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The Authenticity Of The Bible
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The Authenticity Of The Bible

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A presentation dealing with the authenticity of the Bible

A presentation dealing with the authenticity of the Bible

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  •       One of the Isaiah scrolls found in the Qumran Caves       Bible. Old Testament. Delft, Jacob Jacobszoon van der Meer and Mauricius Yemantszoon, 10 Jan. 1477. 2º, 2 vols, 302+340 leaves. Provenance: Jacob Visser collection, 1809 169 E 55-56, vol. 2, colophon Modern Day translation
  • It’s not the word of God just cause Mommy or Daddy or Sunday School teacher said so! The Bibliographical test is an examination of the textual transmission by which documents reach us. In other words, since we do not have the original documents, how reliable are the copies we have in regard to the number of manuscripts and the time interval between the original and existing copies?
  • Didn’t error and legend have a chance to “creep in?” Give illustration of story and how it evolves over time – fish story, how good I was at basketball.
  • The earliest copy of the Homer is 500yrs. After the original. The earliest copy of the NT is within 25 years of the original.
  • The Variants in the New Testament Manuscripts Are Minimal In the many thousands of manuscript copies we possess of the New Testament, scholars have discovered that there are some 150,000 "variants." This may seem like a staggering figure to the uninformed mind. But to those who study the issue, the numbers are not so damning as it may initially appear. Indeed, a look at the hard evidence shows that the New Testament manuscripts are amazingly accurate and trustworthy. To begin, we must emphasize that out of these 150,000 variants, 99 percent hold virtually no significance whatsoever. Many of these variants simply involve a missing letter in a word; some involve reversing the order of two words (such as "Christ Jesus" instead of "Jesus Christ"); some may involve the absence of one or more insignificant words. Really, when all the facts are put on the table, only about 50 of the variants have any real significance - and even then, no doctrine of the Christian faith or any moral commandment is effected by them. For more than ninety-nine percent of the cases the original text can be reconstructed to a practical certainty. Even in the few cases where some perplexity remains, this does not impinge on the meaning of Scripture to the point of clouding a tenet of the faith or a mandate of life. Thus, in the Bible as we have it (and as it is conveyed to us through faithful translations) we do have for practical purposes the very Word of God, inasmuch as the manuscripts do convey to us the complete vital truth of the originals. By practicing the science of textual criticism - comparing all the available manuscripts with each other - we can come to an assurance regarding what the original document must have said. Let us suppose we have five manuscript copies of an original document that no longer exists. Each of the manuscript copies are different. Our goal is to compare the manuscript copies and ascertain what the original must have said. Here are the five copies: Manuscript #1: Jesus Christ is the Savior of the whole worl. Manuscript #2: Christ Jesus is the Savior of the whole world. Manuscript #3: Jesus Christ s the Savior of the whole world. Manuscript #4: Jesus Christ is th Savior of the whle world. Manuscript #5: Jesus Christ is the Savor of the whole wrld. Could you, by comparing the manuscript copies, ascertain what the original document said with a high degree of certainty that you are correct? Of course you could. This illustration may be extremely simplistic, but a great majority of the 150,000 variants are solved by the above methodology. By comparing the various manuscripts, all of which contain very minor differences like the above, it becomes fairly clear what the original must have said. Most of the manuscript variations concern matters of spelling, word order, tenses, and the like; no single doctrine is affected by them in any way. We must also emphasize that the sheer volume of manuscripts we possess greatly narrows the margin of doubt regarding what the original biblical document said. If the number of [manuscripts] increases the number of scribal errors, it increases proportionately the means of correcting such errors, so that the margin of doubt left in the process of recovering the exact original wording is not so large as might be feared; it is in truth remarkably small. 1726 - 1792 Lawyer, judge and historian. Born in Edinburgh into a family of lawyers and educated at Eton and Utrecht. He was the grandson of Sir David Dalrymple (d. 1721). Called to the Bar in 1748, he became a Judge of the Court of Session (1766). Dalrymple was a friend and correspondent of James Boswell (1740-95) and wrote a two-volume Annals of Scotland from the Accession of Malcolm Canmore to the Accession of the House of Stuart . Dalrymple lived at Newhailes (East Lothian) and was largely responsible for the fine contents of its library, which drew praise from even Dr Samuel Johnson (1709-84
  • Because of the great reverence the Jewish scribes held toward the Scriptures, they exercised extreme care in making new copies of the Hebrew Bible. The entire scribal process was specified in meticulous detail to minimize the possibility of even the slightest error. The number of letters, words, and lines were counted, and the middle letters of the Pentateuch and the Old Testament were determined. If a single mistake was discovered, the entire manuscript would be destroyed. Not only that, but old, worn copies of the Old Testament would be ceremonially buried and discarded.
