Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Is the Bible True? By Ariel Oliver from Passion Magazine

In titling this article, I had to wonder, what does the phrase exactly mean in the context of us saying that we as Christians believe the Bible is true? Once I heard the retort, “EVERYONE believes it EXISTS!” What the Christian believes about the Bible being the truth essentially means that we believe the content is true.

The Bible is filled with raw, honest truth. It is truth. Not only in spiritual truths, but historically and scientifically, it is absolutely accurate and trustworthy as well. This is where people clash with us from the get-go. They have several different arguments for us. A common belief is that, like the telephone game, as manuscript after manuscript was duplicated by copyists, the documents were filled with the errors and even deliberate edits of careless, corrupt copyists, and we can’t be sure that the message we have today is the same as was written by the original author thousands of years ago. Others go as far as to insinuate that the whole book was written by one person! This view is simply absurd and the individual who argues this needs to research the Bible only slightly more. Another group of people may say that the Bible, although it is mostly or even all accurate and credible, is just like any other religious book and is spiritually untrue and not the word of God.

This article exists to present the truth of the Bible and prove that it is TRUE, which let me tell you—is not that hard at all!

Is the Bible a historically credible document?

The first thing several people bring up when arguing against the principals of our faith is that the Bible is not “serious.” Common names for the Word are a book of fairytales, one huge contradiction or a historically inaccurate joke. (Want to know a good way that will often render them with no answer? Ask them for an example. :) )

The fact is that the Bible itself IS a historical document. There is not one historical inaccuracy in it and its written records are invaluable for historians. The Bible in many places gives priceless insights into the world that humans lived in thousands of years ago. It is used as an evidence of history. One instance would be the fall of Babylon to Cyrus in 539 BC. There are a few different artifacts that we use today to interpret how it happened. Amongst a few other evidences and also the Book of Daniel, which describes some of the event, and completely matches up with the other reliable accounts.

Furthermore, archaeology is on the Bible’s side in proving the events and people described in it to be real. Archaeologist after archaeologist has affirmed the historical credibility of the Holy Bible, Old and New Testament. (A great list of quotes can be found in Evidence that Demands a Verdict.)

One absolutely incredible piece of uncovered evidence is the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Here’s a random archaeological proof for the OT – “According to Scripture, ‘The whole earth was of one language and one speech’ (Genesis 11:1) before the Tower of Babel. After the building of the tower and its destruction, God confounded the language of all the earth (Genesis 11:9). Many modern day philologists attest to the likelihood of such an origin for the world’s languages. Alfredo Trombetti says he can trace and prove the common origin of all languages. Max Mueller also attests to the common origin. And Otto Jespersen goes so far as to say that language was directly given to the first men by God.”3

Inscriptions, tombs, pavements, buildings, and literature have been excavated proving the places, names, and happenings recorded in the NT.

The Bible is actually the most dependable historical document we have from more than thousands of years ago. There are over 5,300 known Greek manuscripts of the New Testament. “Add over 10,000 Latin Vulgate and at least 9,300 other early versions (MSS),” writes Josh McDowell, “and we have more than 24,000 manuscript copies of portions of the New Testament in existence today. No other document of antiquity even begins to approach such numbers and attestation.”1

Caesar’s writings were composed around 100-44 BC and the earliest copy we have uncovered was written in 900 AD (1,000 year gap, and there are only 10 copies). Aristotle made his works in 384-322 BC, and the earliest copy we have uncovered is from 1100 AD, a span of 1,400 years (only 49 copies). Homer’s Iliad was written in 900 BC, and the earliest reproduction of the document we have was copied in 400 BC, a time span of 500 years (200 copies). Compare these numbers to the New Testament! Its books were written in 40-100 AD and the earliest copy we have is from 125 AD, just around 25 years after it was written! (Not to mention those over 24,000 copies we have of the NT!) (As for the Old Testament, look up the Dead Sea Scrolls and check that out. It’s a fascinating discovery.)

What interests me is that no one challenges the historical authenticity of all these other records, yet they guffaw at the idea of the Bible being accurate in its history! Not only IS the Bible a completely credible document historically but it is the best and most trustworthy one we have!

Is the Bible scientifically stable?

A lot of people are under the impression that since the Bible teaches creationism, which is supposedly bogus (a subject for a different article), it is filled with scientific inaccuracies. Now although the Bible does not exactly discuss science (it's not a science textbook), where science is mentioned, it’s exactly the opposite and is far ahead of any of the writing of its time.

“He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth…” –Isaiah 40:22, emphasis added. (This verse blows the myth that the Bible claims the earth was flat straight apart!)

