THE BIBLE, A REVELATION FROM GOD
Having now seen that the existence of God is an established fact, a fact more certain than any conclusion from formal reasoning-because it is the necessary foundation of all reason-we pass on to the consideration of another matter. There is now, and has been for centuries, in this world a peculiar book, called the Bible, which professes to be a revelation from God. Its writers speak in boldest terms of their authority as spokesmen for God. This authority has been admitted by millions of the inhabitants of the earth, both in the past and in the present. We desire to ask, therefore, if this book is what it professes to be, and what it has been and is believed to be by a multitude of people-a revelation from God. If it is not a revelation from God, then its writers were either deceived or else they were malicious deceiver.
I. IS THE BIBLE HISTORICALLY AUTHENTIC?
By this question we mean: Is the Bible trustworthy as a record of historical facts? About a century ago critics held the Bible to be untrustworthy as history. They said the four kings mentioned in Gen. 14:1 never existed, and that the victory of the kings of the West over the kings of the East, as described in this chapter, never occurred. They denied that such a people as the Hittites ever lived. Sargon, mentioned in Isa. 20:1 as king of Assyria, was considered a mythical character. Moreover Daniel was supposed to be in error in mentioning Belshazzar as a Babylonian king. Dan. 5:1. Typical New Testament examples of supposed historical errors are to be found in Luke's representation of the island of Cyprus as being ruled by a "proconsul" (Acts 13:7) and of Lysanias as being tetrarch of Abilene while Herod was tetrarch of Galilee (Luke 3:1.) But how is it now? We can say today, after far-reaching investigations concerning ancient nations have been made, that not a single statement in the Bible stands refuted. The confident denials of early critics have been proved to he the assumptions of ignorance. Prof. A. H. Sayce, one of the most eminent of archeologists, says "Since the discovery of the Tel el-Amarna tablets until now great things have been brought out by archeology, and every one of them has been in harmony with the Bible, while nearly every one of them has been dead against the assertions of the destructive critics." Some years ago the United Press broadcasted the testimony of A. S. Yahuda, formerly Professor of Biblical History at the University of Berlin and later of Semitic Languages at the University of Madrid, to the effect that "every archeological discovery of Palestine and Mesopotamia of the Bible period bears out the historical accuracy of the Bible."
II. IS THE BIBLE GOD'S REVELATION?
We enter now upon the consideration of a further question. An historically correct book might be of human origin. Is this true of the Bible?
1. AN ANTECEDENT PROBABILITY
Careful thought, apart from the question of whether the Bible is God's revelation, will convince any fair-minded believer in God's existence that it is highly probable that God has given to man an explicit and enduring written revelation of the divine will. Man's conscience apprises him of the existence of law as has been well said: "Conscience does not lay down a law; it warns of the existence of a law" (Diman, Theistic Argument). When man has the consciousness that he has done wrong, he has indication that he has broken some law. Who else, other than Jehovah, whose existence we have found to be an established fact, could be the author of this law? And since man intuitively thinks of God as being good, he must think of the purpose of His law as being good. Therefore we cannot think of this law as being for the mere purpose of condemnation. It must be that this law is for man's discipline in righteousness. We must also conclude that God, being shown to be wise by His wonderful works, would use the most effective means for the accomplishment of His purpose through the law. This argues for a written revelation; for any large degree of obedience to a righteous law is impossible to man without knowledge of that law. Nature and reason are too uncertain, indistinct, incomplete, and insufficient for the purpose. James B. Walker sums up the matter as follows: "The whole experience of the world has confirmed the fact beyond the possibility of skepticism that man can not discover and establish a perfect rule of human duty" (Philosophy of the Plan of Salvation, p. 73).
If this be true of the law of human conduct, then how much more is it true of the way of salvation? "The light of nature leaves men entirely without the knowledge of the way of saving sinful men. . .angels . . . themselves would not be able to know the way of saving sinful men, or how sinful men can be justified before God; wherefore, in order to know this, they 'desire to look into it,' 1 Pet. 1:12" (Gill, Body of Divinity, p. 25).
Furthermore, E. Y. Mullins says: "The very idea of religion contains at its heart the idea of revelation. No definition of religion which omits the idea can stand in the light of facts. If the worshipper speaks to God, and God is forever silent to the worshipper, we have only one side of religion. Religion then becomes a meaningless make-believe" (The Christian Religion in its Doctrinal Expression).
