Week two of using logic and reasoning to answer the question: can we trust the Bible? If you missed last week’s blog, we covered the first three evidences: fulfilled prophecy, archaeological evidence, and internal consistency. If you want more details on those, make sure to check those out!
Fourth evidence to prove the Bible is trustworthy: Extra Biblical Evidence. To say we can trust the Bible because the Bible alone says so, is a bit of circular reasoning. There have been thousands of ancient texts discovered that corroborate with the people, events, and places written about in the Bible. Here’s just a few of many, many examples. In the Old Testament (2 Kings, Daniel), you can read all about King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon taking over Jerusalem, and taking Jews captive. There have been thousands of clay tablets found where ancient Babylon was located (which have been called the Babylonian Chronicle), that tells the exact same story we read about in the Bible. Confirming that the authors of the Bible were not making up stories about people and events, but these events have been confirmed by this outside source.
Another fantastic example of extra Biblical writing is the documents from Josephus, a first century historian. He writes all about people of the New Testament. Here’s an excerpt from Jospehus’ writing on John the Baptist:
“John, that was called the Baptist…was a good man, and commanded the Jews to exercise virtue, both as to righteousness towards one another, and piety towards God, and so to come to baptism…Herod, who feared the great influence John had over the people…sent [John] a prisoner, out of Herod’s suspicious temper, to Macherus, the castle I before mentioned, and was there put to death.”
And another excerpt he wrote about Jesus:
“At this time there was a wise man who was called Jesus. And his conduct was good, and (he) was known to be virtuous. And many people from among the Jews and the other nations became his disciples. Pilate condemned him to be crucified to die. And those who had become his disciples did not abandon his discipleship. They reported that he had appeared to them three days after his crucifixion and that he was alive..."
Again, this is not from the Bible. This is from a first century Jewish historian, again sharing with us that the Bible did not merely make up characters in a fictional book, but that these people existed and the events happen the way the Bible tells.
Fifth evidence showing the Bible is trustworthy: Scientific Accuracies. Contrary to popular belief, God uses the natural world and science to show people who He is! It is not science vs. God in any way, and the Bible is full of scientific accuracies. God’s Word may not align with popular scientific theories, like how everything was created from absolutely nothing and we have evolved to our current state through mindless unguided natural causes. But we knowable, verifiable, testable science: the Bible stands tall. Here are four examples:
- The Bible teaches the sun is on a circuit through space. Psalm 19:6 says that the sun is “rising from one end of Heaven, and it’s circuit to the other end.” For a while, this verse was criticized because it was thought that the sun was stationary. In recent years, however, it has been discovered that the sun is in fact on a circuit through space.
- Long before the Greeks discovered the Earth was round, many ancient civilizations thought the Earth was flat (including Babylonians, Egyptians, and the Chinese). the Bible went against that grain. To keep this shorter, I’ll just give you one quick example, in Isaiah 40:22 it says that it is God “who sits above the circle of the Earth,” alluding to the Earth’s spherical shape.
- Before Newton discovered gravity, people believed the Earth must have been supported by something. The Hindu people believed the Earth rested on the backs of elephants, who stood on the back of a turtle swimming in the great endless sea. In Job 26:7, Job says that God “hangs the Earth on nothing.” Scientists were still trying to figure this out thousands of years after it was written.
- Before telescopes were invented, people thought you could count the number of stars in the sky. Galileo used a telescope in 1608 to discover the Bible was correct when it says in Jeremiah 33:22, “the stars cannot be numbered, nor the sand of the sea be measured.”
Sixth evidence to show we can truly trust the Bible: Manuscript Evidence. A manuscript is a surviving hand-written document from before the printing press was invented in 1455. In 1947, a shepherd boy and his father were searching for a lost goat in Qumran (in Israel) when they stumbled upon Biblical manuscripts that were untouched for 2,000 years! We have found every book of the Old Testament (except Esther), and multiple copies of many of those books. We have more than 25,000 ancient handwritten copies of the New Testament. These are called the Dead Sea Scrolls. I mention them because Bible scholars have combed through these manuscripts to find that our Bible’s today are not over-translated, watered down, and not trustworthy - the opposite is the case - the same Bible we read today is the Bible that was written thousands of years ago.
On top of the Dead Sea Scrolls, we also have original manuscripts written by the early church fathers (basically, the close students and disciples of the OG apostles). They wrote letters back and forth to each other and to churches, and they quoted the New Testament a staggering 86,000 times! Bible scholars could reconstruct the New Testament just from their writings!
That was a lot, but we’re not done. There’s just so much proof and evidence we can look at to prove the Bible is trustworthy. Stay tuned for next week’s blog for more!