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Three great questions are agitating the church today, and seem likely to divide it. The three great questions are: First, Is the Bible the Inerrant Word of God Second, Was the body of Jesus that was nailed to the Cross and really died, raised from the dead? Third, was Jesus born of a Virgin? The first two of these questions are the more fundamental, but the third is of great importance. Of course if can be shown that the Bible is the Inerrant Word of God, the question of the Virgin Birth of our Lord is also settled. In this book we have taken up the first and second questions. The reader will have to judge for himself whether we have answered the questions satisfactorily or not.There is in the church today a wide-spread opinion that the Bible is not the Word of God but simply “contains the Word of God:” and that it is very far from inerrant. This opinion is held not only by some prominent ministers in the various evangelical churches but by a considerable number of professors in theological seminaries in the Evangelical denominations where men are trained for the ministry at home and for foreign missionary work abroad: and it is the opinion of many competent judges that our whole evangelistic work at home and our missionary work abroad is seriously threatened by the growth of this opinion.Within the past few years has been, one almost might say, a “broad-casting’’ among Evangelical ministers of a view of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ which is entirely different from that given in the Bible. Those who hold this view say that they believe in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ; but, if pressed, they frankly confess that by the Resurrection of Jesus Christ they do not mean the resurrection of His body, but a spiritual resurrection, a resurrection of His Spirit. This view is also taught not merely in the theological seminaries of some the so called ‘‘Liberal” denominations, but in the theological seminaries of denominations that have always been held to be Evangelical. The writer was surprised to discover last summer how this opinion had grown among missionaries in China. There is certainly great need that this question also be faced and dealt with thoroughly. This we have endeavored to do in this book. If something is not done of a definite, decided and effective character to stem the tide of unbelief in the Inerrancy of the Bible and in the fact of the Resurrection of the Body of our Lord Jesus Christ, the outlook for our Missions abroad, and for our work at home, is appalling; hence book.The question of ‘‘Evolution’’ is also being largely discussed in our churches at the present day; just at this present moment possibly more these other questions, but it has not been thought wise to treat this subject at any length in this book, for the question is not so fundamental and vital as the question of the Inerrancy and Authority of the Bible and the question of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the Dead.
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IS THE BIBLE THE
INERRANT WORD OF GOD?
WAS THE BODY OF JESUS RAISED FROM THE DEAD?
R. A. TORREY
DEAN, BIBLE INSTITUTE, LOS ANGELES
Author of “The Importance and Value of Proper Bible Study,”
“The Real Christ,” “What the Bible Teaches,”
“How to Work for Christ,” etc.
GEORGE H. DORAN COMPANY
By George H. Doran Company
Hope. Inspiration. Trust.
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1. Who Says, “The Bible is the Inerrant Word of God”?
2. Who Says, “The Bible is Not the Inerrant Word of God”?
3. Difficulties in the Bible—General Statements About Them
4. Difficulties in the Bible: What Shall We Do with Them?
5. What to Do with the Bible
6. Be Not Deceived: God is Not Mocked
7. Is it Absolutely Certain that the Body of Jesus that was Nailed to the Cross, that Really Died, and that was Laid in Joseph’s Tomb, was Raised from the Dead?
8. What One Gains by Believing in the Christ Who Rose from the Dead
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Three great questions are agitating the church today, and seem likely to divide it. The three great questions are: First, Is the Bible the Inerrant Word of God Second, Was the body of Jesus that was nailed to the Cross and really died, raised from the dead? Third, was Jesus born of a Virgin? The first two of these questions are the more fundamental, but the third is of great importance. Of course if can be shown that the Bible is the Inerrant Word of God, the question of the Virgin Birth of our Lord is also settled. In this book we have taken up the first and second questions. The reader will have to judge for himself whether we have answered the questions satisfactorily or not.
There is in the church today a wide-spread opinion that the Bible is not the Word of God but simply “contains the Word of God:” and that it is very far from inerrant. This opinion is held not only by some prominent ministers in the various evangelical churches but by a considerable number of professors in theological seminaries in the Evangelical denominations where men are trained for the ministry at home and for foreign missionary work abroad: and it is the opinion of many competent judges that our whole evangelistic work at home and our missionary work abroad is seriously threatened by the growth of this opinion.
