We human beings have a thirst to know where things come from. It is perfectly natural for us to inquire concerning the origin of this most famous Book in the world.
This is the Book that H. L. Hastings said contains “history, genealogy, ethnology, law, ethics, prophecy, poetry, eloquence, medicine, sanitary science, political economy, and perfect rules for the conduct of personal and social life”.
What is the primary source of the Scriptures? Men claim that the Bible is the world’s greatest book. What does this Book have to say regarding its origin? Is it just the world’s greatest book, or is it something more than human?
The Bible Testifies
The authority of the Bible prophets is greater than the words of any human being, even though he might rise from the dead a thousand years after he was buried. Said Jesus by way of a parable, “If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead” (Luke 16:31).
There are five important things to remember about the giving of the Scriptures.
The first and most significant is this positive declaration by that flaming, living torch of gospel truth, the apostle Paul: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God” (2 Timothy 3:16). This recognises God as the fountainhead of “all scripture”, the fundamental source of the whole Bible.
The second point is given by the great apostle Peter in these words: “Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow” (1 Peter 1:10-11). Thus we understand that Christ was intimately connected with the giving of the Scriptures, of which the prophecies are a portion.
The third agency in the giving of the Scriptures is set forth in connection with the fourth, as clearly stated by the same apostle Peter: “Prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (2 Peter 1:21). As God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit cooperated in the creation of the world and the making of man, so here we find the three working together in giving to the world the Bible through men. Men “spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost”. David expressed the same truth when he said, “The Spirit of the LORD spake by me, and his word was in my tongue” (2 Samuel 23:2).
There is yet one more living agency involved in the giving of the Holy Scriptures. A beautiful picture of the process is presented in the first verse of the book of Revelation. “The Revelation of Jesus Christ which God gave to him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John” (Revelation 1:1).
God gave the message to Christ, who sent it by His angel to the prophet John; then John spoke or wrote the message for the people. The angel is the new agent brought to view in this scripture. This particular angel is called “his angel”, generally considered to be Gabriel. Daniel 8:16; 9:21; Luke 1:19-26.
From God, to Christ, to His angel, to the prophets who spoke or wrote as “they were moved by the Holy Ghost” – that was the method. Thus it was “God, who at sundry times and in divers places manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets” (Hebrews 1:1). The Bible is the divine-human book, a book from Heaven given through men to men.
A Word About The Books And Writers
The Ten Commandments God Himself first spoke, then wrote upon two tables of stone, and “he added no more” (Deut 5:22). This sacred law of Scripture stands apart and separate, spoken to men by God and written by Him.
Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible and is generally conceded to be the author of the book of Job. Joshua was also commissioned to write (Joshua 24:26).
Then came the long period of the kings, first David and Solomon, then the divided kingdom of Judah and Israel, with the books of Samuel, parts of Kings and Chronicles, David’s Psalms, Solomon’s Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon, also Isaiah, Jeremiah, Hosea, Joel, and Amos.
In close connection with the time of captivity in Babylon, there came the messages of Ezekiel, Daniel, Obadiah, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah. It is understood that the later portions of Kings and Chronicles were written then.
After the Jews were restored to their own land the books of Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi were also added.
The Old Testament was completed some three or four hundred years before Christ. The New Testament was finished by about A. D. 100.
The whole Bible was thus brought into being over a period of more than fifteen hundred years, and portions were written by nearly forty different men. What a miracle is its origin, its preservation, its unity, its beauty, and its power!
What Men Have Said
H. L. Hastings wrote, “Here are words written by kings, by emperors, by princes, by poets, by sages, by philosophers, by fishermen, by statesmen, by men learned in the wisdom of Egypt, educated in the schools of Babylon, trained up at the feet of rabbis in Jerusalem. It was written by men in exile, in the desert, in shepherds’’ tents, in ‘green pastures’, and beside ‘still waters’. Among its authors we find the tax-gatherer, the herdsman, the gatherer of sycamore fruit; we find poor men, rich men, statesmen, preachers, exiles, captains, legislators, judges,; men of every grade and class….It contains all kinds of writing; but what a jumble it would be if sixty-six books were written by thirty or forty different doctors of various schools….bind them all together, and then undertake to doctor a man according to that book!….Or suppose you get thirty-five ministers writing books on theology, and then see if you can find any leather strong enough to hold the books together” – “Will the Old Book Stand? p. 21”.
Voltaire said the Bible was an exploded book. His theory is what exploded, for he has been dead more than 150 years, and the Book is still there, read and loved by more people than ever.
Ingersoll, a man of rich talent, declared that the Bible would not be read in ten years. It has been long years since he died, yet the Bible today outsells any one=hundred other books put together.
Like a cube of granite, the Bible is right side up no matter how many times you overturn it, and it leaves its imprint everywhere it goes.
It has been translated into more languages and dialects than any other book. Completed nearly two thousand years ago the Bible or portions of it may be read today in more than one thousand tongues, and it is the most up-to-date book in the world.
Someone has written:
“The empire of Caesar is gone; the legions of Rome are mouldering in the dust; the avalanches Napoleon hurled upon Europe have melted away; the pride of the Pharaohs is fallen; the pyramids they raised to be their tombs are sinking every day in the desert sands; Tyre is a rock for fishermen’s’ nets; Sidon has scarcely a rock left behind; but the Word of God survives. All things that threatened to extinguish it have aided it, and it proves every day how transient is the noblest monument that man can build, how enduring the least word God has spoken. Tradition has dug a grave for it; intolerance has lighted for it many a fagot; many a Judas has betrayed it with a kiss; many a Peter has denied it with an oath; many a Demas has forsaken it; but the Word of God still endures”.
Lickey, Arthur E, “God Speaks to Modern Man”, copyright 1952, Review and Herald Publishing Association, Washington D.C.