ARE the Scriptures of God or man? is a question uppermost in many honest
hearts today. In other words, Did God write them, or are they simply a collection of the
writings of men? If they are simply a collection of man's writings, without divine
guidance, then they are no more reliable than fallible man. But if God wrote them, they
must be true and we can depend on their admonitions and teachings, prophecies and
"THIS BELIEVING WORLD"
A friend sent us a book entitled "This Believing World," which we have just
finished reading. It truly is one of the most subtle works I have ever examined, and is
due to wreck the faith of those not fortified by facts to enable them to read it
discriminatingly. After Book One, entitled "How It All Began," the writer begins
Book Two and says, "Unhappily, that outline reads as though given with complete
assurance. Despite all the `perhapses' and `probablys' scattered throughout the story, it
still reads as though the writer knew for certain just what had happened. Actually he
knows nothing of the sort. All he knows is what many learned anthropologists, after much
painstaking research, have surmised to be the truth." After this admission,
the writer immediately takes up his story again and writes as though he knew for certain
just what had happened! We deeply sympathize with all who take the book seriously.
Quite frequently we come in touch with those confused over the divisions and warring
factions of Christendom, giving thought and study to "Comparative Religions."
They read Brahmanism, with its 230,000,000 communicants in India, loyal to their holy
books called the Vedas, meaning "knowledge" or "sacred
science"--a vast literature of psalms and magic spells for recitation at the altar in
order to get a firmer hold on the gods. Or they study the sacred writings of Buddha, the Tripitaka,
with 460,000,000 followers in China and Japan. Buddha was the first "practical
psychologist," and it is to be noted that his system is not really religious in the
popular sense of the term, for there is no mention of prayer or ceremony or God or Satan
or any supernatural beings. It is purely a philosophical psychology--the delusion that is
leading thousands from the truth. Then comes Mohammedanism, with its 220,000,000
worshipers in Turkey and adjacent countries, holding up their sacred writings, the Koran,
claiming the promises of Abraham through his firstborn Ishmael! There are many other
religions, making great claims and fascinating promises, but this will suffice.
Naturally, the question arises, How are we to know that their writings are not
as authentic and genuine as the writings we call the Sacred Scriptures? There are many
evidences to show wherein they do not compare with the Sacred Scriptures, and being
engaged here in presenting positive evidence as to the inspiration of the Scriptures, we
do not have the space for negative evidences on other writings. However, in behalf of the
question raised, we desire to suggest one evidence which we deem sufficient to satisfy the
most skeptical mind that cares to make the investigation.
I. In the Sacred Scriptures, we find the One God, the Father, speaking and revealing
Himself to mankind, while in all other writings, we invariably find man speaking of and
trying to reveal his god.
II. The Sacred Scriptures teach that "through one man sin entered into the world,
and through sin death, and thus death came through into all mankind, on which all
sinned" (Rom. 5:12).
This truth is denied by all other writings for Satan's lie: "Thou shalt not surely
die", embodied in the teaching of a continuous conscious existence.
III. the Sacred Scriptures reveal that Christ was manifested, indeed, to abolish
death and illustrate life and incorruption through the evangel (2 Tim. 1:10).
All other writings deny this great truth and destroy the blessed hope of the
resurrection by the teaching that there is no death--what seems so is only transition!
IV. The Sacred Scriptures teach that Christ "alone has immortality" (1 Tim.
6:16), and that the living saints will be changed from mortal to immortal, and those who
are reposing will put on incorruption in the resurrection at His coming (1 Cor. 15:51-55).
All other writings deny this great truth by teaching the natural or inherent
"immortality of the soul", and, while the body dies, the soul is translated into
a larger, fuller life--unmistakably labeling it with Satan's lie in Eden!
V. The Sacred Scriptures reveal the grand work of salvation, conciliation, and
reconciliation to be wholly of God apart from merit or works of righteousness performed by
All other writings deny this, by teaching salvation through self-help works of
righteousness performed by the individual apart from God or in cooperation with Him.
