Ed. Note. This article is excerpted from our series, “Is the Bible Unique or Just Another Religious Book?,” and slightly modified for publication. The charts in this article were provided by Dr. Geisler, and are used by permission.
Is the Bible the word of God? Or is it the words of men? The Bible claims to be the Word of God and the Bible proves to be the Word of God. We’re going to show how this is the only book in the world that really claims to be, and proves to be, the Word of God.
First of all, the Bible claims to be the Word of God literally hundreds of times. It says, “Thus saith the Lord”; “The word of the Lord came to me”; summarized very beautifully by two New Testament Scriptures:
- 2 Timothy 3:16: “All Scripture is inspired by God.” Now, to be inspired means “to breathe into,” not to breathe out. It’s the Greek word theopneustos. All Scripture is breathed out of the very mouth of God.
- Matthew 4:4: “A man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” David on his deathbed in 2 Samuel 23:2 said, “His word was on my tongue.”
The Bible claims to be the Word of God. If the New Testament is Scripture and the Bible is said to be inspired Scripture, then the New Testament is also inspired Scripture, not just the Old Testament. So what is true of the Old Testament is also claimed in the New Testament. For example, Peter said in 2 Peter 3:16 that Paul’s writings were inspired. In fact, in 1 Timothy 5:18 it quotes the Gospels as being inspired Scripture right alongside the Old Testament. So, it’s not just referring to the Old Testament when it says “inspired,” it’s referring to the New Testament as well.
There’s another important passage in 2 Peter 1:20-21. It says all the prophetic writings came as people were moved by the Holy Spirit. The word there is the same word used for a wind blowing on a sailboat—moved along by the Holy Spirit. They did not come from the will of men but from the will of God.
Now, all prophetic writings are inspired, and the New Testament is also a prophetic writing because it says it was written by apostles and prophets (Ephesians 2:20 and Ephesians 3:5). And even John was called a prophet in Revelation 22:18. If all Scripture is prophetic and the New Testament is also prophetic, then the New Testament is inspired Scripture as well.
So we have literally hundreds of claims in the Bible in addition to crucial verses that tell us that the Bible claims to be the Word of God. In fact, let me mention one other thing. Jesus said that the Bible is the Word of God. He said in Matthew 5 that the Bible is imperishable—“not a jot or tittle will pass away until all is fulfilled” (Matthew 5:18). He said in John 10:35, “The Scripture cannot be broken.” It’s literally unbreakable. He said it’s exalted above all human tradition, “You have made the word of God void with your tradition,” He said to the Pharisees (Matthew 15:6). He said the Bible can be trusted when it talks about history, when it talks about origins, when it talks about science. He quoted Adam and Eve as being the first literal pair created by God. “Jesus said it, that settles it.” We used to sing the song in Sunday School. If Christ, the Son of God, said the Bible is the Word of God, then the Bible must be the Word of God or else Christ is not the Son of God.
Another way to look at it is the Bible claims to be the Word of God by saying that what God said in the Old Testament, it was really what the Bible said in the New Testament.
Let’s take a look at this chart. What Scripture says, God says. In the left column, “God says,” in the right column, “Scripture says.”
|What God Says…||Scripture Says|
|Genesis 12:3…||Galatians 3:8|
|Exodus 9:16…||Romans 9:17|
For example, in Genesis 12:3, “The Lord said to Abraham.” But in the New Testament, when that is quoted, it’s the Scriptures saying to Abraham. Why? Because what God says, the Bible says; and what the Bible says, God says. It works both ways.
|What the Bible Says…||God Says|
|Genesis 2:24…||Matthew 19:4-5|
|Psalm 2:1…||Acts 4:24-25|
|Psalm 2:7…||Hebrews 3:7|
|Psalm 16:10…||Acts 13:35|
|Psalm 95:7…||Hebrews 3:7|
|Psalm 97:7…||Hebrews 3:7|
|Psalm 104:4…||Hebrews 3:7|
|Isaiah 55:3…||Acts 13:34|
For example, Genesis 2:24 the Scripture says, that is, the author of Genesis said, “For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother.” But when that passage is quoted in the New Testament by Jesus in Matthew 19, it says, “God said, ‘For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother.’”
Now, let’s think about this for a moment. What the Bible says, God says; and what God says, the Bible says. The Bible claims to be the very words of God. Not just ideas, not just thoughts. Paul in 1 Corinthians 2:13 says these are Spirit-taught words. David on his deathbed said the Holy Spirit spoke by men: “His word was on my tongue.” [2 Sam. 23:2] 2 Timothy 3:16, “The Scripture [the writings, the graphae] are breathed out by God.” “Every word that comes out of the mouth of God,” Matthew 4:4. This book claims to be the very verbally-inspired Word of God.
But what about the New Testament? Is it the inspired Word of God? Many of the verses we just quoted refer to the Old Testament because the New Testament wasn’t written when Jesus was speaking.
The Word of God is inspired. The New Testament is also the Word of God. Hebrews 4:12 talks about the Word of God being “alive and powerful.” Therefore, the New Testament is inspired as well. It’s not just the Old Testament that claims to be the truth of God, but every book in the New Testament claims to come from an apostle or a prophet of God. So the entire Bible, Old and New Testaments, claim to be the Word of God.