Foy E. Wallace, Jr.
“I have written to him the great things of my law, but they were counted as a strange thing” (Hos. 8:12).
The language of Hosea was a rebuke to Ephraim, but it may with equal force be addressed to us. God has also “written to” us “the great things” of his law. The passage may be applied, without violence to text or context, to the Bible, its contents in proof of its claims, and its common treatment today.
The Need of Divine Revelation
The antecedent presumption that man is in need of divine guidance is prefatory to consideration of the Bible. If well-disposed earthly kings will put up signboards and guideposts to aid their subjects through the dense forests and perplexing crossroads of their domains, the King of kings will not do less. If a wise and loving earthly parent will provide for his child the knowledge needful to his earthly welfare, an omniscient and beneficent Heavenly Father would surely withhold nothing that involves the eternal destinies of his children.
The Bible is just the kind of a revelation to be expected of a God such as the Bible affirms our God to be.
The Claims of the Bible
Hosea, speaking for God, says: “I have written.” This is the claim of divine authorship. The Bible claims to be the word of God. And not that only; it claims to be the inerrant word of God, the infallibly and verbally inspired word of God. “All Scripture is given by inspiration” (theopnustia, God-breathed words). “Unto us God revealed” these things “through the Spirit…Which things also we speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Spirit teacheth; combining spiritual things with spiritual words” (1 Cor. 2:10-13). Divine thoughts and divine words to convey them is Paul’s statement, with emphasis, of the verbal inspiration of the Bible.
Who says it is not the inerrant word of God? The devil (Gen. 3:3-4) and worldly-wise men of today (Rom. 1:22); but we are warned against such and should shun them, for they cannot be converted (2 Thess. 2:10-11) and may destroy faith in you “through philosophy and vain deceit” (Col. 2:8).
The Contents of the Bible
“The great things” of God’s law are the proof Hosea offers for its claims. Mr. Bryan, in a climax of eloquence, exclaimed: “I know that no man made the rose or painted the heavens, because no man can do such things.” As wonders of nature proclaim a divine Creator, the contents of the Bible declare its divine authorship.
1. An Unaccountable Unity—From Moses in Genesis to John on Patmos about 40 writers go into the making of the Bible. They lived in different countries, spoke different languages, wrote on a vast variety of subjects, and their writings covered a period of sixteen centuries. Yet, when these writings are collected and bound into one book, it is a book that yields one consistent whole without clash or conflict. Man cannot do it. It is difficult for one man to be consistent with himself, much less 40 men to be consistent with each other.
2. A Profound Simplicity—The combined simplicity and incomprehensibility of the Bible is proof of its inspiration. So simple in its demands that all may see and know. “Write the vision, and make it plain upon tablets, that he may run that readeth it.” (Hab. 2:2). Yet it is so profound that philosophers cannot fathom its depths or exhaust its truths. “0 the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God!” (Rom. 11:33).
3. The Superior Code of Morals—The world looks back to the law of Moses for its standard of right government and to the Sermon on the Mount for the standard of personal conduct. Our Constitution in its very fabric is permeated with the teachings of the Bible. Its superior civil and moral code is recognized in every civilized land, and the advancing intellect of the centuries has not improved it.
4. Its Ameliorating Influence on Society—The newspapers frequently carry in large headlines, “Another Preacher Gone Wrong.” Why? Did you ever see in any paper such streamers as, “Another Infidel Caught in the Meshes of the Law”? When a preacher goes wrong, it is the unusual. Such is not expected of one who professes to follow the Bible, and it furnishes a sensation. But if an infidel goes wrong, it does not even furnish a news item for the paper.
If the Bible is false, Christianity is a ruse, and we have the anomaly of a gross deception and a huge delusion having done more for humanity than all the truths in the universe put together. These and a thousand other simple facts prove that God has written “the great things” of his law.
I do believe the Bible, the precious word of God.
It marks the path our people all have trod.
The story of creation, all through to Revelation,
Gives proof of inspiration, and I believe.