The manner in which the Bible has been produced argues against its unity. The Bible was penned on two continents, written in three languages, and its composition and compilation extended through the slow progress of sixteen centuries. The various parts of the Bible were written at different times and under the most varying circumstances. Parts of it were written in tents, deserts, cities, palaces and dungeons; in times of imminent danger and in seasons of ecstatic joy. Among its writers were judges, kings, priests, prophets, patriarchs, prime ministers, herdsmen, scribes, soldiers, physicians and fishermen. Yet despite these varying circumstances, conditions and workmen, the Bible is one Book, behind its many parts there is an unmistakable organic unity. It contains one system of doctrine, one code of ethics, one plan of salvation and one rule of faith.
Now if forty different men were selected today from such varying stations and callings of life as to include clerks, rulers, politicians, judges, clergy, doctors, farm laborers and fishermen, and each was asked to contribute a chapter for some book on theology or church government, when their several contributions were collected and bound together, would there be any unity about them, could that book truly be said to be one book; or would not their different productions vary so much in literary value, diction and matter as to be merely a heterogeneous mass, a miscellaneous collection? Yet we do not find this to be the case in connection with God’s Book. Although the Bible is a volume of sixty-six Books, written by forty different men, treating of such a large variety of themes as to cover nearly the whole range of human inquiry, we find it is one Book, the Book (not the books), the Bible.
Further; if we were to select specimens of literature from the third, fifth, tenth, fifteenth and twentieth centuries of the Christian era and were to bind them together, what unity and harmony should we find in such a collection? Human writers reflect the spirit of their own day and generation and the compositions of men living amid widely differing influences and separated by centuries of time have little or nothing in common with each other. Yet although the earliest portions of the Sacred Canon date back to at least the fifteenth century, B. C., while the writings of John were not completed till the close of the first century, A. D., nevertheless, we find a perfect harmony throughout the Scriptures from the first verse in Genesis to the last verse in Revelation. The great ethical and spiritual lessons presented in the Bible, by whoever taught, agree.
The more one really studies the Bible the more one is convinced that behind the many human mouths there is One overruling, controlling Mind. Imagine forty persons of different nationalities, possessing various degrees of musical culture visiting the organ of some cathedral and at long intervals of time, and without any collusion whatever, striking sixty-six different notes, which when combined yielded the theme of the grandest oratorio ever heard: would it not show that behind these forty different men there was one presiding mind, one great Tone master? As we listen to some great orchestra, with an immense variety of instruments playing their different parts, but producing melody and harmony, we realize that at the back of these many musicians there is the personality and genius of the composer. And when we enter the halls of the Divine Academy and listen to the heavenly choirs singing the Song of Redemption, all in perfect accord and unison, we know that it is God Himself who has written the music and put this song into their mouths.
We now submit two illustrations which demonstrate the unity of the Holy Scriptures. Certain grand conceptions run through the entire Bible like a cord on which are strung so many precious pearls. First and foremost among them is the Divine Plan of Redemption. Just as the scarlet thread runs through all the cordage of the British Navy, so a crimson aura surrounds every page of God’s Word.
In the Scriptures the Plan of Redemption is central and fundamental. In Genesis we have recorded the Creation and Fall of man to show that he has the capacity for and is in need of redemption. Next we find the Promise of the Redeemer, for man requires to have before him the hope and expectation of a Saviour. Then follows an elaborate system of sacrifices and offerings and these represent pictorially the nature of redemption and the condition under which salvation is realized. At the commencement of the New Testament we have the four Gospels and they set forth the Basis of Redemption, namely, the Incarnation, Life, Death, Resurrection and Ascension of the Redeemer. Next comes the Book of the Acts which illustrates again and again the Power of Redemption, showing that it is adequate to work its great results in the salvation of both Jew and Gentile. Finally, in the Revelation, we are shown the ultimate triumphs of redemption, the Goal of Salvation - the redeemed dwelling with God in perfect union and communion. Thus we see that though a large number of human media were employed in the writing of the Bible, yet their productions are not independent of each other, but are complementary and supplementary parts of one great whole; that one sublime truth is common to them all, namely, man’s need of redemption and God’s provision of a Redeemer. And the only explanation of this fact is, that “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God.”
Secondly; among all the many personalities presented in the Bible, we find that one stands out above all others, not merely prominent but preeminent. Just as in the scene unveiled in the fifth chapter of the Revelation we find the Lamb in the center of the heavenly throngs, so we find that in the Scriptures also, the Lord Jesus Christ is accorded the place which alone befits His unique Person. Considered from one standpoint the Scriptures are really the biography of the Son of God.
In the Old Testament we have the Promise of our Lord’s Incarnation and Mediatorial work. In the Gospels we have the Proclamation of His Mission and the Proofs of His Messianic claims and authority. In the Acts we have a demonstration of His saving Power and the execution of His missionary Program. In the Epistles we find an exposition and amplification of His Precepts for the education of His People. While in the Apocalypse we behold the unveiling or Presentation of His Person and the Preparation of the earth for His Presence. The Bible is therefore seen to be peculiarly the Book of Jesus Christ. Christ not only testified to the Scriptures but each section of the Scriptures testify of Him. Every page of the Holy Book has stamped upon it His photograph and every chapter bears His autograph. He is its one great theme, and the only explanation of this fact is that, the Holy Spirit superintended the work of each and every writer of the Scriptures.
The unity of the Scriptures is further to be seen on the fact that they are entirely free from any real contradictions. Though different writers often described the same incidents - as for example the four evangelists recording the facts relating to our Lord’s ministry and redemptive work - and though there is considerable variety in the narrations of these, yet there are no real discrepancies. The harmony existing between them does not appear on the surface, but, often, is only discovered by protracted study, though it is there nevertheless. Moreover, there is perfect agreement of doctrine between all the writers in the Bible. The teaching of the prophets and the teaching of the Apostles on the great truths of God’s righteousness, the demands of His holiness, the utter ruin of man, the exceeding sinfulness of sin, and the way of salvation, is entirely harmonious. This might appear a thing easily effected. But those who are acquainted with human nature, and have read widely the writings of men, will acknowledge that nothing but the inspiration of the writers can explain this fact. Nowhere can we find two uninspired writers, however similar they may have been in their religious sentiments, who agree in all points of doctrine. Nay, entire consistency of sentiment is not to be found even in the writings of the same author at different periods. In his later years Spurgeon’s statement of some doctrines was much more modified than the utterances of his earlier days. Increasing knowledge causes men to change their views upon many subjects. But among the writers of Scripture there is the most perfect harmony, because they obtained their knowledge of truth and duty not by the efforts of study, but from inspiration by the Holy Spirit of God.
