Back To The Bible? Part 2
Reasons To Trust The Bible
There are many fascinating reasons we should trust the divine root of the scriptures. Here is a selection of them to stir your thinking:
The Hittites are mentioned almost 50 times in the Old Testament, but for centuries there has been no archaeological evidence of their existence. Of course this calls in to question, in some eyes, the authority of the Bible. But in 1996 the Hittite capital was uncovered in Turkey!
From references to King David finally found in 1993, to military findings in the Red Sea, slowly archaeology is uncovering Biblical truth. As one archaeologist put it, “Not a shred of evidence has ever been uncovered that contradicted the message of the Bible.”
Other Historical Writings From The Period
If the Jesus story is true, you would expect other historians to note the stir his life, death and resurrection caused.
Josephus, a Roman Jew, wrote just after the time of Jesus and confirmed the beheading of John the Baptist by Herod. He wrote of Jesus himself, that He was “a wise man, His conduct was good, He was known to be virtuous. Many people from among the Jews and many other nations became His disciples. Pilate condemned Him to be crucified and die…His disciples did not abandon him ..and they reported that three days after His crucifixion that He was alive. Accordingly, they believed He was the Messiah, concerning whom the prophets have recounted wonders”
The Guardian newspaper reported in April 2017 “The historical evidence for Jesus of Nazareth is both long-established and widespread. Within a few decades of His supposed lifetime, He is mentioned by Jewish and Roman historians, as well as by dozens of Christian writings.” The article continues “Pliny contributes the information that, where He was governor in northern Turkey, Christians worshipped Christ as a god.” (1)
The fact that Jesus walked the towns of Galilee is a historical fact no serious student can dispute.
Imagine gathering just 10 authors, over a 1500 year span, from many different walks of life and getting them to write on the same subject. Can you imagine what the result would be? Differing conclusions? Differing opinions?
One of the amazing things about the Bible is it outlines the same God, from the perspective of 40 or more authors, over 1500 years, they were shepherds and kings, who wrote in Europe, African and Asia, and yet they all wrote the same things about the same God. While minor differences do occur (which only strengthens its veracity), the grand philosophy and message of scripture is consistent throughout. No author goes off on a tangent leaving you wondering about God’s character. He is consistent.
If I was going to set out to write a book to promote my religion or nation, I would make it sound as inviting and heroic as possible. The Bible’s blatant truth-telling, where her heroes make great mistakes, fail miserably, in fact, the whole nation seems to fail more than succeed, is proof of its origin.
It also leaves small contradictions of times, dates, numbers, with no attempt to smooth them over or cover up mistakes. Its honesty is disarming like an unpractised, heartfelt speech, it simply tells the story as it has been told.
Some say as many as 3000 Biblical prophecies have been fulfilled today. From Daniel correctly predicting the rise of four major superpowers ending with Rome many years ago to the troubled plight of Israel herself.
The Bible shows that Israel would have her own country, then be scattered throughout the world. That the Jew would have a global impact and they would be brought back to Israel, where other nations would partition her, and she would become a nation in a day, as she did in 1948.
Its Scientific Knowledge
When the scientists of the world thought the earth was flat, the Bible already boldly declared that “God sits on the circle of the earth” (Isaiah 40:22). Scientific understanding seems to spend much time trying to catch up with the Bible!
Henry Morris wrote, “One of the most arresting evidences of the inspiration of the Bible is the great number of scientific truths that have lain hidden within its pages for thirty centuries or more, only to be discovered by man’s enterprise within the last few centuries or even years.”
I have often heard it said that good science and good theology will always ultimately agree. When science is thorough, and where theology is humble, science has never disproved the Bible, but rather discovered everything it says is true, to be true!
Jesus Attitude To Scripture
If you want to be like Jesus, it is important for you to note that Jesus quoted his Old Testament Bible continuously and revered it “as scripture”! He evidently considered the law, the prophets and the writings to be God’s Word, and constantly quoted them, even in times of painful temptation. This tells us we need to learn, revere and be in awe of God’s Word if we wish to be like Christ.
Interestingly, Jesus would quote the Old Testament and revere it as holy; but then He would say things like “and I say to you” (e.g. Matthew 5) and go on to develop or adjust the Old Testament principle, thus putting His own words on a par with scripture. He was writing new scripture “live” as He preached!
The epistle writers like Paul and Peter would also speak of the Gospels and even each other’s writings “as scripture” (2 Peter 3:16)! They had lived so close to the perfect revelation of Truth, that they knew that writing of His teachings, was writing holy scripture.
The Earliest Church Fathers Quoted it
Even before the New Testament was fully formed, the writings featured heavily in the letters and books of church fathers like Polycarp, Clement, Ignatius and Irenaeus.
Jesus Fulfilled It
Of course, one of the great wonders of the scriptures is that the Old Testament, of which we now have a copy that pre-dates Jesus birth in the Dead Sea Scrolls, speaks lucidly and prophetically of Jesus life on earth! His name, His birthplace, His return from Egypt, the slaughter of the young children, the beginning His ministry at Capernaum, His ministry of healing, the work of John the Baptist, His use of parables, His entry into Jerusalem, the fact he was deserted by His disciples, even the price paid for His betrayal.
The miraculous nature of Jesus life and the Old Testaments prophetic nature are amazing authentication of its source.
Jesus said in Luke 21:33 “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away” and look at how those words have come to pass.
Voltaire said in the 1700s that within 100 years the Bible would not exist, except for in museums. He died and his printing presses were used to make Bibles! Today his works are not fully translated into English, while the Bible is translated into over 1200 languages and remains the best-selling book of all time.
The Bible has been burned, made illegal, had heretical alternatives made, but the Bible Society, just one of many publishing societies, publishes over 30,000 copies of the Bible a day! About 170,000 Bibles are distributed each day in the United States alone. Nothing has been able to crush the advance of the Word of God.
Every time someone tries to bury the Gospel, it only increases! Persecute it, and it becomes more powerful. Marginalise it, and it multiplies & magnifies. Bury it, and it bursts forth from underground, bigger, stronger, better. Because it is Eternal, because it is True, because it is Divine, it is impossible to kill. 2000 years of history has proved this to be true!
The Bible has had a remarkable effect on the world. Thomas Jefferson, third US President, said, “I have always said, and will always say, that the studious perusal of the sacred volume will make better homes, better citizens, better fathers, and better husbands.”
It has been changing lives for centuries, where drunkards like Augustine become Bishops and killers like Saul become preachers. In the middle of the Pacific Ocean, a murderous, racist, drunken community, suddenly became a flourishing industrious and kind, Christian Community without any outside influence, simply because they found a Bible on a shipwrecked boat.
Just what it is that people don’t like about the Bible? Is it the peace-giving salvation God writes of in its pages? Is it the re-assurance it gives?
When lovingly followed it keeps you from sexual disease, stress, family breakdown, hatred, poverty, anarchy, racism and abuse. It rebuilds lives, restores relationships, makes marriages last (passionately too!). It makes kids love fathers, fathers love kids, shows husbands how to behave, and tells you how to build a home, a business or a nation. It has given us our laws, hospitals, schools and calendar. He who hates the Bible, either does not know its message or hates humanity. The Bible is our great story. The story of God and man, and the only hope for the broken human soul.
Up next time….How Did Jesus See Scripture?
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