Some Reasons Why I Believe The Bible To Be The Word of God
A Sermon by Dr. R. A. Torrey
Is the Bible the
Word of God? If the Bible is the Word of God, an absolutely trustworthy
revelation from God Himself, of Himself, His purposes and His will, of
and destiny, of spiritual and eternal realities, then we have a
from which we can proceed to the conquest of the whole domain of
truth. But if the Bible is not the Word of God, if it is the mere
man's thinking, speculating, and guessing, not altogether trustworthy
to religious and eternal proof, then we are all "at sea," not knowing
wither we are drifting, but we may be sure that we are not drifting
I did not always
believe the Bible to be the Word of God. I sincerely doubted that the
the Word of God. I doubted that Jesus Christ was the Son of God. I
whether there was a personal God. I was not an infidel. I was a
skeptic. I did
not deny. I questioned. I was not an atheist. I was an agnostic. I did
but I determined to find out. If there was a God, I determined to find
and act accordingly. If there was not a God, I determined to find that
act accordingly. If Jesus Christ was the Son of God, I determined to
out and act accordingly. If Jesus Christ was not the Son of God, I
to find that out and act accordingly. If the Bible was the Word of God,
determined to find that out and act accordingly. And if the Bible was
not the Word
of God, I determined to find that out and act accordingly. I found out.
out beyond the peradventure that there is a God, that Jesus Christ is
of God, that the Bible is the Word of God. Today it's with me not a
mere probability nor even of mere belief, but of absolute certainty.
I'm going to give
you some of the reasons why I believe the Bible to be the Word of God.
the reasons. It would take months to do that. Not even the reasons
the most conclusive to me, personally, for these are of such a personal
experimental character that they cannot be conveyed to another. But I
you reasons that will prove conclusive to any candid seeker after the
anyone who desires to know the truth and is willing to obey it. They
convince one who is determined not to know the truth or who is
obey it. If one will not receive the love of the truth, he must be left
own deliberate choice of error and given over to strong delusions, who
a lie. But if one is searching for the truth, no matter how completely
the fog today, he can be led into the truth.
I believe the Bible
to be the Word of God first of all because of the testimony of Jesus
that fact. We live in a day that many men say that they accept the
Jesus Christ, but that they do not accept the teaching of the whole
say that they believe what Jesus Christ says, but as to what Moses said
said to have said and what Isaiah said or is said to of said and what
said and Paul said and John said and the rest of the Bible writers,
do not know about that.
Now this position
may at the first glance seem rational but in point of fact it is
irrational. If we accept the teaching of Jesus Christ we must accept
Bible, for Jesus Christ has set his stamp of his authority upon the
book. And if we accept his authority we must accept all that upon which
the stamp of his authority.
As to Christ's
endorsement of the Old Testament, turn first of all to Mark 7:13. Jesus
just quoted from the law of Moses. Not merely from the Ten
from other portions of the law of Moses as well. He has set over
teaching of the law of Moses the traditions of the Pharisees and
in this verse he says "Ye do make the Word of God of none effect
your tradition." Now here he distinctly calls the law of Moses, "the
Word of God." It is often times said that the Bible nowhere claims to
the Word of God. Why, here Jesus Christ himself distinctly asserts that
of Moses is the Word of God. If then we accept the authority of Jesus
we must accept the law of Moses as the Word of God. Of course this only
the first five books of the Old Testament. But if we can accept this as
Word of God, we will have little difficulty with the rest of the Old
for it is here that the hottest battle is being fought today. Turn
Matthew 5:18. Here Jesus says "Till heaven and earth pass away, jot or
tittle shall in no wise pass from the law until all be fulfilled." Now
every Hebrew scholar knows that a jot is the Hebrew character "yodh"
the smallest character in the Hebrew alphabet, less than half the size
other character in the Hebrew alphabet. And that a tittle is a little
the Hebrews put on their consonants. And here Jesus asserts that the
Moses as originally given is absolutely infallible down to its smallest
and part of a letter. If, then, we accept the authority of Jesus
must accept the authority of the law of Moses as originally given. And
contained in the Old Testament Scriptures.