"If the Bible is not what the Christian people of the world think it to be, then we have on our hands the tremendous problem of accounting for its increased and increasing popularity among the great majority of the most enlightened people of the earth and in the face of almost every conceivable opposition" (Jonathan Rigdon, Science and Religion).
"Greater efforts have been made to destroy the Bible than were ever put forth for the destruction of any other book. Its foes have persistently attempted to arrest its influence. Criticism has assailed it and ridicule has derided it. Science and philosophy have been invoked to discredit it. Astronomy, in its disclosure of heavenly wonders, has been asked for some facts to disparage it; and geology, in its researches in the earth, has been importuned to throw suspicion upon it" (J. M. Pendleton, Christian Doctrines). Yet
Year after year . . . .
Burns on for evermore that quenchless flame;
Shines on that inextinguishable light."
The Bible "rises up today like a phoenix from the fire, with an air of mingled pity and disdain for its foes, as much unharmed by their puny attacks as were Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego by Nebuchadnezzar's furnace" (Collett, All About The Bible).
It is not likely that any merely human production could have triumphed over such opposition as has been brought against the Bible.
3. PROOFS THAT THE BIBLE IS GOD'S REVELATION
(1) The Great Differences between the Bible and the Writings of Men Evidence that it is not a mere Human Production.
"These differences are:-
A. As to its Depth and Reaches of Meaning.
"There are infinite depths and inexhaustible reaches of meaning in the Scripture, which difference it from all other books, and which compel us to believe that its author must be divine" (Strong). We may pick up the productions of men and get about all they have to say at one reading. But not so with the Bible. We can read it over and over and find new and deeper meanings. Our minds are staggered at its depth of meaning.
B. As to its Power, Charm, Attraction, and Perennial Freshness.
The Biblical writers are incomparable in "their dramatic power, that divine and indefinable charm, that mysterious and ever-recurring attraction, which we find in them throughout our lives, as in the scenes of nature, an ever fresh charm. After being delighted and moved by these incomparable narratives in our early childhood, they revive and affect our tender emotions even in hoary age. Certainly, there must be something super- human in the very humanity of these forms, so familiar and simple" (L. Gaussen, Theopneustia). And this same author suggests a comparison between the story of Joseph in the Bible and the same story in the Koran. Another author (Mornay) suggests a comparison between the history of Israel in the Bible and the same history in Flavius Josephus. He says that in reading Bible history, men "will feel their whole bodies thrill, their hearts move, and a tenderness of affection come over them in a moment, more than had all the orators of Greece and Rome preached to them the same matters for a whole day." He says of the accounts of Josephus that one "will leave them colder and less moved than he found them." He then adds: "What, then, if this Scripture has in its humility more elevation, in its simplicity more depth, in its absence of all effort more charms, in its grossness more vigor and point than we are able to find elsewhere?"
C. As to its Incomparable Conciseness.
In the book of Genesis we have a history that tells of the creation of the earth and of its being made a fit place for man's abode. It tells of the making of man, animals, and plants, and the placing of them on the earth. It tells of man's apostasy from God, of the first worship, of the first murder, of the deluge, of the re-peopling of the earth, of the dispersion of men, of the origin of the present diversity of tongues, of the founding of the Jewish nation, and of the development and experiences of that nation for some five hundred years. Yet it is all contained in fifty remarkably brief chapters. Now compare with this the history written by Josephus. Both Moses and Josephus were Jews. Both wrote about the Jews. But Josephus takes up more space with the history of his own life than Moses consumes for the record of history from the creation to the death of Joseph. Take also the gospels. "Who among us could have been, for three years and a half, the constant witness, the passionately attached friend, of a man like Jesus Christ, and could have been able to write in sixteen or seventeen short chapters. . . . the whole history of that life--of His birth, of His ministry, of His miracles, of His preachings, of His sufferings, of His death, of His resurrection, and of His ascension into Heaven? Who among us would have found it possible to avoid saying a word about the first thirty years of such a life? Who among us could have related so many acts of kindness without an exclamation; so many miracles without reflection on them; so many sublime thoughts without an emphasis; so many sinless infirmities in their Master, and so many sinful infirmities in His disciples, without any suppression; so many instances of resistance, so much ignorance, so much hardness of heart, without the slightest excuse or comment? Is it thus that men write history? Who among us, further, could have known how to distinguish what required to be said cursorily from what required to he told in detail?" (Gaussen).
