Decisive Evidence for the Inspiration of the Bible
The Bible claims to be the infallible, errorless, and
authoritative word of God (2 Tim. 3:16; Prov. 30:5; 2 Peter 1:21; see
also Micah 1:1, Zechariah 1:1, etc.). Many critics claim that the Bible
is a good religious book, but not the word of God; that it contains some
truth, but also some legends, myths, and errors. Others claim that some
of the Bible may be inspired, but that it is not all inspired,
all inerrant (free of error) or all true.
This leads us to the question: Is there good reason to accept
the Bible as the inerrant and infallible word of God, as it claims to
be? The historical evidence for the Bible lends considerable support to
(and gives good reasons to consider) its claims.  The testimony of
history, however, is not the only reason for accepting the inspiration of
The main reason for accepting the Bible as the inerrant and
infallible word of God is because this is what Jesus believed and
taught. One might ask, however, "Don't we have to read the Bible to know
what Jesus taught about the Bible--isn't this reasoning hopelessly
circular? And even if we can know what Jesus really said, how can we
know that what He said was true?"
In order to avoid such circular reasoning, we will first
establish that the the New Testament accurately recorded what Jesus
really said. Then, we will examine Jesus' teachings that the Bible is
God's inerrant word. Last, we will see that Jesus' resurrection from the
dead validates the truth of all that He said. This valid linear
reasoning will demonstrate that Jesus is an authority who can decisively
and authoritatively answer the question, "Is the Bible inspired and
Christ's Teachings Have Been Accurately Recorded
The historical reliability of the New Testament and the evidence
for the careful preservation of Jesus' teachings by the early church show
that New Testament gives us an accurate and trustworthy record of what
The New Testament documents are historically reliable
Historical investigation has shown that the Bible can be trusted
to accurately report the events it narrates. "Scores of archeological
findings have been made which confirm in clear outline or exact detail
historical statements in the Bible," declares renowned Jewish
archaeologist Nelson Gluek.  Archaeologist Joseph Free has said that
"Archaeology has confirmed countless passages which had been rejected by
critics as unhistorical or contrary to known facts." 
In addition, the gospels, which record the teachings of Jesus,
were written while there were still many living eyewitnesses who were
hostile to Christianity. False statements could, and would, have been
challenged. The fact that the gospels gained such wide acceptance is
very strong evidence for their reliability.
The historical reliability of the New Testament is good reason to
believe that it gives us an accurate record of what Jesus said and did.
There is, however, a more specific reason to believe that Jesus really
said the things that the New Testament records Him as saying.
Jesus' teachings were carefully preserved before they were written
down in the gospels
This is supported by several lines of evidence. In the first
place, it is important to understand that the culture in which
Christianity began was an oral culture where people relied heavily on
their memory, unlike our culture today which is mostly written. Recent
studies in ancient Jewish culture have conclusively demonstrated that the
ancient Jews (which would include Jesus' disciples) were able to memorize
vast amounts of material, and it was customary for a student to memorize
their rabbi's teaching.  The students regarded their teacher's words as
"sacred tradition" and memorized them in detail to pass on with little or
no alteration. It was said that a good pupil was "like a plastered
cistern who looses not a drop."  Surely Jesus' disciples, who were Jews
living in this culture, would have given the teachings of the one whom
they considered to be God's long awaited Messiah no less care!
The New Testament record confirms this, often displaying the
Jewish concern for passing on oral tradition accurately (1 Cor. 15:3-8;
Gal. 2:1-10; Col. 2:7; 1 Cor. 11:23). These aspects all show that Jesus'
disciples (and their followers) had both the ability and the desire
necessary to pass on, and eventually record, His teachings without
Further, when Jesus' teachings are translated back into their
underlying Aramaic, the original language He most likely spoke, they
often reveal a rhyming cadence very suitable for memorization. This
means that Jesus' words were in a form that was easy to memorize and
retain. This also provides confirmation that Jesus' sayings in the
gospels originated with the "historical Aramaic-speaking Jesus, rather
than from the creative imagination' of the early [Greek speaking]
The inclusion of counterproductive details, such as the inclusion
of women as the first witnesses of Jesus' resurrection and empty tomb
(the testimony of witness in that society was considered very unreliable)
and the repeated references to the disciples as being unbelieving,
cowardly, and dull reveal the gospel writers' intentions to record things
as they really happened.
Gary Habermas points out that "it is the view of many critical
scholars that the Gospels and Acts contain not only eyewitness testimony,
but that apostolic authority is a major source behind each book."  This
confirms that the gospels were based upon the testimony of those who
witnessed Jesus' life and memorized His teaching.