Turn next to John
10:35. Jesus has just quoted in proof of a point which he is making
from one of
the Psalms and adds, "the Scripture cannot be broken," thus setting
the stamp of his authority on the absolute irrafragaibility of the Old
Turn again to Luke
24:27. And you will read that, "Jesus, beginning at Moses and all the
prophets, expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things
himself." And in the 44th verse he says, "All things must be
fulfilled which were written in the law of Moses and in the prophets
and in the
psalms." Now every scholar knows that the Jews divided their Bible (our
present Old Testament Scriptures) into three parts: the Law, the first
books of the Old Testament, the Prophets (most of the books which we
prophetic and some of those which we call historical), and the
of the Old Testament (the Psalms or sacred writings). Jesus Christ
each one of these three recognized divisions of these Old Testament
and sets the stamp of his authority upon each one of them. If, then, we
authority of Jesus Christ, we are driven logically to accept the entire
In Luke 16:31 Jesus
says "If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be
persuaded, though one be raised from the dead." Thus in the most
way endorsing the truth of the Old Testament Scriptures. In John 5:47
says "If ye believe not his writings," (Moses writings), "how
shall you believe my word," thus setting the stamp of his authority
the teaching of Moses as being as truly from God as was his own. We
if we accept the authority of Jesus Christ accept the entire Old
But how about the
New Testament? Did Jesus set the stamp of his authority on it also? He
how could he when not a book of the New Testament was written when he
from this earth? He did it by way of anticipation.
Turn to John 14:26
and you will hear Jesus saying "The Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost,
whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things and
all things to your remembrance whatsoever I have said unto you," thus
setting the stamp of his authority not only upon the apostolic teaching
given by the Holy Spirit but upon the apostolic recollection of what he
The question is
often asked, "How do we know that in the Gospel records we have an
accurate reproduction of the teaching of Jesus Christ?" It is asked,
the apostles take notes at the time of what Jesus said? There is reason
believe that they did, that Matthew and Peter, from whom Mark derived
material, and James, from whom there is reason to believe Luke obtained
his material, took notes of what Jesus said in Aramaic and that John
of what Jesus said in Greek and that we have in the four Gospels the
what they took down at the time.
But whether this be
true or not does not matter for our present purposes. For we have
authority for it that in the apostolic record we have not the apostles
recollection of what Jesus said, but the Holy Spirit's recollection of
Jesus said. And while the apostles might forget and report
Holy Spirit could not forget.
Turn furthermore to
John 16:12 and 13 and you will hear Jesus saying "I have yet many
to say unto you but you cannot bear them now. Albeit when he, the
truth is come, he will guide you into all truth." Here Jesus sets the
stamp of his authority on the teaching of the apostles as being given
Holy Spirit, as containing all the truth and as containing more truth
own teaching. He tells the apostles that he has many things that he
tell them but that they are not ready yet to receive them. But that
Holy Spirit comes he will guide them into this fuller and larger truth.
we accept the authority of Jesus Christ, we must accept the apostolic
the New Testament writings, as being given through the Holy Spirit, as
containing all the truth, and as containing more truth than Jesus
There are many in
our day who cry "back to Christ...back to Christ," by which they
usually mean we do not care what Paul taught or what John taught or
taught or what Jude taught. We do not know about them. Let us go back
Christ, the original source of authority, and accept what he taught and
Very well. Back to
Christ. The cry is not a bad one. But when you get back to Christ you
Christ himself saying, "On to the apostles. They have more truth to
than I have taught. The Holy Spirit has taught them all the truth.
them." If then we accept the authority of Jesus Christ we are driven to
accept the authority of the entire New Testament. So then if we accept
teaching of Jesus Christ, we must accept the entire Old Testament and
entire New Testament. It is either Christ and the whole Bible, or no
There are some in
these days who say that they believe in Christ, but not in the Christ
New Testament. But there is no Christ but the Christ of the New
other Christ than the Christ of the New Testament is a poor figment of
imagination. Any other Christ than the Christ of the New Testament is
made by man's own fancy and whoever worships him is an idolater. But we
accept the authority of Jesus Christ. He is accredited to us by five
unmistakable divine testimonies.
