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Why Should We Trust the Bible?

Why Should We Trust the Bible?

When I was in graduate school, I took a course entitled “Biblical Criticism and Authenticity.” Its purpose was to examine the accuracy and reliability of the Bible. Thirty-five percent of my course grade depended on how well I wrote an apologetic brief and how well I defended it orally before a moot jury. My jury consisted of Dr. John Warwick Montgomery and John Stewart—both well-known and very knowledgeable Christian apologists.

The rules were simple. I had fifteen minutes to argue my case, and the jury was free, in the style of appellate advocacy, to interrupt at any time and to fire critical questions during my presentation. The topic I chose was “Should the Bible be read in public schools?”—not a dull subject, to say the least. With Montgomery and Stewart playing the devil’s advocates, it was a lively debate.

My argument went like this: The Bible is an historical document of demonstrated accuracy and reliability. In every area in which it can be checked-out—historically, culturally, geographically, scientifically, and so on—it has been verified as factual by extra-biblical sources. It is full of information on the history of the Jews and other ancient civilizations, as well as early Christianity. It presents unique and invaluable information on the customs, languages, cultures, ethics, and religion of what is the foundation of all Western civilization. Because of this, and in spite of the Bible’s religious significance, I argued it should be used as a resource for historical information in public schools.

What follows in this chapter forms the meat and potatoes of my moot-court argument. If Christians can demonstrate that the Bible is truthful in all areas in which it can be validated, we have before us the most powerful and compelling evidence for the truthfulness of Christianity. Every apologetic argument rests on the reliability of the Bible, including the deity and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

All religions in the world claim to possess divine truth and make emphatic statements about the nature of God, the question of sin, the destiny of man, and other critical issues. If one approaches all religions in the same fashion—if one accepts or rejects them based solely on the evidence—he will soon discover that the Bible alone can sustain its truth-claims. This is vital if Christianity is to attract skeptics and advocates of other religions. There has to be some kind of objective and testable evidence to verify religious truth-claims, or there would be no way to determine which religion, if any, among the hundreds of contenders actually expresses divine revelation.

Let me carry this a step further, and this is the crux of the apologetic argument in this chapter. If the Bible alone can sustain its truth-claims in areas in which it can be investigated, then it is reasonable to trust it in spiritual matters. We have a solid foundation from which to assert that what the Bible says about Jesus as Lord and Savior, sin and its consequences, and the path to salvation must be correct. And if what the Bible says is true, contrary religious claims must be false.

THE RELIABILITY OF THE OLD TESTAMENT

We’ll begin with the Old Testament. Three categories of evidence lead to the conclusion that the Old Testament is reliable. These categories are the Old Testament’s transmission, its archaeological record, and its fulfilled prophecy.

TRANSMISSION

Before printing presses and photocopiers, duplicate books, letters, and other forms of written communication were reproduced by hand. During the development of the Old Testament, during the two millennia prior to Jesus’ birth, this reproduction process was carried out by Jewish scribes.

The original Bible manuscripts (called autographs) were written on material such as papyrus, which deteriorated quickly. Consequently, scribes were needed to copy and recopy the Old Testament books letter by letter. These copyists knew they were duplicating God’s Word, so they went to incredible lengths to prevent error from creeping into their work. The whole process of recopying the Bible was controlled by strict religious rituals, and the scribes carefully counted every line, word, syllable, and letter to ensure accuracy.

As a result of their diligence, the Old Testament in our Bible today is virtually identical to the autographs. Bible scholars have demonstrated this by comparing ancient copies of the Bible with more recent copies. For example, prior to the discovery of the Dead Sea Scroll manuscripts in 1947, the oldest existing (extant) Old Testament manuscript was the Massoretic Text, dated around a.d. 900. But with the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, fragments of almost every book in the Old Testament were found, many of them dating back to around 150 b.c., a thousand years earlier. One of the most important manuscript discoveries was two copies of Isaiah. So far they are the oldest known copies of any complete book of the Bible.

