Can We Trust the Bible?

A quick trip to Google or Reddit will reveal all sorts of claims from skeptics and atheists about the Bible, Jesus, and God. The world is filled with fake news. The moment we hear an assertion by a college professor or a claim on a YouTube video, we assume it’s true. I used to believe the Bible was a made-up story about Jesus, but now I believe the Bible is a divinely inspired compilation of books about God’s love for you and me.

It’s good to question what we believe. It’s good to fact-check what we hear. A good student doesn’t just listen to one side of the argument. Time and again, the truth about Jesus found in the Bible has held up to thousands of years of scrutiny. Just on the historical and scientific evidence alone, it’s reasonable to believe in Jesus and what He’s done. You may be wondering, But hasn’t the Bible been changed or proven false? Isn’t the Bible filled with errors or contradictions? Is it really historically reliable, or is it outdated and irrelevant?

The resurrection is the basis and foundation of our faith, not the Bible. Now don’t get me wrong. I believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God. But our faith rests on the event of the resurrection of Christ, not on merely what the Bible says. See the difference? This actually means that we can disagree on certain things in the Bible and still be friends and you can still be a Christian.

This isn’t a full and detailed argument about the reliability of the Bible; that has already been made by many others. However, I want to show you why the four writers who wrote the most about Jesus can be trusted, and then reveal what Jesus said about the rest of the Bible. Ultimately, my goal is to help you realize that we can trust what the Bible says.

You Can Trust the Bible.

The New Testament was written as early as fifteen years after the ascension of Jesus. The four Gospels, which primarily tell about the life of Jesus, were written twenty to fifty years after the ascension. The reason this is important to note is because they were written during the lifetimes of those who knew and/or witnessed Jesus. This means the writers couldn’t have made up what they said, because they would have been easily discredited by those who actually saw the events take place.

A renowned non-Christian archaeologist, Nelson Glueck, said, “No archeological discovery has ever contradicted a biblical reference.” This is why the majority of scholars and historians—both atheist and Christian— conclude that the New Testament, and specifically the Gospels, are the most reliable and credible documents from the ancient past.

For example, Luke wrote the Gospel of Luke and the book of Acts and records thirty-two countries, fifty-four cities, and nine islands without a single mistake. Furthermore, there are over eighty-four confirmed historical and archaeological facts in the book of Acts, which is why most historians say that Luke is one of the best (if not the best) historians in his time.

If Luke and the other Gospel writers were so accurate with their history, then perhaps they were also accurate with what they said about Jesus. So we don’t believe in the Bible because some religious person told us to. We can trust in what the Bible says about God because the Bible has proven to be true by the historical and archeological evidence.

Most ancient documents that are considered trustworthy and historical have less than twelve manuscript copies and those copies were written 400 to 1,500 years after the original was written. The New Testament has over 5,600 handwritten manuscript copies that were written within just 25 years of the original. Those are just the ones in Greek. There are over 25,000 manuscript copies of portions of the New Testament in existence today written in different languages. The next closest work is The Iliad by Homer, with 643 manuscripts.

For example, there are two surviving biographies of Alexander the Great that are viewed as historical and accurate, and they were written 400 years after Alexander died. The New Testament has portions written 25 years after the original. Copies of most of the New Testament exist today that were written just 150 years after the original.

Homer’s Iliad was copied with a 95 percent accuracy. By comparison, it is estimated the New Testament is about 99.5 percent accurate. Yes, there are variations in the manuscripts. Some have estimated over 200,000 variations. But 75 percent of the variants are spelling differences like John may be spelled with one n or with two. Clearly, this doesn’t jeopardize the meaning of a text. The others have to do with synonyms and the fact that some manuscripts call Jesus by His proper name or by “Lord” or “He.” But there are zero, zilch, nada variants that affect a core Christian belief.

So contrary to the atheist on YouTube, the Bible hasn’t changed or been proven false. Instead, history and archaeology and the thousands of copies reveal that we can trust what we read.
The Bible is a collection of sixty-six books written in multiple languages over 1,500 years by about forty different authors. It is inspired by God. How can we know it’s inspired by God and trustworthy? The fact that forty different authors, in many different genres over 1,550 years, all pointing harmoniously to Jesus, would be impossible to duplicate.

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