There is much more evidence for the accurate preservation of
Jesus' teachings, but this is sufficient to show that He really did say
the things that the Gospels record Him as saying. Having established
this, we can now ask the question "How did Jesus view the Bible?"
Christ taught that the Bible is the inerrant Word of
Jesus regarded the Scripture as the word of God, entrusted His
life to the Scriptures, and submitted to the authority of Scriptures, as
even a brief look at His life and teaching reveals. He taught that the
Bible is the infallible word of God without error, and that it is
authoritative for our lives.
To re-enforce His point in a debate with some of the Jewish
religious leaders, Jesus reminded them that "the Scripture cannot be
broken" (John 10:35). In other words, Jesus was saying that Scripture
cannot be emptied of its authority ("broken"). Since the only way for
Scripture to be emptied of its authority is if it errors, and Jesus said
that Scripture cannot be emptied of its authority, the Scriptures
therefore cannot error. Put another way, Jesus was saying that the Bible
cannot be deprived of its infallibility (i.e., it can never be wrong) or
its binding authority (it still applies regardless of whether a person
believes it or not). This is a clear statement from Jesus that the
Scriptures are infallible.
Jesus also said in a prayer that "Your [God's] word is truth"
(John 17:17). He didn't say that the Bible contained some truth, but
that it was the truth. Thus, it cannot contain any mistakes or
because if it did it would not be the truth, but would only contain
some truth (and some falsehood). In many places, Jesus specifically
authenticated the Old Testament and pre-authenticated the New Testament,
to which we will now turn.
The Old Testament
Jesus emphatically declared that the Old Testament was
indestructible--down to the smallest part of a Hebrew letter--attesting
to the fact that inspiration extends to the very words: "Truly I say to
you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke
shall pass away from the Law, until all is accomplished" (Matt. 5:18).
Throughout His ministry, Jesus continually quoted Old Testament Scripture
as final authority (Matt. 4:4, 7, 10; 15:1-9).
In a confrontation with the Sadducees, Jesus based a crucial
argument concerning the resurrection of the dead on the tense of a single
word. To prove that there was life after death, Jesus referred to the
passage about the burning bush and pointed out that God said to Moses "I
am" the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, even though they had died
hundreds of years before. If there was no life after death, God would
have said "I was" their God, not "I am" their God. We see
this again in
Matt. 22:41-46, where Jesus bases an argument for His deity on the
reliability of the single word "Lord" in Psalm 110. These arguments
would have been meaningless unless Jesus considered the very words of
Scripture God-breathed and trustworthy.
Jesus absolutely trusted the Old Testament. Never once do we see
Him indicating "the Scripture is in error." He hinged his confrontation
with Satan in the wilderness on the turn of a single word in Scripture
(Matt. 4; Luke 4). He declared to Satan "Man does not live on bread
alone, but on every word [not just some] that proceeds from the
mouth of God" (Matt. 4:4; compare 2 Timothy 3:16 -- "all Scripture is
God-breathed"). What Scripture said, God said (see Matt. 15:4). Even
critical scholars acknowledge that Jesus taught His followers to have the
highest regard for Scripture.
Jesus even trusted the Bible in historical matters. In fact,
He authenticated some of the most disputed passages today; it's almost as
if He was anticipating the skepticism of our modern day era! For
example, Jesus affirmed that Adam and Eve were literal, historical
individuals (Matt. 19:4-5), that the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah
really happened (Luke 10:12), and that the account of Cain and Abel was
true (Luke 11:51). Jesus authenticated the narrative of Noah and the
great flood by using it as an example of His second coming (Matt.
24:37-39). It's as if He was saying "Just as the flood really happened,
so will my second coming really happen." Since His second coming will be
a real, historical event, it would make no sense for the Flood to be only
"myth" or "allegory."
The account of Jonah and the great fish is also heavily disputed
today, sometimes taught to be a myth with no historical basis. But Jesus
affirmed that Jonah being swallowed by the fish was a real historical
event by using it as a sign of His resurrection (Matt. 12:39-42). He
even affirmed that Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible (see
Mark 7:10 and John 7:19), something that many modern scholars reject, and
that Isaiah wrote all of Isaiah (many scholars think that chapters 40-66
were written centuries later, but in John 12:38-41 Jesus quotes both
"sections" of the book together and each is attributed to Isaiah).
