Its Amazing Unity.
A. This unity is achieved in spite of the long period of time involved in its writing.
1. More than fifteen centuries elapsed between the writing of Genesis and Revelation.
2. Nearly 400 years elapsed between the writing of Malachi and Matthew.
B. This unity is achieved in spite of the many authors (some forty) and their various occupations (approximately nineteen).
“The Lord gave the Word: great was the company of those who published it” (Ps. 68:11).
1. Moses – an Egyptian prince
2. Joshua was a soldier.
3. Samuel was a priest.
4. David was a king.
5. Esther was a queen.
6. Ruth was a housewife.
7. Job was a rich farmer.
8. Amos – a poor farmer.
9. Ezra was a scribe.
10. Isaiah was a prophet.
11. Daniel was a prime minister.
12. Nehemiah – cupbearer.
13. Matthew was a tax collector.
14. Mark an evangelist.
15. Luke was a physician.
16. John a fisherman.
17. Peter was a poor fisherman.
18. Jude and James carpenters.
19. Paul was a tentmaker.
C. This unity is achieved in spite of the different geographical places where the Bible was written.
D. This unity is achieved in spite of the many different styles of its writing.
As history, prophecy, biography, autobiography, poetry, law, letter form, symbolic form, proverb form and doctrinal form.
Let us imagine a religious novel of sixty-six chapters which was begun by a single writer around the sixth century a.d. After the author has completed but five chapters, he suddenly dies. But during the next 1000 years, up to the sixteenth century, around thirty amateur “free-lance” writers feel
constrained to contribute to this unfinished religious novel. Few of these authors share anything in common. They speak different languages, live at different times in different countries, have totally different backgrounds and occupations, and write in different styles.
Let us furthermore imagine that at the completion of the thirty-ninth chapter, the writing for some reason suddenly stops. Not one word is therefore added from the sixteenth until the twentieth century. After this long delay it begins once again when eight new authors add the final twenty-seven chapters.
With all this in mind, what would be the chances of this religious novel becoming a moral, scientific, prophetic, and historical unity? The answer is obvious–not one in a million. And yet this is the story of the Bible.
Its Universal Influence Upon Civilization.
A. Western civilization is founded directly upon the Bible and its teachings. Its very manner of life had its origin in Acts 16:9, when Paul, obedient to his heavenly vision, directed his second missionary journey toward Europe instead of Asia and the East.
B. The world’s calendar and most of its holidays stem from the Bible.
C. It was the Bible which elevated the blood-drinking savages of the British Isles to decency.
D. The Bible has influenced, if not directed, the advancement of all fine arts.
1. Literature. Ruskin quotes over 5,000 scriptural references in his writings. Milton’s greatest works are rooted in the Word of God, as are Shakespeare’s.
2. Art. Many world-famous paintings depicting well-known scenes in the Bible are preserved today. These would include Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt, Raphael, Michelangelo, and others.
3. Music. The Bible has produced more inspiring music than all other combined books in the world. e.g Bach–History has concluded that Johann Sebastian Bach “anticipated every important [musical] idea that has been born since his day. He is the inspiration of the pianist, the organist, and the composer.” Bach was a zealous Lutheran who devoted most of his genius to church-centered music.
E. The Bible has produced the law of the Western world. Early attempts of governing forms such as the English common law, the Bill of Rights, the Magna Carta, and our own Constitution are all rooted in God’s gift to Moses – the 10 commandments – and the 613. The two commandments of Jesus.
It’s Care and Copy.
A. No book in history has been copied as many times with as much care as has been the Word of God. The Talmud lists the following rules for copying the Old Testament:
1. The parchment had to be made from the skin of a clean animal, prepared by a Jew only, and was to be fastened by strings from clean animals.
2. Each column must have no less than forty-eight or more than sixty lines.
3. The ink must be of no other colour than black, and had to be prepared according to a special recipe.
4. No word nor letter could be written from memory; the scribe must have an authentic copy before him, and he had to read and pronounce aloud each word before writing it.
5. He had to reverently wipe his pen each time before writing the Word of God, and had to wash his whole body before writing the sacred name Jehovah.
6. One mistake on a sheet condemned the sheet; if three mistakes were found on any page, the entire manuscript was condemned.
7. Every word and every letter was counted, and if a letter were omitted, an extra letter inserted, or if one letter touched another, the manuscript was condemned and destroyed.
