Do the books of the Bible form a unified whole? Is this evidence of its Divine inspiration?

A skeptic argues that the existence of the James Bond film series disproves the argument that the Bible's internal unity indicates its Divine inspiration. Is he right?

Why accept the Bible as being Divinely inspired? Here are four common reasons:

  1. its record of fulfilled prophecy

  2. its consistent theme and congruency

  3. its endurance [1]

  4. its confirmation by archaeology and science

SKEPTIC: What do you mean by “its consistent theme and congruency?”

ANSWER: Consider the fact that the Bible is comprised of 66 Books written over a period of about 1,500 years by over 40 authors from all walks of life, with different kinds of personalities, and in all sorts of situations. It was written in three languages on three continents, and it covers hundreds of controversial subjects. Yet, it fits together into one cohesive story with an appropriate beginning, a logical ending, a central character, and a consistent theme.

How does one begin to explain such historical, structural, prophetic, doctrinal, and spiritual congruency (harmony) apart from the fact that its real author was Divine?!

SKEPTIC: I don't buy that. So, there's commonality among three dozen religious writers. So what?

ANSWER: Have you ever tried to get a committee of even just three to agree on something? And keep in mind—many of the writers of Scripture didn't even know each other.

SKEPTIC: Sorry, but it just doesn't fly. Virtually all of these men had access to, or were familiar with, the previous material. [Not true, see below.] The fact that they could agree on a theme is about as revolutionary as the fact that all James Bond movies center on a common theme, despite having been produced by dozens of different producers, directors, writers, and actors.

ANSWER: We realize that no analogy is perfect, but this one doesn't even “taxi down the runway” for us, let alone fly. It's cute, creative, and clever. But it's also 99% misleading. It indicates either a real misunderstanding of the history of the Biblical canon, or James Bond movies, or both. Consider the following:

Author: AIIA Institute.



Bible. Photo copyrighted. Supplied by Films for Christ.

Remember, the Bible was not written by a collection of professional writers. These 40 people, from multiple cultures…

"…came from a variety of occupations: kings, fishermen, tax collectors, shepherds, prophets, and even a physician. In all it would be difficult to find a more diverse collection of writers. They run the gamut from Moses, who was highly educated, to Peter, who was a fisherman. Though they wrote at different periods of world history, their writings dovetail with one another, not superficially, but intricately and brilliantly. [2]

Also remember that these men were not writing about something as simple as an action adventure hero. They were dealing with controversial subjects, such as the meaning of life, the nature of God, angelic beings, and God's plan of redemption. These are matters on which it is generally not humanly possible to check the facts firsthand or to even fully understand, so as to write in complete agreement with all other biblical authors past and future. Yet, all 40 did write in unity and with authority. Either they were inspired, or they cheated to produce congruency.

Did all the authors have the advantage of possessing, knowing or even understanding all the biblical writings that came before them? Although skeptics like to think otherwise, the answer is certainly no.

Malachi probably was acquainted with the other sacred books of the Old Testament. But Daniel might not have known what Ezekiel had written, and many of the prophets would not have known the message their contemporaries were giving. In the New Testament, Paul wrote independently of John; James did not know what Paul was writing.

If there had been collusion, if the writers would have consciously attempted to make their writings agree with others, there would have been a superficial unity and apparent inconsistencies would have been resolved. The fact that the Bible has unity despite obvious differences in content, style, and perspective is a powerful witness to the independence of each author.[3]

…Imagine various pieces of a cathedral arriving from different countries and cities, converging on a central location. In fact, imagine that investigation proves that forty different sculptors made contributions over a period of many centuries. Yet the pieces fit together to form a single magnificent structure. Would this not be proof that behind the project was a single mind, one designer who used his workmen to sculpt a well-conceived plan? The Bible is that cathedral…” [4]

(Dr. Erwin W. Lutzer)

The ramifications of the Bible's harmony is obvious to many, but not all. Christians with a deep knowledge of the Bible can see the Bible's harmony more and more clearly as their maturity in Christ increases. Yet, some skeptics, blinded to spiritual truth, scoff that they cannot see any harmony at all. While others, who have open eyes, quickly see the harmony and its implications. Biblical researcher and author Josh McDowell reports that…

“A representative of the Great Books of the Western World came to my house recruiting salesmen for their series. He spread out their chart and spent five minutes talking about the series. Then we spent an hour and a half talking to him about the Greatest Book.

I challenged him to pick just ten of the authors, all from one walk of life, one generation, one place, one time, one continent, one language and just one controversial subject. I asked him: 'Would those ten authors agree?'

He paused and then replied, ‘No!’

‘What would you have?’

Immediately he said, ‘A conglomeration.’

Two days later he committed his life to Christ.”[5]

Author (2nd part of this article): Paul S. Taylor, Christian Answers.

More Information About the Bible

Bible ArchaeologyCreation SuperLibrary.comIs Jesus Christ the answer to your questions?Paradise or Pain? Why is the world the way it is?Jesus Christ: His Identity, Life, Death and ResurrectionChristian Answers WebBible

References

  1. To learn more about the endurance of the Bible, see: The Indestructible Book.
  2. Erwin W. Lutzer, Seven Reaons Why You Can Trust the Bible (Chicago: Moody Press, 1998), pp. 45-46.
  3. Ibid.
  4. Ibid., p. 51.
  5. Josh McDowell, A Ready Defense: Over 60 Vital “Lines of Defense” for Christianity (San Bernardino, California: Here's Life Publishers, 1990), 28-29 pp.

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