What did textual critics discover when they compared the Dead Sea manuscripts of Isaiah with the Isaiah preserved in the Massoretic Text dated a thousand years later? Old Testament scholar Gleason Archer provides the answer: “Even though the two copies of Isaiah discovered in Qumran Cave 1 near the Dead Sea in 1947 were a thousand years earlier than the oldest dated manuscript previously known (a.d. 980), they proved to be word for word identical with our standard Hebrew Bible in more than 95 percent of the text. The 5 percent of variation consisted chiefly of obvious slips of the pen and variations in spelling.”1

From manuscript discoveries like the Dead Sea Scrolls, Christians have undeniable evidence that today’s Old Testament Scripture, for all practical purposes, is exactly the same as it was when originally inspired by God and recorded in the Bible.

ARCHAEOLOGY

Over the past one hundred years, the archaeologist’s spade has verified numerous events, customs, cities, and nations mentioned in the Old Testament. At one time many scholars dismissed some of the Old Testament as mythical because they had no outside confirmation of the people, places, or events in doubt. But archaeology has changed all that, demonstrating the Old Testament’s reliability on literally hundreds of historical facts. Here are a few examples.2

•     The Ebla Tables. Since 1974, archaeologists have unearthed seventeen thousand tablets at Tell Mardikh in northern Syria. These tablets contain a record of laws, customs, and events from the same area Moses and the patriarchs lived. This discovery helped to disprove the Documentary hypothesis which, in part, claimed that Moses lived before the invention of written language and therefore could not have composed the first five books of the Old Testament (the Pentateuch). Thus, Bible critics claimed that the Old Testament was written much later (and by many unknown authors) than traditionally thought. However, the Ebla Tablets prove that written language existed at least a thousand years before Moses, which once again vindicated Moses as the most likely author of the Pentateuch.

•     Archaeology has proven that Israel derives its ancestry from-Mesopotamia, as the Bible teaches (Gen. 11:27–12:4).

•     Archaeology suggests that the world’s languages likely arose from a common origin, as Genesis 11 implies.

•     Jericho, and several other cities mentioned in the Old Testament, previously thought to be legendary by skeptics, have now been discovered by archaeologists.

•     Bible critics used to claim that the Hittite civilization mentioned in Genesis did not exist at the time of Abraham because there was no record of it apart from the Old Testament. However, archaeology has discovered that it not only existed but it lasted more than 1,200 years. Now you can even get a doctorate in Hittite studies from the University of Chicago.

•     Social customs and stories in the Old Testament credited to the time of the patriarchs (Abraham, Jacob, and Isaac) are in harmony with archaeological discoveries, casting additional light on the historical accuracy of the biblical record.

Nelson Glueck, a scholar who specialized in ancient documents such as the Bible, remarked, “it can be stated categorically that no archaeological discovery has ever controverted a Biblical reference.”3 In other words, in every instance where the Bible could be checked-out historically against extra-biblical sources, the Bible has always been found accurate in what it reports.

FULFILLED PROPHECY

Fulfilled prophecies give clear attestation to the hand of God in human history and are some of the most important evidences for the historical reliability and truthfulness of the Old Testament. The Bible is the only religious document in existence that provides more than two thousand prophecies that validate its historical claims. These prophecies deal with Jesus Christ, the nation of Israel, other nations (e.g., Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome), cities (e.g., Tyre and Babylon), and even people (e.g., Nebuchadnezzar and Cyrus). Of course, some other religions make prophetic claims, however, in no other religion in the world has prophecy been fulfilled so completely and so accurately as that recorded in the Bible.

In Deuteronomy 13:1–5 and 18:20–22, God issued strong decrees concerning the use and misuse of prophecy and the identification of true and false prophets. God instructed Israel to put to death anyone who prophesied on any authority other than God’s—even if his prophecy came true. Furthermore, if a prophecy did not come to pass, even if it was spoken in the name of the Lord, that person was to be put to death as a false prophet.

False prophets abound in our society, even in established religions such as Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormonism. But their unfulfilled prophecies expose them for what they are. On the other hand, all biblical prophecies concerning events up to the present time have come to pass—without exception.

THE RELIABILITY OF THE NEW TESTAMENT

The New Testament is about Jesus Christ. So much of what follows deals with Him, not just with the New Testament documents. In other words, we will consider evidence that establishes the historicity of Jesus as well as the historical reliability of the New Testament. The first grouping of evidence is bibliographical.

