Can we rely on the Bible?
I was recently engaged with an individual who has questioned the validity and veracity of the Bible, and I’ve realized that I haven’t really tackled this issue on this blog. It is now at the top of my to-do list for this site, but it will take time to fully compile all of my thoughts and understanding into one document. My usual quick answer to people who ask is this:
We can rely on the Bible because of the depth/volume of manuscripts available, the various archaeological findings that verify Biblical accounts, and the various prophecies that came true.
In the meantime, while I was perusing the Adventist Review site today, they so happened to have a feature article on why we can accept the Bible as an authoritative document. You can read the article for yourself here. I will just quote some pertinent points from the article as to why we can rely on the Bible.
With Jesus as its source and incarnation, the authority of the written Word can be considered from the standpoint of internal and external evidence. By internal evidence, we refer to what is inherently true of the Bible for it to be considered authoritative. External evidence refers to factors outside the Bible that witness to its authority. Some might question one or more of these pieces of evidence, but taken together they constitute a powerful argument for the continuing authority of the Bible.8
Internal Evidence of the Bible’s Authority. Two major reasons for believing in God and His Word are Creation and prophecy. Regarding Creation, He has no equal (see Isa. 40:25). None of the many ancient stories about Creation compares to His simple, elegant reporting of His one-week miracle in Genesis 1 and 2.
I will occasionally post articles on creation on this blog, showing why the Bible’s creation account is the most logical explanation as to how this world got here. I haven’t really touched upon Biblical prophecy on this site yet, but it is another strong point. Aside from the numerous prophecies that were fulfilled by Jesus, the other big prophecy that stand out in my mind is Daniels statue, predicting the major world powers in succession (Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome). The article mentions the same prophecy and provides another example :
In another prophecy Daniel predicted another destruction of the city of Jerusalem and the Temple after Messiah’s death and the end of the 70 weeks of years (Dan. 9:24-27). Micah’s prophecy of the Messiah’s birth in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2) was also remarkably fulfilled (Matt. 2:5, 6). Thus, Jesus could speak of prophecy’s inviolability (Luke 24:26, 44), and Peter could consider its fulfillment as more convincing than miracles and eyewitness experiences (2 Peter 1:16-21).
The article then sites a third reason, internal consistency:
A third reason for accepting the Bible’s divine authority is its theological consistency. Although written over a period of about 1,500 years by nearly 40 different authors, the Bible’s amazing harmony permitted Jesus to show two discouraged travelers “in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself” (Luke 24:27, NKJV). Paul also, by his multiple quotations from various Old Testament books, emphasizes both Scripture’s consistency and its uniform authority, despite the varied personality and individuality of its many writers (Rom. 3:10-19).
The Bible’s eyewitness testimony is itself a double basis for respecting its authority. For one thing it is written by people who experienced God’s revelation. As John explained, “We saw. . . and testify . . . and proclaim . . . the eternal life which was with the Father and was made manifest to us” (1 John 1:1).
After talking about external evidence, which includes the aforementioned manuscripts and archaelogy, the article concludes with the following;
The Bible’s authority is grounded in its origin as a revelation from God to human beings. At the same time, as free moral agents we are not compelled to accept this authority but are free to reject it and put another authority in its place if we so choose. We are expected to accept the authority of the Bible, not on blind faith, but rather on the weight of reasonable evidence. By the testimony of Creation, by the reliability of prophecy, by the miracle of its preservation and transmission, and by the corroboration of its accuracy through external sources, God has given us more than adequate evidence, both internal and external, to support our faith in Scripture as God’s inspired and authoritative Word.
I highly recommend checking out the full article to get a best grasp of why we can rely on the Bible as the Word of God. I’ll definitely expand more on this topic in a future post, so keep your eye out for that.