The Bible – God’s Revelation

by Fanning Yater Tant

But beyond this, my son, be warned: the writing of many books is endless, and excessive devotion to books is wearying to the body.” These are the words of Solomon as found in Ecclesiastes 12:12. In his day the books were made and written only by hand. Hundreds of scribes would devote all of their time to copying the books that were written, and Solomon said that of making many books there is no end. Since the introduction of printing in the year 1453, the making of books has become one of the world’s greatest industries. Every year literally millions of copies of books are printed. In the great library of the Louvre in Paris, France, there are so many books that if a person should begin rapidly reading them at the age of fifteen, and should read only the introduction to each book, reading ten hours every day, taking out no time for Sundays or holidays, he would die of old age before he had even gone through the first alcove. In the Congressional Library at Washington, there are almost as many books. They are of every description and on every subject imaginable. To this collection, there are being added more at the rate of several hundred a year.

Of all the millions of books that have been printed, however, there is one book that has influenced the thought of mankind and has shaped the history of the world, more than all the other books combined. If you could stack up in one pile every book that has ever been written on any subject by any man and could place over beside that this one book of which I speak, I mean the Bible, you would find that the Bible has influenced the course of history more than all the other books combined. It has caused more people to suffer martyrdom; it has been the storm enter of more disputes and even more wars; it has been the cause of kingdoms and empires crumbling into dust. The tremendous influence this book has had on the human race is beyond calculation. When correctly used, it has brought the greatest blessings of the earth to the children of men; when missed and perverted by unscrupulous men, it has been the occasion of more sorrow and bloodshed than any book ever written.

In every age, there have been men who have not believed the Bible. The skeptics and infidels have always been side by side with the most ardent and zealous believers. In one day we have seen a strange phenomenon; we have seen the wave of infidelity reach the highest crest in all history, and we are now witnessing an about-face on the part of thousands of those who have been part of that great wave. Ordinarily, movements of this kind are spread out over two or three hundred years, but the tempo of our age has speeded things up, and within the last seventy-five or eighty years—since the works of Charles Darwin gained prominence in 1860—we have seen infidelity sweep over the land like a hurricane; within the last twenty years that hurricane seems to have completely spent its force and to be receding almost as rapidly as it arose. The greatest scientists of our day, and the men who are the deepest thinkers, are more and more coming to recognize some great creative power outside and above the universe which the scientists of a generation ago would have decried as rank superstition.

Tonight I want to tell you some of the reasons for our acceptance of the Bible as an infallible, inerrant, inspired revelation from God himself. Its statements are true and accurate altogether, completely reliable and dependable. Its teachings are truth; its doctrine is holy. Our faith in this book has been built exactly as our faith in a human being is developed — by seeing it tested in a thousand different ways, and meeting every test and every examination with unimpeachable honesty ad complete victory. In no single instance has any test revealed an error or an inaccuracy or a false statement of fact in the Biblical record. The keenest minds of two millenniums have sought in vain for contradictions and discrepancies. They are not there. In a thousand ways, unknown and unknowable to the writers of these pages, their every word, and every syllable has been tested. The result has always been the same. There has always been an absolute triumph for the accuracy of the inspired writing.


One of the fields in which the Biblical record has received its most searching test and its most glorious corroboration has been the field of archaeology. The spade of the scientist has made contact in a thousand different places with the writing of the prophet. In every meeting place, identical stories have been revealed. What the prophet said, the archaeologist, working from a different angle and for a different purpose, has found to be the exact truth. May I cite you to a few examples of this type of proof?

Around the southern end of the Dead Sea, the pottery and the archaeological evidence reveal a very well-developed civilization dating back to the third millennium before Christ. Suddenly, about 2000 years B.C., all civilization in that area came to an abrupt halt. On this, the word of the archaeologist is unhesitating and unequivocal. The record of the ruins speaks with an unmistakable voice. The pottery, vessels, implements weapons, toys, household articles all are clearly of la civilization prior to the hear 2000, or thereabout; then for a space of hundreds of years there are o remains of any sort. The next articles the archaeologist can find are all of a period many hundreds of years this side of the time of Abraham. The record is there; the atheist cannot deny it. For what it is worth, the=at is exactly what the evidence reveals.