  • J uma was beginning to get nervous. Some of his goats were climbing too high up the cliffs. He decided to climb the face of the cliff himself to bring them back. Little did Juma realize as he began his climb on that January day in 1947 that those straying goats would eventually involve him in "the greatest archaeological discovery in the twentieth century." Such thoughts were far from his mind when he saw two small openings to one of the thousands of caves that dot those barren cliffs overlooking the northwestern shore of the Dead Sea . He threw a rock into one of the openings. The unexpected cracking sound surprised him; what else could be in those remote caves but treasure? He called to his cousins, Khalil and Muhammed, who climbed up and heard the exciting tale. But it was getting late, and the goats had to be gathered. Tomorrow they would return -- perhaps their days of following goats would come to an end once the treasure was uncovered! The youngest of the three, Muhammed, rose the next day before his two fellow "treasure-seekers" and made his way to the cave. The cave floor was covered with debris, including broken pottery . Along the wall stood a number of narrow jars, some with their bowl-shaped covers still in place. Frantically Muhammed began to explore the inside of each jar, but no treasure of gold was to be found... only a few bundles wrapped in cloth and greenish with age. Returning to his cousins, he related the sad news -- no treasure. Cave 4 at Qumran where approximately 15,000 fragments from some 574 manuscripts were found. No treasure indeed! The scrolls those Bedouin boys removed from that dark cave that day and the days following would come to be recognized as the greatest manuscript treasure ever found -- the first seven manuscripts of the Dead Sea Scrolls! Such was the discovery of a group of manuscripts which were a thousand years older than the then-oldest-known Hebrew texts of the Bible (manuscripts, many of which were written more than 100 years before the birth of Jesus). These manuscripts would excite the archaeological world and provide a team of translators with a gigantic task that even to this day has not been completed. The story of how those scrolls traveled from the hands of young Bedouin goatherders to be under the scrutinous eyes of international scholars is stranger than fiction. Although all the details of the next few years will probably never be known for sure, this much is clear. After hanging from a pole in a Bedouin tent for a period of time, the seven original scrolls were sold to two separate Arab antiquities dealers in Bethlehem . From there, four were sold (for a small amount) to Athanasius Samuel, Syrian Orthodox Metropolitan at St. Mark's Monastery in the Old City of Jerusalem. Scholars at the American School of Oriental Research, who examined them, were the first to realize their antiquity. John Trever photographed them in detail, and the great archaeologist William F. Albright soon announced that the scrolls were from the period between 200 BC and AD 200. The initial announcements were then made that the oldest manuscripts ever discovered had been found in the Judean desert! Clay jar of the type the Dead Sea Scrolls were found in. From Qumran, now in the Citadel Museum, Jordan. Three of the other original scrolls found by the Bedouin boys were sold to E. L. Sukenik, archaeologist at Hebrew University and father of Yigal Yadin (a general in the Israeli army who later became a famous archaeologist and excavator of Masada and Hazor ). It should be noted that the drama of these events was heightened because these were the last days of the British Mandate period in Palestine, and tensions between the Arab and Jewish population were great. This made examination of the scrolls by scholars extremely dangerous. All of the scrolls finally came together at Hebrew University under another strange set of circumstances. After touring the U.S. with his four scrolls and not being able to find an interested buyer, Metropolitan Samuel placed an ad in the Wall Street Journal. By coincidence (or divine providence?) Yigal Yadin happened to be lecturing in New York and saw the advertisement. Through intermediaries, he was able to purchase these priceless scrolls for around $250,000. In February of 1955, the Prime Minister of Israel announced that the State of Israel had purchased the scrolls, and all seven (including the three purchased earlier by Professor Sukenik) were to be housed in a special museum at Hebrew University named the Shrine of the Book, where they can be seen today. Needless to say, the initial announcement about the scrolls prompted feverish searches in the area of the original discoveries. An official archaeological expedition was begun in 1949 which eventually resulted in the discovery of ten additional caves in the surrounding area also containing scrolls. The archaeologists then directed their attention to a small ruin nearby called "Khirbet (ruins of) Qumran," which had been thought of as the remains of an old Roman fortress. After six seasons of intensive excavation, the scholars were sure beyond any reasonable doubt that the scrolls found their origin in this community which flourished between 125 BC and AD 68. The scrolls had been stored in haste in the caves as the community fled the encroaching Roman army, which was in Judea to put down the Jewish Revolt of AD 66-70. The ruins of Qumran, which can be visited today, revealed that a substantial group of Jewish ascetics inhabited this community. Storehouses, aqueducts, ritual baths and an assembly hall were all uncovered. One of the most interesting rooms uncovered was a scriptorium, identified by two inkwells discovered there along with some benches for scribes. It was in this room that many, if not all, of the discovered manuscripts were copied. Description of the Scrolls As soon as the announcement of the scrolls' discovery was made, the scholarly debates about their origin and significance began. The debates increased when the amazing contents of the scrolls were successively revealed. The seven original scrolls, from what came to be called "Cave One," comprised the following: 1) a well-preserved copy of the entire prophecy of Isaiah -- the oldest copy of an Old Testament book ever to be discovered; 2) another fragmentary scroll of Isaiah ; 3) a commentary on the first two chapters of Habakkuk -- the commentator explained the book allegorically in terms of the Qumran brotherhood; 4) the "Manual of Discipline" or "Community Rule" -- the most important source of information about the religious sect at Qumran -- it described the requirements for those aspiring to join the brotherhood; 5) the "Thanksgiving Hymns," a collection of devotional "psalms" of thanksgiving and praise to God; 6) an Aramaic paraphrase of the Book of Genesis ; and 7) the "Rule of War" which dealt with the battle between the "Sons of Light" (the men of Qumran) and the "Sons of Darkness" (the Romans?) yet to take place in the "last days," which days the men of Qumran believed were about to arrive. Those seven original scrolls were just the beginning. Over six hundred scrolls and thousands of fragments have been discovered in the 11 caves of the Qumran area. Fragments of every Biblical book except Esther have been found, as well as many other non-Biblical texts. One of the most fascinating of the finds was a copper scroll which had to be cut in strips to be opened and which contained a list of 60 treasures located in various parts of Judea (none of which have been found)! Another scroll, which Israeli archaeologists recovered in 1967 underneath the floor of a Bethlehem antiquities dealer, describes in detail the community's view of an elaborate Temple ritual. This has been appropriately called the "Temple Scroll." The contents of the Dead Sea Scrolls indicate that their authors were a group of priests and laymen pursuing a communal life of strict dedication to God. Their leader was called the "Righteous Teacher." They viewed themselves as the only true elect of Israel -- they alone were faithful to the Law. They