First, Christ is
accredited to us by the testimony of the divine life that he lived, for
lived as never man lived. Let any man takes the four Gospels for
reads them carefully and candidly. He will soon be convinced of two
First, that he's reading the story of a life actually lived. No man
imagined the character there set forth unless the life had been
Much less could four men have imagined the character, each one of the
making his own account of that character, not only consistent with
consistent with the other three. To suppose that these four men who
Gospels imagined the life here set forth would be to suppose a greater
than any recorded in the Gospels.
You will see in the
second place that the life here set forth is apart from all other human
that is stands by itself, that it is manifestly a divine life lived
conditions. Napoleon Bonaparte was a good judge of men. He once said
the life of Jesus as recorded in the Gospels and which he have been
"I know men and Jesus Christ was not a man." What he meant was, of
course, that Jesus Christ was not a mere man.
Christ is accredited to us by the divine words that he spoke. If anyone
study the teaching of Jesus Christ with candor and faithfulness, he
see that it has a character that distinguishes it from all other
uttered upon the earth.
Third, Jesus Christ
was accredited to us by the divine works that he wrought. Not only did
the sick, which many others have done, but cleansing the leper, opening
eyes of the blind, raising the dead, healing the tempest by a word,
water into wine, and feeding five thousand with five small loaves and
fishes, which was a creative act. These miracles of power are clear
of God come to teach. We cannot study them tangibly and not come to the
conclusion as Nicodemus did. "We know that thou are the teacher come
God, for no man can do these kinds that thou doest except God be with
Of course we bear in
mind the fact that strenuous efforts have been made to eliminate the
supernatural elements from the story of the life of Jesus Christ. But
efforts have resulted in failure. And all similar efforts must result
failure. One of the most able efforts of this kind that was ever made
of the great German theologian David Strauss in his Leben Jesu.
Strauss was a man of remarkable ability and gifts, a man of real and
scholarship, a man of notable genuis, a man of singular power of
analysis, aman of indomitable perseverance and untiring industry. He
bare all the rare gifts of his richly endowed mind upon the story of
of Jesus. With a determination to discredit the miraculous element
contained. He spent his best years and strength in this effort. If
have succeeded in such an effort. David Strauss was the man. But he
utterly. For a time it seemed to many that he had succeeded in his
when his life of Jesus was itself submitted to rigid critical analysis
all to pieces and today is utterly discredited. And those who wish to
the miraculous element in the story of Jesus feel that they must make
attempt anew, since the attempt of Strauss has come to nothing.
failed, the French writer Ernest Renan tried again. He had not by any
ability and genius of Strauss. But he was man of brilliant genius and
imagination, of rare literary skills and of singular adroitness and
His La Vie de Jesus was read with interest and admiration by
work was done with fascinating skill. Some fancied that Renan had
his attempt. But his life of Jesus, naturally enough, was discredited
even in a
shorter time than that of Strauss.
All other attempts
have met with a similar fate. It is an attempt at the impossible. Let
candid man take the life of Jesus and read it for himself with
care, and he will soon discover that the life there pictured could not
been imagined but must have been really lived. If the teachings
uttered by Jesus are no fictitious teachings put into the mouth of a
person, but the real utterances of a real person.
He will also
discover that the character and teaching set forth in the Gospels are
inexplicably interwoven with the stories of the miracles. He will find
you eliminate the miracles, the character and the teachings disappear,
character and teachings cannot be separated from the miraculous element
a violent of treatment which no reasonable man will permit.
Today this much at
least is proven. That Jesus lived and walked substantially as is
the four Gospel records of his life. Personally, I believe that more
is proven. But this is enough for our present purpose. If Jesus lived
walked substantially as the Gospels record - cleansing the leper,
eyes of the blind, raising the dead, stilling the tempest with his
feeding the five thousand with the five small loaves and the two small
then he bears unmistakable credentials as God come forth to teach.
Fourth Jesus Christ
is also accredited to us by his divine influence upon all subsequent
Jesus Christ was beyond peradventure one of three things. He was either
of God in a unique sense, a divine person incarnate in human form or
was the most daring imposter that ever lived or else one of the most
lunatics. That he claimed to be the son of God in a unique sense and
men should honor him even as they honored the Father (as he said in
and that he and the Father were one (as he said in John 10:30) and that
had seen him had seen the Father (as he said in John 14:9), of this
be no honest doubt.