When therefore we find that in the productions of forty different men there is perfect accord and concord, unison and unity, harmony in all their teachings, and the same conceptions pervading all their writings, the conclusion is irresistible that behind their minds, and guiding their hands, there was the master-mind of God Himself. Does not the unity of the Bible illustrate the Divine Inspiration of the Bible and demonstrate the truth of its own assertion that “God (who) at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets” (Heb. 1:1)?


The influence of the Bible is world-wide. Its mighty power has affected every department of human activity. The contents of the Scriptures have supplied themes for the greatest poets, artists and musicians which the world has yet produced, and have been the mightiest factor of all in shaping the moral progress of the race. Let us consider a few examples of the Bible’s influence as displayed in the various realms of human enterprise.
Take away such sublime oratorios as “Elijah” and “The Messiah,” and you have taken out of the realm of music something which can never be duplicated; destroy the countless hymns which have drawn their inspiration from the Scriptures and you have left us little else worth singing. Eliminate from the compositions of Tennyson, Wordsworth and Carlisle every reference to the moral and spiritual truths taught in God’s Word and you have stripped them of their beauty and robbed them of their fragrance. Take down from off the walls of our best Art Galleries those pictures which portray scenes and incidents in the history of Israel and the life of our Lord and you have removed the richest gems from the crown of human genius. Remove from our statute books every law which is founded upon the ethical conceptions of the Bible and you have annihilated the greatest factor in modern civilization. Rob our libraries of every book which is devoted to the work of elaborating and disseminating the precepts and concepts of Holy Writ and you have taken from us that which cannot be valued in dollars and cents.
The Bible has done more for the emancipation and civilization of the heathen than all the forces which the human arm can wield, put together. Someone has said, “Draw a line around the nations which have the Bible and you will then have divided between barbarism and civilization, between thrift and poverty, between selfishness and charity, between oppression and freedom, between life and the shadow of death.” Even Darwin had to concede the miraculous element in the triumphs of the missionaries of the cross.
Here are two or three men who land on a savage island. Its inhabitants posses no literature and have no written language. They regard the white man as their enemy and have no desire to be shown “the error of their ways.” They are cannibals by instinct and little better than the brute beasts in their habits of life. The missionaries who have entered their midst have no money with which to buy their friendship, no army to compel their obedience and no merchandise to stir their avarice. Their only weapon is “the Sword of the Spirit,” their only capital “the unsearchable riches of Christ,” their only offer the invitation of the Gospel. Yet somehow they succeed, and without the shedding of any blood gain the victory. In a few short years naked savagery is changed to the garb of civilization, lust is transformed into purity, cruelty is now kindness, avarice has become unselfishness, and where before vindictiveness existed there is now to be seen meekness and the spirit of loving self-sacrifice. And this has been accomplished by the Bible! This miracle is still being repeated in every part of the earth! What other book, or library of books, could work such a result? Is it not evident to all that the Book which does exert such a unique and unrivaled influence must be vitalized by the life of God Himself?
This wonderful characteristic, namely the unique influence of the Bible, is rendered the more remarkable when we take into account the antiquity of the Scriptures! The last Books which were added to the Sacred Canon are now more than eighteen hundred years old, yet the workings of the Bible are as mighty in their effects today as they were in the first century of the Christian era.
The power of man’s books soon wane and disappear. With but few exceptions the productions of the human intellect enjoy a brief existence. As a general rule the writings of man within fifty years of their first public appearance lie untouched on the top shelves of our libraries. Man’s writings are like himself - dying creatures. Man comes onto the age of this world, plays his part in the drama of life, influences the audience while he is acting, but is forgotten as soon as the curtain falls upon his brief career; so it is with his writings. While they are fresh and new they amuse, interest or instruct as the wise may be, and then die a natural death. Even the few exceptions to this rule only exert a very limited influence, their power is circumscribed; they are unread by the great majority, yea, are unknown to the biggest portion of our race. But how different with God’s Book! The written Word, like the Living Word, is “The same yesterday, and today, and for ever,” and unlike any other book it has made its way into all countries and speaks with equal clearness, directness and force to all men in their mother tongue. The Bible never becomes antiquated, its vitality never diminishes and its influence is more irresistible and universal today than it was two thousands years ago. Such facts as these declare with no uncertain voice that the Bible is endued with the same Divine life and energy as its Author, for in no other way can we account for its marvelous influence through the centuries and its mighty power upon the world.


I. The Power of God’s Word to Convict Men of Sin.
In Hebrews 4:12 we have a Scripture which draws attention to this peculiar characteristic of the Bible - “For the Word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” The writings of men may sometimes stir the emotions, search the conscience, and influence the human will, but in a manner and degree possessed by no other book the Bible convicts men of their guilt and lost estate. The Word of God is the Divine mirror, for in it man reads the secrets of his own guilty soul and sees the vileness of his own evil nature. In a way absolutely peculiar to themselves, the Scriptures discern the thoughts and intents of the heart and reveal to men the fact that they are lost sinners and in the presence of a Holy God.
Some thirty years ago there resided in one of the Temples of Thibet a Buddhist priest who had conversed with no Christian missionary, had heard nothing about the cross of Christ, and had never seen a copy of the Word of God. One day while searching for something in the temple, he came across a transcription of Matthew’s Gospel, which years before had been left there by a native who had received it from some traveling missionary. His curiosity aroused, the Buddhist priest commenced to read it, but when he reached the eighth verse in the fifth chapter he paused and pondered over it: “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” Although he knew nothing about the righteousness of his Maker, although he was quite ignorant concerning the demands of God’s holiness, yet he was there and then convicted of his sins, and a work of Divine grace commenced in his soul. Month after month went by and each day he said to himself, “I shall never see God, for I am impure in heart.” Slowly but surely the work of the Holy Spirit deepened within him until he saw himself as a lost sinner; vile, guilty, and undone.