(2) The Revelation of Things that Man, left alone, could never have Discovered gives Evidence of the Superhuman Origin of the Bible.
Where could Moses have gotten this if God did not reveal it to him? "The very suggestion that Moses obtained his historical information from those Chaldean and Gilgamesh legends . . . is simply absurd; for, interesting as they are, they are so full of legendary nonsense that it would have been practically impossible for Moses or any other man to evolve, from such mythical legends, the sober, reverent, and scientific records which are found in the book of Genesis" (Collett).
Moreover Moses did not get his information about creation from the science and philosophy of Egypt. "Moses as the Crown Prince of Egypt attended the best of their schools and 'was instructed in all the wisdom of the Egyptians!--most of which is considered pure nonsense today--but he did not write it in his books. The weird and fantastic theories held by the Egyptians concerning the origin of the world and of man were passed over completely; and in the first chapter of Genesis in majestic language which has never been surpassed to this day he gives an account of God's creation of the world and of man, no statement of which is disproved by modern science" (Boettner, Studies in Theology, p. 34).
B. The Doctrine of Angels.
"Was anything similar to angels ever conceived of by the imaginations of the people, by their poets, or by their sages? No; they never even show the slightest approach to it. One will perceive, then, how impossible it was, without a constant operation on the part of God, that the Biblical narratives, in treating of such a subject, should not have constantly borne the all too human impression of our narrow conceptions; or that the sacred writers should not have let slip from their pen imprudent touches, in vesting the angels by turns with attributes too divine, or affections too human" (Gaussen).
C. The Omnipresence of God.
"Am I a God at hand, saith Jehovah, and not a God afar off? Can any hide himself in secret places so that I shall not see him? saith Jehovah. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith Jehovah (Jer. 23:23,24).
"Whither shall I go from thy Spirit? Or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there; if I make my bed in SheoL behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me" (Psa. 139:7-10).
These passages and others in the Bible teach, not pantheism, nor that God is at different places successively; but that He is everywhere at once and yet separate in being from His creation. Did the unaided intellect of man originate this conception, seeing that even when it has been set down the mind of man can comprehend it only partially?
D. The Problem of Human Redemption.
If there had been submitted to man the problem of how God could be just and the justifier of the ungodly, would man have proposed, as a solution, that God become flesh and suffer in man's stead? "That the guilty creature should be saved at the expense of the incarnation of the Creator; that life should come to the sons of men through the death of the Son of God; that Heaven should become accessible to earth's distant population by the blood of a shameful cross-was utterly remote from all finite conceptions. Even when the wonder was made known by the gospel, it excited the contempt of the Jews and Greeks. To the former it was a stumbling-block and offense; to the latter it was foolishness. The Greeks were a highly cultivated people, acute in intellect, profound in philosophy, and subtle in reasoning, but they ridiculed the idea of salvation through one who was crucified. They may well be regarded as representing the possibilities of the human intellect-what it can do; and, so far from claiming the Christian doctrine of redemption as an invention of philosophers, they laughed at it as unworthy of philosophy. The facts of the gospel they rejected as incredible, because they seemed to be in positive conflict with their conceptions of reason" (J. M. Pendleton, Christian Doctrines).
"How could these books have been written by such men, in such surroundings without divine aid? When we consider the subjects discussed, the ideas presented-so hostile not only to their native prejudices, but to the general sentiment then prevalent with the wisest of mankind,-the whole system of principles interwoven everywhere with history and poetry and promise, as well as minute wonders and single excellences of the word- our minds are constrained to acknowledge this as God's Book, in a high and peculiar sense" (Basil Manly, The Bible Doctrine of Inspiration).
(3) The Marvelous Unity of the Bible Confirms it as a Divine Revelation.
"Here is a volume made up of sixty-six different books, written in separate sections, by scores of different persons, during a period of fifteen hundred years,-a volume antedating in its earlier records all other books in the world, touching human life and knowledge at hundreds of different points. Yet it avoids any absolute, assignable error in dealing with these innumerable themes. Of what other ancient book can this be said? Of what book even one hundred years old can this be said?" (Manly, The Bible Doctrine of Inspiration).
