Susan C. Anthony

The Bible Itself

I tried to read the King James version of the Bible as a teen but it was a chore and I didn't finish. All the "begats" put me to sleep! I decided to try again as an adult, just to be sure I knew what it actually said. The New International Version (an easier read) was fascinating. The stories come alive and "ring true" to my own experience. Many of our familiar words of wisdom and figures of speech are direct quotes from the Bible. Bible characters come alive as real people, with human flaws and foibles.

Typically, writers of history edit out anything that reflects badly on themselves. Over the centuries, historical characters can become superhuman legends. Not so in the Bible. George Washington didn't really chop down a cherry tree, but King David did plot the death of Bathsheba's husband in an attempt to cover his own adultery. If the Bible were the account of ancient Jews rather than the Word of God, that embarrassing detail and many others would have been deleted from the record.

As I read the Bible, I made a list of questions, things that bothered me or didn't seem to make sense. In the course of seeking answers, I was fortunate to find Bible classes with intelligent and well-educated teachers who were able and willing to teach without pressuring me to believe anything. They were confident that my search, which was as objective as I could manage, would lead to truth. Their confidence in Biblical truth surprised and impressed me!

Proverbs 25:2 says, "It is the Glory of God to conceal a thing; but the honor of kings is to search out a matter." Once I started to learn some basics of Christianity (just learn them, not believe them), I started seeing depth and patterns that I never would have expected. The Bible can be compared to an infinite 3-D jigsaw puzzle. When some pieces started fitting together, I became more confident that others would, and it became the "honor of kings" to find them. It was a fascinating intellectual challenge that led me at last to believe with great confidence that the Bible cannot have been written by men. It must be the work of someone with vastly superior intelligence and knowledge of the future. The fact that it was written over so much time (1,500 years) by so many individuals (40) reinforced that conclusion. It could not demonstrate so much integrity throughout if it were the work of individual humans. The Bible speaks with one voice.

Biblical names have meanings. Our names do, too, although we normally don't think about them. "Susan" for example, means "lily." The names of people and places in the Bible are not random. They are often part of the puzzle. Consider the names of the first 10 patriarchs (Genesis 5:1-32):

  • Adam = "man"
  • Seth = "replaced"
  • Enosh = "mortal"
  • Kenan = "sorrow"
  • MaHalale'el = "God, the blessed One"
  • Yered = "shall come down"
  • Enoch = "teaching"
  • Methuselah = "his death shall bring [it]"
  • Lamech = "the despairing"
  • Noah = "rest"

It may be a coincidence, but when you string the meanings of these words together, you see the following message, the essence of the Gospel: "Man replaced [with] mortal sorrow. God the Blessed One shall come down teaching. His death shall bring the despairing rest."

There are many more things that convinced me the Bible could not have been written by men alone, but I'll stop here and encourage you to begin your own investigation. It has been exciting, rewarding, and intellectually challenging for me, and it has brought me a great deal more peace in adversity than I would have had otherwise.

Attorney Lee Strobel, a former atheist, writes the following in The Case for Christ:

In light of the convincing facts I had learned during my investigation, in the face of this overwhelming avalanche of evidence in the case for Christ, the great irony was this: it would require much more faith for me to maintain my atheism than to trust in Jesus of Nazareth!

Please investigate for yourself. If the Bible's claims are true, there is nothing more important in life than discovering what they are and what they mean to you. My goal in writing this is to encourage you to make an informed choice for or against Jesus. Know what you are accepting or rejecting. Don't be content to take the easy way out.

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