The old rabbi gave the solemn warning to each young scribe: “Take heed how thou dost do thy work, for thy work is the work of heaven; lest thou drop or add a letter of a manuscript and so become a destroyer of the world!”
The scribe was also told that while he was writing if even a king would enter the room and speak with him, the scribe was to ignore him until he finished the page he was working on, lest he make a mistake. In fact, some texts were actually annotated–that is, each letter was individually counted. Thus in copying the Old Testament they would note that the letter aleph ( the first letter in the Hebrew alphabet ) occurred 42,377 times, and so on.
According to Westcott and Hort, the points in which we cannot be sure of the original words are insignificant in proportion to the bulk of the whole, some 1/1000. Thus only one letter out of 1580 in the Old testament is open to question, and none of these uncertainties would change in the slightest any doctrinal teaching.
B. Today there are almost 5000 ancient Greek manuscripts of the New Testament. This perhaps does not seem like many, until one considers that:
1. Fifteen hundred years after Herodotus wrote his history there was only one copy in the entire world.
2. Twelve hundred years after Plato wrote his classic, there was only one manuscript.
3. Today there exist but a few manuscripts of Sophocies, Euripedes, Virgil, and Cicero.
What Great Personalities have said about the Bible.
United States Presidents.
Quincy Adams (Sixth): “It is an invaluable and inexhaustible mine of knowledge and virtue.”
Abraham Lincoln. ( Sixteenth ) But for this book we could not know right from wrong. I believe the Bible is the best gift God has given..
Woodrow Wilson. ( Twenty eighth )The Bible is the one supreme source of revelation of the meaning of life.
Dwight D. Eisenhower. ( Thirty Fourth ) In the highest sense the Bible is to us the unique repository of eternal spiritual truths.
Sir Isaac Newton: “We account the Scriptures of God to be the most sublime philosophy. I find more sure marks of authenticity in the Bible than in any profane history whatsoever.”
Sir Francis Bacon: “The volume of Scriptures….reveal the will of God.”
Michael Faraday: “Why will people go astray when they have this blessed Book to guide them?”
James Dwight Dana: “Young men, as you go forth, remember that I, an old man, who has known only science all his life, say unto you that there are no truer facts than the facts found within the Holy Bible.
Arnold J. Toynbee: “It pierces through the Intellect and plays directly upon the heart.”
H. G. Wells: “The Bible has been the Book that held together the fabric of Western civilization….The civilization we possess could not come into existence and could not have been sustained without it.”
William Gladstone: “I have known ninety-five great men of the world in my time, and of these, eighty-seven were followers of the Bible.”
Winston Churchill: “We rest with assurance upon the impregnable rock of Holy Scripture.”
Chiang Kai-Shek: “The Bible is the voice of the Holy Spirit.”
Haile Selassie: “The Bible is not only a great book of historical reference, but it also is a guide for daily life, and for this reason I respect it and I love it.”
Whadaya Expect From A Miraculous Book?
The listing of domesticated camels at the time of Abraham (2000 BC) as referenced in Genesis 12:16 and elsewhere in the Pentateuch was judged impossible by a number of scholars, pointing out that camels were not domesticated until about 1100 BC.
To the contrary, evidence of the early domestication of camels are found in a text from Alalakh (18th cent. BC), Old Babylonian lists from the same period, and a Sumerian text from Nippur mentioning camel’s milk as a beverage.
Additional proof in the form of camel bones have been found in domestic contexts at the following sites: Megiddo, Jericho, el Jisr, Gezer (all 1800 BC), Mari (2500 BC), Arad (2900 BC), and various sites in Egypt (2900 BC).
Finally, consider these additional references: P. Wapnish, “Camel Caravans and Camel Pastoralists at Tell Jemmeh,” JANES 13, 1981, p. 104-105, R. Bulliet, “The Camel and the Wheel,” Cambridge Mass. 1975, p. 56, F.E.
Zeuner, “A History of Domesticated Animals,” Londen 1963, p. 344, R.D. Barnett, Lachish, Ashkelon and the Camel, in: J.N. Tubb, “Palestine in the Bronze and Iron Ages. Papers in Honor to Olga Tuffnell,” Londen 1985, p. 16, D. Collon and E. Porada, 23rd Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale, “Archaeology” 30, 1970, p. 343-345, M. Ripinsky, “The Camel in Dynastic Egypt”, JEA 71, 1985, p. 136.