BIBLIOGRAPHICAL EVIDENCE

We do not posses any of the autographs of the New Testament. Like the Old Testament, the New Testament books were originally written on materials that quickly wore out and therefore had to be copied and recopied by hand for centuries before the invention of the printing press. So we need to determine how closely the extant copies represent the autographs. That is, how do we know that the New Testament we have today is close enough to the original writings as to be equally reliable? The bibliographical evidence is concerned with answering this question. And here we find three primary areas of evidence that demonstrate our present New Testament documents are virtually identical to their original writings.

Copies Galore

The first area of evidence has to do with the available number of New Testament manuscripts. What we discover is that there are more extant New Testament manuscripts than any other document from antiquity. More than 24,000 partial and complete copies of the New Testament are in existence today. By comparison, the ancient document second in number of available copies is the Iliad, which has only 643 surviving manuscripts. And this number is extremely high compared to other ancient documents. For example, the History of Thucydides, the History of Herodotus, Caesar’s Gallic War, Tacitus’ Histories and Annals, and many other ancient documents have fewer than two dozen surviving copies.4

In addition to New Testament manuscripts, there are over 86,000 early patristic (church fathers’) quotations from the New Testament and several thousand Lectionaries (early church-service books containing selected Scripture readings) dating to the early centuries of the church. In fact, there are enough quotations from the early church fathers that even if we did not have a single copy of the Bible, scholars could still reconstruct all but 11 verses of the entire New Testament from material written within 150 to 200 years from the time of Christ.5

No. of

AUTHOR

When Written

Earliest Copy

Time Span

Copies

Caesar

100–44 b.c.

a.d. 900

1,000 yrs.

10

Livy

59 b.c.–a.d.17

20

Plato (Tetralogies)

427–347 b.c.

a.d. 900

1,200 yrs.

7

Tacitus (Annals)

a.d.100

a.d. 1100

1,000 yrs.

20(-)

also minor works

a.d. 100

a.d. 1000

900 yrs.

1

Pliny the Younger (History)

a.d. 61–113

a.d. 850

750 yrs.

7

Thucydides (History)

460–400 b.c.

a.d. 900

1,300 yrs.

8

Suetonius (De Vita Caesarum)

a.d. 75–169

a.d. 950

800 yrs.

8

Herodotus (History)

480–425 b.c.

a.d. 900

1,300 yrs.

8

Horace

900 yrs.

Sophocles

496–406 b.c.

a.d. 1000

1,400 yrs.

193

Lucretius

Died 55 or 53 b.c.

1,100 yrs.

2

Catullus

54 b.c.

a.d. 1550

1,600 yrs.

3

Euripides

480–406 b.c.

a.d. 1100

1,500 yrs.

9

Demosthenes

383–322 b.c.

a.d. 1100

1,300 yrs.

200*

Aristotle

384–322 b.c.

a.d. 1100

1,400 yrs.

49

Aristophanes

450–385 b.c.

a.d. 900

1,200 yrs.

10

From Josh McDowell, Evidence That Demands a Verdict, rev. ed. (San Bernardino, CA: Here’s Life, 1979), 42.

Shorter Is Best

The second area of bibliographical evidence concerns the short time span between when events recorded in the New Testament actually happened and when they were first written down. The time span is shorter for the New Testament than for any other document from antiquity. There is strong evidence that the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke were written within thirty years of Jesus’ death, and the gospel of John before the end of the first century. A. T. Robinson, a scholar who once assumed that all the New Testament books were written between the late first century and second century, later changed his mind radically after examining the evidence. In his book Redating the New Testament, he went against the Bible critics he once agreed with and argued that all the New Testament books were written before the destruction of Jerusalem in a.d. 70, only thirty or so years after the death of Christ.6

When we compare these facts with the writings of the vast majority of other world religions, we find an incredible contrast. Many other religious documents have tremendous time spans between when they were transmitted orally and when they were eventually written down. For example, the sayings of Buddha were not recorded until five hundred years after his death.

Moreover, no other ancient document can boast as short a time span between its autographs and presently existing copies. The John Rylands fragment of the gospel of John may date to within twenty-five years of its original writing. There are numerous other manuscripts, some containing most of the entire New Testament, dating from early in the second century. And from the early fourth century (ca. a.d. 325–350), complete New Testament manuscripts are available. In short, Bible scholars have in their hands copies of New Testament manuscripts dating to within a generation of their original writings, which is absolutely incredible for works of antiquity.

