The purpose of this report is to explain how the Bible was put together and therefore also demonstrate:
The fact that God gave us the Bible is an evidence and illustration of His love for us. The term “revelation” simply means that God communicated to mankind what He is like and how we can have a right relationship with Him. These are things that we could not have known had God not divinely revealed them to us in the Bible. Although God’s revelation of Himself in the Bible was given progressively over approximately 1500 years, it has always contained everything man needs to know about God in order to have a right relationship with Him. If the Bible is truly the Word of God, then it is the final authority for all matters of faith, religious practice, and morals.
The question we must ask ourselves is how can we know that the Bible is the Word of God and not just a good book?
What is unique about the Bible that sets it apart from all other religious books ever written? Is there any evidence that the Bible is truly God’s Word? These types of questions must be seriously examined if we are to determine the validity of the Bible’s claim to be the very Word of God, divinely inspired, and totally sufficient for all matters of faith and practice. There can be no doubt that the Bible does claim to be the very Word of God. This is clearly seen in Paul’s commendation to Timothy: “… from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:15-17).
There are both internal and external evidences that the Bible is truly God’s Word. The internal evidences are those things within the Bible that testify of its divine origin. One of the first internal evidences that the Bible is truly God’s Word is seen in its unity. Even though it is really sixty-six individual books, written on three continents, in three different languages, over a period of approximately 1500 years, by more than 40 authors who came from many walks of life, the Bible remains one unified book from beginning to end without contradiction (for those who dispute that there are contradictions, please read the answer given to that under question 5 below)
This unity is unique from all other books and is evidence of the divine origin of the words which God moved men to record.
Another of the internal evidences that indicates the Bible is truly God’s Word is the fulfilled prophecies contained within its pages. The Bible contains hundreds of detailed prophecies relating to the future of individual nations including Israel, certain cities, and mankind. Other prophecies concern the coming of One who would be the Messiah, the Savior of all who would believe in Him. Unlike the prophecies found in other religious books or those by men such as Nostradamus, biblical prophecies are extremely detailed. There are over three hundred prophecies concerning Jesus Christ in the Old Testament. Not only was it foretold where He would be born and His lineage, but also how He would die and that He would rise again. There simply is no logical way to explain the fulfilled prophecies in the Bible other than by divine origin. There is no other religious book with the extent or type of predictive prophecy that the Bible contains.
A third internal evidence of the divine origin of the Bible is its unique authority and power. While this evidence is more subjective than the first two, it is no less a powerful testimony of the divine origin of the Bible. The Bible’s authority is unlike any other book ever written. This authority and power are best seen in the way countless lives have been transformed by the supernatural power of God’s Word. Drug addicts have been cured by it, homosexuals set free by it, derelicts and deadbeats transformed by it, hardened criminals reformed by it, sinners rebuked by it, and hate turned to love by it. The Bible does possess a dynamic and transforming power that is only possible because it is truly God’s Word.
There are also external evidences that indicate the Bible is truly the Word of God. One is the accurate historicity of the Bible. Because the Bible details historical events, its truthfulness and accuracy are subject to verification like any other historical document. Through archaeological and scientific evidences and other writings, the historical accounts of the Bible have been proven time and time again to be accurate and true. In fact, all the archaeological and manuscript evidence supporting the Bible makes it the best-documented book from the ancient world. The fact that the Bible accurately and truthfully records historically verifiable events is a great indication of its truthfulness when dealing with religious subjects and doctrines and helps substantiate its claim to be the very Word of God.
Another external evidence that the Bible is truly God’s Word is the integrity of its human authors. As mentioned earlier, God used men from many walks of life to record His words. In studying the lives of these men, we find them to be honest and sincere. The fact that they were willing to die often excruciating deaths for what they believed testifies that these ordinary yet honest men truly believed God had spoken to them. The men who wrote the New Testament and many hundreds of other believers (1 Corinthians 15:6) knew the truth of their message because they had seen and spent time with Jesus Christ after He had risen from the dead. Seeing the risen Christ had a tremendous impact on them. They went from hiding in fear to being willing to die for the message God had revealed to them. Their lives and deaths testify to the fact that the Bible truly is God’s Word.
A final external evidence that the Bible is truly God’s Word is the indestructibility of the Bible. Because of its importance and its claim to be the very Word of God, the Bible has suffered more vicious attacks and attempts to destroy it than any other book in history. From early Roman Emperors like Diocletian, through communist dictators and on to modern-day atheists and agnostics, the Bible has withstood and outlasted all of its attackers and is still today the most widely published book in the world.
