Can I Really Trust The Bible


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Can I Really Trust The Bible

  1. 1. CAN I REALLY TRUST THE BIBLE? C CONTENTS an I find good reason to accept its ancient Objections To perspectives? It’s an old The Bible’s Reliability . . . 2 book in a world where age is no This Book Is Different . . 4 longer considered a virtue. If I’m going to trust it, I have to have You Can Trust The Bible! . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 good reason to do so. At stake are issues as timely as my Its Personal Claims . . . . . 7 approach to sexuality, marriage, Its Protected Text . . . . . 12 work, and worship. Its Proven Accuracy . . . . 17 If such thoughts go through Its Profound Impact . . . 24 your mind from time to time, then we would like to offer some How We Got Our Bible . . . . . . . . . . . 28 help. This booklet has been written by our staff to show the “We Tried To Prove It Wrong” . . . . . . . . . . . 30 ongoing reliability of the Bible. We hope that it will give you a Thinking It Over . . . . . . 32 new appreciation for this book, which countless generations have found to be more than worthy of their trust. Martin R. De Haan II Managing Editor: David Sper Cover Photo:Terry Bidgood Scripture quotations are from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission.All rights reserved. © 1986,200,2003 RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, Michigan Printed in USA © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  2. 2. OBJECTIONS A person who thinks this TO THE BIBLE’S way feels that the Bible is full of scientific errors and RELIABILITY therefore cannot be trusted M ore than 55,000 in spiritual matters either. different books Because of their are published in naturalistic assumptions, the United States each many scientists take issue year. They cover every with the miracles in the subject imaginable, from Bible. They question the artichokes to zucchini, scientific validity of the from anthropology to accounts of the sun zoology, from Afghanistan standing still, the Israelites to Zimbabwe. But people being fed with quail, or who trust the Bible say it Jonah surviving in the belly is different from any other of a huge fish for 3 days. book ever published. They “The Bible is say it is the only book historically inaccurate.” authored by God and thus People who believe the the only book that shows Bible insist that it comes us how to know Him, how from God and is error-free. to live, and how to receive That’s why those who do eternal life. not agree often point out Many people don’t what they feel to be agree. They think the Bible historical inaccuracies. is flawed and unreliable, Whenever they find and obviously not written something in archaeology by God. Here’s what some or ancient records that of them are saying: seems to contradict a “The Bible is not biblical statement, they scientifically reliable.” jump to the conclusion that 2 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  3. 3. the Bible is wrong. Unless as sexuality, marriage, every biblical name is ethics, and business. authenticated through “The Bible is the work research and every fact of man.” The people who verified by historical study, say this think that the Bible they assume that the Bible is the product of man’s is in error. fertile imaginations and ancient mythological traditions. They place it in Many people think the same category as the the Bible is flawed Greek stories of the gods on Olympus or the writings of and unreliable. Confucius or Muhammad. To them, the Bible is just “The Bible is outdated.” another religious book. Not too many books are still So, many people reject being printed today that the claim that the Bible is were finished 2,000 years God’s Word. And they ago. But that very mark object to the idea that it of the Bible’s greatness is is a book we can trust with interpreted by some as a our life and destiny. But to point of weakness and reject the Bible, as we will disinterest. Modern-day see in the pages to follow, thinkers who have is to close one’s eyes to an developed new philosophies overwhelming amount of and theories about life claim evidence in its favor. And that no book written so more important, it is to many centuries ago could ignore the reality of have anything relevant to mankind’s own spiritual say to our modern world— need—and the rescue especially on such specifics offered in its message. 3 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  4. 4. THIS BOOK IS for example, teaches that DIFFERENT there are many gods, that God Himself was once T he Bible is not man, and that man has the different just because potential of becoming God. it claims to have come By contrast, the Bible from God. The Koran was claims that the one true supposed to have been God became a man in the revealed to Muhammad incomparable Person of by the archangel Gabriel. Jesus Christ. A British expert Similarly, Joseph Smith, on comparative religions, the founder of Mormonism, J. N. D. Anderson, wrote: claimed to have been given Other religions may a special revelation from indeed include the belief God engraved on golden that God, or one of the plates. Other religions also gods, manifested himself maintain that their sacred once, or many times, in writings were revealed by human form. . . . But God. Christianity alone has The Bible is totally dared to claim that different, however, in its “the one, omnipresent, view of God, its view of omniscient ground of man, its view of salvation, all existence” has and its view of truth. uniquely intervened 1. Its View Of God. in His creation, not by The Bible presents God as assuming the mere form Sovereign Lord of all (1 Chr. or appearance of a man, 29:11); as a God of mercy, but by actually becoming love, and goodness (Ps. incarnate (Christianity 145:9); and as one God (Dt. And Religion, p.51). 6:4). But Mormon doctrine, 2. Its View Of Man. 4 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  5. 