Friday, July 24, 2020

Five Reasons The Bible Is True

Five Reasons The Bible Is True

Reason 1: Written by Eyewitnesses

The writers of Scripture record their accounts as first person testimony, not hearsay or second hand.
John wrote in his Gospel, “John 19:35 And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe.

1 John 1:1,3  That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;  …That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.

2 Peter 1:16  For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.

The independent eyewitness accounts in the New Testament of the life, death, and resurrection of Christ were written by people who were intimately acquainted with Jesus Christ. Their Gospels and epistles reveal their integrity and complete commitment to the truth, and they maintained their testimony even through persecution and martyrdom.

Most of the New Testament was written between AD 47 and 70, and all of it was complete before the end of the first century. There simply was not enough time for myths about Christ to be created and propagated. And the multitudes of eyewitnesses who were alive when the New Testament books began to be circulated would have challenged blatant historical fabrications about the life of Christ. – Ken Boa

In comparison to the Bible,  Homer, who wrote the Iliad and the Odyssey, was separated from his subject matter by about 400 years and was taken from an oral tradition. The majority of the Bible was written down within at the time or within a short period of time of the events.

The Bible Claims It Is The Written Word of God

Exodus 34:1  And the LORD said unto Moses, Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first: and I will write upon these tables the words that were in the first tables, which thou brakest. 27 And the LORD said unto Moses, Write thou these words: for after the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with thee and with Israel.

Jeremiah 36:2-3 Take thee a roll of a book, and write therein all the words that I have spoken unto thee against Israel, and against Judah, and against all the nations, from the day I spake unto thee, from the days of Josiah, even unto this day.  It may be that the house of Judah will hear all the evil which I purpose to do unto them; that they may return every man from his evil way; that I may forgive their iniquity and their sin.

Revelation 1:10-11 I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,  Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia…

" Whenever the Bible writers allude to themselves, they invariably say that their words are not their own but that they come from God.  God used their facilities, traits and abilities.  Some write that God put words in their mouth; others that God directed them to use their own words to convey what God had transmitted unto them….  but all are unanimous in declaring that their writings came direct from God and that God simply used them as agents...." – W. A. Criswell

The Bible Claims Divine Preservation

Psalm 119:89 For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.

Matthew 24:35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.

1 Peter 1:25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.

Prohibits Alterations

Deuteronomy 4:2 Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.

Proverbs 30:6 Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.

Revelation 22:19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book
 

Reason 2: Manuscript Evidence


No other ancient writing has more documentary evidence than the Bible and no other writing of antiquity has as much manuscript evidence as close to the writings of the originals or that agrees as much between the extant copies.


Work of Antiquity
Written
Earliest Copy
Time Span
Surviving Copies
Pliny
61-113AD
850AD
250 yrs
200
Plato
100-44BC
900AD
1,200 yrs
210
Caesar
427-347BC
900AD
1000 yrs
251
Aristotle
384-322BC
1100AD
1400 yrs
49
Sophocles
496-406BC
1000AD
1400yrs
193
Homer (Illiad)
900BC
400BC
500yrs
1757
New Testament
40-100AD
114AD
50yrs
5800
(24,000 including translations in other languages.)

The time span of the New Testament manuscripts is exceptional. The manuscripts written on papyrus came from the second and third centuries AD. The John Rylands Fragment (P52) of the Gospel of John is dated at AD 117–138, only a few decades after the Gospel was written. The Bodmer Papyri are dated from AD 175–225, and the Chester Beatty Papyri date from about AD 250. The time span for most of the New Testament is less than 200 years (and some books are within 100 years) from the date of authorship to the date of our earliest manuscripts. This can be sharply contrasted with the average gap of over 1,000 years between the composition and the earliest copy of the writings of other ancient authors. – Ken Boa, kenboa.org/apologetics/how-accurate-is-the-bible/

Manuscript Comparison

When comparing all the existing manuscripts, up to 24,000, there is agreement in 99.5 percent of the writings. The remaining 0.5 percent does not deal with any major doctrine, character or event of the Bible story.