Within the past few years has been, one almost might say, a “broad-casting’’ among Evangelical ministers of a view of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ which is entirely different from that given in the Bible. Those who hold this view say that they believe in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ; but, if pressed, they frankly confess that by the Resurrection of Jesus Christ they do not mean the resurrection of His body, but a spiritual resurrection, a resurrection of His Spirit. This view is also taught not merely in the theological seminaries of some the so called ‘‘Liberal” denominations, but in the theological seminaries of denominations that have always been held to be Evangelical. The writer was surprised to discover last summer how this opinion had grown among missionaries in China. There is certainly great need that this question also be faced and dealt with thoroughly. This we have endeavored to do in this book. If something is not done of a definite, decided and effective character to stem the tide of unbelief in the Inerrancy of the Bible and in the fact of the Resurrection of the Body of our Lord Jesus Christ, the outlook for our Missions abroad, and for our work at home, is appalling; hence book.
The question of ‘‘Evolution’’ is also being largely discussed in our churches at the present day; just at this present moment possibly more these other questions, but it has not been thought wise to treat this subject at any length in this book, for the question is not so fundamental and vital as the question of the Inerrancy and Authority of the Bible and the question of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the Dead.
If we can settle these two questions, the question of Evolution will take care of itself. Furthermore, in the current discussions of Evolution, there is great confusion of thought both upon the part of the Conservatives and on the part of the Liberals. Neither side define with accuracy just what they mean by “Evolution,’’ and the ardent advocates of Evolution having given what they consider conclusive proof of the fact of an Evolution of a certain character, at once assert that they have proved the doctrine of Evolution in an entirely different sense. There is a similar confusion, though not so frequent or so gross, on the part of those who are contending against Evolution. No one should write either for or against Evolution without a careful definition of just what he means by Evolution. It is one of the most ambiguous words in common use today, and is used with a startling disregard for definiteness and accuracy by both sides in present conflict. If someone more competent than the writer of this book does not take the subject up and handle it in an intelligent, definite, thorough and satisfactory way, the writer may publish a book on the subject later, but he entertains the hope that a man whom he has in mind, or some other competent man, may do this work, and do it more thoroughly and satisfactorily than he himself could do it.
“For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.”—Mat 5:18.
“The scripture cannot be broken.”—Joh. 10:35.
“Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition.”—Mar. 7:13.
The Question, Is the Bible the Inerrant Word of God? is the most fundamental of all questions in Religion or Ethics. If the Bible is the Word of God, an absolutely reliable revelation from God Himself, regarding Himself, His nature, His character, His will, His purposes, His plans, and regarding man, his nature, his need, his ruin, the way of his redemption, his duty and his destiny, then we have a sure starting point from which we can proceed to the conquest of the entire domain of Religious and Ethical truth. But if the Bible is not the Inerrant Word of God, if it is only the result of man’s thinking, speculating and guessing regarding the great themes with which it has to do, and therefore not at all dependable, even though it be .the best result of man’s thinking, speculating and guessing in existence, we are all at sea, drifting we know not whither, though we may be perfectly sure that we are not drifting toward any safe port. It is at this point that the great battle is to be fought out. Here should be the great line of cleavage and separation in the professing church today. The old distinctions between Presbyterians and Methodists, between Baptists and Congregationalists, between Lutherans and Episcopalians, have largely lost their significance for most of us. They have lost all of their significance for me. To be more exact, they never had any great significance for me. I am a Presbyterian because I believe a man ought to belong to and be responsible to some definite body of believers. I do not believe in guerrilla warfare. But I would not go across the road to make any other man a Presbyterian, but I would go a long ways and work hard to convince any man that this dear old Book, to which I owe everything I am and everything I may have ever accomplished in the world, is the absolutely dependable Word of God. I have far more fellowship with and joy in a Baptist who believes this Book to be the Inerrant Word of God, than I have with a Presbyterian who denies it or seeks to quibble about it and befog the issue, as some Presbyterians, I regret to say, do.
