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Can we trust
the Bible?

Christ is the Word of God in person. The Bible is the Word of God in writing. Both are the Word of God in the words of men. Both have a human nature and a divine nature.

- Peter Kreeft

For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.
Hebrews 4:12

Did the apostles write down what they saw.... or only what they believed they saw?

How can we be sure they weren't motivated to lie and start the biggest conspiracy in history?

And even if their accounts were trustworthy - how can we be sure that their writings haven't been altered throughout the centuries?

What about the lost/secret/missing/omitted books?

Hasn't the Bible been translated from Aramaic Hebrew and Greek? How do you know the message didn't get lost in translation?!

 

Didn't a bunch of random dudes decide which books to include or exclude and call it a day?

In other words.. how can we trust the Bible?

HOLOGRAPHIC NATURE

 

A great analogy for the Bible is that of a hologram. Even if you were to cut pieces out - every piece contains the whole. God has created a 'divine failsafe', if you will, that protects against twisting words, incorrect translations, as well as missing and/or adding books. The more or smaller pieces you cut off a hologram, the less sharp the image becomes, but, the image is always there.

 

The core doctrines (teachings) of the Scriptures are therefor incorruptible; they run like a thread throughout the entire Bible as a meta-narrative, as well as are present, 'hiding in plain sight' if you will, in the details of every book, virtually on every page of the Bible. No matter how much you 'zoom in' or 'zoom out'; God's plan is everywhere.

 

You could rip out entire books of the Bible, and not lose a single core tenet of God's plan of salvation. In fact, every core doctrine - the fall from grace, the coming Messiah, the necessity of a sacrifice to atone for sin, and the final destination of believers vs unbelievers, is present in some form or another in every single book of the Bible.

 

The other remarkable thing about a hologram, is that you need the correct light to see it. In the case of the Bible, this light is the Holy Spirit. Without the Holy Spirit, one cannot 'see' the correct image, no matter how many decades of study one would devote to it.

 

"When one examines a hologram in natural (uncollimated, non-coherent) light, it has no apparent form nor attractiveness. However, when one examines it with the laser with which it was formulated, a three-dimensional image appears. When one examines the Bible in unaided, natural light, it "has no form nor comeliness that we should desire it." But when we examine it illuminated by the Light that created it, the Spirit of God that put it all together in the first place, we see an image: the image of the One that every detail in it illuminates, the promised Messiah Himself.

From Genesis to Revelation, God's program for the redemption of mankind is carefully distributed throughout 66 books, penned by more than 40 different individuals spanning several thousand years! And, indeed, this abused collection has survived the jamming and interference of its enemies over many centuries without material damage! 

However, if we illuminate the hologram with a laser of a different frequency, it will yield a false or distorted image. So, too, the Scriptures!" - Chuck Missler

 

https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=329935506015511

UNBIASED EYEWITNESS TESTIMONIES

 

"Why would the apostles lie? If they lied, what was their motive, what did they get out of it? What they got out of it was misunderstanding, rejection, persecution, torture, and martyrdom. Hardly a list of perks!" - Peter Kreeft

 

Christians didn't write the New Testament - converted, born again Jews did. And when they did, their fellow Jews stoned them to death. They did not gain money, influence, or popularity. In other words; they had everything to lose, and nothingto gain, from their testimony that Jesus had resurrected.

 

Much like people today who become born again, burn their old lives to the ground, and start to follow and preach Jesus as the only way - in this world there is nothing but (earthly) loss that accompanies this decision. Many people leave behind successful careers and fat bank accounts, all they have known studied and loved for decades, the privilege of fitting in, groups of friends and even partners and fiancees, all because they believe Jesus is who He said He is - just like the apostles, just like people have been doing for 2000 years.

 

The apostles, the eye witnesses to Jesus' ministry, death, and resurrection, had absolutely no ulterior motive to proclaiming Jesus as the Messiah; God incarnate. Not only were they outcast from their own (Jewish) communities, for the rest of their lives all 12 not once changed their stories, not even when they were tortured and killed for not recanting their testimonies. 

 

'So what?' you may think. Don't religious extremists die for their beliefs every day? Well, yes, but the case of the apostles is decidedly different. While religious extremists might blow themselves up for something they believe to be true (because others tell them so), the apostles choose a life of martyrdom based on what they saw; the resurrected Jesus. 

 

"Granted, martyrdom in itself is not unique -- many throughout history have willingly died for their beliefs. What makes the disciples' martyrdom extraordinary to me is that these men were in a position to actually know whether or not what they were professing was true. You see, no one will knowingly suffer horribly and ultimately die a brutal death in order to defend something they know to be a lie. For example, the September 11th suicide hijackers may have sincerely believed in what they died for, but they certainly weren't in a position to know whether or not what they believed was true. They put their faith in religious traditions passed down to them over many generations. 