opposed the "Wicked Priest" -- the Jewish High Priest in Jerusalem who represented the establishment and who had persecuted them in some way. This wicked priest was probably one of the Maccabean rulers who had illegitimately assumed the high priesthood between 150-140 BC. Most scholars have identified the Qumran brotherhood with the Essenes , a Jewish sect of Jesus' day described by Josephus and Philo. Whoever the men of Qumran were, their writings provide us with a marvelous background picture of one aspect of the religious world into which Jesus came. Some have sought to draw parallels between figures in the scrolls and John the Baptist or Jesus, but an objective examination of such parallels reveals that the differences are greater than the similarities. Any contact of Jesus with Qumran is entirely speculative and most improbable. The suggestion that John the Baptist may have spent some time with the Qumran community is possible since the Gospels tell us that he spent considerable time in the wilderness near the area where the Qumran community is located ( Mt 3:1-3 ; Mk 1:4 ; Lk 1:80 ; 3:2-3 ). John 's message, however, differed markedly from that of the Qumran brotherhood. The only real common point was that they both taught that the " kingdom of God " was coming. One of the most important contributions of the Dead Sea Scrolls is the numerous Biblical manuscripts which have been discovered. Until those discoveries at Qumran, the oldest manuscripts of the Hebrew Scriptures were copies from the 9th and 10th centuries AD by a group of Jewish scribes called the Massoretes. Now we have manuscripts around a thousand years older than those. The amazing truth is that these manuscripts are almost identical! Here is a strong example of the tender care which the Jewish scribes down through the centuries took in an effort to accurately copy the sacred Scriptures. We can have confidence that our Old Testament Scriptures faithfully represent the words given to Moses, David and the prophets. Doctrine of the Scrolls The men of Qumran fervently believed in a doctrine of "last things." They had fled to the desert and were readying themselves for the imminent judgment when their enemies would be vanquished and they, God's elect, would be given final victory in accordance with the predictions of the prophets. It was in connection with these end-time events that one of the most fascinating teachings of the sect emerges. The messianic hope loomed large in the thought of the brotherhood. As a matter of fact, evidence shows that they actually believed in three messiahs -- one a prophet, another a priest and the third a king or prince. In the document mentioned earlier called the "Manual of Discipline" or the "Rule of the Community," it is laid down that the faithful should continue to live under the rule "until the coming of a prophet and the anointed ones [messiahs] of Aaron and Israel" (column 9, line 11). These three figures would appear to usher in the age for which the community was making preparation. In another document found in Cave Four and referred to as the "Testimonia," a number of Old Testament passages are brought together which formed the basis for their messianic expectations. The first is the citation from Deuteronomy 18:18-19 where God says to Moses: "I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee." Next comes a quotation from Numbers 24:15-17 , where Balaam foresees the rise of a princely conqueror: "a Scepter shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab," etc. The third passage is the blessing pronounced by Moses upon the tribe of Levi (the priestly tribe) in Deuteronomy 33:8-11 . The way in which these three quotations are brought together suggests that the writer looked forward to the advent of a great prophet, a great prince and a great priest. There were three individuals in the Old Testament writings that were referred to as "my anointed ones" -- the prophet, the priest and the king (refer to Ex 29:29 ; 1 Sam 16:13 , 24:6 ; 1 Kg 19:16 ; Ps 105:15 ). Each of these was consecrated to his work by an anointing with oil. The Hebrew word for " anointed " is meshiach, from which we get the word Messiah . The marvelous truth of the New Testament doctrine of the Messiah is that each of these three offices found fulfillment in the person and work of Jesus of Nazareth! The people were amazed at His feeding of the multitude and said, "This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world" ( Jn 6:14 ; also Jn 7:40 ; Acts 3:22 , 7:37 ). Jesus also was a priest, not from the order of Levi but from the order of Melchizedek ( Ps 110:4 ; Heb 7 ), who offered Himself as a sacrifice and appears for us in the presence of His Father (Heb 9:24-26 ; 10:11-12 ). Also, Jesus was announced as the One who will receive "the throne of his father, David. And he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end" ( Lk 1:32-33 ). He will be acclaimed "KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS" ( Rev 19:16 ). Thus, we have found an interesting point of contact between Qumran and Christianity -- a point of contact which is also a point of cleavage. The Qumran community and the early Christians agreed that in the days of the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies there would arise a great prophet, a great priest and a great king. But these three figures remained distinct in Qumran expectation whereas the New Testament saw them unified in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. One more manuscript that has come to light in recent years provides a fascinating background to the New Testament messianic hope. It has been reconstructed from twelve small fragments, furnishing less than two columns of writing; but this much can be ascertained from its brief contents. It is a prediction of the birth of a Wonderful Child, possibly drawing on Isaiah 9:6-7 : "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given... and his name shall be called Wonderful." This child will bear special marks on His body and will be distinguished by wisdom and intelligence. He will be able to probe the secrets of all living creatures , and He will inaugurate the new age for which the faithful fervently awaited. Is it not striking that soon after this manuscript was composed, a child was born who fulfilled the hopes of Israel and inaugurated a new age? Although the men of Qumran were mistaken in the details of their messiah, they did expect one whose general characteristics were strikingly illustrated by Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God and Messiah. It is not known if some early Christian brought the message of Jesus to this wilderness community. We are left only to speculate on how they would have responded to the Wonderful Child born in Bethlehem who was the Prophet, Priest and King of Israel.
  • Even by the most scholarly standards! It passes.
  • The Bibliographical test has determined only that the text we have now is essentially what was originally recorded. One has still to determine whether that written record is credible and to what extent.
  • Almost all of the apostles suffered terrible deaths as martyrs.
  • The Bible is painfully honest. It shows Jacob, the father of its "chosen people," to be a deceiver. It describes Moses, the lawgiver, as an insecure, reluctant leader, who, in his first attempt to come to the aid of his own people, killed a man, and then ran for life to the desert. It portrays David not only as Israel's most loved king, general, and spiritual leader, but as one who took another man's wife and then, to cover his own sin, conspired to have her husband killed. At one point, the Scriptures accuse the people of God, the nation of Israel, as being so bad they made Sodom and Gomorrah look good by comparison ( Ezekiel 16:46-52 ). The Bible represents human nature as hostile to God. It predicts a future full of trouble. It teaches that the road to heaven is narrow and the way to hell is wide. Scripture was clearly not written for those who want simple answers or an easy, optimistic view of religion and human nature.