The Bible contains almost every known form of literature -history, biography, stories, dramas, arguments, poetry, prow, prophecy, parables, pleas, philosophy, law, letters, satires, and songs. It was written in three languages by about forty different authors, who lived on three continents. It was in the process of composition some fifteen or sixteen hundred years. "Among these authors were kings, farmers, mechanics, scientific men, lawyers, generals, fishermen, ministers, and priests, a tax collector, a doctor, some rich, some poor, some city-bred, some country-born-thus touching all the experiences of men" (Peloubet's Bible Dictionary).
Yet the Bible is in agreement in all of its parts. Critics have imagined contradictions, but the contradictions disappear as mist before the morning sun when they are subjected to the light of intelligent, careful, candid, fair, and sympathetic investigation. The following marks of unity characterize the Bible:
The one grand design that runs all through the Bible is the revelation of how man, estranged from God, may find restoration to the favor and fellowship of God.
Every statement in the Bible concerning God is compatible with every other statement. No writer has contradicted any other writer in writing on the stupendous theme of the ineffable, infinite God!
This is true in spite of the efforts of modernists to represent the God of the Old Testament as a God of vengeance and war and the God of the New Testament as a God of love and non-resistance. Modernists willfully ignore the fact that in the Old Testament God dealt with a nation, while in the New Testament God is dealing with individuals. There is not a word in the New Testament that teaches that nations should not resist aggression. Modernists grossly pervert the New Testament when they insist on applying to nations the teachings of Jesus with respect to individual believers.
C. It is a Unit in its Teaching Concerning Man.
Everywhere in the Bible man is shown to be by nature a corrupt, sinful, rebellious, failing creature under the wrath of God and needing redemption.
D. It is a Unit in its Teaching Concerning Salvation.
The way of salvation was not made so clear in the Old Testament as it was in the New Testament. But it can be seen readily that what is clearly revealed in the New Testament was fore- shadowed in the Old Testament. Peter affirmed that Old Testament saints were saved in exactly the same way that New Testament saints are saved. Acts 15:10,11. Read in this connection the fifty-third and fifty-fifth chapters of Isaiah. Also note that Paul makes Abraham a typical example of justification through the faith (Rom. 4) and says that the gospel was preached to Abraham (Gal. 3:8). Note moreover that Paul told Timothy that the "holy Scriptures" (the Old Testament) which he had known from a child were able to make one wise "unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus (2 Tim. 3:15). The supposed conflict between James and Paul on justification will be treated in the chapter on justification.
E. It is a Unit as to the law of God.
A perfect ideal of righteousness is portrayed throughout the Bible in spite of the fact that God, in harmony with the laws of man's development, suited His government to the needs of Israel that they might be lifted from their rude state. This adjustment of God's discipline was like a ladder let down into a pit to provide a way of escape for one trapped there. The letting down of the ladder is not meant as an encouragement to the one at the bottom to remain there, but is intended as a means of rescue. So the condescension of God's discipline in the case of Israel was not meant as an encouragement of evil but as a regulation of evil for the purpose of lifting the people to a higher plane. To deny the unity of God's law because of adaptations to the need of particular peoples is as foolish as to deny the unity of the architect's plans because he uses temporary scaffolding in the accomplishment of them.
F. It is a Unit in the Progressive Unfolding of Doctrine.
All truth was not given at once in the Bible. Yet there is unity. The unity in progressive unfolding is the unity of growth. We see "first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear" (Mark 4:28).
The force of this marvelous unity in its application to the question of inspiration of the Bible is emphasized by David James Burrell as follows: "If forty odd persons of different tongues and degrees of musical education were to pass through the organ-loft of a church at long intervals and, without any possibility of collusion, strike sixty-six notes each, which, when combined, should yield the theme of an oratorio, it is respectfully submitted that the man who regarded that as a 'fortuitous circumstance' would by universal consent be regarded-to put it mildly,-sadly deficient in common sense" (Why I Believe The Bible).