What is the meaning of that evidence? Is there any explanation for this sudden and obviously catastrophic end to a civilization? Has history any word? Has the ethnologist any explanation? Has the unbeliever any solution to the puzzle? When we turn to the Biblical record, the explanation is clear and simple. Both Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed by fire and brimstone being rained upon them from the heavens in the time of Abraham, about 1900 B.C. furthermore, this who region around the southern end of the Dead Sea is composed of a stratum of salt about 150 feet thick, over which there is a layer of marl and free sulfur. The earth stratum here shows a tremendous rupture, indicating that at some far time in the distant past there was an earth disturbance of unprecedented fury. The countryside for miles around shows an unbroken scene of desolation—a region of burned-out oil and asphalt. Had the writer of Genesis been an eye-witness to the destruction of the Cities of the Plain, he could not have given a more accurate description of what the archaeologist declares actually happened. His word is in total with the record of the rocks. Only a willful and perverted intellect would seek to deny it or evade its implications.

There is a second particular to which I will refer (among hundreds which might be cited in this field of archaeological corroboration. That has to do with the building of the treasure cities, Pithom and Ramses. These two cities were built by the Pharaoh who had begun to oppress the Israelite slaves. His harsh and cruel measures are too well known to need repetition. Suffice it to say that as a punishment to Israel he denied them the straw with which ordinarily they were wont to make bricks, compelling them to go out into the fields and countryside and gather stubble and roots of whatever blinding matter they could find. These are statements of the scripture, straightforward and without reservation. The writer of Exodus makes them without any hedging or any possibility of a double meaning. He simply writes of the things as facts that actually happened exactly as he describes them. Little could he dream that his word would ever be analyzed and subjected to the most searching scrutiny of the critics. He was not writing with any thought that his word would be tested.

When, however, the test is applied, what are the results? The ruins of Pithom were excavated in 1883 by Naville of the University of Geneva. In his book, Moses and the Monuments, Dr. Melvin Grove Kyle gives a graphic description of the ruins of Pithom: “The bricks are laid in mortar, contrary to the usual Egyptian custom, and contrary to the observations of explorers in Egypt previous to the time of Naville’s discovery of Pithom. The lower courses in at least some of the store chamber are laid with brick filled with good chock straw; the upper courses are made of brick having in them no binding material whatever, and the middle courses are made of brick filled with stubble pulled up by the roots. The impress of the roots is as plainly marked in the brick as though cut by an engraver’s tool.” This is in full and perfect harmony with the record of the inspired writer. There is o discrepancy in any single particular; there is no departure in the archaeological record from the Biblical narrative. The two witnesses are found in perfect agreement.

Tested Truth

To say that we live in a law-abiding universe is to utter a truism that has become trite. This fact has been impressed on us from childhood, not only in the textbooks of the schoolroom but in a thousand effective ways in our daily experience. We have seen the seasons come and go in orderly procession; we have watched the rising and setting of the sun; we have scanned the heavens at night and beheld the stars in a stately parade, moving by inexorable and immutable law from the eastern horizon to the western. We know that ice is cold, that fire will burn, that water always seeks its level. Because of his confidence in the laws of nature, the farmer goes into his fields each spring and plants seeds beneath the surface of the ground. Because of his trust in this law-abiding universe, the engineer does not hesitate to commit himself to the building of a great bridge, or a mighty dam, or a skyscraper, basing the whole structure on certain mathematical formulas which have been carefully worked out and tested. He knows that the stress of certain parts is always the same. He knows that if he builds a bridge to carry a load of fifteen tons, it will not collapse beneath the weight of a hew hundred pounds. The Scriptures recognize this eternal truth concerning the natural world. David says, “Let them praise the name of the LORD, For He commanded and they were created. He has also established them forever and ever; He has made a decree which will not pass away” (Psalms 148:5-6). And Hebrews 1:1-3 declares that Christ not only made the worlds but that he “upholds all things by the word of His power” (Hebrews 1:1-3). The laws of nature are exact, dependable, and undeviating. There are no exceptions. A man may be a fugitive from the law of averages, but there are no fugitives from the law of nature.