After continuing for more than a year in this miserable condition the priest one day heard that a “foreign devil” was visiting a town nearby and selling books which spoke about God. The same night the Buddhist priest fled from the temple and journeyed to the town where the missionary was residing. On reaching his destination he sought out the missionary and at once said to him, “Is it true that only those who are pure in heart will see God?” “Yes,” replied the missionary, “but the same Book which tells you that, also tells you how you may obtain a pure heart,” and then he talked to him about our Lord’s atoning work and how that “the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin.” Quickly the light of God flooded the soul of the Buddhist priest and he found the peace which “passeth all understanding.” Now what other book in the world outside of the Bible, contains a sentence or even a chapter which, without the aid of any human commentator, is capable of convincing and convicting a heathen that he is a lost sinner? Does not the fact of the miraculous power of the Bible, which has been illustrated by thousands of fully authenticated cases similar to the above, declare that the Scriptures are the inspired Word of God, vested with the same might as their Omnipotent Author?
II. The Power of God’s Word to Deliver Men From Sin.
A single incident which was brought before the notice of the writer must suffice to illustrate the above mentioned truth.
Some forty years ago a Christian gentleman stood upon the quay of the Liverpool docks distributing tracts to the sailors. In the course of his work he handed one to a man who was just embarking on a voyage to China, and with an oath the sailor took it, crumpled it up and thrust it into his pocket. Some three weeks after, this sailor was down in his cabin and needing a “spell” with which to light his pipe felt in his pocket for the necessary paper and drew out the little tract which he had received in Liverpool. On recognizing it he uttered a terrible oath and tore the paper in pieces. One small fragment adhered to his tarry hand and glancing at it he saw these words, “Prepare to meet thy God.” When relating the incident to the writer he said, “It was at that moment as though a sword had pierced my heart.” “Prepare to meet thy God” rang again and again in his ears, and with a strickened conscience he was tormented about his lost condition. Presently he retired for the night, but sleep he could not. In desperation he got up and dressed and went above and paced the deck. Hour after hour he walked up and down, but try as he might he could not dismiss from his mind the words, “Prepare to meet thy God.” For years this man had been a helpless slave in the grip of strong drink and knowing his weakness he said: “How can I prepare to meet God, when I am so powerless to overcome my besetting sin?” Finally, he got down upon his knees and cried: “O God, have mercy on me, save me from my sins, deliver me from the power of drink and help me prepare for the meeting with Thee.” More than thirty-five years after, this converted sailor told the writer that from the night he had read that quotation from God’s Word, had prayed that prayer, and had accepted Christ as his Saviour from sin, he had never tasted a single drop of intoxicating liquor and had never once had a desire to craving for strong drink. How marvelous is the power of God’s Word to deliver men from sin! Truly, as Dr. Torrey has well said, “A Book which will lift men up to God must have come down from God.”
III. The Power of God’s Word Over the Human Affections.
In thousands of instances men and women have been stretched upon the “rack,” torn limb from limb, thrown to the wild beasts, and have been burned at the stake rather than abandon the Bible and promise never again to read its sacred pages. For what other book would men and women suffer and die?
More than two hundred years ago when a copy of the Bible was much more expensive than it is in these days, a peasant who lived in the County of Cork, Ireland, heard that a gentleman in his neighborhood had a copy of the New testament in the Irish language. Accordingly he visited this man and asked to be allowed to see it, and after looking at it with great interest begged to be allowed to copy it. Knowing how poor the peasant was the gentleman asked him where he would get his paper and ink from? “I will buy them,” was the reply. “And where will you find a place to write?” “If your honor will allow me the use of your hall, I’ll come after my day’s work is over and copy a little at a time in the evenings.” The gentleman was so moved at this man’s intense love the the Bible that he gave him the use of his hall and light and provided him with paper and ink as well. True to his purpose and promise, the peasant labored night after night until he had written out a complete copy of the New Testament. Afterwards a printed copy was given to him, and the written Testament is preserved by the British and Foreign Bible Society. Again, we ask, what other book in the world could obtain such a hold upon the affections and win such love and reverence, and produce such self-sacrificing toil?


The antiquity of the Scriptures argues against their completeness. The compilation of the Bible was completed more than eighteen centuries ago, while the greater part of the world was yet uncivilized. Since John added the capstone to the Temple of God’s Truth there have been many wonderful discoveries and inventions, yet there have been no additions whatever to the moral and spiritual truths contained in the Bible. Today, we know no more about the origin of life, the nature of the soul, the problem of suffering or the future destiny of man than did those who had the Bible eighteen hundred years ago. Through the centuries of the Christian era, man has succeeded in learning many of the secrets of nature and has harnessed her forces to his service, but in the actual revelation of supernatural truth nothing new has been discovered. Human writers cannot supplement the Divine records for they are complete, entire, “wanting nothing.”
The Bible needs no addendum. There is more than sufficient in God’s Word to meet the temporal and spiritual needs of all mankind. Though written two thousand years ago, the Bible is still “up-to-date,” and answers every vital question which concerns the soul of man in our day. The Book of Job was written three thousand years before Columbus discovered America, yet it is as fresh to the heart of man now as though it had only been published ten years ago. The majority of the Psalms were written two thousand five hundred years before President Wilson was born, yet in our day and generation they are perfectly new and fresh to the human soul. Such facts as these can only be explained on the hypothesis that the Eternal God is the Author of the Bible.
