Is The Bible True?
There are good reasons to trust the Bible. Both external and internal evidence support the statement that the Bible is "true and righteous altogether" - Psalm 19:9
No scientific fact has ever disproved the Bible in any way. Many people will say, "The Bible is not a scientific book, but is meant to provide a religious or spiritual view of the universe." The implication of that statement is that because the physical descriptions serve a religious intent, these descriptions cannot be expected to be absolutely accurate. Therefore, we are told not to trust the scientific details but only seek the moral or religious teaching. This line of thinking is wrong because it is illogical. How are we to decide which statements are true and which are not? If we cannot trust some statements in the Bible, then we cannot trust the moral or spiritual message it brings. The reason we could not trust the spiritual message is that we would not have a standard by which to know what things are accurate and relevant to our lives and what things are inaccurate and not to be taken seriously.
This line of thinking is wrong because it is a faithless insult to God Who is the author of the Bible. The accuracy of the accounts, people, and places in the Bible is a reflection of God's integrity, inasmuch as He presents statements which are to be taken at face value and which are a reflection of God's ability to keep the contents of the Bible accurate over the centuries. We cannot have too high a regard for the accurate description of the physical world as presented in the Bible because it reflects upon God Who wrote it.
An Example from Geography:
While the Bible does not intend to deliberately school its readers in scientific principles and data, any subject which it discusses about God's creation is accurate and true. As one case in point, we can turn to Job 26:7, where we read a modern description of the earth as it spins in empty space:
7 He stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing.
This was written about 3,000 years B.C. This description is in sharp contrast to the fantastic imaginary notions which the rest of the world taught or believed at that time. In support of Job 26:7, Isaiah 40:22 points out that God sits upon "the circle of the earth:"
22 It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in:
The earth would appear as a "circle" to all those who lived on it only if it were a sphere. Isaiah 40 matches the description in Job 26 and supports its accurate statement, which is what we can expect from the Bible. After all, who knows better than the Creator how the universe is designed and built?
An Example from Archaeology:
The oldest extant copies of the most famous Greek poems and essays are from 800 to 1,000
years newer than the original manuscripts. However, no scholar would accept an argument
that these Greek classics are unfaithful to the original and should be thrown away. In contrast to that, the oldest copies of many Old Testament books are only 200 years newer than the original. And the oldest copies of some New Testament books are dated only 50 to 80 years later than the original autographs. On the basis of that information, then, the Bible should be trusted at least as much as the Greek literature, which is so revered today.
Recent discoveries have validated the historical integrity of the Bible, causing many archaeologists, who have had a poor regard for the Bible, to turn from a bias against it to a scientific respect for it. For example, in Genesis 15:20 a people called the "Hittites" are
And the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Rephaims
For centuries, people laughed at the Bible for making up a whole group of people. But a few decades ago, the ruins of a city located in the country of Turkey, north of present-day Israel, was discovered which proved to be the ruins of a main Hittite city.
The Bible tells about things before they happen. The prophet Isaiah talks about the Persian king Cyrus (Isaiah 45:1), who would eventually restore the nation of Judah:
1 Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut;
Persia was a great kingdom, located in what is now the country of Iran. Isaiah wrote during the reign of the Judaean king Hezekiah, who died in 687 B.C., but Cyrus did not begin to reign as king of the Persian empire until after 600 B.C., more than 80 years after Isaiah left the scene. Only God could know the name of the man who would be the Persian king before he sat on the throne.
Many historical prophecies of Jesus Christ were given 1,000 years before His birth. Every
Old Testament book of the Bible refers clearly to Jesus. For example, notice the detail of Psalm 22, Isaiah 53, and Micah 5:2:
1 My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring? ...
1 6 For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have enclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet. ...
18 They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture. ...
1 Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?
2 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.
3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.
8 He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.
9 And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.
10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.
11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
2 But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah [foretelling where Jesus would be born], though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.
Faced with this historical evidence, we have only the following options. Either the Bible was written by Him for whom time is no barrier, or it is a joke, or it is a hoax in which people later scribbled in the prophecies to make the Bible look good, or it is an evil deception. The right choice is that the Bible alone is God's holy and true Word.
Evidence from Personal Experience:
Another source of external evidence is the personal experience of those who have been changed by the Bible. There are noticeable differences in the life of a person who has placed his trust in the Lord Jesus Christ and who walks according to His Word, the Bible. In other words, the Bible can do for believers what it claims it can do.
The Bible promises to remove the penalty of judgement and gives the assurance that there is no condemnation to all who trust what it says (John 5:24, Romans 8:1,16, I John 4:18):
24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. ...
16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
I John 4:
18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
The Bible promises that it can make a Christian clean inside (Psalm 119:9,11, John 15:3):
9 BETH. Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word. ...
11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.
3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.
The Bible promises freedom from slavery to sin as well as the wisdom and power to successfully overcome sin (John 8:34-36, Romans 6:18, Colossians 3:1-2). The Bible gives meaning and purpose to life, which motivate a Christian to serve his Lord (I Peter 2:9):
34 Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.
35 And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever.
36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.
18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.
1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.
