Is the Bible God’s Message to Man?

Is there anything really different about the Bible?  Is it the message of man or the message of God?  Is it, as some claim, an outdated book, having little if any real bearing on our day; or is it, as others claim, even more timely and vital today than ever before?

One thing is sure, if ever men and women needed the voice of divine authority, it is today.  Many wonder what lies ahead.  They fear the future.  Gone are the days when future prospects sent the blood surging more joyously through the veins.  The average forward look today sees little but gloom.  Says Professor C. E. Vulliamy: ‘Humanity is marching….into the deadest of all dead ends….No-one has the slightest reason for supposing that human affairs are going to improve’ (Man and the Atom, p 25-26).

We are living in a world in which evil everywhere is prevailing over goodness, a world of decaying sanity (Man and the Atom, p12).

This tragic situation is all the more difficult to explain in the light of our advancing knowledge.  It was expected that scientific and educational advancement would bring a settled order.  It was felt that the twentieth century, for sure, would bring enduring tranquillity.  But the past few years have brought disillusionment.

Many feel that science, in which men’s hopes were centred, has gone too far.  Carried away with its enthusiasms and the spirit of adventure, yet lacking moral impetus, it has become incapable of either foreseeing or handling the consequences of its own achievements.

Ordinary men and women are bewildered.  Science seems to tell them one thing, theology something else, and philosophy provides a variety of theories and assertions.  Furthermore, national leaders seem no longer able to command the confidence they once did, for it is generally recognized that this old world’s problems have grown too large and unwieldy for men to handle.

What the world needs today above everything else is the voice of authority and certainty.  If only God would speak His mind so that all could hear and understand; if only He would tell us the way out of our perplexities; if only He would draw aside the veil which hides the future from our view, and light and light our perilous pathway here on earth as we journey onward; then would our troubled hearts be at peace, and we could walk with confidence.

Yet the world generally is like the victim of a deadly disease who longs for help and healing, but who ignores the only effective medicine which is within his reach.  Instead he seeks the services of misguided quacks and charlatans, with disastrous results.  Thus it is that the heavenly Physician so often has occasion to complain as He did to His people of old: “Ye will not come to Me, that ye might have life” (Jn 5:40).

The quest for that kind of nature which, by its very nature, cannot be obtained by normal means, has been alluring and fascinating.  Every conceivable process of divination has been resorted to in order, as the term implies, ‘to see like a god’; and to discover, if possible, the will of the Almighty.  This ardent search for an authoritative voice has assumed the most fantastic forms, such as the inspection of animal livers, chicken bones, knuckle bones, bears’ teeth, teetotums, etc., among such primitive people as the Pacific islanders and the wild men of Borneo.  While among civilised races the palmist, necromancer, magician, medium, and soothsayer find themselves in even greater demand than they were in King Nebuchadnezzar’s day.  But God does not speak through the divining rod, the planchette, the crystal, or any other such means.  For they are but hopeless substitutes for the true revelation of God’s will for men and for the world.

This revelation is contained within the Holy Bible.  The Bible is open and frank in its claim to be the genuine Word of God.  More than two thousand times in the Old Testament do we have such statements as: ‘Thus saith the Lord’, ‘the Lord spake’, ‘The Spirit of the Lord spake by me’, and ‘Moses wrote all the words of the Lord’.  The human writers of the Bible all claimed to be either recording God’s messages or writing at His dictation.  And one part of the Scriptures was so important as to have been actually written by God Himself.  Our whole duty as responsible men and women who  must one day face the final judgment, was outlined by God and written by His own hand on tables of stone (Exodus 31:18).  This great standard of conduct is the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:3-17; Ecclesiastes 12:13).

There is no mock modesty about the Holy Bible.  Its voice is authoritative, for it is the voice of the one true God.  One looks in vain for any such passage as: ‘We suppose that….’, or ‘It may well be….’, or ‘It seems likely that….’.  Such doubt-instilling statements abound in the writings of men, but the Bible is consistently clear and decided.  It has confidence in what it says.  Its claims are sweeping, its message is unmistakable.  This in itself is one of the evidences we would expect to see in God’s message to man. 

The famous anthropologist, Sir Arthur Keith, testified: ‘The Bible remained for me a book of books, still divine – but divine in the sense that all great books are divine which teach men how to live righteously’.  Such is the fallacious opinion of many well-meaning folk.  We do not deny that some human authors are helped by God in their work.  But the very fact that their writings reveal so many and such great differences of opinion, proves that the human element was very prominent as they wrote.