My subject then this morning is: Who says, “The Bible is the Inerrant Word of God”? By the Bible I do not mean any particular English Version of the Scriptures, the Authorized Version, the English Revision, or the American Standard Revision or any other Version, but the Scriptures as originally given. And we can now tell with substantial accuracy how the Scriptures as originally given, read. Furthermore, any of these versions mentioned are a substantially accurate rendition of the Hebrew and Aramaic of the original Old Testament manuscripts, and of the Greek of the original New Testament manuscripts, and to that extent they are “the Holy Scriptures,” the Bible.
Let me repeat my subject: Who says, “The Bible is the Inerrant Word of God”? I have three texts: Mat 5:18, “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” Joh. 10:35, “The Scripture cannot be broken.” Mar. 7:13, “Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition.”
We shall consider first Who says, the Bible is the Inerrant Word of God? and after that we shall consider, Who says, the Bible is not the Inerrant Word of God? Then you can judge for yourselves which group of witnesses you ought to believe. First, then, let us consider Who Says, “The Bible Is the Inerrant Word of God”?
1. In the first place, our Lord Jesus Christ says so. The attitude of Jesus Christ toward the Bible, toward both the Old Testament and the New Testament and His opinion in regard to the Bible as to whether its author was man or God is unmistakable.
(1) In one of our texts, Mar. 7:13, our Lord coils the Pentateuch “the Word of God” in so many words. His exact words are, “Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered.” In the verses immediately preceding He has drawn a contrast between the teachings of the Pharisees and the Scribes on the one hand, and the teachings that Moses gave in the Pentateuch, not merely in the Ten Commandments but in other parts of the Pentateuch as well, on the other hand. And then He sums it all up by saying that they were “making the word of God of none effect through their tradition.” In this way He calls the Pentateuch in so many words “the Word of God.”
When I was holding meetings in England a high dignitary in the Church of England, a scholarly man, took exception to my calling the Bible “the Word of God,” and in private correspondence said “the Bible nowhere claims to be “the Word of God.” In reply I called his attention to this passage among others and showed him how our Lord Jesus Christ Himself called the Pentateuch “the Word of God.”
(2) In another of my texts, Mat 5:18, our Lord Jesus says: “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” Now every Hebrew scholar knows that a “jot” was the Hebrew character Yedh (é), the smallest character in the Hebrew alphabet, less than one half the size of any other character in the Hebrew alphabet, and that a “tittle” was simply the little horn that the Hebrews put on some of their letters, smaller than the cross we put on a t. So our Lord Jesus here sets the stamp of His endorsement upon the absolute Inerrancy of the Law as originally given through Moses down to its smallest letter and smallest part of a letter. That is verbal inspiration with a vengeance.
Now of course these two passages refer primarily only to the Pentateuch. But if you can accept the Pentateuch you will not have much trouble with the rest of the Bible. This is the very part of the Bible where the hottest fight has always been waged between those who believe the Bible to be the Inerrant Word of God and those who think that much of it is only fable, or “folklore.” Here is where you find the two accounts of Creation, about which so many superficial and ill-informed readers and teachers of the Bible gabble so much to their own satisfaction and so much to the disgust of all real students of the Bible. Here is where you have the story of the Fall, for which our “Modernists” and “New Theology Men,” and “Eddyites” and “Theosophists” and “Spiritualists” and all that sort of folk have so much contempt, in which contempt they reveal their ignorance both of archaeological research and that type of present-day psychology that considers man as he really is and not as the dreamers would like him to be. Here is where we find the story of the Flood, of Sodom and Gomorrah and of Lot’s wife (all of which were specifically endorsed as true history by our Lord). Here is where you find the story of the Manna, the miraculous opening of a path through the Red Sea, and the Smitten Rock that poured forth water, etc., etc., all things at which the destructive critics and their sympathizers most cavil. Is it not remarkable that our Lord Jesus, looking down the coming centuries and anticipating the discussions of this day in which you and I now live, should have set the seal of His endorsement in the most unmistakable and emphatic way on that very part of the Bible where the hottest battles are being waged today? That fact should make some of our self-sufficient critics of the Bible and of Jesus Christ, take pause and do some hard, serious, wholesome thinking.
