The Reliability of the Scriptures

November 25, 2008 at 5:05 am 8 comments

Some of you may have seen in my videos that on my left arm I wear four bracelets always. One of those is a green rubber bracelet that says “Worldview Academy” on it. Maybe after reading this post you might understand exactly why I value Worldview and why I’m so grateful for my time there this last summer.

And to make completely clear, when I refer to Christianity I am referring to my beliefs as a non-denominational Christian. In a nutshell, this means that I believe that:

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only begotten son that whom-so-ever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” -John 3:16

I use an NIV translation of the Bible. And I believe it to be 100% true, and God inspired scripture.

You might be thinking, dude, how can you believe in a book that’s thousands of years old? What evidence is there that supports the validity of the Bible? I just don’t get it.

I’m not going to pretend to have all the answers. I don’t. But I do know that any questions I have I take back to my faith, thus the Bible, and every single question I may ask or the world may ask me has an answer in the Bible. And here’s what I believe about the Bible.

This is adapted from what I learned at Worldview Academy this summer:

-How do we know anything?

Well, truthfully we only know anything by going back to the original source.

-Christianity is a revealed religion.

Meaning, that truth is revealed within it. Answers to every single question can be found here. Questions on:

Nature- Romans 1:19-20, Psalm 19:1-2

The Bible- Deut. 6:4-8, Psalm 119, Hebrews 1:1

Christ- the God/man- Hebrews 1:2-3, John 1:14

The Bible is the revealed Word of God? How do you know?

How about a little acronym?

Manuscripts-

“To be skeptical of the resultant text of the New Testaments books is to allow all of classical antiquity to slip into obscurity, for no document of the ancient period are as well attested bibliographically as the New Testament.” -John Warwick Montgomery

Bibliographic test: comparing of copies, time gap from earliest copies, etc. These all prove the authenticity of the Bible. And an interesting bit of information? This chart:

AUTHOR

DATE WRITTEN

EARLIEST COPY

TIME SPAN

NUMBER OF COPIES

ACCURACY

Homer 850 BC —- —- 643 95%
Herodotus 450 BC about 900 AD about 1350 years 8 there
Euripedes 440 BC about 1100 AD about 1500 years 9 are
Thucydides 420 BC about 900 AD about 1300 years 8 not
Plato 380 BC about 900 AD about 1300 years 7 enough
Aristotle 350 BC about 1100 AD about 1400 years 5 copies
Caesar 60 BC about 900 AD about 960 years 10 to
Catullus 50 BC about 1500 AD about 1600 years 3 reconstruct
Livy 10 BC —- —- 20 the
Tacitus 100 AD about 1100 AD about 1000 years 20 original
New Testament 60 AD about 130 AD about 100 years 14,000 99.5%

Resource: http://www.newchristian.org.uk/ncbibleok.html

Archaeology-

“It may be stated categorically that no archaeological discovery has ever controverted a Biblical reference.” -Nelson Glueck

Anyone who has studied world history might be aware of how the Assyrians, Hittites, etc, have all been proven via archaeoligcal evidence that comes directly from the Bible. Actually, the Bible was the only proof that existed up into the 1900’s that these civilizations had even existed. I personally find that pretty interesting.

Another interesting point to make for you history lovers out there regards the Walls of Jericho. The Bible says that God brought down the walls of Jericho through the faith of the Israelites. The walls of Jericho fell outward, something that is scientifically unexplainable apart from God.

Prophecy-

“I am God… Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done…” -Isaiah 46:9-10

Here’s the stats:

-Over 300 prophecies predicting Jesus (specifically) and over 2000 that he fulfilled (referenece the New Testament).

-The chance of any one person being able to fulfill these is 10 to the 17th power. Let’s illustrate this. Say you have one quarter and upon that quarter you put a red dot. Take this quarter and drop it into a pile of quarters several feet high, and spread this out all over the entire state of Texas. Than, go out and without any tools or devices randomly choose one quarter from this sea of metal. The chances of you finding the quarter with the dot on it are the chances of you fulfilling all these prophecies. Crazy, right? But Jesus did it.

– The Dead Sea Scrolls proved that Isaiah was written hundreds of years before Jesus fulfilled these prophecies.

Same theme all the way through:

The redemption of a sinful human race by God’s grace through faith in the shed blood of a redeemer.

Has anyone ever wondered why so many people wrote the Bible? Me too. What I’ve learned through intensive study upon this topic is that despite the many authors that wrote the Bible, at various time, they all wrote about this exact same them. No one knew what the other was writing before it was written. Some of the Old Testament books were written well before the New Testament, and yet these have the exact same theme as the ones on the New Testament. They all connect. They all share the same theme.

A bonus point…

+ The common experience of Christians:

“Amazing Grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now I’m found, was blind but now I see.” -John Newton

-So how do we know anything? Go to the source:

Karl Barth, one of the 20th century’s most famous theologians, while visiting the University of Chicago was asked the most important thing he had ever learned. He replied: “Jesus loves me this I know. For the Bible tells me so.” And the Bible is a reliable source.

As always, I ask that comments be respectful. I would also like to add that I will be making a series of posts on my beliefs coming up in the next few months. This is a vitally important topic that I wish to discuss more. I will of course be posting about other things as well, but I feel like this is something I should talk about right now. What say you?

Further Resources and Recommended Reading:

-Nothing But the Truth

-The Case for Christ

-Thy Word is Truth

-New Evidence that Demands a Verdict

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Entry filed under: Personal, Rants, Thoughts.

