Is the Bible reliable?
It is the world’s most widely distributed book with estimates of about 5 billion copies in print. It has been translated into 349 languages and 2,123 languages have at least one of the 66 sections in that language. Regardless of your opinion towards it, it is undeniable that the Bible is an important book.
Each one of us has a different perspective on the Bible. Some are very familiar with it. For others, it’s foreign or even frightening. If you’ve been reading the Bible for a long time, you can think back to those early days of trying to figure it out. Some of you are just now beginning. The Bible, though hard to understand at times, is a beautiful collection of 66 books that tell the same consistent story throughout. And it’s reliable. Let’s examine why I can make that claim.
It’s a collection of 66 different books, written from 1500 BC to 100 AD, by 40 different authors, in 3 different languages.
The first 39 books make up the Old Testament and include the Law of Moses, the history of the Jewish people, and the foretelling of the Messiah. It comprises the sacred Scriptures of both Jews and Christian people.
The last 27 books make up the New Testament and were written by eyewitnesses of Jesus’ life, documenting his ministry and explaining God’s plan to bring about his kingdom. It also includes letters about how to live out The Gospel – which is the good news of the life changing message of Jesus.
But, how do we know it is reliable?
There is Prophetic evidence: Some 1,800 prophetic statements can be verified. None, to date, have ever been refuted.
There is Textual evidence: We have more high-quality copies of the text than any other historical document. Without getting too technical, it is not a stretch to say that the Bible is the best attested ancient document we have. Check out THIS table.
The Bible itself claims authority - For one (of many) examples, 2 Timothy 3:16-17 reads, "All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete,equipped for every good work."
There is prophecy, textual evidence, and also corroboration.
You don’t hear people say they regret following the words of Scripture. You don’t hear: “Ten years ago I decided to read and follow Scripture, build my business, build my marriage, raise my kids, handle my money, treat my body, and many other things according to the wisdom of Scripture—and I completely regret it.” Nobody says that!
There is also a Universal Invitation: No other sacred scriptures invite all people of all time. In Genesis 12:3, God tells one man, “I will bless you and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”
When you’re wondering about the reliability of the Bible, consider these facts. But more than that, remember that the Bible is God’s love letter to you. The Bible is more than a book: it is God’s love letter to humanity. We have more reason to trust its claims than any other book in history. We can trust the Bible because of prophecy, history, it’s integrity, and what it’s done in me and millions of other people around the world.
If the Bible is reliable and true, it demands our attention and deserves to be believed and obeyed.
To anyone questioning the claims of Scripture I want to encourage you to examine the evidence for yourself. We can point you to some resources to help you on your journey. We can point you to skeptics who sought to disprove the Scriptures and in the process not only came to the conclusion of its reliability but as a result of their research were converted to follow Jesus Christ. Two of the more popular skeptics who converted and wrote books based on their research are Josh McDowell – Evidence that Demands a Verdict and Lee Strobel – The Case for Christ.
To all of us who wonder, who question from time to time, rest in this: If you have questions – great! God allows questions. He welcomes them. But until the answers come – we must remain in a posture of submission to the authority of the Word of God. Most of us are educated way beyond our level of obedience. Don’t get as hung up on the things you don’t know as much as you follow the truth that you do know!
Until then, I want to challenge you to read the Bible for yourself. And together we can Explore God together.
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