A conscientious consideration of the whole contrast revealed concerning these few
fundamental truths, is sufficient to convince every honest truth seeker of the majestic
sublimity and superiority of the Sacred Scriptures over other writings.
THE SACRED SCRIPTURES
It is quite clear from the character of the Scriptures that they are not the work of
man, for man could not have written them if he would, and would not
have written them if he could. Why do I make such a statement? Because the
Scriptures detail with scathing and unsparing severity the sins of its greatest men, like
Abraham, Jacob, Moses, David, and Solomon, charging them with falsehood, treachery, pride,
adultery, cowardice, murder, and gross licentiousness. They present the history of the
sons of Israel--the chosen people of Jehovah--as a humiliating record of ingratitude,
idolatry, unbelief, and rebellion. Therefore, it is safe to say, that the Hebrews,
unguided and undirected by the spirit of God, never would have chronicled the sinful
history of their nation and its greatest men.
It is worthy of notice, relative to what has been said, that when men write histories
and biographies, they leave out the mistakes and wrong-doings of their subjects and
magnify their good deeds, so as to make the picture beautiful. Yet it is quite different
in the Sacred Scriptures. The evil deeds of its greatest men are recorded along with their
good deeds. This is sufficient evidence, within itself, that man, of his own will, did not
conceive and write the Scriptures.
THE ANCIENT MANUSCRIPTS
At this time, a few words relative to the ancient manuscripts will not be out of place.
And please bear in mind, when speaking of these manuscripts, I am referring to copies in
the original tongues or languages Hebrew, Chaldee, or Greek--written on papyrus or scrolls
made of smoothed out animal skins or hides.
Of the Greek manuscripts, there is quite a large number-- probably 1500. And, from the
difference in their condition and general appearance, one is inclined to suspect that they
vary a great deal in age. The question of determining the age of a manuscript is a very
intricate one--the form of the letters being the chief guide. The oldest and
therefore, the most valuable, are written in capital letters, without spacing between the
words and no punctuation marks. These are called the Uncial Manuscripts.
The later or modern copies are written in a running hand like our modern Greek of
today, the words spaced, diacritically marked and sentence punctuated. These are called
the Cursive Manuscripts, and show us the changes and additions of man.
"TWO OR THREE WITNESSES"
Our Lord gave the teaching that, "at the mouth of two or three witnesses every
declaration may be made to stand." Hence it evidently is not a mere chance that two
great witnesses to the text of Holy Writ, and a third to call upon when these
do not agree, have come down to us. Editors have examined thousands of later manuscripts,
but the resultant text is practically the same, as the one derived from the three most
THREE OLDEST MANUSCRIPTS
The three most ancient and valuable manuscripts of the Greek Scriptures are the CODEX
SINAITICUS, probably in the Museum in Leningrad, Russia, the CODE VATICANUS, in the
Vatican Library in Rome, and the CODEX ALEXANDRINUS, in the British Museum, London. These
manuscripts show us the Scriptures as they existed in the first few centuries--very
evidently close to the original autographs. Each one of these great and price less
manuscripts carries an interesting story, a brief out line of which we will give at this
The story of the discovery of the Codex Sinaiticus, is full of interest to all truth
lovers. Dr. Constantin Tischendorf, the great German scholar, who gave his life to
research and the study of ancient manuscripts of the Scriptures, found the Codex
Sinaiticus very unexpectedly in St. Catherine's Convent on Mount Sinai, in the desert of
Arabia. He calls it the "pearl of all his researches," and is the most complete
and perfect of the three great witnesses.
The discovery came about in this way. In visiting the Monastery of St. Catherine in May
of 1844, Dr. Tichendorf perceived a basket full of old parchments in the middle of a great
hall. The librarian told him that two large heaps had already been used for kindling fire!