In contrast, the New Testament's martyrs either saw what they claimed to see or they didn't; plain and simple. Either they interacted with the resurrected Jesus or they didn't. Dramatically, these men clung to their testimonies even to their brutal deaths at the hands of their persecutors, and this despite being given every chance to recant and knowing full well whether their testimony was true or false. Why would so many men knowingly die for a lie? They had nothing to gain for lying and obviously everything to lose. 

In addition to the disciples experiencing what they claimed to be resurrection appearances, there were even a few skeptics who believed Jesus had appeared to them alive after the crucifixion. Most biblical scholars today agree that Paul was a skeptic and even a persecutor of the early Christian church prior to experiencing a post-resurrection appearance. Most scholars also agree that James was a skeptic prior to experiencing what he called a post-resurrection appearance."

 

https://endtimesmessages.com/how-the-apostles-died/

https://www.allaboutthejourney.org/evidence-of-the-resurrection.htm

RELIABLE TRANSMISSION

"Even an introductory look into the manuscript background of the New Testament gives a convincing picture of the reliability of the New Testament's transmission over a span of almost two millenia. Not only does the New Testament stand above the crowd of other ancient manuscripts in terms of manuscript amount, but the New Testament also has copies of manuscripts that are very close in time to the original composition. Virtually unchanged (99.5% accuracy rate) over the centuries, the New Testament can be deemed reliable and accurate"

 

Manuscript evidence

The New Testament stands far above all other documents we have from ancient times, both in terms of amount of copies as well as length of time between the original and the first copy made. In order to reject the New Testament as unreliable, we would have to to reject all we know about history....

 

"When I first found out that there are no surviving originals of the New Testament, I was really skeptical. I thought, If all we have are copies of copies of copies, how can I have any confidence that the New Testament we have today bears any resemblance whatsoever to what was originally written?'

But having multiple copies of an ancient text can be a good thing. The theologian explains that the New Testament has an unprecedented multiplicity of copies that have survived. The more often you have copies that agree with each other, especially if they emerge from different geographical areas, the more you can cross-check them to figure out what the original document was like."

 

https://www.christianpost.com/news/christian-apologist-lee-strobel-bible-diluted-case-for-christ.html

https://carm.org/the-bible/illustration-of-bible-text-manuscript-tree-and-variant-readings/

https://carm.org/about-the-bible/manuscript-evidence-for-superior-new-testament-reliability/

Dead sea scrolls

The discovery of the dead sea scrolls introduced hard, archeological evidence that the Jewish sacred texts had been accurately preserved and copied, unaltered, for over 2000 years. It's hard to imagine this today, but the Jewish people actually believed their Scriptures to be the Word of God... and treated them as such. This doesn't prove that their Scriptures are the Word of God - but it does prove that they treated them as sacred and not once altered them in thousands of years. It also provides evidence that the prophecies concerning Jesus birth, ministry and mission were written before His coming, and not 'added later', as some had suggested....

 

https://allaboutarchaeology.org/dead-sea-scrolls.htm

https://allaboutarchaeology.org/dead-sea-scrolls-2.htm

Corroborating sources outside the bible

Of course Christians would believe and claim that Jesus is God, that He performed miracles, and rose from the dead....  but what about the non-Christians?

 

Did you know that if we did not have the Bible and did not believe a single follower of Jesus - we would still know most of what the Bible tells us about the life, ministry, and mission of Jesus?

Here are some of the key things we would be able to reconstruct about Jesus based solely on hostile (non Christian) sources, such as Roman historians and Jewish religious leaders who opposed Jesus;

"Jesus was born and lived in Palestine. He was born, supposedly, to a virgin and had an earthly father who was a carpenter. He was a teacher who taught that through repentance and belief, all followers would become brothers and sisters. He led the Jews away from their beliefs. He was a wise man who claimed to be God and the Messiah. He had unusual magical powers and performed miraculous deeds. He healed the lame. He accurately predicted the future. He was persecuted by the Jews for what He said, betrayed by Judah Iskarioto. He was beaten with rods, forced to drink vinegar and wear a crown of thorns. He was crucified on the eve of the Passover and this crucifixion occurred under the direction of Pontius Pilate, during the time of Tiberius. On the day of His crucifixion, the sky grew dark and there was an earthquake. Afterward, He was buried in a tomb and the tomb was later found to be empty. He appeared to His disciples resurrected from the grave and showed them His wounds. These disciples then told others Jesus was resurrected and ascended into heaven. Jesus’ disciples and followers upheld a high moral code. One of them was named Matthai. The disciples were also persecuted for their faith but were martyred without changing their claims. They met regularly to worship Jesus, even after His death."

 

Non-christians have confirmed everything what the Bible says about Jesus ministry & mission - they simply don't believe in it's logical conclusion. They confirm 2+2, but refuse to conclude that 2+2 equals 4....

 

https://coldcasechristianity.com/writings/is-there-any-evidence-for-jesus-outside-the-bible/

https://ryanleasure.com/evidence-for-jesus-miracles-outside-the-bible/

MISSING BOOKS? COUNSEL OF NICAEA?