With the Bible this is not so.  It dwarfs other books as completely as towering Everest dwarfs a humble hillock.  The Bible is man’s complete guide.  Its inspiration is unique.  It is the voice of God.

This must be so, or else the Bible is the greatest fraud.  Its claims are either true or false.  There is no possible way of getting around them or explaining them away.  There is no neutral position.  Either we accept it as God’s Word, or reject it as wholly untrue.  But none could thus reject it, for the effect the Book produces and the influence for good it has wielded through the centuries, is one of the greatest proofs of its divine authorship.  The generally accepted principle that ‘by their fruits ye shall know them’ (Matthew 7:20) applies just as logically to the Bible as to anything else.  As an old Highlander once reasoned with Robert Buchanan: ‘I cannot argue with you.  I cannot give facts and reasons.  I cannot explain the philosophy of revelation.  But this I know, that when I was a man of evil character the Bible got hold of me and quelled the tiger in me’.  Millions have likewise been able to prove that ‘the Word of God is quick, and powerful’ (Hebrews 4:12).

Armed with the sacred Scriptures men and women of God have bravely entered the strongholds of heathenism, penetrating even the haunts of cannibals and head-hunters.  The Bible’s transforming power has driven ‘the tiger’ from multitudes of those heathen hearts, and paved the way for more civilised order.  We have yet to hear of the writings of the ancient philosophers, or of such geniuses as Shakespeare or Dickens, or of such theorists as Karl Marx or Friedrich Nietzsche, making such complete and delightful transformations.  The Bible has brought peace and happiness and freedom from the grossest sins, to thousands in every land.  There is no safer, saner, kindlier, more wholesome company to be had, than that of men and women who love their Bibles.

One looks in vain for hospitals, orphanages, and old folks’ homes in lands untouched by the Bible.  Such institutions of mercy have come into being through Bible teaching.  Not only for these but for whatever degree of decency, sanity, and justice has been achieved by our modern civilization, the Bible must have the full credit.

The Bible’s very persistence further demonstrates its divine nature.  Through the centuries it has survived, shedding far and wide its benign influence, until today its circulation has reached an all-time peak.  No book has been ‘disproved’, ‘exploded’, resisted, or ridiculed so many times as the Bible; the old Book lives on, sublimely doing its miraculous work of transformation in thousands of lives.

A man who built a wall higher than its height, explained his reason to be that should a strong wind blow his wall over, it would be even higher than it was at first.  The Bible is much like that.  Blow it over with the hurricanes of higher criticism, yet still it stands with undiminished power to protect and shelter those who read it.

Voltaire had no time for the Bible.  He denied that any part of it was from God.  He boasted that he would pave the way for its destruction, and that within a hundred years of his death [1778] it would be forgotten.  Very few people read Voltaire today, yet added millions read the Bible.  Within twenty-five years of Voltaire’s death, his house was purchased by the Geneva Bible Society and used for storing Bibles; and his printing press was actually used to print an entire edition of the Bible.

Since that noted Frenchman’s day, many Bible societies have come into being.  Their presses

have produced the Scriptures by the hundred million, and today [1952] the Old Book can be read in over a thousand languages.  Since its inception, the British and Foreign Bible Society [1804] alone has produced over six hundred million copies of the Scriptures, being responsible for 808 of the 1,040 translations.

In view of the persistent opposition it has faced, such a situation is but one further proof that the Bible is indeed God’s Word to man.  As Isaiah declared: ‘The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the Word of our God shall stand for ever’ (Isa 40:8).

We would expect God’s Word to man to be simple enough for all to grasp.  A merciful God would be unfair if He outlined His purposes in terms which none but the keenest scholars could understand.  And truly even a child can grasp the Bible’s basic teachings; while at the same time there are profundities which provide limitless scope for even the most fertile brains.

Thank God for such a book.  In a world of uncertainty here is an unquenchable light that will show us the way, a sign-post that will safely guide us, a transforming power that will purify our hearts, a source of healing for sickly souls, an inexhaustible storehouse of wisdom, sanity, hope, joy, and gladness.  ‘The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes’ (Ps 19:8).

“O earth, earth, earth, hear the Word of the Lord” (Jeremiah 22:29).  “Do you know a book that you are willing to put under your ear for a pillow when you lie dying?  That is the book you want to study while you are living.  There is but one such book in the world” – the Bible, God’s Word to man.

Taken complete from “God’s Answers to your Questions” by R. D. Vine, 1952, p. 14-18; publ. The Stanborough Press Ltd., Herts, England.