How can I know the Bible is trustworthy?

The original Biblical manuscripts have not been discovered yet. Because we don’t have these original Biblical manuscripts, the next logical question would be how good are the copies that we do have? There are several reasons that we can trust in the reliability of the Biblical texts:

 

1. The Bible has the strongest manuscript support over any other work of classical literature- including the works of Homer, Plato, Aristotle, Caesar, and Tacitus. With the finds at the Dead Sea Scrolls we have been able to verify how accurately the scribes copied the text for over 1000 years. For the whole book of Isaiah, for example, there was less than one letter variation per chapter. That is amazing when you consider it was being hand copied for all those years.

 

2. We can also trust in the reliability of the scriptures because the Bible has been confirmed by eye witnesses. The credentials of the authors are impeccable! Moses witnessed the captivity in Egypt, the Exodus and the entry into the Promised Land, which is accurately chronicled in the Old Testament. Luke 1:1-3 and 2 Peter 1:16 reminds us that the New Testament were records of actual events not made up stories.

 

3. Secular historians from Josephus (before A.D. 100), the Roman Tacitus (around A.D. 120), the Roman Suetonius ( A.D. 110), and the Roman governor Pliny the Younger ( A.D. 110) write about the many events, people, places, and customs that are chronicled in the New Testament which shows that the New Testament is accurate.

4. The Early church leaders such as Irenaeus, Tertullian, Julius Africanus, and Clement of Rome, all of whom wrote before A.D. 250 wrote about the events that were happening during the New Testament times that show that the New Testament is very accurate.

5. Recent finds of archaeology and Biblical research affirms the reliability of the Bible. Because of the archaeological evidence, many secular scholars have had to refine their own Biblical criticisms. Archaeology has never disproved any Biblical claim, but rather, with each new find, the Biblical record is confirmed. You can check much of this in a book Evidence that Demands a Verdict.

6. Prophecy confirms the Bible’s reliability. The Bible records predictions of events that could not be known or predicted by chance or common sense. Volumes have been written on this alone! For example, the book of Daniel (written before 530 B.C.) accurately predicts the progression of kingdoms from Babylon through the Medo-Persian Empire, the Greek Empire, and then the Roman Empire, culminating in the persecution and suffering of the Jews under Antiochus IV Epiphanes, his desecration of the temple, his untimely death, and freedom for the Jews under Judas Maccabeus (165 B.C.).

7. The Bible was written over a span of 1600 years by 40 authors in three languages (Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek), on hundreds of subjects. And yet there is one consistent, noncontradictory theme that runs through it all: God’s redemption of humankind. Clearly, statistical probability concerning biblical prophecy is a powerful indicator of the trustworthiness of Scripture.

 

Because there are over 20,000 hand written copies of the Greek New Testament, and there are enough direct quotations in outside writings from secular historians and the church fathers to construct 95% of the New Testament, along with the statistical improbability of the prophecy of the Bible happening by chance, the only logical conclusion is that the New Testament as we now have it (in any version) is substantially identical with the original writings. You can trust in the reliability of the Bible more than any other book ever written.

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