By comparison, the Iliad has a time span of five hundred years between its original writings and the oldest existing manuscripts. Many other ancient documents have an even greater time span. The ancient works mentioned above all have a time span of one thousand years or greater between their autographs and existing copies.

No. of

WORK

When Written

Earliest Copy

Time Span

Copies

Homer (Iliad)

900 b.c.

400 b.c.

500 yrs.

643

New Testament

a.d. 40–100

a.d. 125

25 yrs.

24,000

What is significant about all this? Simply this: In the case of the New Testament Gospels, unlike other ancient works, whether secular or religious, not enough time elapsed between when Jesus spoke and when His words were recorded to allow for misrepresentation or the development of legendary material about Him. Nor has enough time elapsed between the autographs and existing translations to allow significant transmission errors or tampering. We can be certain, therefore, that the New Testament Gospels accurately record the sayings of Jesus and the events in His life.

Practically Perfect

The final area of bibliographical evidence concerns the lack of textual corruption in the New Testament. A comparison of the copies of New Testament with other ancient manuscripts shows that the New Testament possesses a smaller percentage of textual errors than any other ancient document. Textual critics estimate that only one half of one percent (.5 percent) of the New Testament is in doubt. And of this one-half percent, no doctrinal or historical truth is left in question. The Iliad, on the other hand, has suffered about 5 percent corruption. Other ancient manuscripts have suffered even more corruption. For example, the national epic of India, the Mahabharata, has about 10 percent of its text in doubt.

Experts in the field of textual criticism (the science of establishing the accuracy of ancient texts) agree that the New Testament we have today is unquestionably a near perfect offspring of the autographs. Sir Frederick Kenyon, past director and principle librarian of the British Museum and probably the greatest textual critic of the twentieth century, states:

The interval between the dates of original composition [of the New Testament] and the earliest extant evidence becomes so small as to be in fact negligible, and the last foundation for any doubt that the Scriptures have come down to us substantially as they were written has now been removed. Both the authenticity and general integrity of the books of the New Testament may be regarded as finally established.7

INTERNAL EVIDENCE

With the bibliographical evidence before us, we’re now ready to move on to the internal evidence, which looks at the internal reliability and consistency of the New Testament. We’ll focus on two important areas of internal evidence.

The Law Rules

The first area has to do with what law professor and historian John Warwick Montgomery calls “the fundamental principles of the law of evidence.” He applies four of these rules to the Bible. Each one is used in our legal system to determine a document’s acceptability.8

The ancient documents rule

In evaluating ancient documents, it is customary to assume that a document is truthful unless the author disqualifies himself by contradictions or by provable inaccuracies, unless, of course, there is internal evidence of text tampering. In the law area, when a document is in dispute, the burden of proof is always on the accuser. In addition, unsolved problems or unclear material in a document do not automatically lend credence to the conclusion of error or unreliability. Biblical textual criticism, for instance, has seen historical research resolve numerous so-called problem passages in favor of the Bible’s reliability. So the Bible has proven itself and should be trusted.9

The parol evidence rule

“External, oral testimony or tradition will not be received in evidence to add to, subtract from, vary, or contradict an executed written instrument such as a will. Applied to the Bible documents, which expressly claim to be ‘executed’ and complete (Rev. 22:18–19), this rule insists that the Scripture be allowed to ‘interpret itself’ and not be twisted to external, extra-biblical data.”10 In other words, as we would with any document, we give Scripture a fair hearing. We do not interpret the Bible in light of our own—or others’—preconceived assumptions. For example, some Bible critics seek to short-circuit the reliability of Scripture by off-handedly denying miracles. They simply accept the prevailing scientific view that miracles are impossible, so their minds are made up before they ever examine the biblical evidence.

The hearsay rule

“A witness must testify ‘of his own knowledge,’ not on the basis of what has come to him indirectly from others [hearsay]. Applied to the New Testament documents, this demand for primary-source evidence is fully vindicated by the constant”11 assertion of the New Testament authors that they were eyewitnesses of the events they recorded (e.g., 1 John 1:1).