“He spreads out the northern [skies] over empty space; he suspends the earth over nothing.” –Job 26:7 (The people of the time that this was written never believed that the earth was suspended over anything, and didn’t until quite a long time later!)

“He wraps up the water in his clouds, yet the clouds do not burst under their weight.” –Job 26:8

“He draws up the drops of water, which distill as rain to the streams; the clouds pour down their moisture and abundant showers fall on mankind” –Job 36: 27-28

“The wind blows to the south and turns to the north; round and round it goes, ever returning on its course. All streams flow into the sea, yet the sea is never full. To the place the streams come from, there they return again” –Ecclesiastes 1:6-7 (The hydrologic cycle! Hey, that’s interesting! This cycle wasn't discovered until a long time later!)

There’s not enough room in the article to put all the references in, but be sure to look these up in your Bible:

The stars are innumerable – Genesis 15:5

The existence of valleys in the seas – 2 Samuel 22:16

The existence of springs and fountains in the seas – Genesis 7:11, 8:2; Proverbs 8:28

The existence of ocean currents in the seas – Psalm 8:1, 3, 6, 8

Entropy – Psalm 102:25-26

The nature of health, sanitation, and sickness – Leviticus 12-142

Is the Bible the Word of God?

There are a couple different ways to prove that the Bible was, in fact, inspired by God. One of them is what we just covered. All those scientific truths were completely unknown by society when the particular book was written, yet they were mentioned in the Bible! But Who knows all, despite what we can’t see or comprehend? God. There’s only one explanation for how these truths could have all found themselves into this holy Book when theories for scientific truth had not even been formulated—the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

A second argument for the Bible being God’s Word is fulfilled prophecy (predictions about the future that were told by God to man). Here are several different examples you can relay:

1. The City of Tyre. In Ezekiel 26, God predicted many different futures about this city. He promised it would be destroyed, that many nations would be against it, that it would be made “flat like a rock”, fishermen would spread their nets over the site, they would throw debris into the water, it would never be rebuilt, and never be found again. These things were ALL accomplished in history through the siege of Nebuchadnezzar, the raid of Alexander the Great, the reduction of Antigonus, the capture of the Moslems – and now, presently, there is a small fishing village that stands over where the city used to be!

2. In Hosea 13:16 and Micah 1:6, predictions were made about Samaria that all came true. As told, Samaria was taken by Sargon in 722 BC. It also fell violently to the sword by Alexander the Great and by John Hyracanus. As recorded in 1697, the ruined city was covered by fertile soil and gardens. For centuries the ground had been ploughed. Floyd Hamilton penned, “At the foot of the hill [of Samaria], in the valley, lie the foundation stones of the city.” All the prophecies in Hosea and Micah about this city came true!

3. Jesus predicted in Luke 21/Mark 13 that the temple of Jerusalem would be completely destroyed. Just a matter of years after He uttered this, the Romans invaded Jerusalem and completely demolished the temple. Truly, “not one stone was left on top of another.”

These are simply a few fulfilled prophecies of dozens that can be found if you researched it. (Not to mention, there are other prophecies that are still being fulfilled today!) There is only one explanation for all the true predictions (and astonishing scientific and historical accuracy) found in the Bible—it is the truth of the Almighty.

Of course, even when all these facts are presented to an unbeliever, they still have to choose to accept or reject the faith. Many will choose to continue with their beliefs and avoid the truth. It truly comes down to faith and what we choose to believe, so before laying out facts and statistics, pray for them and listen to their spiritual need. Unbelievers don’t need to be debated with about the evidences of our faith – they need to hear about a Savior who loves them to the point of death. Once their defiance of the Bible has been tackled, move to the truth! The Bible was written by over 40 different authors, in 3 different languages, on 3 different continents, in different moods, cultures, and times, but the Message throughout is the same – there is a God who loves us immensely and wants all to receive His forgiveness and blessing. Be sure to share the actual message and Good News of the Bible.

An article can only be so long (this one sure was pushing it!) and I could only name minimal examples in archaeological findings, fulfilled prophecies, and other things I’ve presented in this article that will help you argue for the truth of the Bible, so I strongly recommend that you further research this subject and learn the real, raw facts. Look it up on the internet, or buy the book Evidence that Demands a Verdict by Josh McDowell. And if you have any questions, email me at ariel@passionwebmag.com This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it !

1. Evidence that Demands a Verdict, volume I by Josh McDowell, pg. 39.
2. http://www.carm.org/scientific-accuracies-in-the-bible

Originally posted on Passion Magazine. Click here to view Passion's site.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, this article must have needed a lot of research, I'm impressed. It's awesome to see the proofs that Bible *is* real, and not just a compilition of words.