If this natural physical world is governed and controlled by law, it is equally true that the spiritual and moral world is of the same order. The consensus of the race through all generations has been to this end. One by one we have worked out aphorisms and wise sayings, things we call proverbial, which express these great truths. We declare “There is no royal road to learning,” and mankind generally and readily accepts that as truth. It is self-evident. It is a principle that everyone recognizes instantly. Education comes to all of us alike — prince and pauper, aristocrat and commoner, man and woman, boy and girl. There is another accepted truth which I want to emphasize this morning, however; and that is our world, our universe, is such that truth is always helpful; error is always harmful to mankind. This is the case in every field into which we may look. Consider medicine. How many millions of men and women must have died needlessly in past generations because of false ideas in medical practice. George Washington, for example, was almost certainly bled to death in the doctor’s attempt to treat a common cold. It was the theory that the body might build up too much blood in the system, and that the proper treatment of many diseases was to bleed the patient — or victims — as it often turned out. Or as a cure for alcoholism, consider this statement from the accepted textbook on medicine printed in the year 1700. “Eels, placed in wine or beer and suffered therein to die and rot, he that drinketh that mixture will never touch that kind of liquor again!” In medical science, the slow progress of truth, and the gradual elimination of error, have proved one of the most thrilling stories in all civilization’s history. Truth, by the rational order of a moral world, has been helped; error has been hurtful. There are no deviations from this.

Accepting that statement as correct (and both atheists and believers have always accepted it) we find ourselves possessed of a marvelous and infallible criterion or standard for determining the truthfulness of the Bible. We have here an objective measure; an accepted and unquestioned rule of judgment. This is one which has not only the sanction of thinking men of every age, it also has the authority of Jesus Christ. He himself said, “You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit” (Matthew 7:16-18). By this simple and obvious test, we can judge whether the Bible is a good tree or an evil tree, whether it is to be accepted as divine truth or to be rejected as a fabrication of lies and falsehoods. What are its fruits? What have been the effects it has produced through all the ages? If we are to judge its divinity by the effect it has had on mankind, if we are to accept the axiom that truth is always beneficial and error is always malevolent, what shall we say of the effects produced by the use of the Bible?

Moral Effects

For one thing, consider the moral effects this book has had. It is a known fact that men tend to become like the god or divinity which they worship. Ancient Greeks who worshipped Bacchus became addicted to drunkenness; those who bowed before the shrine of Aphrodite were likely to become lascivious and licentious; the Phoenicians who worshipped Astarte the goddess of fertility indulged in the lewdest and most obscene rites of religion. The worshippers of cruel and capricious divinities always tended to become like those objects of their worship. The Bible holds forth to us a God who is perfection itself. He is perfect in moral holiness, in love, in wisdom, in justice, and in every virtue that commends itself to the mind of men. In him, there is found no flaw, no weakness, no error. This God was made flesh and dwelt among men in the person of his Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus was such a one that men of every age have been unstinted in their praise of his worth and excellence. Those who walked and talked with him recognized him as being superior to anything this earth had ever produced. “He committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in his mouth” (I Peter 2:22). Luke says “He went about doing good” (Acts 10:38).

Mystic sweetness sits enthroned
Upon the Savior’s brow;
His head with radiant glories crowned,
His lips with grace O’er flow.
No mortal can with him compare
Among the sons of men
Fairer is he than all the fair
That fill the heavenly train

This is the God the Bible sets forth; this is the Savior believers’ worship. The effect of such worship reflects itself in elevating man and raising him in all things to a higher and nobler plane of living.