As can be seen, Jesus linked the historical reality of the Old
Testament with His spiritual message, thus confirming that the events it
records were real, historical, and literally true. John 3:12 expresses
the significance of this vividly: "If I told you earthly things and you
do not believe, how shall you believe if I tell you heavenly things?" It
is clear that Jesus taught that the Old Testament is the infallible,
inerrant, inspired word of God, with the historical portions to be read
as a record of real, factual events, and not simply a conglomeration of
Some respond to this by saying that Jesus was simply
accommodating to the view of the OT held by His audience, though He
himself did not believe this. There are grave difficulties with this
view. First, it has been made very clear that Jesus' use of the
authority of the OT was essential to His ministry --it was the
foundation for His very teaching. The bottom would drop out from His
teaching without an inspired and true Old Testament. Second, Jesus would
be guilty of moral deception by knowing that the Old Testament was not
God's word, but telling His hearers that it was anyway. Third, it is not
like Jesus to accommodate to error; instead, He vigorously confronted
false beliefs (Matt. 5:21-22, 31-32; 15:1-9; all of chapter 23; John
The New Testament
Jesus also promised (or pre-authenticated) the New Testament. He
told His disciples that the Holy Spirit would teach them all things and
bring to their remembrance all that He had said to them (John 14:26),
referring to gospels. Jesus declared that His words (which are contained
in the gospels) shall never pass away (Matt. 24:35). Compare this with
Isaiah 40:8, "...the word of our God stands forever."
Jesus also revealed that new revelation from God was forthcoming,
referring to the remainder of the New Testament: "I have many more things
to say to you, but you cannot bear them now." He then told His disciples
that this new revelation from God would come after He had left the earth
and the Holy Spirit had come: "But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes,
He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own
initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to
you what is to come...for He shall take of Mine [i.e. My teachings and
whatever relates to Me] and shall disclose it to you" (John 16:12-14).
These truths were then recorded in the New Testament, which was written
by the apostles that Jesus promised to "teach all things" and "guide into
all truth" (compare 1 Cor. 2:6-16 and Acts 1:1. Also see 2 Peter 3:16,
where Peter refers to Paul's writings as Scripture on equal authority
with the Old Testament). The books which were not actually written by an
apostle (Luke and Mark) were backed with the authority of an apostle
(Peter's authority was behind Mark; Paul's was behind Luke).
We have come a long way and established that Jesus taught that
the Bible is the infallible word of God, and that He was accurately
recorded in saying this. But how can we know that He was right? Why
should we believe that His view of the Bible is true?
Jesus' Resurrection Demonstrates that He is the Son of God;
Therefore, What He Says is True
Charles Colson writes "if Jesus is God and perfect man, as He
claims, He cannot be mistaken in what He teaches and He cannot lie. An
infallible God cannot err; a holy God cannot deceive; a perfect teacher
cannot be mistaken. So He is either telling the truth, or He is not who
He says He is."  Is Jesus God, and thus in a position to know if the
Bible really is inspired? The whole issue of inspiration thus turns on
who Jesus is.
If Jesus rose from the dead, this verifies His claim to be God
(which He claimed in the reliable New Testament documents and can even be
established according to some of the most skeptical standards of
investigation ). The resurrection validates that everything Christ said
is true. Furthermore, who is more likely to be correct--a teacher who
has been (or will one day be) defeated by death, or a teacher who has
conquered death? If Jesus rose, His authority should be accepted over
any human opinion.
The question therefore arises: Has Jesus really risen from the
dead? We will not go into an in-depth treatment of the evidence for
Christ's resurrection, due to space. For a further treatment of this
issue I suggest Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics, by
William Lane Craig, or Did Jesus Rise From the Dead?, a debate between
Christian Gary Habermas and atheist Antony Flew. There at least 12 facts
surrounding the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ which virtually
all critical scholars acknowledge. We will use only two.
Jesus' tomb was discovered empty on the Sunday following His
Many attempts have been made to explain away this fact (such as
the stolen body theory). However, these theories are disproved by the
evidence, and it cannot be emphasized enough that modern critical
scholars have almost unanimously rejected these theories. So how do the
critics who deny the resurrection explain the empty tomb? William Lane
Craig says, "The fact is that they are self-confessedly without any
explanation to offer."  Unfortunately for the critics, if we deny the
resurrection we are left with an inexplicable mystery. How else did the
tomb become empty? Jesus' resurrection is the only adequate explanation.
Jesus' followers had real experiences that they believed were
appearances of the risen Christ
Jesus' disciples claimed to have seen Him alive after His death. This, of course, does not mean that they really did.
One possibility is that they were lying. Virtually no scholar, however,
holds to this theory (the "conspiracy" theory). For one thing, 10 of the
12 original disciples died for their belief in Jesus. If He didn't rise,
then they knew that the resurrection was a lie (since they claimed to
have seen Him alive after His death). But people do not die for what
they know is a lie.
For reasons such as these, even the most skeptical scholars admit
that Jesus' disciples at least believed that Jesus rose. The
is, How do we account for this belief? If it cannot be explained
naturally, then Jesus must have rose. One explanation is that the
disciples hallucinated. However, hallucinations are individual
experiences, not group events. Jesus appeared to over 500 people on at
least 10 different occasions.
