Some uninformed Christians or sincere doubters question the authority of the Bible, believing that it is just a collection of myths and inaccuracies.
Three things characterize almost everyone who has difficulty accepting the authority of the Scripture:
• They seldom, if ever, bother to read the Bible.
• They approach the Bible with prejudiced ideas learned from Bible critics and their writings.
• They are not acquainted with the Bible’s “Author.”
Can we trust the Bible? Yes!
What Is Our Authority for Believing the Bible?
1. The Bible itself claims to be the inspired Word of God: “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16–17, NIV).
“Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:20–21, NIV).
2. Jesus and the apostles confirmed the authenticity of the Old Testament, quoting it scores of times in their writings and ministries. Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished” (Matthew 5:18, NIV). Peter quoted David’s words to substantiate the resurrection of Jesus Christ (Acts 2:29–36).
3. The historical church has recognized and used the Bible as God’s inspired record of Himself and His will. The Bible has always been the ultimate rule of faith and practice for the true church.
4. History and archaeology combine to confirm the accuracy of the Bible. The historical record is obvious and indisputable. Many of the places mentioned in the Bible can easily be identified, even today. Hundreds of archaeological sites have yielded ample evidence to substantiate the Christian’s claim that the Bible can be trusted. Many ancient manuscripts of the Bible have been preserved to the present day; among them:
• The Dead Sea Scrolls confirm either fragments of, or the complete text of, all the books of the Old Testament except Esther. Some of these manuscripts go back to the second and third centuries before Christ.
• The Septuagint (Greek Translation of the Old Testament) dates from 250 B.C.
• Codex Sinaiticus, containing the entire New Testament and parts of the Old Testament, dates from about 330 A.D.
All of these documents, and many more, are available for examination to any interested person.
5. Fulfilled prophecies witness to the Bible’s accuracy. For instance, people living hundreds of years before Christ predicted that He would:
• Be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14; see Luke 2:26–35).
• Be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2; see Luke 2:4–7).
• Live a sinless life (Isaiah 53:9; see 2 Corinthians 5:21).
• Be put to death (Isaiah 53:5, 7; see Matthew 27:35).
• Cry from the cross, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Psalm 22:1; see Matthew 27:46).
6. The Bible’s remarkable unity and coherence confirm its authenticity. It reveals a single author—the Holy Spirit—behind the diversity of its human writers. The Bible is not just a jumble of characters, places, and dates. It has an amazing continuity, as both the fact and the message of the Bible are closely and amazingly interconnected to reveal God’s Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and His part in human redemption and restoration. The sixty-six books comprising the Bible fit together as one book with one theme: Jesus Christ.
7. The Bible is confirmed by its power to transform lives. Its message exploded on the human scene in New Testament times to turn the world “upside down” (Acts 17:6). There is power in the Bible’s message. From the apostle Paul’s time down to the present day, the power of the Gospel has changed lives. Only those countries affected by the Gospel have seen any real social progress—the guarantee of human rights, fair treatment of children and women, medical advances, and freedom from slavery, among other things.
The Bible is the only book ever written which gives satisfactory answers to life’s ultimate questions: Who am I? Where did I come from? Why am I here? Where am I going? What is the purpose of life?
Never argue! If the inquirer is open-minded enough to listen, present as much of the “Background” as you can.
1. A person’s acceptance of the Bible is directly related to his or her willingness to accept its Author. At some convenient point during the conversation, ask the inquirer if he or she has ever received Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Share Christian Biblical Counsel: STEPS TO PEACE WITH GOD.
2. Suggest that he or she obtain a recent translation of the Bible to read and study. Approaching it with an open mind and asking God to reveal Himself, His will, and His eternal purposes should be a rewarding experience. Offer to send Your New Life In Christ Bible Studyto foster the beginning of serious Bible reading and study.
3. Recommend finding a Bible-teaching church for worship, Bible study, and fellowship with others who take the Bible seriously.
4. Pray with the inquirer for spiritual illumination, for faith, and for fulfillment in life through the power of the Word: “And now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified” (Acts 20:32).
1. If the inquirer admits to not having read much of the Bible, challenge him or her to get started at once, following the same method as with any experiment: Approach the Bible impartially and give it a chance in his or her thinking. Suggest starting with the Gospel of Luke, then going to Acts, then wherever he or she might choose.
2. Answers to some common objections:
• “The Bible says that humans have been on the earth for only approximately 6,000 years.”
Answer: Nowhere does the Bible state that people have been here only 6,000 years. This misconception is probably due to Bishop Ussher’s chronology, developed in the 1600s. The Bible doesn’t say mankind is 6,000 years old, nor 60,000 nor 600,000. It does say, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1).
• “The Bible is filled with inaccuracies.”
Answer: To test the person’s knowledge, ask, “What inaccuracies?” Should he or she bring up creation, Noah’s ark, Joshua’s long day, Jonah’s fish, the Virgin Birth, etc., respond that we cannot explain these things, though we believe they are historical. We don’t have to defend them. God has spoken. The Bible demands the exercise of faith! Quote Billy Graham from the “Background.” Paul the apostle said, in writing of those who have problems with Scripture, “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned [known only through the Holy Spirit]” (1 Corinthians 2:14).
• “I find the Bible hard to believe,” or, “I can’t understand it.”
Answer: Suggest purchasing a modern translation of the Bible and trying again. Quote Mark Twain: “It’s not the things I don’t understand about the Bible that bother me; it’s the things I do understand that bother me.” If the inquirer seems sincere in his or her doubts, suggest the prayer given by John Stott in his book Basic Christianity: “God, if You exist (and I don’t know if You do), and if You can hear this prayer (and I don’t know if You can), I want to tell You that I am an honest seeker after the truth. Show me if Jesus is Your Son and the Savior of the world. And if You bring conviction to my mind, I will trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as my Lord.”
3. You may find it helpful to share with the caller this personal testimony from Dwight L. Moody concerning the power of the Bible’s message: “I prayed for faith, and I thought that someday faith would come down and strike me like lightning. But faith did not come. One day I was reading the tenth chapter of Romans: ‘Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God’ (Romans 10:17). I had closed my Bible and prayed for faith. I now opened my Bible, and began to study, and faith has been growing ever since.”
“For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope” (Romans 15:4).
“For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe” (1 Thessalonians 2:13).
“The word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12, NIV).
Other suggested Scriptures:
2 Timothy 3:16–17
2 Peter 1:20–21
The Billy Graham Christian Worker’s Handbook; World Wide Publications, 1984, 1996
The Bible: Is It Reliable?
Truth on Trial
by June Hunt
The Trial Begins …
The team for the prosecution enters the courtroom poised … a few lawyers fight back their smug smiles … their briefcases bulging with information they’re sure will write the final chapter on the Bible. This controversial book is on trial—its reliability in question.
The prosecution is primed with what it considers a preponderance of evidence to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the Bible is flawed … and therefore irrelevant. The defense is doomed as far as the prosecution is concerned. Prima facie … the evidence is good and sufficient on first examination.
The prosecution begins with its opening arguments. “How could the Bible be considered inerrant—much less the only Word of God—when it contains contradictions and errors, myths and legends, and differences in doctrines? The Bible is merely material written by men, compiled by men, and translated by men, a process that, in turn, guarantees a multitude of mistakes.”
The defense team, on the other hand, appears composed … even calm. There is a resolute reserve, and yet a curious confidence—as if each attorney knows the verdict will vindicate the Bible. But still all are keenly aware of the complicated case before them. Their exhaustive research needs to be properly presented to refute the prosecution’s attacks.
There are 5 core areas of truth related to the Bible that need to be comprehensively covered—science, prophecy, universal influence, textual accuracy, and archaeology—each area of truth testifying that the Bible is a trustworthy document. For the defense, this is not just another case—not just a legal matter—it is a calling accompanied by the passionate desire that the trial will ultimately answer the question … Is the Bible Reliable? And that the answer will be an absolute Yes.
The prosecution’s strategy is not to condemn the Bible, but first to cast doubt about it … and then to shatter confidence that it is the reliable, revealed Word of God. The ultimate goal? Relegate it to rest among the relics of ancient history … to reside among the oldest religious and poetic books penned over the centuries … to have the concept of “holy” removed from the Bible’s reputation.
“Like other books, the Bible has been a positive influence in some people’s lives,” the lead attorney begins. “It has given us adages like, ‘God helps those who help themselves’ and ‘Cleanliness is next to godliness.’ ”
“Objection!” a defense attorney interrupts. “Those 2 adages are nowhere to be found in the Bible.”
“Sustained,” says the judge.
Slightly unnerved, the prosecutor continues … tossing around words like canon, questioning the validity of the proceedings of a council in Jamnia in AD 90. Most of the jury members look puzzled, as if seminary terms had just been used to communicate with 2nd grade students. But the prosecution pauses … “That’s all, your honor.”
To secure a strong foundation for its case and to clear away some of the confusion, the defense begins with a course in “Bible basics.” Everyone on the jury no doubt has heard of the Bible, but how many have actually read it? Are they aware that the Bible is one large Book containing 66 smaller books? What do they know of its authors or the history of God’s recorded Word to mankind?
The fundamentals need to be covered in order for the light of truth to begin to break through. And so the defense proceeds …
“Ladies and Gentlemen, allow me to introduce you to … the Bible.”
A. What Is the Bible?
The defense continues, “The Bible is read by more people, translated into more languages, published in more countries, than is any other book in history. No book has been more bought or more banned, more loved or more loathed, more memorized or more maligned than the Bible. Regardless of the heightened controversies throughout history, and even in this courtroom, we the defenders stand with the apostle Paul.” …
“I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.”
Bible Basics 101
In order to better understand what it is, we need to know the following overview of the Bible.
• Title … The Bible is referred to as the “Book of Books.” The English word Bible is from the Latin word biblia, which means “books.”
• Purpose … The Bible is the record that God has given us … of Creation, of His work in the lives of people, and of the final destination—heaven or hell—for every person ever born.
• Structure … The Bible is one book consisting of 66 smaller books containing a continuous, coordinated, congruent story of God’s plan of salvation. The arrangement of the books follows the order found in the Latin Vulgate translation in the Old Testament’s historic, poetic, and prophetic books and the New Testament’s gospels, history books, letters, and prophetic book of Revelation.
• Revelation … The Bible is God’s revealed truth in written form to all people. It is God’s written self-disclosure of His will, His works, and His ways.
• Author … The Bible is authored by God Himself.
• Writers … The Bible was written by more than 40 men who were inspired by God’s Spirit to write. They came from all walks of life. Witness the following:
— Moses, political leader
— Joshua, military general
— David, musician, poet/king
— Solomon, philosopher/king
— Amos, herdsman/farmer
— Daniel, prime minister
— Ezra, historian/scribe
— Nehemiah, king’s cupbearer
— Paul, scholar/tentmaker
— Matthew, tax collector
— Luke, physician
— Peter, fisherman
• Languages … The Bible was written in 3 different languages: Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic.
• Location … The Bible was written on 3 continents—Asia, Africa, and Europe—and written in different places, such as these:
— Moses in the wilderness
— Jeremiah in a dungeon
— Daniel in a palace
— Luke in transit
— Paul in prison
— John in exile on an island
• Date … The Bible was written over a span of approximately 1,500–1,600 years.
• Topics … The Bible addresses theology, history, and science, as well as many difficult subjects: the origin of the universe and life, the nature of God, the nature of sin and the plan for human redemption, and the future—including heaven, hell, and eternity.
• Theme … The Bible contains one central theme: salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.…
“God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.… From the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth.”
(1 Thessalonians 5:9; 2 Thessalonians 2:13)
|BackgroundMost people have never asked, “Why was the Bible written?” It began with God’s command to Moses to write the 1st official written record depicting God’s powerful work among His people. The Israelites had left Egypt in a massive “exodus,” and at the end of the 2ndmonth, they experienced an enemy attack—a rear assault, striking first the stragglers.Both Moses and his assistant, Joshua, would be involved in battle, but in entirely different ways. Moses instructed Joshua to choose the men who would fight the Amalekites, and then he indicated he would stand on top of a nearby hill with the staff of God in his hands.
Aaron, the high priest, and Hur, who tradition says was Moses’ brother-in-law, accompanied Moses up the hill to support him in his call to battle. As fighting ensued, as long as Moses held his hands up, the battle swung in favor of the Israelites. But when he lowered his hands, the pendulum swung in the Amalekites’ direction.
Soon, Moses’ hands grew yoo tired … and heavy. Thus, Aaron and Hur found a stone for Moses to sit on and then each man stood on either side of Moses holding his hands up “so that his hands remained steady till sunset” (Exodus 17:12).
Upon the enemy’s defeat, “The Lord said to Moses, ‘Write this on a scroll as something to be remembered’ ” (Exodus 17:14) God wanted His faithful intervention and protection of His people to be written down.
This record is merely one of the thousands of accounts revealling God’s profound faithfulness to His people extended through the ages and written in the Word of God, the Bible.
B. What Is Scripture?
The defense decides to explain that the word “scripture” is more than the mere writings of men.
• Scripture means sacred or holy writings. A Greek word often translated “scripture” in the New Testament is graphe. The Greek word for “holy” is hagios, which means “set apart, like no other.” These biblical Scriptures are indeed like no other because they are authored by God.
• Scripture can refer to one verse, one passage, one chapter, one book (of the Bible), or to the entire Bible.
• Scripture is God’s Word; therefore, to quote Scripture is to quote God.
• Scripture in the New Testament has equal authority with Scripture in the Old Testament.
The apostle Peter says …
“Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him.… His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.”
(2 Peter 3:15–16)
|BackgroundGod had called Moses to meet Him on Mount Sinai to receive His laws and covenant on behalf of the Israelites. After Moses told the people all God had said, “They responded with one voice, ‘Everything the Lord has said we will do’ ”(Exodus 24:3).Following this public ratification, “Moses then wrote down everything the Lord had said” (Exodus 24:4). This portion of Scripture is identified by several names—the Book of the Covenant, Book of the Law, the Mosaic Law, and the Mosaic Covenant. Moses recorded literally hundreds of laws—including the Ten Commandments—to instruct God’s people in obedience. And this scriptural covenant specified the Israelites’ unique relationship with the sovereign God: “You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession” (Exodus 19:4–5).