5. While the holy books of cruel and inhumane views many other religions either of the world’s religions. exalt man or debase him, Hindus, for example, the Bible gives a more often involve themselves in balanced and realistic agonizing acts to merit God’s picture. First, it does not favor. Buddhists follow an make man out to be more eightfold discipline of self- than he is, as did the denial. Muslims engage in ancient Greek Heraclitus a strict regimen of fasting who said, “The gods are and prayer to earn God’s immortal men, and men approval. are mortal gods.” Second, The Bible, however, it does not make man less offers man salvation in the than he is, as psychologist God-man, Jesus Christ. It is B. F. Skinner did by saying not a salvation by works, man is nothing more than a but by grace through faith. complex organism controlled 4. Its View Of Truth. by his environment. While other religious books By contrast, the Bible are filled with unconfirmed alone does justice to both claims and philosophies, the high and the low sides the Bible supports its of human nature. It tells of claims with historical and man’s creation in the image geographical facts. This of God, is realistic about his is why the first-century sin, upholds his personal Christians gave so much responsibility, and gives emphasis to the good news him hope for the future. of the resurrected Christ. 3. Its View Of Their message was to be Salvation. The salvation accepted not merely on the of man as presented in the authority of their words but Bible differs vastly from the on verifiable evidence. 5 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  6. 6. YOU CAN TRUST hope beyond the grave? THE BIBLE! Once again, if we can show that we have good I f the Bible can give us reason to believe that the good evidence that it Bible has come to us from has come to us from God, then we also have a God, then we can see why book we can trust—a book it makes so much sense to like no other book this trust its authority. This is world has ever known. the pattern we follow in In the following pages, other areas of life. When we will organize this we are sick, we don’t ask a evidence for the reliability painter for a diagnosis and of the Bible into four basic a prescription. Instead, we categories: its personal look for someone qualified claims, its protected text, to give us reliable medical its proven accuracy, and treatment. its profound impact. And what about More specifically, these the deeper, most basic categories can be broken decisions of life? Where down into the following 10 do we go when we want lines of evidence: (1) the to know what’s right and Bible’s claims for itself, what’s wrong? Who do we (2) Christ’s claims for it, ask about the origin and (3) the writers’ claims for it, meaning of life? Where (4) its textual unity, do we turn when we are (5) its textual preservation, overwhelmed with a sense (6) its historical accuracy, of sin and our terrible (7) its scientific accuracy, weakness? How can we (8) its prophetic accuracy, find rescue, information (9) its social impact, and about the future, and (10) its personal impact. 6 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  7. 7. As we look at these 10 the writers of this book lines of evidence, which were convinced that it was support our conviction that uniquely God-given. We the Bible is the Word of will look at three claims in God, our sincere hope is this section: (1) the Bible’s that you too will be claims for itself, (2) Christ’s convinced that the Bible is claims for it, and (3) the a book you can trust. writers’ claims for it. 1.The Bible’s ITS PERSONAL Claims For Itself. The CLAIMS Bible claims, first of all, to be the Word of God to man MAN’S TRUST (2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Pet. 1:20- 10. 21). That may not seem to 9. be a very strong reason for 8. us to trust it. But it is a 7. good place to start. If the 6. Bible didn’t make that claim 5. 4. for itself, we would have to 3. Writers’ Claims take it upon ourselves to do 2. Christ’s Claims so. In this regard, the Bible 1. Bible’s Self Claims claims that even though it was written by human GOD’S WORD authors, it was inspired by The evidence for the God. And if it truly is what reliability of the Bible it claims to be—a God- begins with the unusual inspired book—then it is claims surrounding it. As absolutely trustworthy. you spend time reading the When we say the Bible Bible, you will soon find is inspired, what do we overwhelming evidence that mean? For one thing, we 7 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  8. 8. do not mean the kind of and is profitable for inspiration that comes to doctrine, for reproof, for an author trying to write a correction, for instruction book or a mechanic trying in righteousness to find out what’s wrong (2 Tim. 3:16). with a car. As they struggle The word translated with a problem, they may “inspiration” means “God- suddenly see a solution and breathed.” This tells us that say they were hit with a the Bible originated in the bolt of inspiration. mind of God. The Holy This is not what we Spirit influenced the mean when we say that the individual Bible writers to Bible writers were inspired. put down the message God Rather, we mean that their wanted mankind to have. writing was initiated and A second important controlled by God Himself. passage that expresses In a supernatural way, the Bible’s claim to be the the Holy Spirit led Moses, Word of God is in one of Isaiah, Matthew, Paul, and the apostle Peter’s letters: the other Bible authors to Knowing this first, write the message of God that no prophecy of to man. Scripture is of any private The Bible’s unusual interpretation [origin], for claim to be the inspired prophecy never came by Word of God is made clear the will of man, but holy in several key passages. men of God spoke as they Let’s look at three of them. were moved by the Holy The first is in Paul’s second Spirit (2 Pet. 1:20-21). letter to Timothy: These verses make a All Scripture is given tremendous claim! They say by inspiration of God, that the Bible prophets did 8 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  9. 9. not originate what they In both the Old and New wrote. Rather, they recorded Testaments, it is the message what was given to them by of God to people of all God. They were moved ages—a book you can trust! (literally “borne along”) by the Holy Spirit. Now, that doesn’t mean that That Christ relied their individual personality on the Scriptures or style of writing was overpowered. It means that may be our they were kept from having greatest reason any error creep into what to do so. they wrote. They were moved by the Holy Spirit to record only what God 2. Christ’s Claims wanted man to know. For The Bible. While The Bible’s claim, then, Jesus Christ was on earth, is that it was written by He affirmed the Bible’s God. It is not man’s book, claims for itself. In what He it is God’s book. Paul said about it and in the way informed us that the He used it, the Son of God spiritual truth he gave showed the Bible to be the was “not in words which Word of God. Consider the man’s wisdom teaches following: but which the Holy Spirit a. He used titles for teaches” (1 Cor. 2:13). the Bible that showed Yes, the Bible claims its authenticity: to be the inspired Word of • “The Word of God” God—powerful, living, and (Mk. 7:13; Jn. 10:35). indestructible (1 Jn. 1:1-3; • “Scripture” (Lk. 4:21; Heb. 4:12; 1 Pet. 1:23-25). Jn. 5:39; 10:35). 9 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  10. 10. • “The commandment f. He used the of God” (Mk. 7:8). authority of Scripture to b. He accepted refute the temptations of the persons and Satan in the wilderness events mentioned (Mt. 4:4,7,10). in the Old Testament In the way Jesus Christ as historical: quoted and used the • Adam and Eve Scriptures, He made it clear (Mt. 19:4-5). that He accepted its claims • Noah and the flood for itself to be true. While (Mt. 24:37-39). He was on earth, the living • Lot, Lot’s wife, and Word affirmed the written Sodom (Lk. 17:28-32). Word. • Jonah (Mt. 12:38-41). 3.The Writers’ c. He saw His own Claims For The Bible. words as Scripture and The individual writers therefore to be believed affirmed the Bible’s claims (Jn. 12:48-49). for itself by accepting the d. He held people other parts of the Bible as responsible for what was the Word of God. They also written in the Scriptures affirmed it by the way they (Mt. 12:3). saw themselves as part of e. He used Scripture God’s plan for making as conclusive evidence in Himself known to man. answering His critics: First, let’s look at how • John 10:35, quoting the Bible authors viewed Psalm 82:6. the Scriptures: • Matthew 22:32, quoting • When Daniel read Exodus 3:6,15. Jeremiah’s prophecy that • Matthew 22:42-44, the Babylonian captivity quoting Psalm 110:1. would last 70 years, he 10 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  11. 11. accepted it as true and Lord came to me” (1:4). began to pray and plan • God commissioned accordingly (Dan. 9:2). Ezekiel to go to his • Peter accepted the people and tell them, supernatural origin of “Thus says the Lord the writings of the Old God” (3:11). Testament prophets • Paul claimed that the (2 Pet. 1:21). words he spoke were • Peter also accepted the directly from God (Gal. supernatural origin of 1:11-12; 1 Th. 2:13). the writings of Paul, even though he found them hard to understand If the evidence is (2 Pet. 3:15-16). what it seems to • John said that the writings of the apostles, along with be, then the Bible is his own writings, were not just a book— inspired by God and it is the book. authoritative (1 Jn. 4:6). Second, the Bible writers saw themselves as Let’s sum up what we communicating the Word of have said. The Bible claims God. Look at the following to be the book of God. passages: Christ affirmed this claim. • The prophet Isaiah And the Bible writers began his book by themselves affirmed it by proclaiming, “For the accepting as Scripture the Lord has spoken” (1:2). writings of their fellow • Jeremiah opened his biblical authors and by prophecy by saying, seeing themselves as “Then the word of the writing the words of God. 11 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  12. 12. ITS PROTECTED author often contain glaring TEXT discrepancies in philosophy, facts, style, or ideas. Even MAN’S TRUST those written by one author 10. may contain contradictions 9. in fact or logic. Those who 8. have given their lives to a 7. study of the Scriptures, 6. however, are continually 5. Textual Preservation 4. Textual Unity amazed at its unity and 3. Writers’ Claims consistency of doctrine. 2. Christ’s Claims Josh McDowell, a well- 1. Bible’s Self Claims known apologist for Christianity, was approached GOD’S WORD by a salesman for the Great The supernatural protection Books Of The Western World of the text of the Bible is series. This set includes the another reason for trusting writings of the leading it. This protection occurred thinkers throughout the in two forms: (a) its unity history of Western man. amid great diversity, and (b) McDowell challenged the the miraculous preservation representative to take 10 of of the text itself. Let’s look the authors from the same at the two ways God has walk of life, the same time protected the text of His period, the same country, Word. and the same language and 4. Its Unity In ask them about one basic Diversity. The writings of subject. “Would they agree?” man are marked by disunity Josh asked. The man said, and contradiction. Books “Are you kidding? You would written by more than one have a conglomeration!” 12 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  13. 13. The amazing unity of the shepherd (Amos), Bible, therefore, merits our king (David), servant trust. From Genesis to (Nehemiah), doctor Revelation, the Bible tells a (Luke), tax collector single story: the rescue of (Matthew), and mankind from sin through Pharisee (Paul). the death of Jesus Christ. • It was written on three The Old Testament presents continents: Asia, Africa, Him as the hope of and Europe. mankind; the New • A gap of more than Testament shows Him to be 400 years separated the fulfillment of that hope. the writing of the Old Now, if the Bible had Testament from the New been written by one person Testament—equivalent at one time, one could to the timespan from the understand how it would be days of Sir Francis Drake unified in general thoughts to today. and specific details. But In spite of this wide consider these diversities diversity, the Bible is one in its origin: book. As branches, roots, • It was written by 40 trunk, and leaves are part different authors. of one tree, so the parts of • It was written over a the Bible make up a single period of 1,600 years. unit. It agrees in doctrine, • It was written in three details of prophecy, what it languages: Hebrew, says about Jesus Christ, Greek, and Aramaic. and its offer of rescue to • Its writers came from mankind. It is a unified many walks of life: book made up of many prophet (Jeremiah), books. It is a book you priest (Zechariah), can trust! 13 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  14. 14. 5. Its Textual The Old Testament. Preservation. The Bible The Old Testament books is also a book to be trusted were written primarily in because its text has been Hebrew. They were recorded miraculously preserved. either on papyrus (a grassy None of the original reed whose inner bark was manuscripts written by the dried and glued together to biblical authors are still in form a paperlike substance) existence. All of them were or parchment (the scraped either lost or destroyed and dried skins of animals). centuries ago. This has When a copy wore out, a new copy was made and the old one destroyed. “The grass withers, But that was not an easy the flower fades, task. They did not have copy machines like we do but the Word today, so it had to be done of our God by hand. Stringent rules stands forever.” were followed by the scribes Isaiah 40:8 to keep errors from creeping in. The methods used by the Masoretes had been caused some critics of the followed for centuries, Bible to question the purity from AD 500-900. These of the texts we now have. dedicated Hebrew scholars But we can be confident had an elaborate counting that the Bibles we hold in system for assuring our hands were translated accuracy. First, they from texts that for all would count all the letters practical purposes are the on a page. Then, when they same as the originals. finished copying the page, 14 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  15. 15. they would count the letters pocket the cliffs on the copy to see if the surrounding the Dead Sea. numbers agreed. This would To his surprise, he heard keep them from copying a something shatter. When he word twice, omitting a word, crawled in to investigate, he skipping a line, or copying found a broken pottery jar the same line twice. If the and some old manuscripts, counts did not agree, they including one of the book of would destroy the copy they Isaiah. This was the first of had just worked over so the collection of what came laboriously and start again. to be known as the Dead Because of this system, Sea Scrolls. the Hebrew texts since AD Word of the 900 are virtually free from discovery spread, and error. But what about the soon archaeologists were years before 900? Most of excavating caves throughout the Old Testament was the area. They found written centuries earlier, and fragments of every Old the last book, Malachi, was Testament book and some finished nearly 400 years complete manuscripts. before Christ was born. But how did these Couldn’t a lot of errors have compare with the Masoretic crept in during that time? text? The careful work of That question could textual comparison began, not have been answered and soon it was found that with certainty before the there was no difference discovery of the Dead Sea between the text of the Scrolls. One hot, dusty day Dead Sea Scrolls and those in 1947, an Arab boy threw of the Masoretes. Even a stone into one of the though these scrolls were hundreds of caves that copied almost 1,000 years 15 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  16. 16. earlier, they were almost Testament writers. There are identical to the Masoretic some minor variations, but text! On the basis of this none of them change the astounding evidence, we meaning of the passage in can be assured that the Old which they are found. Most Testament text has been of these differences are accurately preserved and variations in spelling, like that we can read it as the the British “labour” and the reliable Word of God. American “labor.” A huge The New Testament. number of manuscripts or What has been said of the fragments of the New Old Testament can also be Testament have been said of the New. It also has discovered and compared. been kept from error over the It is by far the most well- centuries. Although its books attested document of its era. were copied thousands of Consider these comparisons: times and distributed widely • Caesar’s Gallic Wars among the early churches, it 10 Manuscripts too has been protected from Earliest Date: AD 900 error. • Livy’s History Of Rome New Testament scholars 20 Manuscripts and textual experts have Earliest Date: AD 400 studied with painstaking • Thucydides’ History care the thousands of 8 Manuscripts manuscripts that have been Earliest Date: AD 900 discovered. They assure us • Herodotus’ History that the texts from which 8 Manuscripts our Bibles were translated Earliest Date: AD 900 are virtually identical to • The New Testament those written by Matthew, 14,000 Manuscripts Paul, and the other New Earliest Date: AD 125 16 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  17. 17. Two important finds have preservation, is another been made in recent years reason we can trust the that have added significant Bible. evidence for the authenticity of the New Testament text. ITS PROVEN The first, the Rylands ACCURACY Library Papyri, contains a fragment from John 18 that MAN’S TRUST has been dated at AD 125. 10. The second, the Chester 9. Beatty collection of papyri, 8. Prophetic Accuracy 7. Scientific Accuracy contains almost all of 6. Historical Accuracy the New Testament and 5. Textual Preservation dates between AD 200 4. Textual Unity and AD 275. 3. Writers’ Claims The meticulous work 2. Christ’s Claims being done in textual 1. Bible’s Self Claims studies of both Testaments by brilliant scholars, most GOD’S WORD of them non-Christians, When the Bible mentions has given us every reason historical facts, alludes to to be confident that we science, or predicts the know what the original future, its accuracy gives manuscripts said—even evidence that it is a book though we do not have any you can trust. What of them. True, there are would you expect from a variants, but they are very cookbook? You certainly minor in importance and would not want a collection affect no essential teaching. of original recipes written The protection of the text, by a chef whose greatest both in unity and in culinary achievement was 17 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  18. 18. pouring milk on a bowl of right to doubt what it says breakfast cereal. You would about God. If part of the expect the author to have Bible were to be proven proven cooking skills and wrong, then the rest of it be able to give accurate would be suspect. However, measurements and exact the Bible has proven itself cooking times. You would to be reliable in history, also expect the ingredients science, and fulfilled to be tasty and nutritious. prophecy. Its record is What, then, should we accurate and trustworthy. expect from a book that claims to be the written record of the word and If part of the Bible works of God and His were to be proven relationship with mankind? We have wrong, then the every right to expect this rest of it would book to meet the highest be suspect. standards of accuracy. Did the Bible writers know what they were talking 6. Its Accuracy In about? Can the history, History. The Bible claims science, and prophecy to present an accurate of the Bible be trusted? record of the real history In a book where the of man. The Old and New history of man and the Testaments are filled with revelation of God are so references to specific intertwined, if we have people, places, and events. doubts concerning what it The biblical world is not a says about man and his world of make-believe. The world, we will also have a events of the Bible took 18 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  19. 19. place in our world with no archaeological discovery people like you and me. has ever controverted a The serious challenges to biblical reference” (Rivers the historical accuracy of the In The Desert: History Of Bible are being answered by Neteg, p.31). the work of archaeologists. The discoveries not long They are uncovering more ago of tablets in the ancient and more evidence to verify city of Ebla in northern Syria the historical record of the has brought to light a wealth Bible. of historical material that For example, the Old supports the biblical record. Testament mentioned a An article in Time magazine people known as the Hittites reported, “Their discovery nearly 50 times. But for does more than provide centuries, those who studied documentary evidence of a the ancient world questioned little known kingdom that the Bible because they had existed between 2400 and discovered no evidence of 2250 BC; it also provides such a people. In 1906, the best evidence to date however, the Hittite capital that some of the people was uncovered about 90 described in the Old miles east of Ankara, the Testament actually existed” capital of Turkey. (October 18, 1976, p.63). As time goes on, the The New Testament questions of the critics are record is also supported by being answered by reliable research and discovery. The scholarship and the findings gospel of Luke and the of the archaeologist’s spade. book of Acts (both written Nelson Glueck, a Jewish by Luke) have gained the archaeologist, said, “It may respect of scholars who be stated categorically that have investigated their 19 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  20. 20. numerous references to literary maneuvering” people and places in the (History And Christianity, Jewish and Roman worlds. p.40). Concerning Luke, F. F. 7. Its Accuracy In Bruce has written, “A man Science. Do the Bible and whose accuracy can be science conflict? Do we have demonstrated in matters to make a choice whether where we are able to test it we are going to live by either is likely to be accurate even religious faith or scientific when means of testing him data? From the way some are not available” (The New people talk you might think Testament Documents: Are there is a legitimate choice. They Reliable? p.90). But there is not. The So the believability of the apparent conflicts result New Testament in matters from unjustified conclusions of our physical world lends made on both sides—either credibility to what it says by those who go beyond the about the spiritual world. limits of proper Bible John Warwick Montgomery interpretation or by those has written, “What, then, who go beyond the limits of does a historian know about science to equate theory Jesus Christ? He knows, first with fact. and foremost, that the New Debate arose in Galileo’s Testament documents can time because some religious be relied upon to give an leaders foolishly spoke out accurate portrait of Him. on a matter of science and And he knows that this said that the earth was the portrait cannot be center of the solar system. rationalized away by wishful And conflict still exists today thinking, philosophical on matters of science. One presuppositionalism, or group uses scientific data to 20 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  21. 21. conclude dogmatically that figures of speech to describe all of life is the result of an facets of life that science evolutionary process that would explain in different began with the most terms. For example, it speaks elemental forms of life. of the sun setting and of the Others interpret the data four corners of the earth. differently to say that the Scientists, of course, would complexity of life as we see not accept these statements it today could only have as accurate. But they were been the result of divine never meant to be taken creation. Those who deny literally. When the Bible miracles are at odds with does speak directly about those who say that the matters of science, however, miracles recorded in the it speaks correctly. Bible actually happened. This is because people who deny God reject the view of The God who those who believe in a created the supernatural God who at times intervened in the universe and set affairs of men. in motion the laws The heart of the apparent that govern our conflict between science and the Bible is not the actual world is the same data; it is in the underlying God who inspired beliefs of the two sides and the Bible. their conclusions. The information is the same for both. In the final analysis, The Bible is not a science the Bible and science are in textbook. It often uses perfect agreement. The God 21 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  22. 22. who created the universe proven that it can be trusted. and set in motion the laws It has never been wrong in that govern our world is the its diagnosis of man’s ills. same God who inspired the It has never made false Bible. He is the God of truth promises. It has never given and does not contradict man reason to think it is a Himself. Therefore, when the collection of fables and lies. Bible is interpreted correctly One clear confirmation of and science arrives at proven its reliability is the accuracy conclusions, they will be in of its prophecy. The Bible perfect agreement. itself offers the standards 8. Its Accuracy In by which to test those Prophecy. What would who claim to speak you think of a doctor who authoritatively about had told you that you would the future. It says in never have any heart Deuteronomy 18:20-22 problems, and then you that the test of a prophet’s suffered a heart attack as authority is the accuracy of you walked out of his office? his predictions. The Bible What would be your opinion contains hundreds of of a politician who promised prophecies, so we can economic prosperity, but measure it by its own test. whose policies actually led Some of the most to a serious depression? dramatic examples of fulfilled You would have a legitimate Bible prophecy are those reason to doubt what they concerning Jesus Christ. said about the future. You Isaiah 52:13 through 53:12 might wonder whom you and Psalm 22, for instance, could believe. record specific details The Bible is not like about death by crucifixion that. The Word of God has hundreds of years before this 22 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  23. 23. terrible form of execution (Ezek. 26). It happened was ever practiced. exactly as predicted. First, Note these specific Nebuchadnezzar destroyed prophecies about Jesus the city, then Alexander had Christ that were literally his men use the ruins to fulfilled: build a causeway out to PROPHECY FULFILLMENT Isa. 7:14 Born of a virgin Lk. 1:26-35 Mic. 5:2 Born in Bethlehem Mt. 2:1 Isa. 7:14 Called Immanuel Mt. 1:23 Isa. 9:1-2 Ministry in Galilee Mt. 4:12-16 Zech. 9:9 Triumphal entry Mt. 21:1-11 Ps. 41:9 Betrayed by a friend Mt. 26:20-25 Ps. 35:11 Falsely accused Mt. 26:59-68 Isa. 53:7 Silent before accusers Mt. 27:12-14 Ps. 22:16 Hands and feet pierced Jn. 20:25 Isa. 53:12 Crucified with robbers Mt. 27:38 Ps. 22:18 Lots cast for clothes Jn. 19:23-24 Ps. 34:20 Bones not broken Jn. 19:33 Ps. 22:15 Thirsted on the cross Jn. 19:28 Isa. 53:9 Buried in tomb of rich Mt. 27:57-60 Another example of an offshore island where fulfilled prophecy was the the people had fled. That destruction of the city of causeway may still be seen Tyre. Hundreds of years today as a silent witness to before, Ezekiel had the accuracy of Bible predicted that the city would prophecy. be destroyed and the ruins Daniel accurately scraped off and dumped into predicted the succession the sea, never to be rebuilt of four great world powers: 23 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  24. 24. Babylonia, Medo-Persia, of life” (Phil. 2:16). Its Greece, and Rome (Dan. message is the gospel, which 2,7). it calls “the power of God to The predictions of the salvation” (Rom. 1:16). And judgment of God against it refers to itself as the Nineveh (Nah. 1–3), “living and powerful” Word Ammon and Moab (Jer. of God (Heb. 4:12). It’s one 48–49), Babylon (Isa. 13–14; thing to claim to be living Jer. 51), and Edom (Isa. 34; and powerful; it’s quite Jer. 49; Ezek. 25,35) were all another to live up to it. fulfilled as prophesied. Whenever the Bible MAN’S TRUST speaks prophetically, 10. Personal Impact therefore, it is accurate. 9. Social Impact Hundreds of prophecies 8. Prophetic Accuracy have been literally fulfilled. 7. Scientific Accuracy 6. Historical Accuracy On this basis, we can also 5. Textual Preservation believe what the Bible has 4. Textual Unity to say about things to come. 3. Writers’ Claims It has already proven itself! 2. Christ’s Claims 1. Bible’s Self Claims ITS PROFOUND IMPACT GOD’S WORD The Bible has also proven 9. Its Impact On itself trustworthy in its Society. Wherever the impact on societies and on Bible has been taken and its individuals. Its power to message accepted, it has change lives is seen profoundly affected the wherever it has been taken culture into which it was by messengers of the gospel. brought. When an honest The Bible is called the “word investigation is made, it 24 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  25. 