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IS THE BIBLE AUTHENTIC?
Why should we believe that the Bible is God's Word and not something concocted by humans?
Below is a table containing information on some important volumes of historical literature:
How do we gauge the authenticity of an historical document?
- Firstly, we need to find out the time span elapsed from when it happened/ when it was written, to when the first copy was found. Obviously, the shorter the time span, the less room for error and corruption of the original story by folklore or by fraudulent/ falsified copies.
- Secondly, we need to find out how many original manuscripts there were. The more manuscripts there are concerning the same story, especially when written at the same time, but in different geographic locations, obviously adds to the integrity/ authenticity of the document.
This is briefly how historians and scientists evaluate a document's authenticity.
- From the table above, we see that the earliest existing documents concerning Roman history were found 900 years (almost 1 whole millennium!!) after the events happened, and that only 20 original copies exist. Yet, how is it that we all believe without question that Roman Historical literature (Julius Caesar etc) IS the factual Truth?
- Consider then that the Bible manuscripts date from only 30 -150 years after they happened, and that more than 30 000 original manuscripts exist!! By comparison then, Roman History becomes a mere 'fairy tale' when compared to the Bible for authenticity, accuracy and integrity.
The late Professor FF Bruce was one of the world’s foremost Textual History critics (and a non-Christian) at the time that he said:
“The interval then between the dates of original composition and the earliest extant evidence becomes so small as to be in fact negligible, especially when compared to the dates of academically accepted Historical documents such as those detailing Roman History. The last foundation for any doubt that the scripts of the Old and New Testaments have come down to us substantially as they were written has now been removed. Both the authenticity and the general integrity of these works may now be finally established and proved, probably to be the most authentic historical documents known to man.”
One therefore has to go beyond mere skepticism about the authenticity of these Books – in fact, anyone who denies that these books are factual and genuine, must therefore doubt all historical literature written in the last 3 millennia, because there is not a single historical document that has anywhere near the scientific credentials that the Bible has as being authentic.
Having established therefore, according to irrefutable scientific and academic evidence that the Bible is, as far as we can possibly prove, authentic, we need to examine its contents.
On an academic footing then, we have to accept (regardless of how skeptical we as humans are by nature) the fact that what it says, really happened, based on its authenticity, and verified by scholars as factual history.
What the Bible actually says (to cut a long story short!) is that it’s contents are the Word of God, that God created man and a son called Jesus who was God incarnate, who walked on water, who parted the seas, who made men who were born without eyes see, who turned water to wine, who fed thousands with 5 fish, who raised the dead, who performed so many incredible miracles that really only a God could perform and who selflessly died for man’s fallen nature. Many of these facts are verified by other historical documents of the same period, including much Hebraic literature and even the Qu’ran.
- About 30% of the Bible's contents concern prophecy - foretelling the future.
- There are 371 predictions/prophecies in the Old Testament about the Messiah – all written at least 600-800 years before Jesus lived and most of which were fulfilled by Jesus! How is this possible without God’s intervention?
- We have to admit to ourselves too, that if Jesus was real, if He was who He claimed to be, then we have to pretty darn stupid not to believe in Him and accept His promised gift of everlasting life through Him dying on the cross for us. It sounds all hocus-pocus, airy-fairy stuff, but this God of ours is Sovereign, all-powerful, all capable and all consuming. How can we, as mere mortals, even begin to understand and grasp the enormity of GOD? Yet, He has provided for us a way, within our mortal scope of intelligence and understanding, that we can understand and believe – His Living Word.
- He has warned us personally throughout His Word of the consequences of our pride and skepticism: if we reject His awesome promise of salvation through His Son, if we reject His love, grace and power, we will burn in Hell forever, with much “wailing and gnashing of teeth, eternal suffering, travail and torment” – this is the Bible’s description of hell. (Being a dentist, the gnashing of teeth didn’t sound too appealing!)
Matthew 13: 37 He answered, "The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, 39 and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. 40 "As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. 42 They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.