C. What Is the Canon?
Now the defense presents a description detailing how the Bible came into being. What makes this “Book of Books” authoritative? What makes the Bible different from any other book of antiquity? Just what is “the canon of Scripture”?
• The canon of Scripture refers to the collection of 66 officially accepted books of the Bible that set the standard for correct Christian belief and practice and that also meet rigid guidelines for determining authority and validity.
— The 39 books of the Old Testament, the 27 books of the New Testament
— “Canon,” from the Greek word kanon, means “a rule or a measuring rod,” which also serves as the root for the English word cane, which means “reed”
• The canon of the Bible meets the following tests for divine inspiration and authority.
#1. Was the book written by a prophet of God or an apostle of Christ?
“We have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.” (2 Peter 1:19)
#2. Was the writing confirmed by an act of God or an affirmation from God?
“God also testified to it [the Gospel of salvation] by signs, wonders and various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.” (Hebrews 2:4)
#3. Does the message reveal truth from or about God?
“He who forms the mountains, creates the wind, and reveals his thoughts to man, he who turns dawn to darkness, and treads the high places of the earth—the Lord God Almighty is his name.” (Amos 4:13)
#4. Did the writing arise from the Lord’s divine initiative with edifying power?
“The word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)
#5. Was it accepted as Scripture by the people of God—particularly the contemporaries of the writing?
“Our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake. You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.” (1 Thessalonians 1:5–6)
#6. Does it pass the test of “the history of theology”—presenting a contiguous and even progressive revelation?
“In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.” (Hebrews 1:1–2)
#7. Did Jesus Christ endorse the writing as Scripture?
“You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me [Jesus].” (John 5:39)
• The canon of the Old Testament today possesses the same content as the early Hebrew canon, but it is divided into 39 books, rather than the 24 books of the Hebrew Tanakh.
— The term “Tanakh” is the name for the Hebrew Scriptures or what Christians call the Old Testament. The name Tanakh is an acronym derived from the three divisions of these sacred writings: Torah (Law), Neviim (Prophets), and Ketuvim (Writings). While the content of the Hebrew Scriptures coincide with the Christian Old Testament, the book divisions and order are distinct:
◦ Torah consists of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.
◦ Neviim consists of Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and The Twelve (corresponds to the writings of 12 prophets).
◦ Ketuvim consists of Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Song of Songs, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther, Daniel, Ezra-Nehemiah, and Chronicles.
— The last books of the Old Testament canon were completed 300 to 400 years before Jesus’ birth, and the entire canon was recognized and in use at least 200 years prior to His birth. In fact, in the synagogue Jesus read from the Old Testament book of Isaiah.…
“On the Sabbath day he [Jesus] went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read. The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him.” (Luke 4:16–17)
— The historian Josephus, writing around AD 90, commented that the Hebrew canon was established, and “… no one of us has ever ventured to take anything away from them or to add anything to them or to make even the slightest alteration. From his very birth, it is inbred in every Jew to consider them as writings given by God, to adhere to them, and if need be, gladly to die for them.”
— The canon of the Old Testament was further confirmed at Jamnia in AD 90, where a group of Jewish rabbis and Jewish leaders reaffirmed what was already known in their Jewish heritage, that these are the books recognized as the Jewish Scriptures—the same books now known as the Old Testament.
— Jesus accepted and endorsed the books of the Old Testament canon by the fact that He quoted and referred to them often. He said …
“Beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.” (Luke 24:27)
• The canon of the New Testament was established and confirmed by the early church.
— By the close of the 2nd century and into the 3rd and 4th centuries, multiple lists of the canonical books of the New Testament were compiled by church leaders and believers in various parts of the Roman world, with most of the questions surrounding the letters of James, Jude, 2 Peter, Hebrews, 2 John and 3 John, and Revelation.
— The books of the New Testament first gained regional acceptance (AD 50–AD 350) and were later recognized by the entire church (AD 350–AD 420). A few other books, such as Shepherd of Hermas, the Epistle of Barnabas, 1 Clement and 2 Clement, and the Didache, sometimes gained canonical or near canonical status in certain regions but never achieved widespread acceptance and were not included in the canon.
◦ The Roman Catholic Church did not add the extra Apocryphal books to their canon until the Council of Trent in 1546.
◦ During the 4th and 5th centuries, church councils all affirmed this list of 27 books.
— The 27 books of the New Testament canon were appropriately written by apostles of Christ with the exception of only 6 books: the Gospel of Mark (written by a disciple and close companion of the apostle Peter and cousin to Barnabas), the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts (written by a disciple and close companion of the apostle Paul), Hebrews (written anonymously by a Jewish Christian), James and Jude (written by 2 brothers of Jesus). All 9 New Testament writers were Jewish contemporaries of Jesus, with the exception of Luke, a Greek physician.
— Apostolic tradition was a major determining factor in what books made up the canon of the New Testament.
◦ The apostles were eyewitnesses of Jesus’ ministry, and their testimonies regarding Him were both oral (preaching) and written (New Testament writings). Jesus told the apostles …
“You also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.” (John 15:27)
◦ The apostles were Christ’s representatives, and He entrusted them with His words. Jesus said …
“The Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” (John 14:26)
◦ The apostles were commissioned by Jesus to transmit His revelation accurately.…
“The Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.” (John 16:15)
— The writers of the 27 books of the New Testament knew they were writing Scripture. The apostle Paul said …
“My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.” (1 Corinthians 2:4–5)
In his book The Canonicity of the Bible, Dr. Norman Geisler states, “Canonicity is determined or established authoritatively by God; it is merely discovered by man.”
II. CHARACTERISTICS OF THE BIBLE
The prosecution next pounces on what it describes as “the presumptive factor.…”
“It takes a lot of audacity,” the lead attorney challenges, “to say that in a world filled with religious books, as well as thousands of different religions, more than 6 billion people on the globe are to follow one book. That’s not only presumptuous—that’s ludicrous.”
He continues … “Furthermore, it has been established that the Old Testament is a derivative of Babylonian and Assyrian law codes and myths. It is simply that—nothing more, nothing less; certainly nothing supernatural. Certainly nothing that could meet the needs of every person on the planet! No book wields, or should claim to wield, that kind of authority.
“And the contradictions …!” He then proceeds to call to the stand a scholar who maintains there are conflicting creation accounts in Genesis chapters 1 and 2 and that the Bible states that the earth is flat and is the center of the universe.
“Objection!” a defense attorney blurts. “Each of those statements is rooted in misconception and misinterpretation.”
The prosecution turns the proceedings over to the defense, which now turns attention to the totality of truth contained in the Bible. The attorneys know they are preparing to swim against a tide of “cultural relativism”—a robust teaching that there is no absolute truth—that truth changes, based on different cultures, perspectives, and points in time. And surely the jurists in front of them represent the beliefs of the people all around them.
The lead defender is ready to present the Bible as the authoritative Word of God, the only Word of God, knowing that some will feel angst at his position. “Narrow-minded, bigoted” … the words flash across his memory as he recalls the labels that had only moments earlier been thrown at him. However, strong internal evidences validating the Bible’s authority will soon be joined with powerful testimonies.
But first, to describe the term “biblical authority,” the defense asks expert defenders of the faith one question after another. Questions about the Bible flow quickly.
A. How Can the Bible Be Authoritative?
The all-powerful God, the Creator of everything, has the power to communicate whatever message He chooses and to control the writing of that message so that it is infallible, inerrant, inclusive, and inspired—exactly what He intended. The Bible has authority because God, who is perfect, used imperfect human authors to write down His very words, which He perfectly protected. In fact, God Himself gives a graphic illustration describing His power to protect His Word.…
“As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”
The Bible Has Authority because It Is …
• Inspired: The Bible is supernaturally inspired.… It comes from God Himself. The English word “inspired” comes from the Greek word theopneustos, which means “God-breathed.” In fact, the Bible is the precise message God wanted recorded.…
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” (2 Timothy 3:16)
• Infallible: The Bible is incapable of deception.… It is totally trustworthy. In fact, the Bible is totally truthful.… It will not mislead because …
“The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple.” (Psalm 19:7)
• Inerrant: The Bible tells the truth and does so without error.… It is absolutely accurate. In fact, the Bible contains no mistake, falsehood, or flaw.…
“The words of the Lord are flawless, like silver refined in a furnace of clay, purified seven times.” (Psalm 12:6)
(Upon cross-examination, the prosecution will seek to destroy this assertion.)
• Inclusive: The Bible is all inclusive.… It encompasses all truth necessary for life. In fact, the Bible contains everything we need for …
|— Salvation||“By this gospel you are saved.” (1 Corinthians 15:2)|
|— Instruction||“Preach the Word … correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.” (2 Timothy 4:2).|
|— Hope||“Everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” (Romans 15:4)|
|— Blessing||“The man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.” (James 1:25)|
B. What Is the Internal Evidence of Biblical Authority?
More strategic questions are asked and answered by the defense in order to educate the jury. The defense knows that the issue of “internal evidence” must be addressed.
The Bible’s being the “Word of God” is the foundation of Christianity, and Christian faith is based on biblical authority of accuracy. But does the Bible have intrinsic authority or ascribed authority? Does it have the right to be the authority for living to everyone, everywhere, every day, or is it simply an accepted source of “good advice” and “helpful information”? Is it, in fact, the Word of God? The answer to this question is critical and warrants close examination of what the Bible actually declares about itself and the validity of its assertions. The Bible presents itself as the Word of God …
— Declaring it actually is the Word of God and is working in the lives of all who profess faith in Jesus: “You received the word of God … not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work in you who believe” (1 Thessalonians 2:13).
— Avowing it is from God and came through His prophets: “The gospel he [God] promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding his Son.…” (Romans 1:2–3).
#1. The Bible asserts authority above any other book …
— Professing that it is precious, perfect, right, trustworthy, sufficient, beneficial, and to be applied to life: “The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart” (Psalm 19:7–8).
— Maintaining that it is the commanded writings of the eternal God and is to be obeyed: “Now to him who is able to establish you by my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all nations might believe and obey him” (Romans 16:25–26).
#2. The Bible possesses an eternal quality …
— Proclaiming that it is eternally established in the heavens: “Your word, O Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens” (Psalm 119:89).
— Pronouncing that it is going to last forever: “All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever. And this is the word that was preached to you” (1 Peter 1:24–25).
#3. The Bible accomplishes God’s purposes …
— Exposing the incriminating effects of sin: “Through the law we become conscious of sin” (Romans 3:20).
— Explaining the messianic office of Jesus: “These [words] are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ [the Messiah], the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:31).
— Extolling the power of the gospel to save: “By this gospel you are saved” (1 Corinthians 15:2).
— Extending eternal life through faith in Jesus: “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13).
III. CAUSES OF UNBELIEF
The prosecution proceeds to call witness after witness … firing off question after question … their interrogations continuing endlessly. First, the credibility of the Bible as a whole is disputed as the validity of its ancient manuscripts is called into account. Next, specific situations are cited, such as allegations that Moses actually led the Israelites through the ankle-high water of the Reed Sea, not through the walled-up, deep waters of the Red Sea. But the primary miracle the prosecution hopes to disprove is the one that would crumble Christianity, as well as brand the Bible as unreliable once and for all—that being, the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
Down through the centuries, the “accused” (the Bible) has received a barrage of “bad press,” finding itself the target of sloppy, unfounded reports of inaccuracies and falsehoods. The defense attorneys know their work is cut out for them, so they slowly and systematically present proofs from inside as well as outside the Bible to refute the false claims and restore trust in the most trustworthy Book ever written.
They are confident they will disprove the prosecution’s premise that biblical manuscripts are unreliable. So much so, in fact, that when the Bible is vindicated, as they firmly believe it will be, an expunction—a deletion—may be in order to erase erroneous information that has damaged the reputation of the Bible. But before they get their turn at bat, the prosecutors question whether a death really occurred at all.… “Jesus didn’t actually ‘die’ on the cross—He ‘swooned’ on the cross.… Jesus only appeared to be dead when removed from the cross.… Later He was resuscitated by cool air in His tomb.”
The defense team shares a collective thought: There’s one big problem with this theory—it takes more faith than the resurrection itself!
The defense argues: “Jesus experienced numerous times of excruciating torture—the beatings, the scourging, the Crucifixion, and the spear thrust into His side. If He had only ‘swooned,’ that would mean the professional executioners were wrong. And despite a tremendous loss of blood as a result of being speared and beaten with the infamous cat-o’-nine-tails—the metal pieces on the leather straps designed to rip flesh—and despite many hours in a cold tomb without food, water, or help, He somehow was revived.
“Then He Himself unwrapped the linen—from inside out—and removed the 100 pounds of spices encasing His body, placed the burial clothes neatly where He had lain, and proceeded with His escape. And finally, Jesus would have had to roll the huge stone sealing His tomb uphill, overcome the guards, who were armed, and then find a place to hide for three days—during which time His wounds healed completely.” However, the defense presents Peter, as an eyewitness.…
“We are witnesses of everything he [Jesus] did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a tree, but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen—by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.”
A. What are Surface Causes of Disbelief?
The defending attorneys are not surprised at the caustic attacks in the courtroom.… Throughout the centuries, skeptics from all nations have rejected the truths of Scripture and ridiculed those who believed otherwise. The communist dictionary issued by Soviet State Publishing printed this declaration for all to see: “The Bible is a collection of fantastic legends without scientific support.”
The lawyers for the defense know to expect these kinds of assertions because …
“The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14).
The defense attorneys also assume that certain people on this jury have various reasons to discount the Bible and its authority over them. These reasons generally include …
• Ignorance—originating from little knowledge of Scripture. Jesus said, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God” (Matthew 22:29).
• Insolence—stemming from intellectual pride. Paul the Apostle explained …
“Although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools” (Romans 1:21–22).