Throughout time, skeptics have regarded the Bible as mythological, but archeology has confirmed it as historical. Opponents have attacked its teaching as primitive and outdated, but its moral and legal concepts and teachings have had a positive influence on societies and cultures throughout the world. It continues to be attacked by pseudo-science, psychology, and political movements, yet it remains just as true and relevant today as it was when it was first written. It is a book that has transformed countless lives and cultures throughout the last 2000 years. No matter how its opponents try to attack, destroy, or discredit it, the Bible remains; its veracity and impact on lives is unmistakable. The accuracy which has been preserved despite every attempt to corrupt, attack, or destroy it is clear testimony to the fact that the Bible is truly God’s Word and is supernaturally protected by Him. It should not surprise us that, no matter how the Bible is attacked, it always comes out unchanged and unscathed. After all, Jesus said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away” (Mark 13:31). After looking at the evidence, one can say without a doubt that, yes, the Bible is truly God’s Word.
Question 2 "How do we know that the Bible is the Word of God, and not the Apocrypha, the Qur’an, the Book of Mormon, etc.?"
Answer: The question of which (if any) religious text is the true word of God is of utmost importance. To avoid circular reasoning, the first question we must ask is: how would we know if God communicated in the first place? Well, God would have to communicate in a manner that people could understand, but that also means that people could make up their own messages and simply claim that they came from God. So, it seems reasonable to think that if God wanted to authenticate His communication He would have to verify it in a manner that could not be duplicated by mere humans - in other words, by miracles. This narrows the field considerably.
Beyond the evidence for the Bible's correctness (manuscript evidence) and its historicity (archeological evidence), the most important evidence is that of its inspiration. The real determination of the Bible's claim to absolute inspired truth is in its supernatural evidence, including prophecy. God used prophets to speak and write down His Word and God uses miracles like fulfilled prophecy to authenticate His messengers. For example, in Genesis 12:7, God promises that the land of Israel was to be for Abraham and his descendants. In 1948 Israel was returned back to the Jewish people for the second time in history. This may not seem so astonishing until you realize that no nation in the history of the world has been scattered from its homeland and returned! Israel has done it twice. The book of Daniel predicts with accuracy the coming of the four great kingdoms from Babylon, to Medo-Persia, to Greece, to Rome centuries before some of those kingdoms came on the scene (a time span of over 1,000 years!) with details concerning how they would rule and be broken. This includes the reigns of Alexander the Great and Antiochus Epiphanies.
In Ezekiel 26 we can see in astonishing detail how the city of Tyre was to be destroyed, how it would be torn down, and how its debris would be thrown into the sea. When Alexander the Great marched on that area, he encountered a group of people holed up in a tower on an island off the coast near there. He could not cross the sea, so he could not fight those in the tower. Rather than wait them out, the proud conqueror had his army throw stones into the sea to build a land bridge to the tower. It worked. His army crossed the sea and overthrew the occupants of the stronghold. But where did he get so much stone? The rocks that were used for the land bridge were the leftover rubble from the city of Tyre . . . its stones cast into the sea!
There are so many prophecies concerning Christ (over 270!) that it would take more than a few screens worth of space to list them all. Further, Jesus would have had no control over many of them such as His birthplace or time of birth. Second, the odds of one man accidentally fulfilling even 16 of these are 1 in 10^45. How many is that? For comparison, there are less than 10^28 atoms in the entire universe! And Jesus, who affirmed the Bible as the Word of God, proved His reliability and deity by His resurrection (an historical fact not easily ignored).
Now consider the Quran - its author, Muhammad, performed no miracles to back up his message (even when he was asked to by his followers - Sura 17:91-95; 29:47-51). Only in much later tradition (the Hadith) do any alleged miracles even show up and these are all quite fanciful (like Muhammad cutting the moon in half) and have zero reliable testimony to back them up. Further, the Quran makes clear historical errors. Muslims believe the Bible is inspired but with some errors from editing (Sura 2:136 as well as Suras 13, 16, 17, 20, 21, 23, 25). The question they cannot adequately answer is: "When was the Bible corrupted?" If they say before 600 A.D. then how can the Quran admonish believers to read it? If they claim it was after 600 A.D., then they have jumped out of the frying pan and into the fire, for we have absolutely no doubt as to the accuracy of biblical manuscripts from at least the 3rd century forward. Even if Christianity were false, the Quran still has an insurmountable problem because it makes judgments against Christians for believing things that they do not (nor have they ever) believed. For example, the Quran teaches that Christians believe the Trinity is the Father, the Mother (Mary), and the Son (Sura 5:73-75, 116), and the Quran also teaches that Christians believe that God had sex with Mary to have a son (Suras 2:116; 6:100-101; 10:68; 16:57; 19:35; 23:91; 37:149-151; 43:16-19). If the Quran is really from God, then it should at least be able to accurately report what Christians believe.
