Is the Bible Reliable?November 29, 2006
Christianity’s foundation is the Bible, plain and simple. Christianity stands or falls with its Scriptures. To disprove Christianity, many different nations and peoples have repeatedly attempted to discredit the Bible, but to no avail. Due to the constant attacks on the Bible throughout the years, Christians have meticulously researched and have discovered a sound way to uphold the Bible.
In an attempt to demonstrate that the Bible is the Word of God, the original manuscripts must be proven to be authentic. For if the original manuscripts are forged or altered, then no other argument can prove the Bible is the Word of God. Next the content must be examined. If the text changes from manuscript to manuscript, then how can we be sure to have the correct document? Or if the facts of the Bible are false, then again, how can the Bible be true? And finally, the events in the Bible must align with history. Again, if the events of the Bible don’t parallel history, then how can the Bible be true?
First of all, there are approximately 24,970 manuscript fragments of the New Testament within 226 years of the originals, and, except for some style and spelling differences, all 24,970 are identical (with an exception of two portions of text that was not in the original copies, but common in later manuscripts – which is noted in most Bibles). The Jews have kept part of the Old Testament in their Torah over the years, which wouldn’t have changed. Even so, those books couldn’t be proven to be the original text until the finding of the Dead Sea Scrolls. With the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Old Testament was finally confirmed to have stayed the same since the days before Christ. Finally, the books in the New Testament were written between 50 AD and 95 AD, a 45 year difference. During that time, legends and falsehoods would not have been able to spring up. For, the eyewitnesses would have squashed these distortions of the truth.
Even if the Biblical manuscripts are authentic first century documents, the text must have a legitimate source to truly be the Word of God. For why would we have trusted someone from the Orient in 50 AD to write about Jesus’ teachings when the Gospel hadn’t reached the Orient? Eight different men wrote the New Testament. Their names were James, John, Jude, Luke, Mark, Matthew, Paul, and Peter. Out of those eight men, six had direct contact with Jesus, the two who hadn’t been with Jesus traveled for years with someone who had.
Since we have the original text, and the authors of the New Testament are legitimate authorities on the subject, the events of the Bible align with history. However, the events of the Bible align with ‘pagan history.’ The events mentioned in the Bible are genuine events, the places of the Bible are real places, and the people in the Bible are real people, including Jesus. Many ancient non-Christians agree in their writings that Jesus was actually a man and claimed to be God, such as Tacticus (The Annals of Imperial Rome), Suetonius (Life of Cladius, Lives of the Ceasers), Roman governor Pliny the Younger (Epistles), Greek satirist Lucian (On the Death of Peregrine), Syrian Mara Bar-Serapion (a letter). Even the Jewish Talmud mention’s Jesus! Finally, modern archeology has produced evidence for the authority of the Bible. The events, places, and people are verified from non-Biblical sources through examining the remains of past cultures.
Since the Bible is proven to be the same text back then as it is now, the writings to have come from legitimate sources, and the Bible’s events to align with history, we can conclude that the Bible declares genuine history. Now whether the Bible is the Word of God or not is a totally different matter, but even more so important. Man physically wrote the words of the Bible, there is no doubt about that. But, did God speak to humanity through them? Or were the authors of the Bible writing lies?
According to the Bible itself, the Bible is the Word of God. That is clearly stated by Paul in 2 Timothy 3:16a: “All Scripture is inspired by God (God breathed)…” But does what the Bible mean anything to some? No. But, the Bible is full of prophecy. Many of that prophecy has been fulfilled, some is yet to be fulfilled. The prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah both predicted the destruction of Babylon (Isaiah 13-14 and Jeremiah 51). And Babylon did indeed fall. Cyrus the king of Persia conquered Babylon the great in 539 BC. But, a good portion of the Bible’s prophecy is concerning the Messiah, Jesus Christ. The Old Testament has four hundred twenty five prophecies on Jesus alone, and Jesus fulfilled every one. Some of the prophecies are made to the date. For example, in the book of Daniel, Daniel predicted the exact day the Messiah would enter into Jerusalem (Daniel 9:25). Daniel claimed that 438 years after a decree to rebuild the city of Jerusalem, the Messiah himself would enter into that Holy City. Since the Babylonian calendar consisted of 360 days, there are 173,880 days in 438 Babylonian years. On March 5, 444 BC, the Persian king, Artaxerxes Longimanus, decreed that the city of Jerusalem should be rebuilt. Exactly 173,880 days later, on March 30, 33 AD (after accounting for leap years), Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey.
Even the uniqueness of the claims of the Bible suggests its truth. No other religion in the world truly claims eternal life by faith alone. All religions require some form of “works” (having more good deeds than bad deeds – for example) in order to get into heaven. Some are more extreme than others, but they all still require some form of earning your way into heaven. The desire to work for something is human. Many people find it hard to accept large gifts for no reason. So man-made religions that are works based to feel adequate. But really, can a sinful, mortal man earn his way to be with a perfect God?
It is proven that we have the original text of the Bible, the authors of the Bible are legitimate sources, and the events in the Bible really happened. We have also made it clear through the prophecies and their fulfillments that some divine power has made itself known through these writings. Why shouldn’t it be the God that the Bible claims it to be? Why shouldn’t God’s Son, Jesus Christ, really be our Lord and Savior? Why shouldn’t He have really come to earth, died for our sins, and rose again? Since that is the case, it can be concluded that the Bible is true. And since the Bible is true, then Christianity is the Truth.
//Bring it World