• Impurity—emanating from living in sin. The beloved apostle John made this pronouncement … “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed” (John 3:19–20).
• Indifference—derived from no fear [reverential awe] of God. Wise King Solomon declared …
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline” (Proverbs 1:7).
B. What are Some Key Arguments and Answers?
Skeptics!… They never cease to surface. In the schoolroom, in the boardroom, in the courtroom … they’ve appeared throughout the centuries. Some are sitting in this court.
Some are sidelined from the faith by simple misconceptions. Others are swayed by sophisticated arguments. But the Bible has time and again proven itself … to change both the seeker as well as the skeptic whose hearts are not sealed shut.
Jesus encountered His fair share of skeptics during His ministry … questions about how a carpenter could be the Christ … how the son of Mary could be the Son of God. Although the religious leaders of the day witnessed miracle after miracle by Jesus, such verification did not lead to their repentance … but led only to further rejection. Jesus said …
“Even though you do not believe me, believe the miracles, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.”
But the miracles only motivated them to murder Jesus—an act even prophesied in the Scriptures!
#1. The Bible—No Original Documents?
Argument: Since no original books of the Bible exist, the Bible can’t be trusted.
Rebuttal: For those who are unfamiliar with determining the trustworthiness of ancient texts, the lack of having the “original writing” seems a valid roadblock to viability. However, rarely do any writings of antiquity exist today (unless engraved in stone!), yet multiple copies from the originals can provide the proof texts needed to authenticate the existing manuscripts.
In the case of the Bible, the vast number of copies available today—more than enough to determine their reliability—are far more than any other writing of antiquity. For example:
• The oldest surviving New Testament manuscript fragments date to the 2nd century and the oldest complete New Testaments to the 4th century.
• More than 5,700 Greek New Testament manuscripts, 20,000 early translations (Latin, Aramaic, Syriac, etc.).
• More than 1,000,000 biblical quotations from early church fathers.
• To illustrate this wealth of material, if the existing copies of the works of any one ancient Greek author were placed in a stack, that stack would be about 4 feet high. If all the New Testament manuscripts and versions were collected, the stack would be more than one mile high.
• When compared to other works of antiquity, the Bible, because of these facts, is in a category all by itself. Yet, not only are thousands more copies of Holy Scripture available than those of any other book of antiquity, these copies were made hundreds of years closer to the date the original manuscripts were written—closer than that of any other ancient book. This fact alone gives total credibility to the recorded words of Jesus …
“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.”
(Matthew 24:35; Mark 13:31; Luke 21:33)
#2. Copying the Bible—Errors?
Argument: Since scribes who copied the Bible made mistakes, how can anyone consider the Bible to be without error?
Rebuttal: Copying manuscripts is tedious work and next to impossible to do perfectly, free of even the slightest error. That is why people are trained to perform this focused task and why documents are carefully screened for errors. Copying what the copyist considers to be sacred holy writ is especially stressful and must be thoroughly precise. Certainly it is more than just a “job.” It is a high calling of God and is to be approached with the significant realization that handling the Word of God has eternal implications.
This was indeed the mindset of those who copied the Bible. However, in spite of their dedication and desire to copy the Word of God accurately, some errors did occur that have resulted in occasional minor variations between copies. The same is true of even “modern” works like those of Shakespeare. When you are assessing the impact of such errors, these facts can be helpful:
• No book in human history has been copied more times than the Bible. But these were not copies of just “any book.” The carefully chosen scribes responsible for copying the Jewish Bible were required to adhere to strict instructions as stated in the Talmud, including …
• Each column must have no less than 48 or no more than 60 lines.
— No word or letter could be written from memory. The scribe must have an authentic copy before him, and he had to read and pronounce aloud each word before writing it.
— He had to reverently wipe his pen each time before writing the Word of God. And he had to wash his whole body before writing the sacred name Jehovah.
— If 3 mistakes were found on any page, the entire manuscript was condemned for use in the synagogue.
— Every word and every letter was counted to ensure accuracy.
• The presence of variant writings in the Bible does not affect any central biblical doctrine. Therefore, the integrity of the Bible is not damaged.
— By carefully comparing thousands of the existing ancient manuscripts, the original wording is normally self-evident.
— Only 1% of all textual variants could influence the meaning of a text, yet not one of these variants affect any significant belief or central doctrine. First Timothy 3:16 contains a variation referring to Christ with the pronoun, “He” or the title “God.” However, the deity of Christ remains unquestioned because of the multitude of other passages—in fact the entire narrative of the New Testament is built on the premise that Jesus Christ is God in the flesh.
• Almost all these differences between copies are minor and easily explained. For instance:
— There are multiple spellings for people, places, and various terms.
— Letters in particular words were added, omitted, or transposed without fundamentally changing the word in the copying process.
— A scribe who had memorized a parallel passage could have inadvertently added a phrase or word to the verse copied.
— A tired or distracted scribe could have inserted a word from a line above or below. These variants are obvious.
Although some have tried to use these variants to discredit the Bible we have today, they do not use this argument to discredit other nonreligious writings of antiquity. In actuality, there are far too many ancient copies of the Scriptures in existence today to leave credible doubt as to the message of the original text. And the disputed wording in isolated verses does not diminish the overwhelming body of truth found in the Bible. We read …
“As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the Lord is flawless.”
#3. Cain—Where Did His Wife Come From?
Argument: There must have been people on the earth other than those the Bible claims God created because there would have been no one for them to marry.
• All humanity shares a common pair of ancestors in Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:20; Romans 5:12).
• Adam and Eve lived long lives and gave birth to Cain, Abel, Seth, and many more children than those named in Genesis (Genesis 5:4).
• Cain, as well as his other brothers, would have married their sisters in order to continue the human race.
• This practice did not violate the law of God (for example, Abraham and Sarah—Genesis 20:12) because God did not forbid marrying close relatives until 2,500 years later when the Law was given by God to Moses (Leviticus 18:6–19).
• Adam and Eve were created with perfect genetic code; this allowed their children to marry with no risk to their descendants. Following Adam and Eve’s fall into sin, and with the passing of time, genetic flaws made the risk of genetic abnormality high in marriage among close relatives, creating a need for the Mosaic injunctions against marriage within families. The time from Adam and Eve to Moses was at least 2,500 years.
#4. The Races—Where Did They Come From?
Argument: The Bible can’t be true, for it says that we all descended from Noah. But humanity comes in all shapes, sizes, and colors.
• Only Noah and his family survived the judgment of the Great Flood (Genesis 7:23), and the entire human family is descended from his family (Genesis 9:18–19).
• Although today society has a variety of races with individual characteristics, all humanity is related through a common ancestor.
• A solitary individual possesses unique physical characteristics but has the genetic coding that makes an incredible variety of characteristics possible.
An example of the wide range of characteristics possible in genetic coding can be seen in dog breeding. Today, there are over 200 dog breeds with a wide range of characteristics, sizes, and features, but all these dogs descended from a limited number of wild European dogs. Thus, you can see how humanity could have a common ancestor and also exhibit great diversity.
#5. Dinosaurs—Why Aren’t They Mentioned?
Argument: The dinosaurs are not mentioned in the Bible, yet we find their remains all over the world. So, the Bible must not be true.
• Dinosaurs are not mentioned by name in the Bible because the term “dinosaur” is a modern term. However, great beasts that fit the description of dinosaurs are discussed in Job 40:15–24.
• The remains of dinosaurs discovered today appear to have been fossilized during the Great Flood about 4,500 years ago. There is no conclusive evidence that these fossils are millions of years old.
Many scientists conclude the dinosaurs that survived in the ark during the flood were unable to survive in the altered ecosystem of the earth—and thus became extinct, as did many other animals since then.…
“Look at the behemoth, which I made along with you and which feeds on grass like an ox. What strength he has in his loins, what power in the muscles of his belly! His tail sways like a cedar; the sinews of his thighs are close-knit.”
#6. Crossing of the Red Sea—or the Reed Sea?
Argument: Moses did not lead the Israelites out of Egyptian bondage by crossing the Red Sea, but by crossing the Reed Sea. The myth of God’s parting the water was neither a miracle nor was it necessary because the Sea of Reeds was only a few inches deep.
Rebuttal: Since miracles are far beyond the norm of natural experience—especially those of the magnitude of parting a huge body of water, they are subject to being dismissed as myth. Yet, to change the name of the sea over which approximately 2,000,000 Israelites crossed from the Red Sea to the Reed Sea does not eliminate the reality that a miracle occurred, but merely switches one miracle for another. The biblical account is that God miraculously parts the water so that the Israelites could cross to the other side. The Red Sea then closes over the Egyptians, swallowing them up in tons of water.
However, if the crossing took place through the shallow Reed Sea, God would have to perform a very different miracle: The entire Egyptian army in hot pursuit of the Israelites now drowns in just a few inches of water. That could be an even greater miracle!
To sidestep, nullify, or ignore the miracles of an all-powerful God, is to deny ourselves the awesome joy and privilege of knowing that He can also work miracles in our lives when the need presents itself. It also would rob us of the calm assurance that our God is able to meet all of our needs, no matter their size or the improbability of their being met. Nothing is impossible for Him.…
“The Egyptians pursued them [the Israelites], and all Pharaoh’s horses and chariots and horsemen followed them into the sea.… Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and at daybreak the sea went back to its place. The Egyptians were fleeing toward it, and the Lord swept them into the sea. The water flowed back and covered the chariots and horsemen—the entire army of Pharaoh that had followed the Israelites into the sea. Not one of them survived.”
#7. The Feeding of the 5,000—or 4,000?
Argument: The Bible contains obvious mistakes: Matthew states that Jesus miraculously fed 5,000, while Mark says he fed 4,000.
Rebuttal: One of the most astonishing stories in the Bible—one of the most memorable miracles is the beloved “Feeding of the Five Thousand.” In fact, the event was so impressive that this miracle is recounted in all 4 gospels by all 4 Gospel writers—a rarity within itself.
Jesus has been teaching on a hillside. When it is time to eat, a boy hands Jesus his lunch—2 loaves of bread (2 dinner-like rolls) and 5 little fish (like sardines)—Jesus multiplies this food before their very eyes to feed the thousands of hungry people. But … how are we to view this apparent contradiction in number?
The bigger question is why do we assume that there was only one miracle mega feast? Actually, no mistake or contradiction exists. Both the Gospels of Matthew and Mark detail the account of the feeding of the 4,000, as well as the 5,000. Matthew chapters 14 and 15 inspire us with these 2 miracles back-to-back, while Mark chapters 6 and 8 record the same 2 separate miracles. (Notice also, since these large masses counted only the “men,” when the women and children are added to the final count, these miracles are actually even greater than they are at first glance.)
Never underestimate the miracle worker, Jesus … “who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20).
#8. The existence of Jesus—Unsubstantiated?
Argument: Jesus never lived.… The Bible refers to Jesus, but there is no proof that He ever lived here on earth.
Rebuttal: Establishing the evidence for the historic existence of Jesus is essential—the person who does not believe in the existence of Jesus cannot believe in the reliability of the Bible. However, the evidence from both Christian and non-Christian sources proves to be conclusive.
• According to history, nearly every one of Jesus’ 1st disciples died as Christian martyrs because of their faith in Him. Certainly, those followers would not have died for someone created in their own minds—people don’t knowingly “die for a lie.”
Ancient Non-Christian Sources
• Josephus—a prominent Jewish historian in the 1st century recorded the existence of Jesus.
— “Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ.”
• Tacitus—considered “the greatest historian” of ancient Rome, recorded the existence of Jesus (AD 55–120).
— “Nero [the Roman emperor] created scapegoats and subjected to the most refined tortures those whom the common people called ‘Christians’ … the author of this name, Christ, during the reign of Tiberius, had been executed by the procurator Pontius Pilate.”
• Pliny the Younger—a Roman governor, wrote in AD 96 to Trajan, the Roman emperor, about his 1st encounter with Christians, who worshipped Christ.
— “They were in the habit of meeting on a certain fixed day before it was light, when they sang in alternate verses a hymn to Christ, as to a god, and bound themselves by a solemn oath, not to any wicked deeds, but never to commit any fraud, theft or adultery, never to falsify their word, nor deny a trust when they should be called upon to deliver it up.…”
With the existence of Jesus being verified by both the early Christians and non-Christian historians, the only viable question remaining for each person is …
“What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called Christ?”
#9. The Words of Jesus—Questioned?
Argument: The words of Jesus are not literally what Jesus said, but what the early church generally believed about Jesus.
Rebuttal: One of the reasons courts of law gather testimony from eyewitnesses is to accurately establish the truth about a situation. The objective is to leave no doubt in anyone’s mind so that a verdict based on absolute truth can be delivered.
The 4 writers of Jesus’ 4 biographies, called “Gospels,” did not give mere general information, but rather gave specific details. These specifics mean their accounts were easily verifiable—the veracity of their writings was clearly evident to all. They did this by …
• Specifically naming people and places—names that have been historically verified.
• Specifically detailing political conditions and social customs—descriptions that have been historically verified.
• Specifically retelling Jesus’ exact message, which, when spoken in public, was heard by thousands of people. If Jesus had not said what the Gospels reported Him to say, the early Christians would have severely objected and would not have died for a deceiver—some so-called savior.
• This attention to detail is particularly evident in the Gospel of Luke, written by a medical doctor—a disciple (a follower of Jesus who accepted His teaching as truth) and close companion to the apostle Paul. Luke carefully investigated everything and took great care to present an orderly account of what Jesus specifically said and did. Luke’s Gospel, written during the lifetime of Jesus’ contemporaries, begins with these words …
“Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us.… Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you … so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.”
#10. The Gnostic Gospels—Excluded?
Argument: A group of men arbitrarily determining what constitutes the biblical canon—which books should be “in” and which books should be “out”—proves that the Bible cannot be trusted. Many recently discovered documents, such as the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Judas, and the Gospel of Mary were excluded.