  • The Hittites were once thought to be a Biblical legend, until their capital and records were discovered at Bogazkoy, Turkey. Many thought the Biblical references to Solomon's wealth were greatly exaggerated. Recovered records from the past show that wealth in antiquity was concentrated with the king and Solomon's prosperity was entirely feasible. It was once claimed there was no Assyrian king named Sargon as recorded in Isaiah 20:1 , because this name was not known in any other record. Then, Sargon's palace was discovered in Khorsabad, Iraq. The very event mentioned in Isaiah 20 , his capture of Ashdod , was recorded on the palace walls. What is more, fragments of a stela memorializing the victory were found at Ashdod itself.
  • The discovery of the Ebla archive in northern Syria in the 1970s has shown the Biblical writings concerning the Patriarchs to be viable. Documents written on clay tablets from around 2300 B.C. demonstrate that personal and place names in the Patriarchal accounts are genuine. The name "Canaan" was in use in Ebla, a name critics once said was not used at that time and was used incorrectly in the early chapters of the Bible. The word "tehom" ("the deep") in Genesis 1:2 was said to be a late word demonstrating the late writing of the creation story. "Tehom" was part of the vocabulary at Ebla, in use some 800 years before Moses. Ancient customs reflected in the stories of the Patriarchs have also been found in clay tablets from Nuzi and Mari.
  • State of Texas and half dollars illustration.
  • "Celsus, a bitter enemy of Christianity who lived early in the second century referred to the four Gospels as part of Christianity’s sacred writings."   Josephus: About this time appeared Jesus , a wise man (if indeed it is right to call Him man; for He was a worker of astonishing deeds, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with joy), and He drew to Himself many Jews (many also of Greeks. This was the Christ.) And when Pilate, at the denunciation of those that are foremost among us, had condemned Him to the cross, those who had first loved Him did not abandon Him (for He appeared to them alive again on the third day, the holy prophets having foretold this and countless other marvels about Him.) The tribe of Christians named after Him did not cease to this day.
  • 10 Reasons to Believe the Bible Its Miracles Israel's exodus from Egypt provided a historical basis for believing that God revealed Himself to Israel. If the Red Sea did not part as Moses said it did, the Old Testament loses its authority to speak in behalf of God. The New Testament is just as dependent upon miracles. If Jesus did not rise bodily from the dead, the apostle Paul admits that the Christian faith is built on a lie ( 1 Corinthians 15:14-17 ). To show its credibility, the New Testament names its witnesses, and did so within a time-frame that enabled those claims to be tested ( 1 Corinthians 15:1-8 ). Many of the witnesses ended up as martyrs, not for abstract moral or spiritual convictions but for their claim that Jesus had risen from the dead. While martyrdom is not unusual, the basis on which these people gave their lives is what's important. Many have died for what they believed to be the truth. But people do not die for what they know to be a lie. Its Unity Forty different authors writing over a period of 1,600 years penned the 66 books of the Bible. Four hundred silent years separated the 39 books of the Old Testament from the 27 of the New Testament. Yet, from Genesis to Revelation, they tell one unfolding story. Together they give consistent answers to the most important questions we can ask: Why are we here? How can we come to terms with our fears? How can we get along? How can we rise above our circumstances and keep hope alive? How can we make peace with our Maker? The Bible's consistent answers to these questions show that the Scriptures are not many books but one. Its Historical And Geographical Accuracy Down through the ages, many have doubted the historical and geographical accuracy of the Bible. Yet modern archeologists have repeatedly unearthed evidence of the people, places, and cultures described in the Scriptures. Time after time, the descriptions in the biblical record have been shown to be more reliable than the speculations of scholars. The modern visitor to the museums and lands of the Bible cannot help but come away impressed with the real geographical and historical backdrop of the biblical text. Its Survival The books of Moses were written 500 years before the earliest Hindu Scriptures. Moses wrote Genesis 2,000 years before Muhammad penned the Koran. During that long history, no other book has been as loved or as hated as the Bible. No other book has been so consistently bought, studied, and quoted as this book. While millions of other titles come and go, the Bible is still the book by which all other books are measured. While often ignored by those who are uncomfortable with its teachings, it is still the central book of Western civilization. Its Power To Change Lives Unbelievers often point to those who claim to believe in the Bible without being changed by it. But history is also marked by those who have been bettered by this book. The Ten Commandments have been a source of moral direction to countless numbers of people. The Psalms of David have offered comfort in times of trouble and loss. Jesus' Sermon on the Mount has given millions an antidote for stubborn pride and proud legalism. Paul's description of love in 1 Corinthians 13 has softened angry hearts. The changed lives of people like the apostle Paul, Augustine, Martin Luther, John Newton, Leo Tolstoy, and C. S. Lewis illustrate the difference the Bible can make. Even entire nations or tribes, like the Celts of Ireland, the wild Vikings of Norway, or the Auca Indians of Ecuador have been transformed by the Word of God and the unprecedented life and significance of Jesus Christ. You're not alone if you have questions about the reliability of the Bible. The Scriptures, like the world around us, are marked by elements of mystery. Yet if the Bible is what it claims to be, you don't have to try to sort out the evidence on your own. To be tested in such a setting is Jesus' promise of divine help to those who want to know the truth about Himself and His teachings. As the central figure of the New Testament, Jesus said, "If anyone chooses to do God's will, he will find out whether My teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own" ( John 7:17NIV ). One important key to understanding the Bible is that it was never meant merely to bring us to itself. Every principle of Scripture shows us our need of the forgiveness that Christ secured on our behalf. It shows us why we need to let the Spirit of God live through us. It is for such a relationship that the Bible was given.  