As the author and originator of Christianity is a perfect being, so also is the law which he gave. The Psalmist spoke the truth when he said, “The law of Jehovah is perfect, restoring the soul.” No sin is known to mankind which that law does not forbid and prohibit; no virtue is to be found which it does not inculcate and encourage. Every relationship known to us, parents and children, husbands and wives, slaves and masters, rulers and subjects, friends and neighbors — all of them are set forth and the duties and obligations and responsibilities of each are fully declared. Could the hearts of all men of the earth at this moment be brought into conformity with the teachings of this book, ten thousand streams of joy and happiness would be opened up to flood the earth.

You have but to look at the history of the earth since the days of Christ to know how benign and how beautiful have been the blessings brought to the children of men by this book. Edward Gibbon, the great infidel historian, who made a complete and thorough investigation into all the circumstances surrounding the early years of Christianity, has been unstinted in his praise and has been astonished almost beyond expression at the benevolent effects the gospels had on those whom it reached in the early days of the church. Surrounded by lewdness and immorality, they retained their chastity; in the midst of violence and bloodshed and cruelty, they were always willing to suffer pain, but never to inflict it; when falsehood and dishonesty and theft were accepted ay all as the common practice, the Christians were scrupulously honest and truthful on all things. Gibbon says, “It is a very honorable circumstance for the morals of primitive Christians that even their faults, or rather errors, were derived from an excess of virtue.” In his correspondence with Emperor Trajan, Pliny, governor of the province of Asia, had much to say concerning the sect of the Christians whom he had been ordered to exterminate. He wrote to Trajan, “they bind themselves with an oath, not to the commission of any wickedness, not to be guilty of theft, or robbery, or adultery; never to falsify their word, not to deny a pledge committed to them when called upon to return it.” And Gibbon questioned Tertullian as boasting with an honest price that “very few Christians had suffered at the hand of the executioner except on account of their religion.”

Perhaps someone is likely to complain that this is not a true picture, that we must also include all the moral depravity of the dark ages, that we must mention the Catholic inquisitions, the burning of heretics, the evil and hypocrisy, and vicious practices that have come about as a result of religion. To which we reply that this very circumstance adds weight to our contention. For it shows us that the natural tendency of mankind is vicious and cruel, and when he rejects the restraining influence of the Bible, he will go to every kind of excess, for it is not perfectly clear that the wickedness and immorality of the dark ages and of the Catholic church, in particular, came about as a result of a departure from the teachings of the Bible, rather than because of following these teachings? I affirm without any hesitation that every good thing in Catholicism, as in every Protestant religion, is the result of following in some degree the teachings of the Bible; while every evil and wicked thing is the result of a departure from the Bible. It is not fair to charge the Bible with the perversions men make of it. We are saying that the influence of this book when followed, is wholly good and never evil. Its moral effects are such as to demonstrate its truthfulness.

Intellectual Effects

In the second place, consider the intellectual effects of the Bible. Is it not perfectly evident that this book, above all others every written encourages and stimulates intellectual growth and development? Does not the Bible place supreme value on truth — the whole truth unmixed with error? It is not the word of inspired writers which said, “But the truth and sell it not?” “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” Paul affirmed that the church is “the pillar and ground of the truth.” And every inspired writer who has toughed the subject has encouraged the search for truth. The desire has always been to promote and cultivate intellectual growth, to bring man to the very highest use possible of all his natural talents and endowments.