A. Bible not given to Teach Natural Science.
B. Yet it makes Reference to Scientific Matters.
"On the other hand, however, seeing that the whole universe is so entirely and inseparably bound up with scientific laws and principles, it is inconceivable that this book of God- which confessedly deals with everything in the universe which affects the highest interests of man-should make no reference whatever to any scientific matter; hence it is that we do find incidental references to various branches of science ... (Sidney Collett, All About The Bible).
The Bible does not contain the scientific errors of its day. It anticipated the vaunted discoveries of men by hundreds of years. None of its Statements have been proved erroneous. And it is only in modern times that men have come to understand some of them.'
Note the following accurate Biblical references to scientific matters:
(a) "The rotundity of the earth. Centuries before men knew that the earth is round the Bible spoke of "the circle of the earth" (Isa. 40:22).
(b) The gravitational support of the earth. Men used to
*The conflicts supposed by many to exist between the Bible and science with respect to the creation of the earth and of living beings are dealt with in later chapters on God's Relation to the Universe and The Creation of Man. Moreover scientific evidence of the flood will be given in chapter dealing with Creation of Man. Furthermore this latter chapter will deal also with the supposed great antiquity of man.
discuss the question of what it is that supports the earth, various theories being advanced. Finally scientists discovered that the earth is held in place by the gravitation of the sun. But long before men knew this, and while they were contending for this or that material foundation for the earth, the Bible declared that God "hangeth the earth upon nothing" (Job 26:7).
(c) The nature of the heavens. The Bible speaks of the heavens as "expanse," and this was so far in advance of science that the Hebrew word (raqia) was translated "firmament" (Gen. 1:7,8; Psa. 19:6), which means a solid support.
(d) The northern empty expanse. It has been only within the last century that the Washington Observatory discovered that within the northern heavens there is a great empty expanse in which there is not a single visible star. But more than three thousand years ago the Bible informed men that God "stretcheth out the north over the empty place" (Job 26:7).
(e) The weight of air. Galileo is credited with the discovery that air has weight-a thing that men formerly had never dreamed of. But two thousand years before Galileo's discovery, the Bible said that God made "a weight for the wind" (Job 28:25).
(f) The rotation of the earth. In speaking of His second coming, Christ gave indication that it would be night in one part of the earth and day in another, (Luke 17:34-36), thus implying the rotation of the earth upon its axis.
(g) The number of stars. In the second century before Christ, Hipparchus numbered the stars at 1,022. Over three hundred years later, Ptolemy added four more. But the Bible anticipated the revelations of the modern telescope by comparing the stars with grains of sand by the seashore (Gen. 22:17; Jer. 38:22), with only God being able to number them (Psa. 147:4).
(h) The law of evaporation. Long before men knew that it is evaporation that keeps the sea from overflowing and keeps rivers running by making rain possible, the whole amazing process was strikingly represented with scientific accuracy as follows: "All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again (Eccl. 1:7).
(i) The existence of trade-winds. Today we know that the rising of hot air in the tropics causes the cold air from the north to move in, causing what we call "trade-winds." We also know that "in some places they blow in one direction for half the year, but in the opposite direction for the other half (New Students Reference Work, p. 1931). The Bible anticipated this modem knowledge in a very remarkable statement as follows: "The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north, it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits" (Eccl. 1:6).
(j) The importance of the blood.
Only for about three and a half centuries have we known that the blood circulates, carrying oxygen and food to every cell in the body, removing carbon dioxide and other wastes from the body through the lungs and excretory organs, and promoting healing and fighting diseases. But a long time ago the Bible declared that "the life of the flesh is in the blood." See Gen. 9:4; Lev. 17:11,14.
(k) The unity of the human race. Ancient tradition represented men originally as springing individually from the soil without lineal relationship. But modern knowledge has revealed many physical, physiological, geographic, and linguistic evidences of the unity of the race.* The strongest evidence, however, lies
*An extended discussion of The Unity of Man is found in The New Biblical Guide (Urquhart, beginning on page 381 of Vol. 1), where reference is made to a discussion of variations in the human family by Pritchard in The Vestiges of Creation, and Pritchard is quoted as saying: "We have but obscure notions of the laws which regulate this variability within specific limits, but we see them continually operating, and they are obviously favorable to the supposition that all the great families of men may have been of one stock." Furthermore Pritchard is quoted as saying: "The tendency of modern study of languages is to the same point." Then Urquhart says of the eminent and learned Quatre- fages: "He has expressed the belief that the only possible conclusion of science is that the human race sprang from a single pair?"
in the fact that whereas medical science can distinguish between human blood and animal blood and can distinguish between the blood of different species of animals, yet it cannot distinguish between the blood of the different races of mankind. But Moses did not have to wait for this modern knowledge. Without hesitance or equivocation he declared that the race has spread by the descendents of the sons of Noah (Gen. 9:19; 10:32). Nor did Paul hesitate to affirm that God "hath made of one blood every nation of men" (Acts 17.26).