Compare this to Homers Iliad which was also a sacred book to the Greeks and about the same size as the New Testament. The Iliad was written in 900BC and the latest copy we have is from 400BC, which is a 500 year span and there are only a little over total copies. Of those 1700 ancient copies there is a 5% disagreement in the words.

Westcott and Hort felt that the significantly debatable portions of the New Testament text could hardly amount to more than a thousandth part of the whole—the equivalent of a little more than half a page in the Greek New Testament - Thiessen.

For fifteen of these centuries they were replicated solely by hand. In spite of this, there are only some twelve to twenty significant textual variations in the entire New Testament, and none of these affect an important doctrinal matter. On the other hand, consider the works of William Shakespeare. These writings have existed less than four centuries (and since the invention of the printing press) and yet:

    [I]n every one of Shakespeare’s thirty-seven plays there are probably a hundred readings still in dispute, a large number of which materially affect the meaning of the passages in which they occur (Hastings 1890, 13; emphasis original). - Wayne Jackson; christiancourier.com/articles/1441-new-testament-compared-to-classical-literature-the
Reason 3: Archaeological Evidence

“It may be stated categorically that no archaeological discovery has ever controverted a Biblical reference. Scores of archaeological findings have been made which confirm in clear outline or exact detail historical statements in the Bible. And, by the same token, proper evaluation of Biblical descriptions has often led to amazing discoveries.” Dr. Nelson Glueck, archaeologist.

In the 1950s, Glueck discovered remains of the advanced Nabataean civilization in Jordan. Using irrigation, the Nabataeans were able to grow crops and develop a densely populated civilization in the Negev desert, despite receiving under 6 inches (15 cm) of rainfall a year. Glueck worked with Israeli leaders to build an irrigation system modeled on that of the Nabataeans.

Discoveries of the Past that confirm the Bible Story

1. The City of Jericho was destroyed by Joshua and the invading Israelite armies in Joshua 6:20.  The city of Jericho was excavated in 1930-36.  They found the wall had fallen down flat just as the Bible had said.

2. Nineveh was the capital city of the Assyrian Empire.  In 1846 Sir Henry Layard discovered the palace of Sennacherib and thousands of tablets inscribed in cuneiform from the great library of Ashurbanipal.  The tablets contained an account of Sennacheribs’s conquest of Judea that matched the Biblical account.

3. The Nuzi Tablets. Found shortly before World War II just to the east of Mari and the Euphrates River, the Nuzi excavations uncovered several thousand cuneiform tablets (dating back to 1500 BC) that confirm many customs of the day that are mentioned in the Bible, including:

The servant heir custom (i.e., having your eldest servant inherit your wealth if you were childless), a practice mentioned by Abraham in reference to Eliezer in Genesis 15:2.

The birthright sales custom, mentioned with Esau and Jacob (Genesis 25:31).
The custom of household idols (Genesis 31:19 tells the account of Rachel having stolen these from her father, Laban).

4. The Mari Tablets. Discovered in 1933, the Mari tablets are diplomatic correspondences and governmental records involving King Zimri-Lim (a contemporary of Babylon’s Hammurabi). To date, some 20,000 clay tablets have been found dating back to around 1800 BC. These letters, along with the Nuzi tablets, illustrate the patriarchal customs in great detail. They also mention the city of Nahor, which apparently is named after the Nahor identified in Genesis 11:24, and make reference to the “Habiru” people (most likely an Akkadian reference to the Hebrews—an allusion to them as a nomadic people)

5. The Ebla Tablets. Discovered in northern Syria, these tablets affirm the antiquity and accuracy of the book of Genesis. Their excavation began in 1964 by two professors from the University of Rome, Drs. Paolo Matthiae and Giovanni Pettinato (an archaeologist and epigrapher, respectively). Since 1974, 17,000 tablets have been unearthed from the Ebla kingdom era and have made valuable contributions to biblical criticism.
The Five Cities of the Plain are recorded in Genesis 14.  These were considered fictitious until the discovery of the Kingdom of Elba site, which not only mentions the cities but even lists them in the same order on clay tablets 1000 years before Moses wrote Genesis.