Jesus was then either the divine person that he claimed to be or the most daring imposter or a most hopeless lunatic. Was his influence upon subsequent history the influence of a lunatic? No one but a lunatic would say so. Was his influence upon subsequent history the influence of an imposter? No one but one whose own heart was thoroughly tainted with deceit and fraud would think of saying so.
Not an imposter. Not
a lunatic. We have only one alternative left. He was what he claimed to
Son of God, God the Son.
Fifth, Jesus Christ
is accredited to us by his resurrection from the dead. I shall hope to
at another time the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ. We
the historic evidence for the resurrection of Christ is absolutely
in its character, that the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead
is one of
the best proven facts of history. But the resurrection of Christ is
to Christ's claim.
Jesus Christ claimed to be the Son of God, God the Son. He was put to death for making that claim. Before being put to death, he said that God would set his seal to the claim by raising him from the dead. They killed him. They laid him in the sepulture. They rolled a stone to the door of the sepulture. They sealed that door with a Roman seal, which to break was death. And when the appointed hour of which Christ had spoken came, the breath of God swept through the sleeping clay. And Jesus rose triumphant over death. And God spoke more clearly than if he could speak from the open heavens today and say, "This is my beloved son. Hear ye him."
We must, then, if we
are honest accept the authority of Jesus Christ. But if we accept the
of Jesus Christ we must accept the entire Old Testament and the entire
Testament as being the word of God. Therefore I believe the Bible to be
word of God because of the testimony of Jesus Christ to that effect.
A school of
criticism has arisen that assumes to set up its authority against the
of Jesus Christ. They say, for example, "Jesus says that 110th
Psalm was by David and was messianic but we say that the 110th
is neither by David nor is it messianic." They ask us to give up the
authority and infallibility of Jesus Christ and the Bible and accept
authority and their infallibility in their place.
Very well, but
before doing it we demand their credentials. We do not yield to the
authority and infallibility of anyone until he presents his
Christ presents his credentials.
First of all he
presents the credentials of the divine fact that he lived. What have
place in comparison with that? Oh we hear much about the beauty of the
some of the school of critics. We have no desire to deny the claim. But
the beauty of their lives we put the life of Jesus. Which suffers by
comparison? If there is any force in the argument that if a man's life
the right his doctrine cannot be in the wrong (and there is force in
argument), it bears immeasurably more for the authority of Jesus Christ
does for the authority of any critic or school of critics.
presents the credential of the divine words that he spoke. What have
put up against that? The words of Jesus Christ have stood the test of
centuries and shine out with greater luster and glory today than ever.
school of criticism has ever stood the test of nineteen centuries? If
to choose between the teaching of Christ and that of any school of
it will not take any thoroughly sane man long to choose.
Third Jesus Christ
presents his third credential, the divine works that he wrought, the
unmistakable seal of God upon his claim. What has the school of
put up against that? Absolutely nothing. It has no miracles, but
literary ingenuity in the attempt to make the preposterous appear
Fourth Jesus Christ
presents the credential of his influence upon human history. We all
the influence of Jesus Christ has been, how benign and how divine.
that is best in modern civilization, everything that is best in
domestic and individual life is due to the influence of Jesus Christ.
also know the influence of the school of criticism. We know that it is
weakening the power of ministers and Christian workers everywhere. We
it is emptying churches. We know that is depleting missionary
know that it is paralyzing missionary efforts in every field where it
I know this by personal observation and not by hearsay. This may not be
intention. With some of them, it is not their intention. But none the
is a fact. The influence of Jesus has been thoroughly beneficent . The
influence of this school of criticism is utterly bad.
Fifth, Jesus presents
his fifth credential, his resurrection from the dead. What has this
criticism to set up over against that? Nothing whatever. Jesus Christ
established his claim. The opposing school of criticism stands dumb.
we refuse to bow to the assumed and unsubstantiated authority and
of any school of criticism, of any priest or pope or theological
most gladly do we...do we bow to the authority and infallibility of
Christ. So completely proven and upon his authority, we accept the
Testament and the entire New Testament as the Word of God.