Joseph Smith, the author of the Book of Mormon, tried to do some miracles such as prophecy (a test for a true prophet in Deuteronomy 18:21-22) but failed several times. He foretold of Christ's second coming in History of the Church (HC) 2:382. Joseph Smith preached that the coming of the Lord would be in 56 years (about 1891). The second coming did not occur in 1891, and the Mormon Church does not claim that it did. Nor has it occurred since. He also prophesied that several cities would be destroyed in Doctrine and Covenants (D&C) 84:114-115. New York, Albany and Boston were to be destroyed if they rejected the gospel according to Smith. Joseph Smith himself went to New York, Albany, and Boston and preached there. These cities did not accept his gospel, yet they have not been destroyed. Another famous false prophecy of Joseph Smith was his "END OF ALL NATIONS" in D&C 87 concerning the rebellion of South Carolina in the war between the states. The South was supposed to call on Great Britain for aid, and as a result war would be poured out upon all nations; slaves would revolt; the inhabitants of the earth would mourn; famine, plague, earthquake, thunder, lightning, and a full end of all nations would result. The South finally did revolt in 1861, but the slaves did not rise up, war was not poured out upon all nations, there was no worldwide famine, plague, earthquake, etc., and there was no resulting "end of all nations."
The collection of writings that Protestants call the Apocrypha (hidden writings), Roman Catholics call the deuterocanonical (later or second canon) books. These books were written between 300 B.C. and 100 A.D., the Intertestamental Period between the inspired writings of God's Prophets in the Old Testament and those of the Apostles and their contemporaries in the New Testament. These were "infallibly" accepted into the Bible by the Roman Catholic Church in 1546 at the Council of Trent. Now the Apocrypha would be covered under the evidence for the Bible if these writings were truly inspired - but evidence seems to indicate that they are not. In the Bible we find prophets of God whose messages are ratified by miracles or prophecy that comes true, and whose message is immediately accepted by the people (Deut 31:26; Josh. 24:26; 1 Samuel 10:25; Daniel 9:2; Col. 4:16; 2 Peter 3:15-16). What we find in the apocrypha is just the opposite - no apocryphal book was written by a prophet; in fact one book specifically states that it is not inspired (1 Maccabees 9:27)! None of these books were included in the Hebrew Scriptures. There is no ratification of the authors of any apocryphal book. No apocryphal book is cited as authoritative by later Biblical writers. There is no fulfilled prophecy in any apocryphal book. Finally, Jesus, who quoted from every section of Old Testament Scripture, never once quoted from the apocrypha. Neither did any of His disciples.
The Bible so far outshines every competing source for being God's revelation that if it is not God's Word, it would seem impossible to choose among the leftovers. If the Bible is not God's Word, then we have been left with no clear criteria by which to know what might be.
Answer: The term “canon” is used to describe the books that are divinely inspired and therefore belong in the Bible. The difficulty in determining the biblical canon is that the Bible does not give us a list of the books that belong in the Bible. Determining the canon was a process conducted first by Jewish rabbis and scholars and later by early Christians. Ultimately, it was God who decided what books belonged in the biblical canon. A book of Scripture belonged in the canon from the moment God inspired its writing. It was simply a matter of God’s convincing His human followers which books should be included in the Bible.
Hebrew believers recognized God’s messengers and accepted their writings as inspired of God. While there was undeniably some debate in regards to the Old Testament canon, by A.D. 250 there was nearly universal agreement on the canon of Hebrew Scripture. The only issue that remained was the Apocrypha, with some debate and discussion continuing today. The vast majority of Hebrew scholars considered the Apocrypha to be good historical and religious documents, but not on the same level as the Hebrew Scriptures.
For the New Testament, the process of the recognition and collection began in the first centuries of the Christian church. Very early on, some of the New Testament books were being recognized. Paul considered Luke’s writings to be as authoritative as the Old Testament (1 Timothy 5:18; see also Deuteronomy 25:4 and Luke 10:7). Peter recognized Paul’s writings as Scripture (2 Peter 3:15-16). Some of the books of the New Testament were being circulated among the churches (Colossians 4:16; 1 Thessalonians 5:27). Clement of Rome mentioned at least eight New Testament books (A.D. 95). Ignatius of Antioch acknowledged about seven books (A.D. 115). Polycarp, a disciple of John the apostle, acknowledged 15 books (A.D. 108). Later, Irenaeus mentioned 21 books (A.D. 185). Hippolytus recognized 22 books (A.D. 170-235).
The first “canon” was the Muratorian Canon, which was compiled in A.D. 170. The Muratorian Canon included all of the New Testament books except 3 = 24 books. In A.D. 363, the Council of Laodicea stated that the Old Testament and all the 27 books (which we have today) of the New Testament were to be read in the churches. The Council of Hippo (A.D. 393) and the Council of Carthage (A.D. 397) also affirmed the same 27 books as authoritative.
The councils followed something similar to the following principles to determine whether a New Testament book was truly inspired by the Holy Spirit: 1) Was the author an apostle or have a close connection with an apostle? 2) Is the book being accepted by the body of Christ at large? 3) Did the book contain consistency of doctrine and orthodox teaching? 4) Did the book bear evidence of high moral and spiritual values that would reflect a work of the Holy Spirit? Again, it is crucial to remember that the church did not determine the canon. No early church council decided on the canon. It was God, and God alone, who determined which books belonged in the Bible. It was simply a matter of God’s imparting to His followers what He had already decided. The human process of collecting the books of the Bible was flawed, but God, in His sovereignty, and despite our ignorance and stubbornness, brought the early church to the recognition of the books He had inspired.
Answer: If Scripture is to be our sole authority, on what authority do we know which books belong in the Bible - since the Bible does not state which books should be in the Bible? This is a very important question, because a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. In the chain of communication from God to humanity, is there a weak link? If so, then the whole chain fails, and the communication ultimately cannot be trusted.
Consider the various "links" comprising God's communication to us: first came God's desire to communicate. This was rooted in His love, for the most loving thing a good God can do is reveal Himself to His creation. Next came the actual transmission of God's Word through human writers. This involved a process the Bible calls "inspiration," in which God breathed the words that the human agents recorded (2 Timothy 3:16). After that came dissemination, as the Word was delivered to its audience through preaching or other means. Then came recognition, as God's people distinguished Holy Scripture from other religious writings. And then, preservation, through which God's Word has survived to the present day, despite many attempts to destroy it. And finally, illumination, as the Holy Spirit opens the believer's understanding to receive the Word.
And that's the "chain"--the demonstration of God's love in the inspiration, dissemination, recognition, preservation, and illumination of His Word. We believe that God was involved in each step of the process, for why would God go to such lengths to inspire His Word and then not preserve it? Why would He speak to us and then fail to guide us in recognizing His speech?
This recognition of God's Word is usually called "canonization." We are careful to say that God determined the canon, and the church discovered the canon. The canon of Scripture was not created by the church; rather, the church discovered or recognized it. In other words, God's Word was inspired and authoritative from its inception--it "stands firm in the heavens" (Psalm 119:89)--and the church simply recognized that fact and accepted it.
The criteria the church used for recognizing and collecting the Word of God are as follows:
1) Was the book written by a prophet of God?
2) Was the writer authenticated by miracles to confirm his message?
3) Does the book tell the truth about God, with no falsehood or contradiction?
4) Does the book evince a divine capacity to transform lives?
5) Was the book accepted as God's Word by the people to whom it was first delivered?
Of these criteria, the one of most importance was the first one--was the book written by a prophet? Its corollary, did the book receive apostolic approval?, was the chief test of canonicity in the early church. This criterion is a logical result of knowing what an "apostle" was. The apostles were gifted by God to be the founders and leaders of the church, so it is reasonable to accept that through them came the Word governing the church.
The apostles were promised the Spirit of truth who would bring to their remembrance what Christ had said (John 14:26) and guide them into "all truth" (John 16:13). After the ascension of Christ, the apostles received supernatural gifts to enable their work and confirm their message (Acts 2:4). God's household is "built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets" (Ephesians 2:20). Given the apostles' special commission, it only makes sense that the church made apostolicity the number-one test of canonicity. Thus, the Gospel of Matthew was considered canonical (it was written by an apostle); and the Gospel of Mark, with its close association with the Apostle Peter, was also accepted.
When the New Testament was being written, the individual books and letters were immediately accepted as God's Word and circulated for the benefits of others. The church of Thessalonica received Paul's word as the Word of God (1 Thessalonians 2:13). Paul's epistles were circulating among the churches even during apostolic times (Colossians 4:16). Peter recognized Paul's writings as inspired by God and equated them with "the rest of the Scriptures" (2 Peter 3:15-16). Paul quoted the Gospel of Luke and called it "Scripture" (1 Timothy 5:18). This widespread acceptance stands in stark contrast to the few debated books, eventually rejected as non-canonical, that enjoyed a limited favor for a time.
Later, as heresy increased and some within the church began clamoring for the acceptance of spurious religious writings, the church wisely held a council to officially confirm their acceptance of the 27 New Testament books. The criteria they used allowed them to objectively distinguish what God had given them from that of human origin. They concluded that they would stay with the books that were universally accepted. In so doing, they determined to continue in "the apostles' teaching" (Acts 2:42).