(5) Fulfilled Prophecy Witnesses to the Fact that the Bible Came from God.
Fifty years before the birth of King Cyrus, who decreed that the children of Israel might return to their land, Isaiah spoke of God as the one "that saith of Cyrus, He is my shepherd and shall perform all my pleasure, even saying of Jerusalem, She shall be built; and of the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid" (Isa. 44:28).
B. The Prophecy of the Babylonian Captivity. See Jer. 25:11.
C. Prophesies Concerning Christ.
(a) The parting of His garments. Psa. 22:18. For fulfillment see Matt. 27:35.
(b) The fact of His bones not being broken. Psa. 34:20. For fulfillment see John 19:36.
(d) His death with the thieves and burial in Joseph's tomb. See Isa. 53:9, 12. For fulfillment see Matt. 27:38, 57-60.
(f) His triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Zech. 9:9. For fulfillment see Matt. 21:1-10; Mark 11:1-8; Luke 19:29-38.
(h) The scattering of His disciples. Zech. 13:7. For fulfillment see Matt. 26:31.
There is but one plausible explanation of the wonder of fulfilled prophecy. And that explanation is that he "who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will" (Eph. 1:11) moved the hand of the writer of prophecy.
(6) The Testimony of Christ Proves the Genuineness of the Bible as a Revelation from God.
Jesus regarded the Old Testament as the Word of God. He frequently referred to it as such, and said: "The Scripture cannot be broken" (John 10:35). He also promised further revelation through the apostles (John 16:12,13). Thus we have His pre-authentication of the New Testament.
The testimony of Jesus is of unique value, because His life proved Him to be what He professed to be-a revelation of God. Jesus was not deceived; "for this would argue (a) a weakness and folly amounting to positive insanity. But His whole character and life exhibit a calmness, dignity, equipoise, insight, and self-mastery, utterly inconsistent with such a theory. Or it would argue (b) a self-ignorance and self-exaggeration which could spring only from the deepest moral perversion. But the absolute purity of His conscience, the humility of His spirit, the self-denying beneficence of His life, show this hypothesis to be incredible." Neither was Jesus a deceiver; for "(a) the perfectly consistent holiness of His life; (b) the unwavering confidence with which He challenged investigation of His claims and staked all upon the result; (c) the vast improbability of a lifelong lie in the avowed interests of truth; and (d) the impossibility that deception should have wrought such blessing to the world,-all show that Jesus was not a conscious imposter" (A. H. Strong).
III. WHAT CONSTITUTES THE BIBLE?
Let us note:
These books composed the "Scripture" (a term occurring twenty-three times in the New Testament) accepted by the Jews. It is believed they were collected and arranged by Ezra. They were translated from Hebrew into Greek some time before the advent of Christ. There can be no doubt that Christ accepted these books and no others as constituting the writings that God had inspired up to that time. He quoted from these books with the formula, "It is written." He referred to them as "Scripture." And He said, ". . . the Scripture cannot be broken (John 10:35).
On the other hand, neither Christ nor the apostles accepted the fourteen books and parts of books (known as the Apocrypha), most of which have been added to the Protestant Canon to make up the Old Testament in the Roman Catholic Bible (Douay Version). "And although there are in the New Testament about 263 direct quotations from and about 370 allusions to passages in the Old Testament, yet amongst all these there is not a single reference, either by Christ or His apostles, to the apocryphal writings" (Collett, All About the Bible, p. 50). Neither were these bocks received by the nation of Israel.*
Josephus, in writing Against Apion (Book 1, See. 8), says: "We have not an innumerable multitude of books
*This is admitted by Roman Catholic authorities. In A Catechism of the Bible, written by "Rev. John J. O'Brien, M. A.," and published with the usual authorization by the International Catholic Truth Society, of Brooklyn, on page 10, this question was asked concerning these books: "Were the added books accepted by the Hebrews?" And the answer given is: "No, the Hebrews refused to accept these added books."
