The Bible--Can you Trust It?

To prove that a document is authentic from a legal-historical perspective, we must know that what we read today, is what was w

To prove that a document is authentic from a legal-historical perspective, we must know that what we read today, is what was written in the first place and that it is accurately recorded. Below are six areas that can be verified.

1.    The number of independent manuscripts available for comparison. 
These may be compared for differences caused by error or change.

There are 5,309 in Greek; more than 10,000 copies in Latin; more than 4,000 in Slavic; more than 2,000 in Ethiopic and many copies in other translations. The New Testament has more manuscripts than the number for the next ten best ancient documents combined. (There are more than 24,600 manuscripts)

2.    The time lag between when the events actually took place, and the earlieset recorded copies. 
Less elapsed time generally means more accuracy of the recording of the events.

The New Testament was written between 40 and 100 AD. with the earliest copy being around 125 AD. Compare this to the earliest copy of Julius Caesar at 900 years or Plato at 1,300 years after they lived.

3.    The number of early translations rendered in the same language available for comparison.
The larger the number, the more likely we have an accurate understanding of the usage of early words.

An astonishing number of early translations of the New Testament have been found, in a number of languages, including Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Ethiopic, Slavic, Armenian, Syriac Pashetta, Bohairic, Arabic, Old Latin, Anglo Saxon, Gothic, Sogdian, Old Syriac, Persian and Frankish.

4.    Any factual discrepancies in the manuscripts.

Using standard legal-historical methodology applied to all documents from antiquity, the New Testament is considered more than 98.33 % accurate.  In the tiny fraction of material possibly inaccurate, any debate about various sections of wording does not influence any major belief, doctrine or fact in the Bible. Today’s rendering of The New Testament is considered ten times more accurate than the best translation of the Iliad, which has the second largest number of classical manuscripts.

5.    References to the manuscript or events found in other documents.
Quotes in other documents referencing our manuscript provide evidence of originality.

The entire New Testament, with the exception of 11 sentences, have been found quoted in other ancient documents dated prior to the year 450 AD. For example, Origen who lived between 185 and 253 AD has more than 18,000 recorded quotes in his writings from the New Testament.

6.    Internal contradictions or External evidence disproving recorded facts.

The question is, “Is it true?”  Does evidence exist externally, such as archaeological finds, that contradict the Bible?  Do internal contradictions exist which diminish the integrity of the Bible?

 The Bible is full of geographical, historical, political and social customs and yet not one recorded event or fact has been proven false by archaeology. Even while Jesus walked the earth, men attempted to prove that His miracles were fake, or false.  Now, as then, His integrity in this area, as in all others, stands completely unblemished.  The same is true when the Apostles preached.  No authorities ever proved the miracles recorded as false.

What Does The Bible Say About Itself?

Does the Bible say it is God's word?

§       2 Peter 1:21 "For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit."

§       2 Timothy 3:14-17 "But as for you, continue in what you have learned and  have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."

§       Romans 16:25-26 "Now to him who is able to establish you by my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God,"

How did God inspire the writers?

God Spoke:

§       The giving of the Ten Commandments (Ex.20:1)

§       The voice of God to Old Testament Prophets "Thus says the Lord" Ex.4:12,

§       (Other examples include Abraham Gen.18; Lot Gen. 19. Dreams: Dan.7:1f, Num.12:6 Visions: Is.1:1, Ez.1:1, 8:3, 11:24, 43:3 Voice: 1 Sam.3:4 Miracles: Jonah 1:1, 4:6f)

God communicated through Prophets in the Old Testament and during Jesus’ Day, and He communicates through Prophets, now.

§       1 Peter 1:10-12  "Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things."

§       2 Peter 1:20-21 "Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit."

§       Revelations 1:1-2 "The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who testifies to everything he saw - that is, the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ."

§       1 Corinthians 14:3 "On the other hand, the one who prophesies speaks to people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation."

§       1 Corinthians 14:1 “Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy.”

Eyewitnesses accounts

§       2 Peter 1:16 "We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but  we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received honour and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased." We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain."

§       Luke 2:51 "Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart."

§       1 John 1:1-3 "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched - this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ."

Research into the Facts

§       Luke 1:4 "Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught."

Jesus is the Word of God in the Flesh

§       John 1:1-3, 14 "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made....The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth."

§       Hebrews 1:1-3 "In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven."

Directly Inspired by God

§       Exodus 24:4 "Moses then wrote down everything the LORD had said."

§       Jeremiah 1:9 "Then the LORD reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, "Now, I have put my words in your mouth."

§       2 Peter 3:15-16 "Bear in mind that our Lord's patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction."

§       1 Corinthians 2:12-13 "We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words."

§       2 Timothy 3:16-17 "All Scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."

§       1 Timothy 5:18 "For the Scripture says, "Do not muzzle the ox while it is treading out the grain," and "The worker deserves his wages." (This is a quotation from Luke's Gospel.)

Reminded by the Holy Spirit

§       John 14:26 "But the Counsellor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you."

§       Acts 4:8 "Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them..."

§       I Cor.2:10 "but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit."

What is the purpose of Scripture?

§       John 20:30-31 "Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

§       1 John 1:3 "We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ."

§       Hebrews 4:12 "For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.'

§       2 Timothy 3:16-17 "All Scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."

SUMMARY OF WHAT WE HAVE LEARNED

§       The Bible as we have it today is virtually identical to the manuscripts penned by the original authors when they were inspired by God to write it.

§       We have no evidence that what we read is not true and any possible variations in Bible readings do not affect any major Christian belief.

Anything Good that you read here came from God.  feel free to use and share it!