No matter what one’s religious persuasion, one has to admit that the Bible is more than just another ancient book. This is another reason why those who deny God’s hand in any part of the Christian Bible are posed with a tough dilemma. Almost every major religion has a high regard for the Bible, even if they do not view it as their own sacred text.
According to the Qur’an the Torah was revealed to Moses by God (Sura 7:144-145) and confirmed by Jesus (Sura 61:6). In case you don’t have ready access to a copy of the Qur’an, here are the quotes:
Allah said: “O [Moses]! I have chosen you from among mankind to deliver My message and to have conversation with Me: so take what I give you and be thankful.” We [God] inscribed for him upon tablets all kinds of instructions and details of every thing, concerning all branches of life, and said: “Observe these with firmness and enjoin your people to follow them according to the best of their abilities…
And remember when [Jesus] the son of Maryam said: “O children of Israel! I am the Rasool of Allah towards you, confirming the Torah which came before me…”
Mormonism, which holds the Book of Mormon in a higher place of authority than the Bible, says of it:
We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly… (Articles of Faith 1:8a)
Jehovah’s Witnesses state in their booklet Mankind’s Search for God:
Even though many people have more or less assumed that the Bible is unscientific, contradictory, and out-of-date, the facts show otherwise. Its unique authorship, its historical and scientific accuracy, and its unerring prophecies all point to one inevitable conclusion: The Bible is the inspired Word of God.
(Mankind’s Search for God. Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania. 1990. 342)
And this doesn’t even begin to touch on the way the Bible is viewed by Hindus, Buddhists, Taoists, and any of the other religious groups present on the earth. The point is, the Christian Bible is held in high esteem by many many religions around the world. And it is even viewed as the inspired word of God by many of those.
But while the testimony of other religions may have some say in what the Bible is, it is more important that we, as Christians, turn to our final authority in matters such as this: The Bible itself. This may seem circular, but let me explain why I am doing this.
Since we Christians believe the Bible to be our final authority (or one of our final authorities) in matters of faith, it only makes sense that we would turn to it to see how we should understand our sacred texts. So, we are going to assume from here on out the the Bible alone is our final authority on this matter and look at what the Bible says about itself. Needless to say, each passage of the Bible that I am going to look at will have as many interpretations as there are positions on the Bible’s inerrancy and authority. So, I am going to avoid going into a whole lot of detail and just let the verses speak for themselves.
Probably the most famous verses regarding the Bible within the Bible is that found in 2 Timothy, where Paul writes,
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV)
Other translations render it “inspired by God,” but the point seems to be that all Scripture is to be taken as if it came from God Himself. It is inspired and authoritative. And it is intended to equip us for what God calls us to do therein.
The Bible also calls itself “perfect” when it says,
The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes; (Psalms 19:7-8 ESV)
God’s law is perfect, complete, sure, pure; it is God’s commands and they exist for our good.
I could go on and on, but then I would be spoon-feeding you all the answers.
My point is, the Bible is much more than a book. It is divinely inspired and given to us by God Himself.
But we must be careful in discussing things like inerrancy and looking at the Bible in a strictly technical sense. In doing so, we can forget that the Bible is our Scripture. The Bible is more than just a divinely inspired collection of ancient documents. The Bible is God’s divine words to us. It is to be studied not only for intellectual fulfillment, but spiritual fulfillment as well. While expositing the text is good, embodying the texts is better. The central theme of the Christian religion is the incarnation. When Jesus ascended to heaven, He basically commanded us to continue being God’s incarnation to the world that He was leaving behind for a time. We are the Body of Christ, and the Bible shows us how to properly live up to that name.