The Bible is utterly trustworthy.
Tomorrow we are starting again! A chapter a day, Genesis through Revelation! At 1,189 chapters in the Bible, and approximately 260 weekdays a year, it will take us about four years to read through it all. There is no rush; the name of this blog is DWELLING for a reason! We want to move patiently through God’s Word, all the while thinking, marinating, meditating. We want the Word to change us, transform us, renew us.
So before we begin, let’s commit to look at the Bible with fresh eyes and to hear it with fresh ears. As the Psalmist says in Psalm 119:18 (NIV), “Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.” For the next many months, our textbook will be the Bible, but we do not take it just on blind faith. There are many good reasons to believe that the Bible is reliable.
1. IT SAYS SO.
We couldn’t be more sure of what we saw and heard—God’s glory, God’s voice. The prophetic Word was confirmed to us. You’ll do well to keep focusing on it. It’s the one light you have in a dark time as you wait for daybreak and the rising of the Morning Star in your hearts. The main thing to keep in mind here is that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of private opinion. And why? Because it’s not something concocted in the human heart. Prophecy resulted when the Holy Spirit prompted men and women to speak God’s Word.
–2 Peter 1: 19-21 (Message)
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
–John 1: 1 (NRSV)
2. JESUS SAYS SO.
Jesus quoted Old Testament Scripture all the time. He believed it to be true. He quoted well over a dozen OT books, in his public and private words, including some of his words from the cross. Since Jesus quoted Psalms, Deuteronomy, Exodus, and Isaiah a great deal, it seems that it would probably be a good idea for us to know them better, too.
Mark 12:26 (NIV)
Now about the dead rising–have you not read in the Book of Moses, in the account of the burning bush, how God said to him, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’?
3. MANUSCRIPT EVIDENCE SAYS SO.
Romans 11: 13-22 and Colossians 1: 5-12, (P46)
Original writings, called autographs, were probably written on papyrus scrolls. When these original autographs were copied, it was on to dried animal skin scrolls. Copies were made under the strictest measures; often one error meant the copy was destroyed. The accuracy of the copies is confirmed by the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Bible, made c. 250 – 150 B.C. during the Greek Empire).
For example, look at the picture above. The Chester Beatty papyrus codex of the Pauline Epistles (P46) is the earliest book of Saint Paul’s letters in existence. It contains some of Paul’s letters to the early Christian communities in Asia Minor. The pages were numbered in the upper margin, and enough page numbers have been preserved to establish the original formation of the volume. The entire codex would have consisted of 100 to 104 leaves, of which only 86 survive, 55 in The Chester Beatty Library in Dublin and 30 in the library of the University of Michigan.
4. MORE MANUSCRIPT EVIDENCE SAYS SO.
The Dead Sea Scrolls also confirm the reliability of Scripture. Over 800 documents were discovered in eleven caves on the northwest shore of the Dead Sea between 1947 and 1956. Fragments of every book of the Old Testament have been discovered, except the book of Esther. Included in the scrolls are 29 copies of Deuteronomy and 30 copies of the Psalms. The Isaiah Scroll, found relatively intact, is 1000 years older than any previously known copy of Isaiah. The Dead Sea Scrolls are the oldest collection of Old Testament scrolls ever found. In fact, they include some of the only known surviving copies of Biblical documents made before 100 AD.
The scrolls are for the most part written in Hebrew, but there are many written in Aramaic. Aramaic was the common language of the Jews of Palestine for the last two centuries B.C. and the first two centuries A.D. The discovery of the scrolls has greatly enhanced scholarly knowledge of these two languages.
5. EVEN MORE MANUSCRIPT EVIDENCE SAYS SO.
Here are a couple more interesting facts that support our belief in the veracity of the Bible.
There exist today more than 5000 ancient copies of the New Testament. No other document of antiquity even comes close to such numbers. In comparison, Homer’s Iliad is second, with only 643 manuscripts that still survive.
The chronology of these manuscripts is another interesting issue. The earliest copies of Homer we have were written 400 years after Homer. But the earliest complete NT Scriptures we have are only 225 years after Christ – with fragments as early as 50 – 100 years later.
Of course, the closer to the actual events, the more likely real witnesses were there to confirm what was written. These facts provide a remarkable basis for the integrity of the Bible.
6. PROPHECY SAYS SO.
Over and over, Jesus pointed to OT prophecy to back up his claims to be the Messiah. In the OT there are 60-some major messianic prophecies and approximately 270 ramifications. These include references to various ancestors, the location of his birth, his working of miracles, his telling of parables, his death, burial, and resurrection – that were all fulfilled in one person, Jesus Christ. As we read through the 39 OT books, we will be paying close attention to passages that point us to Jesus.
Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.”
–Luke 24: 44 (ESV)
7. CHANGED LIVES SAY SO.
Alistair Begg, pastor at Parkside Church in Cleveland, Ohio, says this about understanding the Bible:
“In the Old Testament Jesus is predicted,
in the Gospels Jesus is revealed,
in the Acts of the apostles Jesus is preached,
in the Epistles, Jesus is explained,
and in the Book of Revelation Jesus is expected.”
And as we see Jesus more clearly and love him more deeply, we, too, are witnesses to the truth of Holy Scriptures. After all, the most convincing argument for Christianity is a genuine Christian! We believe that the Word of God is true, teaching us that God is our Father and Creator, Jesus is our Savior, and the Holy Spirit is our Guide. We have Christ in our hearts and in our lives, and we will show the world a peace and a joy that simply seem impossible to them. Sins forgiven, hope abounding, love unfailing – these gifts of God will transform lives!
HERE is “Word of God, Speak” by MercyMe.
Show me Yourself within Your Word, O Lord, and show me my Savior.
DWELLING in Jesus with you,