  • Its Power To Change Lives Unbelievers often point to those who claim to believe in the Bible without being changed by it. But history is also marked by those who have been bettered by this book. The Ten Commandments have been a source of moral direction to countless numbers of people. The Psalms of David have offered comfort in times of trouble and loss. Jesus' Sermon on the Mount has given millions an antidote for stubborn pride and proud legalism. Paul's description of love in 1 Corinthians 13 has softened angry hearts. The changed lives of people like the apostle Paul, Augustine, Martin Luther, John Newton, Leo Tolstoy, and C. S. Lewis illustrate the difference the Bible can make. Even entire nations or tribes, like the Celts of Ireland, the wild Vikings of Norway, or the Auca Indians of Ecuador have been transformed by the Word of God and the unprecedented life and significance of Jesus Christ. You're not alone if you have questions about the reliability of the Bible. The Scriptures, like the world around us, are marked by elements of mystery. Yet if the Bible is what it claims to be, you don't have to try to sort out the evidence on your own. To be tested in such a setting is Jesus' promise of divine help to those who want to know the truth about Himself and His teachings. As the central figure of the New Testament, Jesus said, "If anyone chooses to do God's will, he will find out whether My teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own" (John 7:17NIV). One important key to understanding the Bible is that it was never meant merely to bring us to itself. Every principle of Scripture shows us our need of the forgiveness that Christ secured on our behalf. It shows us why we need to let the Spirit of God live through us. It is for such a relationship that the Bible was given.   TENTH, on the ground of the direct testimony of the Holy Spirit.       We began with God and shall end with God. We began with the testimony of the second person of the Trinity, and shall close with that of the third person of the Trinity.       The Holy Spirit sets His seal in the soul of every believer to the Divine authority of the Bible. It is possible to get to a place where we need no argument to prove that the Bible is God's Word. Christ says, "My sheep know my voice," and God's children know His voice, and I know that the voice that speaks to me from the pages of that Book is the voice of my Father. You will sometimes meet a pious old lady, who tells you that she knows that the Bible is God's Word, and when you ask her for a reason for believing that it is God's Word she can give you none, She simply says:       "I know it is God's Word."       You say: "That is mere superstition."       Not at all. She is one of Christ's sheep, and recognizes her Shepherd's voice from every other voice. [129] She is one of God's children, and knows the voice which speaks to her from the Bible is the voice of God. She is above argument.       Everyone can have that testimony. John 7:17 (R. V.,) tells you how to get it. "If any man willeth to do His will, he shall know of the teaching, whether it be of God." Just surrender your will to the will of God, no matter where it carries you, and you will put yourself in such an attitude toward God that when you read this book you will recognize that the voice that speaks to you from it is the voice of the God to whom you have surrendered your will.       Some time ago, when I was speaking to our students upon how to deal with sceptics, there was in the audience a graduate of a British University who had fallen into utter scepticism. At the close of the lecture he came to me and said:       "I don't wish to be discourteous, sir, but my experience contradicts everything you have said."       I asked him if he had followed the course of action that I had suggested and not found light. He said that he had. Stepping into another room I had a pledge written out running somewhat as follows:       "I believe there is an absolute difference between right and wrong, and I hereby take my stand upon the right, to follow it wherever it carries me. I promise earnestly to endeavor to find out what the truth is, and if I ever find that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, I promise to accept Him as my Savior [130] and confess Him before the world."       I handed the paper to the gentleman and asked him if he was willing to sign it. He answered, "Certainly," and did sign it. I said to him:       "You don't know there is not a God, and you don't know that God doesn't answer prayer. I know He does, but my knowledge cannot avail for you, but here is a possible clew to knowledge. Now you have promised to search earnestly for the truth, so you will follow this possible clue. I want you to offer a prayer like this: 'Oh, God, if there be any God, and thou dost answer prayer, show me whether Jesus Christ is thy Son, and if you show me He is, I will accept Him as my Savior and confess Him before the world.'"       This he agreed to do. I further requested that he would take the Gospel of John and read in it every day, reading only a few verses at a time slowly and thoughtfully, every time before he read asking God to give him light. This he also agreed to do, but he finished by saying, "There is nothing in it." However, at the end of a short time, I met him again, and he said to me, "There is something in that." I replied, "I knew that." Then he went on to say it seemed just as if he had been caught up by the Niagara river and had been carried along, and that before long he would be a shouting Methodist.       A short time ago I met this gentleman again, and [131] he said to me that he could not understand how he had been so blind, how he had ever listened to the reasoning which he had; that it seemed to him utterly foolish now. I replied that the Bible would explain this to him, that the "natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God," but that now he had put himself into the right attitude towards God and His truth, everything had been made plain. That man, who assured me that he was "a very peculiar man," and that methods that influenced others would not influence him, by putting himself into the right attitude towards God, got to a place where he received the direct testimony of the Holy Ghost that this Bible is God's Word; and, any one else can do the same. [132]        

The Authenticity Of The Bible The Authenticity Of The Bible Presentation Transcript

  • The Authenticity of the Bible Is the Bible Fact, Fantasy, Fraudulent, or Filled with Errors?
  • Purpose Statement
    • To convince you of the authenticity of the Scriptures – that we have a reliable, accurate translation of what the original authors originally wrote.
    • To present factual data that will either challenge or strengthen your view of the claims of the Bible.
  • The Key Question . . .
    • Does the evidence in and around the Bible lead us to believe that it is
    • “ a book from God?”
  • Scholarly Evaluation . . . 3 TESTS
    • The BIBLIOGRAPHICAL Test: Examine the biblical manuscripts
      • Is what we have today the “real McCoy?”
    • The INTERNAL Test: Examine the claims made by the biblical authors
      • What does the Bible claim to be?
    • The EXTERNAL Test: Examine “external” confirmation of biblical content
      • Why should I believe the claims of the Bible?