Again, a look at history will confirm this statement. If you but look at the most civilized and advanced nations of the earth, you will find without exception they are places in which the Bible has for generations had its greatest influence. Britain and America are cases in point. Why it is that civilization came westward rather than eastward? The Bible originated in the orient, but the trek of civilization was toward the West, not toward the East. Is it not true that civilization follows the Bible? Missionaries went out and won people to an acceptance, often crude and uninformed to be sure, but still some sort of acceptance of this book. The result was a phenomenal stimulation of all their mental powers. The orient, which rejected the book, stagnated and remained unmoved; the West progressed and developed. If someone wants to argue against this by citing us to Germany as an example of undeveloped land where the Bible had great influence, we have but to remind you that all the foundations for Germany’s growth and marvelous scientific and intellectual development were laid during the years when Germany, above all other nations, was a Bible following nation. When Martin Luther began his great Reformation in Germany, he gave impetus to the intellectual development of the nation which is still felt. It was only within the last century, when the higher critics and infidels began to undermine respect for the book, that Germany took a definite turn toward a pagan way of life. Look how civilization has been retarded and held back in the Latin nations and in South America, where, under the influence of Catholicism, the Bible is relegated to a place of inferiority and disrespect. In contrast, see how the general culture has advanced in the nations that have a different view of the Scripture. In America, how many of our colleges and universities are in existence today because of the influence of the Bible? Even our state-supported schools are with us because our rulers and leaders have felt, even though unaware of it, the influence from this book. They have recognized the wisdom and the advantage to a nation of literate and educated people; they have realized that ignorance and stupidity go hand in hand; that as, a people, become literate they advance to a higher and nobler plane of living. (NOTE: It is sad to note that in our nation’s current history, we are moving away from belief in God and the Bible, with the result that crime and immorality are becoming widespread. –jdt)

Emotional Effects

I have one other thing to mention concerning the effects of this book. That is personal. I want to talk about the effect it has on each of us in an emotional way. For we are living in a world that keeps us constantly in a state of turmoil and distress. Everything about us is transient, fleeting, evanescent. We are filled with vague, uneasy longings for a different life and a different world. conscious of the perpetual conflict within our own hearts, our lives are disquieted and our hearts are fearful. I think it can be said pretty truthfully of nearly all of us that in our natural state we are as “restless as willows in a windstorm, as jumpy as puppets on a string.” And that is so even when we don’t have spring fever. The inner conflict may burst forth in the woeful lament of Paul, “Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?” (Romans 7:24), or it may come in the pessimistic cynicism of Solomon, “Vanity of vanities," says the Preacher, "Vanity of vanities! All is vanity" (Ecclesiastes 1:2), or perhaps it will be felt in some other way. In one way or another, all of us feel the inadequacy and the incompleteness of this life. We recognize that we are creatures of eternity, and here we have only time. We are infinite in our capacity for growth, and here we have only finite opportunities. We are the children of a king, but on this earth, we have only the chances of a slave. So our lives are disordered, distressed, and disturbed.

When we open the pages of this book, how beautifully the restless spirit is quieted, how perfectly the anxious heart is eased, how completely the burdened mind is put to rest. For here we learn that God is in his heaven, and all’s well with the world. We are not mere creatures of blind chance, born for a day, to be swept into eternal oblivion tomorrow; we are a creation of God, destined for eternal glory with him. Let the world continue in their courses for uncounted billions of years, or let them cease to roll tomorrow, it is all the same to us. Death has lost its terrors, the grave has lost its victory. Come weal or woe; we are the children of God, and it is well with our souls. What perfect peace, what calm fortitude, what complete acceptance this book brings us. Now we can forget the burden of the world, now we can dispense with the problems of existence. We can live and enjoy life as free and as loving and beloved children of God. The effects of this book on the mental peace of mankind are indeed beyond calculation. It soothes, calms, and puts at rest all our troubled longing thoughts.


Can we credit for one minute the monstrous absurdity that the book which has had the greatest moral effect, the most stimulating intellectual effect, and the richest emotional effect on all ages of the world is, at the same time, the most blatant falsehood that has ever existed? Are we willing to say the falsehood and fabrications and plain unadorned lies have proved the greatest boon to civilization, have brought the greatest happiness to the race, have lifted lives to the noblest pitch of living the earth has ever seen? My friends, men do not gather such grapes from thorns, nor such figs from thistles. An evil tree does not — cannot — bring such fruit!

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