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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: Don Stewart :: 10 Reasons to Trust the Bible

Don Stewart :: The Bible’s Unique Design

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Reason 2

The Bible’s Unique Design

The Bible has a “unique” design. Indeed, it is one-of-a-kind - like no other book that has ever been written. There is nothing like it and it has no equal. This can be seen in a number of ways:

  1. It Was Fifteen Hundred Years in the Making

    From the composition of the first biblical book until the last, a period of about fifteen hundred years elapsed. The Old Testament was written between 1400 and 400 B.C. The books of the New Testament were written from approximately A.D. 40 to A.D. 90.

    Thus, we have about fifteen hundred years from the writing of the first book to the composition of the last book.

  2. The Bible Was Written by Many Authors from Various Occupations

    Thousands of years ago, God chose certain men to receive His divine Words and then record them for humanity. In total, over forty different human authors wrote the books of the Bible. These writers came from a variety of backgrounds and occupations.

    These people included shepherds, Hosea and Amos, fishermen Peter and John, a former tax collector, Matthew, a doctor, Luke, and a military general, Joshua. At least four of the writers lived in the royal household: the kings, David and Solomon, a prime minister, Daniel, and a cupbearer, Nehemiah.

    Only a few of them, such as Paul, Luke, Daniel and Moses, received the finest education of their time. In sum, each of these authors had unique experiences and each one of them was different in their character or makeup.

  3. Scripture Was Written in Different Literary Forms with Different Writing Styles

    The Bible consists of a number of different literary forms. Scripture is a collection of letters, sermons, laws, poetic descriptions, narratives of historical events, prayers, praise, practical sayings and the warnings of the prophets.

    The sixty-six books also contain a wide array of writing styles that express the entire range of human emotions. Therefore, what we find in the Bible is a wide range of literary forms as well as different literary ability on the part of the authors.

  4. The Biblical Books Were Written upon Three Continents

    The books of the Bible were composed upon three different continents—Africa, Asia and Europe. For example, the writings of Ezekiel were composed in Babylon (Asia); Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible in the Sinai desert (Africa); and the Apostle Paul wrote the letter to the believers in Philippi while in Rome (Europe).

  5. Scripture Was Composed in Different Physical Circumstances

    There were a variety of circumstances in which the Biblical books were composed. Moses, for example, wrote while leading the children of Israel through the wilderness. Jeremiah penned his book while in a dungeon in Israel. Ezekiel composed his work while a captive in Babylon. The Apostle Paul wrote several of his letters while in a Roman prison. John the evangelist wrote the Book of Revelation while banished to the island of Patmos. Obviously, there was not one particular place or circumstance in which all of the biblical books were composed.

    Though many other religions had a certain place where the ‘divine word’ was revealed, this is not the case with the Bible. The God of the Bible was able to reveal Himself in many different places and over an extended period of time.

  6. Three Different Ancient Languages Were Employed in the Writing of Scripture

    The Bible was written in three different ancient languages. The Old Testament was written mostly in Hebrew with some parts composed in Aramaic—a language similar to Hebrew. The New Testament was originally written in Greek.

  7. There Are Many Different Subjects Covered in the Bible

    The Bible also covers a variety of diverse subjects. Some of these subjects were historical, what has happened in history, while some of the subjects were prophetical, what will happen in the future. These subjects include such things as: the existence and nature of God, the creation of the universe, how human beings originated, the meaning of human existence, the purpose of our existence, the final destiny of humankind and the planet earth.

  8. They Wrote about the Unknown Future

    Many of the biblical writers wrote about events that were to happen in the future. These events were unknown to humans, but known to God. While not every biblical author addressed events in the future, many of them did. Therefore, the Bible is a book that contains a number of different predictions of future events from a variety of different writers.

  9. The Biblical Writers Received Their Message in Different Ways

    There is also the fact that the writers of Scripture received their messages in different ways. God directly told some writers what to say. Others were given their message in visions and dreams. Still others were given divine inspiration when they wrote.

    And finally, there were others whom God directed to record historical events as well as God’s interpretation of the events. The point is this: the writers of Scripture received God’s Word in a number of different ways.

    The writer to the Hebrews noted this when he wrote:

    In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. (Hebrews 1:1-2)

    God spoke at different times, in different ways and to different people.

  10. Most Authors Did Not Know One Another

    Because the Bible was written over a period of fifteen hundred years, most of the writers did not personally know the other writers of Scripture. Neither were they familiar with their writings. For example, the Old Testament authors would have been unfamiliar with the New Testament writers and writings. Indeed, it was not composed until 400 years after the Old Testament was completed.