Rebuttal: In 1945 a collection of texts was discovered by a farmer in Nag Hammadi, Egypt. More recently in 2006, the Gospel of Judas was discovered and revealed. Although no copies of these ancient sources were available until recently, their content was never “lost” or a “secret.” We knew from the writings of the church fathers about these “gospels” and their contents because these men actually wrote letters describing the documents’ inconsistencies with sound doctrine and warning believers against their teaching.
• The Gnostic writings did not begin until the 2nd century at the earliest, while the New Testament was complete by the end of the 1st century. The Gnostic writings were not consistent with Old Testament revelation in any way, nor do they agree with each other. They combine pagan philosophy and religion with Christianity, thus presenting a far different view of God, the Creation, Jesus, humanity, and redemption.
• God is depicted as an unknowable being who births other lesser “gods” called “aeons” or “lights.”
— One of these “gods” creates the earth and humanity, but the creation is flawed through the error of this “god.” All the physical material of creation (bodies, animals, plants, etc.) is corrupt, and only the spiritual is good. (This removes human responsibility for sin and restricts salvation to the Gnostics only.)
— Since all physical matter is considered evil, Jesus is presented in no way as being human but as being only divine. He is not crucified nor does he rise from the dead because he is only spirit.
— Redemption is possible for only a select few who have a spiritual aspect that is connected to the heavenly aeons. Redemption is achieved by understanding these “secrets” and releasing the spirit from the tomb of the body at death to be reunited with the heavenly realm.
— These writings are not included in Scripture because of their errant teaching, their inferior quality, and the late date of their writing.
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.”
(2 Timothy 3:16)
C. What Is the Root Cause of Doubt?
Seeing isn’t always believing. People had seen the dead resurrected … the blind given sight … the demon-possessed freed … the diseased healed … and still they picked up stones to kill Jesus. Then …
“Jesus said to them, ‘I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?’ ”
Those who want to forgo “faith” for “just the facts” can be found in all generations of people throughout the centuries. They assert that if Jesus would stand in front of them and perform a miracle, then they would believe. But it didn’t happen that way back then, and it’s doubtful it will happen that way today because …
“Even after Jesus had done all these miraculous signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him.”
“Seeing is believing. It is not reasonable to trust in a book that I cannot intellectually prove to be flawless.”
But the Bible says …
“They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts.” (Ephesians 4:18)
“Even though I cannot understand all the ways and words of God, I can rely on the biblical prophecies fulfilled in secular history to verify the accuracy of the Holy Scriptures. As I give myself to Christ, His Spirit of Truth within me will confirm the truth of Scripture to me.”
The Bible says …
“As it is written: ‘No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him’—but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.” (1 Corinthians 2:9–13)
IV. STEPS TO KNOWING THE RELIABILITY OF THE BIBLE
Now is the time for closing arguments. The prosecuting attorneys appear beleaguered, almost battered … the initial spring in their step now subdued. They proceed to summarize their case, having exhausted all admissible evidence to attempt to prove the unreliability of the Bible. Their briefcases no longer bulge, as paper after paper has been tossed into the trash can.
But the defense still has far more to say … solidifying its case with an exhaustive exposition. The stakes are high. Since the reliability of the Bible is on the line, by operating with the acronym TRUTH, the defense attorneys begin to pile up proof upon proof upon proof to establish the absolute accuracy of the Word of God—to prove that its claims are unquestionably true.
The preponderance of proof presented by the defense sends the prosecution’s case plummeting. The furrowed brows on a few faces hint that perhaps a formal objection or demurrer should have been filed—a motion to dismiss the case because legal claims about the Bible’s unreliability are insufficient.
Arguments, however, will be exhausted on both sides, and the jury will have the last word.
As they proceed, the prosecution looks increasingly bewildered and befuddled. Could this “ordinary” book … be extraordinary? According to the moving account presented by the defense, in 2 Kings chapter 22 King Josiah was confidently sure. King Josiah understood everything Moses had written down—and became distraught. “Truth” penetrated to the core of his being, and the king’s realization that the people of Judah had wandered far from the commands of God filled him with anguish.
“When the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, he tore his robes.” And he solemnly pronounced to those in his inner circle, “Great is the Lord’s anger that burns against us because our fathers have not obeyed the words of this book; they have not acted in accordance with all that is written there concerning us” (2 Kings 22:11, 13).
The Book of the Law had been found by Hilkiah, the high priest, in the temple of the Lord, a place that should have been teeming with copies of all that God had spoken through Moses. But these were dark times in Judah, and even God’s house had been desecrated by vile, pagan images and practices. Josiah’s father and grandfather were much to blame. The latter had tried to destroy every copy of Mosaic Law he could get his hands on.
But the torch of “Truth,” as it turns out, would not be extinguished.…
A. Key Verse to Memorize
To know God, one must know His Word—and to know the Word of God is to have wisdom of God—wisdom for life.…
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.”
(2 Timothy 3:16)
B. Key Passage to Read and Reread
In all of literature, Psalm 119 is the most beautiful tribute to Scripture. This, the longest chapter in the Bible, showers praise on that which has no equal … that which alone can fully equip a person for this life, as well as the next—the Word of God itself.
Psalm 119 contains 176 verses, only 3 of which do not mention the Word of God in terms of its statutes, laws, ways, precepts, decrees, commands, or promises.
This chapter is an acrostic poem with 22 sections that correspond to the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Each line within a section begins with the corresponding letter in the alphabet. Verses 1–8 begin with Aleph, the first letter of the alphabet; verses 9–16 begin with Beth, the second letter in the alphabet, and so on until the end of the alphabet, and therefore the Psalm.
|#1. Aleph||“Oh, that my ways were steadfast in obeying your decrees!” (v. 5)|
|#2. Beth||“I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” (v. 11)|
|#3. Gimel||“Your statutes are my delight; they are my counselors.” (v. 24)|
|#4. Daleth||“My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word.” (v. 28)|
|#5. He||“Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word.” (v. 37)|
|#6. Waw||“I will always obey your law, for ever and ever. I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts.” (vv. 44–45)|
|#7. Zayin||“My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life.” (v. 50)|
|#8. Heth||“The earth is filled with your love, O Lord; teach me your decrees.” (v. 64)|
|#9. Teth||“Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word.” (v. 67)|
|#10. Yodh||“Your hands made me and formed me; give me understanding to learn your commands.” (v. 73)|
|#11. Kaph||“My soul faints with longing for your salvation, but I have put my hope in your word.” (v. 81)|
|#12. Lamedh||“Your word, O Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens.… I will never forget your precepts, for by them you have preserved my life.” (vv. 89, 93)|
|#13. Mem||“Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long.… I have not departed from your laws, for you yourself have taught me.” (vv. 97, 102)|
|#14. Nun||“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” (v. 105)|
|#15. Samekh||“You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word.” (v. 114)|
|#16. Ayin||“I am your servant; give me discernment that I may understand your statutes.” (v. 125)|
|#17. Pe||“Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me.” (v. 133)|
|#18. Tsadhe||“Your promises have been thoroughly tested, and your servant loves them.” (v. 140)|
|#19. Quoph||“I call with all my heart; answer me, O Lord, and I will obey your decrees.” (v. 145)|
|#20. Resh||“All your words are true; all your righteous laws are eternal.” (v. 160)|
|#21. Sin||“Great peace have they who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.” (v. 165)|
|#22. Taw||“May my tongue sing of your word, for all your commands are righteous.” (v. 172)|
C. How to Prove the Bible Is Based on Truth
As the defense continues presenting proof upon proof, a number of witnesses are called to solidify the case for the truth and reliability of the Bible. Prominent people from the past are called to testify—first a trio of lawyers, not those representing either the prosecution or the defense … followed by 6 past American presidents—all affirming in open court the soundness, the sanctity, and the superiority of the Bible. They speak passionately and persuasively, their convictions weighing heavily in the courtroom.
Something amazingly mysterious marks their message—it is unified and consistent, as if they had all met together to “get on the same page.” But … most of these men have never met. Nevertheless, their hearts and minds are united together as one.
Another witness is called to the stand—one whose very presence seems to pervade the courtroom. He attracts attention, but not with picture-perfect looks. He emanates power … yet also a palpable peace. His eyes are gentle … but they burn with conviction when He speaks …
“For this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me” (John 18:37), Jesus says from the stand—Jesus the Christ, formerly of Nazareth! His final few words about the Bible seem directed to Someone else—Someone not seated in the room. Looking upward, He proclaims …
“Your word is truth.”
In systematic fashion, the testimonies and exhibits flow one after another to prove—beyond a reasonable doubt—that the Bible is, indeed, reliable. The defense presents detailed evidence in 5 core areas—each area testifying to the truth.
Truths In Science
Reality of Prophecy
Textual Preservation and Unity
Historical Authenticity through Archaeology
|T—Truths in Science|
The defense calls 3 prominent scientists to the stand: Galileo, Sir Francis Bacon, and Sir Isaac Newton. One at a time, each scientist gives amazing testimony about the Bible’s accuracy. Though not a science text, the Bible reveals many scientific facts and never contradicts science. The Bible bore witness to the following truths before scientists ever acknowledged them.
#1. Geophysics: The earth is round—a circular sphere.
For many thousands of years, common people believed the earth was flat. Until 16th century astronomers Copernicus and Kepler postulated otherwise, only a few Greek philosophers opposed the prevalent belief that a ship could sail off the edge of the earth!
• This scientific theory held fast until the invention of the compass and Magellan’s voyage in 1521.
• The 1st person to circle the globe, Magellan, demonstrated that a ship could continually travel west (or east) around the world and return to its original point of departure … without falling off the edge!
However, this scientific truth had been revealed in the Bible more than 3,100 years before Magellan by the 8th century BC prophet Isaiah. Obviously, Isaiah did not get his wisdom from the science of his day, which taught that the earth was flat, for he proclaimed …
“He [God] sits enthroned above the circle [chug] of the earth.”
The Hebrew word chug means “circle, sphere, circuit.” Isaiah’s earth was indeed a circular sphere.
#2. Planetology: The earth is suspended in space.
Many ancient people believed “planet earth” was flat.
• Earth was believed to be carried on the back of a gigantic turtle swimming through some cosmic sea.
• Other later theories presented the earth as carried on the back of a tiger or an elephant. (The shaking of the elephant accounted for earthquakes.)
• Only in the 17th century AD did the scientific community, with Newton’s gravitational theory, discover the force that propels celestial bodies through space.
However, this scientific truth had been revealed in the Bible much earlier in the Book of Job, written around the 15th century BC.…
“He [God] spreads out the northern skies over empty space; he suspends the earth over nothing.”
#3. Astronomy: The stars cannot be counted.
For thousands of years during Old Testament times, the number of stars in the skies was considered to be between 1,200 and 4,000 as seen by the naked eye. In AD 150 the world-renowned astronomer Ptolemy emphatically stated the exact number of stars to be 1,056.
Yet earlier, around 2000 BC, God had told Abraham, “ ‘Look up at the heavens and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.’ Then he said to him, ‘So shall your offspring be’ ” (Genesis 15:5). Within a short time, Abraham had more than 4,000 descendants, later numbering in the millions. Was the Bible wrong? No.
With the scientific invention of the telescope in 1609, followed by the Hubble telescope in the 1990s, scientists today declare the stars to be as numerous as the sands of the sea.
• Astronomers estimate that there are at least 10 to the 26th power, that is a hundred—million—billion—billion stars.
• If you could count 10 numbers per second, it would take you at least a thousand million billion years to count to that number.
However, this scientific truth had been revealed in the Bible from God to Abraham some 3,700 years before the telescope was invented.…
“I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore.”
#4. Earth Science: Mountains and canyons exist in the sea.
For thousands of years, until the 20th century, the scientific assumption was that the ocean was bowl-shaped—shallow around the edges and deepest in the middle. Yet today researchers have discovered that some of the highest mountains and deepest valleys exist in the middle of oceans, seen in the Atlantic range. In the Pacific Ocean, the Mariana Trench near the Philippines is over 7 miles deep.
However, this scientific truth had been revealed in the Bible several thousand years earlier.
• In the 10th century BC, David spoke of “the valleys of the sea” (2 Samuel 22:16).
• In the 8th century BC, rebellious Jonah, described sinking to the bottom of a submerged mountain after being thrown overboard …
“To the roots of the mountains I sank down.”
#5. Oceanography: Water paths/ocean currents exist in the sea.
For thousands of years scientists knew nothing about sea lanes and ocean currents. Therefore, they drew no water charts for sailing lanes.
Then in 1839, when Dr. Matthew Maury, the father of modern oceanography, became ill, his son began reading the Bible to him. Astonished at hearing Psalm 8:8, he asked to hear it again.
• As a result, he spent several years charting the paths of the seas—the currents of the ocean—which became the basis for the first textbook of modern oceanography, Physical Geography of the Sea.
However, this scientific truth had been revealed in the Bible much earlier by David in the 10th century BC.…
“All that swim the paths of the seas.”
#6. Oceanography: Springs and fountains exist in the sea.
For thousands of years, people were unaware of the “hidden” springs and fountains on the sea floor. Then, after World War II, research ships discovered underwater volcanoes, and today more than 10,000 have been catalogued.
• Researcher Dr. William Rubey of the U.S. Geological Survey reports that each year 430 tons of water are released from underwater volcanic outlets.
• The heat from the volcanic activity forces the entrapped water out through one of these natural openings.
However, this scientific truth had been revealed much earlier in several books of the Bible.
In the 15th century BC, the 1st book of the Bible described Noah as having entered the ark when “all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened.” Then after 40 days and nights, “the springs of the deep and the floodgates of the heavens had been closed” (Genesis 7:11; 8:2).
• In the 10th century BC, the Bible describes the Creator God …
“When he established the clouds above and fixed securely the fountains of the deep.”
#7. Hydrology: Precipitation and evaporation cycles exist.
For thousands of years, scientists understood the reality of rain clouds that resulted in rain. Yet hydrology—the science of water and the water cycle—was not understood. Unknown was the “hydrologic cycle.”
• Then, in the 1st century BC, Marcus Vitruvius described a philosophical theory—though limited—in which rain falling in the mountains infiltrated the earth’s surface, which led to streams and springs in the lowlands.