2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
I Peter 2:
9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
All of these things are part of the experience of a believer. Believers experience a life which they never had before, a new life which is evidenced by the fact that they are no longer full of bitterness and regret about their past since they have read of God's forgiveness (Hebrews 10:16-17):
16 This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;
17 And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.
Believers experience a new life which is evidenced by the fact that they can sacrifice for others. Believers experience a new life which is evidenced by the fact that they can overcome their fears because they rest in the Lord rather than in a vain hope that somehow things will work out alright. A person who trusts in the Bible has the personal spiritual experience to know that the promises of the Bible are more than just poetry, they are real and testify to his heart that his trust in the Bible is not misplaced.
In addition to external evidence, there is Internal Evidence that gives us good reason to trust the Bible. In other words, there are facts inside of the Bible that demonstrate it is a reliable and trustworthy source of information.
The Bible's Testimony:
The Bible claims that it is from God. For example, in II Samuel 23:2 David, who wrote many of the psalms, stated that what he wrote came from God:
2 The Spirit of the LORD spake by me, and his word was in my tongue.
3 The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God.
Jeremiah stated the same thing (Jeremiah 1:4), as did the Apostle Paul (I Thessalonians 2:13):
4 Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
I Thessalonians 2:
13 For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.
Peter says Paul's writings are "scripture" (II Peter 3:16):
16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.
Jesus Himself makes many statements about the Bible's trustworthy character (Luke 16:17, 24:44, John 17:17). For example, Jesus routinely considered all Old Testament stories to be trustworthy accounts (Luke 11:51, 17:26-33):
Luke 16; & 24:
17 And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail.
And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.
17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
Luke 11 & 17:
51 From the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zacharias, which perished between the altar and the temple: verily I say unto you, It shall be required of this generation.
26 And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.
27 They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all.
28 Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded;
29 But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all.
30 Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.
31 In that day, he which shall be upon the housetop, and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back.
32 Remember Lot's wife.
33 Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it.
The Bible's Unity:
The Bible was written over a period of more than 1,500 years, from Moses' time (before 1400 B.C.) to the time of the Apostle John (about A.D. 100). The total number of human authors is at least forty. And yet, even though all these different men wrote at different times, the message they wrote is always the same, without any contradiction in any details. The reason is that God is the author, who used men to set down what He wanted to say. The human writers lived and died at different times, but the same God Who lives forever told each man what to write. For that reason, we are able to compare different parts of the Bible and find that they agree with, support, and clarify each other (I Corinthians 2:13):
13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
We can go to any part of the Bible and know it is consistently trustworthy.
The Bible's Contents:
The most amazing internal evidences of the Bible's trustworthiness are the subjects that it discusses. The contents of the Bible, the things it talks about, are things that the Bible could
say only if it were written by God. For example, the Bible states that Jesus claimed that He is God (John 10:30):
30 I and my Father are one.
31 Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him.
The Bible states that Jesus' apostles claimed that He is God (John 20:28):
28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.
The Bible states that the Father declared that He is God (Hebrews 1:8):
8 But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.
The conclusion of this testimony is that either the message of the Bible is an insane and evil deception, or the message is true and the Bible is the only book of its kind.
Another important example is that only the Bible talks about sin (I John 3:4):
4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.
No man has the courage to write the accurate assessment of humankind that is described in the Bible. The Bible presents a horrible picture. It offends us, and we are not happy to read it. This explains why we find it so hard to believe that the Bible is true. The problem is not with the evidence but rather with our hearts. Who wants to know that he is a miserable, rotten, no- good sinner? Who rejoices at being told that he is headed for hell, where he will suffer under the eternal wrath of God? Who welcomes the knowledge that there is no good in him at all and that he is in rebellion against the God Who made him?
Only God can be honest with us because only He knows the truth. Only God is willing to be honest with us as an expression of His love. Real love is not expressed by the words of people who try to make us feel good by means of vain flatteries, but leave us in our situation because they have no real hope to offer. Real love is expressed by the truth because it is the only thing that can help us. The Bible's honest word-portrait of humankind is not appealing. However, the Bible contains the words of a real Friend. God knows we are walking on the edge of a cliff ready to fall into hell. He tells us exactly what we need to know to avoid this peril. Even though the Bible is not going to show up on the list of the ten most popular books of the year, only the Bible can make and keep a promise such as "Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light" (Matthew 11:28-30).
The Bible's Message:
There is one final idea we must face when we consider whether the Bible can be trusted. Most people believe that there is a God. But if God is really God, then He speaks with absolute authority and we must submit to His Word. In other words, what we think about God's Word, and how we react to it, reflects what we think about God Himself. We cannot separate God and His Bible. We do not have to believe the Bible, but we must deal with the consequences. If people do not believe in the God of the Bible then they are going to act like it, for the bitter fruit of their selfish lives will come to harvest, as the Bible says it will. This is the most frightening evidence of all. In addition to that, they must deal with an angry God who pursues them beyond the grave and will force them to submit to His Word on Judgement Day, as the Bible predicts.
It is a good thing to ask if we can trust the Bible. The Bible is able to take our scrutiny and come through vindicated. James 1:5,6 states that we must never feel reluctant to ask God for the ability to trust in His Word and the wisdom needed to get the most out of the Bible:
5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
However, Bible study is a holy inquiry. Only if we approach the Bible humbly and with an open mind toward the truth, will we find the answers we need.
"Thy word is truth."