The adaptation of the Scriptures is another illustration of their wonderful completeness. To young or old, feeble or vigorous, ignorant or cultured, joyful or sorrowful, perplexed or enlightened, Orientalist or Ocidentalist, saint or sinner, the Bible is a source of blessing, will minister to every need, and is able to supply every variety of want. And the Bible is the only Book in the world of which this can be predicted. The writings of Plato may be a source of interest and instruction to the philosophic mind, but they are unsuitable for placing in the hands of a child. Not so with the Bible: the youngest may profit from a perusal of the Sacred Page. The writings of Jerome or Twain may please, for an hour, the man of humor, but they will bring no balm to the sore heart and will speak no words of comfort and consolation to those passing through the waters of bereavement. How different with the Scriptures - never has a heavy heart turned in vain to God’s Word for peace! The writings of Shakespeare, Goethe, and Schiller may be of profit to the Western mind, but they convey little of value to the Easterner. Not so with God’s Word; it may be translated into any language and will speak with equal clearness, directness and power to all men in their mother tongue.
To quote Dr. Burrell: “ In every heart, down below all other wants and aspirations, there is a profound longing to know the way of spiritual life. The world is crying, “What shall I do to be saved?” Of all books the Bible is the only one that answers that universal cry. There are other books which set forth morality with more or less correctness; but there is none other that suggests a blotting out of the record of the mislived past or an escape from the penalty of the broken law. There are other books that have poetry; but there is none that sings the song of salvation or gives a troubled soul the peace that floweth like a river. There are other books that have eloquence; but there is no other that enables us to behold God Himself with outstretched hands pleading with men to turn and live. There are other books that have science; but there is none other that can give the soul a definite assurance of the future life, so that it can say, “I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day.”
Though other books contain valuable truths, they also have an admixture of error; other books contain part of the truth, the Bible alone contains all the truth. Nowhere in the writings of human genius can a single moral or spiritual truth be found, which is not contained in substance in the Bible. Examine the writings of the ancients; ransack the libraries of Egypt, Assyria, Persia, India, Greece, and Rome; search the contents of the Koran, the Zend - Avesta, or the Bagavad-Gita; gather together the most exalted spiritual thoughts and the sublimest moral conceptions contained in them and you will find that each and all are duplicated in the Bible! Dr. Torrey has said, “If every book but the Bible were destroyed not a single spiritual truth would be lost.” In the small compass of God’s Word there is stored more wisdom which will endure the test of eternity than the sum total of thinking done by man since his creation. Of all the books in the world, the Bible alone can truly be said to be complete, and this characteristic of the Scriptures is another of the many lines of demonstration which witnesses to the Divine inspiration of the Bible.


The survival of the Bible through the ages is very difficult to explain if it is not in truth the Word of God. Books are like men - dying creatures. A very small percentage of books survive more than twenty years, a yet smaller percentage last a hundred years and only a very insignificant fraction represent those which have lived a thousand years. Amid the wreck and ruin of ancient literature the Holy Scriptures stand out like the last survivor of an otherwise extinct race, and the very fact of the Bible’s continued existence is an indication that like its Author it is indestructible.
When we bear in mind the fact that the Bible has been the special object of never ending persecution the wonder of the Bible’s survival is changed into a miracle. Not only has the Bible been the most intensely loved Book in all the world, but it has also been the most bitterly hated. Not only has the Bible received more veneration and adoration than any other book, but it has also been the object of more persecution and opposition. For two thousand years man’s hatred of the Bible has been persistent, determined, relentless and murderous. Every possible effort has been made to undermine faith in the inspiration and authority of the Bible and innumerable enterprises have been undertaken with the determination to consign it to oblivion. Imperial edicts have been issued to the effect that every known copy of the Bible should be destroyed, and when this measure failed to exterminate and annihilate God’s Word then commands were given that every person found with a copy of the Scriptures in his possession should be put to death. The very fact that the Bible has been so singled out for such relentless persecution causes us to wonder at such a unique phenomenon.
Although the Bible is the best Book in the world yet is has produced more enmity and opposition than has the combined contents of all our libraries. Why should this be? Clearly because the Scriptures convict men of their guilt and condemn them for their sins! Political and ecclesiastical powers have united in the attempt to put the Bible out of existence, yet their concentrated efforts have utterly failed. After all the persecution which has assailed the Bible, it is, humanly speaking, a wonder that there is any Bible left at all. Every engine of destruction which human philosophy, science, force, and hatred could bring against a book has been brought against the Bible, yet it stands unshaken and unharmed today. When we remember that no army has defended the Bible and no king has ever ordered its enemies to be extirpated, our wonderment increases. At times nearly all the wise and great of the earth have been pitted together against the Bible, while only a few despised ones have honored and revered it. The cities of the ancients were lighted with bonfires made of Bibles, and for centuries only those in hiding dare read it. How then, can we account for the survival of the Bible in the face of such bitter persecution? The only solution is to be found in the promise of God. “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My Words shall not pass away.”
The story of the Bible’s persecution is an arresting one. During the first three centuries of the Christian era the Roman Emperors sought to destroy God’s Word. One of them, named Diocletian, believed that he had succeeded. He had slain so many Christians and destroyed so many Bibles, that when the lovers of the Bible remained quiet for a season and kept in hiding, he imagined that he had made an end of the Scriptures. So elated was he at this achievement, he ordered a medal to be struck inscribed with the words, “The Christian religion is destroyed and the worship of the gods restored.” One wonders what that emperor would think if he returned to this earth today and found that more had been written about the Bible than about any other thousand books put together, and that the Bible which enshrines the Christian faith is now translated into more than four hundred languages and is being sent out to every part of the earth!
Centuries after the persecution by the Roman Emperors, when the Roman Catholic Church obtained command of the city of Rome, the Pope and his priests took up the old quarrel against the Bible. The Holy Scriptures were taken away from the people, copies of the Bible were forbidden to be purchased and all who were found with a copy of God’s Word in their possession were tortured and killed. For centuries the Roman Catholic Church bitterly persecuted the Bible and it was not until the time of the Reformation at the close of the sixteenth century that the Word of God was again given to the masses in their own tongue.
Even in our day the persecution of the Bible still continues, though the method of attack is changed. Much of our modern scholarship is engaged in the work of seeking to destroy faith in the Divine inspiration and authority of the Bible. In many of our seminaries the rising generation of the clergy are taught that Genesis is a book of myths, that much of the teaching of the Pentateuch is immoral, that the historical records of the Old Testament are unreliable and that the whole Bible is man’s creation rather than God’s revelation. And so the attack on the Bible is being perpetuated.