To his surprise he found that the basket contained a number of sheets of a copy of the
Septuagint (Greek) Old Testament, and the most ancient looking manuscripts he had ever
seen. The authorities of the convent, allowed him to take about forty leaves away with
him, as they were intended only for fuel. But he displayed so much interest and enthusiasm
in the gift, that the suspicion of the Monks was aroused as to the value of the
manuscripts and they would not give him any more.
THE SECOND TRIP
The year 1853 found Dr. Tischendorf back at the monastery, in an effort to recover the
rest of the manuscripts, but he found only one sheet.
THE THIRD ATTEMPT
In 1859, under the commission of Tzar Alexander II of Russia, he returned the third
time to Mt. Sinai in Arabia. After weeks of fruitless search, disheartened, he was
preparing to leave, when quite an unexpected event brought about all he had wished for. On
the evening before the day of his intended departure, he was walking about the grounds
with the steward of the Monastery, and on returning, the Monk invited him into his cell to
take some refreshments. Scarcely had they entered the cell, when the Monk told him he had
a copy of the Septuagint Scriptures, and so saying, he took down a bulky bundle wrapped in
a red cloth and laid it on the table. Dr. Tischendorf opened the parcel, and to his great
surprise, found not only those very fragments that he had seen fifteen years before, but
also, the other parts of the Old Testament, the New Testament complete and some of the
Full of joy, which, this time, he had the self-control to conceal, he asked in an
indifferent manner for permission to look it over in his bedroom. "And there to
myself," he says, "I gave way to my transports of joy. I knew I held in my hand
one of the most precious Biblical treasures in existence--a document, whose age and
importance exceeded that of any I had ever seen after twenty years' study of the
At length, through the Emperor's influence, he succeeded in obtaining the precious
manuscript as a present to the Tzar, the protector of the Greek church, to which they
belonged. It was taken to the Russian Imperial Library in St. Petersburg, where it
probably remains. Strange to say that, after the vicissitudes of fifteen centuries, this
great witness to God's Word should be restored to the world only sixty-eight years since!
The Codex Vaticanus next claims our attention. It is generally conceded by scholars to
be the most ancient of the manuscripts, though later investigation seems to point to the
Codex Sinaiticus as still more ancient and valuable.
The Codex Vaticanus has been in the Vatican Library in Rome since 1481, except for a
short period when Napoleon carried it to Paris. One is much inclined to begrudge the Roman
church the possession of this valuable manuscript, for they have, indeed, been very
jealous guardians of it. It was radically inaccessible to scholars until 1868.
Dr. Tregelles, one of our most eminent students of textual criticism, made an attempt
to study it, but he says they would not let him open the volume without first searching
his pockets and depriving him of all pens, ink, and paper. Two priests told off to watch
him, would try to distract his attention, if he seemed too intent on any one passage. And,
if he studied any part too long they would run to him and snatch it out of his hands and
lose his place, then give it back to him!
In 1889-90, by the order of Pope Pius IX, a photographic facsimile was published, which
made it available for all, and now may be seen in our chief public libraries. It is almost
complete-- Genesis 1 to 48 and Psalms 105 to 137 are missing from the Old Testament while
the New Testament, from Hebrews 9:4 to Revelation, inclusively, is also lacking.
The Codex Alexandrinus is the youngest of the three great manuscripts and has a special
interest for us, being in custody of England, preserved with the great national treasures
in the British Museum. It was, presented to Charles I, by Cyril Lucas, Patriarch of
Constantinople, A. D. 1628.
It came to England seventeen years to late to be used in preparing the Authorized
Version of King James. It should be remembered that none of these three oldest and most
valuable manuscripts were accessible to scholars when the King James Bible was made. This
we fully explain in our next chapter on "How We Got Our English Bible."
Of this Alexandrian manuscript ten leaves are missing from the Old Testament part,
while twenty-five leaves of Matthew, two from John, and three from 2 Corinthians are
missing from the New Testament.
