Can We Trust The Bible?…
What are some reasons for trusting that the Bible is true, that it is in fact the Word of God?
- Best selling book of all time for nearly 600 years.
- Actually claims to be the Word of God.
- The changed lives of people who have read it and obeyed it in their lives.
- More copies/fragments than any other ancient book by a long shot.
- Most scrutinized and attacked book in history, especially by Christians!
- Fulfilled Prophecy/Accurate Predictions
- Amazingly unified book thematically despite being written by 40 people over 1,500 years in three different languages and in different cultures.
What are some reasons for not trusting that the Bible is true, is the Word of God?
1. People just made it up—it’s just the opinion of some people from a long time ago. A lot of books claim to be the words of God. Either the Gospel writers lied or were confused/mistaken/wrong.
Fair enough–let’s talk about that.
Did They Lie?
- The Gospel writers and earliest followers of Jesus had no motive for making up the details of Jesus’ life—followers of Jesus were persecuted for nearly 300 years after His death. If you’re lying about something and it gets to the point where you are about to be killed for believing it, you would probably tell the truth right at the end (if not before).
- Furthermore, there were so many people who were eyewitnesses to Jesus’ lessons and miracles that any lies would quickly have been revealed to be false.
Were They Confused?
- There were in fact other letters and books written about Jesus and around the time of Jesus that are not in the Bible. Every so often these come into the news as if Christians are hiding the truth about these books because we are somehow trying to cover something up. But it’s “old news”, as the saying goes. The early Christians quickly figured out which books of the Bible were authentic and which were not. They really did their homework. Here is the criteria they used when determining this:
- Did the person ever meet Jesus/spend time with Jesus?
- Did Jesus actually choose that person to follow Him?
- Was the person an eyewitness to the events they are talking about?
- Was their widespread agreement between Christians that the particular book/letter was the “real deal”?
- Was the book/letter being used in the daily lives of most Christians and producing results?
- Does the book/letter line up with other books of the Bible?
If Not Liars or Confused, Then The Writers of the Four Gospels Had to Be Telling the Truth!
2. Some say another reason for not trusting the Bible is that there are errors in it since it has been copied so many times over the last 3,500 years—twenty people can’t even play the “telephone game” accurately!
- The Bible has the most manuscripts of any ancient document (24,000 total fragments vs. 800 fragments for Homer’s The Iliad). This enables scholars to cross check the fragments using scientific and literary criticism techniques to determine with as much certainty as possible how accurate the existent copies today compare to the originals. Tens of thousands of people over the last 2,000 years have pored over the Bible, many trying to understand it and others trying to prove it to be wrong. But because of the number of document fragments that we have, we are able to be certain that 99.5% of the words in the Bible are accurate to the original copies.
- Archaeology has confirmed what is in the Bible, not contradicted it (Hittites, Jericho, etc.). It would be easy for archaeology to diminish the Bible since Scripture makes so many specific historical comments, but the accuracy of Scripture is second-to-none and has been confirmed by archaeology.
- The Dead Sea Scrolls discovery in 1947, for example, showed that the copying down of the 53rd chapter of Isaiah had only five mistakes in over 1,000 years of copying (four of those mistakes were articles [the equivalent of ‘a’, ‘an, and ‘the’] and none of the mistakes changed the meaning of the sentences or chapters in which they were located)! Among other things, this shows that the ancients took their copying seriously and were meticulous and accurate, at least as far as the Bible is concerned.
3. Ok, fine—but how do we know the Bible is the Word of God and not just the clever ideas of people?
- The Bible claims to be the Word of God—2 Timothy 3:16.
- Fulfilled Prophecy—
Isaiah 53 was written 600 years before Jesus was born yet was so accurate in its detail that critics for many years simply believed that it was written after Jesus’ life (the Dead Sea Scrolls contains a copy of Isaiah 53 dated somewhere between 100-200 BC!);
The book of Daniel (written around 600 BC) claimed the exact year that the Messiah would begin His public ministry (26 AD). Jesus began His public ministry between 26 AD-30 AD. Daniel also claimed that Jerusalem and the Temple would be destroyed 30-40 years after the Messiah’s death. Jerusalem and the Temple were destroyed 43 years after Jesus’ death.
The Bible has made around 2,500 predictions, and around 2,000 have already come true. Crazy. This alone is powerful proof. Keep in mind that in the Old Testament this was the critical proof to whether or not a prophet was from God: if what they said came true, they were from God (i.e. speaking for Him). The Bible passes this test.
- Jesus Himself claimed that the Bible was from God (Matthew 7:24-29; John 14:24). Jesus taught the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) and then concluded by stating that a wise person should build and base their entire lives on Jesus’ teaching/words—wow!
