same patterns in each of these forms! He found that the number of WORDS in a vocabulary divides by 7. The number of proper names, both male and female, divides by 7. The number of words that begin with a vowel divides by 7, likewise the number of words that begin with a consonant. The number of LETTERS in a vocabulary divides by 7, and those letters, those that are vowels and those that are consonants also divide by 7. Words that occurred more than once divide by 7, and also words that appeared only once! The number of nouns is divisible by 7, also the words that are not. Even the number of words beginning with each letter of the alphabet! And on and on... Panin only stayed on a passage long enough to confirm beyond reasonable doubt the statistical evidence for supernatural design. But he stated that the longer you stayed on one, it would continue to yield further and further evidences of pattern within patterns until the mind reeled!!
Here is an example from the Old Testament. Just the very first sentence in the Bible. "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" (Genesis 1:1). That's the way that it comes out in English. In Hebrew it's exactly 7 words. The seven words have exactly 28 (4x7) letters. There are three nouns (God, heavens and earth). Taking the letters of these, substituting their number equivalents and adding them up, you get a combined total of 777 (111x7)! There is on Hebrew verb -- created. It's total numerical value is 203 (29x7). The first three words contain the subject with exactly 14 (2x7) letters, likewise the other four are the object with exactly 14 letters. The Hebrew words for the two objects (heaven and earth) each have 7 letters. The value for the first, middle, and last letters in the sentence is 133 (19x7). The numeric value of the first and last letters of all the words is 1393 (199x7); the value of the first and last letters of the first and last words of the verse is 497 (71x7). The value of the first and last letters of each of the words between is 896 (128x7). And so on, and so on... in this verse alone there are 30 different features of 7. I have listed only 11 of them!! The chance of this happening accidentally is 1 in 33 trillion.
And now an example from the New Testament: Matthew 1:1-11. The vocabulary has 49 words (7x7). 28 words begin with a vowel (4x7), the remaining 21 with a consonant (3x7). 7 end with a vowel, 42 with a consonant (6x7). The 49 words have 266 letters (38x7). Out of the 266 letters, 140 are vowels (20x7), 126 are consonants (18x7). Also, of these 49 words, 14 occur only once (2x7), 35 occur more than once (5x7), 42 (6x7) are nouns, 7 are not. These remaining common nouns have exactly 49 letters (7x7). Male names occur in all 56 times (8x7). The names of only three women appear in the passage, and the Greek letters of their names add up to 14 exactly!
Panin said that it would have taken Matthew several months, working 8 hours a day to construct the genealogy, even if it were possible. But the names were chosen BEFORE MATTHEW WAS BORN!
The whole Bible is like this. I am just taking one small chunk of it and doing it in detail. Every paragraph, passage and book in the Bible can be shown to be constructed in the same marvelous way. What kind of fantastic collaboration between the disciples could have produced this structure without computers? How could mere fisherman and tax-collectors produce this kind of incredible structuring and design? What is crazy is that Mark is a Roman, Luke a Greek, and Matthew a Jew, but they all wrote with the same pattern. Each one wrote with their own unique flavor. Mark's style is different, but the pattern is the same right through! So who wrote it? One Mind, one Author -- One God --many different writers, but One Writer. Can you imagine what kind of Mind would do this and not even care if you ever found out?! What I want you to see is how smart God is! These are not just words, it's an incredible mathematical pattern. It dances with its own poetry in mathematics. A computer would go into raptures over this! It's like a building where every piece joins perfectly into each other. And what is wild, is you can't pull even ONE word out, without damaging the whole pattern. So the Bible carries within itself, a self-checking, self-verifying protection factor. If a person comes along and says I don't like this one, the whole pattern falls apart. This cannot be found in any other religious "holy" book in the world.
You can put any test that you like on this book and nothing is even in the same category, not even in the same class. It is not a book -- it is God who has spoken in history, and that is why He says, "My word is quick and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword!" Only the 66 books of the Scriptures bear this divine seal. No other book of man in ANY language even faintly resembles the intricate structure and design of the Bible. The fact remains -- only an INFINITE mind could have devised this Book of books. Now you must take what it says, as just what it is... THE WORD OF GOD!