is the bible reliable?
dr. don pedde
teaching team || @drpedde
I remember the feeling in my gut when I saw another lead article in TIME magazine questioning the Bible. A new discovery or another critic presented evidence that maybe the Bible wasn’t really accurate…or true at all.
It was those times that led me to dig deeper, to find answers, to see for myself whether or not the Bible was reliable and accurate.
Is the Bible really trustworthy? Is it really accurate?
What about all those little details of history, science, medicine, or geography? All those people and places. Is the Bible really true?
Can we really put our confidence in the Bible?
Consider the following…
the bible has amazing continuity.
There are 66 books in the Bible: 39 in the Old Testament and 27 in the New Testament.
The Old Testament (old covenant) gives the story of God’s working with His people—the Jews—beginning with Abraham up until 400 BC.
The New Testament (new covenant) tells us about Jesus who brought in the new covenant along with his followers (apostles, disciples) and the impact they had after Jesus’ resurrection.
The Bible was written by 40 different authors over a span of 1,500 years. These authors came from a wide variety of backgrounds—rich and poor, educated and uneducated. Peter was a fisherman. David was a shepherd. Amos was a farmer. Paul was very well educated under a Pharisee named Gamaliel. Luke was a physician.
Moses wrote the Pentateuch (Genesis through Deuteronomy) around 1,400 BC and John wrote the book of Revelation around 100 AD.
The Bible was written in 3 languages on 3 continents. Yet, the Bible has amazing continuity. These men who lived in differing eras wrote surprisingly similar things…things that agreed with one another about the coming Messiah—Jesus Christ. And they wrote on common themes, such as God always being at work reconciling people to Himself.
Ancient manuscripts were handwritten, and the Bible is no exception. The Bible we have today is the result of thousands of copies over thousands of years.
The Old Testament Masoretic text dates back to around 900 AD. Scribes were extremely careful in the copying process. There are hundreds of copies of the Old Testament in existence today.
Then the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in 1947. There were approximately 10,000 copies of the Old Testament dating as far back as c. 100 BC. There were virtually no differences between these manuscripts and those we already had.
There are 25,000 manuscripts of the New Testament—6,000 in Greek, over 9,000 in other middle-eastern languages, and around 10,000 in Latin.
There are just 10 copies of The Gallic Wars of Julius Caesar. There are 643 copies of The Iliad by Homer.
No ancient document is as well-attested as the Bible.
regardless of the subject, the bible is accurate and trustworthy.
Some people would have you believe that the Bible is good for spiritual things, but it cannot be trusted on matters of history or science.
Here are just a few examples of the Bible’s accuracy and trustworthiness in these areas:
Nelson Glueck, a biblical archaeologist, was considered one of the greatest archaeologists of all time. He is credited with uncovering more than 1,500 ancient sites in the Middle East.
He wrote in 1959 (and this is still true), “It may be stated categorically that no archaeological discovery has ever controverted [overturned] a biblical reference” and “scores of archaeological findings have been made which confirm in clear outline or exact detail historical statements in the Bible.”
Occasionally, I will run across another article attacking the Bible as inaccurate or untrue. I’ll admit it. It used to bother me. That’s why I would dig to find answers.
NOW, after all I have found, my response is—just wait a little while, the truth will be discovered.
The Bible has literally hundreds of specific, detailed prophecies about people, places, and events—many of which have already come to pass.
The Old Testament (completed 400 years before Jesus’ birth) contains more than 300 references to the Messiah that were fulfilled in Jesus’ life. Here are just a few:
Calculations using probability that just 8 of these would be fulfilled is more than 1 in 100 quadrillion (10 to the 17th power, or 100,000,000,000,000,000).
When it comes to known, testable, verifiable facts, the Bible has been found to be in perfect harmony with the way things really are. This is really incredible when you think about it. The Bible was written long before the invention of microscopes, telescopes, and other technologies that help us to investigate the earth and the universe.
SHAPE OF THE EARTH
SUSPENSION OF THE EARTH
Today, astronomers tell us that the universe contains around 100 billion galaxies, each containing between 100 billion and 10 trillion stars.
“This discovery is of the utmost importance since it reveals for the very first time a house from the Jewish village of Nazareth and thereby sheds light on the way of life at the time of Jesus.” Yardenna Alexandre (excavation director)
Dr. Clifford Wilson, former Director of the Australian Institute of Archaeology, said this:
“It is remarkable that where confirmation is possible and has come to light, the Bible stands investigation in ways that are unique in all literature. Its superiority to attack, its capacity to withstand criticism, its amazing facility to be proved right after all, are staggering by any standards of scholarship. Seemingly assured results ‘disproving’ the Bible have a habit of backfiring. Over and over again, the Bible has been vindicated.”
Sir William Ramsey, student at Oxford in England, was a skeptic of the accuracy of the Bible. So he set out with the Bible (largely the book of Luke) to see if biblical places where really as described in the Bible. Based on his own research, he became a Christian. In his book, The Bearing of Recent Discovery on the Trustworthiness of the New Testament, he says:
“I set out to look for truth on the borderland where Greece and Asia meet, and I found it there . . . the words of Luke stand the keenest scrutiny and the hardest treatment . . . the longer I study the New Testament, the more convinced I become of its absolute trustworthiness . . . Christianity is the religion of truth; it is founded on truth, absolute and perfect truth.”
These conclusions are amazing.
These archaeologists, based on their own research, were convinced of the Bible’s “absolute trustworthiness” and that the Bible has stood up to attacks to be “vindicated” time and again.
Is the Bible trustworthy? Is the Bible reliable?
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