(3) In another passage, Joh. 10:35, our Lord Jesus says, “The Scripture cannot be broken.” He had just quoted a sentence from Psa. 82:6 as final authority and an end to all discussion in the matter in hand, and then He adds, “THE SCRIPTURES CANNOT BE BROKEN,” thus setting the stamp of His endorsement to the absolute irrefragability or Inerrancy of the Old Testament Scriptures.
(4) In Luk. 16:31, our Lord says, in recounting the story of the rich man and Lazarus, “If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.” In these words He sets the seal of His endorsement upon both the Law of Moses, the Pentateuch, and upon the Prophets, which in the usage of His day included not merely the books we call Prophetical but many of the Historical books as well.
(5) In Luk. 24:27, it is recorded of our Lord that, “beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.” And in the forty-fourth verse of the same chapter He is recorded as saying, “All things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the Psalms.” Now the Jew of our Lord’s time divided his Bible, our present Old Testament Scriptures into three parts, “The Law of Moses,” the Five Books that we call “The Pentateuch,” “The Prophets,” including not only most of the books that we call Prophetical but many of the Historical books as well, the material of which was derived from the “Prophets” and the “Psalms” or “Sacred Writings” including all the remaining books of our present Old Testament. And here our Lord Jesus Christ takes up each one of the three recognized divisions of the Old Testament and sets the stamp of His endorsement upon the Divine origin and Inerrancy of each and every one.
Putting these various utterances of our Lord together, we have His unqualified endorsement of the entire Old Testament as the Inerrant Word of God.
(6) But the Lord Jesus says that the books of the New Testament also are the Inerrant Word of God. It is true that not one book of the New Testament was yet written when our Lord was here on the earth, or when He left the earth as He ascended to the Father from Mount Olivet. But our Lord foresaw the writing of the books of the New Testament and unqualifiedly endorsed the books that were about to appear.
a. In Joh. 14:26, our Lord says, “But the Comforter, even the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said unto you” In these words our Lord not only endorses the Apostolic teaching as being Divinely inspired, taught to them by the Holy Spirit, but He also endorsed their recollection of what He Himself had said. So that by our Lord’s own word we have in the Apostolic records of the utterances of Christ not merely the Apostles’ recollections of what Jesus Christ had said, but the Holy Spirit’s recollection of what Jesus Christ had said. So the Apostolic records of the utterances of Jesus Christ can be absolutely depended upon.
b. Again in Joh. 16:12-13, our Lord says, “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit, when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He shall guide you into all the truth.” In these words our Lord sets the stamp of His endorsement upon the writings of the Apostles as not only being Divinely inspired, but as containing more truth than He Himself had given them (because they were not as yet ready to receive it), as indeed containing “all the truth.”
To sum up what we have shown thus far: Jesus Christ says that the entire Old Testament and entire New Testament is the Inerrant Word of God. You cannot deny the Divine origin of this book, its Divine sufficiency and Inerrancy without discrediting Jesus Christ. Prove to me that this old book is not the Inerrant Word of God and I will give up Jesus Christ. As an honest, thinking man, as a man who carries out all things he believes to their logical issue, whatever that issue may be, I will have to give up Jesus Christ, if it is proven to me that the Bible is not the Inerrant Word of God. For Jesus Christ claimed to be a teacher sent from God who spoke the very words of God. He claimed this over and over again, and, if He was mistaken about the origin and the character of this book concerning which He has so much to say, He was a fraud, an unmitigated fraud. If these people are right who tell us that these incidents in the took of Genesis, for example, which our Lord has so plainly endorsed, are simply “folklore,” or inaccurate and unreliable traditions of the day, then, beyond a question Jesus Christ was a fraud, an unmitigated fraud. But I begin at the other end of the argument, the logical end of the argument: I prove by undeniable facts that Jesus Christ was a teacher sent from God who spoke the very words of God, and therefore I am compelled to believe that the book which He endorsed as being the Inerrant Word of God is in reality such.
