Most ancient writings portray their heroes as being almost super-human and the villains as being virtually sub-human. They often miss the nuances of human interaction. The Bible, on the other hand, gives an accurate portrayal of humanity in a way unparalleled in any ancient writing. This is consistently displayed by all the forty or so human authors over the fifteen hundred years of its writing.
This began in Genesis chapter three with the guilty pair, as sin had just entered into humanity, already blaming others for their actions. The chosen people of God started with a man who let fear bring him to a place of making a practice of telling a half-truth lie concerning his wife, the twelve tribes came from one of the most dysfunctional families in literature. Israel, the nation, very humanly waxed and waned spiritually and morally throughout its history. Leaders, even such as David, a man after God’s own heart, are recorded in very human struggles within themselves and their families. The book of Psalms records every human emotion and spiritual/psychological struggle humans experience. Ecclesiastes reveals amazingly deep insight into the human condition and its display in society. The book of Job portrays accurately the human struggle to deal with the problem of why bad things happen to good people. In the New Testament, the accounts of the twelve disciples are recorded showing their internal struggles, jealousies, and failures. Even Jesus, though God come in the flesh, is portrayed as also being truly human dealing with His emotions in passages such as John 12:27, 28 and in the accounts of Gethsemane. There are very human differences between Paul and Barnabas (Acts 15:36-41), and Paul and Peter who had very humanly been swept away by peer pressure (Galatians 2:11-14), and the discussion between Paul and His companions concerning his going to Jerusalem (Acts 21:8-14). Paul also emotionally bares his soul and struggles while dealing with a church containing individuals who opposed him (II Corinthians 4:8-15; 6:1-11; 11:1-33; 12:11-15).
However, two of my favorites are the account of the woman going to complete the embalming of the body of Jesus and the accounts of Paul being rescued from the Temple mob. Very understandably, in their love, the women departed to honor the memory of Jesus by completing the embalming it and only then discuss how they would move the stone (Mark 16:1-3)! The three accounts of Paul’s near-death experience in the Temple accurately reveal human nature. Luke records the events as they actually took place with the Romans moving to quell a riot, taking Paul, and, misunderstanding the situation, nearly scourging him (Acts 21:27-40). The Roman chief captain gave the account as though he understood all along that Paul was a Roman and so rescued him from the unruly Jewish mob about to kill him (Acts 23:25-30). The Jewish leaders, however, described the incident as Roman interference in their internal affairs violently taking Paul from them when they were only trying to follow their judicial processes as allowed under Roman rule (Acts 24:5-9). How precisely the Bible displays human nature slanting their accounts to their own advantage!
This amazing display of accuracy seen throughout the Bible (I have only given a brief survey to challenge the reader to study these accounts in more detail) reveals a deep insight into humanity that is not found in any other book. It is indeed hard to understand this insight originating by natural means. Instead, God, Who created man and knows all things, perfectly understands human nature and reveals it in in His Word and, in so doing, reveals His own existence.