6. Pool of Siloam. In June 2004 construction work just south of the City of David stumbled across a set of ancient stone steps. Further excavation revealed that those steps were part of a monumental pool that was later identified as the Pool of Siloam.

7 Seal of Isaiah and Hezekiah. Excavations in Israel uncovered a seal that bore the name “Isaiah” 10 feet away from another seal that belonged to King Hezekiah. The name “Isaiah” was followed by the Hebrew letters “nvy.” “Nvy” are the first three letters of the ancient Hebrew word spelled nun-bet-yod-alef. This word, pronounced “navi,” means “prophet.”

8. Tel Dan Stele. In 1993 a stele was unearthed at Tel Dan in Israel. The stone had been carved by an Aramean king who was boasting about defeating his two southern neighbors in battle. Those other kings were the “king of Israel” and the “king of the House of David.” The two kings mentioned have since been identified as Jehoram of Israel and Ahaziah of Judah by Hazael of Damascus.

9. Ossuary of James, brother of Jesus. The James Ossuary is a 1st-century limestone box that used for containing the bones of the dead. An Aramaic inscription on the ossuary says "James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus". The discovery was announced at an October 21, 2002 at a Washington press conference co-hosted by the Discovery Channel and the Biblical Archaeology Society. The man who found the box was tried for forgery and acquitted.

Reason 4: Prophetic Evidence


Prophecies of Daniel (580 BC)
Daniel 2:1-49 Image of the future Gentile Kingdoms.
Daniel 9:24-27 70 Weeks prophecy for Israel's return to God.
Daniel 11:1-4 Prophecy of Alexander the Great

Messianic Prophecies
Messiah's Birthplace: 700 years before event

Micah 5:2  But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.

Messiah’s Triumphal Entry
500 years before event

Zechariah 9:9  Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.

Messiah’s Crucifixion
1000 years before event

Psalm 22:1 My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?

Psalm 22:7 All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying,

Psalm 22:16  For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet.

Psalm 22:18 They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.

Psalm 69:21 They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.

Messiah’s Death and Burial
700 years before event

Isaiah 53:8  He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.  And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. 12  …he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many and made intercession for the transgressors.

Peter Stoner’s 8 probability prophecies
(1) Messiah to be born in Bethlehem. (Micah 5:2)
(2) Messiah betrayed for thirty pieces of silver. (Zechariah 11:12-13)
(3) Messiah’s clothes would be gambled away. (Psalms 22:18)
(4) Messiah’s hands and feet would be pierced. (Psalms 22:16)
(5) Messiah’s bones would not be broken. (Psalms 34:20)
(6) Messiah would be born in the tribe of Judah.  (Isaiah 37:31)
(7) Messiah would be called from Egypt. (Hosea 11:1)
(8) Messiah would be buried in a rich man’s grave. (Isaiah 53:9)

Dr. Peter Stoner, PhD astrophysics, Cornel University, in his book Science Speaks says that "the probability of someone fulfilling just 8 of the messianic prophecies is 1 in 1 in 1017. 

To better illustrate it, "if we take 1017 Silver dollars and lay them on the face of Texas.  They will cover all of the state two 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."

If we add eight more prophecies to our list those odds would be 1028 X 1017  or 1 in 1045. How many silver dollars would this be? A ball with a diameter thirty times the distance from the center of the earth to the sun. That’s the odds of just 16 prophecies fulfilled by chance.

If you increase the odds to 48 prophecies, then the chance of one person fulfilling them would be 1 in 10157.  We can no longer use the silver dollar example, it would be far too large for the entire universe to contain. Instead we will use an electron. If we could make a solid mass of electrons 10157, it would extend 6 billion light years in every directions from the earth. Now have someone choose just one and it has to be the right one on their first try.

Remember that this is only 8 or 48 messianic prophecies, there are over 300 prophecies that Jesus fulfilled during his time on earth and thousands of other fulfilled prophecies in the Bible.

Reason 5: Historical Evidence


Scriptures constantly reference the times and events during which it was being written. If the Bible is true then these events should be verifiable. If the Bible is a work of fiction, then these events would also be fiction.