    Important Note!!! You don’t need to commit intellectual suicide in order to believe the Bible! In fact, thoughtful, careful, scholarly evaluation of the Bible and facts surrounding the Bible often convinces the most skeptical that the Bible really is God’s Word!
  • The First Consideration
    • Is the Bible we have today what the authors originally wrote?
    authenticity Au`then*tic"i*ty, n. [Cf. F. authenticit['e].] 1. The quality of being authentic or of established authority for truth and correctness. 2. Genuineness; the quality of being genuine or not corrupted from the original.
  • The Bibliographical Test
    • This test is an examination of the textual transmission by which documents reach us.
    • There is more evidence for the reliability of the New Testament than for almost any ten pieces of classical literature put together.
    • The historical reliability of Scriptures should be tested by the same criteria used on all historical documents.
  • The Bibliographical Test Part 1 THE MANUSCRIPT EVIDENCE
    • 5,300 known Greek manuscripts of the New Testament
    • Over 10,000 Latin Vulgate and at least 9,300 other early versions means we have more than . . .
    • 24,000!!! Manuscript copies of portions of the New Testament in existence.
    • No other document of antiquity even begins to approach such numbers. In comparison, the Iliad by Homer (not Simpson) is second with only 643 manuscripts that still survive.
  • What do the scholars say about the Manuscript Evidence ?
    • Concerning the New Testament, Rene Pache says: "The [other] historical books of antiquity have a documentation infinitely less solid."
    • Dr. Benjamin Warfield concludes, “If we compare the present state of the text of the New Testament with that of no matter what other ancient work, we must...declare it marvelously exact.”
    • F.E. Peters points out: “on the basis of manuscript tradition alone, the works that made up the Christians’ New Testament were the most frequently copied and widely circulated books of antiquity.”
  • But What About the Time Between the Originals and the Earliest Manuscripts ?
    • Sir Frederic Kenyon – Director and Principal Librarian of the British Museum and second to none in authority for issuing statements about the NT manuscripts says:
    • “ Besides number, the manuscripts of the NT differ from those of the classical authors . . . In no other case is the interval of time between composition of the book and the date of the earliest extant manuscripts so short as in that of the New Testament.”
    • The interval then between the dates of original composition and the earliest extant evidence becomes so small as to be in fact neglible, and the last foundation for any doubt that the Scriptures have come down to us substantially as they were written has now been removed.”
  • Manuscript Evidence Cont. Is it really that close chronologically?
    • Dr. Norman Geisler: “The average gap between the original composition and the earliest copy is over 1,000 years for other books.”
    • “ The New Testament, however, has a fragment within one generation from its original composition, whole books within about 100 years from the time of the autograph [original manuscript], most of the New Testament in less than 200 years, and the entire New Testament within 250 years from the date of its completion.”
    • The John Rylands Fragment of the Gospel of John is dated at A.D. 117-38.
  • The Bibliographical Test Part 2 The Bible Compared to Other Works of Antiquity
    • F.F. Bruce: “There is no body of ancient literature in the world which enjoys such a wealth of good textual attestation as the New Testament.”
    • Plato – Tetralogies
      • Written: 427-347 BC
      • Earliest Copy: 900 AD
      • Number of Copies: 7
    • Pliny the Younger – History
      • Written : 61-113 AD
      • Earliest Copy : 850 AD
      • Number of Copies: 7
    Greenlee states: Since scholars accept as generally trustworthy the writings of the ancient classics . . . it is clear that the reliability of the text of the New Testament is likewise assured .
  • The Bibliographical Test Part 3 The TEXTUAL Comparison Do the Different Manuscripts Parallel each other accurately?
    • Sir Frederic: “It cannot be too strongly asserted that in substance the text of the Bible is certain . . . This can be said of no other book in the world .”
    • Dr. Gleason Archer: “A careful study of the variants [different readings] of the various earliest manuscripts reveals that none of them affects a single doctrine of Scripture.
  • The Bibliographical Test Part 3 Cont. The TEXTUAL Comparison
    • Self-proclaimed “scholars” like those of the Jesus Seminar throw around staggering figures touting that there are over 200,000 variant readings in the existing manuscripts of the New Testament
    • What they don’t tell you is that if one single word is misspelled in 3,000 different manuscripts, this is counted as 3,000 variants or readings!
    • When we compare manuscripts, we find that there is only one-half of one percent of the readings that are significantly questionable. But none of these variants affect the teaching of the Bible!
  • The Bibliographical Test Part 3 Cont. The TEXTUAL Comparison
    • Manuscript #1: Jesus Christ is the Savior of the whole worl. Manuscript #2: Christ Jesus is the Savior of the whole world. Manuscript #3: Jesus Christ s the Savior of the whole world. Manuscript #4: Jesus Christ is th Savior of the whle world. Manuscript #5: Jesus Christ is the Savor of the whole wrld.
    Can you figure it out? Then you’re qualified to be a bona-fide textual critic! 99.5% of the variants are much like these!
  • The Bibliographical Test Part 4 Manuscript Reliability Supported by Early Church Fathers
    • Sir David Dalrymple was asked a perplexing question
    • “ Suppose that the New Testament had been destroyed, and every copy of it lost by the end of the third century, could it have been collected together again from the writings of the Fathers of the second and third centuries?”
    • Dalrymple said: “That question roused my curiosity, and as I possessed all the existing works of the Fathers of the second and third, I commenced to search, and up to this time [about 1760] I have found the entire New Testament, except for eleven verses.”
  • The Bibliographical Test Part 5 Old Testament Considerations Or How About that Old Testament???
    • In the case of the Old Testament, we do not have the abundance of close manuscript authority as in the New Testament.
    • At first glance it might appear that the Old Testament is no more reliable than other ancient literature.
    • But have you ever heard about . . .
  • The Bibliographical Test Part 5 cont. The Dead Sea Scrolls!