Sweet 16 Party? Smiling Wickedly is Good for the Soul

8 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Madison  |  November 25, 2008 at 11:58 am

    How do I know anything? I look within myself.

    About the truth being in the bible…well, that would depend on your point of view, wouldn’t it? (I don’t have our copy of the bible with me, so I can’t check those verses.) Maybe what the bible says on subjects rings true for you and a lot of other people, but that doesn’t mean it does for me because I have a very different way of looking at the world.

    The part about there being many copies of the bible is invalid. That has nothing to do with the truth of the bible, just with the fact that it’s been around and has consistently lasted. Which is meaningless. Hinduism is the oldest religion still in existence, yet many people aren’t Hindus. (And I just find it funny that none of the others mentioned are religious texts.)

    The part about the Assyrians, etc, is also rather invalid, in my opinion. But I’m trying to think of an example…Okay. I can tell a story. I can use real people and real places. But that doesn’t make my story entirely true or that everything I put in that book entirely true.

    You don’t believe in coincidence? I do. You don’t believe that people from various places and times could develop the same beliefs without talking to another? I do. (That means I don’t necessarily have an answer, but it’s still not something I believe.)

    See…I think that’s the difference. When I’d say, “Coincidence,” you’ll say, “God.” Which is fine. (And I do believe in God, btw. I’m just not entirely sure how yet.)

    And then the bonus point is completely moot because that requires believing in the bible. So anyone who doesn’t believe in the bible is just going to be, “So?” That’s my response. The man really needed a book to tell him something that he should have known by looking in his heart? If I ever become a Christian, that’s how it’s going to happen. It’s not going to happen by reading (that makes me more unsettled than I normally am, and I don’t care for the feeling) and “evidence”; it’s going to happen through discussion and realizations that I make from my heart.

  • 2. Q  |  November 25, 2008 at 5:19 pm

    I’m kind of with Anilee on this one. I think that it’s really cool that there’s a lot of quantifiable evidence that it was written at the right time, thus proving that prophesy is real, but you cannot prove the spiritual elements of any scripture through physical means. Proof of that comes on a very personal level: individually, through simple faith, prayer and personal witness.

  • 3. felicity12  |  November 25, 2008 at 8:39 pm

    I agree with Anilee. My evidence for God is nature, pretty much. I’m a bit deist on this issue. Oh, and about the Assyrians. There is non-biblical evidence.

    “The modern discovery of Babylonia and Assyria begins with excavations in Nineveh in 1845, which revealed the Library of Ashurbanipal. Decipherment of cuneiform was a formidable task that took more than a decade, but by 1857, the Royal Asiatic Society was convinced that reliable reading of cuneiform texts was possible. Assyriology has since pieced together the formerly forgotten history of Mesopotamia. In the wake of the archaeological and philological rediscovery of ancient Assyria, Assyrian nationalism has come to strongly identify with ancient Assyria.”

  • 4. hwalk  |  November 26, 2008 at 12:22 am

    I think there is evidence that help to prove the Bible is true. And it’s cool and fascinating and interesting to look at it.

    I mean, if something is true, then incidentally it will fit in with other things that are true. Because truth isn’t inconsistent.

    This is I think what people are getting at: I think our problem is that human beings are very good at proving lots of thing that are true that aren’t necessarily true. We can come up with the arguments, the evidence, etc. So it isn’t that there isn’t anything to prove that the Bible is true, but that this proof isn’t definitive to convince everyone of the Bible.

    This is a nice discussion. I actually read the King James Version of the Bible, and I love that version of it, but I do believe the Bible to be the word of God. Like you do. There is a lot of evidence out there for it, as you pointed out.

  • 5. Madison  |  November 26, 2008 at 12:30 am

    hwalk: cool pic. ๐Ÿ˜€

    What you say also works to the argument that the bible ISN’T the truth, though. There’s evidence to support the bible and evidence that suggests the bible isn’t the truth. It’s still a matter of faith (or lack of it) to decide that the bible is true or not. It depends on how your brain figures things out. You may look at the bible and be able to explain away the things that don’t seem to work, whereas I wouldn’t be able to do. (But I can figure out ways to make other things that are pretty illogical seem logical to me.)

    Q: I don’t disagree with you about the prophecies. I’m glad you brought that up, actually; I do believe that there are people with are gifted with the Sight, but whether that has anything to do with God or not or whether prophecies coming true makes everything true is what I’m not sure of/doubt. ๐Ÿ˜€

  • 6. Maribeth  |  November 26, 2008 at 2:07 am

    Anilee: Believing does come from your heart and realizations. But the bible can help you come to that. By reading and learning, it helps you to grow as a person and a Christian.

  • 7. Katie  |  November 26, 2008 at 10:25 pm

    hey Anilee – I just wanted to clarify for Danielle why the # of copies the New Testament has is important – when an account of something is copied over and over and over, the chance of error goes down drastically, because there are so many copies. When there are only 6 or 7, the chance of an error goes way up. just to clarify ๐Ÿ™‚

  • 8. Madison  |  November 26, 2008 at 11:32 pm

    I get that. My point is that just because it is copied over and over does not mean that it is true, just that there are not as many discrepancies between different copies. But that does not speak as to the veracity of what has been written. Lies can be written over and over to the point where people believe they are true, but that doesn’t make them true. It just makes them believed. Does that make sense?

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