Now suppose there was a man who had lived upon this earth for eighteen hundred years, that this man had oftentimes been thrown into the sea and yet could not be drowned; that he had frequently been cast before wild beasts who were unable to devour him; that he had many times been made to drink deadly poisons which never did him any harm; that he had often been bound in iron chains and locked in prison dungeons, yet he had always been able to throw off the chains and escape from his captivity; that he had repeatedly been hanged, till his enemies thought him dead, yet when his body was cut down he sprang to his feet and walked away as though nothing had happened; that hundreds of times he had been burned at the stake, till there seemed to be nothing left of him, yet as soon as the fires were out he leaped up from the ashes as well and as vigorous as ever - but we need not expand this idea any further; such a man would be super-human, a miracle of miracles. Yet this is exactly how we should regard the Bible! This is practically the way in which the Bible has been treated. It has been burned, drowned, chained, put in prison, and torn to pieces, yet never destroyed!
No other book has provoked such fierce opposition as the Bible, and its preservation is perhaps the most startling miracle connected with it. But two thousand five hundred years ago God declared, “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth, but the Word of our God shall abide for ever.” Just as the three Hebrews passed safely through the fiery furnace of Nebuchadnezzar unharmed and unscorched, so the Bible has emerged from the furnace of satanic hatred and assault without even the smell of fire upon it! Just as an earthly parent treasures and lays by the letters received from his child, so our Heavenly Father has protected and preserved the Epistles of love written to His children.


We are living in a day when confidence is lacking; when skepticism and agnosticism are becoming more and more prevalent; and when doubt and uncertainty are made the badges of culture and wisdom. Everywhere men are demanding proof. Hypotheses and speculations fail to satisfy: the heart cannot rest content until it is able to say, “I know.” The demand of the human mind is for definite knowledge and positive assurance. And God has condescended to meet this need.
One thing which distinguishes Christianity from all human systems is that it deals with absolute certainties. Christians are people who know. And well it is that they do. The issues concerning life and death are so stupendous, the stake involved in the salvation of the soul is so immense, that we cannot afford to be uncertain here. None but a fool would attempt to cross a frozen river until he was sure that the ice was strong enough to bear him. Dare we then face the river of death with nothing but a vague and uncertain hope to rest upon? Personal assurance is the crying need of the hour. There can be no peace and joy until this is attained. A parent who is in suspense concerning the safety of his child, is in agony of soul. A criminal who lies in the condemned cell hoping for a reprieve, is in mental torment until his pardon arrives. And a professed Christian who knows not whether he shall ultimately land in Heaven or Hell, is a pitiable object.
But we say again, real Christians are people who know. They know that their Redeemer liveth (John 19:25). They know that they have passed from death unto life (I John 3:14). They know that all things work together for good (Rom. 8:28). They know that if their earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, they have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens (II Cor. 5:1). They know that one day they shall see Christ face to face and be made like Him (I John 3:2). In the meantime they know whom they have believed, and are persuaded that He is able to keep that which they have committed unto Him against that day (II Tim. 1:12). If it be asked, How do they know, the answer is, they have proven for themselves the trustworthiness of God’s Word which affirms these things.
The force of this present argument will appeal to none save those who have an experimental acquaintance with it. In addition to all the external proofs that we have for the Divine Inspiration of the Scriptures, the believer has a source of evidence to which no unbeliever has access. In his own experience the Christian finds a personal confirmation of the teachings of God’s Word. To the man whose life which, judged by the standards of the world, appears morally upright, the statement that “the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked” seems to be the gloomy view of a pessimist, or a description which has no general application. But the believer has found that “the entrance of Thy words giveth light” (Ps. 119:30), and in the light of God’s Word and beneath the illuminating power of God’s Spirit who indwells him, he has discovered there is within him a sink of iniquity. To natural wisdom, which is fond of philosophizing about the freedom of the human will, the declaration of Christ that “No man can come to Me, except the Father which hath sent Me, draw him” (John 6:44) seems a hard saying; but, to the one who has been taught by the Holy Spirit something of the binding power of sin, such a declaration has been verified in his own experience. To the one who has done his best to live up to the light which he had, and has sought to develop an honest and amiable character, such a statement as, “All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags,” seems unduly harsh and severe; but to the man who has received “an unction from the Holy One,” his very best works appear to him sordid and sinful; and such they are. The Apostle’s confession that “in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing” (Rom. 7:18) which once appeared absurd to him, the believer now acknowledges to be his own condition. The description of the Christian which is found in Romans ... is something which none but a regenerate person can understand. The things there mentioned as belonging to the same man at the same time, seem foolish to the wise of this world; but the believer realizes completely the truth of it in his own life.
The promises of God can be tested: their trustworthiness is capable of verification. In the Gospel Christ promises to give rest to all those who are weary and heavy laden that come unto Him. He declares that He came to seek and to save that which was lost. He affirms that “whosoever drinketh of the Water that I shall give him shall never thirst.” In short, the Gospel presents the Lord Jesus Christ as a Saviour. His claim to save can be put to the proof. Yea, it has been, and that by a multitude of individuals that no man can number. Many of these are living on earth today. Every individual who has read in the Scriptures the invitations that are addressed to sinners, and has personally appropriated them to himself, can say n the words of the well-known hymn: -
“I came to Jesus as I was.
Weary and worn and sad;
I found in Him a resting place
And He has made me glad.”
Should these pages be read by a skeptic who, despite his present unbelief, has a sincere and earnest desire to know the truth, he, too may put God’s Word to the test and share the experience described above. It is written, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved,” - believe, my reader, and thou, too, shalt be saved.
