All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Timothy 3:16-17 NKJV

How can I learn about God?

Uniqueness of the Bible

The study of the reliability of the bible begins with its uniqueness. Webster defines unique as different from all others; having no like or equal. The Bible is different from all other human writings in its continuity, circulation and survival.

A. Its Continuity

The first area of uniqueness of the Bible is its continuity. It is an amazingly unified document, despite factors which would lead to great disharmony in ordinary writings. Josh McDowell, noted author and lecturer on the historical evidences of the Christian faith, outlines some of these factors. He explains that the Bible was:

1. Written over a 1,600-year span.
2. Written by more than 40 writers from every walk of life - from king to peasant;
        philosopher to fisherman.
    3. Written in different places - from the wilderness, to a comfortable room, to a dungeon.
    4. Written at different times - from war to peace.
    5. Written during authors' different moods - from the height of joy to the depths of despair.
    6. Written on three continents - Asia, Africa and Europe.
    7. Written in three languages - Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek.
    8. Written concerning hundreds of controversial issues.

Although the bible contains this much diversity, its authors speak with harmony and focus on one theme: "God's redemption of man." F.F. Bruce, Professor of biblical Criticism at the University of Manchester, summarizes the bible's continuity:

The writings themselves belong to a great variety of literary types. They include history, law, religious poetry, didactic treatises, lyric poetry, parable and allegory, biography, personal correspondence, personal memoirs and diaries. For all that, the Bible is not simply an anthology; there is a unity which binds the whole together. An anthology is compiled by an anthologist, but no anthologist complied the Bible.

B. Its Circulation

The second area of uniqueness fro the Bible is its circulation. It has been read by more people and published in more languages than any other work. At the end of 1993, United bible Societies reported that 2,062 languages had access to at least one book of the bible. The Cambridge History of the bible reports, "No other book has known anything approaching this constant circulation." Although the widespread circulation of the bible does not prove it is the Word of God, it does substantiate further the uniqueness of the bible.

C. Its Survival

The survival of the bible is the third way it is unique from all other books. Composed before the invention of the printing press, it was written on perishable material such as papyrus and parchment. For hundreds of years, it was copied and recopied by hand. Yet, this did not diminish its soundness. It has more manuscript evidence than any other piece of classical literature. John Warwich Montgomery, former Chairman of Church History at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, makes this statement:

To be skeptical of the resultant text of the New Testament is to allow all of classical antiquity to slip into obscurity, for no documents of the ancient period are as well attested bibliographically as the New Testament.

The accuracy of the Old Testament manuscripts is the result of the Jewish system of preservation. Bernard Ramm explains this system:

Jews preserved it as no other manuscript has ever been preserved. With their massora (methods of counting) they kept tabs on every letter, syllable, word and paragraph. They had special classes of men within their culture whose sole duty was to preserve and transmit these documents with practically perfect fidelity. Whoever counted the letters and syllables and words of Plato or Aristotle? Cicero or Seneca?

Not only has the Bible weathered the elements, but is also has withstood constant scrutiny and persecution. John W. Lea, author of The Greatest Book in the World, cited H.L. Hastings' explanation:

Infidels for eighteen hundred years have been refuting and overthrowing this book, and yet it stands today as solid as a rock. Its circulation increases, and it is more loved and cherished and read today than ever before. So the hammers of the infidels have been pecking away at this book for ages, but the hammers are worn out, and the anvil still endures. It the book had not been the book of God, men would have destroyed it long ago. Emperors and popes, kings and priests, princes and rulers have all tried their hand at it; they die, and the book still lives.

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