HOW THEY WERE WRITTEN
I wish I might be enabled to press indelibly on the heart of every reader, the fact
that the Scriptures were not given all at once, nor once for all. In other words,
they were given by "installment," or as it is sometimes expressed,
"piece-meal" as the time and occasion demanded. Our Common, or King James
Version renders it "at sundry times and in divers manners" (Heb.1:1). In the
original we have polumeroos kai polutropoos, which means, in literal English,
"MANY-PARTLY AND MANY-mannerly," and is expressed in idiomatic English, "by
many portions and many modes." Hence divine inspiration confirm's the fact that the
Scriptures were not given all at once nor once for all.
Thirty-three men, chosen by God from various walks of life, "carried on by holy
spirit" spoke and recorded the revelation He wished mankind to know, during a period
of 1500 years, from about 1400 B. C. to about 100 A. D.
There were kings, such as David and Solomon; statesmen, like Daniel and Nehemiah;
priests, like Ezra; men learned in the wisdom of Egypt, like Moses; a herdsman, like Amos;
a degraded and despised tax-collector in the employment of the Roman government like
Matthew; illiterate Galilean fishermen, like Peter, James, and John; a beloved physician,
like Luke; a persecutor and defamer, like the apostle Paul, and such mighty
"seers" as Isaiah, Jeremiah, and John, for whom the curtains of time were pulled
aside, allowing them to look down through the centuries and behold events of "the
on-coming eons" and make records of them "for our learning."
WHERE THEY WERE WRITTEN
The Scriptures are not a collection of Asiatic writings, though they were written in
that part of the world. Its pages were penned in the "wilderness of Sinai," in
the "cliffs of Arabia," on the hills and in the towns of Palestine, in the
courts of the temple, in the schools of the prophets at Bethel and Jericho, in the palace
of Shushan in Persia, on the banks of the river Chebar in Babylonia, in a Roman prison,
and on the lonely island of Patmos in the Aegean sea.
AN ILLUSTRATIVE COMPARISON
Imagine, for example, another collection of writings compiled in a similar manner.
Suppose we compile sixty-three books, the number in the original, written by thirty-three
different physicians and surgeons during a period of 1500 years, of the various schools of
healing--allopathy, homeopathy, hydropathy, osteopathy, etc.--and undertake to treat
disease by such a work. What success could be expected? What unity and accord would there
be in such a medical work? All would be confusion, of course. The Scriptures, however,
compiled after the manner described, are not a heterogeneous jumble of ancient
history, myths, legends, religious speculations and superstitions, as might be expected.
UNITY AND PROGRESS
There is no other book in all the world like the Sacred Scriptures. In the first place,
from the beginning to the consummation, there is a divine unity which can be found
in no other writings under heaven. Each book, chapter, verse, word, and letter, forms a necessary
part in the unity of the whole, and each is in its divinely appointed place. This
statement is verified by the fact that no particular portion of the Scriptures is to be
intelligently comprehended apart from some conception of its place and relationship to the
whole. It is, therefore, indispensable to any interesting and fruitful study of the
Scriptures, that a general knowledge of the whole be gained.
In the second place, the Scriptures present a divine order and progress in the
unfolding of truth. The judges knew more than the patriarchs; the prophets knew more than
the judges; the apostles knew more than the prophets. The Master's words concerning the
earth bearing fruit--"first the blade, thereafter the ear, thereafter the full grain
in the ear" (Mark 4:28)--is an illustration of the order in which God made His
revelation to mankind. It was given "by many portions and many modes" as the
time and occasion demanded.
We will now turn our attention to the "inspiration" of the Scriptures. Just
what are we to understand by the inspiration of the Scriptures? We are to understand that
God directed men, chosen by Himself, to put into writing such revelations of creation,
historical facts, laws, prophecies, admonitions, teachings, and promises as would lead
mankind into the knowledge and wisdom of His purpose, love, and grace.