“We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen” (John 3:11). The Bible testifies to the fact that “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God,” and our own conscience confirms it. The Bible declares that it is “not by works of righteousness which we have down, but according to His mercy” God saves us; and the Christian has proven that he was unable to do anything to win God’s esteem: but, having cried the prayer of the Publican, he has gone down to his house justified. The Bible teaches that “if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new;” and the believer has found that the things he once hated he now loves, and that the things he hitherto counted gain he now regards as dross. The Bible witnesses to the fact that we “are kept by the power of God thro’ faith,” and the believer has proven that though the world, the flesh, and the devil are arrayed against him, yet the grace of God is sufficient for all his need. Ask the Christian, then, why he believes that the Bible is the Word of God, and he will tell you, Because it has done for me what it professes to do (save); because I have tested its promises for myself; because I find its teachings verified in my own experiences.
To the unregenerate the Bible is practically a sealed Book. Even the cultured and educated are unable to understand its teachings: parts of it appear plain and simple, but much of it is dark and mysterious. This is exactly what the Bible declares - “The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (I Cor. 2:14). But to the man of God it is otherwise: “He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself” (I John 5:10). As the Lord Jesus declared, “If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine” (John 7:17). While the infidel stumbles in darkness, even in the midst of light, the believer discovers the evidence of its truth in himself with the clearness of a sunbeam. “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (II Cor. 4:6).


Not only does the Bible claim to be a Divine revelation but it also asserts that its original manuscripts were written “not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Spirit teacheth” (I Cor. 2”13). The Bible nowhere claims to have been written by inspired men - as a matter of fact some of them were very defective characters - Balaam for example - but it insists that the words they uttered and recorded were God’s words. Inspiration has not to do with the minds of the writers (for many of them understood not what they wrote (I Peter 1:10-11), but with the writings themselves. “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God,” and “Scripture” means “the writings.” Faith has to do with God’s Word and not with the men who wrote it - these are all dead long since, but their writings remain.
A writing that is inspired by God self-evidently implies, in the very expression, that the words are the words of God. To say that the inspiration of the Scriptures applies to their concepts and not to their words; to declare that one part of Scripture is written with one kind or degree of inspiration and another part with another kind or degree, is not only destitute of any foundation or support in the Scriptures themselves, but is repudiated by every statement in the Bible which bears upon the subject now under consideration. To say that the Bible is not the Word of God but merely contains the Word of God is the figment of an ill-employed ingenuity and an unholy attempt to depreciate and invalidate the supreme authority of the Oracles of God. All the attempts which have been made to explain the rationale of inspiration have done nothing toward simplifying the subject, rather have they tended to mystify. It is no easier to conceive how ideas without words could be imparted, than that Divinely revealed truths should be communicated by words. Instead of being diminished the difficulty is increased. It were as logical to talk of a sum without figures or a tune without notes, as of a Divine revelation and communication without words. Instead of speculation our duty is to receive and believe what the Scriptures say of themselves.
What the Bible teaches about its own inspiration is a matter purely of Divine testimony, and our business is simply to receive the testimony and not to speculate about or seek to pry into its modus operandi. Inspiration is as much a matter of Divine revelation as is justification by faith. Both stand equally on the authority of the Scriptures themselves, which must be the final court of appeal on this subject as on every question of revealed truth.
The teaching of the Bible concerning the inspiration of the Scriptures is clear and simple, and uniform throughout. Its writers were conscious that their utterances were a message from God in the highest meaning of the word. “And the Lord said unto him (Moses), Who hath made man’s mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? Have not I the Lord? Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say” (Exod. 4:11-12). “The Spirit of the Lord spake by me, and His word was in my tongue” (II Sam. 23:2). “Then the Lord put forth His hand, and touched my mouth. and the Lord said unto me, Behold, I have put My words in thy mouth” (Jer. 1:9). The above are only a sample of scores of similar passages which might be sighted.
What is predicted of the Scriptures themselves, demonstrates that they are entirely and absolutely the Word of God. “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul” (Ps. 19:7) - this altogether excludes any place in the Bible for human infirmities and imperfections. “Thy Word is very pure” (Ps. 119:140), which cannot mean less than that the Holy Spirit so superintended the composition of the Bible and so “moved” its writers that all error has been excluded. “Thy Word is true from the beginning” (Ps. 119:160) - how this anticipated the assaults of the higher critics on the Book of Genesis, particularly on its opening chapters!
The teaching of the New Testament agrees with what we have quoted from the Old. “Take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say: for the Holy Spirit shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say” (Luke 12:11-12), - the disciples were the ones who spake, but it was the Holy Spirit who “taught them what to say.” Could any language express more emphatically the most entire inspiration? and, if the Holy Spirit so controlled their utterances when in the presence of “magistrates,” is it conceivable that He would do less for them when they were communicating the mind of God to all future generations on things touching our eternal destiny? Assuredly not. “But those things, which God before had showed by the mouth of all His prophets, that Christ should suffer, He hath so fulfilled” (Acts 3:18). Here the Holy Spirit declares thro’ Peter that it was God who had revealed by the mouth of all His prophets that Israel’s Messiah must suffer before the glory should appear. “But that I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets” (Acts 24:14). These words clearly evidence the fact that the Apostle Paul had the utmost confidence in the authenticity of the entire contents of the Old Testament. “And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power” (I Cor. 2:4). Could any man have used such language as this unless he had been fully conscious that he was speaking the very words of God? “The prophecy came not at any time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (II Peter 1:21). Nothing could possibly be more explicit.
Dr. Gray has strikingly and forcefully stated the necessity of a verbally inspired Bible in the following language: - “An illustration the writer has often used will help to make this clear. A stenographer in a mercantile house was asked by his employer to write as follows:
“Gentlemen: we misunderstood your letter and will not fill your order.”
Imagine the employer’s surprise, however, when a little later this was set before him for his signature -
“Gentlemen: we misunderstood your letter and will not fill your order.”
The mistake was only of a single letter, but it was entirely subversive of his meaning. And yet the thought was given clearly to the stenographer, and the words, too, for that matter, Moreover, the latter was capable and faithful, but he was human, and it is human to err. Had not his employer controlled his expression, down to the very letter, the thought intended to be conveyed would have failed of utterance.” So, too, the Holy Spirit had to superintend the writing of the very letter of Scripture in order to guarantee its accuracy and inerrancy.