    • Discovered in 1947 by a Shepherd boy named JUMA.
    • 1. a well-preserved copy of the entire prophecy of Isaiah -- the oldest copy of an Old Testament book ever to be discovered – dated at 125BC by paleographers
    • 2. another fragmentary scroll of Isaiah
    • 3. a commentary on the first two chapters of Habakkuk
    • 4. Aramaic paraphrase of the Book of Genesis
    • 5. Fragments of every Biblical book except Esther have been found
  • The Bibliographical Test Part 5 cont. The Dead Sea Scrolls
    • The Dead Sea Scrolls date from 200BC to 68AD
    • The Scrolls are made up of some 40,000 fragments
    • Of these fragments, more than 500 books have been reconstructed!
    • This drastically reduces the time span from the writing of the Old Testament books to our earliest copies of them
    • The Dead Sea scrolls have also repeatedly confirmed that the Old Testament Scriptures we had until discovering the DSS were extremely accurate! 99.5% accurate!
  • The Dead Sea Scrolls cont. Are they REALLY that accurate?
    • Of the 166 words in Isaiah 53, there are only 17 letters in question. Ten of these letters are simply a matter of spelling. Four more letters are minor stylistic changes. The remaining letters comprise the word “light” which is added in verse 11, and does not affect the meaning.
    • In other words, in one chapter of 166 words, there is only one word (3 letters) in question after a thousand years of transmission!
  • We can confidently say that what we have today is what was originally written!
    • To think otherwise means that you must also write-off and discredit the works of:
    • Socrates
    • Aristotle
    • Homer
    • Shakespeare
    • All of their works have much LESS Bibliographical Evidence than the Old & New Testaments!
    • If we ask the question, “Does the Bible Pass the Bibliographical Test ?” – the answer is a resounding YES !
  • The Second Consideration The Internal Test What Does the Bible Claim to Be?
    • When we examine the Bible, we are really examining the truth claims of several different authors of the Bible and allowing them to speak for themselves.
    • A number of biblical authors claim that their accounts are primary, not secondary.
    • Let’s hear what they have to say. . .
  • The Internal Test – Part 1 Eyewitness claims of the writers . . .
    • Luke 1:1-3 Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, 2 just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. 3 Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account
    • 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.
    • I John 1:3 We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard
  • Is the Internal Test Circular Reasoning?
    • Often it sounds like one is using the testimony of the Bible to prove that the Bible is true.
    • “ How do I know dat da Bible is true? Cuz it sez so!”
    • Let’s use an illustration to help us understand the Internal Test better . . .
  • The Bible and Superman!
    • If your friend told you that he was superman, you’d probably want to evaluate the veracity of his claim.
    • How would you go about testing?
      • Can he bend steel?
      • Can he leap tall building in a single bound?
      • Can he tell you about embarrassing birthmarks?
      • Can he stop a speeding locomotive?
    • But what if we could not validate his claims by those external evidences?
    • You could think about his motive, his ability to tell the truth based on how close he was to the situation – this would be an Internal Test – ask “is this a trustworthy person?”
  • Internal Test Part 2 Were the authors trustworthy?
    • The Internal Test examines the reliability of those who penned the document and the claims of the document presents.
    • In most cases in the Bible the individual who received and recorded the truths of God were eyewitnesses to the events.  Thus, to deny the truthfulness and reliability of the writings you must also deny the truthfulness and reliability of the author, as well as those who later used their writings as the reliable and authentic word of God.
    • Those who recorded these thoughts were either suicidal or truthful.  In the New Testament day persecution of Christians was at its zenith; teaching, preaching, or recording the gospel was grounds for immediate execution.  Thus, only those who sincerely believed that what they were proclaiming was the truth, would be willing to openly risk their lives for the sake of what they recorded.  THINK : What did these men have to gain by recording what they did? Answer: Persecution and Death .
  • Internal Test Part 3 Harsh Honesty!
    • The Bible is painfully honest!
    • Moses is described as an insecure, reluctant leader who kills a man then runs for his life
    • David is a portrayed as a murderer and adulterer
    • The chosen race of Israel is described as being so bad they make Sodom and Gomorrah look good by comparison
    • The Apostles were portrayed as cowards, and Peter as a blasphemer when he denied Jesus Christ
  • Internal Test Part 4 Appeal to Other Eyewitnesses
    • One had better be careful when he says to his opposition, “You know this also,” because if he isn’t right in the details, it will be shoved right back down his throat.
    • Peter in Acts 2:22 -- "Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know.
    • Paul in Acts 26:25 -- "I am not insane, most excellent Festus," Paul replied. "What I am saying is true and reasonable. The king is familiar with these things, and I can speak freely to him. I am convinced that none of this has escaped his notice, because it was not done in a corner.
    • The multitudes of eyewitnesses who were alive when the New Testament books began to be circulated would have challenged blatant historical fabrications!
  • The Internal Test Part 5 General Internal Claims
    • 2 Timothy 3:16 -- All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness
    • 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.
    • Matthew 5:18 -- "For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass away from the Law, until all is accomplished.
    • Psalms 119:89 -- Your word, O LORD, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens.
    • Those are some pretty hefty assertions!
  • Back to Superman
    • All right, I want some external proof! Start bending those steel rods and leaping over some buildings Soops!
    • Thankfully, the Bible refers to many people, places, and events which we can externally research to see if the Bible’s claims are valid.
    • We will now review the third TEST for discerning the authenticity of the Scriptures, THE EXTERNAL TEST
  • The EXTERNAL Test Part 1 Archaeological Evidence Old Testament
    • The “Hittites” were once thought to be a fabled race that couldn’t have possibly existed. Critics mocked passages like:
      • Genesis 23:10 -- Ephron the Hittite was sitting among his people and he replied to Abraham in the hearing of all the Hittites who had come to the gate of his city.
