John Spilsbury is a name you may never have heard, but he is credited with creating the first jigsaw puzzle in 1767. He pasted a map onto a piece of wood, then cut it into several pieces. His aim was to help children learn maps by putting the pieces of the puzzle together.
Let’s imagine another puzzle, one with a drawing of how we imagine Jesus Christ’s appearance. This puzzle is made up of 40 pieces. To make it more complicated, however, let’s say the pieces were each created independently. The piece-makers lived at different times in history, in different places of the world, and with no knowledge that others were making similar pieces of a puzzle.
What would be the odds of those 40 pieces ending up at the same place and fitting together perfectly to display the image of Jesus? Few would believe such a thing could ever happen.
But it has happened! Instead of a jigsaw puzzle, we have the completed Bible. About 40 different authors wrote the 66 books of the Bible. These lived at different times of history, separated by about 1,600 years. Their backgrounds were very different: Two were kings, some were fishermen, one was a tax collector, and another was a physician. Yet the pieces each of them fashioned fit together perfectly.
Peter, one of the aforementioned authors, explained the phenomenon in this way: “Knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:20,21).
“Men spoke from God” is Peter’s explanation. It’s really the only explanation that works. The writers of the Bible working separately and, in some cases, at a great distance from one another, completed a Book that presents a unified message which can be well summed up by John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”
Dusty Bibles are a common sight in homes and even at church buildings. But is that not the real puzzle? How can we ignore a book that bears such obvious signs of being inspired – from God?!
“And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers” (1 Thessalonians 2:13).