    Therefore, since most of the writers were separated from one another by both time and space, and were not personally acquainted with each another, there is no chance that they could have conspired together.

Conclusion: We Would Expect Chaos to Result from These Diverse Circumstances

Hence, the Bible was written over a period of fifteen hundred years by forty different human authors from various backgrounds who wrote in different languages, upon different continents, in different circumstances, upon different subjects, including the unknown future, and in different literary forms. These authors, for the most part, did not know each other. With all of these contrasts, one would expect something chaotic and disjointed when their writings were assembled into one book.

The Amazing Thing: There Is One Unfolding Story in Scripture

Yet the Bible is a unity; one unfolding account from beginning to end in complete harmony and continuity. The Old Testament is incomplete without the New Testament, and yet the New Testament does not make sense without the Old Testament. Together the two testaments give a harmonious account of the dealings of God with humanity without any contradiction. Jesus made this clear when He said the following:

Scripture cannot be broken. (John 10:35)

There is one system of teaching, and one plan of salvation.

Scripture Is Christ-Centered

There is more. The main theme of the Bible is the Person of Jesus Christ. Both the Old and New Testaments testify to Jesus Christ as the Lord of Glory.

Jesus Himself told the religious rulers of His day that the Old Testament Scriptures spoke of Him. The Gospel according to John records Jesus saying the following:

You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me... If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. (John 5:39,46)

According to Jesus, Old Testament history is His story. He is the theme of the Old Testament.

On the day Jesus rose from the dead, He walked alongside two of His disciples on the road to Emmaus. During their conversation, the Bible records Jesus explaining how the Old Testament spoke of Him. We read:

And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself. (Luke 24:27)

The resurrected Christ explained that the Old Testament predicted His coming.

Later on that day, Jesus said the following to His disciples:

This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms. (Luke 24:44)

Thus, according to Jesus, the Hebrew Scripture is all about Him.

As we shall see, the evidence demonstrates Jesus’ claim to be true.

The Old Testament—Preparation for the Christ: the Promise of His Coming

After the creation and fall of humanity, God promised to send a Savior. He established an elaborate system of sacrifices that looked forward to the coming of the Savior or Deliverer.

The Old Testament prepares for the coming of the promised Deliverer—also known as the Messiah. The prophet Isaiah spoke of this. He wrote:

A voice of one calling: “In the wilderness prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” (Isaiah 40:3)

The theme that runs throughout the entire Old Testament is the establishment of the kingdom of God through the reign of the Messiah. The Old Testament looks forward to His coming.

The Gospels?the Manifestation of the Christ: the Proof of His Coming

The gospels record the manifestation of the predicted Messiah. The New Testament testifies of the arrival of the One promised in the Old Testament. We read John saying about Jesus:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God... The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:1,14)

The Messiah came as promised.

John the Baptist testified that Jesus was the One who would take away the sins of the world. The Bible says:

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29)

Jesus of Nazareth is indeed the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy regarding the promised Savior.

Acts—the Propagation of Jesus’ Message: His Message Goes Out to the Entire World

The Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth, came into the world as had been predicted in the Old Testament. However, Christ was not accepted by His people. The Bible tells us that Jesus died on a cross for the sins of the world and three days later rose from the dead. Forty days after His resurrection, He ascended into heaven. Before returning to heaven, Jesus told His disciples the following:

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. (Acts 1:8)

They were instructed to tell others the gospel, or good news, of His death and resurrection. The propagation of the message of the risen Christ is recorded in the Book of Acts.

Paul—the Explanation of Jesus’ Coming: the Two Comings of Christ Explained

Why did the Christ, or Messiah, have to die when He came into the world? Was this something that the Old Testament had predicted? Yes, it was. In his letters, the Apostle Paul, gives the explanation of the two comings of Christ. He wrote to the Colossians:

I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness-- the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people. To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. (Colossians 1:25-27)

The “mystery” or “sacred secret” has now been revealed. The Old Testament Scripture actually spoke of two different comings of Christ into the world. The Christ, or Messiah, would come the first time to die. Jesus fulfilled this prediction at His first coming. Scripture records how He died for the sins of the world but then rose from the dead three days later. Later He ascended into heaven.

However, our world will see Jesus again. Indeed, the Bible says that He will come a second time to the earth. The same Jesus who was crucified and rose from the dead will return to our earth to rule over it. This is what the Old Testament also predicted. The Apostle Paul was the man chosen by God to explain these two comings of Christ.

Paul emphasized that Christ now resides in those who believe in Jesus by means of the Holy Spirit. This promise is given to everyone who believes in Him. This includes Gentiles (non-Jews) as well as Jews.