    • Archaeological finds from 1871-1906 has produced literally hundreds of references overlapping more than 1,200 years of Hittite civilization
  • The EXTERNAL Test Part 1 Archaeological Evidence – Old Testament
    • Another personage who was in doubt was Belshazzar , king of Babylon, named in Daniel 5 . The last king of Babylon was Nabonidus according to recorded history. Tablets were found showing that Belshazzar was Nabonidus' son who served as coregent in Babylon.
    The tablets were found in 1876, by Sir Henry Rawlinson
  • The EXTERNAL Test Part 1 Archaeological Evidence – Old Testament
    • The Black STELE
    • According to the documentary hypothesis (JEDP), Moses did not write the Pentateuch because writing was nonexistent in Moses' time or was only used sparingly. The Black Stele had detailed laws of Hammurabi, showing that writing predated Mosaic times by more than 300 years.
  • The EXTERNAL Test Part 1 Archaeological Evidence Old Testament
    • The Clay Tablet of Ebla
    • The discovery of the Ebla archive in northern Syria in the 1970s has shown the Biblical writings concerning the Patriarchs to be viable. Documents written on clay tablets from around 2300 B.C. demonstrate that personal and place names in the Patriarchal accounts are genuine. The name "Canaan" was in use in Ebla, a name critics once said was not used at that time and was used incorrectly in the early chapters of the Bible. The word "tehom" ("the deep") in Genesis 1:2 was said to be a late word demonstrating the late writing of the creation story. "Tehom" was part of the vocabulary at Ebla, in use some 800 years before Moses.
  • The EXTERNAL Test Part 1 Archaeological Evidence New Testament
    • Sir William Ramsay: “It was gradually borne upon me that in various details the narrative showed marvelous truth.”
    • “ Luke is a historian of first rank; not merely are his statements of fact trustworthy . . . this author should be placed along with the very greatest of historians.”
    • Critics argued “no census,” “no such governor as ‘Quirinius,” and “people didn’t really have to return to their ancestral home.”
    • But archaeology has proven ALL of the claims of the gospel of LUKE to be valid historically.
  • The EXTERNAL Test Part 1 Archaeological Evidence New Testament
    • Paul in Romans 16:23 -- Romans 16:23 -- . . . Erastus, who is the city's director of public works, and our brother Quartus send you their greetings .
    • A pavement was found in the 1929 excavation of Corinth inscribed:
      • “ Erastus, curator of public buildings, laid this pavement at his own expense”
  • The EXTERNAL Test Part 1 Archaeological Evidence New Testament
    • Pontius Pilate
    • His existence was regarded as highly unlikely by skeptics
    • In 1961, two Italian archaeologists discovered a two-foot by three-foot inscription in Latin. What did it say?
    • “ Pontius Pilate, Prefect of Judea, has presented the Tiberium to the Caesareans.”
  • The EXTERNAL Test Part 1 Archaeological Evidence
    • The list goes on and on and on!
    • People, places, events mentioned in the Bible are established as historical fact!
    • There are no existing discrepancies between archaeology and the Bible
    • Truly, with every turn of the archaeologist’s spade, we continue to see evidence for the trustworthiness of Scripture.
  • The EXTERNAL Test Part 2 Fulfilled Prophecy Old Testament
    • Ezekiel’s prediction of the destruction of Tyre in Ezekiel 26
    • Specific prophecies:
      • Nebuchadnezzar would destroy the city
      • Many nations will come against Tyre
      • She will be made a bare rock
      • Fishermen will spread nets over the site
      • She will never be rebuilt
    • All these have come to pass! Extra-biblical evidence proves it!
  • The EXTERNAL Test Part 2 Fulfilled Prophecy Old Testament
    • Cyrus – prophecy from Isaiah
    • The prophet Isaiah, writing about 700BC, names Cyrus as the king who will say to Jerusalem that it shall be built and that the Temple foundation shall be laid – Isaiah 44:28; 54:1
    • The amazing aspects of this prophecy are . . .
    • Cyrus would not be born for about a hundred years
    • The temple was still standing in Isaiah’s day!
    • It happened just like Isaiah said!
  • The EXTERNAL Test Part 2 Fulfilled Prophecy Jesus Christ
    • Messianic prophecies – in Isaiah!
    • In the Old Testament there are sixty major messianic prophecies and approximately 270 ramifications that were fulfilled in one person, Jesus Christ.
    • The task of matching up God’s address with one man is further complicated by the fact that all the prophecies of the Messiah were made at least 400 years before He was to appear.
    • Could these prophecies have been written down AFTER the time of Christ?
    • Not according to the Septuagint, which was translated around 150-200BC and leaves at LEAST a 200 year gap between the prophecies being recorded and their fulfillment in Christ.
  • Does the Bible Pass the EXTERNAL Test?
    • According to Archaeology – YES
    • According to Extra-Biblical writings that verify biblical events, personages and even Christ and His crucifixion – YES
    • According to Fulfilled Prophecy -- YES
  • Additional Considerations – the UNITY of the Bible
    • Forty different authors writing over a period of 1,600 years penned the 66 books of the Bible. Four hundred silent years separated the 39 books of the Old Testament from the 27 of the New Testament. Yet, from Genesis to Revelation, they tell one unfolding story
  • Additional Considerations – The SURVIVAL of the Bible
    • Its Survival The books of Moses were written 500 years before the earliest Hindu Scriptures. Moses wrote Genesis 2,000 years before Muhammad penned the Koran. During that long history, no other book has been as loved or as hated as the Bible. No other book has been so consistently bought, studied, and quoted as this book. While millions of other titles come and go, the Bible is still the book by which all other books are measured. While often ignored by those who are uncomfortable with its teachings, it is still the central book of Western civilization.
  • Additional Considerations – its Power to Transform Lives
    • The Power of a Personal Testimony and Transformed Life
    • The promise of God . . .
    • Jeremiah 29:13 -- And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.