We have an example in Jeremiah 1:1-3 The words of Jeremiah the son of Hilkiah, of the priests that were in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin:  To whom the word of the LORD came in the days of Josiah the son of Amon king of Judah, in the thirteenth year of his reign.  It came also in the days of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, unto the end of the eleventh year of Zedekiah the son of Josiah king of Judah, unto the carrying away of Jerusalem captive in the fifth month.

Ezekiel 1:2 “In the fifth day of the month, which was the fifth year of king Jehoiachin's captivity,” is so precise we can narrow it down to the very the day of Ezekiel’s first vision (this time can actually be narrowed down to the exact day, July 31, 592 BC.)

Luke is very exact in dating his Gospel account

Luke 3:1-2 Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judaea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Ituraea and of the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene,  Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness.

“Given the large portion of the New Testament written by him, it’s extremely significant that Luke has been established to be a scrupulously accurate historian, even in the smallest details. One prominent archaeologist carefully examined Luke’s references to thirty-two countries, fifty-four cities, and nine islands, finding not a single mistake.” - John McRay
- Comfort, R. (2001). Scientific Facts in the Bible: 100 Reasons to Believe the Bible is Supernatural in Origin (p. 67). Alachua, FL: Bridge-Logos.

Jesus was very precise about the destruction of the temple saying: “Do you not see all these things? verily I say to you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down” (Matthew 24:2; see also Luke 21:6). Why was He so specific about stones? Historian Josephus wrote of the temple’s destruction by Romans in A.D. 70: “They carried away every stone of the sacred temple, partially in a frenzied search for every last piece of the gold ornamentation melted in the awful heat of the fire. They then plowed the ground level, and since it had already been sown with its defenders’ blood, they sowed it with salt.” Josephus, The Wars of the Jews
Comfort, R. (2001). Scientific Facts in the Bible: 100 Reasons to Believe the Bible is Supernatural in Origin (pp. 67–68). Alachua, FL: Bridge-Logos.

The first-century Jewish historian Flavius Josephus made specific references to John the Baptist, Jesus Christ, and James in his Antiquities of the Jews. In this work, Josephus gives many background details—about the Herods, the Sadducees and Pharisees (Jewish religious leaders), the high priests like Annas and Caiaphas, and the Roman emperors, that are mentioned in the four Gospels and the book of Acts.

“About this time there lived Jesus, a wise man, if indeed one ought to call him a man. For he was one who wrought surprising feats and was a teacher of such people as accepted the truth gladly. He won over many Jews and many Greeks. He was the Christ. When Pilate, upon hearing him accused by men of the highest standing among us, had condemned him to be crucified, those who had in the first place come to love him did not give up their affection for him. On the third day he appeared to them restored to life, for the prophets of God had prophesied these and countless other marvelous things about him. And the tribe of Christians, so called after him, has still to this day not disappeared.” Josephus, Testimonium Flavianum  - Comfort, R. (2001).  (p. 68). Alachua, FL: Bridge-Logos.

We find another early secular reference to Jesus in a letter written a little after AD 73 by an imprisoned Syrian named Mara bar Serapion. This letter, written to his son, compares the deaths of Socrates, Pythagoras, and Christ.

Other first and second century writers who mention Christ include:
The Roman historians Cornelius Tacitus (Annals) and Suetonius (Life of Claudius, Lives of the Caesars)
The Roman governor Pliny the Younger (Epistles)
The Greek satirist Lucian (On the Death of Peregrine)
The Jewish Talmud also mentions Jesus a number of times  – Ken Boa

Conclusion

"John Wesley argued that the Bible must have been written by bad men or angels, good men or angels, or by God.  He showed that it could not have been written by bad men or angels, for it condemns their souls to hell for all eternity: nor could it have been written by good men or angels, for they would not say, "Thus says the Lord" when it was they who said it; it must, therefore have been written by God."-Henry Thiesen

The Bible, like God, does not need to be confirmed or proven it is true no matter what I can or cannot prove.  Still there is a great body of evidence that shows time and again that the Bible is absolutely without error or omission and is the very Word of God.

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