The Bible vs. Other Religious Books – Part 1 – Determining True vs. Counterfeit
Pastor and author Tim Challies writes,
“‘Federal agents don’t learn to spot counterfeit money by studying the counterfeits. They study genuine bills until they master the look of the real thing. Then when they see the bogus money they recognize it.’ I can’t count the number of times I have read quotes similar to that one, taken from John MacArthur’s Reckless Faith. It seems that whenever an author wishes to discuss discernment, he mentions federal agents and the method they use to discern the genuine from the counterfeit. I have often wondered if this metaphor is accurate and whether agents truly do study genuine currency first….”
Challies set about determining the truth of this claim, starting with a visit to a local bank. And it turns out that, after a rather brief session with a bank employee (who first wanted to know why he wanted to know how to spot a counterfeit!), “I soon learned that identifying counterfeit currency is not a terribly difficult task. When a person knows what to look for, when he has been trained to examine the bill for particular identifying characteristics, identifying genuine from fraudulent can be done with great accuracy, even on the basis of only a small amount of training.”
With that in mind, in this series of articles we will look at the genuine, the Book that, as Dr. Norman Geisler puts it, “claims to be and proves to be the written Word of God.” As you see the characteristics of the genuine, it will be fairly easy to tell when you run across a false text, one that claims to be a word from a god, but falls short of proving its claim.
In our television series “How You Can Know the Bible Is the Word of God,” Dr. Norman Geisler lists several verses in which God claims to be the Author of the Bible. He says, for example,
“First of all, the Bible claims to be the Word of God literally hundreds of times. It says, ‘Thus saith the Lord…’, ‘The word of the Lord came to me,…’ summarized very beautifully by two New Testament scriptures: 2 Timothy 3:16: ‘All Scripture is inspired by God.’ Now, to be inspired means ‘to breathe into,’ not to breathe out. It’s the Greek word theopneustos. All Scripture is breathed out of the very mouth of God. Matthew 4:4: ‘A man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.’ David on his deathbed in 2 Samuel 23 said, ‘His word was on my tongue.’”
The same inspiration (theopneustos) is claimed for the New Testament (e.g., 2 Peter 1:20-21; 3:16; 1 Timothy 5:18).
It is important to keep in mind that if God is holy, righteous and true, what He speaks must also be holy, righteous and true, for God cannot deny Himself:
- Titus 1:2 – …in the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time…
- 2 Timothy 2:13 – if we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself.
Further, it is impossible for God to lie:
- Hebrews 6:17-19 – Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.
And if God is true (John 3:33; 17:3; Romans 3:4) then one would assume that which is God-breathed (2 Timothy 3:16) is also true.
And finally, here is just a sampling of what God Himself has said about His written Word.
Isaiah 40:8 – The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.
Psalm 119:89 – Your word, Lord is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens.
Psalm 138:2 – I will bow down toward your holy temple and will praise your name for your unfailing love and your faithfulness, for you have so exalted your solemn decree that it surpasses your fame.
Perfect and Trustworthy
Proverbs 30:5-6 – Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Do not add to his words, or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar.
Psalm 12:6 – The words of the Lord are flawless, like silver purified in a crucible, like gold refined seven times.
Psalm 18:30 – As for God, his way is perfect: The Lord’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him.
Psalm 19:7,9 – The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul…. The decrees of the Lord are firm, and all of them are righteous.
Psalm 119:43,142,151,160 – your word of truth… your law is truth… your commands are true… All your words are true; all your righteous laws are eternal.
Holy and Righteous
Psalm 105:42 – For He remembered his holy promise given to his servant Abraham.
Psalm 119:123 – My eyes fail, looking for your salvation, looking for your holy promise.
Psalm 119:140 – Your promises have been thoroughly tested, and your servant loves them.
Jeremiah 33:14 – “The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will fulfill the good promise I made to the people of Israel and Judah.”
Vital (and verbal)
Isaiah 59:21 – “As for me, this is my covenant with them,” says the Lord. “My Spirit, who is on you, will not depart from you, and my words that I have put in your mouth will always be on your lips, on the lips of your children and on the lips of their descendants—from this time on and forever,” says the Lord.”
Now, can any other religious book offer the same testimony from its author(s)? But fair warning, if what the Bible says is true, then God has offered to us far more than we can ever imagine, including salvation, forgiveness from our sins, and the offer of eternal life with Him forever. But rejecting His message also has eternal consequences. Joshua’s warning to the Israelites provides a fitting conclusion to this article:“But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15)
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- https://www.challies.com/articles/counterfeit-detection-part-1/ ↑
- Ibid., emphasis added. ↑
- https://jashow.org/resources/how-you-can-know-the-bible-is-the-word-of-god/ ↑