Answer: If we read the Bible at face value, without a preconceived bias for finding errors, we will find it to be a coherent, consistent, and relatively easy-to-understand book. Yes, there are difficult passages. Yes, there are verses that appear to contradict each other. We must remember that the Bible was written by approximately 40 different authors over a period of around 1500 years. Each writer wrote with a different style, from a different perspective, to a different audience, for a different purpose. We should expect some minor differences. However, a difference is not a contradiction. It is only an error if there is absolutely no conceivable way the verses or passages can be reconciled. Even if an answer is not available right now, that does not mean an answer does not exist. Many have found a supposed error in the Bible in relation to history or geography only to find out that the Bible is correct once further archaeological evidence is discovered.
We often receive questions along the lines of “Explain how these verses do not contradict!” or “Look, here is an error in the Bible!” Admittedly, some of the things people bring up are difficult to answer. However, it is our contention that there are viable and intellectually plausible answers to every supposed Bible contradiction and error. There are books and websites available that list “all the errors in the Bible.” Most people simply get their ammunition from these places; they do not find supposed errors on their own. There are also books and websites available that refute every one of these supposed errors. The saddest thing is that most people who attack the Bible are not truly interested in an answer. Many “Bible attackers” are even aware of these answers, but they continue to use the same old shallow attacks again and again.
So, what are we to do when someone approaches us with an alleged Bible error? 1) Prayerfully study the Scriptures and see if there is a simple solution. 2) Do some research using some of the fine Bible commentaries, “Bible defense” books, and biblical research websites. 3) Ask our pastors/church leaders to see if they can find a solution. 4) If there is still no clear answer after steps 1), 2), and 3) are followed, we trust God that His Word is truth and that there is a solution that just simply has not been realized yet (2 Timothy 2:15, 3:16-17)
Answer: Ultimately, above the human authors, the Bible was written by God. Second Timothy 3:16tells us that the Bible was “breathed out” by God. God superintended the human authors of the Bible so that, while using their own writing styles and personalities, they still recorded exactly what God intended. The Bible was not dictated by God, but it was perfectly guided and entirely inspired by Him.
Humanly speaking, the Bible was written by approximately 40 men of diverse backgrounds over the course of 1500 years. Isaiah was a prophet, Ezra was a priest, Matthew was a tax-collector, John was a fisherman, Paul was a tentmaker, Moses was a shepherd, Luke was a physician. Despite being penned by different authors over 15 centuries, the Bible does not contradict itself and does not contain any errors. The authors all present different perspectives, but they all proclaim the same one true God, and the same one way of salvation—Jesus Christ (John 14:6; Acts 4:12). Few of the books of the Bible specifically name their author. Here are the books of the Bible along with the name of who is most assumed by biblical scholars to be the author, along with the approximate date of authorship:
Joshua = Joshua - 1350 B.C.
Judges, Ruth, 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel = Samuel/Nathan/Gad - 1000 - 900 B.C.
1 Kings, 2 Kings = Jeremiah - 600 B.C.
1 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah = Ezra - 450 B.C.
Esther = Mordecai - 400 B.C.
Job = Moses - 1400 B.C.
Psalms = several different authors, mostly David - 1000 - 400 B.C.
Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon = Solomon - 900 B.C.
Isaiah = Isaiah - 700 B.C.
Jeremiah, Lamentations = Jeremiah - 600 B.C.
Ezekiel = Ezekiel - 550 B.C.
Daniel = Daniel - 550 B.C.
Hosea = Hosea - 750 B.C.
Joel = Joel - 850 B.C.
Amos = Amos - 750 B.C.
Obadiah = Obadiah - 600 B.C.
Jonah = Jonah - 700 B.C.
Micah = Micah - 700 B.C.
Nahum = Nahum - 650 B.C.
Habakkuk = Habakkuk - 600 B.C.
Zephaniah = Zephaniah - 650 B.C.
Haggai = Haggai - 520 B.C.
Zechariah = Zechariah - 500 B.C.
Malachi = Malachi - 430 B.C.
Matthew = Matthew - A.D. 55
Mark = John Mark - A.D. 50
Luke = Luke - A.D. 60
John = John - A.D. 90
Acts = Luke - A.D. 65
Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon = Paul - A.D. 50-70
Hebrews = unknown, mostly likely Paul, Luke, Barnabas, or Apollos - A.D. 65
James = James - A.D. 45
1 Peter, 2 Peter = Peter - A.D. 60
1 John, 2 John, 3 John = John - A.D. 90
Jude = Jude - A.D. 60
Revelation = John - A.D. 90
The Bible would be less than trustworthy if its message wasn't consistent. The miraculous fact about the Bible is that it has one theme from beginning to end - the glory of God through His Son, Jesus Christ.
When I think about the phenomenal unity of the Bible, as it demonstrates itself at every level of scrutiny, I enthusiastically agree with the following statement, which is said to have been found inside a Gideon's Bible:
This Book is the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners, and the happiness of believers. Its doctrines are holy, its precepts are binding; its histories are true, and its decisions are immutable. Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe, practice it to be holy. It contains light to direct you, food to support you, and comfort to cheer you.
The Bible presents a unified message, not a loose assortment of religious ideas. One amazing example of the Bible's unity is the comparison of the four Gospels - Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Each writer presents the life of Christ from a different angle: Matthew - Jesus as the king, Mark - Jesus as a servant, Luke - Jesus as the perfect man, John - Jesus as the Son of God
These writers describe the same events in the life of Jesus, and even though they emphasize the events in different ways, their accounts all match up.
The rest of the Bible shows the same unity, despite the fact that it consists of sixty-six books written by some forty different authors over a period of fifteen hundred years. The unity of Scripture is one of the clearest indications of its supernatural origin. Only the sovereign God of the universe could have superintended the writing of Scripture so that every line remains in total agreement. The Bible is unquestionably the book that God wrote!
Fulfilled Prophecy Are Evidence for the Bible's Divine Origin
Just A Few Examples of Non-Messianic Prophecies Fulfilled
Messianic Prophecies Fulfilled
Messiah to be the seed of the Woman
Messiah to be the seed of Abraham
Genesis 12:2-3, 18:18
Messiah to be of the tribe of Judah
Messiah to be of the seed of David
2 Samuel 7:16
Jeremiah 23:5, 33:15
Matthew 1:6, 22:42-45
Messiah to be born of a virgin
Messiah to be born in Bethlehem
Tribute paid to Messiah by great kings
Messiah to be heralded by a messenger
Messiah to be the Son of God
Messiah to be anointed by the Holy Spirit
Galilee to be the first area of Messiah's ministry
Messiah to be meek and mild
Isaiah 40:11, 42:2-3, 53:7
Matthew 12:18-20, 26:62-68
Messiah to minister to the Gentiles
Isaiah 42:1, 49:6-8
Messiah will perform miracles
Matthew 9:35, 11:3-6
Messiah to be a prophet like Moses
Matthew 21:11, 24:1-35
John 1:45, 6:14
Messiah to enter the temple with authority
Messiah will enter Jerusalem on a donkey
Messiah to be betrayed by a friend
Messiah to be forsaken by his disciples
Matthew 26:31, 56
Messiah will be smitten
Matthew 26:67, 27:26,30
Messiah to experience crucifixion (long before crucifixion was invented)
Messiah will be pierced
Details of Messiah's suffering and death and resulting salvation (hundreds of years before Christ!)
Messiah to die in 33 AD
33 AD is the widely accepted historical date of the crucifixion
Casting of lots for His garments
Messiah to be raised from the dead
Acts 2:25-31, 13:32-37, 17:2-3
Acts 2:30-31, 13:32-35, 17:2-3
1 Corinthians 15:20-22
Messiah to ascend to heaven
Messiah to be at the right hand of God
Messiah, the stone which the builders rejected, to become the head cornerstone
Isaiah 8:14-15, 28:16
1 Peter 2:6-8
Archaeology and the Old Testament
Archaeology and the New Testament
For centuries skeptics have claimed that the Bible is filled with historical errors. They have pointed to several biblical accounts, particularly in the Old Testament, where archaeology contradicted the Bible. So what has happened over the years? In many cases scientists have been proven to be inaccurate and the Bible has been shown to be trustworthy and reliable. Here are a few examples:
- Scientists stated that the Bible is historically inaccurate because they believed that King David was a fictional character. They said that the remains of Egyptian, Babylonian, and Assyrian cultures make no specific reference to him. But recently an Assyrian stone tablet dating from the ninth century B.C. has been found by a group of archaeologists in northern Israel. It shows an Aramaic inscription listing Assyria's enemies. Included in the list were the words "king of Israel" and "house of David."
- "Another king who was in doubt was Belshazzar, king of Babylon, named in Daniel 5. The last king of Babylon was Nabonidus according to recorded history. Tablets were found showing that Belshazzar was Nabonidus' son who served as coregent in Babylon. Thus, Belshazzar could offer to make Daniel 'third highest ruler in the kingdom' (Dan. 5:16) for reading the handwriting on the wall, the highest available position."
- Many centuries before Galileo (1564-1642) claimed that the earth was round, the Bible declared, "It is God who sits above the circle of the earth. The people below must seem to Him like grasshoppers" (Isaiah 40:22).
- Matthew Maury (1806-1873) is considered the father of oceanography. When he was bedridden during a serious illness, he asked his son to read to him from the Bible. While listening to Psalm 8:8 in the King James Version, Maury noticed the expression "paths of the seas." Upon his recovery, Maury went looking for these paths, and as a result, discovered the continental currents. Maury's book on oceanography is still considered a basic text on the subject and continues to be used in many universities.
