And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”Revelation 21:5
In Part 1 (read that here) I concluded with some evidence as to the reliability of the Bible.
Here’s a chart that shows just how much evidence there is of the ancient Biblical texts. As you read through this chart, ponder also how many of the other ancient writers are questioned half as much as the Bible is by critics.
|Manuscript Evidence for Ancient Writings|
|Author||Written||Earliest Copy||Time Span||# Mss.|
|Caesar||100-44 B.C.||900 A.D.||1,000 yrs||10|
|Plato||427-347 B.C.||900 A.D.||1,200 yrs||7|
|Thucydides||460-400 B.C.||900 A.D.||1,300 yrs||8|
|Tacitus||100 A.D.||1100 A.D.||1,000 yrs||20|
|Suetonius||75-160 A.D.||950 A.D.||800 yrs||8|
|Homer (Iliad)||900 B.C.||400 B.C.||500 yrs||643|
|New Testament||40-100 A.D.||125 A.D.||25-50 yrs||24,000|
While this doesn’t prove anything other than there is much more evidence of the New Testament than the other ancient manuscripts on the list, it does speak to the criticism that there is no evidence of the authenticity of the New Testament.
Is the Bible Reliable?
So, the evidence points to the Bible being authentic. But our question is, “Is the Bible reliable?” That question is important to answer, especially for Jews and Christians, who hinge their faith squarely on the words of the Bible.
Therefore, if the Bible is not reliable, the implications for these faiths are significant.
On the other hand, if the Bible is a reliable record of historical events (not to mention theological principles), then the entire world must consider God’s plan as recorded in it.
The Christian faith is absolutely dependent on the Bible being reliable and truly God’s Word.
The Necessity of Reliability
While we can see evidence of God in the universe – the twinkling stars, a majestic waterfall, the beauty of a flower – there is no place we can learn of Jesus Christ and what he has done for us other than the Bible.
While many books today talk about the birth, life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ, the first one to reveal this as God’s plan was the Bible.
In other words, without the Bible, we would have sketchy evidence of Jesus, at best. For more on this, read “Is Jesus Really God?” here.
The Bible not only tells us that Jesus lived and died and rose again from the dead. It also tells us why Jesus lived and died and rose again from the dead.
God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).
The Effects of the Bible in People’s Lives
Historians and other leaders of the First Century AD report the effect of Jesus’ death and resurrection on people.
The Apostles of Jesus proclaimed his death and resurrection and thousands upon thousands believed their testimony.
So much so that the believers of Jesus were persecuted and killed. In fact, even when given the option of denying Jesus Christ and living, nearly all the persecuted Christians chose to die instead of deny.
After the first generation of Christians, the succeeding generations only had the written proclamation.
The first generation of Christians could hear from the Apostles themselves, or those who heard the Apostles.
But starting in the late 1st Century AD, the number of those who saw Jesus or knew someone who saw Jesus dwindled until they reached zero by the first quarter of the 2nd Century AD.
By then, however, the Epistles and Gospels had been written and copied and distributed throughout the known world.
The number of believers continued to grow and still continues to grow today twenty-one centuries later.
All due to the Holy Spirit using the proclamation of the Word of God.
The Word of God for You
The Bible is not just a book, it is the Word of God. It is living and active. Also, it is a means of grace. It is through the Bible that God “freely gives his gifts and blessings, chiefly the forgiveness of sins” (Luther’s Small Catechism Explanation, ©2017 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, p 78-9).
This is why the answer to the question, “Is the Bible reliable” is so important! The answer, “Yes!” changes everything! It changes the world. It changes your heart.
The Word of God conveys God’s love to you!
Blessed Lord, You have caused all Holy Scriptures to be written for our learning. Grant that we may so hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them that, by patience and comfort of Your holy Word, we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
© 2019 True Men Ministries