The cross-examination principle

The more a witness is subjected to “close and searching crossexamination,” the more confidence we can place on his testimony. We see this applied especially in the eyewitness testimonies of Jesus’ resurrection (the historic foundation of our faith). Witnesses called to account for their faith by confirming the resurrection story did so “in the very teeth of opposition, among hostile cross-examiners who would certainly have destroyed the case of Christianity had”12 the early Christians’ testimony been contradicted by the facts.

If we put the New Testament documents through the rigors of these four principles from our legal system, they would be unequivocally pronounced valid and reliable as evidence for the life, ministry, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. They tell “the whole truth and nothing but the truth.”

The Best Sources

The second internal evidence supporting the reliability of the New Testament is its primary source value. The New Testament Gospels were written either by eyewitnesses to the events in Christ’s life (Matthew and John) or by men who knew and interviewed eyewitnesses (Mark and Luke). The authors of the New Testament were careful to note this first-hand, eyewitness testimony as verification of their authenticity (e.g., Luke 1:1–3; John 19:35; 20:30–31; 21:24; Acts 10:39–42; 1 Cor. 15:6–8; 1 Pet. 5:1; 2 Pet. 1:16; 1 John 1:1–3). Moreover, the New Testament authors appealed not only to their own observations but also to those of their readers and listeners—even when the witnesses were hostile (see Acts 2:22, 26:24–28).

Why did the writers appeal to eyewitness testimony? The reason was that many people who knew Jesus or had observed His miracles were still alive when the New Testament was written. Since many of these people were hostile to Christianity, they had every opportunity to publicly refute the apostles’ accounts. And yet, in the case of the birth, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus, not a single piece of contrary historical evidence surfaced during the first century to claim these events were false. The enemies of Christianity could not refute the Gospels’ accounts, which is convincing attestation that the New Testament documents are historically reliable.

It is also worth noting that the New Testament authors didn’t hesitate to report events that cast themselves in an unfavourable light. So you’ll find Peter denying Jesus and the disciples arguing over which of them will be the greatest in the kingdom and their abandoning Jesus during His arrest. Also, these writers made no attempt to soften the harsh words Jesus spoke or to cover-up the inflammatory accusations thrown at Him, such as the claim that His power was derived from Satan. The New Testament authors recorded Jesus’ anger and bitterness, His despair on the cross, and other less than complimentary incidents. If the gospel accounts were fiction or written merely to implement a new religious movement instead of recording historical facts, why would its leaders record so many “negative” elements? That they did is compelling evidence for the authenticity and integrity of their writings and witness.

And finally, as J. P. Moreland points out, the New Testament authors had nothing to gain and all to lose if they were writing a spurious religious document:

It seems clear that the New Testament writers were able and willing to tell the truth. They had very little to gain and much to lose for their efforts. For one thing, they were mostly Jewish theists. To change the religion of Israel with its observance of the Mosaic law, Sabbath keeping, sacrifices, and clear-cut non-Trinitarian monotheism would be to risk the damnation of their own souls to hell. A modern atheist may not worry about such a thing, but members of the early church surely did.13

EXTERNAL EVIDENCE

Now let’s consider four significant areas of external evidence. By “external evidence,” I mean evidence derived from sources other than the New Testament authors or documents.

Christian Sources

Corroborating information comes from Christian writers who lived close to the time of the New Testament authors.14

Papias (Bishop of Hierapolis) and Irenaeus (Bishop of Lyons) together confirm the authorship of the four Gospels. Papias was a friend of the apostle John, and Irenaeus was a student of Polycarp, who was a disciple of John. They report that John not only wrote his gospel but told them that the gospel of Mark was written by Mark, the companion and interpreter of Peter, that Matthew’s gospel was published “among the Hebrews [the Jews] in their own tongue,” and that Luke wrote his gospel as it was “preached by his teacher,” Paul. This evidence counters the claim that the authors of the Gospels were other than those whom the Bible names.15

Non-Christian Sources

Several non-Christian writers living close to the time of Christ further support the New Testament record. Although these individuals are not as explicit as Papias, Irenaeus, and other early Christian writers, they nevertheless give additional credibility to the historicity of the New Testament.16

