Question: How can the entire Bible be demonstrated to be the Word of God, especially when so many people were involved in composing it over many centuries?
The Bible can be demonstrated to be the divinely inspired Word of God on several levels, and the evidence is far too voluminous to catalogue here in 500 words or less. So I can only give a brief summary that I hope will whet your appetite for more.
The Bible Is Unique. It is the only book ever written over a span of 1600 years, composed by over 40 people from practically every walk of life who lived in dramatically different environments on three different continents, writing in three different languages. It tells one story: the story of God’s redemption of mankind, while at the same time addressing hundreds of controversial subjects from one harmonious point of view from Genesis to Revelation.
The Bible is the only book containing a large volume of prophecies by several individuals over several centuries which accurately foretell—hundreds of years beforehand— events related to Israel and specific cities and nations of the world. Add to that the numerous prophecies that accurately foretold the manner of Jesus’ birth, birthplace, his ministry of miracles, his teaching style of parables, his betrayal by a friend for 30 pieces of silver, his manner of death and burial. A statistical study of just 48 of these prophecies concluded: “We find that the chance that any one man fulfilled all 48 prophecies to be 1 in 10157.” [i]
The Bible’s Own Claims.
The prophecies fulfilled in Jesus are far beyond the realm of accident or coincidence. When you add to this the huge number of other prophecies fulfilled throughout history, the statistical probability of them coming to pass by chance becomes ludicrous. No wonder the human authors of the Bible understood that they were acting as God’s spokesmen, passing on His revelation of Himself and His plan for the universe through human language in written form. As the apostle Peter put it:
2Pet. 1:21 For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
The Old Testament prophet Hosea knew that he was communicating a message from God to his Jewish culture through his native Hebrew language:
Hos. 1:1 The word of the LORD that came to Hosea son of Beeri during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and during the reign of Jeroboam son of Jehoash king of Israel …
The human authors of the Bible understood that they were not being used as dictation devices by God, but that there was a willing partnership as God transferred His thoughts to humanity through the personalities, styles, languages and cultures of individuals He chose for that purpose. These individuals were “inspired” by God to communicate His Word. “Inspired” is an English translation of a Greek word that means “God-breathed.” It beautifully describes the non-mechanical way God spoke through human beings to convey His Word:
2Tim. 3:16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness…