Reasons to trust the Bible

Reasons to trust the Bible

Grand claims

The Bible makes grand claims about its divine authorship and reliability.  Some would say that any book can claim to be of divine authorship, containing infallible truth, but of course such claims will only be credible if there is evidence within it to support them.

In the case of the Bible there is substantial proof in a number of different forms, and therefore good reason to trust it.  We can briefly outline these proofs under a few headings:

Harmony within its message

The Bible is a ‘book of books’ of great variety, including books of history, law, poetry, prophecy, acts, letters, symbol, and of course the gospel accounts, amounting to a compilation of writings by 40 different men (from shepherds to doctors), written down over a period of about 1500 years (from Moses to the 1st century apostles).  It was originally written in 2 different languages; the 39 books of the Old Testament were originally written in Hebrew and the 27 books of the New Testament were originally in Greek.  Despite this, these ‘separate’ writings have all been preserved, translated and collated into one book, a book with one consistent and harmonious message with many levels and depths of meaning to it.  The harmony of the Bible is something that can only really be understood by personal experience – when seen and appreciated for oneself.  Jesus the saviour is the underlying theme from start to finish, seen in every book ‘in shadow’ at least. 

There is no human explanation for such a book.  No human mind could have planned or executed such a book - It must be the work of an all powerful, infallible, everlasting God.

Archaeological evidence

The archaeological evidence to support the Biblical account as an historical and factual account is overwhelming.  There are many books that have been written on the subject, detailing different excavations, artifacts and inscriptions that have been unearthed which corroborate the Bible account – too many to even attempt to mention them in this short article.  It will suffice for now to quote from the author of the book ‘The Bible as History – Archaeology confirms the Book of Books’.  The author in question (Werner Keller) is a self confessed ‘non-theologian’, a journalist by trade.  However, in 1950 during the course of his ordinary routine work he came across some reports of Biblical excavations at Mari and Ugarit where cuneiform tablets had been discovered containing Biblical names, and it was this he says that awakened a desire to come to grips with Biblical archaeology.   The result was that he produced a book detailing many archaeological discoveries, the significance of which he said made it necessary for him to revise his views about the Bible.  Many events which he had previously passed off as pious tales he now judged to be historical.

The following is a short quotation from the conclusion of Werner Keller’s book:

“Often the results of investigation correspond in detail with the Biblical narratives.  They do not only confirm them, but also illuminate the historical situations out of which the Old Testament and the gospels grew… “Nevertheless the events themselves are historical facts and have been recorded with an accuracy that is nothing less than startling… In view of the overwhelming mass of authentic and well attested evidence now available, as I thought of the sceptical criticism which from the eighteenth century onwards would fain have demolished the Bible altogether, there kept hammering on my brain this one sentence: ‘The Bible is right after all!’”

Prophetic evidence

The proof of the Bible that probably carries the greatest weight of evidence is that of prophecy and there are many prophecies to be found in its pages. 

Some already fulfilled, some being fulfilled as we speak and some still to be fulfilled in the future.  The important thing to remember about Bible prophecy is how old it is, that is, how long ago the prophecy or prediction was made.  The Old Testament (where most prophecies are found) is 3500 to 2500 years old!

God actually points us in the direction of prophecy as the evidence for reliance on His word as the truth.  God tells us how we can test His claims that He is the one, everlasting, almighty God. 

“But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel… Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me… I have declared, and have saved, and I have shewed, when there was no strange god among you: therefore ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, that I am God.” Isaiah 43:1, 10, 12

God has told us through these words written down by the prophet Isaiah, that there is a nation who are ‘witnesses’, (living evidence or proof) that he is the almighty God.  That nation is Israel – as verse 1 indicates above.  How are they witnesses?  God tells us in verse 12 that “I have declared and have saved”.

The Bible’s claim can be tested by investigating internally what God has declared concerning his people Israel.  It is quite a simple prophecy to follow, being in 2 parts. The way that the Jews have become witnesses of God is by the fact that God has scattered them throughout the earth (part 1) and then brought them back to their land again (part 2) over the course of some 2000 years.

Part 1

God foretold the scattering of Israel 3500 years ago in the days of Moses (see Deuteronomy 28:15, 25, 64-66).  He promised Israel that for their disobedience to him they would be smitten, scattered and have no ease, living in fear.

This was accurately fulfilled about 1500 years after the prophecy was made.  In AD70 the city of Jerusalem was besieged and taken by the Romans and eventually completely destroyed. The total destruction of the city was foretold through the prophet Micah.

"Therefore shall Zion for your sake be plowed as a field, and Jerusalem shall become heaps, and the mountain of the house as the high places of the forest." Micah 3:12

The land was indeed "ploughed as a field" and a coin was minted showing a ploughing motif and was intended to commemorate the founding of the pagan Roman city called Aelia Capitolina on the site of Jerusalem which was to be built after the city was ploughed. 

In AD135 an edict was passed (The Edict of Hadrian) which expelled the Jews from the city of Jerusalem completely, forbidding their return.

This situation continued for centuries.  Evidence of this lies in the fact during the ‘holocaust’ (World War 2) huge numbers of Jews were persecuted and killed throughout Europe - not in Israel because they were now dispersed throughout the world.  They did, as prophesied, find no ease in these countries but were despised, living in fear for their lives.

Part 2

Remarkable as the fulfilled prophecies of Israel’s scattering are, this is only half the story.  God also foretold through Moses 3500 years ago that he would one day gather the Jews into the land of Israel again (see Leviticus 26:44-45, Jeremiah 30:3, Jeremiah 31:10 and Ezekiel 36:24).

This has also been (and still is being) accurately fulfilled.  In 1856 the Edict of Hadrian was cancelled at which time there were only about 500 Jews in land of Israel. By 1948 (when the state of Israel was declared) there were 750,000 Jews in Israel.  Latest statistics state that there are now over 6 ½ million Jews in the land of Israel!

We have, therefore, clear evidence of Bible prophecy made 3500 years ago, being accurately fulfilled in our own lifetime!

A sure word of prophecy

In the light of all this evidence of the Bible’s truth (and there is so much more we could add), we conclude that the Bible is completely trustworthy.  The apostles said as much in their day.  For instance, the apostle Peter, writing in the second of his epistles, said of the scriptures:

“We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed...” 2 Peter 1:19

The Bible contains many sure words of prophecy.  Because they are the words of an infallible, all powerful and ultimately reliable God, they are completely trustworthy and we do well to take notice of them.