Part Two, Refuting the second lie…
“The Bible is full of errors and cannot be trusted.”
The contradictions that some say are in the Bible are not contradictions at all. What many believe to be contradictions are actually compliments. The Bible is a real book: with paragraphs, sentences, and words that must be understood. But it is also a spiritual book. Understanding the Bible requires a sound science of interpretation and illumination from God.
God’s ways are higher than our ways; His thoughts higher than our thoughts (Isa.55:8-9). Without His guidance –and the indwelling Holy Spirit –the Bible will be misunderstood. What it says will be understood, but not what it means by what it says (1Cor.2:14). The Bible is inerrant. But this does not mean that everything is easily understood.
Why is the Bible Trustworthy?
1. Scientific Evidence
The Bible provides many scientific details without error. Many of these scientific truths were mentioned in the Bible thousands of years before a modern observation of them.
God explained the hydrologic cycle before the modern Meteorologist…
He draws up the water vapor and then distils it into rain. The rain pours down from the clouds and everyone benefits(Job 36:27-28, NLT).
More than two thousand years before the first system of longitude and latitude, God had already measured the earth. He saw the lines on the globe before there ever was a globe…
Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth … who determined its measurements –surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it (Job 38:5).
The Bible taught that wind had weight. This is only a recent discovery (about 300 years ago)…
When He gave to the wind its weight (Job.28:25a)
Why is the Bible Trustworthy?
2. Geographical Evidence
Hundreds of geographical locations specified in the Bible have later been discovered through archeology. Many of those locations were lost long ago but preserved for us in the Bible. Towns, cities, and countries all over Palestine –and the eastern world in general –have been excavated. Here are a few examples collected from different sources in an article by Matt Slick, called “Archeological Evidence Verifying Biblical Cities”. This is published on carm.org…
Amos 7:12-13, “Then Amaziah said to Amos, “Go, you seer, flee away to the land of Judah, and there eat bread and there do your prophesying! 13 “But no longer prophesy at Bethel, for it is a sanctuary of the king and a royal residence.”
W. F. Albright made a trial excavation at Bethel in 1927. Albright then mounted a full excavation in 1934. His assistant that year, J. L. Kelso, continued the excavation in 1954, 1957, and 1960.
Matt. 17:24, “And when they had come to Capernaum, those who collected the two-drachma tax came to Peter, and said, “Does your teacher not pay the two-drachma tax?”
Identified since 1856 with Tell Hum, Capernaum has been sporadically excavated for the past 130 years.
Matt. 11:21, “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles had occurred in Tyre and Sidon which occurred in you, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.”
Excavations of the now deserted town indicate that it once covered an area of twelve acres and was built on a series of terraces with the basalt stone local to this mountainous region.
Secular Archeologists have grown weary of disproving places mentioned in the Bible. The more they dig, the more they find. The Bible is like an ancient treasure map. It unearths the treasure of lost cities and nations. The places mentioned are real places that can still be traveled to today. You can stand on the hill of Calvary where Jesus died; you can sail across the Sea of Galilee where He walked on water, and you can travel down the streets of Jerusalem where He preached and healed.
Why is the Bible Trustworthy?
3. Prophetic/Historical Evidence
The history of Israel recorded in the Bible is extraordinary. It is detailed and accurate. We’ve also been given reliable insight on the customs and cultures of other surrounding nations. The reign of kings, wars of nation, and destruction of cities are accurately recorded. Many times the events are prophesied in advance.
Daniel spoke of the succession of the world dominating kingdoms of Babylonia, Media/Persia, Greece, and Rome (Dan.2:31-45). Isaiah spoke about the death of Jesus over seven hundred years in advance (Isa. 53). Jesus spoke about the destruction of the Temple forty years before it occurred (Matt. 24:1-2). These are just a few of the “history proven prophecies” in the Bible.
Many Historians such as Josephus, Philo, Eusebius, Clement of Rome, and more, record history concerning Jesus. The Bible is our source of infallible truth concerning God, Christ, Salvation and all other things pertaining to life, and godliness. But outside the Bible, there are secondary sources –though fallible – which can be purchased in modern translations and read on a rainy day.
Why is the Bible Trustworthy?
4. Manuscript Evidence
The Bible has more manuscript evidence than any other ancient writings in the world. Though this is a commonly known facts, even among secular scholars, I will quote from Philip Comfort in his book Encountering the Manuscripts…
“We have over 5,500 manuscript copies of the Greek New Testament or portions thereof. No other work of Greek literature can boast of such numbers. Homer’s Iliad, the greatest of all Greek classical works, exists in about 650 manuscripts; and Euripides’ tragedies exist in about 330 manuscripts … the period of time between the original composition and the next surviving manuscript is much shorter for the New Testament than for any other Greek literature. The lapse (of time) for most classical Greek works is about eight hundred to a thousand years, whereas the lapse for many books in the New Testament is around one hundred years” (Ch.2, Pg.56).