There are five unmistakably Divine testimonies that we can investigate for ourselves today without seeking light from these self-sufficient and greatly overrated “modern scholars” who talk very loudly and very pompously concerning matters about which they oftentimes know nothing, that Jesus Christ was what He claimed to be, a Teacher sent from God, Who spoke the very words of God. Jesus Christ is accredited to us by the Divine life that He lived; for He lived as never man lived. He is accredited to us by the Divine words that He spoke; for He spoke as no man ever spoke. He is accredited to us by the Divine works that He wrought; for He wrought as never man wrought, not merely healing the sick, which others have done, but cleansing the leper by His mere word, stilling the tempest and the raging of the sea by His mere word, raising the dead by His mere word, turning water into wine and feeding the five thousand people with five loaves and two small fishes, which were creative acts. He is also accredited to us by His Divine influence upon all subsequent history. He is accredited to us by His resurrection from the dead, the best proven fact of history, which is the Lord God Almighty’s stamp of endorsement on Jesus Christ’s claims. Therefore I am compelled, compelled by the inexorable logic of conclusively proven facts to accept the authority of Jesus Christ as a teacher sent from God, Who spoke the very words of God. Consequently I am compelled to accept the entire book which He endorsed as being the Inerrant Word of God, as being in reality such. There may be difficulties with individual passages in the Bible that I in my very limited knowledge cannot explain. But a man is not a philosopher but a fool who gives up a thoroughly established theorem because there are difficulties that he cannot explain. No reputable scientist in any department of science ever does that. The proof that Jesus is a teacher sent from God who spoke the very words of God is absolutely conclusive, indeed it is overwhelming, and therefore I unquestioningly accept His say-so, however difficult it may be to reconcile with some things I seem to know. Therefore, when the Lord Jesus says, as he continually does say, that this Book is the Inerrant “Word of God” I heartily believe it, I would be an egregious fool if I did not.
2. In the second place, History says that, the Bible is the Inerrant Word of God. One of the voices to which all really wise men listen is the voice of history, and the voice of history is very clear in its pronouncement that the Bible is the Word of God. In numerous ways history proclaims the Bible to be the Word of God. I will mention only three.
(1) In the first place, the voice of history proclaims the Bible to be the Word of God by the uniform outcome of all the attempts that have been made through eighteen centuries to discredit and destroy the Bible. It is so self-evident as to be practically axiomatic that what man has produced man can destroy. If then men produced the Bible why have eighteen centuries of assault upon the Bible been unable to destroy it? The Bible was scarcely born before the Bible was intensely hated. Men had too much of the Devil in them to do anything but hate a book that was so full of God, from its first word to its last, a book that begins with the words, “In the beginning God,” and closes with the words, “the grace of the Lord Jesus be with the saints,” and that reveals God by plain statement or by clear implication on every page. The devilish hate in the human heart against this Divine Book has been most active, most aggressive, most persistent, most relentless. As the Devil sought through a human king to destroy the Son of God in His infancy, he also tried to destroy the Word of God in its infancy through kings in the world of thought. The Bible has been attacked by many men of great ability and power, with all the intellectual, scientific, philosophical, political and physical forces they could command. First of all Fronto, probably the greatest rhetorician and teacher of eloquence of his day, the man chosen by the great emperor of Rome, Antoninus Pius, to have charge of the education of his more illustrious son, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, attacked the Bible with all the powers of his brilliant mind and gifted pen. He was determined to discredit and destroy it, but he failed utterly. Then Celsus, a man of such learning and ability that most of our modern infidels from Tom Paine to Robert Ingersoll, and also the reputed “scholars” of “the modem critical school,” have for the most part simply echoed and embellished the arguments of this bitter enemy of Christ of the second century, assaulted the Bible not only with literary attacks but by stirring up persecution against those who believed in it, and with every resource at his command attempted to discredit and destroy the Bible. He so utterly failed that he recognized his failure and tried to win by compromise where he had failed in direct assault. Porphyry, the recognized leader of the Neo-Platonic philosophers of his day, tried it with all the depth and subtilty of his philosophy, and he also utterly failed. Lucian, one of the first and most gifted satirists of all literary history, tried to discredit the Bible, seeking to destroy it