among us, disagreeing from and contradicting one another, but only twenty-two books (this number was arrived at by certain combinations of our thirty-nine books) . . . for during so many ages as have already passed, no one has been so bold as either to add anything to them, to take anything from them, or to make any change in them." Nor were these books a part of the original Septuagint, as is often supposed. Cyril of Jerusalem (born A. D. 315) spoke of the Septuagint as follows: "Read the divine Scriptures- namely, the twenty-two books of the Old Testament which the seventy-two interpreters translated." They were probably added to the Septuagint about the middle of the fourth century since the earliest copy of the Septuagint we possess (Vatican version) contains them, and this is supposed to date from the fourth century. Perhaps it was the addition of these books that prompted the Greek church at the Council of Laodicea (A. D. 363) to deny their inspiration. Even as late as 1546, the Council of Trent found it necessary to declare these books to be canonical
2. Christ also promised a further revelation going even beyond all that He had taught.
In John 16:12, 13 we find Christ speaking to the apostles as follows: "I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth; for he shall not speak of himself, but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak; and he will show you things to come."
Furthermore Christ constituted the apostles a body of infallible teachers when in Matt. 18:18 He said: "Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever he shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." To "bind" means to forbid, that is, to teach that a thing is wrong. To "loose" is to allow, to sanction, to teach that a thing is right. Thus Christ promised to sanction in Heaven whatever the apostles taught on earth. John 20:22, 23 is of the same import.
In the New Testament we have this further revelation that Christ gave through His infallible body of teachers. The few books not written by apostles evidently received their place in the canon because of apostolic approval. At any rate, their teaching is the same as that of the other books of the canon.
The New Testament came into existence in the same way that the Old Testament did, that is, the canon was determined by the consensus of opinion on the part of God's own people. The fact that God gave and preserved an infallible revelation of the old dispensation argues that He has done the same with reference to the new.
The Roman Catholic contention that we accept our Bible on their authority is splendidly null and eloquently vain. The canon of the whole Bible was settled before there was such a thing as the Roman Catholic Church. (See chapter on The Doctrine of the Church for a discussion of its origin.) If we accepted our Bible on the authority of the Roman Catholic Church, then we should accept the apocryphal books which they have added, together with their garbled translation of them. Furthermore, in that case, we should accept their vain traditions. The decisions of church councils are considered of value to us only as they are accepted as bearing historical evidence to the consensus of opinion among God's true saints and as voicing the truth that is confirmed by other evidences.
IV. IS THE BIBLE SUFFICIENT AND FINAL AS GOD'S REVELATION?
The sufficiency and finality of the Bible are rejected today by Roman Catholics in favor of "tradition," and by the devotees of neo-orthodoxy in favor of a continuous revelation. Back of the Roman Catholic contention for the authority of tradition is the idea that the Roman Catholic clergy are successors to the apostles. This is a figment of a perverted imagination. Neither Jesus nor the apostles gave the slightest hint about an apostolic successor, except for Judas; and it was necessary that he be one that had companied with them from the baptism of John. See Acts 1:21,22. Roman Catholic traditions not only supplement the Bible; they also contradict it. They have arisen in the same manner that Jewish traditions did, and today they stand in the same relationship to the true Word of God. Thus the condemnation of Jesus is just as applicable to them as to Jewish traditions- "This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoreth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. But in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men" (Matt. 15:8,9).
Paul plainly indicated that God's plan was to give man such a complete written revelation that thereby "the man of God may he perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works" (2 Tim. 3:16).
The modern idea of the "authority of the Spirit," which is really the authority of human reason, as giving a continuous revelation, is equally vain. We must go back to Christ as our only reliable authority, and Christ gave no promise of authoritative teachings extending beyond the apostles. This idea will be adopted by none except modernists or those greatly affected by modernism. Those who accept this idea will be found either openly or virtually denying the inspiration of the Bible. We care not for their misty notions. They are so flimsy they collapse under their own weight. The New Testament is manifestly complete, sufficient and final.