The original reads pasa graphee theopneustos, and means, when literally
translated into English, "EVERY WRITING God-spirited." From this we clearly
apprehend that God, Himself, through the holy spirit, told men of old just what to write.
Therefore, the Scriptures are the very words of God.
"The God of the Hebrew Scriptures spoke; it was an oral revelation. He was
revealed as Elohim, Jehovah, Adonai, etc., by means of utterances which came to the
fathers through the prophets, while His essence was concealed. At Sinai, His voice was
heard, but He was hid." He wrote the two "tables of testimony" on
stone (Ex.31:18 and 32:16), and on the "wall" of Belshazzar's palace
(Dan.5:5,24-28). He talked with Moses on the mount when He gave him the
"specifications" for the tabernacle and its furnishings with all its Levitical
law and order of service. He spoke at the baptism of Christ (Matt.3:17), and on the
Mount of Transformation (Matt.17:5), and one day when the Lord Jesus was talking to the
multitude (John 12:27-30).
And, be it remembered that God not only spoke directly to men, but He spoke to
them in His Son (Heb.1:1). Matthew's and John's accounts (commonly termed gospels),
contain forty-nine chapters with 1950 verses, 1140 of which, almost three-fifths, were
spoken by Jesus Christ Himself, and He averred: "I speak not from Myself, but the
Father Who sends Me, He has given Me the precept, what I may be saying and what I should
be speaking" (John 12:49). From all this we see that the God of the Scriptures can
both write and speak, and therefore, can tell and direct others what
to write and speak.
EXTENT OF INSPIRATION
Now the question arises, To what extent does the inspiration of the Scriptures extend?
We answer this by saying that inspiration extends to every part--from the first
word in Genesis to the Amen at the close of the book of Revelation. And, what is more, it
extends to every sentence, word, mark, point, jot, and tittle of the original autographs.
When Christ said in Matthew 5:17,18, that "one iota or one ceriph may by no means
pass by from the law till all should be coming to pass," He referred to the smallest
letter, the "iota" or "yod," and the smallest mark, the
"ceriph," which distinguishes one letter from another in the Hebrew language,
thus indicating that they were inspired and necessary for a complete understanding
of God in His Word.
But how about the words of Satan, wicked and uninspired men, the genealogical tables,
the flood, and other, historical portions of the Scriptures? They were inspired of record.
In other words, the inspired penmen were told what historical facts to record and what to
omit. To one who is familiar with the historical accounts of the Hebrew Scriptures and
that of secular history of the same era, with its legends and traditions and detailed
descriptions, it becomes quite clear that the writers of the Sacred Scriptures were
divinely guided to record only those things that would be needed for enlightening mankind
concerning God's plan and purpose for the eons.
HOW MEN WERE INSPIRED
And just now the question arises, How were men inspired to write the Scriptures? Were
the writers thrown into a kind of "spell," "ecstasy," or
"trance," and wrote under its influence whatever came into their minds? Or did
God, through the holy spirit, dictate to them the exact words to use and write?
The consideration of this is very essential here, due to the false and misleading
claims of many would-be inspired writers of today, claiming to have received
"visions" and "revelations" which they set forth in colorful language
and lead many away from the Word of God.
Let me press the fact that thought can only be expressed in words,
and those words must express the exact thought of the speaker, otherwise, his exact
thought is not expressed.
For an illustration of this, we will recite an incident that occurred during the 1925
baseball season. The story goes, that in the progress of a game, an umpire became
indignant over the way a certain fan was gibing him, stopped the game and went up into the
stand and proceeded to give him a severe chastising. Later, when the president of the
league heard of the affair, he wired the umpire as follows: "SEND FULL REPORT OF THE
TROUBLE STOP WORK TODAY." The umpire did as the telegram read. Sent full report of
the trouble and did not work that day. But the umpire did not get the exact
words of the president, and therefore, failed to get his exact thought. In
fact, he got exactly the opposite. The exact words of the president read: "Send full
report of the trouble. Work today." But in sending telegrams, the word
"stop" is used for a period, and in this case it fit so well to the words
"work today," that under the circumstances, the umpire took it for a part of the
In keeping with all this, we can clearly apprehend the force of Paul's admonition to
Timothy, "Have a pattern of sound words, which you hear from me"
(2 Tim.1:13). Thus we see that inerrancy demands that the sacred scribe be simply an amanuensis,
and give the exact words. And this is confirmed by the Scriptures themselves, as in
2 Peter 1:21, "For prophecy was not at any time carried on by the will of man,
but holy men of God speak, being carried on by holy spirit."
