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Bible Correspondence Course

3. The Inspiration of the Bible

The Bible was written over a period of 1,500 years in sixty-six different books by about forty different writers. These writers wrote, as moved by the Spirit of God, on three different continents and used three different languages. In spite of this diversity, the books of the Bible share a common theme which unites them as one.

We have already seen that the Bible is divided into two parts or ‘testaments’. The first, the Old Testament, relates God’s dealings with the people of Israel. The second, the New Testament, shares the life of Sayyidna Isa bin Maryam (his peace be upon us) and his early followers, and includes epistles or letters written to help the early believers hold fast to his teachings.

1. God’s Revelation

The Bible is the revelation of God; inspired by Him for His people. It is not a random collection of religious writings, but a God-given gift directed by His hand.[1] The Bible tells us that it is relevant and valuable to our lives. “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”[2] To a Muslim this is not new, for it is a fundamental part of the teaching of the Qur’an.[3]

2. The Old Testament

We find the expression, “Thus says the Lord” more than 3,800 times in the Old Testament, clearly indicating that these Prophets spoke, or wrote, on God’s behalf. These men of God, like Hazrat Musa and Hazrat Dawud, were inspired by the Lord to share His plan. Although the Old Testament was written by many writers over many years, God continued to guide the Prophets for this task and so the reader sees an over-arching picture emerge.

3. Some Important Examples

The Bible records that God spoke to Hazrat Musa: “Now go; I will help you speak and teach you what to say.”[4] This clearly teaches that Musa was inspired by God. God also spoke through Hazrat Dawud when he said, “The Spirit of the Lord spoke through me; His words was on my tongue.”[5]
We find similar evidence in the books of the prophets. For example, Hazrat Jeremiah records that the Lord told him, “I have put My words in your mouth.”[6]

There are many ways in which God made His will known in the Old Testament. He not only revealed His will through those who spoke His words, but also through the lives of those He touched; for example, the stories of Ruth and Hazrat Ayub (Job). All these, in very different ways, show the character of God and the way in which His compassion for His world reaches across time and space to care for individual people.

4. The Testimony of Sayyidna Isa al-Masih

We also see that Sayyidna Isa Kalimatu'llah believed the Old Testament to be the Word of God, when He said, “Everything must be fulfilled that is written about Me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”[7] These divisions include all the Old Testament. He also endorsed the New Testament before it was written. Before His crucifixion, Sayyidna told His disciples that once the Holy Spirit came He would remind them of the things He had said. He promised that the Holy Spirit would guide them into all truth.[8] That is why the Apostles testified that they spoke “not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit.”[9]

5. The Method of Inspiration

The Holy Spirit moved men of the Bible to write, yet they were free to speak through their own individual background, personality, vocabulary and style. If the writers of the Bible had been mere pens, instead of men, in the hands of God, it may only have had one style and vocabulary. But instead we read, in rich diversity, one message with each author’s individual expression coming through: God is behind each expression, revealing Himself to His beloved people.

6. Unity in the Message

From beginning to end, the Bible is the unfolding story of God’s plan for salvation. There is one message throughout the Bible, like there is one God and one race of humankind. God does not change, nor do the problems which creation face. Humankind’s greatest problem is that because of sin we are separated from God. God has made it plain that He is holy, all holy, and that because humans do not live holy lives we cannot know a holy God. From the Bible we learn that God has mercifully and compassionately provided the answer to this universal problem. We will consider this more fully in later lessons.

Salvation

The Bible reveals that salvation is found through Sayyidna Isa al-Masih.[10] The Bible is special because through it God has revealed His Will to us. We know that those who submit to God will come to know the truth and will be saved. He does not want anyone to perish, but wants everyone to come to Him in repentance.[11]

References:

  1. [1] 2 Peter 1:21-2
  2. [2] 2 Timothy 3:16-17
  3. [3] Qur’an 2:136; 5:47, 10:95; 29:46
  4. [4] Exodus 4:12
  5. [5] 2 Samuel 23:2
  6. [6] Jeremiah 1:9
  7. [7] Luke 24:44
  8. [8] John 14:26; 16:13; 1 John 2:20,27
  9. [9] 1 Corinthians 2:13
  10. [10] John 14:6
  11. [11] 1 Timothy 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9

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