25. becomes evident that the and the spirits of men are Bible has been instrumental lifted. Try to imagine what in bringing about higher would have happened to morality, social change, mankind without the high improved living conditions, view of the Bible. Take away and a better life. In lands its teaching about human where slavery was practiced, dignity and individual the power of the Word of worth, and see what is left. God brought conviction of Eliminate the moral impact the wrong and emancipation of the great preachers and for those in bondage. In Christian reformers, and places where women were consider the plight the world treated little better than would be in. Remove from animals, the preaching of our art galleries the the gospel brought them paintings inspired by Jesus new respect and freedom Christ. Take down from our from tyranny and library shelves the books debasement. In areas that find their inspiration where cruelty and severe and theme in the Scriptures. oppression were common, Empty the world of the lofty the coming of the Bible oratorios and uplifting music brought kindness, toleration, of the church. Eliminate and humane treatment. The from the cities and villages plight of children and the of the earth the magnificent handicapped, who were cathedrals and little white- sometimes shamefully frame church buildings that mistreated, improved have been centers of hope greatly when the Bible came and peace for troubled lives and its truth was accepted. down through the ages. Take When the Bible is it all away, and what is left? received, the aspirations A Milton without a poem; a 25 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  26. 26. Michelangelo without a in hearing and believing the theme; a Dante without a message of the Bible. It has vision; a Handel without provided new hope to the inspiration; a Whitefield despondent. It has brought without a sermon. quiet peace to the restless. Or take from mankind It has led lowly people to the high moral code of the greatness. It has raised Bible. What happens to our morality to its highest laws, our police, and our levels. It has worked judges? What happens to amazing deliverance and the weak, the defenseless, change for millions. the downtrodden, the Think of Augustine, lonely, and the despairing? brilliant scholar of the One shudders to think of fourth and fifth centuries. the tribulation that would Although his godly mother fall upon our world. prayed for him, he used his One trembles at the intellect and energies to live heartlessness, the cruelty, in wicked indulgence. But the deprivation of an he could not find peace. So unrestrained mankind. he began a long period of Yes, the Bible has made a searching and intense self- profound impact on society. examination. Tortured and That is undeniable. driven, he continued his 10. Its Impact On quest until he read these Individuals. Not only has words in the Bible: “Let the Bible had an impact on us walk properly, as in the society, it has also changed day, not in revelry and individuals. Despairing, drunkenness, not in helpless, wicked men and licentiousness and women on the brink of lewdness, not in strife and madness have found rescue envy. But put on the Lord 26 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  27. 27. Jesus Christ, and make no Martin Luther found provision for the flesh, to deliverance for his sin and fulfill its lusts” (Rom. 13:13- the spark that ignited the 14). Augustine later wrote Protestant Reformation about his response to this when he read these words: passage: “No further would “The just shall live by his I read; nor needed I. For faith” (Hab. 2:4). instantly at the end of this Chuck Colson, convicted sentence, by a light as it Watergate conspirator, came were of serenity infused into to the truth through the my heart, all the darkness of faithful witness and clear doubt vanished away.” This teaching of the Bible by former drunkard eventually some of his friends. He became the bishop of Hippo now directs Prison in northern Africa, founded Fellowship, a ministry for the first monastery in that prisoners. His book Born region, and influenced Again has influenced many much of Christian thought who were trapped by the by his brilliant writing. consequences of their Charles Haddon own behavior. Spurgeon vainly searched These stories could for peace until he heard this be repeated hundreds verse quoted by a country of thousands of times by preacher: “Look to Me, and people of all ages and from be saved, all you ends of all walks of life who have the earth! For I am God, had the deepest needs of and there is no other” their lives met by the power (Isa. 45:22). He became of the Bible. And it can do a popular and influential the same for you if you London pastor of the mid will open your heart to its to late 1800s. message and believe. 27 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  28. 28. HOW WE GOT immediately accepted as OUR BIBLE Scripture (Ex. 24:3; Josh. 24:26). The remaining W hat determined books were tested by the which books following principles: belong in the 1. Authorship by a Bible? How did we end up recognized prophet of with 39 books in the Old God or leader in Israel. Testament and 27 books in 2. Internal evidence the New Testament? These of its inspiration and questions are answered in authority. The reader a discussion of the “canon was able to recognize it as of Scripture.” The word unique in communicating canon means “a measuring the revelation of God. device” or “a standard.” 3. Writings containing Out of the many religious obvious doctrinal and writings that have been factual errors were circulated, only 66 books eliminated. Books accepted were accepted as inspired by the community that by God. While some were received them were given recognized immediately as priority consideration. authentic, it took some time 4. Further validation for others to be endorsed was given to certain Old as Scripture. Throughout Testament books when they the process, however, the were quoted from by Christ canon of Scripture was or the New Testament being determined by God, writers and referred to not by man. as Scripture. The Old Testament. The 12 books of the The writings of Moses and Apocrypha were not the book of Joshua were accepted as part of the 28 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  29. 