How do we know we can trust the Bible?
We can place our trust in the Bible because it is the Word of God. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” The word “inspiration” translated in the Greek means breathed. So the Bible claims to be the very Word of God. Is there any evidence to support this claim?
Let’s take a look…
First, although the Bible was inspired by God, it was penned by men. God spoke to different men at different times and literally told them what to write down. From historical record, we know the Bible was written over a span of 1500 years by over 40 men from all different walks of life. For example, God used people to write down His words from all the following occupations: shepherd, fishermen, king, tax collector, religious leader, prophet, advisor, soldier, doctor. Not only did they have various jobs but many lived in completely different times from one another. Their circumstances during their writings varied – some wrote in times of peace others in war, some wrote in captivity and others freely in their home land. Consequently, they also lived in completely different cultures. Facts such as these offer proof that the Bible came from God. Written over a long time span by so many people with a consistent message throughout, the content of Scripture must have originated from God, not man. You might not believe that this book is from God but you have to admit one thing: there is no other book like it. Can you think of any other book that has this kind of authorship and yet still fits together flawlessly? Plus, think about how many people have tried to destroy this book and always failed. God said heaven and earth will pass away but my words will by no means pass away. The Bible is also the most published book in the world and available in more languages than any other book on earth. But the evidence doesn’t stop there.
The Bible records many events spoken of way before they came to be. The Bible contains fulfilled prophecy! This means that if God is all knowing as He claims to be, then there can’t be any room for error in the prophecy. For example, if the prophecy in the Bible is partially correct, that would be really good guessing but not a strong argument for proof. Prophecy must be 100% accurate if it comes from an all knowing, perfect God.
Let’s take a look at prophecy concerning Jesus Christ. There are over 100 prophecies concerning the first coming of Jesus, some with very specific detail. Archeology has now proven that the Old Testament was written at least 150 B.C., if not earlier. Even though all of the books are older than that, the skeptic cannot deny that the Old Testament was written before Jesus came. Now let’s start to examine the evidence. The Bible says Jesus must be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14). This is not necessarily provable, but we do have it recorded by all four gospel books (Matthew, Mark , Luke and John) that Jesus was born of a virgin. Isaiah 53:2 speaks about His appearance. It says, “He has no form or comeliness; And when we see Him, There is no beauty that we should desire Him.” He must look almost homely and not very handsome, not what you would imagine. And Jesus did not come with pomp and circumstance, but as a servant. Let’s get a little more specific… Jeremiah 11:12-13 tells us not only the amount of money that Jesus would be betrayed for (30 pieces of silver), but also what would happen to it (it would be thrown back into the temple and used to buy a potter’s field). This all happened to Jesus Christ. Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver, the price of a common slave, and after he had realized what he did he went back and tried to give it back to the priest. But when the priest would not take the money, he threw it down on the temple floor. Because the money was used to buy blood the priest would not put the money back in the treasury so they bought a potter’s field, just as prophesied. Concerning the death of Jesus, almost everybody knows that Jesus was crucified on a cross, but was that prophesied? Absolutely, and in very good detail! The fascinating thing is that it was written about 1000 B.C. by King David before crucifixion existed. In Psalms 22:14-18, David describes incredible details about Christ’s death. It says, “I am poured out like water and all my bones are out of joint.” I don’t know if you know much about crucifixion, but it is a very painful death. Nails are pounded through your hands and feet, the cross is placed upright causing all your weight to inflict unbearable pain in your feet. Unable to do anything but hang by your hands, your spread out arms slowly go out of joint, the chest collapses making breathing extremely difficult and your heart has to start working harder until it finally bursts (melts, as Psalms describes), just as prophesied. It also says, “The congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me.” This was fulfilled when Jesus hung on the cross between two thieves who were crucified at the same time. David still gives more detail… “I can count all My bones.” Why is this important? It was very common for the Romans to shorten the excruciatingly slow process of crucifixion unto death by breaking the legs of the people on the cross so that they could no longer push up to breathe. Yet we know that when Jesus was crucified, they did not break His legs because they pierced His side and blood and water flowed signifying He was dead and therefore removing the need to break His legs. It was also prophesied that the soldiers cast lots for His garments. The book of Isaiah tells us that His death would be with the wicked as He was hung between to thieves and that His burial would be with the rich. Jesus was buried in a new tomb, something that only rich people could afford back then. Think about this for a minute: a poor carpenter was crucified between two thieves and then buried in a tomb only the wealthy could afford? That doesn’t sound to common.
Let’s take a look at one more prophecy. Jesus himself said that He would die and rise again on the third day. This claim is the most significant because how many people come back from the dead? On top of that He gives the exact time between His death and resurrection. History tells us that after Jesus was crucified He was buried in a new tomb where roman soldiers sealed the tomb and kept guards posted until after the third day. Jesus rose again on the third day after which He was seen by more than 500 witnesses.
The evidence makes it clear that no person on earth could prophesy that kind of detail or orchestrate a book to be written over so many years by so many people and yet be in perfect agreement with each other. But God can and He did!