Is the Bible a “Human Book”?

“I begin with the Bible as a collection of human books, so I begin with its humanity. In my observation a lot of religious people begin with, ‘This is God’s holy book. Why did God write it down this way?’, instead of, ‘This is a human book.’” (Rob Bell) The author of the previous statements is a well known writer who has made his fame denying basic truths of Christianity.

If the Bible is first a human book, then it has to be viewed as a collection of religous thoughts that changed with the culture and grew as its authors became more sophisticated. If the Bible is first God’s book, then it must be treated as God’s revelation to man. If the Bible is God’s book then it has to be evaluated and understood on the basis of the claims it makes for itself. What does the Bible say? Does it claim to be primarily Divine or human in origin? Is the Bible a collection of great religious teachings or revelation from God?

The Bible claims to be God’s book. Hundreds of times the Bible uses phrases like, “The Lord said”, “God said”, “God spake” and “The Lord Commanded”. Thousands of verses in the Bible claim to be direct quotes of God. This does not include the hundreds of verses that are direct quotes of Jesus. Even those books which do not claim to quote the audibly spoken words of God claim to be the truth of God given for His people. The books of the Bible claim to be God’s Words. (Exodus 20:1; Isaiah 30:8-9; Jeremiah 30:2) Biblical authors also claimed that other authors were writing the words of God. (Daniel 9:2; Zechariah 7:12) Jesus Himself said that all the Old Testament is the Word of God. Luke 24:26-27, 44) The Bible claims to be of Divine origin, the words of God given to men through the prophets and apostles. (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21)

Men were the human agents who wrote down God’s truth. God used the personalities and abilities of these men to write His Word. Every book of the Bible bears the marks of its human authors. The apostles and prophets wrote in a cultural context to real people in actual places at a specific time of history. However, these men were not writing according to their understanding and opinions of God’s nature. They were writing what God revealed.

God’s revelation through men was progressive. He did not reveal everything about Himself at once. He did not deposit on earth a completed book. He gradually taught men who recorded in writing His Word for His people. (Exodus 17:14) After man sinned, God began to reveal, a little at a time, His plan for man’s salvation. As sinful man forgot God, God began to teach, a little at a time, the truths men forgot. The Bible is not the record of man’s evolution in religion. The Bible is God’s progressing revelation of Himself, a revelation that culminates in the incarnation of God the Son. (Hebrews 1:1-3)

The Bible is clear about its claims. It is God’s Word, true and accurate in all it teaches. The Bible is not accurate in light of the cultural views or scientific opinions of its day, or accurate in respect to the spiritual lessons in view. The Bible is absolutely accurate. The events described in the Bible are genuine historical events that happened like the Bible describes. The source of this accuracy is God. For example, Jesus told the disciples He would send them the Holy Spirit who would bring to remembrance all the things Jesus had said to them. (John 14:26) God the Spirit was the active agent ensuring the historical accuracy of the gospels. The gospels’ records of Jesus teachings are certainly what He taught because the Spirit brought them to the disciples memory. All the facts of the Bible are accurate because God revealed them to men and secured the accurate transmission of truth.

The Bible is clear about its origins. It is from God. Treating the Bible as a human book denies its validity as the Word of God. Other approaches sound sophisticated and smart, but are really nothing more than the old deception of Satan, “Hath God said?” Yes. God has said. The record of what God said to men is recorded in the Bible.

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