 

Counsel of Nicaea

“The church no more gave us the canon [the Bible] than Sir Isaac Newton gave us the force of gravity.”

One of the most popular conspiracy theories surrounding the Bible is that a handful of men got to decide for all of humanity which books are in the Bible, and which books were to be left out or hidden from the public.

"The truth is we have the New Testament reflecting on the canon itself. For example, Peter referenced Paul’s epistles as Scripture, which is significant because he was Paul’s contemporary (2 Pet. 3:15–16). So, the New Testament reflects on itself as canonical, as Scripture, and we need to recognize that in the church."

While it's true that not all books were recognized as Scripture by everyone right away (such as Hebrews and Revelation) - most all books were, and as early as during the days the apostles themselves were still alive, not hundreds of years later at the counsel of Nicaea (325AD)).

https://www.gotquestions.org/canon-Bible.html

 

https://www.ligonier.org/learn/qas/how-and-when-was-the-canon-of-scripture-established-and-by-whom

'Missing' books

What about the books that didn't get included in the Bible? The so called 'lost' gospels are gnostic gospels - written while the supposed authors (Mary, Thomas, etc) and their contemporaries were deceased. What's more - the gospels contain direct contradictions to the original Scriptures. Not only are they written in a completely different linguistic style (the 'gospel' of 'Thomas' is nothing more than individual sayings, whereas the 'gospel' of 'Mary', is more about Mary than it is about Jesus). 

 

Example; the 'gospel' of 'Mary'

This is what is said about the dating of the 'gospel' of 'Mary' from a proponent of the book;

 

"The manuscript itself is a fifth-century Coptic (i.e., Egyptian) version of what had almost certainly been an earlier Greek or even Syrian text. In 1917, and then in 1938, two Greek fragments dating from the third century were indeed discovered, confirming the antiquity of the original text and the esteem in which it was held by the earliest Christian communities (only important manuscripts are recopied)…Karen King assigns the original text to the first half of the second century. If her argument is correct, this would place the Gospel of Mary Magdalene within the earliest strata of Christian writings, roughly contemporaneous with the Gospel of John."

 

Note that the author said this book was penned around AD 150 - long after Mary Magdalene had passed away... (this is the most conservative dating as other scholars place the date of writing closer to AD 400 - but in either case, Mary would have had to live to roughly the age of 180 years old to be the author of this book).

 

The so called missing gospels promote a form of eastern mystical thought; the goal being transcendence and enlightenment, which is a 'works based' type of salvation, in direct contradiction to what Jesus taught; that He and He alone is the way, the truth, and the life. Salvation is not found inside, peace is not found by our own attempts, nor in knowledge (gnosis) of our 'true nature'. 

 

Both teachings can be wrong - but both cannot be true. Salvation by works (achieved, or realized) and salvation by grace (unmerited gift) are irreconcilable.

The gnostic gospels appeal to the fallen human nature that wants to achieve enlightenment for itself, rather than humbly submitting to a forgiving God; rather than admitting we are sinful fallen creatures - we simply need to realize our already perfect and divine nature.

https://www.gotquestions.org/Gnostic-gospels.html

https://www.gotquestions.org/lost-books-Bible.html

https://www.christianity.com/wiki/bible/what-is-the-gospel-of-thomas.html

FURTHER CONTEMPLATION

 

This was an incredibly brief introduction to the reliability of the Scriptures, that hopefully has whet your appetite for discovering for yourself the reliability of God's Word. Below are a couple more valuable videos and links for you to further your studies, but by far the most valuable resource on the topic is the book 'Cold Case Christianity' - written by J Warner Wallace, committed atheist gone born again believer when he followed the evidence. What's more is that Wallace, in contrast to most of us, is actually an expert in evidence, being a cold case homicide detective - solving cold cases by reading evidence. If you are someone who is genuinely curious towards the evidence and what it says, this is by far the best book you can get your hands on. If you are someone who doesn't believe the Bible is trustworthy, you owe it to yourself to read this book and see if you are still as convinced after reading it.

 

(We are in no way affiliated with any books or videos we recommend)

 

"Written by an L. A. County homicide detective and former atheist, Cold-Case Christianity examines the claims of the New Testament using the skills and strategies of a hard-to-convince criminal investigator. Christianity could be defined as a “cold case”: it makes a claim about an event from the distant past for which there is little forensic evidence. In Cold-Case Christianity, J. Warner Wallace uses his nationally recognized skills as a homicide detective to look at the evidence and eyewitnesses behind Christian beliefs. Including gripping stories from his career and the visual techniques he developed in the courtroom, Wallace uses illustration to examine the powerful evidence that validates the claims of Christianity. "

"You can believe because of the evidence, not in spite of it. “My friend Jim Wallace was an angry atheist for 35 years [...] Today, Jim is one of the most thoughtful and winsome apologists for the Gospel I know"

HIDDEN SCIENCE IN THE BIBLE

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