Further, the disciples were not expecting to see Jesus again, and
hallucinations happen to those who are so expecting and wanting a certain
event to occur that their mind fabricates the event. They were not in a
state of mind conducive to hallucinations. And what did these disciples
touch, talk with and eat with? Since Jesus' disciples were not lying
when they claimed that He appeared to them alive, and since
hallucinations cannot account for these appearances, then there is good
reason to believe that Jesus really did rise and appear to His
disciples. If we deny these appearances, we are left with a second
Jesus' resurrection is the only adequate explanation for these
two independently established facts, which virtually all critical
scholars accept. Three other facts which we will not go into are the
conversion of Paul, a skeptic and persecutor of the Church by what he
claims was an appearance of Christ to him; the conversion of Jesus'
skeptical brother James by an appearance of Christ to him; and the
disciples' transformation, despite having previously deserted Jesus
during the crucifixion.
Therefore, the Bible is the Word of God
Jesus' resurrection, therefore, unlocks the answer to our
investigation. His resurrection gives Him the authority and certainty
needed to address this issue. By establishing that He is the Son of
God, as He claimed, the resurrection makes Jesus not only an extremely
reliable authority, but an infallible authority. Therefore, what He
taught about the Bible is true. Since Jesus taught that the entire
Bible--Old and New Testaments--is the infallible and inerrant word of
God, and since the gospels give an accurate and reliable record of what
He taught, it has been established that the entire Bible really is
the error-less and authoritative word of God. Not only can we believe
everything in it, but it demands our obedience.
Paul Little is clear on the implications that this has for
Christians: "If then, we accept Jesus as Savior and Lord, it would be a
contradiction in terms, and strangely inconsistent, if we rejected the
Scripture as the word of God. On this point we would be in disagreement
with the One whom we acknowledge to be the eternal God and Creator of the
universe."  As a follower of Christ the logical step of obedience is to
accept His view of Scripture. Furthermore, no matter what kind of
attacks a critic might level against the Bible, the Christian can remain
confident that the Bible can withstand. Surely Jesus, who defeated death
and is God in human form, is more likely to be correct than any fallible
person who has not risen from the dead.
Non-Christians who are skeptical about the Bible should seriously
consider this evidence. Clearly there is good reason to believe in the
entire Bible; the idea that it is unreliable and full of myths is far
from true. I would personally encourage anyone who is skeptical to pick
up the Bible and read it to experience first-hand the power of the word
of God. I would also suggest investigating this issue further. Most
importantly, consider what the Bible says about Jesus, for the whole
Bible points to Him and calls us to believe in Him. Since the Bible is
true, this call should be seriously considered. By responding to Jesus
and giving our lives to Him, we begin to see what it means to truly live.
In the end, one must pick up the Bible and read it. As one does
this, the Holy Spirit is ultimately the one who confirms to a person that
it is the word of God. He will testify that its words are true and that
it is relevant for our lives. And He will show that it calls for our
acceptance and obedience. Therefore, we must not focus only on the
evidence for the Bible, as important as that is. We must get into the
Bible ourselves and experience the power of God. "The word of God is
living and active, and sharper than any two edged sword..."--Hebrews
The Bible claims to be the word of God
Jesus Christ believed this and taught that the Bible is the infallible
and inerrant word of God
The Gospels give us an accurate record of what
Jesus' resurrection from the dead validates
the truth of everything He said
Therefore, the Bible is the word of God
1. See Evidence that Demands a Verdict, by Josh McDowell for a
detailed examination of this.
2. Nelson Glueck, Rivers in the Desert (New York: Farrar,
Strauss and Cudahy, 1959), p. 136.
3. Joseph Free, Archaelogy and Bible History (Wheaton, Illinois:
Scripture Press, 1969), p. 1.
4. For a more in-depth treatment of the issue, see Dr. Gregory Boyd,
Jesus Under Siege (Wheaton, Illionis: Victor Books, 1995), pp.
87-109. Also see Dr. Boyd's book Cynic Sage or Son of God?
5. Mishna, Aboth, ii. 8.
6. Boyd, Jesus Under Seige, p. 105.
7. Gary Habermas and Antony Flew, Did Jesus Rise From the Dead?
(San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1987), p. 159.
8. Charles Colson, Loving God (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Harper,
1983), p. 60.
9. William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and
Apologetics (Wheaton, Illinois: Moody Press, 1984), pp. 243-254.
10. Craig, p. 280.
11. Paul Little, Know Why You Believe (Wheaton, Illinois: Victor
Books, 1967), chapter five.
Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are from the New American Standard Bible, copyright 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1975, 1977, by the Lockman Foundation.
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