Can You Trust the Bible?
Recently, I was reading my Bible in public, and was surprised to hear a stranger bark at me, “you don’t really believe that stuff do you?” The guy who chided me was a little surprised when I simply responded back, “and you don’t?”
He laughed a little and walked away, and I wondered if this stranger had ever read the Bible for himself. Had he ever studied how it came into existence, or looked at the miraculous nature of its impact in people’s lives around the world?
This kind of aggressive encounter is not uncommon for those of us who believe the Bible to be the true Word of God. It is important to distinguish that belief in the Word of God is not based on subjective truth, which makes something true because we believe it to be true. In contrast, we believe the Bible to be true because of objective truth. We are convinced that the evidence points to the fact that the Bible can be trusted for many reasons.
So, how do we know that the Bible is the Word of God and is true? In this two-part post-series I hope to in some small way answer that question.
First, let’s start with one of the main proofs to the Bible’s reliability: how it was compiled?
“There were 40-plus authors from highly divergent backgrounds and temperaments- kings, tax collectors, prophets, physicians, exiles, fishermen- writing over a period of 1,500 years from 1450 B.C. to A.D. 50, on three different continents, writing in three different languages, on scores of different subjects, in widely varying and difficult circumstances, including persecution; writing history in extremely specific detail, even giving hundreds of predictions of the future…Talk about the supernatural! Try generating an errorless text that size with 66 books and 40 authors over 1,500 years with any other group of writers in history.” John Ankerberg and John Weldon (The Fact on the Bible; Why You Can Believe the Bible)
The Bible is unique because of the complexity of its composition and the power of its message. Unlike many pieces of literature, the Bible invites scrutiny, and welcomes investigation into its accuracy. As people take up this challenge, they will find that the geographical places mentioned in the Bible do exist, the people mentioned (whether kings, prophets, priests, or paupers) actually lived, and the events really took place. In studying or examining the Bible one either has to come to the conclusion that it is one of the greatest fabrications of all time (although no one can pinpoint the conspirators) or it truly is one of the greatest pieces of literature ever created. It is telling that so many people have strong opinions about the veracity of the Bible but most of those have never taken the time to examine it closely.
When I was in my senior year of high school, I had just begun my spiritual journey and I met an aggressive critic of my new faith. His name was Francois, and he was intelligent, articulate and an avid reader. When I expressed Christian beliefs or confidence in the Bible, he looked at me with such intellectual disdain.
I vivdly remember him accusing me of “not doing my homework” on the truth of the Bible. He added, “if you put the Bible up to any intellectual scrutiny, it wouldn’t stand the test.”
Because he was so sure, I decided to find out for myself if his claims were true. After high school I headed to Bible college to thoroughly study the Bible. Even though it had drastically changed my life, I needed to know the facts behind it as well, in order to answer critics like Francois.
Francois, for his part, headed to Cal State Berkley to become a philosopher. Before he left, I challenged him to actually read the Bible, but he just laughed at my belief in it’s transformative power.
10 years later, Francois and I reunited at our high school reunion. He walked up to me with a huge smile and a hug (which he never gave me in high school) and said, “You’ll never believe what happened to me”.
He went on to tell me that in his junior year of college, in a time of great personal challenge, he remembered my faith, and decided to examine the Bible in depth. As I had, he found it to be a literary document beyond his wildest imagination. He discovered that the Bible could be trusted and the evidence of its reliability was there: in the accuracy written manuscripts themselves, the prophetic messages, the archaeological research, eyewitness accounts (within the Bible and outside it), the silence from critics, miraculous assembly, and historical accuracy. All of this led him to not only conclude the Bible was the greatest piece of literature of all time, but also to trust its message of redemption through Jesus Christ. He admitted that it was his preconceived bias against the Bible that had kept him from examining it so many years before. I was amazed and so excited at the power of the Bible, that it could bring together two people who had previously disagreed about its uniqueness and the power of God through it.
Have these questions about the compilation and accuracy of the Bible come up for you?
If the manuscript of the Bible is accurate, are you willing to trust its message?
How would trusting the Bible change your life?
Check out another article about Biblical Truth Here