Although not meant to be an exhaustive study on the uniqueness of the Bible, I would like to highlight six areas that help us see why the Bible is unlike any other book in history. Its uniqueness serves as evidence and is an incredible testimony that validates the historical, orthodox doctrines of inspiration and inerrancy.
The Bible is unique in its:
Consider some of these unique facts about its nature and composition:
- The Bible was written over a 1500 year period,
- Forty different individuals were involved in writing the books of the Bible, individuals from all walks of life such as kings, shepherds, fisherman, scholars, etc.,
- It was written on three different continents (Asia, Africa and Europe) and from many different places within those continents (prison, palace, wilderness, etc.),
- It was written during different times in history (times of war, times of piece, etc.), as a result, it was written in different moods (confusion, joy, sadness, etc.),
- It was written in three different languages (Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek),
- It was written in a number of differing literary styles such as poetry, allegory, prophecy, historical narrative, etc.,
- Hundreds of topics are covered in Scripture, including many of controversial subjects such as adultery, homosexuality, divorce, the nature of God, etc.
In spite of all these incredible facts, three important points need to be made:
(1) From Genesis to Revelation we find an amazing degree of harmony between the writers on all the subjects covered in Scripture.
(2) We find that there is an unmistakable unifying theme in every book of the Bible, one unfolding story, the story of redemption. Salvation is the one unifying common thread of Scripture. “The ‘Paradise Lost’ of Genesis becomes the ‘Paradise Regained’ of Revelation.”1
(3) The entire Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, is “Christocentric,” meaning, the Person of Jesus Christ is the central figure in both the Old and New Testament. As the story of redemption unfolds, we see the Old Testament pointing to Christ, looking forward to the cross, while the New Testament, after His death, resurrection, and ascension, points back to Christ, looks backward to the cross. Either way, Jesus is the one figure who can be found in every page of Scripture since He is
the One who brings redemption and the unifying theme of the entire Bible is the progress of redemption.
Unlike any other literary work in human history, the Bible has been produced more than any other book, its sales are in the billions, with no indication that this trend is slowing down, and in terms of circulation, no other literary work comes even remotely close to that of the Bible. In one year alone, the Bible is distributed world-wide in the hundreds of millions of copies (in its various forms), no other literary work enjoys that kind of distribution during the entire existence of the work, much less in one year.
Unlike any other literary work in world history, The Bible is the only book that has been already translated into approximately 2200 languages. According to the Summer Institute of Linguistics, by approximately 2022, well within one generation, the Bible will have been translated into almost every single language in the world, making it the only book in the world to have been universally translated. No other literary work can even be remotely compared to the Bible in terms of translation.
The Bible has survived the test of:
(1) Time. As stated previously, its production, distribution, and sales serve as a testimony that rather it being a book slipping into obscurity, today, it is clearly being circulated and read more than ever before.
(2) Persecution. No other literary work has ever been so vigorously attacked nor had more enemies then the Bible. In spite of the fact that in history there have been individuals who have attempted not only to persecute Christians, but to in some way or another destroy the Bible all together(i.e. Roman emperor Diocletian), it has not only survived but flourished.In spite of the fact that there have been those who have assured the world that Christianity would cease to exist and pass into history (i.e. Voltaire), Christianity has survived the predictions and flourished. In fact, precisely the opposite has turned out to be true, the Bible’s enemies have been the one’s to come and go, it is the Bible which has remained. Jesus Himself stated, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will by no means pass away” (Mark 13:31 NKJV).
(3) Criticism. Higher criticism, which attempted to discredit the Bible by denying such things as Moses’ authorship of the first five books of the Bible (the Pentateuch), miracles, etc., failed. Why has it failed? Because time, discoveries, and archaeology and other sciences have proven over and over that the Bible is completely accurate in everything is says about any topic (i.e. history, geography, etc.). Down to the details, the Bible has been proven to be completely true.
Let’s now consider what the Bible teaches:
(1) Prophecy. “Other books claim divine inspiration, such as the Koran, the Book of Mormon, and parts of the (Hindu) Veda. But none of those books contains predictive prophecy.”2 The question is why? Because predictive prophecy that fails to come true in all its details will expose those writings as false and non-inspired. The Bible on the other hand, is loaded with predictive prophecy, much of which (the exception being that which is yet to be fulfilled) has been fulfilled literally down to the minutest details, showing once again that the Bible is inspired and that everything it says is true and accurate.
(2) History. Archaeological discoveries, etc. have done much to prove that the Bible is completely accurate in its historical narrative. Many enemies of the Bible have been silenced over the years because the sciences have later proven that what the Bible has taught, in terms of history, is accurate.
(3) Characters. McDowell states, The Bible deals very frankly with the sins of its characters, even when those sins reflect badly on God’s chosen people, leaders, and biblical writers themselves…The Bible as a book focuses on reality, not fantasy. It presents the good and the bad, the right and wrong, the best and worst, the hope and despair, the joy and pain of life. And so it should, for its ultimate author is God.”3
“The Bible is one of the most important documents in the history of civilization, not only because of its status as holy inspired, but also because of its pervasive influence on Western thought. As the predominant worldview for at least fourteen centuries, Christianity and its great central text played a major role in the formation of Western culture. Consequently, many literary texts, even those in our post-Christian era, frequently draw on the Bible and the Christian tradition.”4
“The influence of the Bible and its teaching in the Western world is clear for all who study history. And the influential role of the West in the course of world events is equally clear. Civilization has been influenced more by the Judeo-Christian Scriptures than by any other book or series of books in the world. Indeed, no great moral or religious work in the world exceeds the depth of morality in the principle of Christian love, and none has a more lofty spiritual concept than the biblical view of God. The Bible presents the highest ideals known to man, ideas that have molded civilization.”5
1 Norman Geisler and William Nix, A General Introduction to the Bible (Chicago: Moody, 1986), 28
2 Ibid., 196.
3 Josh McDowell, Evidence that Demands a Verdict (Campus Crusade for Christ, 1972), 25, 26.
4 Susan V. Gallagher and Roger Lundin, Literature Through the Eyes of Faith (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1989), 120.
5 Geisler and Nix, 196-197.
Dr. Miguel J. Gonzalez is the Founder and President of Reasons for Faith International Ministries. He served as a pastor for ten years in Charlotte, NC and has taught in churches and conferences throughout the United States. He currently hosts the Time in the Word and Truth To Live By podcasts and writes at KnowingChristianity.blogspot.com.
Copyright © 2006–2021 by Miguel J. Gonzalez Th.D. and published by Reasons for Faith International Ministries, Inc. by permission. No part may be altered or edited in any way. Permission is granted to use in digital or printed form so long as it is circulated without charge, and in its entirety. This document may not be repackaged in any form for sale or resale. All reproductions must contain the copyright notice (i.e., Copyright © 2006-2021 Miguel J. Gonzalez Th.D.) and this Copyright/Limitations notice.