How do I Know the Bible is True?
Have you tried to answer why you believe the Bible is true but did not know where to start? Perhaps someone has questions about the validity of the story of creation but doesn’t believe the Bible is a reliable record. Could you share with them why you believe the biblical account of creation is true?
Hank Hanegraaf (1) of the Christian Research Institute shares some basic information about Biblical reliability using the acronym MAPS. For our purposes, we will look at the first three letters of his acronym:
M – Manuscripts
One of the problems we have regarding reliability of the bible is that we don’t have the original documents penned by the apostles and prophets. So, is the current copy we have reliable? We have stronger support for the reliability of the bible than any work of classical literature – including Homer, Tacitus or Aristotle. We have more than 14,000 manuscripts and fragments of the Old Testament. Incidentally, Jesus referenced almost every book of the Old Testament and validated its historical reliability. We have over 5,300 manuscripts or portions of the (Greek) New Testament. The time between the original composition and our earliest copies is only about 60 years. Manuscript evidence confirms the reliability of the Bible we have today.
A – Archaeology
Over and over again, the field of archaeology confirms the biblical record. Some examples:
- For years critics dismissed the Book of Daniel partly because there was no evidence that a king named Belshazzar ruled in Babylon during that time period. However, later archaeological research confirmed that the reigning monarch, Nabonidus, appointed Belshazzar as his co-regent whi1e he was away from Babylon.
- One of the most well-known New Testament examples concerns the Books of Luke and Acts. A biblical skeptic, Sir WilliamRamsay, trained as an archaeologist and then set out to disprove the historical reliability of this portion of the New Testament. However, through his painstaking Mediterranean archaeological trips, he became converted as — one after another —the historical statements of Luke were proved accurate. Archaeological evidence confirms the trustworthiness of the Bible.
P – Prophecy
The Bible has predictions of events, called prophecies, that could not be predicted by chance or common sense. Many of the prophecies are about Jesus Christ. The bible predicts His descent from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Gen. 12:3; 17:19; Num. 24:21-24); His birth in Bethlehem (Mic. 5:2); His crucifixion with criminals (Isa. 53:12); the piercing of His hands and feet at the crucifixion(Ps. 22:16); the soldiers’ gambling for His clothes (Ps. 22:18); the piercing of His side and the fact that His bones were not broken at His death (Zech. 12:10; Ps. 34:20); and His burial among the rich (Isa. 53:9). Jesus also predicted His own death and resurrection (John 2:19-22).
Josh McDowell shares an interesting analogy about the likelihood of the more than 300 prophecies of Christ’s first coming all happening by random chance: Take a quarter and paint it red. Fill the state of Texas with quarters one foot high then drop that red quarter in. Mix the quarters all up and blindfolded, with one draw, remove the red quarter. That is the same odds you have of all the prophecies of Jesus’ first coming being fulfilled. Hank Hanegraaf adds that surprisingly, the predictive nature of the Bible was once used by liberals to argue against the reliability of the Bible. Critics argues that the prophecies were fulfilled too accurately to have been given in advance so they must have been written after the events happened then editors dressed them up to look like they were predicted before the events occurred. The many predictions of Christ’s birth, life and death, however are indisputably dated more than 100 years before the birth of Christ by the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Prophecy shows us that there is a supernatural fingerprint to the Bible that in unexplainable in human terms.
So, if the Bible is reliable, what does this mean for me? 2 Timothy 3:16 says: “ All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.”
For further reading or more information:
The Christian Research Institute at www.equip.org
Answers in Genesis: How do I know the Bible is True? www.answersingenesis.org/articles/2011/03/22/bible-is-true
Focus on the Family: How Do I Know The Bible Is True? http://www.focusonthefamily.com/faith/the_study_of_god/how_do_we_know_the_bible_is_true.aspxt
(1) MAPS to Guide You Through Biblical Reliability by Hank Hanegraaf. http://www.equip.org/PDF/DB011.pdf
If you said “YES” to question #20, then here is a suggested action plan for what to do next:
- Write the name down of someone you would like to see come to know Jesus.
- Begin praying for that person everyday.
- Introduce yourself and/or begin building a friendship with that person.
- Ask God to reveal a need in their life to you that He wants to address.
- Raise the flag – as God reveals a need, ask the person if you can pray for them about that need.
- Serve them – meet their need if you can. By serving, you earn the right to be heard.
- Share – pray for an opportunity to share your testimony and/or share the good news with them. Or, you can invite them to Serve INC, to church, or to an event where the gospel is presented.