The Bible is a book written over the course of fifteen hundred years by more than forty authors. Christian apologist, Josh McDowell writes that these authors were kings, military leaders, peasants, philosophers, fishermen, tax collectors, poets, musicians, statesmen, scholars, and shepherds. The Bible was written in many different places, like out in the wilderness, dungeons, prison, while traveling, and while in exile. It was written during wars and times of peace and by scribes on three different continents and in three different languages. Different literary styles. Yet, it manages to tell ONE cohesive story throughout the history of the canon. And still, people will question how do we know it is the word of God.
Well, if what said above doesn’t convince someone, is there another way to demonstrate this uniqueness of scripture? Can we show somehow that these authors and their works are connected in some way? Yes. The answer is by fulfilled prophecy.
However, in most instances, we don’t have the time or the memory to run through the many examples of the successful fulfillment of prophecy. But maybe we can memorize one example. An especially strong one. Let’s try a method that I learned from a friend on Facebook. Below, I posted a short sample dialogue to guide a potential conversation:
Unbeliever: “How do you know the Bible is the word of God?”
Believer: “Great question! Before I answer you though, can I ask you a question?”
Unbeliever: “Okay. I guess.”
Believer: “If I described a situation by saying ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ or ‘they pierced my hands and feet’ or ‘they divided my clothes and gambled for my garments’, if I said those things to you, what do you think I would be describing?
Unbeliever: “Well, sounds like you are describing The Crucifixion. So what?”
Believer: “Very good. I am. But I am not quoting Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John where the story of The Crucifixion is usually told. I am quoting Psalm 22. A Psalm dated about one thousand years before the event of The Crucifixion. How would you explain that?”
Unbeliever: “Right. But the Bible writers knew about this Psalm ahead of time, right? They could just add these details in to make their story sound convincing. Couldn’t they?”
Believer: “Well, not really in this instance.”
Unbeliever: “Why not?”
Believer: “These details are unlikely additions because crucifixion, as a method of execution, did not exist one thousand years before Christ. Crucifixion was invented by the Persians in 300-400BC and developed, during Roman times, into a punishment for the most serious of criminals. The Israelites executed people by stoning them, not nailing them to a cross. King David, the psalmist, further describes one being able to ‘count all my bones’ (v.17) and being ‘poured out like water’ (v.14) and their bones being ‘out of joint’ (v14). These references to The Cross would have made zero sense to a first century Jew until The Messiah was crucified. Apart from the work of an all-powerful, all-knowing, eternal God, how would you account for this?”
I am honestly not sure what the unbeliever would say to that. But this is one step, maybe just a small one, we can take as a body of believers to move the skeptic toward the truth of the Gospel. Maybe this explanation removes a barrier or stumbling block that kept this person from coming to faith in Jesus Christ.
May we lovingly engage these people whenever we find them. God Bless.