Many proofs might be given to show the Scriptures are verbally inspired. One line of demonstration appears in the literal and verbal fulfillment of many of the Old Testament prophecies. For example, God made known thro’ Zechariah that the price which Judas should receive for his awful crime was “thirty pieces of silver” (Zech. 11:12). Here then is a clear case where God communicated to one of the prophets not merely an abstract concept but a specific communication. And the above case is only one of many.
Another evidence of verbal inspiration is to be seen in the fact that words are used in Scripture with the most exact precision and discrimination. This is particularly noticeable in connection with the Divine titles. The names Elohim and Jehovah are found on the pages of the Old Testament several thousand times, but they are never employed loosely or used alternately. Each of these names has a definite significance and scope, and were we to substitute the one for the other the beauty and perfection of a multitude of passages would be destroyed. To illustrate: the word “God” occurs all thro’ Genesis 1, but “Lord God” in Genesis 2. Were these two Divine titles reversed here, a flaw and blemish would be the consequence. “God” is the creatorial title, whereas “Lord” implies covenant relationship and shows God’s dealings with His own people. Hence, in Genesis 1, “God” is used, and in Genesis 2, “Lord God” is employed, and all thro’ the remainder of the Old Testament these two Divine titles are used discriminatively and in harmony with the meaning of their first mention. One or two other examples must suffice. “And they went in unto Noah into the ark, two and two of all flesh, wherein is the breath of life. And they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him” - “God” because it was the Creator commanding, with respect to His creatures, as such; but, in the remainder of the same verse, we read, “and the Lord shut him in” (Gen. 7:16), because God’s action here toward Noah was based upon covenant relationship. When going forth to meet Goliath David said, “This day will the Lord deliver thee into mine hand (because David was in covenant relationship with Him); and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcasses of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth (which was not in covenant relation with Him) may know that there is a God in Israel. And all this assembly (which were in covenant relationship with Him) shall know that the Lord saveth not with sword and spear” etc. (I Sam. 17:46-47). Once more: “And it came to pass, when the captains of the chariots saw Jehoshaphat, that they said, It is the king of Israel. Therefore they compassed about him to fight: but Jehoshaphat cried out, and the Lord helped him; and God moved them (the Syrians) to depart from him” (II Chron. 18:31). And thus it is all thro’ the Old Testament.
The above line of argument might be extended indefinitely. There are upwards of fifty Divine titles in the Old Testament which are used more than once, each of which has a definite signification, each of which has its meaning hinted at in its first mention, and each of which is used subsequently in harmony with its original purport. They are never used loosely or interchangeably. In every place where they occur there is a reason for each variation. Such titles are the Most High, the Almighty, the God of Israel, the God of Jacob, the Lord our Righteousness, etc., etc., are not used haphazardly, but in every case in harmony with their original meaning and as the best suited to the context. The same is true in connection with the names of our Lord in the New Testament. In some passages He is referred to as Christ, in others as Jesus, Jesus Christ, Christ Jesus, Lord Jesus Christ. In every instance there is a reason for each variation, and in every case the Holy Spirit has seen to it that they are employed with uniform significance. The same is true of the various names given to the great adversary. In some places he is termed Satan, in others the devil etc., etc.; but the different terms are used with unerring precision throughout. A further illustration is furnished by the father of Joseph. In his earlier life he was always termed Jacob, later he received the name of Israel, but after this, sometimes we read of Jacob and sometimes of Israel. Whatever is predicted of Jacob refers to the acts of the “old man;” whatever is postulated of Israel were the fruits of the “new man.” When he doubted it was Jacob who doubted, when he believed God it was Israel who exercised faith. Accordingly, we read, “And when Jacob had made an end of commanding his sons, he gathered up his feet into the bed, and yielded up the ghost” (Gen. 49:33). But in the next verse but one we are told, “And Joseph commanded his servants the physicians to embalm his father: and the physicians embalmed Israel (Gen. 50:2)!! Here then we see the marvelous verbal precision and perfection of Holy Scripture.
The most convincing of all the proofs and arguments for the verbal inspiration of the Scriptures is the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ regarded them and treated them as such. He Himself submitted to their authority. When assaulted by Satan, three times He replied, “It is written,” and it is particularly to be noted that the point of each of His quotations and the force of each reply lay in a single word - “Man shall not live by bread alone” etc.; “Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God;” “Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” When tempted by the Pharisees, who asked Him, “Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?” He answered, “Have ye not read?” etc. (Matt. 19:4-5). To the Sadducees He said, “Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures” (Matt. 22:29). On another occasion He accused the Pharisees of “Making the Word of God of none effect thro’ their tradition” (Mark 7:13). On another occasion, when speaking of the Word of God, He declared “The Scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35). Sufficient has been adduced to show that the Lord Jesus regarded the Scriptures as the Word of God in the most absolute sense. In view of this fact let Christians beware of detracting in the smallest degree from the perfect and full inspiration of the Holy Scriptures.


What is our attitude towards God’s Word? The knowledge that the Scriptures are inspired by the Holy Spirit involves definite obligations. Our conception of the authority of the Bible determines our attitude and measures our responsibility. If the Bible is a Divine revelation what follows?

If it were announced upon reliable authority that on a certain date in the near future an angel from heaven would visit New York and would deliver a sermon upon the invisible world, the future destiny of man, or the secret of deliverance from the power of sin, what an audience he would command! There is no building in that city large enough to accommodate the crowd which would throng to hear him. If upon the next day, the newspapers were to give a verbatim report of his discourse, how eagerly it would be read! And yet, we have between the covers of the Bible not merely an angelic communication but a Divine revelation. How great then is our wickedness if we undervalue and despise it! And yet we do.
We need to confess to God our sin of neglecting His Holy Word. We have time enough - we take time - to read the writings of fellow sinners, yet we have little or no time for the Holy Scriptures. The Bible is a series of Divine love letters, and yet many of God’s people have scarcely broken the seals. God complained of old, “I have written to him the great things of My law, but they were counted as a strange thing” (Hos. 8:12). To neglect God’s gift is to despise the Giver. To neglect God’s Word is virtually to tell Him that He made a mistake in being at so much trouble to communicate it. To prefer the writings of man is to insult the Almighty. To say that human writings are more interesting is to impugn the wisdom of the Most High and is a terrible indictment against our own evil hearts. To neglect God’s Word is to sin against its Author, for He has commanded us to read, study, and search it.
