What Makes the Bible Unique and God’s Word?
Christians believe that the Bible is God’s word! But not necessarily every person on this planet is having the same conviction about the Bible as we do. Among seven billion people of today’s world nearly a hundred and fifty million don’t even believe The Bible Revealed that there is a God who created everything in the universe and is the One who would judge the world in the end. The remaining people do believe in the existence of God, but differ greatly about who He really is. There are more than two billion people professing to be Christians and they consider the Bible God’s word. Yet, not all of them regard it as equally authentic, authoritative and binding on all.
The Bible is a compendium of both Jewish Scripture, which is the collection of 39 individual books called the Old Testament (O.T.), and Christian Scripture, which is the collection of 27 individual books called the New Testament (N.T.). In addition, Roman Catholics added another seven Jewish historical books called apocryphal books to the Jewish Scriptures while Greek Orthodox added twelve of them. As far as the Christian Scripture is concerned Protestants, Catholics and Orthodox Christians all agree on 27 books. Even with regard to the Jewish Scripture, Tanakh (O.T.), all these groups agree on 39 books. However, they differ only in adding the apocryphal books to the Jewish Scripture-Protestants added none, Catholics added seven and Orthodox added twelve. So the disagreement among these groups about the size of the Bible is peripheral.
For Christians, who believe in progressive revelations, the Jewish Scripture (Tanakh/O.T.) is the first and unfinished words of God, but the Christian Scripture (N.T.) is the final and finished words of God. Therefore, it is the Christian Scripture that completes, confirms and clarifies the Jewish Scripture. In essence, the Jewish Scripture serves only as the foundation or the shadow of the things to come, which were transpired as the Christian Scripture describe. Owing to this distinction, the ritual laws and time-specific commands of the Jewish Scripture are not binding on Christians now, but only what the Christian Scriptures prescribe.
For the Christian believers the Bible is God’s inerrant word, albeit in its original form, not because it was written down or dictated by God. Rather because it was written by the people who were ‘moved’ or ‘guided’ by God’s Spirit (inspiration) in recording it for the mankind. Skeptics approach the Bible stripping it off its divine dimension completely. They see the apparent contradictions, which would disappear upon close scrutiny, in the content of the Bible without giving any consideration to its original languages’ nuances or techniques or cultures or contexts. They also see the copyists’ errors that exist in some of the copied manuscripts, not necessarily in all, which have no bearing on the originals or the original message of the Bible. In the end, it’s not surprising that they come to the wrong conclusions about the Bible.