- Again, the Gospel writers had no motive for making it up—followers of Jesus were persecuted for nearly 300 years after His death. Jesus was not put to death because of what His followers wrote about Him—He was put to death because He originally said what they wrote. So the question isn’t whether or not the Bible is true or is lying—the question is this: was Jesus telling the truth, or was He a liar
- The original disciples were not educated people—they were not qualified to write on these topics. God must have inspired them. Even others were amazed at this (Acts 4:13)!
- When you read the Bible, does it connect with you and the life experiences you have had? To you find it to be true in your daily life? Check out a few examples below:
“It is more blessed to give than receive” (Acts 20:35). Haven’t you found this to be true?
“Who by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” (Matthew 6:28-34). Right on.
“Anyone who kills you will think they are doing God’s will” (John 16:2). This already is happening, unfortunately, in many parts of the world.
“A kindhearted woman gains respect, but ruthless men gain only wealth” (Proverbs 11:16). Ruthless men do gain wealth, but never the love and respect of others; they may gain our jealousy or fear, but never true love and respect (what really matters).
“A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value” (Proverbs 31:10-11). I can personally vouch that this is true.
“A fool finds no pleasure in understanding, but delights in airing his own opinions” (Proverbs 18:2). Do you know anyone who only wants to blab about their opinions without ever listening to yours?
“The first to present his case seems right, till another comes forward and questions him” (Proverbs 18:17). This rings true in every courtroom scene in movies and television!
Read the apostle Paul’s words here—can anyone relate to this!?!?
“The trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin. I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn’t that the real question?” (Romans 7:14-24 NLT & The Message).
“My father and mother walked out and left me, but God took me in” (Psalm 27:10 The Message). God proved this in my wife’s life by blessing her with my side of the family and many others who have loved and accepted her since day one, as well as reconnecting her to all of her siblings.
“Jesus said, ‘Mark my words, no one who sacrifices house, brothers, sisters, mother, father, children, land—whatever—because of me and the Message will lose out. They’ll get it all back, but multiplied many times in homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and land—but also in troubles. And then the bonus of eternal life! This is once again the Great Reversal: Many who are first will end up last, and the last first’” (Mark 10:29-30). Again, Jesus has blessed my wife the last 14+ years despite her parents disowning her for receiving Jesus as her Savior. He has blessed her socks off in every way—we’ve even had people come up to us and remark how they have seen God blessing us in little and big ways.
Bottom Line: We each need to decide for ourselves if we are going to trust the Bible or not.
But please consider this: Many people aren’t willing to believe—that is why many attack the Bible. It is easier not to believe—in the short run—than it is to believe, obey, change, admit we’re wrong, apologize, ask God and others for forgiveness, etc. (Like your parents leaving you home alone for the weekend and giving you a set of rules and instructions—it is in your best interest to figure out how to disbelieve the authenticity of the note so that you can do anything you want!).
“There is enough evidence in the Bible to convince those who are willing to believe. There is not enough evidence to convince those who refuse to believe” (C.S. Lewis).
- Like a patient who is told they have cancer—sometimes they simply don’t believe it (often because they’re scared or because they don’t have physical symptoms—yet), even though the evidence is plain as day to the doctor’s trained eyes.
- Like a parent whose child has been convicted of committing a terrible crime and they refuse to believe “their little Jimmy or Janey” could have done something like that. All humans suffer from selective belief
- Many, many smart people—brilliant people with crazy high IQ’s—have trusted in the Bible over the last 2,000 years. So we can’t just claim that Christians are simpletons with “blind faith” who have checked their brains at the door of the church, or that we as humans are “too smart” and sophisticated now to trust this book in modern times.
- If the Bible is true and accurate and God has really tried to communicate with humans about this life and the next life, we would be very wise to read His instructions.
- If you don’t believe the Bible, where will you get your truth from? How will you know how to live, how will you get to know God, how will you know how to get to heaven?
- College Professor: “Whatever you believe, you bet your life—your eternity—on it. Be sure.”
- Some people just say, “I’ll figure out life as I go—I’ll be a good person and use common sense and won’t adhere myself to any one religion.” Okay—that’s a valid option, but not a good option. That’s like needing to get to Hawaii from Los Angeles and, after looking at the different boats, deciding to swim it on your own. Drowning is the only result of such a choice.
There are plenty of reasons to be sure the Bible is accurate and authentic, inspired by God to help humans know Him, know ourselves, know how to live on earth and how to be in heaven forever. Please use this opportunity today to seek out God and see if Jesus and the Bible can be trusted with your entire lives!
If I were to respond to these remarks with objections, would you be willing to engage in a civilized discussion about them?
Absolutely! Thanks for being gracious instead of attacking!
Ok, I appreciate the opportunity. I’m coming to this with an open mind. I will not reject any explanation right off the bat. I’m about to head to work for the day but tonight I will go through and bring up some questions/objections. Cheers.