Jewish historian Flavius Josephus wrote about John the Baptist and mentioned Jesus by referring to James “the [half] brother of Jesus, the so-called Christ.” In another, although controversial passage, it appears that Josephus may even have referred to Jesus as “a wise man” condemned to die on the cross by Pilate.17

Roman historian Cornelius Tacitus alluded to Jesus’ death and the existence of Christians in Rome. He wrote of “Christus,” who “was put to death by Pontius Pilate, Procurator of Judea in the reign of Tiberius.”18

Pliny the Younger wrote a letter to Emperor Trajan about a.d. 112 asking his advice on how to deal with “the troublesome sect of Christians.”19 It seems that Pliny, as governor of Bithynia in Asia Minor, had been killing innumerable Christians, but their numbers were still “embarrassingly” high. He didn’t know whether to continue killing as many as he found or to be more selective!20

Suetonius, in his Lives of the Twelve Caesars: Vita Claudius, mentions that the Jews were expelled from Rome because of disturbances over “Chrestus” (Christ).21

In addition to these references, other Roman and Jewish sources, such as the Talmud and the Mishnah (authoritative Jewish writings), make numerous literary references to Jesus of Nazareth, and many of them were written in the first century. All this evidence confirms that Jesus really lived, and the New Testament record of His life is accurate. As New Testament scholar F. F. Bruce makes clear:

Whatever else may be thought of the evidence from early Jewish and Gentile writers … it does at least establish for those who refuse the witness of Christian writings, the historical character of Jesus Himself. Some writers may toy with the fancy of a “Christmyth,” but they do not do so on the ground of historical evidence. The historicity of Christ is as axiomatic for an unbiased historian as the historicity of Julius Caesar.22

Fulfilled Prophecy

As I mentioned earlier, the Bible is the only religious document in existence that presents an enormous number of prophecies that validate its historical claims. Of the over two thousand prophecies in the Bible, several hundred of them apply specifically to events in the life of Jesus Christ, such as His place of birth, tribe and lineage, ministry, betrayal by Judas, suffering, crucifixion, and resurrection. These prophecies touch all areas of Jesus’ life, and they were uttered centuries before His birth.

All attempts to debunk these fulfilled Old Testament prophecies have failed. Even when critics have rejected the traditional 450 b.c. date for the completion of the Old Testament, they have never been able to get around the fact that the Greek Septuagint, a translation of the Hebrew Scriptures, was completed around 250 b.c. proving that the prophecies about Jesus could not have been written after the events they foretell.

Archaeology

The fourth area of external evidence is archaeology. Over the past hundred years, archaeology has verified the factuality of literally hundreds of events, customs, cities, geographic features, and nations described in the Old Testament. Many of these facts were previously thought to be legendary because there was no record of them anywhere other than in the Bible.

We see this same kind of validation for the New Testament. Archaeology has substantiated numerous customs, places, names, and events mentioned in the New Testament. For example, archaeology has verified the existence of the city of Nazareth, where Jesus was raised, as well as most of the ancient cities mentioned in Acts. Archaeology has documented the accuracy of Luke’s account of Paul’s missionary journeys and has confirmed the periodic Roman censuses that caused Joseph and Mary to be in Bethlehem at the time of Jesus’ birth. Archaeology has also authenticated the historicity of Pontius Pilate, who sentenced Jesus to die by crucifixion.

But the most important contribution to the truthfulness and reliability of the New Testament lies in the discovery of the many thousands of New Testament manuscripts, patristic quotations, and lectionaries now in the hands of scholars. Their availability has allowed the enormous success of textual critics in verifying the New Testament’s reliability.

THE GREATEST TRUTH

All this evidence proves that the Bible is clearly the most trustworthy historical document from antiquity. A comparison with other ancient manuscripts demonstrates that the Bible is far more factual, accurate, and truthful than any other religious document.

If the Bible is thrown out as unreliable and the critics’ standards remain consistent when evaluating the truth-claims of other ancient books, then virtually all other books from antiquity must be discarded as unreliable. Apologist Josh McDowell says it well:

There is more evidence for the reliability of the text of the New Testament as an accurate reflection of what was initially written [the autographs] than there is for any ten pieces of classical literature put together ….

