Evidence of biblical inspiration Is the Bible inspired? Christians claim it is. If that is so, then where is the evidence for its inspiration? Simply saying it is inspired isn't enough. Let's see some facts.
First of all, we must understand the inspiration of the Bible is in reference to the original documents, not the copies. Christianity holds that the original writings, the autographs, were without error in everything they address. It is not the copies that are inspired. What we have are copies of inspired documents and the truth is, some copying errors have woven themselves into some of the biblical copies. However, this does not mean that the Bible is not trustworthy.
Textually speaking only 1/1000th of the Bible has any textual variation in the copies. That means that the Bible as a whole is around 98.5% textually pure. The New Testament is about 99.5% textually pure. Furthermore, there is enough redundancy in the copies that have been unearthed via archaeology, that we can reconstruct the Bible to almost 100% accuracy. It is a remarkably well preserved series of different books. For more information on this, please see Manuscript evidence for superior New Testament reliability.
In practical terms, this means that because of various copying errors, usually numbers, word order, spelling, and punctuation, we have Bible Difficulties; hence, the section on CARM dealing with many of them. Therefore, even though we can see some surface issues, we can still very easily see evidence of its inspiration.
Prophecy One of the greatest proofs of the Bible's inspiration is prophecy. Following are some of the prophecies of both secular and religious fulfillment. In other words, the first section deals with prophecies of the secular world. The second part deals with prophecies about Jesus.
- Secular Prophecies
- In Daniel 2 four kingdoms are described in the interpretation of the dream of Nebuchadnezzar who was the king of Babylon. The four were the Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greek and the Roman empire (Dan. 2:39-43). These four kingdoms occurred just as prophesied.
- The following cities were prophesied to be destroyed and never rebuilt which has come true since they have not yet been rebuilt. Nineveh (Nah. 1:10; 3:7,15; Zeph. 2:13-14), Babylon (Isaiah 13:1-22), and Tyre (Ezek. 26:).
- Daniel 12:4 prophesied that knowledge would increase as well as the ability to travel great distances. Of course, this has occurred given our present rise in technology.
- Messianic Prophecies
- Jesus would be born of a virgin Isaiah 7:14, "Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel."
- Fulfilled in Matt. 1:18,25, "This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary...was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit... But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus."
- Jesus' place of birth in Bethlehem Micah 5:2, "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times."
- Fulfilled in Matt. 2:1, "After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem."
- Jesus would be preceded by a messenger Isaiah 40:3, "A voice of one calling: 'In the desert prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God.'"
- Fulfilled in Matt. 3:1-2, "In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Desert of Judea and saying, 'Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.'"
- Rejected by His own people Isaiah 53:3, "He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not."
- Fulfilled in John 7:5, "For even his own brothers did not believe in him," and John 7:48, "Have any of the rulers or the Pharisees believed in Him?"
- Jesus' side pierced Zech. 12:10, "And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one mourns for an only son."
- Fulfilled in John 19:34, "Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus' side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water."
- Jesus would be crucified Psalm 22:1, Psalm 22:11-18, "For the director of music. To the tune of "The Doe of the Morning." A psalm of David. My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?...Do not be far from me, for trouble is near and there is no one to help. Many bulls surround me; strong bulls of Bashan. Dogs have surrounded me; a band of evil men has encircled me, they have pierced my hands and my feet. I can count all my bones; people stare and gloat over me. They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing."
- Fulfilled in John 19:23-24, "When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom. Let's not tear it, they said to one another. "Let's decide by lot who will get it." This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled which said, "They divided my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing." So this is what the soldiers did."
Other information The Bible also contains information about physical phenemona that is particularly unusual.
- The Shape of the Earth
- "He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in" (Isaiah 40:22, NIV).
- This may or may not be construed to support the spherical shape of the earth. The horizon is a circle and a circle is flat.
- The Earth is suspended in nothing
- "He spreads out the northern [skies] over empty space; he suspends the earth over nothing" (Job. 26:7, NIV).
- This is particularly interesting considering that the cosmology of other cultures at that time did not have the earth suspended in nothing, but rather upon pillars, or people, or animals.
- The Existence of Valleys in the Seas
- "The valleys of the sea were exposed and the foundations of the earth laid bare at the rebuke of the LORD, at the blast of breath from his nostrils" (2 Sam. 22:16, NIV).
- The Existence of Springs and Fountains in the Seas
- "In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, on the seventeenth day of the second month -- on that day all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened" (Genesis 7:11, NIV). See also Gen. 8:2; Prov. 8:28.
- The Existence of Water Paths (Ocean Currents) in the Seas
- "O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!...When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,...You made him [man] ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet...the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas" (Psalm 8:1,3,6,8, NIV).
- The Hydrologic Cycle
- "He wraps up the waters in his clouds, yet the clouds do not burst under their weight" (Job. 26:8, NIV).
- "He draws up the drops of water, which distill as rain to the streams; the clouds pour down their moisture and abundant showers fall on mankind" (Job. 36:27-28, NIV)
- "The wind blows to the south and turns to the north; round and round it goes, ever returning on its course. All streams flow into the sea, yet the sea is never full. To the place the streams come from, there they return again (Ecclesiastes 1:6-7, NIV).
Though nothing in the above lists "prove" biblical inspiration, they are strong evidence that it is indeed inspired. Add to them that millions of people all over the world testify to having an encounter with the God of the Bible, the seemingly powerful nature of the words of the Bible, the changed lives of countless people and you have further, though more subjective, evidence that the Bible is the inspired word of God.