This statement is further confirmed by the fact that much of that which was written by
the old Hebrew prophets was not understood by themselves, as is declared in 1 Peter
1:10-12. And that they were mere instruments used of God for speaking and recording His
Word is shown by the fact that not all of them were good or holy men, as
Balaam (Num.22:38 and 23:26), King Saul (1 Sam.10:10-12 and 19:20-24), and Caiphas (John
That the prophetical writers spoke the exact words which God gave them is clear
from their own statements. Moses complained to Jehovah, when commissioned to go to
Pharaoh, that he was "not a man of words" but was "slow of speech and of a
slow tongue." Then Jehovah said to him: "Who appointed a mouth for man,
or Who appointed him to be dumb, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I Jehovah? Now
therefore, Go, and I will be with thy mouth, so will I direct thee what thou shalt
The prophet Jeremiah says: "Then Jehovah put forth His hand and touched my mouth.
And Jehovah said unto me, Lo! I have put my words in thy mouth" (Jer.1:9).
Ezekiel, Daniel, and all the prophets make the same claim.
The expressions, "The Lord said," "The Lord spake saying,"
"Thus saith the Lord," etc., occur 560 times in the Pentateuch, 300 times in the
historical and prophetical books, 1000 times in the prophets--24 times in Malachi,
alone--in all, over 2000 times in the Hebrew Scriptures, thus verifying the statement of
Peter, that "prophecy was not at any time carried on by the will of man,
but holy men of God speak, being carried on by holy spirit".
FULFILLMENT INSPIRATIONAL PROOF
The fulfillment of prophecy is a valuable argument for the "inspiration" of
the Scriptures. And this is made more evident when it is submitted in the simple form of
"compound probabilities." For example: If I should predict an earthquake in
Johnson City, Tennessee next year, the chance would be one in two that it would occur. If
I should add that it would be in the daytime, the chance becomes decreased one in four
that it will occur. And if I should add another detail, that it would be on the Fourth of
July, the chance becomes decreased one in eight. And if I should add ten details to my
prediction, the chance becomes decreased one in 1024 that it will so occur.
Keeping the foregoing example in mind, let me call your attention to the fact that twenty-five
specific predictions were made by the Hebrew prophets, bearing on the
"betrayal," "trial," "death," and "burial" of
Christ. These were uttered by different prophets during a period of five hundred
years, from 1000 B. C. to 500 B. C., yet they were all fulfilled in twenty- four hours
in one person--the Christ of Whom they spoke.
Apply the law of "Compound probabilities" to this, and the chance becomes
decreased to 1 in 33,554,432 that the twenty-five predictions would be fulfilled! Should
one prophet make several predictions as to some one event, he might by collusion with
others bring it to pass. But when a number of prophets, distributed over five centuries of
time, giving detailed and specific predictions as to some particular event, the charge of
collusion cannot be sustained. The only way to satisfactorily account for these marvelous
facts, is to admit that the writers were inspired, and the message they have given
us is God's Word--His revelation to mankind.
A glory in Thy Word we see
When Grace restores our sight;
But Satan darkened all our minds
And veiled the heavenly Light.
When God's own Spirit clears our views,
How bright the teachings shine!
Their holy fruits and sweetness show
Their Author is Divine,
How blest we are, with open face
To view Thy glory, Lord--
And all Thy Image here to trace--
Reflected in Thy Word.