[The Bible is] also in better textual shape than the thirty-seven plays of William Shakespeare written in the seventeenth century, after the invention of printing.23

The evidence also demands that the Bible be accepted as God’s chosen medium for revealing spiritual truth. If the Bible is truthful in areas where investigation can be applied, it is legitimate to believe that, in the area of religious truth, the Bible is equally reliable. The wise person searching for truth will do well to take seriously the claims of Scripture. And when this is done, he will come face to face with the greatest truth of all: Jesus not only really lived but He was who He claimed to be—the One and only God, the creator, sustainer, and Savior of all. Jesus claimed that He was “the way, the truth, and the life,” and that “no one comes to the Father” but through Him (John 14:6). Just as He asked Peter centuries ago, so He asks us today: “Who do you say that I am?” (Mark 8:29). Without a doubt, our eternal destiny rests in who we believe Jesus is and in how we respond to Him. But more on that later.

[1]

 

 

1 Gleason L. Archer, Jr., A SURVEY OF OLD TESTAMENT INTRODUCTION (Chicago, IL: Moody, 1974), 25.

2 For these and additional archaeological evidences for the historical reliability of the Bible, see Josh McDowell, EVIDENCE THAT DEMANDS A VERDICT (San Bernardino, CA: Here’s Life, 1979), 65–73; Clifford A. Wilson, ROCKS, RELICS AND BIBLICAL RELIABILITY (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1977); Edwin Yamauchi, THE STONES AND THE SCRIPTURES (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1972); K. A. Kitchen, THE BIBLE IN ITS WORLD (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1977).

3 Nelson Glueck, RIVERS IN THE DESERT (Philadelphia, PA: Jewish Publications Society of America, 1969), 31.

4 For these figures and those that follow, refer to F. F. Bruce, THE NEW TESTAMENT DOCUMENTS: ARE THEY RELIABLE? (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1984), and McDowell, EVIDENCE THAT DEMANDS A VERDICT, ibid.

5 Josh McDowell, “Evidence for the Historical Accuracy of the New Testament,” in THE INTELLECTUALS SPEAK OUT ABOUT GOD, ibid., 273–274.

* All from one copy.

Of any one work.

6 John A. T. Robinson, REDATING THE NEW TESTAMENT (Philadelphia, PA: Westminster, 1976).

From Josh McDowell, Ibid., 43.

7 Sir Frederick Kenyon, THE BIBLE AND ARCHAEOLOGY, as quoted in McDowell, EVIDENCE THAT DEMANDS A VERDICT, 41.

8 John Warwick Montgomery, THE LAW ABOVE THE LAW (Minneapolis, MN: Bethany, 1975), 87–88.

9 For further verification of this, see Harold Lindsell’s THE BATTLE FOR THE BIBLE (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1976), chap. 9; Gleason L. Archer’s ENCYCLOPEDIA OF BIBLE DIFFICULTIES (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1982).

10 Montgomery, THE LAW ABOVE THE LAW, 87.

11 Ibid., 88.

12 Ibid., 88–89.

13 J. P. Moreland, SCALING THE SECULAR CITY: A DEFENSE OF CHRISTIANITY (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1991), 138.

14 The following information comes from John Warwick Montgomery’s HISTORY AND CHRISTIANITY (San Bernardino, CA: Here’s Life, 1965), 32–34.

15 Also see F. F. Bruce, THE NEW TESTAMENT DOCUMENTS: ARE THEY RELIABLE? ibid.

16 McDowell, EVIDENCE THAT DEMANDS A VERDICT, 81–85.

17 Bruce, THE NEW TESTAMENT DOCUMENTS, 106–108.

18 McDowell, EVIDENCE THAT DEMANDS A VERDICT, 82.

19 Bruce, THE NEW TESTAMENT DOCUMENTS, 119.

20 McDowell, EVIDENCE THAT DEMANDS A VERDICT, 83.

21 Ibid.

22 Bruce, THE NEW TESTAMENT, 119.

23 Josh McDowell, A READY DEFENSE, compiled by Bill Wilson (San Bernardino, CA: Here’s Life, 1990), 24.

[1]Story, D. (1997). Defending your faith. Originally published: Nashville : T. Nelson, c1992. (33). Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications.

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