- A Roman engineer named Marcus Vitruvius discovered the hydrologic water cycle in 30 B.C. Yet this truth was fully revealed to mankind in 1600 B.C. The Bible records, "The rivers run into the sea, but the sea is never full. Then the water returns again to the rivers and flows again to the sea" (Ecclesiastes 1:7).
- The earth's gravitational field is mentioned in Scripture: "God stretches the northern sky over empty space and hangs the earth on nothing" (Job 26:7).
Because science supports the claims of the Bible, it is no wonder that many of the world's great scientists were Christians who looked to Scripture as the foundation for their knowledge of the universe. Examples include Nicolaus Copernicus, Johannes Kepler, Galileo Galilei, Robert Boyle, George Washington Carver, Michael Faraday, Samuel Morse, Isaac Newton, Gregor Mendel, Albert Einstein, Louis Pasteur, and the Wright brothers.
Reliability of the New Testament as Historical Documents
Quotations from Early Church Fathers:
Primary Source Value
Reliability of the Old Testament
If you scan the books on your bookshelf, how many of them were written more than twenty-five years ago? How many were written a century ago? How many were written a millennium ago? Truthfully, most books written today have a marketability of only a few short years.
The Bible has a different track record. Perhaps the earliest book in the Bible is Job. Although Bible historians cannot be sure of the date of the writing of the book, they believe Job lived around the time of Abraham. Job's lifespan probably occurred around four thousand years ago.
What's amazing about this record is that the Bible has survived in spite of tremendous persecution through the years. Arthur W. Pink, a Bible historian, writes:
When we bear in mind the fact that the Bible has been the special object of never ending persecution the wonder of the Bible's survival is changed into a miracle. . . . For two thousand years man's hatred of the Bible has been persistent, determined, relentless, and murderous.
An interesting story about this persecution involves the Roman emperor Diocletian. In a royal edict proclaimed in A.D. 303, he demanded that every copy of the Bible be burned. Theologian Henry Thiessen describes the incredible results:
He had killed so many Christians and destroyed so many Bibles, that when the Christians remained silent for a season and kept in hiding, he thought that he had actually put an end to the Scriptures. He caused a medal to be struck with the inscription: "The Christian religion is destroyed and the worship of the [Roman] gods restored." But it was only a few years later that Constantine came to the throne and that he made Christianity the state religion. What would Diocletian say if he could return to earth and see how the Bible has gone on in its world mission?
Another aspect of the Bible's indestructibility is the fact that the Bible we read today is a translation from texts that have not changed in thousands of years. Before the printing press was invented, the text of the Bible was copied by hand. The scribes who did the copying received special training. Some dedicated their entire lives to this task. They were so careful about what they did that after four thousand years scholars can find only a handful of letter discrepancies between the earliest Hebrew manuscripts and today's Bibles. Through these scribes and other events, God has preserved His Word through the centuries.
One of the most important factors supporting the accuracy of the Old Testament is the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, which date from 200 B.C. to A.D. 68. In 1947 a Bedouin shepherd boy was traveling the northwest rim of the Dead Sea when he discovered a jar in a cave containing scrolls that had been hidden for nearly two thousand years. The termDead Sea Scrolls became the standard designation for the fragmentary manuscripts discovered in the limestone caves around the Dead Sea. To the astonishment of biblical archaeologists, all the books of the Bible except the book of Esther are represented in the collection. Comparison with Old Testament manuscripts of a thousand years later shows little or no variation between them.
Contained in the manuscripts was a copy of the oldest known Hebrew manuscript of the book of Isaiah. Strikingly, the document is extremely similar to the book of Isaiah found in today's Bibles.
Of the 166 words in Isaiah 53, there are only seventeen letters in question. Ten of these letters are simply a matter of spelling, which does not affect the sense. Four more letters are minor stylistic changes, such as conjunctions. The remaining three letters comprise the word, "light," which is added in verse 11, and does not affect the meaning greatly. Furthermore, this word is supported by the LXX and IQ Is (one of the Isaiah scrolls found in the Dead Sea caves). Thus, in one chapter of 166 words, there is only one word (three letters) in question after a thousand years of transmission - and this word does not significantly change the meaning of the passage.
Dr. Burrows concludes, "It is a matter of wonder that through something like a thousand years the text underwent so little alteration." The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls thoroughly discredits the charge that the original Old Testament has been lost because of numerous copies and translations. God certainly has protected His Word - for our benefit!
Taken from details given by Bob Mitchell:
There is a numerologiacl pattern throughout the bible that shows it is impossible to have been created by human minds.
Also the Hebrew words in the text can have deeper meaning.
For instance Genesis 5 the geneology of Adam to Noah. When you look at the meaning of each name it reads out the gospel message.
