WHY SHOULD WE TRUST THE BIBLE ?
By Matthew Wiggall
Let's look at one of the very foundations of every Christian person's belief. This being The Bible. And we ask the question. Why Should we trust the Bible?
Let's start with a few facts about this amazing book: -
1. It has sold more than 6 Billion copies and always tops the book charts. So much so that they just leave it off the charts altogether!
2. It has been translated more than any other book. I'm informed the second placed book in this chart is Pinocchio. This has been translated into 260 languages. The Bible has been translated 2500 times.
3. The Bible states that ‘All scripture is breathed out by God'. It is understood that all the writers were inspired by God'.
Now this is an amazing statement and one all Christians should come to believe, but we do not have to believe blindly and can look at some facts and sound rational thinking to support our faith in these words.
Let's look at some examples of how history has always confirmed what the Bible has stated: -
In the Bible it talks about a nation of people called the Hittites. Now for many years historians knew nothing of the Hittites, and critics of the Bible treated the Hittites as proof of the “mythology” contained in the Bible. The critics reasoned that, since they had no archaeological evidence of a Hittite civilization, it must never have existed, and the Bible must be wrong. However, many archaeological discoveries, beginning in 1876, have since proved that the Hittites did exist and were a powerful group of people in the 15th and 16th centuries B.C. We have now even found evidence of their capital city.
Let's look at another historical fact confirmed: -
In the Bible in the book of Genesis it talks about the Cities of Sodam and Gomorrah and again for centuries there was no evidence of these places. (Now we believe the book of Genesis was written by Moses who lived around 1400 BC, but the events of Genesis date back to the beginning of time of course).
To remind us God felt the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah was so great and their sin so grievous that he committed to rain down burning sulphur on them to overthrow them and the entire plain, destroying all those living in the cities….” (Genesis 19:24)
Well guess what in the 1970's the first findings were made identifying the sites that exactly match the two cities of Sodom and Gomorrah in the southeast of the Dead Sea. The research of the sites has continued over many years and further confirmed it was destroyed by a large fire with a burn layer being found. It was confirmed that the sites remained unoccupied for some 700 years. Now if they had been conquered and taken over they would have been occupied straight away, but no ALL evidence supports the Bible records.
Another historical fact…
In the gospel of John (5:1) John talks about Jesus healing an infirm man by the pool of Bethesda, which was surrounded by five colonnades or Porticoes (Series of large covered columns). For centuries experts could not find anything that matched this description. Also for a pool to have five colonnades was a puzzling feature suggesting an unusual five-sided pool, which most scholars dismissed as an unhistorical type of creation.
Well guess what in the 19th century the site was found and it revealed a rectangular pool with two basins separated by a wall—thus a five-sided pool—and each side had a portico.
In summary, it is true to say that every archaeological find to date has only ever supported what the Bible has said. The above is but a few examples with many more that you can enjoy and explore.
LET'S LOOK AT PROPHECY AND THE BIBLE…
To explain a prophet is a person that God has chosen to speak His words and over the course of time these prophets have accurately foretold events many years, sometimes centuries before they occur.
Paul spoke on the subject of prophecy and explained it clearly “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 (Jesus Christ), whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. (Hebrews 1:1-2).
The total number of prophecies recorded in the Bible varies depending upon the manner in which one counts the prophecies. For example, one writer may count a single verse as a prophecy, while another may see three or four prophetic elements within the same passage.
A Dr Hugh Ross totalled some 2500 prophecies with some 2000 having already being fulfilled. The remaining 500 are for the future and will be fulfilled in due course including prophecy concerning the second coming. Since the probability of just one of these prophecies having been fulfilled is say 1 in 10 then the odds of all of these prophecies being fulfilled would be 1 in 10 with about 2000 zeros on the end. A large number shall we say!
Let's look at the prophecy of The Promised Land to Abraham…
In the book of Genesis, we have prophecy about what has become the most famous promise of land in ancient times.
God promises Abraham that he would become patriarch to an uncountable number of descendants (Genesis 15:5), he also promises Abraham that his descendants would inherit the land on which Abraham was standing (This land is better known as Canaan).
Remember this promise was to Abrahams descendants and Abraham died in faith that this would come to pass. This promise was then passed through Abraham's son, Isaac, and then through Abraham's grandson, Jacob. It was Jacob who was later became known as Israel, who was the father of 12 sons who became the fathers of the 12 Tribes of Israel.
