Why believe the Bible as opposed to other sacred books? How can you hope in the Bible unless there is an absolute confidence in what it promises? Claiming the Bible “says so” isn’t a sufficient answer unless the Bible is actually the correct and authoritative source. These are some of many legitimate questions and objections revolving around the trustworthiness of the Bible. I want to provide you with a concise response that begins to answer and clarify why you should believe the Bible. These points are taken from a lecture by Voddie Baucham, and I’ll just provide a brief summary of some of the points that were made.
I believe the Bible because…
It’s a reliable collection of historical documents:
- The Bible was written on 3 different continents, in 3 different languages, by more than 40 different authors from many different walks of life, containing 66 volumes with hundreds of different subjects, written over a period of 1500 years. Some believe this takes away from the credibility of the Bible but it actually adds to its reliability as a collection of documents. It’s not one man out of the blue making a claim on his own; it is a collaboration of sources that all align with one overarching story. The Bible is not one book, but a compilation of books that perfectly fit together despite being written through different personalities, cultures, and time periods.
- It’s also important to note that these are not fictional stories, but historical documents. Over 20,000 archeological digs relate directly to the historical events written in the Bible, and not a single one has been confirmed as an authentic contradiction.
- When it comes to history, you use the evidentiary method to look at different things such as reliability and collaboration of sources, internal and external evidence of sources, whether it is falsifiable, and whether other things are contradicting or confirming it. These are the areas in which the evidences that point to the trustworthiness of the Bible are strong. In fact, stronger than any other ancient historical event. These historical documents from the Bible go back as early as AD 120, and there are over 6,000 manuscripts or portions of manuscripts. For ancient writings, this is an impressive amount of evidence. For Aristotle’s poetics, there are only a dozen manuscripts, the closest date being over 1,000 years after the original. The best example in terms of number of sources is Homer’s Illiad, having a few hundred manuscripts, but still the earliest manuscript being written over 2,000 years after the original writing. The Bible is by far the most reliable collection of manuscripts in terms of the number of sources and how closely they date back to the originals. If the Bible can’t be trusted as an ancient document than no other ancient writing can come even close to being accepted as trustworthy.
It’s a reliable collection of historical documents written by eyewitnesses during the lifetime of other eyewitnesses:
- The apostles are writing about what they have perceived with their own senses. These are not just visions, but actually events that have been experienced by multiple persons. There were at least 301 eyewitnesses to the resurrection who were still alive when Corinthians was written (see chapter 15). This means that the Gospel message was falsifiable. It’s not a claim that was made and just had to be trusted. As they wrote these things that had taken place, there was the opportunity for the others who were also there to deny the accuracy of what was said. (See Acts 1:1-3).
- Part of this argues against the objection that the Bible can’t be trusted because it was translated so many times. It’s not true that as people passed on what had happened that there was no accountability to the accuracy of what was said. This isn’t a game of telephone where one person passes along a message to the next person and so on until the message has been completely distorted. Each person was able to go back to the earliest source and confer with all of the others as to what was actually said at the beginning. One person can’t decide to change what was recorded without everyone else being able to check if it matches what was actually written.
- On top of that, the church fathers wrote so many commentaries on the writings of Scripture that even if you lost or changed the writings of Scripture, the commentaries contain over 95% of the Bible. That means you not only would have to change the 6,000 manuscripts without creating contradictions, but you would also have to change all the commentaries in order to match what had been changed in the manuscripts. That’s just straight up impossible.
It’s a reliable collection of historical documents written by eyewitnesses during the lifetime of other eyewitness, and they report supernatural events that took place in fulfillment of specific prophecies:
- This isn’t just a collection of religious thoughts and ideas; the authors are actually claiming to be recording supernatural events. The reason why these supernatural events aren’t brushed off as crazy is because a large number of the specific claims being made have already been fulfilled, some taking place over 1,000 years after it was foretold. Take Psalm 22 for example. A man who had never seen a crucifixion (because the crucifixion had not yet been invented) describes the specificities of Christ’s death on the cross over 1,000 years before Christ was even born. These aren’t a few wild guesses that happened to come true because they were vague enough claims. We’re talking about hundreds of prophecies with specific details being fulfilled. This is evidence in favor of the Bible’s authority and authenticity. In order to prove that your message came from God, something had to happen in order to validate that message, which is what the fulfilled prophecies of the Bible provide.
It’s a reliable collection of historical documents written by eyewitnesses during the lifetime of other eyewitness, and they report supernatural events that took place in fulfillment of specific prophecies, and they claim that their writings are divine rather than human in origin:
- God’s Word being the highest authority means that you can’t go to a higher authority to affirm or reject it. This is why we compare Scripture with Scripture. We go to the internal and external evidences to test whether or not the Bible really has come from God. And the fact that these specific prophecies are coming to pass, point to the words of the Bible as really coming from God.
- People often say they can’t believe the Bible because man wrote it, but this is problematic because then nothing written down by man can be trusted. Everyone makes mistakes, but these authors claimed that their message came from God. And it’s the fulfilled prophecies, affirming eyewitnesses, and testimonies that give credence to that claim. This is why we can accept the Bible as coming from God, and therefore the highest authority that must be embraced as truth.
2 Peter 1:16-21 “For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For when He received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was born to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” we ourselves heard this voice borne from heaven, for we were with Him on the holy mountain. And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shinning in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”
Everyone has their beliefs, but it is ridiculous to suggest that all other beliefs are built on evidence while Christianity is not. Christianity does not require a low intellectual prowess or a refusal to accept sound reasoning. That’s my concern behind this post. Not that high intellectual capabilities equal becoming a Christian, but knowledge coupled with humility is a key component in the Christian life.
In hopes of shattering the myth that believing the Bible is anti-intellectual,