Many critics of Christianity attack the Bible’s truthfulness. Many don’t believe it because they say it was written by man. Is the Bible really God speaking to man? Is the Bible of human origin or a direct revelation from God?
The word Bible is from the root word “biblios” which is Greek for “little books.“ The Bible contains 66 books and was written by 40 authors. The books you see in most Bibles have been tried and tested and were generally accepted by the early church. For centuries the Bible was not available to the general public due to their being only hand-copied ones available. The Bible has been banned from many nations, it has been burned by others, it has been declared out of date by moderns, but it has brought salvation to untold millions. It is the unbridled truth and the unchangeable Word of God that changes those who read it. When people read it, it reads them too! It comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable. What follows is conclusive evidence that we can believe that the Bible is God speaking to us and not just the words of men.
Thus Says the Lord or Thus Says Man?
If the Bible were indeed a work of man, then we would expect some of the words to say, “thus says the prophet Jeremiah” or “thus says Peter an Apostle of God” but it doesn’t. From what I could count, “Thus says the Lord” is recorded 418 times. If it were of human origin, then we would read somewhere that the Bible or the message came from a certain author but we never see that anywhere. On the contrary, we read over 1,000 times where “Jesus said” and “Thus says the Lord” were written down. In fact, even the Book of Revelation is not called John’s Book of Revelation at all. In Revelation 1:1-2 we see where the words of this book came from: “The revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John.” So John was just the recipient of the book as he just wrote down what he was told. Paul said, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (2 Tim 3:16). Paul clearly said that all Scripture is God-breathed…not just the New Testament or the Old Testament, but all Scripture. Peter reiterates it by writing, “For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Pet 1:21). Peter would tell you that “you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation” (2 Pet 1:20).
God gives a very serious warning to anyone who takes away or adds to any of the words in the Bible, indicating that only He gives the words of this book and no human had better tamper with it. In Revelation 22:19 God warns that if anyone adds to or takes away any of the words of the Bible, He “…shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city (heaven or the new Jerusalem)”. This same warning is given in the Old Testament in Deuteronomy 4:2.
Alleged Errors in Transcribing
When the Word of God was reproduced to make another copy, well before the printing press was invented, there were 70 scribes that worked on it with expert precision second to none. Imagine that each of the scribes had the other sixty-nine scribes check their writings for error. Each of these seventy scribes reviewed each other’s work and every written copy, letter by letter, line by line, book by book were examined meticulously. If any errors were found, the started all over again on that particular book or page. Imagine you’re one of the scribes and you have just finished a section. Now the other sixty-nine scribes check your work and compare it to the original. The amazing fact is that their methods resulted in such an accurate reproduction of scripture that only one error for every fifteen hundred words occurred and these errors were so slight that they never affected the content. This copying left absolutely no room for any private interpretation or mistranslation at all. By modern standards, the accuracy rate is superior to that of Microsoft’s Spelling and Grammar Check, which by the way is not perfect. When you consider the stringent guidelines and conditions, no one can dispute that the translation differences had any negative effect on the message of the Bible or its general context.
New Testament manuscripts have been preserved by the thousands and the fact is that no other ancient works in human history have such enormous documented and recorded histories as does the Bible. There are about 6,000 complete or fragmented Greek manuscripts, 10,000 Latin manuscripts and over 9,000 manuscripts in various other ancient languages. The dates of these manuscripts range from the 2nd century up to the invention of the printing press in the 15th century. Nearly ever year there are more New Testament manuscripts discovered that were handwritten in the original Greek format which continues to add to the enormous collection already on hand. In 2008, 47 new Greek manuscripts were discovered in Albania. Of these, 17 of them were unknown to Western scholars.
The fact is that the amount of manuscript evidence is astounding. There are over 25,000 New Testament manuscripts of which 5,000 of these date from the first century. What that translates into for Historians is what is called a primary source. A primary source is a source that comes from eye witnesses. The nearly 6,000 Dead Sea Scrolls are so close in agreement, contextually, that there is only 0.01% in differences and the main differences are only in the differentiation of vowels. In no way do these miniscule differences affect the text or the context.
One of the greatest supportive facts is that the evidence verifies the dating of Matthew’s Gospel as far back as A.D. 60. Scholars argue that Mark wrote the first Gospel. This places the composition of Mark to within 20 years of the events that took place and were recorded in his Gospel. With the evidence that the synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) and Luke’s second volume, Acts, were written so close to the time of the crucifixion, the record of the events of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection makes these facts indisputable. Luke and Acts was originally one book but was later separated into two books for the reader’s convenience but the content never changed. The fact that they were written within the lifetimes of those who were eyewitnesses is evidence strong enough to hold up in a court of law. Since the Old and New Testament manuscripts have been preserved by the thousands and there are no other ancient works in human history to compare to it, what we have today in the Bible is as a reliable source as any current historical account or newspaper printed today. The Bible is the Word of God, as men were moved by the Holy Spirit to write it. It is God speaking to us and it is without error and full of truth.
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