• Yet it wasn’t until the 15th century that Leonardo da Vinci presented an accurate picture of the hydrologic cycle. In essence, water on earth moves in a cycle through different pathways and at different rates. For example, the evaporation of ocean water produces clouds … clouds drifting over land produce rain … rainwater flows into lakes and rivers … water in lakes and rivers evaporates back into the atmosphere or eventually flows back into the ocean. And the cycle continues.
However, this scientific cycle had been revealed in the Bible approximately 3,000 years prior. The Book of Job explains the work of God in this way …
“He wraps up the waters in his clouds, yet the clouds do not burst under their weight.… He draws up the drops of water, which distill as rain to the streams; the clouds pour down their moisture and abundant showers fall on mankind.… Who cuts a channel for the torrents of rain, and a path for the thunderstorm, to water a land where no man lives, a desert with no one in it, to satisfy a desolate wasteland and make it sprout with grass?”
(Job 26:8; 36:27–28; 38:25–27)
The “Who” in the last sentence is the One who invented the cycle in the first place—the One who actually recorded the cycle in His Word.
#8. Genetics: All living things reproduce after their own kind.
In 350 BC Aristotle presented the theory of “spontaneous generation”—life appears out of nonlife—a theory that the scientific world accepted for thousands of years.
Scientists theorized that frogs originated out of slime pools and insects out of rot.
• Then in 1862, with the invention of the microscope, Louis Pasteur totally disproved spontaneous generation.
• Then 3 years later, Johann Mendel developed what is now the universal law of heredity.
However, thousands of years earlier in the 15th century BC, the 1st book of the Bible presented the same law of heredity verifying that all living things were created according to their own kind.…
“God created the great creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing with which the water teems, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind.”
#9. Hematology: Life is in the blood.
For some 3,000 years, “bloodletting” was a widespread, medical procedure practiced among many ancient peoples up until the early 20th century.
• By removing a sizeable amount of blood from a patient, the medical community believed that any disease could be treated.
• Scientists and surgeons believed that bloodletting would remove stagnate blood building up in the extremities.
• The more severe the problem, the more blood would be “let”—whether by lances or leeches. But the truth is, bloodletting caused many illnesses to escalate in severity, even to the point of death.
• Suffering with a throat infection in 1799, George Washington, the 1st president of the United States, had approximately 4 pints (1.7 liters) of blood removed from his body, a process that contributed to his death.
Hundreds of years after Moses penned Leviticus, Herophilos, the celebrated Alexandrian physician of the 3rd century BC, identified blood as the carrier of disease.
However, notice the irony. Centuries earlier, the Bible had presented blood as the carrier of life. And nowhere in the Bible is one mention of the weakening, sometimes deadly practice of bloodletting.…
“The life of every creature is its blood.”
#10. Urology: Circumcision is to be performed on the 8th day.
God gave circumcision as a sign of His covenant with Israel. Why was this circumcision to occur on the 8th day after birth?
• In 1947 Martin Rosenthal wrote a letter to the editor of The Journal of the American Medical Association explaining the best time to perform a circumcision.
— Babies do not possess adequate clotting factors until 5–7 days after birth and therefore can be susceptible to hemorrhaging.
— Circumcision should not be performed until the end of the 1st week of life in order to prevent the danger of severe hemorrhage. (Today, a vitamin K injection is routinely administered after birth to alleviate this danger.)
• In other words, the best day to perform a circumcision is on the 8th day after birth.
Therefore, medical science has discovered that the 8th day is the perfect day.
However, God had given Abraham, some 4,000 years previously, the exact day this medical procedure should be done.…
“For the generations to come every male among you who is eight days old must be circumcised.”
The Bible proves to be true even in this medical matter.
#11. Epidemiology: Public sanitation is essential.
Today, no civilized society would allow human dung to be dumped into our public streets, yet up until the end of the 18th century, body waste lined filthy, unpaved streets. As a result …
Putrefied stenches hovered over towns like dark, ominous clouds ready to rain their terror of death.
• The doctors of their day continually faced deadly epidemics of cholera, typhoid, dysentery, and similar illnesses. The medical doctor who wrote the book None of These Diseases states, “It was a hey-day for flies as they bred in the filth and spread intestinal disease that killed millions.”
• However, if they had merely applied a short, biblical remedy given some 3,000 years earlier in the Book of Deuteronomy, most of the catastrophic diseases, epidemics, and plagues would have been eradicated.…
“Designate a place outside the camp where you can go to relieve yourself. As part of your equipment have something to dig with, and when you relieve yourself, dig a hole and cover up your excrement.”
#12. Public Health: Policies are needed.
For 40 years, Moses grew up in Pharaoh’s court during the writing of ancient Egypt’s most significant medical book. In 1536 BC, The Papyrus Ebers became the “bible” of medical books—the recognized world standard—because of Egypt’s position as world leader. This medical volume presents hundreds of medical remedies including drugs made of “lizard’s blood, swine’s teeth, putrid meat, stinking fat, moisture from pig’s ears, milk goose grease, asses’ hooves, animal fats from various sources, excreta from animals … human beings, donkeys, antelopes, dogs, cats, and even flies.”
Moses knew all these accepted medical practices and potions—actually “quack cures.” Yet as the one chosen by God to be the deliverer at the Exodus, the one through whom God gave the Law, the one who established hundreds of directives regarding health and sanitation, never did Moses recommend one of these so-called “remedies,” never did he mention even one of them. And today, the public health policies of Moses are totally compatible with public health policies of the modern, civilized world.
Moses, under God’s direction, established laws instructing the people …
|• To never eat animals that died of natural causes||Leviticus 7:24|
|• To destroy contaminated objects||Leviticus 11:33; 15:12|
|• To isolate or quarantine those who are sick||Leviticus 13:4|
|• To burn used dressings, contaminated clothing||Leviticus 13:47–54|
|• To rid a house of any mold||Leviticus 14:34–47|
|• To wash clothes and bathe after touching someone with an infection or touching the bed of someone with an infection||Leviticus 15:11|
|R—Reality of Prophecy|
|Prophecy about the Nation of Israel||Prophecy Fulfilled|
|Note: The prophetic dates listed are generally accepted by theological historians as approximate time frames.|
|• 586 BC—Israel would spend 70 years in Babylon.||605–536 BC|
|“These nations will serve the king of Babylon seventy years.” (Jeremiah 25:11)|
|• 1450 BC—Israel would spend 400 years in exile.||1800–1400 BC|
|“Then the Lord said to him, ‘Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated four hundred years.’ ” (Genesis 15:13)|
|• 1450 BC—Israel to be scattered among the nations.||722 BC & 605–586 BC|
|“You will become a thing of horror and an object of scorn and ridicule to all the nations where the Lord will drive you.” (Deuteronomy 28:37)|
|• 1450 BC—Israel would be hounded and persecuted.||Being scattered ever since|
|“Among those nations you [Israel] will find no repose, no resting place for the sole of your foot. There the Lord will give you an anxious mind, eyes weary with longing, and a despairing heart.” (Deuteronomy 28:65)|
|• 586 BC—Israel would retain her identity.||Still true today|
|“Though I completely destroy all the nations among which I scatter you, I will not completely destroy you. I will discipline you but only with justice; I will not let you go entirely unpunished.” (Jeremiah 46:28)|
|• 710 BC—Israel would reject her Messiah.||AD 33 and still true today|
|“Has any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed in him?” (John 7:48)|
|• AD 60—Israel’s enemies would dwell in her land.||AD 70 and still true today|
|“Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.” (Luke 21:24)|
|• 586 BC—Israel will endure forever.||True today and forever|
|“He who appoints the sun to shine by day, who decrees the moon and stars to shine by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar—the Lord Almighty is his name: ‘Only if these decrees vanish from my sight,’ declares the Lord, ‘will the descendants of Israel ever cease to be a nation before me.’ ” (Jeremiah 31:35–36)|
|Prophecy about Cities and Nations||Prophecy Fulfilled|
|• 650 BC—Destruction of wicked Nineveh—the Book of Nahum||612 BC|
|• 710 BC—Destruction of the Babylonian Empire—Isaiah 13:17–19||539 BC|
|• 575 BC—Destruction of the city of Tyre—Ezekiel 26:3–4||332 BC|
|• 550 BC—Destruction of the Persian Empire—Daniel 8:5–7, 20–21||331 BC|
|• 550 BC—Destruction of the Greek Empire—Daniel 8:8, 21–22||301 BC|
|• 550 BC—Rise of Rome—Daniel 2:40||148 BC|
|• AD 60—Destruction of Jerusalem—Luke 19:41–44||AD 70|
|• 600 BC—Destruction of the nation of Edom—Jeremiah 49:17–18||AD 70|
|• 570 BC—Egypt never again a major world power—Ezekiel 29:1–15||Since 30 BC|
18 Prophecies in the Old Testament … Fulfilled by Jesus in the New Testament, 1st Century AD
Messiah’s lineage from Abraham
• Prediction: 1450 BC—“Through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed.” (Genesis 22:18)
• Fulfillment: “The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. The Scripture does not say ‘and to seeds,’ meaning many people, but ‘and to your seed,’ meaning one person, who is Christ.” (Galatians 3:16)
Messiah’s lineage from Judah
• Prediction: 1450 BC—“The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom it belongs and the obedience of the nations is his.” (Genesis 49:10)
• Fulfillment: “See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He [Jesus] is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.” (Revelation 5:5)
Messiah’s lineage from David
• Prediction: 990 BC—“I have made a covenant with my chosen one, I have sworn to David my servant, ‘I will establish your line forever and make your throne firm through all generations.’ ” (Psalm 89:3–4)
• Fulfillment: “He [God] testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’ From this man’s descendants God has brought to Israel the Savior, Jesus, as he promised.” (Acts 13:22–23)
• Prediction: 730 BC—“You, Bethlehem Ephrathah … out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.” (Micah 5:2)
• Fulfillment: “After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, ‘Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.’ ” (Matthew 2:1–2)
(Note: Two towns called Bethlehem existed in Micah’s day—one much larger than the other. The little town of Bethlehem is the one prophesied by Micah—and the one in which Jesus was actually born.)
• Prediction: 440 BC—“See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me.” (Malachi 3:1)
• Fulfillment: [Spoken about John the Baptist] “This is the one about whom it is written: ‘I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.’ ” (Luke 7:27)
Messiah’s ministry in Galilee
• Prediction: 730 BC—“In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the Gentiles, by the way of the sea, along the Jordan.” (Isaiah 9:1)
• Fulfillment: “He [Jesus] returned to Galilee.… To fulfill what was said through the prophet Isaiah: ‘Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the way to the sea, along the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles—the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.’ ” (Matthew 4:12–16)
Messiah’s role as prophet
• Prediction: 1450 BC—[Spoken by Moses] “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own brothers. You must listen to him.” (Deuteronomy 18:15)
• Fulfillment: [Spoken by the Jewish disciple Peter about Jesus] “Moses said, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you must listen to everything he tells you.’ ” (Acts 3:22)
Messiah’s entry into Jerusalem on a donkey
• Prediction: 470 BC—“See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” (Zechariah 9:9)
• Fulfillment: “Jesus found a young donkey and sat upon it, as it is written, ‘Do not be afraid, O Daughter of Zion; see, your king is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt.’ ” (John 12:14–15)
Messiah mocked and scoffed
• Prediction: 990 BC—“All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads: ‘He trusts in the Lord; let the Lord rescue him. Let him deliver him, since he delights in him.’ ” (Psalm 22:7–8)
• Fulfillment: “The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, ‘He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Christ of God, the Chosen One.’ ” (Luke 23:35)
Messiah sold for silver
• Prediction: 470 BC—“ ‘If you think it best, give me my pay; but if not, keep it.’ So they paid me thirty pieces of silver.” (Zechariah 11:12)
• Fulfillment: [Judas asked] “ ‘What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?’ So they counted out for him thirty silver coins.” (Matthew 26:15)
Messiah betrayed by a friend
• Prediction: 990 BC—“Even my close friend, whom I trusted, he who shared my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.” (Psalm 41:9)
• Fulfillment: “While they were eating, he [Jesus] said, ‘I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me.’ … Then Judas, the one who would betray him, said, ‘Surely not I, Rabbi?’ Jesus answered, ‘Yes, it is you.’ ” (Matthew 26:21, 25)
Messiah offered vinegar and gall
• Prediction: 990 BC—“They put gall in my food and gave me vinegar for my thirst.” (Psalm 69:21)
• Fulfillment: “They offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed with gall; but after tasting it, he refused to drink it.” (Matthew 27:34)
Messiah prays for His persecutors
• Prediction: 730 BC—“[He] made intercession for the transgressors.” (Isaiah 53:12)
• Fulfillment: “Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.’ ” (Luke 23:34)
Messiah commits His Spirit to God
• Prediction: 990 BC—“Into your hands I commit my spirit; redeem me, O Lord, the God of truth.” (Psalm 31:5)
• Fulfillment: “Jesus called out with a loud voice, ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.’ ” (Luke 23:46)
Messiah’s clothing divided by casting lots
• Prediction: 990 BC—“They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing.” (Psalm 22:18)
• Fulfillment: “When they had crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots.” (Matthew 27:35)
Messiah’s bones not broken
• Prediction: 990 BC—“He protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken.” (Psalm 34:20)
• Fulfillment: “When they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs.” (John 19:33)
Messiah’s body pierced
• Prediction: 470 BC—“They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him.” (Zechariah 12:10)
• Fulfillment: “One of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water.” (John 19:34)
Messiah’s raised body experienced no decay, no corruption
• Prediction: 990 BC—“You will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay.” (Psalm 16:10)
• Fulfillment: “He [David] spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to the grave, nor did his body see decay.” (Acts 2:31)
|Mathematical Probability of ProphecyAn expert in the area of mathematical probabilities, Peter Stoner wrote in Science Speaks that if only 8 of the prophecies in the Old Testament concerning Christ were fulfilled, the probability of their actually coming to pass would be 1 in 10 to the 17th degree.“Suppose that we take 1017 silver dollars and lay them on the face of Texas. They will cover all of the state 2 feet deep. Now mark one of these silver dollars and stir the whole mass thoroughly, all over the state. Blindfold a man and tell him that he can travel as far as he wishes, but he must pick up one silver dollar and say that this is the right one. What chance would he have of getting the right one? Just the same chance that the prophets would have had of writing these eight prophecies and having them all come true in any one man, from their day to the present time, providing they wrote using their own wisdom.”
The Portrait of the Messiah from Isaiah Chapters 52 and 53
Skeptics have often objected to the testimony of prophecy, asserting that the prophetic passages of Scripture were written after the times of Jesus and, therefore, are self-fulfilling. However, the evidence overwhelmingly demonstrates that these prophecies were written centuries before the birth of Christ. It is a fact accepted—even by the most liberal scholars—that the Old Testament canon was completed by 400 BC. The Septuagint, which is the Greek translation of the Old Testament, was completed during the reign of Ptolemy Philadelphus in 250 BC. The Dead Sea Scrolls discovered in 1948 contained books of the Old Testament. Some prophetic scrolls containing Isaiah were dated by paleographers to 100 BC.
Therefore, we can readily accept that these prophecies were written centuries before Christ. No religious leader has ever fulfilled anything remotely close to the number of prophecies Jesus fulfilled. He said to them …
“This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”
Notice the time frame between Isaiah’s prophecies and Jesus’ fulfillment: approximately 700 years!
Isaiah’s Messianic Prophecies from 8th Century BC Finds Fulfillment in 1st Century AD
• Prediction: “See, my servant will act wisely; he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted.” (Isaiah 52:13)
• Fulfillment: “The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David!’ ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’ ‘Hosanna in the highest!’ ” (Matthew 21:9)
Messiah disfigured by suffering
• Prediction: “Just as there were many who were appalled at him—his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and his form marred beyond human likeness.” (Isaiah 52:14)
• Fulfillment: “He [Pilate] had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.… They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again.” (Matthew 27:26, 30)
Messiah amazed kings and nations
• Prediction: “So will he sprinkle many nations, and kings will shut their mouths because of him. For what they were not told, they will see, and what they have not heard, they will understand.” (Isaiah 52:15)
• Fulfillment: “After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, ‘Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.’ ” (Matthew 2:1–2)
Messiah not believed
• Prediction: “Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.” (Isaiah 53:1–2)
• Fulfillment: “Even after Jesus had done all these miraculous signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him. This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet: ‘Lord, who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?’ ” (John 12:37–38)
• Prediction: “He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” (Isaiah 53:3)
• Fulfillment: “The chief priests and the teachers of the law mocked him among themselves. ‘He saved others,’ they said, ‘but he can’t save himself!’ ” (Mark 15:31)
• Prediction: “He took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted.” (Isaiah 53:4)
• Fulfillment: “This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: ‘He took up our infirmities and carried our diseases.’ ” (Matthew 8:17)
• Prediction: “He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5)
• Fulfillment: “One of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water.” (John 19:34)
Messiah—the Spiritual Healer
• Prediction: “He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5)
• Fulfillment: “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.” (1 Peter 2:24)
• Prediction: “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:6)
• Fulfillment: “Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit.” (1 Peter 3:18)
Messiah’s silent suffering
• Prediction: “He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.” (Isaiah 53:7)
• Fulfillment: “Jesus made no reply, not even to a single charge—to the great amazement of the governor.” (Matthew 27:14)
Messiah cut off
• Prediction: “By oppression and judgment he was taken away. And who can speak of his descendants? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was stricken.” (Isaiah 53:8)
• Fulfillment: “ ‘In his humiliation he was deprived of justice. Who can speak of his descendants? For his life was taken from the earth.’ The eunuch asked Philip, ‘Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?’ Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.” (Acts 8:33–35)
Messiah’s burial in a rich man’s tomb
• Prediction: “He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death.” (Isaiah 53:9)
• Fulfillment: “As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph.… Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock.” (Matthew 27:57–60)
Messiah’s sinless behavior
• Prediction: “Though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.” (Isaiah 53:9)
• Fulfillment: “He [Jesus] committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.” (1 Peter 2:22)
Messiah—the guilt offering for the people
• Prediction: “It was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and … the Lord makes his life a guilt offering.” (Isaiah 53:10)
• Fulfillment: “Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (Ephesians 5:2)
Messiah’s resurrection from the dead
• Prediction: “He will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand. After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light of life and be satisfied.” (Isaiah 53:10–11)
• Fulfillment: “Seeing what was ahead, he spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to the grave, nor did his body see decay.” (Acts 2:31)
• Prediction: “By his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities.” (Isaiah 53:11)
• Fulfillment: “Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.” (Hebrews 9:28)
Messiah numbered with the sinners
• Prediction: “I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors.” (Isaiah 53:12)
• Fulfillment: [Jesus said] “It is written: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors’; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfillment.” (Luke 22:37)
Messiah’s prayer for those who crucified Him
• Prediction: “He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” (Isaiah 53:12)
• Fulfillment: “Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.’ ” (Luke 23:34)
The Bible’s life-transforming power in personal lives … the Bible’s amazing ability to change corrupt humanity—this is the most profound proof of all.
“The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.”
No other book has influenced humanity as the Bible has.
• The Bible has impacted every culture it has touched.
• The traditional BC\AD date indicators reflect a biblical perspective.
— BC = Before Christ (sometimes altered to BCE, Before Common Era or Before Christian Era)
— AD = Anno Domini (Latin for in the year of our Lord, sometimes altered to CE, Common Era or Christian Era)
• The fine arts have been heavily influenced by the Bible.
— Art: Rembrandt, Da Vinci, Raphael, Michelangelo
— Music: Bach, Mendelssohn, Brahms, Beethoven (The lyrics of Handel’s Messiah are taken directly from 15 different books of the Bible.)
— Literature: Milton, Shakespeare, Longfellow, Kipling, Hawthorne
• Legal systems are rooted in biblical principles.
• English common law
— Bill of Rights
— Magna Carta
— United States Constitution
Read the words of famous people … about the Word.
• George Washington … (1732–1799)—The 1st president of the United States.
“It is impossible to rightly govern the world without the Bible.”
• John Adams … (1735–1826)—A politician and one of the founding fathers of the United States of America. He served as both the nation’s 1st vice president and its 2nd president.
“The Bible is the best book in the world. It contains more … than all the libraries I have seen.”
• Thomas Jefferson … (1743–1826)—3rd president of the United States, principal author of the Declaration of Independence.
“The Bible makes the best people in the world.”
• Andrew Jackson … (1767–1845)—7th president of the United States and founder of the Democratic Party.
“That Book, sir, is the rock on which our Republic rests.”
• Abraham Lincoln … (1809–1865)—16th president of the United States. In 1863 he abolished slavery with his Emancipation Proclamation.
“But for this Book, we could not know right from wrong. I believe the Bible is the best gift God has ever given to man.”
• Theodore Roosevelt … (1858–1919)—26th president of the United States, leader of the Republican Party and the Progressive movement.
“No educated man can afford to be ignorant of the Bible.”
• Woodrow Wilson … (1856–1924)—29th president of the United States, a leader of the Progressive Era, served as president of Princeton University.
“The Bible is the one supreme source of revelation of the meaning of life.”
• Dwight D. Eisenhower … (1890–1969)—34th president of the United States and the 1st commander of NATO during World War II.
“In the highest sense the Bible is to us the unique repository of eternal spiritual truths.”
• Winston Churchill … (1874–1965)—English statesman, author, and strategic prime minister of the United Kingdom during World War II.
“We rest with assurance upon the impregnable rock of Holy Scripture.”
• Douglas MacArthur … (1880–1964)—American General of the U.S. Army, Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers in Japan, overseeing the occupation of Japan during World War II and credited for making democratic changes in that country.
“Never a night goes by, be I ever so tired, but I read the Word of God before I go to bed.”
• Chiang Kai-shek … (1887–1975)—Chinese military and political leader, served 5 terms as president of the Republic of China.
“The Bible is the voice of the Holy Spirit.”
• Napoleon … (1769–1821)—A general during the French Revolution, the first consul of the French Republic and emperor of France.
“The Bible is no mere book but a living creature with a power that conquers all that oppose it.”
• Robert E. Lee … (1807–1870)—U.S. Army career officer and the most celebrated general of the Confederate forces during the American Civil War.
“In all my perplexities and distresses, the Bible has never failed to give me light and strength.”
• Stonewall Jackson … (1824–1863)—A Confederate general during the American Civil War, most famous for his audacious Valley Campaign of 1862.
“God’s promises change not … let us endeavor to adorn the doctrine of Christ in all things.”
• Patrick Henry … (1736–1799)—Prominent figure in the American Revolution, known and remembered for his “Give me liberty or give me death” speech.
“This is a Book worth more than all the others that were ever printed.”
• Daniel Webster … (1782–1852)—A leading American statesman and orator who compiled the widely-used Webster’s Dictionary.
“I believe the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be the will and the Word of God.”
• Benjamin Franklin … (1706–1790)—Scientist, inventor, famous diplomat, philosopher, author, publisher, politician, civic activist, and one of the founding fathers of the United States.
“Young men, my advice to you is that you cultivate an acquaintance with, and a firm belief in, the Holy Scriptures.”
• Sir Francis Bacon … (1561–1626)—An English philosopher, statesman, and essayist, best known as a philosophical advocate and defender of the scientific revolution.
“The volume of Scriptures … reveal the will of God.”
• Sir Isaac Newton … (1642–1727)—English physicist, mathematician, astronomer, philosopher, and alchemist, regarded as the greatest figure in the history of science.
“We account the Scriptures of God to be the most sublime philosophy. I find more sure marks of authenticity in the Bible than in any profane history whatsoever.”
• Galileo Galilei … (1564–1642)—Italian physicist, astronomer, astrologer, and philosopher who is closely associated with the scientific revolution.
“I believe that the intention of Holy Writ was to persuade men of the truths necessary to salvation.…”
• John Locke … (1632–1704)—English philosopher who founded the school of empiricism.
“It has God for its Author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter; it is all pure, sincere, nothing too much, nothing wanting.”
• Immanuel Kant … (1724–1804)—German philosopher, considered by many the most influential thinker of modern times.
“The existence of the Bible as a book for the people is the greatest benefit which the human race has ever experienced. Every attempt to belittle it is a crime against humanity.”
• T. H. Huxley … (1825–1895)—English biologist, educator, and advocate of agnosticism.
“The Bible has been the Magna Carta of the poor and oppressed. The human race is not in a position to dispense with it.”
• John Milton … (1608–1674)—One of the greatest poets of the English language—historian, scholar, and civil servant for the Parliamentarians and the Puritan Commonwealth.
“There are no songs like the songs of the Scriptures, no orations like the orations of the prophets.”
• Charles Dickens … (1812–1870)—One of the best known English novelists, who wrote such classics as A Tale of Two Cities, A Christmas Carol, Great Expectations, David Copperfield, and, Oliver Twist.
“It is the best Book that ever was or ever will be in the world.”
• Henry Ward Beecher … (1813–1887)—Orator, lecturer, and a leader in the antislavery movement, a proponent of women’s suffrage, and early advocate of the theory of evolution.
“The Bible is God’s chart for you to steer by, to keep you from the bottom of the sea, and to show you where the harbor is, and how to reach it without running on rocks or bars.”
• H. G. Wells … (1866–1946)—English historian, teacher, futurist, essayist, and author of The War of the Worlds.
“The Bible has been the Book that held together the fabric of Western civilization. It has been the handbook of life to countless millions of men and women. The civilization we possess could not have come into existence and could not have been sustained without it.”
• Mark Twain … (1835–1910)—American humorist, journalist, and author who acquired international fame for his novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
“Most people are bothered by those passages of Scripture they do not understand, but the passages that bother me are those I do understand.”
• Helen Keller … (1880–1968)—American blind and deaf author, inspirational lecturer.
“Unless we form the habit of going to the Bible in bright moments as well as in trouble, we cannot fully respond to its consolations because we lack equilibrium between light and darkness.”
|T—Textual Preservation and Unity|
He once thought Christians were “out of their minds.” He ridiculed them, argued with them, and as a pre-law student, he loved to debate them. But later … he became one of them. After careful analysis, he recognized that his arguments couldn’t stand against the truths of Scripture.
In affirming Jesus’ deity and resurrection, former skeptic Josh McDowell scrutinized the Bible through 3 comprehensive tests: the bibliographical test (which examines textual transmission), the internal evidence test (which analyzes the credibility of the written record), and the external evidence test (which measures how other historical documents affirm or cast doubt on the written record). McDowell concludes, “After personally trying to shatter the historicity and validity of the Scriptures, I have come to the conclusion that they are historically trustworthy. If a person discards the Bible as unreliable in this sense, then he or she must discard almost all the literature of antiquity.”
• The text has been miraculously preserved with care and accuracy in approximately 6,000 manuscripts of the Greek New Testament.
• The amazing circulation of the Bible has virtually saturated the entire world (more copies than any other ancient or contemporary literature).
• The Bible’s supernatural indestructibility in spite of …
— political persecution … Roman emperors
— philosophical persecution … Stalin and communism
• The amazing unity of thought and detail in spite of …
— the long period of time (1,600 years) it took to write it
— the 40 different human authors involved in writing it
— the 3 different languages in which it was written
— the 3 different continents on which it was written
— the 10 different styles of writing contained in it
Sir Frederic Kenyon, once the director and librarian of the British Museum, speaks of the textual advantage of the New Testament documents over all other ancient manuscripts:
• “In no other case is the interval of time between the composition of the book and the date of the earliest extant manuscripts so short as in that of the New Testament. The books of the New Testament were written in the latter part of the first century. The earliest extant manuscripts, trifling scraps accepted, are the fourth century, from 250 to 300 years later.”
• “This interval is nothing to that which parts most of the great classical authors from their earliest manuscripts. We believe that we have in all essentials an accurate text of the seven extant plays of Sophocles, yet the earliest substantial manuscript upon which it is based was written more than 1,400 years after the poet’s death.”
• “The interval between the dates of the original composition and the earliest extant evident become so small as to be in fact negligible, and the last foundation for any doubts that the Scriptures have come down to us substantially as they were written has now been removed. Both the authenticity and the general integrity of the books of the New Testament may be regarded as finally established.”
• Argument: The New Testament could not pass the bibliographical test for determining whether it is historically reliable.
Rebuttal: It can and it does. To determine the reliability of an ancient document, historians will examine the manuscripts, in part, through a process known as the bibliographic test.
• Since the original manuscripts of the Bible no longer exist, the “bibliographical test” determines the reliability of the copies based on the number of manuscripts available and the time interval between the writing of the original and the current copies in existence.
• There are more copies of the New Testament than of any other document of antiquity—around 25,000 as compared to Homer’s Iliad, which is 2nd with only 643 surviving manuscripts.
• The reliability of the New Testament text rests on a multitude of manuscripts, making it possible to reconstruct the original with virtually complete accuracy.
• The interval of time between the writing of the original New Testament and the date of the 2 earliest copies—around 250 to 300 years—is shorter than that of any other ancient book. And some virtually complete books of the New Testament and extensive fragments of other parts of the New Testament date back to 100 years from the original writings. By contrast, the earliest substantial copy of the 7 plays of Sophocles was written more than 1,400 years after the poet’s death.
• The interval between the dates of the original writing of the New Testament and the earliest copy is considered negligible.
• Scholars accept as generally trustworthy the copies of the ancient classics even though they were written centuries after the original and the number of copies is so small. Thus it is clear that the reliability of the text of the New Testament is likewise assured.
The evidence clearly supports the truth of Jesus’ statement regarding Scripture.…
“I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.”
• Argument: The Bible is not a “unique” book.
Rebuttal: Many specific points distinguish the Bible from all other writings. The best way to validate this fact is to list some of the aspects that are true only of the Bible.
• It is the only book that opens with the creation of the universe by divine decree and contains a continuous, historical record of mankind and then closes with the future end of history. It is all-inclusive.
• It is the only major, ancient religious book whose complete textual preservation is established as virtually autographic. Many thousands of copies have been found.
• It is the only book that has unity and internal consistency despite being written over a 1,600 year period by more than 40 authors in 3 languages on 3 continents discussing a plethora of controversial topics yet agreeing on them all. It is without contradiction.
• It is the only religious book that offers eternal salvation as a free gift by God’s grace alone.
• It is the only book compiled of 66 person-centered books detailing the prophecy and life of a specific person—it centers on Christ.
• It is the only book that is one-quarter prophetic, containing some 400 pages of predictive material.
• It is the only book that has been translated into some 1,700 languages—it is universal in its message.
• It is the only book that has its accuracy confirmed in history by archaeology, textual criticism, science, and the like. It is accurate and without error.
• It is the only book offering a realistic and permanent solution to the problem of human sin and evil … faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
• It is the only book with a thoroughly realistic view of human nature, with the power to convict people of their sins and with the ability to change human nature. It is living and active, powerful and persuasive.
• It is the only book that unquestionably exceeds the moral standards of all other books. It “raises the bar” of righteous living far above other writings.
• It is the only book that proclaims a resurrected Savior proven in history. Jesus Christ has risen from the dead and triumphed over death and the grave.
• It is the only book that provides historic proof that the one true God loves mankind. He so loved the world that He gave His only Son.
Truly, like the God who authored it, the Bible is unique and has stood the test of time and scrutiny. Interestingly, the renowned victorious commander-in-chief King David describes the value and impact of the Bible in poetic language.…
“The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes.… They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb. By them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.”
(Psalm 19:8, 10–11)
• Argument: The Bible could be called “inspired,” like an inspirational poem, but can never be classified as “without error.”
Rebuttal: Of all the considerations regarding the Bible, inerrancy is the most important—the most critical—because this feature is what distinguishes the Bible from all other books penned throughout the annals of history. If the Bible is the Word of God, it has innate authority and is therefore to be given top priority and heeded above all other writings.
The historic Christian view is that God directed the human authors of Scripture in the process of composing the Old and New Testaments. He used their distinctive personalities and life experiences, their perspectives, their intended audience, their culture and background, and their own vocabulary and language. The Bible in its entirety and the Bible alone is the written Word of God and inerrant in its original manuscripts.
For anyone seeking to understand “inspirational inerrancy,” an explanation of what it is not can be helpful.
Biblical Inspiration and Inerrancy:
• Does NOT require sinless writers—God did not choose people who were perfect.
Rather, God did not let their sins and imperfections interfere with or contaminate what they wrote.
• Does NOT require mechanical dictation—God did not dictate the Bible word for word, except in cases where it is stated that God is being quoted verbatim.
Rather, God so superintended the writers and so prepared them through every experience of their lives that they wrote what He wanted written.
• Does NOT require verbatim scriptural quotes—God did not put restrictions on quoting earlier Scripture.
Rather, the writers quoted Scripture in a variety of ways—such as verbatim, from memory, paraphrased, interpreted, and alluded to Scripture in a way that brought out its meaning.
• Does NOT require full genealogies and chronologies—God did not present His message in a complete, point-by-point progression.
Rather, genealogies and chronologies were often recorded in the Hebrew custom—by including only pertinent individuals needed to make a point or presenting them in symmetry to make memorization easier.
• Does NOT require identical accounts of events—God did not choose only 1 person to write the 4 Gospels nor did He use 4 writers with the same perspective and vocabulary.
Rather, the writers of the Gospels recorded the events in the life of Jesus using their own vernacular, from their individual points of view, and in such a way as to accomplish their individual purpose for writing.
• Does NOT require the original manuscripts or inerrant copies—God did not supernaturally preserve the original inerrant Scriptures, nor did He supernaturally prevent any error from being made in the copying and translating of Scripture.
Rather, God preserved enough copies (thousands more than any other book of antiquity) so that by a careful comparison of copies, any error could be identified and the original text reestablished.
We can confidently conclude that “inspirational inerrancy” means that the Bible we have today is totally trustworthy. We can trust that it will not deceive us theologically, historically, geographically, or scientifically. The Bible as originally written and as now substantially confirmed is the inerrant Word of God.…
“The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever.”
The evidence for the early existence of the New Testament canon is clear. The historical significance and reliability of the New Testament writings becomes even more significant when compared with other ancient documents that have been accepted without question.
Contrast: New Testament with Other Books of Antiquity
|Author||Book||Date Written||Earliest Copies in Existence||Time Gap From Original||No. of Copies in Existence|
|Homer||Iliad||c. 800 BC||c. 400 BC||c. 400 yrs.||643|
|Herodotus||History||c. 431 BC||c. AD 900||c. 1,300 yrs.||8|
|Thucydides||History||c. 411 BC||c. AD 900||c. 1,300 yrs.||8|
|Plato||Dialogues||c. 370 BC||c. AD 900||c. 1,300 yrs.||7|
|Caesar||The Gallic War||c. 50 BC||c. AD 900||c. 1,000 yrs.||10|
|Livy||History of Rome||AD 17||4th cent. (partial)c. AD 900||c. 400 yrs.c. 1,000 yrs.||119|
|New Testament||Matthew to Revelation||AD 50–100||c. 150 (fragment)c. 200 (books)c. 250 (most of N.T.)
c. 350 (complete N.T.)
|+50 yrs.100 yrs.150 yrs.
|Pliny the Elder||Natural History||AD 77||c. AD 850||c. 750 yrs.||7|
|Josephus||Antiquities||AD 94||c. AD 1050||c. 950 yrs.||over 300|
|Plutarch||Lives||c. AD 100||c. A.D. 950||c. 850 yrs.||fragments|
|Tacitus||Annals||c. AD 109||c. AD 1100||c. 1,000 yrs.||20|
|Josephus||War||AD 78||c. AD1050||c. 970 yrs.||over 300|
|H—Historical Authenticity through Archaeology|
The trial is close to its end. The lawyer for the defense calls for testimony from an expert witness.
Lawyer: “Members of the jury, I call to the stand Sir William Ramsay. … Sir Ramsay, you are the first professor of Classical Archaeology at Oxford University. What qualifies you to be an expert witness?”
Ramsay: “I am an Oxford scholar and have pioneered the study of antiquity in what is today Western Turkey. I’ve devoted 15 years of my life doing archaeological digs in Palestine and Asia Minor.”
Lawyer: “What was your initial desire and purpose?”
Ramsay: “Truthfully, I was on a mission to denounce the biblical writings of the physician named Luke, who wrote both the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts. My belief was that through archaeology, I could conclusively prove his account of the early Christian church as nothing but myth. I genuinely believed the New Testament was unreliable—an invention of the second Christian church.”
Lawyer: “And what were your conclusions based on your archaeological research?”
Ramsay: “Without fail, dig after dig, the evidence supported Luke’s detailed accounts. For example, governors mentioned by Luke—many whom historians believed never existed—have now been authenticated by our archaeological excavations. Without a single error, Luke wrote about 32 countries, 54 cities, and 9 islands.”
Lawyer: “How do these references in the Book of Acts line up with historical fact?”
Ramsay: “The Book of Acts is a minutely accurate historical work. I have now determined that Luke’s history is unsurpassed in respect to its trustworthiness. Within the Book of Acts are over 300 references to people, places, events, cities, districts, and titles of various officials. Luke is a historian of the first rank; not merely are his statements trustworthy … this author should be placed along with the greatest of historians.” 63
History is a story—an accurate story about people, places, and events that framed their lives. The quality that sets history apart from fiction is that the people written about were actually alive, living in actual places, involved in actual events.
Skeptics consider the Bible, or portions of the Bible, to be mythology—well-developed mythical stories that typically present a beneficial message—but these critics claim those stories have no solid connection to actual events in human history. Meanwhile, believers read the Bible, confident they are reading about real events that occurred among real people in real places.
Archaeology is not concerned with simple fantasy, but with solid history. So, what has archaeology discovered about the biblical account of people, places, and events? Examine the following discoveries to determine whether the Bible is mythology or history.
Mythology or History? What Says Archaeology?
#1. The Discovery of Early Monotheism—establishes the belief in only one God at the dawn of history.
• Skeptics had argued that the Adam and Eve account was wrong … that all people were originally polytheistic and only later did the idea of monotheism develop.
• However …
— The archaeological evidence has revealed the Sumerians—1 of the 2 earliest civilizations—held the belief in only one God.
— Professor of History Albert Hyma, teaching on ancient history said, “According to many present authorities, the Sumerians were originally monotheistic in their belief, for the most ancient written records state clearly that they believed in only one God. This is a very important fact to note, because until very recently a large number of historians believed that mankind originally was polytheistic and that gradually, as human beings became civilized, they formed a higher conception of the deity.”
#2. The Discovery of Flood Tablets and Fossils—establishes the credibility of the Genesis Flood account (Genesis chapters 6 and 7).
• Skeptics had asserted that the Bible could not be true because it contains myths like the story of Noah’s flood—a story found in the ancient literature of many pagan cultures. These stories, such as the Epic of Gilgamesh (Tablet XI 2750–2500 BC), as well as the oral and written traditions of cultures from China to Greece to the Americas, record a catastrophic worldwide flood … surely not all of them could be true?
• However …
— The presence of multiple flood narratives in ancient literature actually supports the fact that a worldwide flood did indeed occur.
— According to Genesis chapters 6 and 7, a worldwide flood covered the earth and destroyed all human and animal life—excluding those in the ark and creatures that could survive in water. In corroboration, Babylonian flood tablets were unearthed at Nineveh by H. Rassam in 1853.
— The Great Flood had such a profound impact that it became part of various ancient cultures. The early aborigines of nearly every country of the world have preserved records of the universal flood. Anthropologist Dr. Richard Andree has collected 46 different flood accounts from North and South America, 20 from Asia, 5 from Europe, 7 from Africa, and 10 from the South Sea Islands and Australia.
— The billions of fossilized bones scattered across the globe and the presence of striking geological and topographical features like the Grand Canyon point to a global, cataclysmic event like the Great Flood described in Genesis. This overwhelming evidence from archaeology further demonstrates the amazing accuracy of the Bible.
#3. The Discovery of the Hittite Culture—establishes the existence of the Hittite people.
• Skeptics had sneered and jeered at the mention of a Hittite people through relegating the Hittite references in the Bible as “historical fables.”
• However …
— In 1906 German archaeologist Hugo Winkler discovered the Hittite capital city. Over 10,000 written tablets describe Hittite life including the accurate location of the land of the Hittites as the entire western side of the Fertile Crescent.
— The Hittites are mentioned 61 times in 15 books of the Bible. (Esau married a Hittite woman, and Uriah, married to Bathsheba, was a Hittite man.) The Hittites are now known to be 1 of the 3 most influential empires in the ancient world.
#4. The Discovery of the Early Presence of Camels—establishes the references of camels in the Book of Genesis.
• Skeptics had scoffed at the historical inaccuracy of the mention of camels being both in Egypt and in Canaan, saying no camels were there until long after Abraham. (Camels were mentioned 24 times in Genesis.)
• However …
— American archaeologist J. P. Free presented the evidence that camels were in the area—even prior to the time of Abraham.
— Archaeological digs located not only drawings and rock carvings of camels, but also figurines, statues, and plaques … and more convincing than that, a camel skull, camel bones, and a camel rope dating as far back as 3000 BC.
#5. The Discovery of Sodom and Gomorrah—establishes the Genesis account of the burning judgment of God (Genesis chapter 19).
• Skeptics had argued that the mention of a time when “the Lord rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah” (verse 24) was merely mythology used to teach a moral lesson. (God destroyed both cities because of their extreme sinfulness.)
• However …
— In the late 1960s and early 70s, while excavating a site near the Dead Sea, archaeologists discovered a 23-inch-thick wall encircling the city, a temple, and numerous houses.
— Large gravesites were found outside the city where thousands of skeletons were unearthed, indicating a well-populated city during the time Abraham would have lived. Sodom and Gomorrah are known to have been at the southern end of the Dead Sea.
— Most intriguing and confirming of the biblical account is the discovery that the city lay buried under a layer of ash several feet thick. And, after excavating house after house, it was determined that fire began on the rooftops, collapsing them, and then spreading inside the structures. Indeed, the burning judgment came—and it came from above.
#6. The Discovery of Bricks with and without Straw—establishes the accuracy of the facts in Exodus.
• Skeptics had belittled the Book of Exodus for the “ignorant” error of saying the Hebrews used straw to make bricks. In fact, world-renowned Egyptologist Eric Peet spoke of Moses’ apparent ignorance because the composition of the mud from the Nile River required no straw whatsoever.
• However …
— In the 1880s, archaeologist Edouard Naville of the Egypt Exploration Fund excavated one of Pharaoh’s prized cities, Pithom, where the Israelites made bricks—some with straw, some without.
— In an ancient Egyptian document—“Papyrus Anastasi”—an officer responsible for erecting buildings on the northern frontier wrote: “I am without equipment. There are no people to make bricks and there is no straw in the district.”
#7. The Discovery of the Destruction of Jericho—establishes the Joshua chapter 6 account of the fall of the walls.
• Skeptics had dismissed the story of Joshua and his small army of men repeatedly marching around the fortified city of Jericho, eventually causing the city wall to collapse when they shouted and blew trumpets. Joshua 6:20 recorded no swords, no spears, no battering ram—just a shout.
• However …
— Dr. Bryant Wood, Director of Associates for Biblical Research and a leading expert on archaeology concerning Jericho, revealed archaeological evidence indicating that in the Late Bronze period, Jericho’s city walls collapsed and the city was apparently destroyed by fire. Any siege must have been very brief indeed because the city’s granaries were full at the time of the destruction. All of this information matches well with the biblical record in Joshua chapters 2–6.
— When British archaeologist John Garstang excavated Jericho in the 1940s, he found under the fallen walls, the ruins of the storehouse, which still contained an abundance of wheat, barley, dates, lentils, and the like. The logical question is: “Why didn’t the conquerors (Joshua and the Hebrews) take the customary spoils of war?” Joshua 6:18–19 provides the answer: The Lord ordered them to take nothing except the gold, silver, bronze, and iron for the treasury. And the archaeological evidence proved that Joshua faithfully followed the Lord’s command.
— Although Jericho was protected by a double wall of brick, the outer wall being 6 feet thick and 30 feet high … still, as the old song says, “… the walls came tumblin’ down”!
#8. The Discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls—establishes the historical accuracy of the Old Testament.
• Skeptics had been excited about the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls … assuming this new finding would discredit the historical accuracy of the Bible. They believed the Old Testament would have undergone drastic changes over the years as different scribes would have altered the text.
• However …
— The Dead Sea Scrolls became the most important archaeological discovery of the 20th century. In 1947 a young boy searching for lost goats in a cave around the Dead Sea happened to discover jars containing ancient texts. His discovery began an exploration of the other caves from 1952 to 1956 that resulted in finding the Dead Sea Scrolls in the Qumran desert.
— In the 11 excavated caves, they discovered: Old Testament manuscripts, commentaries, and other theological books, even a manual on Qumran life … more than 100,000 document fragments, mostly in Hebrew … fragments from every Old Testament book, except the books of Esther and Nehemiah. The most ancient Hebrew texts were dated 1,000 years earlier than the AD 800–1000 Masoretic texts (which had been used until that time).
— Dr. Paul Wegner, Ph.D., University of London, explained their unique contribution: “The Dead Sea Scrolls provided texts of the Old Testament approximately 1,000 years earlier [than the oldest complete Hebrew manuscripts], and their impact was explosive on the field of textual criticism. Careful study of these manuscripts has helped to confirm that the Hebrew text we possess is very accurate.”
#9. The Discovery of Nazareth—establishes the existence of the childhood home of Jesus referred to in the Gospels.
• Skeptics had claimed that the village of Nazareth did not exist until the 2nd century AD.… Had that been the case, Jesus could not have lived there, as the New Testament Scriptures state. Justification for their belief was that the Old Testament never mentioned Nazareth—neither did other historical writings until later in the next century.
• However …
— Recent archaeological discoveries have validated the existence of Nazareth from the 2nd century BC through the 4th century AD, confirming that Jesus could easily have grown up in Nazareth. Luke 18:37 states, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.”
#10. The Discovery of the Pool of Siloam—establishes an important biblical place in the life of Jesus.
• Skeptics had said, “The Pool of Siloam did not actually exist. The apostle John was merely using the imagery of water to illustrate a point in John chapter 9.” Christ put clay on a man’s eyes—a man born blind—and then told him to wash at the Pool of Siloam. Obeying Christ by washing in the pool completed the miracle (verse 11).
• However …
— In 2005, while repairing a sewage pipe, workers discovered the remains of the Pool of Siloam. New Testament scholar James H. Charlesworth of the Princeton Theological Seminary said, “Now, we have found the Pool of Siloam … exactly where John said it was. A Gospel that was thought to be ‘only pure theology’ is now shown to be grounded in history.”
#11. The Discovery of the Earliest Christian Church—establishes an early faith in the deity of Christ.
• Skeptics had argued that biblical teaching of the deity of Christ did not occur until the 4th century.
• However …
— In November 2005, prisoners digging a foundation for prison expansion uncovered the remains of the earliest known Christian church in the Holy Land. The church dates to the 3rd century (the 200s AD) and contains Christian symbols as well as an inscription that references: “the God Jesus Christ.”
#12. Hundreds of Excavated Cities—establish the veracity of people, places, and events in the Bible.
• Skeptics had stated there was no way to prove the cities or people mentioned in the Bible ever existed or that these events ever occurred.
• However …
— One undeniable means of validating the truthfulness of a historical “claim” is to check for physical evidence. When verifying the content found in writings of antiquity, archaeology is the first evidence to examine.
— In a court of law, you would see …
◦ Exhibit A—The Governor Gallio Inscription—establishes the ministry of Paul in Greece where he appears in court before Gallio (Acts 18:12). Junius Annaeus Gallio, the son of Seneca the rhetorician and brother of Seneca the philosopher, was the Roman governor of Achaia—in present-day Greece. An inscription at Delphi declares him to be a “friend of Caesar” and dates his governorship to AD 51 or 52. Establishing Gallio through archaeology corroborates the reliability of the New Testament by demonstrating that Luke was writing about real people, real places, and real events in the Book of Acts.
◦ Exhibit B—The Ossuary of Caiaphas—establishes the existence of the Jewish high priest in the Gospels and the Book of Acts (Luke 3:2, Acts 4:6). In 1990, in a park just south of the Old City of Jerusalem, construction workers accidentally discovered the Caiaphas family tomb, containing 12 ossuaries with the remains of 63 individuals. The most beautifully decorated of the ossuaries was inscribed with the name: “Joseph son of (or, of the family of) Caiaphas,” which was the full name of the high priest who arrested Jesus, as documented by Josephus (Antiquities 18:2, 2; 4, 3). Inside were the remains of a 60-year-old male, almost certainly those of the Caiaphas of the New Testament. This remarkable discovery has, for the first time, provided us with the physical remains of an individual named in the Bible.
— If no physical evidence is found to support the historic claim, then doubts about accuracy can arise. For example: The Book of Mormon was written in 1830 and refers to places, people, and events in North America dating from 600 BC to AD 421—a time period of over 1,000 years. Yet not one piece of physical evidence has been unearthed by modern-day archeologists to lend credibility to any of the book’s claims: no steel, iron, or brass … not even one coin … no swords, arrows, or axes … none of the shields, breastplates, or helmets mentioned when two million “Jaredites” died in battle.
In fact, the Smithsonian Institution has issued the following statement regarding archaeological evidence and the Book of Mormon:
“The Smithsonian Institution has never used the Book of Mormon in any way as a scientific guide. Smithsonian archaeologists see no direct connection between the archaeology of the New World and the subject matter of the book.”
— By contrast, the people, places, and events described in the Bible have been verified by hundreds of thousands of archaeological findings, lending absolute credibility to the truthfulness of its claims. Many skeptics who once claimed that the Bible fabricated certain historical references have had to “eat their words” because these locations and events have been discovered and unearthed by modern-day archaeologists after lying buried for hundreds and even thousands of years.
How can a science as presumably “dry” as archaeology have any bearing on the reliability of the Bible? Various criticisms have been aimed at the historic reliability of the Scriptures. Many historians and scholars take the position that the Bible is biased and cannot be trusted unless corroborated by evidence from extra-biblical sources—sources other than the Bible.
In many scientific circles, the Bible is “guilty” until proven innocent—considered myth, allegory, or legend. Although it is not possible to display artifacts supporting every incident recorded in the Bible, every decade sheds light on new, significant, archaeological discoveries that further cement the historical reliability of the Bible.
Consider the statement of one of the world’s greatest archeologists, Dr. William F. Albright, Professor of Johns Hopkins University:
There can be no doubt that archaeology has confirmed the substantial historicity of Old Testament tradition … the excessive skepticism shown toward the Bible by important historical schools of the 18th and 19th century, certain phases of which still appear periodically, has been progressively discredited. Discovery after discovery has established the accuracy of innumerable details, and has brought increased recognition to the value of the Bible as a source of history.
While it seems logical to think that a lack of questions or controversies determines the reliability of our faith or position, nothing could be further from the truth. When the evidence is examined—through questions, criticism, and even controversy—and beliefs withstand close scrutiny, then they are vindicated and validated … and faith is strengthened.
But the Bible also confers a blessing for those who believe beyond a reasonable doubt—even in the absence of absolute “proof.” When the apostle Thomas dismissed the other disciples’ reports of having witnessed the resurrected Savior Jesus, saying “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it” (John 20:25). Jesus Himself appeared in order to appeal to Doubting Thomas …
“Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.’ Thomas said to him, ‘My Lord and my God!’ Then Jesus told him, ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’ ”
D. What Is the Most Reliable Message in the Bible?
Archaeologist Sir William Ramsay was determined to prove to the world that the Bible’s New Testament Book of Acts as written by the Greek physician Luke was a fake—and he was willing to “get his hands dirty” to prove it! His preconceived bias against the Bible was well known. However, this world-class expert shocked the world of scholars when he not only announced that his archaeological findings substantiated the accuracy of Luke’s writings, but also that he himself had converted to Christianity.
What truths did this brilliant scholar learn that ultimately changed his life?
4 Points of God’s Plan
#1. God’s Purpose for You … is Salvation.
— What was God’s motive in sending Christ to earth?
To express His love for you by saving you! The Bible says …
“God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” (John 3:16–17)
— What was Jesus’ purpose in coming to earth?
To forgive your sins, empower you to have victory over sin, and enable you to live a fulfilled life! Jesus said …
“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10)
#2. Your Problem … is Sin.
— What exactly is sin?
Sin is living independently of God’s standard—knowing what is right, but choosing wrong. The Bible says …
“Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.” (James 4:17)
— What is the major consequence of sin?
Spiritual “death” … eternal separation from God. Scripture reads …
“Your iniquities [sins] have separated you from your God.… For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Isaiah 59:2; Romans 6:23)
#3. God’s Provision for You … is the Savior.
— Can anything remove the penalty for sin?
Yes! Jesus died on the cross to personally pay the penalty for your sins.…
“God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
— What can keep you from being separated from God?
Belief in (entrusting your life to) Jesus Christ as the only way to God the Father. Jesus says …
“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)
#4. Your Part … is Surrender.
— Give Christ control of your life—entrusting yourself to Him.…
“Jesus said to his disciples, ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross [die to your own self-rule] and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?’ ” (Matthew 16:24–26)
— Place your faith in (rely on) Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior and reject your “good works” as a means of earning God’s approval.…
“It is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8–9)
The moment you choose to receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior—entrusting your life to Him—He comes to live inside you. Then He gives you His power to live the fulfilled life God has planned for you. If you want to be fully forgiven by God and become the person God created you to be, you can tell Him in a simple, heartfelt prayer like this:
Prayer of Salvation
“God, I want a real relationship with You.
I admit that many times I’ve chosen to go my own way instead of Your way.
Please forgive me for my sins.
Jesus, thank You for dying on the cross to pay the penalty for my sins.
Come into my life to be my Lord and my Savior.
Change me inside out and make me the person
You created me to be.
In Your holy name I pray. Amen.”
What Can You Expect Now?
No matter what people say, what God says will stand the test of time …
“The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever.”
(Isaiah 40:8 NKJV)
E. What Is the Ultimate Ruling?
The courtroom—once astir with caustic arguments—is now hushed.
As jury members slowly enter the courtroom, anticipation fills the air. The foreman hands the jury’s verdict to the judge. He reads the ruling … pauses … returns the verdict to the foreman. “All rise,” reverberates throughout the courtroom.
The foreman delivers the declaration: “We, the members of the jury, find the Bible to be the authoritative Word of God. As to the charge of unreliability, we find the Bible NOT GUILTY!”
The verdict is in … the question answered. Yes, the client in question—the Bible—does measure up to its claims, and then some. The defense has soundly defeated the prosecution’s case, and it is inconceivable that anyone present at the trial would ever again consider the Bible an “ordinary” book. Instead, reverence for this extraordinary Book resonates throughout the room. Everyone exits the scene in silence.
The prosecution has been pummeled, unable to disprove the 5 core areas of TRUTH, unable to wield weighty arguments against the wisdom of God. Its truths found in science … the reality of its prophecy … its universal influence … its textual preservation and unity … its historical authenticity through archaeology … together, as one, they tower over the prosecution’s miscalculations.
The trial has now come to a close, and yet for many present it doesn’t seem like the end of the matter. For them, this new understanding of the Bible brings new respect … new admiration for the Bible … and a new incentive to share the Bible because its message has the supernatural power to set people free.…
“You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
|The more we know the Word of God, The more we will know the God of the Word.The more we yield to the Word of God, The more we will be changed by the God of the Word.—June Hunt
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