The Bible is generally used as the primary reference for Christians. Even
if I accept that the Bible is actually God’s word, you have to admit that
it was put on paper by humans. And since humans are imperfect, how do you
put such faith in the Bible? Also, what about the books of the Bible that
were left out? Who decided which ones got in? Do you see my point? In the
end, you are putting your faith in people.

Yes, indeed, the Bible was written by human beings–imperfect
ones at that! In the end, what we have is this, the Bible claims for
itself to be inspired by God. To prove this (not that it is inspired, but
that it is claimed to be inspired), one can refer to 2 Timothy 3:16,17,
“All Scripture is inspired by God…” as well as to 2 Peter 1:20,21, “no
prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For
prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God
as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”

The Bible claims for itself that its authors were “carried
along by the Holy Spirit” as they wrote. Now, this is a claim, and you
must personally decide what to do with this claim. I can see immediately
that you are not the type to blindly accept this claim. That is a good
thing. Either the claim is true or it is not. What you must do is
investigate the claim with a healthy level of skepticism, combined with
sufficient open-mindedness that you are able to accept either conclusion.
Personally, I began that search from the point of view of an atheist and a
science major in college. I certainly was not predisposed to assume that
the Bible is in fact inspired by God. However, my studies and thoughts
over the years have inexorably led me to conclude that the claim is true.
There is, for me, an overwhelming weight of evidence that the Bible is
inspired for God.

My simply making that statement, of course, does not do much
for you! Let me mention a couple of points of investigation for you to
begin taking on this question. First, I would encourage you to consider
the messianic prophecies on the Old Testament. There is more than one
article on this at this web site. Click on: Messianic Prophecies Also,
I would have you consider the historical accuracy of the Bible:
Historical and Archaeological Evidences as well as scientific evidence in
support of the Bible: Scientific Evidences, Medical Evidences
Actually, I can save you time if you will be willing to read my book,
(click here for ordering if you are interested): Reasons for Belief: A
Handbook of Christian Evidences

Let me summarize by asking you to be willing to keep the
question simple. There are many things which could be said for or against
the Bible, but bottom line, either the evidence leads toward the
conclusion that it is from God or it does not. I encourage you as you
continue your investigation of this all-important question.

I almost forgot to answer your last two questions about the
“canonization” of the Bible. I will refer you to an article (click here)
A Remarkable Collection In addition, I would encourage you to find a
Roman Catholic Bible so that you can read the Old Testament Apocrypha. If
you are willing to give the Bible a careful read and also read a sample of
material which did not “make the cut,” such as the Apocryphal sections of
the Roman Catholic Bible, I believe you will see the difference between an
inspired book and a book written without the influence of the Holy Spirit
immediately. If you want more suggestions, please feel free to e-mail me.

John Oakes

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