12 reasons to believe in the Bible

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The Bible – its harmony, contents and message (supplement)            Return to main article

The consistent message of the Bible

The Bible contains 66 books, written over a 1500-year span, by 40 different authors, in different locations and on separate continents, written in three different languages, covering diverse subject matters at different points in history – yet despite this a consistent message appears.

"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness"     (2 Timothy 3:16)

"Inspiration" means that although men wrote the words, it was God, Himself, who controlled what they wrote.

Here are some examples of the harmony and consistency of the Bible.

The hidden message

In the Jewish family, the eldest son held a very special position. He was the firstborn of the family and was accordingly special rights that his younger brothers didn’t get. Probably the biggest privilege he got was that he was entitled to a double portion of the inheritance. This was stated under Jewish law. Even God used this idea as he called the nation of Israel his son and his firstborn. So Israel held a special position for God.

So when you read through the pages of the Bible you would expect that all the successful men of the Old Testament would be firstborn in their respective families. This is not the case. All the firstborn men we are told about were, instead of being in a place of respect, actually disappointments. All of them had failed God in some way, leading God each time to look to the younger brother instead.

In the table below are listed examples of sons who found favour in God’s eyes (the chosen son) – all of them were not the firstborn.

Name of chosen son

What happened

Seth The first man on the earth was Adam and his firstborn son was Cain. However, as we read about him we find out that he is a murderer – he kills his brother Abel. As a result, God makes sure that special line of descent to Jesus doesn’t come from Cain but rather his younger brother, Seth. In other words, it would be through Seth’s children, and grandchildren, and great grandchildren and so on, which would eventually lead to the birth of Jesus.
Shem We are not told directly that Japheth was the firstborn but you can work it out by reading a few passages in the Bible and making a number of calculations.

We are not told why, but Japheth was not given the special line of descent to Jesus, instead it was given to his younger brother Shem.

Abraham The Bible says there was three sons, Haran, Nahor and Abraham.

We are not told directly that Abraham was not the firstborn. However, you can work it out by looking at few Bible passages and doing some calculations.

Yet, out of the three men, the special line of descent to Jesus comes from Abraham not one of his two brothers.

Isaac When Abraham had children, Ishmael was the first born, but his younger brother Isaac was the one whose lineage led to Jesus.
Jacob The firstborn of Isaac was Esau but the lineage to Jesus was given to his younger brother Jacob.
Judah In the family that Jacob had, the firstborn was Reuben. But we are told he did some terrible sins so the descendency line to Jesus was given to his younger brother Judah.
Ephraim Manasseh was the firstborn of Joseph but his younger son Ephraim was the one held in favour.
Perez Judah’s firstborn, Er, was seen by God as being wicked and as a result he was killed. The lineage to Jesus was given to Perez – a younger brother.
Moses Even though Aaron was the older brother, Moses comes across as the more important and stronger character.
David David was the youngest of the brothers. He was given the lineage to Jesus.
Solomon The Bible tells us that Amnon was the firstborn. Amnon was murdered by his brother Absalom. God decided the much younger brother Solomon would be the one that found favour.

So these are examples where we can see that the man who found favour with God was not the firstborn of the family. This is a consistent theme throughout the Old Testament. This again shows the harmony of the Bible.

But the question might be asked as to why the firstborn never seemed to be chosen for the lineage to Jesus. There are two reasons behind this:

  1. From the viewpoint of God, all firstborns of human parents were failures. The first successful firstborn would be the Lord Jesus Christ who would be the firstborn son of God. This is the what the Bible says: “I will make him My firstborn, the highest of the kings of the earth”. (1) And the Bible also says: “For God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life”. (2)

  2. God’s firstborn nation was Israel. Yet, when we look at its history throughout the Old Testament we can see that it was a failure. God replaced it with the younger nation known as The Israel of God. This is the name for that group of people who follow Jesus (whether they be Jew of Gentile (non-Jew)).

