Even though the word “Bible” gives the impression that it’s only one book, nothing could be further from the truth. The question of who is the author of the Bible is a great one.
Many Books, Many Authors
The Bible is actually is a library of 66 books. And they weren’t written at once. They were composed over a period of 1,500 years. That’s a massive amount of time, but it gets even more astounding. The Bible was written by about 40 different writers from all walks of life (kings, soldiers, shepherds, farmers, fishermen, a doctor, a cup bearer, a tax collector, a tent maker). These individuals lived under different circumstances (the wilderness, a dungeon, a prison, a palace, in exile, on journeys). They also lived on different continents (Europe, Asia, Africa). Finally, they spoke different languages (Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek).
In many ways, you would expect the Bible to wander aimlessly all over the place. But it doesn’t. In fact, these 66 books make quite a complete and harmonious whole. The unity of the Bible is a powerful indicator of a single mind.
The Bible contains a wonderfully consistent picture of the nature of God, the nature of man, and the nature of sin. There is a historical continuity to the unfolding of the scheme of redemption. God’s plan for saving man runs like a single thread from the beginning to the end.
Institutions, ordinances, and specific prophecies of the Old Testament point to a single mind responsible for its production.
Contrast the books of the Bible with the compilation of Western classics called Great Books of the Western World. This book contains selections from more than 450 works by close to 100 authors spanning a period of about 2,500 years. It displays incredible diversity of views on just about every subject. In fact, the different writers go out of their way to critique and refute key ideas proposed by their predecessors.
Skeptics have denied the unity of the Bible, claiming that the writers are hopelessly inconsistent with themselves, and they are at variance with contemporary history. Neither prong of their attack has been successful.
But it’s not enough to point out an apparent contradiction. The skeptic must prove there could be no possible way to harmonize the two statements.
An alleged contradiction in the gospels is blind Bartimaeus. In Matthew 20:29-30, Jesus encounters two blind men. In Mark 10:46, only one is mentioned: Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus. Is this a hopeless contradiction? Not really. Matthew mentions the actual fact of the two men, but Mark only mentions Bartimaeus because he’s the only one who speaks.
Another example is the alleged contradiction between Acts 9:7 (Paul’s companions on the road to Damascus “stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man”) and Acts 22:9 (Paul said they “heard not the voice of him that spake to me”). But if we understand that the word “heard” is used in two different senses, we can quickly understand that they are both correct.
Because the purpose of the Bible is so singular and free from debilitating contradictions, it must be the inspired word of God. If it is the inspired word of God, then it needs to direct your life. Open and learn from it!