by the keen shafts of his satire; but he failed. Diocletian, who had at his command all the military, political, and financial resources of the mightiest empire the world has ever known, Rome at the zenith of its glory and might, brought every force at his disposal to bear against the Bible with the relentless determination to discredit and destroy it. He issued an edict that every Bible in the Roman Empire should be destroyed. That failed. He then issued a sterner edict that every one who possessed a Bible should be put to death, but that failed. So man’s determined efforts to destroy the Bible have gone on for eighteen long centuries. Every instrument of destruction that human wisdom, human learning, human science, human philosophy, human satire, human cunning, human force and human brutality, could bring to bear against a book, has been brought to bear against this Book. With what result? That the Bible has a firmer hold upon the confidence and affections of the wisest and best men and women in the world than it ever had before. The Bible will not be destroyed, men cannot destroy it, that is historically demonstrated, and therefore it is historically demonstrated that man never produced it. The testimony of history for eighteen centuries is uniform and bears indisputable witness to the fact that the Bible is indestructible by all the forces that man can bring to bear against it, and that therefore as we have just said man never produced it, and that therefore the Bible is beyond honest question not of human origin, but is the Word of God. Man-made philosophies have failed and passed away, man-made scientific systems have failed and passed away,—man-made governments have failed and passed away, man-made kingdoms have failed and passed away, man-made empires have failed and passed away, man-made civilizations have failed and passed away, man-made literature has failed and passed away, the God-made Bible has never failed throughout all the centuries of its existence. It still stands. “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but God’s Word,” this immortal, imperishable Old Book “shall never pass away” (Mat. 24:35).
(2) In the second place, History proclaims the Bible to be the Word of God by fulfilling its prophecies, fulfilling them exactly, and minutely. The Bible, both the Old Testament and the New Testament, is very largely taken up with predictions. The destructive critics are fond of saying that, “There is no predictive element in Bible prophecy.” That is one of the fundamental postulates of their whole system. But no intelligent person can maintain that except by deliberately closing his eyes to facts so manifest that even an intelligent child must see them or else by the most extravagant and ridiculous distortion of plain facts. Predictions about the Israelitish people, predictions about individuals, about Abraham and his descendants and about David, for example, predictions about many Gentile cities and nations, Babylon, Nineveh, Tyre, the Egyptians, Grecians, Romans and others, predictions most minute and particular about the coming King of Israel, the Messiah the Christ, have been fulfilled to the letter centuries after they were made and they are still being fulfilled right before our eyes today. Now any book that has the power of looking centuries into the future and predicting with minuteness and precision and accuracy of time, person, place and circumstance, events to occur centuries later, must have for its author the only Being in the universe Who knows the end from the beginning, that is God, and history demonstrates that the Bible has this power. The history of the first century, the history of the second century, the history of the third century, the history of the fourth century, the history of the seventeenth and the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and the history of the twentieth century proclaim with one united voice, to which only the consummate fool will turn a deaf ear, “The Bible is the Word of God.”
(3) In the third place, History proclaims the Bible to be the Word of God by exhibiting before the eyes of us all the Divine Power this Book has had, as an absolutely certain historical fact, in the lives of individuals and in the history of nations. This Book, as an indisputable fact of history, has done for individuals and nations what no other book nor all other books put together have ever done, what only a Divine Book, i.e., a book that came from God, could do. It admits of no honest question that there is in this Book a power, to transform, gladden, beautify, an ennoble human lives, a power to lift men up to God that no other book possesses and that all other books taken together do not possess. Even so stubborn a scientific skeptic as Thomas Huxley admitted the peerless power of this Book. It is one of the most confidently believed axioms of twentieth century physical science, that a stream can rise no higher than its source, and I submit that a bode that has a power to lift men up to God that no other book possesses must have come down from God in a way that no other book has. There is no answer to this argument, and so history proclaims with unwavering and clear, ringing, trumpet voice, “This Book is God’s Word.”
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