Simply put, stack up the manuscripts for the history of someone like Alexander the Great. Place the stack next to the manuscripts for the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. The stack for the four gospels would reach to the ceiling; the stack for Alexander would barely raise above the floor. There is no comparing the two. The manuscript evidence for the Bible is better than any other piece of ancient literature. That is Fact, not opinion.
Why is the Bible Trustworthy?
5. Textual Evidence
A common argument against the manuscript evidence is that there are thousands of differences between the thousands of manuscripts. First, let me raise a vital reason for why God may not have preserved the original manuscripts of the Bible…
Worshiping sacred objects has been a constant struggle for Man. Israel worshiped the golden calf in the days of Moses (Ex.32), the ephod made by Gideon (Jdg.8:27), and the bronze serpent in the reign of the kings (2Ki.18:4). If men still had in their possession original copies of the Bible, some would have certainly began to worship them. But that is just an opinion. On the flip side, there may be original manuscripts of the Bible still waiting to be discovered!
Just because the manuscripts are not original, does not mean that the Bible is full of error. The earliest of the New Testament documents are written on pieces of papyrus (thin sheets of ancient paper made from the papyrus tree in Egypt). Papyrologists (those who study ancient papyrus findings), and paleographers (those who study and explain ancient writings), verify that we have manuscripts that date back to the first century. We have portions of the Bible which date back to the lifetime of the events being described. They are comparable to your father telling you a story about his father. If we accept the histories of Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, and George Washington as legitimate, it would be hypocritical not to accept the Bible as legitimate.
Most of the differences have to do with spelling or a variance in one or two words. The science of “textual criticism” has helped lead to the Bibles we hold today. Textual criticism is “the study of a literary work that aims to establish the original text” (MW Collegiate Dict. 11th Ed.). This is a real science employed with other ancient documents other than the Bible.
God has gifted men and women with the wisdom to carefully examine the context and background of every document in its original language. They can employ various scientific rules and evaluate which differences are likely scribal errors in the text. For instance, if we have one hundred documents that all use the same word in a given place, then it is extremely likely that the exceptions are not correct.
Through this meticulous and rigorous procedure, the manuscripts are filtered down into the most accurate translation possible. Translators use the carefully filtered text compiled from these manuscripts, to translate the Bibles into the many different languages of our modern day. Some translations follow a “concept by concept” approach; the primary goal is to translate the thoughts and principles correctly from the Greek/Hebrew into English. Others have chosen a “word by word” approach; the primary goal is to translate each word accurately and appropriately from the original language while still maintaining the contextual concept. The “word for word” translations are the best for in-depth study. The “concept by concept” translations are good for devotional reading.
It is important to understand the care and wisdom that is used in the Bible translation process. The Bible is not full of error. It not historical fiction haphazardly translated over and over again from the previous translation before it. The evidence demands a positive verdict. The Bible has been preserved and passed down through thousands of years in a trustworthy fashion. It is still The Word of the Living, Sovereign, and Holy God.
Muslim will boast of the Original and Unaltered condition of the Koran. And again, this statement is deceiving. The Koran was written in the 7th century A.D. Ancient history is generally considered anything in the 5th century and earlier. Technically, the Koran isn’t an ancient religion. By the time the Koran was written, Hand-Written Documentation was much more common and possible. If the New Testament had been written in the 7th century rather than the 1st century we would likely have a single preserved text too.
However, when Muslims say they have preserved the original writing of the Koran this is also a lie.
Even secular history such as Wikipedia recognizes this, quote… “According to the traditional narrative, several companions of Muhammad served as scribes and were responsible for writing down the revelations. Shortly after Muhammad’s death, the Quran was compiled by his companions who wrote down and memorized parts of it. These codices had differences that motivated the Caliph Uthman to establish a standard version now known as Uthman’s codex, which is generally considered the archetype of the Quran we have today. However, the existence of variant readings, with mostly minor and some significant variations, and the early unvocalized Arabic script mean the relationship between Uthman’s codex to both the text of today’s Quran and to the revelations of Muhammad’s time is still unclear” (Wikipedia/Quran).
As Christians, we should have integrity. We can be honest about the Bible and deal with the issues at hand. There are sound and factual answers for just about every supposed error. Sometimes we have to deal with them one at a time. But that is why God told us to Study to show ourselves approved (2Tim.2:15).
Why is the Bible Trustworthy? Scientifically, geographically, historically, prophetically, and textually the Bible stands the test. It is not a “once upon a time tale” that many wish it to be. It is a book with no equal; with real people, and places, times, and dates, genealogies, and histories. The Bible is the inerrant Word of God.
Continue reading, “Part Three: Refuting The Third Lie”, click on the link…