Now as sure as God's word is always true this prophecy found fulfilment and is recorded in the Bible's book of Joshua, when the Israelites conquered portions of the land of Canaan, which then became known as Israel. We then know that centuries later, King David further extended these boundaries.
Some more prophecy…
The prophet Isaiah wrote prior to the time of Jesus these following words. Now when I relay these words I want you to see how clearly, they describe Jesus and his time here on earth and remember they were written 700 years prior.
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.
He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.
Surely, he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
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 its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.
By oppression and judgment, he was taken away. Yet who of his generation protested?
For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was punished.
He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.
Yet it was the Lord's will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.
After he has suffered, he will see the light of life and be satisfied by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities.
Therefore, 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.
For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
This is Isaiah 53 and the prophecy of Jesus's life to come and it is just so clear here. Let's look again at some of the text of Isaiah….
- He was despised and rejected (Well we know he was rejected by the Jews)
- He took up our pain and bore our suffering (We know that he does this even today)
- He was pierced for our transgressions (We know he was pierced on the cross)
- He was oppressed and afflicted (We know he suffered this throughout his ministry)
- Yet he did not open his mouth (When he went to cross he did so quietly and without a fight)
- After he has suffered he will see the light of life (He rose from the dead)
- For he bore the sins of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. (He died for our sins and today makes intercessions to the Father on our behalf)
Pretty powerful stuff and again predicted some 700 years in advance.
Now let's look at what Jesus prophesied: -
Jesus said: And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. (Matthew 24:14)
Now the word Gospel means “Good News.” It refers to the good news that by the grace of God and through the work of Jesus Christ our sins are removed when we go to him as our Lord and saviour.
Jesus also said: Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away. (Luke 21:33)
Now of the hundreds of millions of people who have ever lived, the words of only a small percentage are remembered beyond the generation that follows them. But, 2000 years later, after Jesus had spoken these famous words his prophecy has all but come to pass.
Now let's move on to another subject to further prove our trust in the Bible. Let's answer the question, can we trust the Bible writers in the New Testament?
Two of the Gospels that record Jesus's life and main events were written by his direct disciples. These being Matthew and John. They were eye witnesses of the events. The other two Gospels were written by people who had direct contact with the disciples and other eye witnesses.
The Gospels are notable for their brutal honesty and this often includes less than favourable descriptions of the disciples themselves. They discuss Miracles as very matter of fact and they are not over sensationalized.
The disciples dedicated their lives to preaching the gospel amongst much danger, which ultimately cost nearly all of them their lives. It is recorded that Peter was crucified upside down. I think we all agree that none of us would dedicate our lives to preaching on a subject that we knew was not true and we certainly would not maintain this when faced with death. They had the option of staying quite to save their own skin, but chose to stay strong, to preach the truth and to die for this truth.
St Paul who wrote much of the New Testament and who was a Jew. He was highly educated and well versed in Greek philosophy. He was very zealous for the Jewish law. Before his conversion at the hands of Jesus Chris he had no human need to change his position. After all he was part of God chosen nation. He was in fact persecuting the early Christian movement rounding them up and sending them to prison.
Now this is where I go just WOW at Gods perfect plan because he was the perfect person to turn 180 degrees. To stop him persecuting the Jesus movement and to then preach the Gospel to the Gentiles and not just to the Jewish people. This in its self-put him in huge danger. However, our Lord knew his character and with the Lords strength he went on to travel over 10,000 miles on foot and many more by sea preaching the gospel.
- He was stoned and left for dead
- Three times he was beaten with Rods
- Five times he was whipped by the Jews
- Three times he was ship wrecked, spending a night and a day in the deep
- Paul said “in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness”.
- He was imprisoned twice spending between 5 ½ to 6 years in prison before finally being killed for his faith.
This is certainly no man acting out of personal gain and given his amazing life he was clearly driven by the Lord himself.
The above is just a summary of why we can trust the Bible. You can spend a life time studying the word of God and the many levels of meaning in it. It's full of treasure and the words of life. Therefore, research and test it. The Bible will not be found wanting and truth never minds being tested. Let's finish on one of Gods great promises: -
For 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. (John 3:16)