The Bible is clearly an amazing book. I have demonstrated in my recent posts some of the phenomena that demonstrates that the Bible is a revelation of God. Even the critics admit the amazing influence of the Bible. Most would say that the Bible is one of the most if not the most influential book ever written. I have personally experienced the Bible’s great influence and have seen it work in the lives of many others. Indeed, the very influence and power of the Bible is another demonstration that it is the revelation of God.
The Bible itself points us to its own power as the power of God demonstrating His reality. The Bible describes itself as being “quick (alive) and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit and of the joints and morrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and the intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12). The message of the Bible, the Gospel, is “the power of God and the wisdom of God” (I Corinthians 1:24), the very “power of God unto salvation” (Romans 1:16). God’s word does not “return void” but “shall accomplish” what God pleases (Isaiah 55:11). Everyone who has truly experienced the salvation of God are “born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever” (I Peter 1:23) and which “endureth forever” (I Peter 1:25). The Bible gives a believer the power to overcome sin (Psalm 119:9-11) and gives spiritual success (Joshua 1:8; Psalm 1:1-3) and great peace in life (Psalm 119:169) and hope (Romans 15:4). God sums up the power of His word through Jeremiah saying “Is not my word like a fire? …and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces? (Jeremiah 23:29).”
The power of the Bible has been demonstrated many ways not merely in the fact of its great influence in human history and powerful effects in the lives of individuals, but especially in the nature of the effects themselves. We can see its power in its endurance, cultural influence, and personal effects. Not only are these characteristics powerful, but they are clearly powerful for the good in face of great opposition.
The very continued existence of the Bible is a testimony to its divine nature. No other book has been (and still is) under such attack. Christianity and its book have been banned by great and powerful empires such as ancient Rome, Communist countries, and Muslim countries. Even the church of Rome sought to ban the Bible in the language of the people. It has also been attacked by atheists and secular societies, attacked in the classrooms of public education and mocked by so-called intellectuals and even political leaders in modern culture. Yet the Bible remains an international best-seller read and studied and followed by millions.
The Bible has clearly had great influence in the history of mankind. Certainly, other books, such as On the Origin of the Species and Das Kapital have had a great impact on humanity greatly changing the course of history, yet the influence of such writings have neither been so great nor producing the same kind of change as the Bible. Although it is intellectually fashionable today to attack the Bible’s influence characterizing it as producing more negative than positive change, those attacks do not stand up to careful scrutiny. The supposed negative effects of the Bible generally fall into one of two categories. The first as exemplified by wars and persecution done in the name of Christ and the practice of slavery by Europeans and Americans, but these effects are actually perversions of the message of the Bible and find their true source in the sinfulness of man in opposition to the teachings of the Bible. The second is found in characterizing the teachings of the Bible as evil based on modern views of morality such as the biblical teaching concerning gender and marriage or as being detrimental to science based on the modern naturalistic view of science. Such attacks beg the question of the definition and criterion of “good” denying the good influence of the Bible on the basis of denying the Bible. In fact, the great reform movements ending slavery, establishing hospitals and orphanages, and establishing democratic-republic governments and encouraging education all had their roots in biblical truth. Dr. Jason Lisle and many others rightly argue that the foundation of modern science is based on biblical truth pointing to an all-wise creator God who established order in the universe without which science could not be practice (cf. Jason Lisle’s The Ultimate Proof of Creation and the older work by Henry Morris, The Biblical Basis for Modern Science). On the other hand, the changes to society brought in by other influential books have led to a devaluation of human life as being a product of random natural activity giving humanity no objective purpose or meaning, or afterlife and no truly free will. These have removed objective standards of morality. The slaughter of millions under Hitler, Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot, was in accordance to the teachings of these other influential books. One can also point to the racism of Darwin which was specifically used by Hitler and the horrible eugenic experiments of the past century. Hence, the power of the Bible to change society is different from the power of other books not merely in degree, but also in direction.
To me, the power of the Bible to change individual lives is one of the greatest demonstrations of its divine origin. I know individuals saved from drugs and alcohol, from suicidal thoughts and attempts to productive lives of joy. I have personally witnessed a drunken family-beater change into a loving husband and father because of the power of God through His word. I doubt if Darwin’s message that we are only advanced animals, the product of random purposeless processes could produce such a result. Millions of individuals, including myself, can testify of the power of God through the Bible to change, to comfort, to inspire, and to direct their lives and give hope in times of great need. When trials come, when tragedy strikes, when wisdom is needed, I and untold others can testify of the power of the living word of God. There is no real comfort in the works of Darwin or Marx, no promises to claim and see kept no real hope to grasp; but there are all of these things in the Bible.
No other work of literature has endured such persecution and attacks. No other work of literature has produced such a change in the history of man. No other work of literature can work so powerfully in the lives of individuals giving such comfort, encouragement, direction and hope. Only the existence of God revealing Himself though this book can explain the power and effects of the Bible.