Sunday, February 15, 2015

P4 - Why the Bible is unique in its authority? Its unparalleled unity

2 Timothy 3:15 "and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus."

Introduction and Review
By using the word translated "holy" or "sacred" in 2 Timothy 3:15, we began unfolding two days ago the answer to the question: why the Bible is uniquely authoritative? Thus far we have looked at the fact of:

a). The Bible's character as revelation b). The Bible's purity 

Today we once again approach this question by considering the Bible's unparalleled unity.

The Bible's unparalleled authority as the Word of God
If historically verified fulfilled prophecy functions as the chief proof of the Bible's Divine revelation, then it's unity runs a close second place. Some may question the authority of a book that is 2,000-3,500 years old and which took over 1500 years to complete. Moreover, some may scoff that multiple human authors could in anyway compose such a group of books that are unified in both theme and thought. Such concerns are warranted if we are dealing with only a humanly contrived book. However the Bible as a collection of books are not just human documents, but as labored over the past few days, the books of the Bible are Divinely inspired human written documents. 

Paul wrote to Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:15 "and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus." Notice how the underlined words convey the idea of a collection of writings. Can it be possible that the 66 books of the Old Testaments are not just unified in thought and theme, but uniquely unified? If it can be shown that no other book claiming to be a book of God demonstrates the unity of the Bible, then it only stands to reason that the Bible alone is uniquely authoritative due to its unparalleled unity. Consider the following facts that we know:

1. The Length of the Bible's composition is unparalleled.

The Bible is a collection of books written over a period of 1500 years. The 39 Old Testament books took 1,000 years for completion, with 400 years separating them from the New Testament books. In turn, the New Testament is a collection of 27 books taking roughly 50-60 years to compose. When you compare say the Book of Mormon or the Quran, each of those books took a few years to be composed. There is no comparison in terms of length of composition. Notice secondly....

2. The variety of human authors is unparalleled

When we add up the total human authors of the 66 books of the Bible, we tabulate around 40 in all. Such diversity included farmers (like Amos), priests (like Samuel), scribes (like Ezra), shepherds (Moses, David), prophets of course (like Isaiah), physicians (like Luke), fishermen (like Peter), unknown people (like Hebrews) and well known kings (like Solomon). Such a diversity would under normal circumstances produce a disaster of a book. Yet when we see the themes of God's glory and salvation in Jesus Christ, the Bible can be none other than the Word of God. 

Meanwhile when we compare the Book of Mormon and the Quran, both of those volumes were written each by one man. Despite the expected outcome of complete unity, both books possess disunity and inconsistencies in both development of themes and message. 
For brevity's sake these assertions are being made in the general sense. Having presonally ready through the Quran and Book of Mormon myself, the comparison to the Bible is really no comparison. The unity of not only thought, but also progression and forward moving of overall plot is present only in the Bible. 
  3. The Bible alone is written in multiple languages
The Bible can truly be considered a transcultural book. The nearly 500,000 words underlying the Old Testament were written mostly in Hebrew, with 2-3% written in Aramaic. Hebrew was the language of the Jews prior to their exile and Aramaic became their spoken tongue following their return from exile in Babylon. The New Testament was written in the common Greek language of the first century. No other so-called holy book can claims such a diversity of languages. Herein again we find the Bible books to be completely unified despite their diversity of languages. In having studied all three of these languages, this blogger can testify first-hand that the English Bibles we have in our possession today are just as much the Word of God as any Hebrew/Aramaic Old Testament or Greek New Testament. 

These three facts could under normal circumstances making it impossible to produce a collection of books unified in theme, in thought and authority. Nonetheless, the Bible alone is unique in its authority and shows itself as the Word of God by sheer power of its unity in terms of its length of composition, diversity of authorship and make-up of original languages.