THE UNITY OF THE BIBLE
by Wayne S. Walker
The last two articles in this series sought to introduce the concept that the Bible is God’s revelation to man and to affirm, therefore, that since it is the word of God it is the sole source of knowledge of His will. The Bible is more than just a single book. It is actually a library of books, and the books of the Bible are united in such a way that we must conclude that it is more than a random collection of human literary works. In Daniel 9.2 we read, "Daniel understood by the books the number of years specified by the word of the LORD, given through Jeremiah the prophet, that He would accomplish seventy years in the desolation of Jerusalem." Daniel read "the books" making up "the word of the LORD," including the one written by Jeremiah, and understood that what had been written seventy or more years previously applied to his day. This implies that the Bible is a book of unity. Even though the Bible consists of 66 books written by forty authors who lived in different cultures and geographical locations and wrote over a period of 1,500 years in three different languages, the honest observer cannot deny the unity of the Bible.
There is a unity of purpose, which is the revelation of God’s great scheme of redemption for mankind. Ferrell Jenkins wrote, "Men have various purposes and ambitions in life and it would be hard to find around forty men in one century to write a book which converged around one purpose. How much more difficult that men in different centuries should do it by chance? The Bible follows the purpose and aim of presenting the history of the redemption of man. The purpose of revealing the Redeemer and the way of redemption explains what is included and what is excluded in the Bible" (The Theme of the Bible; Cogdill Foundation; p. 2). The Bible begins with the story of the fall of man by sin which makes redemption necessary (Genesis 3.1-19). Throughout the Old Testament, there are prophecies of a coming Redeemer (cf. Isaiah 53.1-8). These prophecies all found their fulfillment in the coming of Jesus Christ (Luke 24.44-49).
Also there is a unity of theme, which is God’s love for mankind. John 3.16 is often called the "golden text of the Bible," because in it Jesus said, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." The love which made this sacrifice possible, thus providing salvation, had been foreshadowed in the Old Testament sacrifices (Leviticus 1.1-3, 1 Peter 1.18-21). In this way, God’s love has made redemption, which is the purpose of the Bible, possible (Ephesians 1.3-7). This is perfectly exemplified on the day of Pentecost, when Peter spoke of God’s counsel and foreknowledge, pointed to the Old Testament prophecies concerning the coming Messiah, referred to Jesus’s death and resurrection, concluded with this evidence that He is the Christ, and offered sinful mankind the remission of sins in the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 2.16-41).
For that matter, as we read through the book of Acts, we find that in each case of conversion the procedure was uniform. The preaching Christ was followed by faith, repentance, and baptism (cf. Acts 8.36, 9.22, 10.48, 16.31-33, etc.). This same process was then confirmed by everything else that is written in the New Testament on the subject of salvation (cf. Romans 6.3-4, Galatians 3.26-27, Colossians 2.12-14, 1 Peter 3.21). There simply are no contradictions. From these facts we can determine that behind the Bible there is a divine hand that guided and controlled it from its inception, through its revelation, to its completion. In our next article, we shall continue our study of the marvellous unity of the Bible. (—taken from With All Boldness; December, 1994; Vol. 4, No. 12; p. 24).