I am doing this from memory but basically Adam means "man" and so looking at the meaning of the names to Noah it reads:
Man / Appointed / Mortal sorrow /
Blessed God/ He who comes down/Is dedicated/ His death shall bring/ The despairing/ Rest and Comfort.
Also if you look at the genalogy of Jesus in Matthew....
#1. The number of words which are nouns is exactly 56, or 7 x 8.
#2. The Greek word "the" occurs most frequently in the passage: exactly 56 times, or 7 x 8.
#3. Also, the number of different forms in which the article "the" occurs is exactly 7.
#4. There are two main sections in the passage. In the first main section, the number of Greek vocabulary words used is 49, or 7 x 7.
#5. Of these 49 words, The number of those beginning with a vowel is 28, or 7 x 4.
#6. The number of words beginning with a consonant is 21, or 7 x 3.
#7. The total number of letters in these 49 words is exactly 266, or 7 x 38-exactly.
#8. The numbers of vowels among these 266 letters is 140, or 7 x 20.
#9. The number of consonants is 126, or 7 x 18-exactly.
#10. Of these 49 words, the number of words which occur more than once is 35, or 7 x 5.
#11. The number of words occurring only once is 14, or 7 x2.
#12. The number of words which occur in only one form is exactly 42, or 7 x 6.
#13. The number of words appearing in more than one form is also 7.
#14. The number of 49 Greek vocabulary words which are nouns is 42, or 7 x 6.
#15. The number of words which are not nouns is 7.
#16. Of the nouns, 35 are proper names, or 7 x 5.
#17. These 35 nouns are used 63 times, or 7 x 9.
#18. The number of male names is 28, or 7 x 4.
#19. These male names occur 56 times or 7 x 8.
#20. The number which are not male names is 7.
#21. Three women are mentioned-Tamar, Rahab, and Ruth. The number of Greek letters in these three names is 14, or 7 x 2.
#22. The number of compound nouns is 7.
#23. The number of Greek letters in these 7 nouns is 49, or 7 x 7.
#24. Only one city is named in this passage, Babylon, which in Greek contains exactly 7 letters.
The Testimony from Church History
We can also go to sources outside the biblical text to prove its reliability. In addition to the Bible's own claims, the early church fathers also supported the inerrancy of Scripture. The early church fathers are significant because many people consider them to be the successors to the original apostles of Jesus.
Clement of Rome (A.D. 30-96), the third bishop of Rome and close associate of the apostle Paul (see Philippians 4:3), believed that the Scriptures were given through the Holy Spirit. Saint Augustine (A.D. 354-430), considered to be one of the most outstanding theologians in all of church history, believed in the inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture. Saint Gregory the Great (A.D. 540-604), known for his great influence on shaping the doctrine, organization, and rules of discipline of the early church wrote: "Most superfluous it is to inquire who wrote these things. We loyally believe the Holy Ghost to be the Author of the Book. He wrote it Who dictated it for writing; He wrote it Who inspired its execution."
The testimony of Scripture and the testimony of biblical scholars throughout the centuries is clear: The Bible is indeed reliable. The Bible is true because God is truth and cannot lie (see John 7:28). As a result, His Word is truth (see John 17:17). Now let us see how science affirms the Bible's trustworthiness.
These are just some of the many facts contained in the Bible, facts now supported by some prominent scientists. But why should anyone be surprised that the book that is truth would contain truth on these and many other subjects? The Bible has been proven to be reliable. No one has proven otherwise. If the Bible is reliable, then its words are true.
When we let God's Word be the standard for our lives, we won't be swayed by the world's reasoning or our own feelings. We can always search for the right way to think and act.
That's why it is so vital to understand the central message of the Bible. We can believe that the Bible is reliable, but until we know what it says, its trustworthiness will do us no good. If we do not allow the Bible to center our viewpoint, we will wander off course in our lives.
One way we can allow the Bible to guide our lives is to hide the Word in our hearts. Whenever we get into a situation in which we are tempted to do wrong or we don't know quite what God would want us to do, the Holy Spirit can bring an appropriate memorized passage to our mind. Then we can let God's Word guide us in that situation. Or if we are in a crisis and need encouragement, help with fear, or strength of purpose, those verses we have learned will aid us.
The best way to remember scripture is by studying and meditating on the chapter, passage and verses thoroughly - not just reading it but allowing time to digest what it is saying. Ask yourself questions about the passage and search for the answers (some examples: who is speaking? who was it written to?, why is it being said?, how do I apply it to myself?), and then comparing scripture with scripture. Using a concordance (ie Bible word search, my link to "Bible Gateway" is a great source) will help you to compare scripture with scripture.
It is a certainty that when God speaks to you (personally and directly) through the Bible, you WILL remember those verses and what He said! This is what it means to hide God's Word in your heart. I encourage you to begin today and watch how God will start moving in your life.