If the Bible is the Word of God then -
It is not a question of what I think, or of what any one else thinks - it is, What saith the Scriptures? It is not a matter of what any church or creed teaches - it is, What teaches the Bible? God has spoken, and that ends the matter: “Forever, O Lord, Thy Word is settled in heaven.” Therefore, it is for me to bow to His authority, to submit to His Word, to cease all quibbling and cry, “Speak, Lord, for Thy servant heareth.” Because the Bible is God’s Word, it is the final court of appeal in all things pertaining to doctrine, duty, and deportment.
This was the position taken by our Lord Himself. When tempted by Satan, He declined to argue with him, He refused to overwhelm him with the force of His superior wisdom, He scorned to crush him with a putting forth of His almighty power - “It is written” was His defense for each assault. At the beginning of His public ministry, when He went to Nazareth where most of His thirty years had been lived, He performed no wonderful miracle but entered the synagogue, read from the Prophet Isaiah and said, “This day is this Scripture fulfilled in your ears” (Luke 4:21). In His teaching upon the Rich Man and Lazarus, He insisted that “If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead” (Luke 16:31) - thus signifying that the authority of the written Word is of greater weight and worth than the testimony and appeal of miracles. When vindicating before the Jews His claim of Deity (John 5) He appealed to the testimony of John the Baptist (vs. 32), to His own works (vs. 36), to the Father’s own witness - at His baptism (vs. 37), and then - as tho they were the climax - He said - “Search the Scriptures ** they are they which testify of Me” (vs. 39).
This was the position taken by the Apostles. When Peter would justify the speaking with other tongues, he appealed to the Prophet Joel (Acts 2:16). When seeking to prove to the Jews that Jesus of Nazareth was their Messiah, and that He had risen again from the dead, he appealed to the testimony of the Old Testament (Act 2). When Stephen made his defense before the “counsel” he did little more than review the teaching of Moses and the prophets. When Saul and Barnabas set out on their first missionary journey they “preached the Word of God in the synagogues of the Jews” (Acts 13:5). In his Epistles, the Apostle continually pauses to ask - “What saith the Scripture?” (Rom. 4:3, etc.) - if the Scripture gave a clear utterance upon the subject under discussion that ended the matter: against their testimony there was no appeal.

If the Bible is the Word of God - then
How can man be just with God? or how can he be clean that is born of a woman? What must I do to be saved? Where is true and lasting peace and rest to be found? Such are some of the inquiries made by every honest and anxious soul. The reply is - Search the Scriptures: Look and see. How shall I best employ my time and talents? How shall I discover what is well-pleasing to my Maker? How am I to know what is the path of duty? And again the answer is - What teaches the Word of God?
No one who possesses a copy of the Bible can legitimately plead ignorance of God’s will. The Scriptures leave us without excuse. A lamp has been provided for our feet and the pathway of righteousness is clearly marked out. A chart has been given to the sailors on time’s sea, and it is their own fault if they fail to arrive at the heavenly port. In the day of judgment the Books will be opened and out of these Books men will be judge, and one of these Books will be the Bible. In His written Word God has revealed His mind, expressed His will, communicated His requirements; and woe to the man or woman who takes not the necessary time to discover what these are.
If the Bible is the Word of God then -
Man craves for certainty. Speculations and hypotheses are insufficient where eternal issues are at stake. When I come to lay my head upon my dying pillow, I want something surer than a “perhaps” to rest it upon. And thank God I have it. Where? In the Holy Scriptures. I know that my Redeemer liveth. I know that I have passed from death unto life. I know that I shall be made like Christ and dwell with Him in glory throughout the endless ages of eternity. How do I know? Because God’s Word says so, and I want nothing more.
The Bible gives forth no uncertain sound. It speaks with absolute assurance, dogmatism, and finality. Its promises are certain for they are promises of Him who cannot lie. Its testimony is reliable for it is the inerrant Word of the Living God. Its teachings are trustworthy for they are a communication the the Omniscient. The believer then has a sure foundation on which to rest, an impregnable rock on which to build his hopes. For his present peace and for his future prospects he has a, “Thus saith the Lord,” and that is sufficient.
If the Bible is the Word of God then -
A unique book deserves and demands unique attention. Like Job, we ought to be able to say, “I have esteemed the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.” If history teaches us anything at all, it teaches that those nations which have most honored God’s Word have been most honored by God. And what is true of the nation is equally true of the family and of the individual. The greatest intellects of the ages have drawn their inspiration from the Scripture of Truth. The most eminent statesmen have testified to the value and importance of Bible study. Benjamin Franklin said: “Young man, my advice to you is that you cultivate an acquaintance with and firm belief in the Holy Scriptures, for this is your certain interest.” Thomas Jefferson gave it as his opinion, “I have said and always will say, that the studious perusal of the Sacred Volume will make better citizens, better fathers, and better husbands.”
When the late Queen Victoria was asked the secret of England’s greatness, she took down a copy of the Scriptures, and pointing to the Bible she said, “That Book explains the power of Great Britain.” Daniel Webster once affirmed, “If we abide by the principles taught in the Bible, our country will go on prospering and to prosper; but, if we and our posterity neglect its instructions and authority, no man can tell how sudden a catastrophe may overwhelm us and bury all our glory in profound obscurity. The Bible is the Book of all others for lawyers as well as divines, and I pity the man who cannot find in it a rich supply of thought and rule of conduct.”
When Sir Walter Scott lay dying he summoned to his side his man in waiting and said, “Read to me out of the Book.” Which book? answered his servant. “There is only one Book,” was the dying man’s response - “The Bible!” The Bible is the Book to live by and the Book to die by. Therefore read it to be wise, believe it to be safe, practice it to be holy. As another has said: “Know it in the head, store it in the heart, show it in the life, sow it in the world.”
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (II Tim. 3:16-17).