So the story of the failure of the firstborns is a consistent fact throughout the Old Testament but it is not a fact that the writers of the Bible draw attention to. It is something you can only find out by careful scrutiny. This is another example of the amazing harmony of the Bible.


Articles in the series:     12 reasons to believe in the Bible

The Harmony of the Bible
Accuracy in historical events
Historians and the Bible agree
Bible prophecy
Jews: scattered & regathered
World focus: modern Israel
Law of Moses:ahead of its time
Physical evidence:Archaeology
Nature & Universe - designed
Jesus Christ - univentable
Jesus Christ - resurrection proof
The Bible and science agree


Other examples of the harmony and consistency of the Bible

Old Testament

New Testament

742 B.C. (circa)

Isaiah 7:14

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to son, and will call him Immanuel.

5 B.C. (circa)

Matthew 1:23

Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which is translated, "God with us".

712 B.C. (circa)

Isaiah 40:3

A voice of one calling in the wilderness:

"Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God"

A.D. 26 (circa)

Matthew 3:3

For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah saying: the voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord: Make His paths straight.

758 B.C. (circa)

Isaiah 6: 9 – 10

And He said, "Go, and tell this people: Keep on hearing, but do not understand; keep on seeing, but do not perceive".

Make the heart of this people dull, and their ears heavy, and shut their eyes, Lest they see with their ears and understand with their heart, and return and be healed",

A.D. 31 (circa)

Matthew 13: 14 – 15

"And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says:

Hearing you will hear and shall not understand, and seeing you will see and not perceive; for the hearts of this people have grown dull, their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed. Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them.

698 B.C. (circa)

Isaiah 61:1

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, Because the Lord has anointed me to preach good tidings to the poor; he has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and the opening of the prison to those who are bound.

A.D. 27 (circa)

Luke 4:18

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor: He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of slight for the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.

800 B.C. (circa)

Joel 2:30 – 31

And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth: blood and fire and pillar of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood, before the coming if the great and awesome day of the Lord.

A.D. 33 (circa)

Acts 2:19 – 20

I will show wonders in heaven above and signs in the earth beneath; blood and fire and vapour of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord.

712 B.C. (circa)

Isaiah 55:3

Incline your ear, and come to Me. Hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you – the sure mercies of David.

A.D. 45 (circa)

Acts 13:34

And that he raised him from the dead, no more to return to corruption. He has spoken thus: I will give you the sure mercies of David.

712 B.C. (circa)

Isaiah 52:15

So shall He sprinkle many nations. Kings shall shut their mouths at Him; for what had not been told them they shall see, and what they had not hear they shall consider.

A.D. 60 (circa)

Romans 15:21

But as it is written: "To whom He was not announced they shall see and those who have not heard shall understand".

Psalm 95:7 – 8

For he is our God and we are the people of His pasture. And the sheep of His hand. Today if you will hear His voice: "Do not harden your hearts, as in the day of trial in the wilderness.

Hebrews 3:15

While it is said "Today if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion."

1,000 B.C. (circa)

Proverbs 3:11 – 12

My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor detest his correction; for whom the Lord loves He corrects. Just as a father the son in who he delights.

A.D. 64 (circa)

Hebrews 12:5 – 6

And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons; my son do not despise the chastening of the Lord. Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; for whom the Lord loves he chastens, and scourges every son.

725 B.C. (circa)

Isaiah 28:16

Therefore thus says the Lord God:

"Behold, I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation, a tried stone, a precious cornerstone a sure foundation; whoever believes will not act hastily.

A.D. 60 (circa)

1 Peter 2:6

Therefore, it is also contained in the scripture, behold I lay in Zion a chief cornerstone, elect, precious, and he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame.




Psalm 89 and verse 27


John chapter 3 and verse 16

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Ideas for the "Hidden Message" example came from:

"God’s Truth!" by Alan Hayward. Publisher: Marshall, Morgan & Scott, 1973, Great Britain.

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Last Updated: Sunday, 08 March 2015