29. biblical canon for these and carefully identified and reasons: eliminated questionable • They appeared in no works. The Councils of Hebrew canon. Hippo (AD 393) and • None were quoted in Carthage (AD 397) the New Testament. accepted the 27 books • They were not included that now appear in the in any early lists. New Testament. • Their content was too mythological. The New Testament. “The church The acceptance of the New no more gave us Testament books was based on the test of apostleship. the New Testament They were received if they canon than Sir were written by an apostle, Isaac Newton gave such as Peter or John, or by someone close to an apostle, us the force of such as Luke or Mark, who gravity. God gave us had apostolic authorization. gravity by His work We know that some false accounts of Christ’s life were of creation, and being distributed (Lk. 1:1-4), similarly He gave us as well as some false epistles the New Testament (2 Th. 2:2). Therefore, positive identification of the canon by inspiring New Testament books was the original books necessary. that make it up.” The church fathers J. I. Packer supported the inspiration of the New Testament canon 29 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  30. 30. “WE TRIED scientific mistakes in the TO PROVE IT Bible. These mistakes will prove it to be the word of WRONG” men, not the Word of Joan Olsen’s parents were some infallible Creator.” Christians, but she and her The Olsens began their physician husband were quest. The first question agnostic. This led to many they confronted was, “Is long discussions about the there a God who created the Bible between these couples. universe?” An intense study Finally, the young doctor led them to conclude that and his wife agreed to study God does exist. But that still Christianity. Here is Dr. left them agnostic, for they Viggo Olsen’s account: weren’t convinced that God I implied that our study could be known. They could would be honest and not see the mark of the objective, a sincere supernatural in the Bible. search for truth. But our “Is it even reasonable to agnostic bias made us consider that God might begin the search in a reveal Himself to our diabolically clever way. race?” I asked one day We would prove that the at dinner. “Well,” Joan Bible is not the Word of replied, “I just read God . . . . something on that “First,” I said [to question. It made the Joan], “we will review all point that we human the agnostic arguments beings are here, the we heard during only rational creatures university and medical in God’s creation. It is college years. Second, we unlikely that God created will pick out and list the us whimsically, for no 30 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  31. 31. reason at all. And having Then there is the made us, it is logical that remarkable scientific God should reveal to us accuracy of the Bible. His reason for creating Here was the exact target us. Also, if God loves us, of the attack Joan and I He would want to tell had launched to disprove us—love is like that.” Christianity and Christ. When the Olsens . . . We encountered great looked carefully, they found difficulty, however, in that the Bible does claim to finding scientific mistakes be “God’s book for revealing in the Bible. Again and Himself.” Here is what they again we were forced to discovered: cancel out seeming The Bible . . . represents mistakes because of God, motivated by an more up-to-date eternal love, reaching evidence or information. down to tell us about After months of serious Himself and His plan for questioning, Dr. and Mrs. us. . . . We also noted the Olsen concluded that the remarkable unity and Bible is indeed God’s consistency evident in the message to mankind. Based Christian Scriptures. . . . on this belief, they both Contrary to our accepted Jesus Christ as previous understanding, their Savior. Later, they we found the Bible to journeyed to East Pakistan be historically accurate. (now Bangladesh), where To the science of they have served as archaeology the Bible missionaries since 1962. owes its vindication in From Daktar: Diplomat In Bangladesh. the matter of historical Used by permission. accuracy. 31 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  32. 32. THINKING important questions. First, IT OVER if you are a Christian, do you trust the Bible enough W e have to put it into practice? Are presented 10 you as willing to obey its reasons, 10 lines commands as you are to of evidence, for answering claim its promises? yes to the question, “Can I Second, if you are not a really trust the Bible?” On believer, what are you going the basis of what we have to do about the Bible? You pointed out, we believe the cannot be neutral about its Bible is the one book you claims. You must either can trust. Take a moment to accept what it says about fill in the following graphic God, Jesus Christ, and as a way of reviewing the salvation, or you must evidence we have presented. reject it. We therefore urge you to believe what it says MAN’S TRUST about your need to trust in 10. Jesus Christ as your Savior. 9. Acknowledging your sin 8. and believing that He died 7. to pay its penalty, ask Him 6. to save you. The Bible says, 5. “Believe on the Lord Jesus 4. 3. Christ, and you will be 2. saved” (Acts 16:31). Then 1. you will know by firsthand experience the benefit of GOD’S WORD believing the Bible—the This topic leads to a book you can trust! consideration of two very 32 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  33. 33. Get your free Bible Resources catalog! Discovery Series booklets can be valuable guides to help you learn what the Bible says about a broad range of topics. Each 32-page booklet can be used in your personal Bible study or in a small-group setting. Your free Bible Resources catalog includes a brief description of each Discovery Series booklet. To get your copy, write to us at the address below and ask for a catalog. Or follow the link below to request your copy today. USA: PO Box 2222, Grand Rapids, MI 49501-2222 Canada: Box 1622, Windsor, ON N9A 6Z7