How Do I Know the Bible Is the Word of God?
And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed … knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. 2 Peter 1:19a, 20-21NKJV
Question 4 of the Larger Catechism asks, “How doth it appear that the Scriptures are the word of God?” It gives the answer, “The Scriptures manifest themselves to be the word of God, by their majesty and purity; by the consent of all the parts, and the scope of the whole, which is to give all glory to God; by their light and power to convince and convert sinners, to comfort and build up believers unto salvation. But the Spirit of God, bearing witness by and with the Scriptures in the heart of man, is alone able fully to persuade it that they are the very word of God.”
So how do we know that the Bible is the Word of God so that everything it says is true, without error, and infallible? First, according to the Catechism, we know by the content of the Scriptures: “by their majesty and purity.” The Bible is like no other book. You only have to read it to see that it is above the words of man. It is majestic it what it says and in how it says it. It is the royal book, the king of all books. Likewise it is pure beyond any human composition. The Bible is completely free from error, from bias, from any attempt to manipulate or propagandize. As God spoke through David, “The words of the LORD are pure words, like silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times” (Psa. 12:6).
Second, the Catechism mentions the perfect harmony and unified theme of Scripture as another proof of its divine authorship: “by the consent of all the parts, and the scope of the whole, which is to give all glory to God.” Consider. The Bible is 66 separate books, written over a period of about 1,500 years, by more than 40 different authors, in three languages, and yet there is not a single contradiction, retraction, or refutation in any of it. Every book is different: from the styles of the authors, to the genres of their writings, to their subject matter and length; and yet every book lifts up the glory and majesty of God alone and speaks the truth about man, his sinfulness, and his only hope of salvation. God revealed through Paul that the New Testament is merely the fulfillment of the Old’s promised salvation of Christ, “To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins” (Act. 10:43).
Finally, the Catechism notes the power of Scripture in the conversion and spiritual growth of Christians: “by their light and power to convince and convert sinners, to comfort and build up believers unto salvation.” It is through the word of God, received by faith, that a sinful heart, which hated God, is transformed into a repentant heart that loves God. This power to convert and make bad men spiritually alive is beyond any merely human composition. Only Scripture can do this. Human writings can inspire, move emotions, galvanize to action, but they can never make sinful men holy. They can never move us by heavenly motivations, which are truly selfless, but only by human ones, which are always grounded in what we will get out of it – even if it is just a feeling of personal satisfaction. God’s word alone brings the new birth to dead sinners, which results in real holiness with a new ultimate goal in all of life, as God spoke through James, “Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.” (Jam. 1:18).
The verses from 2 Peter at the head of this article declare what the Bible proves itself to be, “prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” In all these ways the Bible proves itself to be the inspired, infallible, and inerrant word of God. However, as we will see next week, the sinful heart of man will not accept this proven truth apart from the work of God’s Spirit.