Revelation—the Consummation of All Things in Christ: Jesus Christ Will Return

Finally, we come to the Book of Revelation, which records Christ coming back to rule and reign upon the earth. The Bible says:

“Look, he is coming with the clouds,” and “every eye will see him, even those who pierced him”; and all peoples on earth “will mourn because of him.” So shall it be! Amen. (Revelation 1:7)

All things that have been predicted in the Old and New Testament will be consummated in the return of Jesus Christ.

To sum up, the Old Testament records the preparation for the coming of Christ while the Gospels record His coming or manifestation. The Book of Acts chronicles the propagation of the gospel (the good news) concerning Jesus Christ and the letters of Paul explain the two comings of Christ as well as the implications of the gospel for our lives. The Book of Revelation describes the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and the establishment of His eternal kingdom. Again, it is all about Him!

The Bible glorifies Jesus Christ and centers on Him. It provides one harmonious message from beginning to end, and this message is all about the Lord Jesus.

A Challenge to Duplicate the Unity of the Bible in Modern Times

Those who do not consider the harmony of the Bible as something amazing should accept the following challenge:

Locate twenty people, all living at the same time, who all speak the same language, who have the same amount of education and come from the same social background. Put them in separate rooms and ask them to write their opinion on only two controversial subjects, such as the nature and existence of God and the purpose of life here on earth.

Would you expect their writings to agree? Would you find one unfolding account from beginning to end with no contradictions or distortions? Not at all! You would expect to get about twenty different opinions.

Then how can we explain the unity of the Bible? The Bible consists of forty authors, not twenty, writing over a fifteen hundred year time span, not writing at the same time, writing from different educational backgrounds, in different languages, from different cultures and writing on many different subjects (including the unknown future). Yet, they write with complete unity and harmony. The way that the Scriptures have been composed argues against their unity, yet we find that there is an intelligent design throughout the pages of Scripture.

Conclusion: There Is One Author Who Is Behind All of the Books; God Himself

The explanation that the Bible gives for its remarkable unity is that God has divinely inspired the process. The one author of the books of the Bible is God the Holy Spirit. The Bible says the following:

All Scripture is God-breathed, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. (2 Timothy 3:16)

The claim is that all Scripture is “God-breathed.” This means the authority of God is ultimately behind the composition of each book.

Peter wrote about how all of Scripture is divinely inspired. He said:

Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. (2 Peter 1:20-21)

Ultimately, the Scriptures are not of mere human origin.

Hence, the harmony of the Bible can be understood by realizing that the ultimate author behind the books is God. This fact puts the Bible in a class by itself.

It is evidence like this that led the great archaeologist, W. F. Albright, to make the following conclusions with respect to the Bible:

The Bible towers in content above all earlier religious literature; and it towers just as impressively over all subsequent literature in the direct simplicity of its message and... its appeal to men of all lands and times. (W.F. Albright, The Christian Century, November, 1958)

Therefore, the unique design of the Bible is truly a wondrous thing. It is different from all other books that have ever been written. Throughout its pages, it clearly shows that an Intelligent Designer is behind each and every Book.

Summary - Reason 2
The Bible’s Unique Design

The Bible has a unique makeup. It is different from any other book that has ever been composed. Over forty different authors wrote the various books over a period of fifteen hundred years. These authors came from all walks of life with different experiences, different levels of education and different personal makeup. They include fishermen, shepherds, a doctor and a former tax collector. These differences are reflected in their writing styles.

The biblical authors lived on three different continents—Africa, Asia and Europe. They also wrote under a number of different circumstances—including persecution and prison. The authors of Scripture wrote in three different languages—Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. The Bible was written in a number of different literary forms such as narrative, poetry and law.

The writers of the various books cover many different topics such as the existence of God, the creation and purpose of humankind, the explanation for the origin of evil and the coming of the Savior. They also wrote about the unknown future.

In addition, the writers received their messages in a number of different ways including dreams, visions and direct revelation. Also, the writers of Scripture, for the most part, did not even know one another.

Yet when their writings are put together there is one harmonious account from beginning to end with Jesus Christ as the main character. What is the best explanation for this feature? It is the one that the Bible gives about itself—it is the Word of the living God.

In fact, Jesus Himself testified to the unity of the Scripture. He said that the Old Testament was all about Him. While it looked forward to His coming, the gospels record the fulfillment of these promises. The Book of Acts records the message of Jesus going out to the world. The New Testament letters provide the explanation of the two comings of Christ while the Book of Revelation records the consummation of all things in Christ.

Consequently, when we examine the Scripture, we find clear evidence of intelligent design from beginning to end. This unique design of the Bible is a true wonder.

The Intelligent Faith the Bible Presents ← Prior Section
The Bible’s Survival Next Section →
CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.

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